Monday, April 30, 2007

The House

Well, see this picture? This is what the House of Debra's Dreams looks like. I just thought you'd want to know.

We've clicked through more than 200 houses for sale online and of them all, this one speaks to me. Sings to me. This is the house of my heart and most likely, my heavenly mansion bears an amazing resemblance. It's the 'Blondie House' I've mentioned to you fifty times, you know, the one from the old Blondie and Dagwood movies. Unless some clueless people shoved walls around inside, I already know the floor plan just by viewing the house from the outside.

In fact, part of me doesn't even care if the inside is a cobwebby shambles--I. Love. This. House.

Does that mean we're going to buy it? Not necessarily. There are currently title problems, there's tons of work needed on it and we've not even put our own house on the market here yet--and it's in the sale of our house where our real money lies. There are no hidden fortunes for us in foreign banks (in case you'd wondered about that, too).

No, at this moment in time, I'm just house-giddy. I'm thankful that, of all the houses my eyes have scanned--finally--I know for certain which kind of house I love best. Whether it be this house, or another resembling it, this is The Style for me. No wavering, waffling or second-guessing.

But again--does it mean this is the style of house we'll buy? Again--no. We may settle for a dainty white cottage or a Cape or a 1930's ranch. Who knows? But for Today I'm just happy that I've discovered, for certain, this style of house is my favorite in all the land. And you know? That's enough for me. It's good to know what you love, for--even if you cannot own it--you discover another piece of the puzzle which is You. You come to understand not only more about yourself, but about others, too... how it feels to love something and own it--or not own it and want it. How it feels to see something which resonates with your very soul and that happy thrill...

... and then, afterward, reminding yourself to stay balanced, level-headed and wise. Not being dragged around by your emotions, but rather, led by God's very hand which leads away from trouble--at least, the kind of trouble He can't get you out of. There's a dangerous kind of longing which leads to coveting or at least, putting all of ones eggs into the proverbial basket and coming away crushed if the bottom drops away.

No, I'll take trusting a God who knows best, whose timing and ways are perfect and good and amazingly right, even if He tweaks the dream a little or a lot. There's just something about His ways and His will. Something very good, very fine... if we'll want only what He wants and are willing to wait for it.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Secret

No, this isn't about 'The Secret' in all the media now, even though I agree with some of its concepts. This is a different one.

Years ago, I learned The Secret to never wandering away from God and then having to return--months or years later--crawling back all crying and skin-kneed and sorry and having wasted your life or ruined others' lives, too.

I'd always been taught that The Secret was reading long passages of the Bible every morning and praying by the clock every day and sitting in a church pew every single instance that the doors were unlocked. And constantly talking about your faith, whether people wanted to listen or not. You know, being one regimented, good little Christian soldier.

And maybe that works for you. That's cool. I get that.

But The Secret--for me, anyway--is something different altogether. Simply put? I try never to stop needing God for even one minute of my days.

I drive our car into the supermarket parking lot and as I open the car door, I ask under my breath, "Please help me make wise choices with our money while I'm shopping."

While I'm yanking the lawnmower out of the crowded shed I say, "Please help me start this thing up right away and keep it going safely."

All day long it's "Please help me." ... "Please help me speak kindly to Tom when he gets home from work, even if he does something to annoy me." ... "Please remind me to write down all the tasks I need to do so I won't forget any of them" ... "Please show me the best ways to do all my chores today."

It's that constant neediness of Him which keeps me close. I can never become too distracted, too lost, if I require His help every hour.

And something else--a constant gratefulness. When I find something I misplaced, I'm quick to thank God for leading me to it. When I pull into a terrific parking place downtown, I say aloud, "Thanks for that!". When I run out of mayonnaise or cheese or cereal--and there's a terrific sale on them that week--I whisper, "Thank-you" right there in the store aisle.

It's that constant gratitude which keeps me close, too. It's having Him always on my mind--and finding joy in that. It's in enjoying God in all my hours.

"By myself I can do nothing..." John 5:30

Friday, April 27, 2007

Of Birthdays And Replies

A special thanks to those of you who wished Tom a happy birthday! Yesterday was one of those magical days, not because of where we went or what we saw, but because there was just a coating of Grace and harmony on each hour. We went out to lunch over in the village of Niagara Falls and shopped for Tom's birthday gift from me (we do things differently around here) and for odds and ends.

In the evening, Naomi and Carl came over bearing gifts and dinner and dessert--what a sweetie pie our daughter has become. Though, she's always been a daddy's girl and that has always blessed my heart. Well, not counting the times she and Tom have allied against Naomi had cooked us two Indian dishes--our first taste of Indian food in our conscious memories--and very good chicken dishes they were. And you can see the cake, above, which she and Carl decorated so cutely that I just had to snap a picture.

Just one more thing... I'd asked our friends and relatives to send Tom emails on (or before) his birthday and he was very heart-blessed by each note. In fact, he did the oddest thing as I sat here and watched him. Now get this--after he read each email, he immediately clicked 'respond' and wrote back to each person. What a wild, amazing concept! Debra never does that.... No, she walks away and enjoys the note inside her head.... she mops the floor and cooks meals... she spends days writing extremely droll and witty replies in the air in front of her nose..... which means often, she ends up believing she did respond to the email when no! She certainly did not....

I think Tom just may be onto something there... I'll have to give that instantly responding thing a try someday.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Happy 50th Birthday.... my hubby!

Of course, you realize, don't you, that it's totally unfair that just a few years ago he was attending college with our daughter and their classmates thought he was her brother, not her dad. Somehow he manages to look younger every year and though I've watched closely, I can't figure out how he does that. (Drats!)

But anyway, happy 50th birthday to the best and sweetest husband in all the world (seriously, no exaggeration)! I am looking forward to all the years to come with you...

Oh My... Two More Houses...

Oh! Look what our Richmond realtor sent us this morning... I want both! They make our hearts sing and dream country dreams. Though, of course, I realize some of you, especially those who are older than we are, think we're nuts (insane, ridiculous, foolish) to consider such large, need-help places.
But you know? We're not ready for rocking chairs yet and we don't want to crawl into them too early. We've still got a few good years left in us... and right now, anyway, we're thinking we'd like to spend those years in a house rather like either of these.

But again, we're still at the looking stage... and we liked the way these look.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Straying Nowhere Near Confusion

"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace..." ... 1 Corinthians 14:33

Now, there's a great verse! It's been waving at me lately while Tom and I are searching online for a house to buy.

I mean, our Richmond realtor emails these great lists of houses for sale, ones with outdoor photos and sometimes with inside ones, also--sooo much better than driving through wild traffic and then trudging through houses which are all-wrong. And well, one day I'm all, "Oh! I want that huge old Italian-villa-like place." But then next day it's, "No! Now I want that adorable minuscule white cottage," followed hours later by, "Hmmm, that Cape Cod house would be terrific!"

And now, for the past two mornings to help me wake-up (I'm not used to all this painting and moving junk up and down the stairs), I've watched a couple episodes of the old Leave It To Beaver show, and well, guess what kind of house I want now? Yep, a June Cleaver house. A house like that would make it even easier to pretend I am her.

(Can you see where I'm going with this?)

The simplest, easiest way to act and feel in all this is, well, confused. And pressured. I could make myself crazy and then try to analyze my desires and ask myself all sorts of questions (why? why? why?) and just get dizzy and sick of the whole process...


I can calmly sort through houses, dreaming peacefully, trusting that when I see the one God wants for us --poof!-- He will nudge and point.

If I want peace, I've got to stay far from the borders of confusion. I cannot have both, for they will not coexist.

Tom and I try to listen to God's voice in the small, daily stuff, so in a huge things like this, we believe He certainly won't hide and leave us to ourselves. Oh my, no... if left to ourselves, we are sunk.

The main thing is to not over-think, over-analyze, over-worry this thing. Or any other thing, for that matter.

The main thing is to listen.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

You'll Love This...

Have some time to visit an amazingly cozy, sweet, country home? I hope so, because you'll love Kathy's house which she and her husband built together. Truly, truly one amazing, inspirational, cozy place!

You'll find it here. Click on the little blue-tinged photo, then if you enjoy slideshows, click on 'slideshow' in the light-yellow box on the right. Or just click on each individual photo if you'd rather.

I recently met Kathy through my blog and we've been having fun emailing back and forth. As I've mentioned before, my favorite part of blogging is meeting kindred spirits!

So, well, what are you waiting for? Hop over to Kathy's house for so much inspiration you'll hardly be able to handle it all!

Of Morning Light and Preparations

I love morning light... And I will miss this sun room. In our search for houses in Richmond online, I can't recall any with a sun room. And yet I'm noticing that pictures of houses taken in morning light all seem to call to me ("Buy me! Mornings are magical here!"). Early sun can make even the most derelict house appear lovely, to me, anyway. (Note to self: keep your head--picture each house on a cloudy day.) Oh well... I'm thinking that regular, normal windows looking out upon an actual view of gardens or lawns or trees will be a fair exchange. I can live with that.

The realtor is coming this Friday or Saturday to inspect our house and tell us what we should change... In the meantime I'm trying not to go the overwhelmed route, attempting to, in one week, make every corner perfect. I'm learning to just do what Grace leads me to, take a lot of breaks, and hope for the best.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Opinions and Such

Sometimes I enjoy going all controversial on you.... so (taking a big breath...)... here goes.

Last night I read a blog post (let's just say somewhere in Blogland) where the author mentioned Laura Ingalls Wilder's book, The Long Winter. Personally I love that book and have been known to reread it during the bleakest, snowiest part of winter so I can remind myself to stop complaining that I have it rough. Because I don't. Not even close.

Anyway, the blog author found the book depressing (her right, I agree) and she wondered why the Ingalls didn't just move away following that long winter, rather than risk another one like it. And in the comment box, someone wondered why Pa Ingalls even left his hometown and his relatives in the first place--he should have just stayed at home and not dragged his family farther west.

To be my usual nice and sweet self, I'll use this word to describe those kinds of thoughts: naive, with a tad of controlling-nature on the side.

People are funny sometimes. I mean, we've all done things like these:

Our body can't take handle real coffee anymore, so we stop drinking it and feel better. Then suddenly we think no one should drink coffee. We start a whole campaign to get our spouse and all our friends to stop drinking it.

We've always painted our walls white and --but of course!-- we believe every one's house would look terrific if only they painted their walls white.

We live in a small, sensibly-priced house and we frown at (and gossip about) anyone who lives in a big, expensive house. (Ditto for a car.)

God convicts us, personally, to give to a certain charity and we start believing everybody should give to our specific charity. Or He convicts us to stay home while our children are young and --wham!-- we preach that every single woman should stay home.

(I'd list more examples but I'd probably get too convicted.)

My favorite teacher once said something like, "People who insist on minding other people's business are usually miserable." Boy, is that the truth! God created people to live their own lives in ways He directs--not as we try to direct others--and since He's one amazing, creative God, that means His designs for each of us are endless. Unique. One-of-a-kind. And when we try to control that our way, we butt heads, and hence, the misery.

I love this verse:

"Man's goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?" ... Proverbs 20:24

So true! Half the time we're not even sure what God is doing in our own life, and yet we go around telling others what we believe God wants them to do. Like, one conviction fits all.

And yet often the test becomes-- will we follow what God has spoken in our own heart? Or will we just keep doing what sounds good and safe and right to everybody else? And totally miss the adventures He had for us.

Or maybe we don't even voice our feelings, but we form strong opinions--and if we're not careful--those opinions get loose like a horde of wasps and eventually sting those who aren't living exactly as we choose to live.

Yes, we all have a right to our opinions... But especially since I've been online I've seen that our opinions can hurt other people if we're not careful. Like when we use that annoying old 'should' word. "They should stay right where they are. They are foolish to move out into the unknown." Or, "They shouldn't have bought that color of carpet/car/house. They'll be sorry." Or, "I can't believe they spent their money on _______. They should have spent it on ______."

All stuff I've seen under the heading of "just my opinion."

Lately, I've been trying to keep my opinions to myself. Or to go even deeper than that--to just let people be who they are... and buy what they want... and let them go where God leads... and therefore, end the need of any opinions at all. To me, it requires a huge step of faith to believe God is leading others and they're following right along. It's a goal I'm still walking toward, but it's a higher goal, I believe, than trying to convince everyone to live as I live and do as I do.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Okay, now I'm scaring myself.

Our realtor in Richmond sent us a few houses to look at online and this one in the photo is haunting me (click to enlarge).

I mean, hey... it's too small. It only has two bedrooms, not quite a quarter acre and no garage, just a 'large outbuilding', which, in realtor-speak, could mean anything from a mini metal tool shed to a lopsided, please-tear-me-down barn. And did I mention the house is too small?

But oh, it's so cottage-cute! And the property has the right country look. And it has an enclosed porch. And enough life size dollhouse potential for anybody.

Now of course, you look at the left-hand part of the roof and it comes to you, "What were they thinking?" (There might be a balcony up there--look closely--but even so, it throws-off the harmony or chi or whatever-- this coming from a lover of balconies.) But that could be changed easy enough. And the windows in the foreground could be replaced and actually match each other (what a concept!). Oh, and I can see a rounded brick patio at the door, too.... and on and on.

Tom loves the idea of having everything on one level. I love having an upstairs. But as I said, this little house is haunting me... calling to me, though I'd rather it didn't. Kinda. And well, mostly I just wanted to share it with those of you who will also think it's cute and can see its potential.

More Sowing, More Reaping.

We had our carpet steam-cleaned yesterday, most of it, anyway, for the first time ever in this house. The men arrived around noon and Lennon went streaking back to the dark bedroom where Tom slept, having worked the graveyard shift Friday night. McCartney just hid under the bed in my Dream Room upstairs.

The younger man reminded me much of Naomi's boyfriend, the older man mostly spoke Spanish and both appeared friendly. The younger guy asked how old our carpet was and when I told him ten years he exclaimed, "Wow! You must take really good care of your carpet."

No. We. Do. Not.

I mean, we only sometimes remove our shoes and we don't ask our company to do so. At one time, while Naomi (Miss Lover of Cats) lived here, we had six cats (draw your own conclusions). No, our living room carpet is a high grade burbour kind which we probably got on special sale (knowing us like I do). So let this simply be a commercial touting high quality burbour carpet--it lasts and lasts and lasts...

Well, they completed the job in around an hour and it was a pleasant experience, especially that feeling which comes afterward knowing your carpets are clean. I gave the young man a check, along with my driver's licence, and if he'd have stated, "I mean this in the most respectful way, ma'am, but you look ever so much younger than your birth date implies," well, the carpet-cleaning experience would have been perfect. But alas, I'm still waiting for someone, anyone, to say that. ...heh...

Anyway, there was something I did which made me giddy all the rest of the day. Being shy and also an in-the-bone penny-pincher, I considered giving the workers a tip, but I wavered, then decided I'd already paid enough by way of the bill. Yet as they were folding up their cleaning equipment outside, I took a quick peak at the stair carpet and that of the Tower Room upstairs, noted they'd been cleaned quite well, then raced back downstairs, grabbed a fistful of dollar bills, and ran outside. I thanked them again, gave them the tip and they were very appreciative, sweet and surprised by it.

And well, that made my whole day.

I don't know why we think the object in Life is to get by with paying the least amount of money we can. Personally, I don't believe God desires us to just 'get by' in any area, but rather, to be generous, sowing into other peoples' lives, even the money which we'd have spent on ourselves once again. Tom and I loving giving tips, actually. Once we tipped the delivery man who'd, for months, picked up many of Tom's boxes for his Ebay sales and he said no one had given him a tip in something like 8 years... Oh my. Made me extremely sorry for all the times I've talked myself out of tipping people who come to the door.

We do go around only once upon this Earth and I believe that somehow--some way--it will matter in Heaven how much we gave to others here. True, not just in money matters! (You go talking about money and some people get all weird.)

But often I've seen this: if we can lose the fear of lack and, instead, freely give our money to bless others, we'll give more freely in other areas, too. Something happens, a bondage breaks, when we understand the concepts of giving before we can receive... and the giddy joy in the midst of it all improves--and makes sweeter--ones very life.

"Freely you have received, freely give." ... Matthew 10:8

Saturday, April 21, 2007

It's a Bird! It's a Plane!

...It's a what-is-that-thing-anyway?

Heh. Actually, this is one of my many "seek ye first" things.

Let me explain.

Way back in '94, God began doing such a huge "seek ye first" work in my heart. He kept whispering to come away with Him--first--for hours and hours and He promised me if I did, He'd take care of everything else, plus, 'all these things would be added unto me,' to boot. So I did and He did--take care of everything else, I mean. That was during a very specific season of my life, one I fondly call, The Coming Away Season.

During those days, I began noticing the oddest happenings... and that's where that weird item in the photo comes in. I remember thinking one afternoon, "Hmmm... I don't have any room in front of our windows inside the house to start seedlings in tiny pots. I need a portable greenhouse, one I can carry around outside and place in the sun during the earliest part of Spring and then tuck it away at night." I had a specific picture in my mind of a portable greenhouse, yet I said nothing about it to anyone.

Well, guess what? Three days later I was out in the backyard and Tom drove home from curb shopping (or for photos, here). And what did he pull out of the back of the car? Yep, this odd-looking little greenhouse thing, something probably from an old refrigerator maybe, who knows? All I knew is it was perfect and just what I'd imagined--and more. It even had adjustable air vents on each side and a convenient removable panel in the middle. Of course, I then told Tom it was exactly what I'd been wanting. He said he wasn't even sure why he brought it home.

And during that Coming Away Season, that sort of thing happened nearly each week. I even made "Presents from God" lists because it was all kinda, well, spooky. But nice.

And I'm glad I made a list and there's a reason I took this photo this morning. I'm going to release this little greenhouse before we move. In all my ruthlessness lately, the little greenhouse didn't make the cut and now I'll pass it along to someone else. But I took the photo to remind myself of all the many, many times God has surprised and blessed me, often through other people. Since those days, I see His thoughtfulness more clearly through the actions of others toward me--it's a whole awareness of what's really going on 'behind the scenes.'

Besides, I can't keep everything--God doesn't mean for me to keep (horde) every present from Him. But I would so hate to forget any of them.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." ... Matthew 6:33

Friday, April 20, 2007

Spring Giddy

So there I was on Tuesday sitting upstairs in my pink-like-a-hug Dream Room, healing from Monday's tragedy. There on the oval rug I sat with my seltzer water and watched yet another episode of Road to Avonlea, a show which whisks me to a country where, ok, I'll say it--I sometimes live part-time. (Only if you've watched Road to Avonlea can you understand what I mean.) Avonlea is rather like a summer home (or a winter one) where I can move to when things like the weather or people or Life, in general, are bugging me.

Anyway, so there I was in Avonlea, er, I mean my Dream Room, when the new pastor said these words about his wife (who had debilitating back pain) to Janet King:

"She lives with almost constant pain, but never lets on how greatly she suffers. It's Viola's way. She clings to the philosophy that the Lord gave us Life and we praise Him by the fullness we live it."

Wow. Time stopped and I missed the next words spoken because, suddenly, Life felt good again. I thought, "How true! We do praise God by the fullness with which we live Life." It was like that 'apples of gold in pitchers of silver' thing of which the Bible speaks--perfect words delivered at the perfect time, bringing healing with them.

And then yesterday, Thursday, felt like magic.

Clear blue skies and sunshine every minute of the day and 60 degrees! Tom and I ate lunch on the gleaming front porch... I read books out there and then took a walk, even bought dark chocolate to munch upon while I passed all the yards waking up from Winter.

And then, oh my, I puttered in my own back yard. I trimmed and lifted away the dead twigs from the daffodils and felt like I was in a dream, as though the fourteen other Spring times in this yard swirled inside my head, bringing along every sweet memory, every reason I've loved living here. And I must have gone a little delirious, because I actually felt grateful for this long, dark winter. Only when you escape out of such endless, grey, frigid weeks can a simple Spring-like day in your own tiny backyard feel like a miracle... and better than even an afternoon in France or Italy or upon the Riviera...

... and I wondered if the air around Richmond will contain the same sweetness and nostalgia which I've always felt and inhaled here.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Spring--Dare We Dream?

Here are some peeks of my kitchen. Guess who has been painting like a wild woman lately? Well no, that's an exaggeration... When you try to follow Grace in your work, you are more peaceful and steady than wild. At least, that's what I've found.

It still amazes me that--with paint--you can create a sunny summer morning even during the greyest, most frigid April in 85 years. This month, I've stepped into our kitchen and in all the brightness, felt the promise that, yes, Spring will someday arrive if only I'll wait patiently. Technically, Spring will come even if I wait impatiently, groaning, but who wants to waste the days in between?

Yet this morning, finally, we awoke to clear skies and sun. Oh my, I needed the sun today. And even if we reach only 48 degrees, as long as we have sunlight, you will see me out on our front porch when you walk by. Probably in a warm sweater, but still, out there is where I'll sit, soaking up the outdoor brightness I have so missed, especially this long week.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Looking Past The Obvious

Remember when you voted for the house(s) you liked best out of the five I showed you? Well, this house is the winner:

(A special thanks to all those who voted.)

And this white house, below, came in second:

Tom and I found your votes interesting... we discussed how they could help us with resale value in the future. Which, honestly, made me a little sad that we're already thinking of selling a house we haven't even bought yet! I'd rather be the type of person who desires only to find a house she will love, even if every one else in town hates it.

Which reminds me...

Yesterday I discovered this house for sale which I hesitate to share because I know some of you will deem it purely ugly. But since it's good for me to take risks, here it is:

Actually? I love it. I look at that picture and spy, not the shabbiness, but the potential. Stucco houses have always appealed to me as well as that block style of house. I can envision it painted and appearing, well, even what one might call regal.

A new vote: If it were you, what color would you paint the house? And the shutters? I've never mentioned this here before, but when I see Italian villas in movies (or French ones, too), I absolutely melt and am shaken-up for days afterward. I've a feeling I'd try to turn this house into my own bit of Italy or France...

I'm noticing I'm pretty good at gazing past the faults I see in these houses for sale and glimpsing their potential, instead.

Next, I'm aiming to do that with people. The ones in Blogland as well as in Real Life. Everyone has potential deep inside them--sometimes we just need to hang around long enough for it to rise and shine through... helping or simply showing mercy--and having wisdom enough to know when to do which.

Monday, April 16, 2007

It's hard knowing what to write after such a tragedy as the one at Virginia Tech today. Here is yet one more incident which has wounded our Country and anyone, anywhere, whose heart has not hardened toward such pain.

Always when these horrible things happen, people try to make sense of senselessness and usually grow more frustrated, angry and fearful. But I so do not want to walk that road.

No, I desire to remind myself that God is still God and He is still good. He's still the God of all comfort and the only one who can heal these kinds of wounds inflicted upon all of us. And it is certainly not God who has messed up, but people... and hindsight is always 100 percent...

I want to remember to live my life prepared to leave it in case it's suddenly required of me to do so... spending my days wisely, compassionately and with enough overflowing peace to spill over to others.

My prayers go out especially to those who've lost loved ones today at Virginia Tech--I can't even imagine losing a child or a spouse through such cruelty. And I pray for all the rest of us who are shell-shocked from witnessing yet another horrendous act which--even after all the talk and study and delving--will still remain not fully understood.

A Pet Peeve... And A Commercial (Of Sorts)

Okay, some people probably believe I'm not allowed to have pet peeves (being the chirpy, Miss Pollyanna type), but I'm going to share one anyway.

One of my (silly and none of my business) pet peeves is when people pay good money at a theater to watch a bad movie they didn't read about ahead of time... and then complain about the movie to the rest of us.

There, I said it.

In today's world, I wouldn't think of traveling to view a movie I'd not checked-out online ahead of time. Well, certainly not one with a rating higher than PG, anyway. I mean, years ago I felt all bad-moody because Tom didn't feel like driving me over to the old-fashioned, $3 a seat, whisk-you-back-in-time theater(sometimes I just crave that cozy-darkened-theater experience), so I drove there alone, which I normally enjoy doing, given the right corresponding mood. I chose Runaway Bride, but while I sat with my M&M's waiting for it to begin, the thought struck me, "Hey! This may turn out to be sleazy. I didn't read a word about it."

But, alas, I loved every minute.... dragged Tom to see it nights later (he loved it, but don't tell him I told you).... and bought the dvd which I've nearly worn tracking holes through.

But, as I said, (and as a rule) I never do that.

No, before we travel to see any movie I check with my favorite movie reviewer. As with other reviewers, he shares his opinions about movies, yes, but he also lists more specific information. Such as, exactly how many (and which) 'naughty words' you will hear.... how many and what sort of, uhm, naughty things you will see... even how often anyone drank liquor or smoked or advocated what the Bible does not advocate. He lists those things and then lets you decide for yourself if you want to brave the weather, head over to the theater and hand your money to the cashier.

I like that.

So there you have it, one of my pet peeves. And you also have my explanation of why, most likely, you'll never hear me moaning in this blog about the sleazy, stupid movie I walked out of over the weekend. It just ain't gonna happen.


"Get wisdom, get understanding..." ... Proverbs 4:5

Sunday, April 15, 2007

That 'Opposites Attracting' Thing

(This is so not an exhaustive study about this subject. It's way too early on a Sunday morning to be exhaustive about anything in Life.)

And so there I was yesterday, kicking back with Tom in our Cozy Room, eating McDonalds and watching yet another Red Green dvd. Which is pretty much how Friday went, too. Two major, major days of rest in a row.... and we have five more looming ahead.

Oh, we did drive another load of junk to Salvation Army and I grocery-shopped and vacuumed and placed our curb-find Ralph Lauren chair in the sunroom so our living room would appear larger to potential buyers. And we did search for those houses online which I showed you yesterday... and I washed the dishes and straightened the house and went out to lunch with my friend, Laura, on Friday and we visited with Naomi that afternoon, too.

But still. Mostly, these past two days have been lazy-daisy in style. And yes! We all need restful times. Yet lately, Tom and I are having a plethora of lazy days, especially when you consider the huge move we'll be (hopefully) making soon.

And so here's what popped into my zombied head yesterday there in the Cozy Room: "Aha! More than ever I totally get why God made opposites attract."

I mean, otherwise, if Type A personalities married other Type A's, it would be race after, race after, race after... Both would (intensely) go after goals and promotions and the best houses or cars. And/or they'd both be determined to raise the brightest, most successful kids and to have the best and be the best in relationships and in the community or church or wherever--and experiencing burn-out every seven minutes...


... if both were laid-back, que sera sera, la-de-da types (like Tom and me these past two days), the house could crumble, their bodies and finances and kids could crumble, and they'd only break a sweat and deal with their self-imposed, neglect-caused messes when they became too gigantic to ignore.

And okay, yes... I've written both examples to the extreme. But that's my whole point.

If Tom and I weren't opposite enough to keep one another balanced, then we'd experience what this verse speaks of:

"Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring, seeking someone to seize upon and devour." 1 Peter 5:8 (Amplified)

I'm the penny-pinching-homebody in our family and often it's occurred to me that, if it weren't for Tom, we'd probably have almost no furniture, a limping old car and no memories of the vacations we wouldn't have taken. But if not for me, our house would be so crammed with furniture we couldn't walk, we'd have a driveway lined with cars and we'd have probably lived in 5 other states by now.

In our marriage, Tom and I are just opposite enough to keep one another balanced. We're just opposite enough to keep it interesting, indeed. And, again, balanced to the point of wisdom.

And oh, for some balance--some good old-fashioned being opposite--over this long weekend!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

On Our Minds Lately

After all our bleary-eyed online searching of homes for sale around Richmond, here are a few which have held our interest. They are not fancy.... they are rather plain--but then, Tom and I are not fancy and are rather plain, ourselves.Feel free to cast your vote as to which you like best!

"So, Like, How Am I Doing?"

Rerun time again! I'm going to share this post once more because it's something I think of nearly everyday. And, for me, it has changed everything.


Somewhere along the way I discovered some things, namely:

It ruins my day to get my feelings hurt about little things.
It takes a lot of concentration and energy to hold a grudge.
It requires too many idle words to gossip about how others treated me.

My life became so much better, sweeter and more peaceful when, instead of automatically getting upset with other people, I chose to ask God, "So, like, how am I doing?"

"Have I spent this whole day under a cloud because of what was said to me? Am I toying with becoming a recluse?"
"Was my verbal reaction to that criticism something you, Lord, would have said?"
"How about my emotional reaction? Are my feelings headed down, down into a spiral?"
"Am I considering sneaky retribution? Am I considering never trusting anyone again?"
"Am I learning the lessons I'm supposed to be learning through all this?"

I'm unable to even start telling you what a difference it's made to concentrate more on my own reactive behavior than others' shoddy behavior toward me.

And no, I'm not talking about wallowing in the mire of my own guilt and condemnation--heavens, no! If you want a guaranteed way of slowing down your spiritual progress, just dive into a big vat of guilt and condemnation. Just constantly feel bad about yourself and your weaknesses, like I talked about here.

No, I'm talking about switching what my eyes see. They used to see only the mistakes other people made, but now, I try to see where I, myself, am failing. Where I, myself, still need the improvement only God can bring.

And there is always something. Always some area which I need to let God change however He chooses. It then becomes up to me to listen to His correction, His wisdom and then walk in His ways. And that takes time and energy and obedience and dying to one's self. And I can't afford to waste all of that by staying mad and hurt and offended.

The fact? God gives me the power and energy to change, but He does not give me power to stay upset with people. So that's what wears me out.

The difference is like the blackest night and the most golden day. I cannot change others, but I can let God change me.

And there's enough hope in that to light strings and strings and strings of good days.

"Love hardly even notices when others do it wrong." 1 Corinthians 13:4

"One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life." Chinese Proverb

Friday, April 13, 2007

With Eyes of Faith

At 6:00 this morning I fed Lennon and McCartney (The Cats), made my pretend coffee which I took upstairs to my Dream Room and then settled on the floor in front of the electric heater, which in my imagination only, resembles an old fashioned oil stove. I watched an episode of Road to Avonlea (courtesy of Netflix) instead of holding my quiet time with my books and listening and praying. And don't tsk tsk, but if I get too legalistic about it, my quiet time becomes old hat and even God gets a little bored with it. I'll set time aside for us later today, but even so, still I sat there quietly, sipping and watching and brushing tears away (Avonlea always makes me cry) and kept an ear opened to God because, though it may sound odd, He often whispers to me whenever I quiet my heart beat, even if I happen to be watching tv.

In fact, I sat there and recalled how, when Naomi was 10-years-old, I'd dread the years ahead when she'd be gone and my mothering days would cease. Back then I thought only of what would be lost, not gained. And so I spent the next years appreciating every little aspect of Life With Naomi and trying to stretch each moment, which was a good thing. But I also dreaded the end of it all, which was not so good.

The problem was that I reached beyond Grace. There is a protection about Grace--as long as you cooperate with her and don't look beyond her, you enjoy where you are and what you have. But it's those stares beyond that protection--those frightened glimpses into the future which bring dread and spoil Today because we've not yet been given strength--Grace--to handle them.

Anyway, back to this morning there on the floor in front of the tv... I sat there and thought how, during the Years With Naomi, I didn't know I'd experience such luxury in the Years Beyond Naomi. Oh, not the sitting on the floor part (just something I prefer up there), but the creating of my own schedule and doing what I like, when I like, how I like. Being able to dust off my writing after taking a 25-year break and writing uninterrupted.

And too, the ability to take time out to heal when the need arises. Instead of chauffeuring Naomi around everywhere or having to put on a smiling face down in the kitchen or postponing grieving or healing because of needing to attend open house and the basketball game and the church play, I can now, instead, be alone with my thoughts and God and His healing presence.

Oh, some people, I realize, can get over Life's hurts on the run and in the midst of crowds, but I'm not one of that group. No, I heal best alone with Time and God and Quiet. On the run and in busyness, I only pile hurt upon hurt, almost volcano-like, needing more time later to heal or else, waiting till the inevitable burst.

And this morning I guess I remembered those years of that nagging dread I kept always in a drawer in my mind, not because I'm hurt or healing right now, but because this all feels more like luxury and delight instead of the rough, life-won't-be-as-good days I'd imagined as my future lot in life. There's time for reaching beyond my home and there's a purpose to my life which I'd not seen, either, when looking past Grace into the future she wouldn't let me see since God prefers I walk by faith, not by sight.

And perhaps that's why I'm sharing this--so that those of you who are trying to see beyond Grace can just relax and refocus your gaze to her present face. So that you can keep sowing in confidence the good things you will reap later. And so you'll know that all can be not only well with your soul after your children leave, but much more incredible than you are imagining now.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Refusing to Worry

Years ago we uncovered this small painting among some curb-find treasures. Tom and I studied it and nearly at the same moment had one thought, "This is where we'd like to someday live." It's old-fashioned, the type of place where you'd travel to visit your grandparents and in our book, it reads Just Right.

We've been online lately till we're bleary-eyed, peering at houses for sale around the Richmond area and have spied a few reminiscent of this painting house. The country feeling was there, anyway, though usually the extra commuting miles were there, too. I know me-- I'll worry if Tom must travel far to work every day.

But speaking of worry, already we're handling this upcoming move differently. If this is what God wants, then (we remind ourselves) everything will work out. We'll find the right house and eventually all areas will mesh .... the moving ... the selling of our house.... the buying of another one... the financial aspects... and the leaving of all we've known here. And so the different part is this: we're going to refuse to fret about any of those points. To worry about God's plan is, well, stupid. Unnecessary. A blatant sign of distrust, immaturity and forgetfulness of the myriad ways He's led us before.

We're too old for all that worry--it's as though we have energy for either worry or action--but certainly not both. After living nearly half a century we should already have noticed how things work... how God and Faith and Time work. After all this time--and all this living--He's expecting more maturity from us these later years... to whom much is given, much more will be required.

And now is a perfect time to require more of ourselves as well.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Instead of Complaining....

So there I was in our kitchen at 5:30 this morning making Tom's lunch for work, half-watching the local weather man and groaning and snarling when he said this is our coldest April in 85 years.

And I thought of that pastor in Kentucky who began this bracelet-wearing, anti-complaining campaign which has spread exponentially, especially since he appeared on Oprah. It came to me, "He's right, you know... Complaining about this miserable, eternal winter will only use-up the energy I could have spent to accomplish something valid, lasting and real."

Complaining...... sigh...... It's the easiest thing in the whole world to do and just about the hardest thing to quit, especially when you consider that "who can tame the tongue?" verse. But of course, with God's help, even taming a complaining tongue is possible.

I can talk myself into feeling up or I can convince myself I deserve to feel down. And so instead of complaining about how we have another whole long string of bleak, frigid, rainy-snowy days ahead, I'll try, instead, to apply my complaining energy to painting my walls warm colors instead. I'll switch the lamps on at strategic spots... and polish the windows, mirrors and hutch glass so they will shine. I'll trim the dead, brown leaves off my house plants, open all the curtains and dust the furniture until it gleams.

All in an effort to create on the inside what I am hoping will someday (oh please!) arrive on the outside... Springtime. There is a Springtime of the heart and today I'm aiming for that... but I'll never, ever get there if I waste away all my energy on useless, whining-style complaining.

Numbers 11:1
"And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Speaking of Hope...

I purposely ended my post yesterday mentioning hope. The day before, I'd read this post written by Linda telling of the suicide of a friend years before and I read the comments from people with similiar memories. Then, hours later, I received an email from a friend I've known since we were teens, telling me of her relative's suicide last month and how his father had taken his own life years prior.

If you have time, please pop over to Linda's blog to read her post (again, here). It's still haunting me and nudging me to include more hope and more directions to the God of all Hope here in my blog. What a responsibility we have here in Blogland... and what an opportunity which I'm imagining is more massive than we can dream...

... and we'll never know how many men and women knock on these doors on the darkest, stormiest night of their lives.

Monday, April 09, 2007

My, How Things Change

In my younger, cute-little-homemaker years, I was quite the Hanna Hostess. I could whip-up a meal and scrub the whole house without breathing hard. Before our guests knocked at the door, Tom and I would be reclining, gazing over our newly-polished house and anticipating a happy time while the scent of a roast wafted into all peaceful corners.

But yesterday, there I was at 2:58 , just two minutes away from when Naomi and her boyfriend, Carl, were due to arrive for an early dinner.

I hadn't dyed the Easter eggs yet.
I was still galloping around in my old house clothes and stained apron.
I hadn't turned the heater up. Tom asked, "Why's it like ice in here?"
My hair wasn't even brushed.

My, my, my.... how things change.

And yet there was another change, too. When Naomi and Carl stepped through the door, they came bearing Easter gifts. Naomi and Carl carried two chocolate bunnies, two bottles of my favorite seltzer water, a lemon jello cake for Tom and even our grand-kitty, Oreo. And best of all, Naomi brought all the sweetness and pleasantness which is Naomi at her best and our whole visit was a delight. I felt absolutely no sense of we're-walking-on-egg-shells-here-so-watch-what-you-say. No one got offended and no one argued about politics. There was just laughter and one sweet, sincere visit.

And again... how things change.

I guess all I'm saying in this simple post is to remember this: what is true today, may not be true tomorrow. If there are grey clouds and snow and sadness forecasted for this day in your life--hold on!-- tomorrow everything may change to sun and gladness, pushing today into just a hazy memory.

There is always hope. Especially when you try to view Life through God's always-hopeful eyes.

And you'll never experience the incredible, hardly-imagined changes awaiting you unless you hang around long enough to bask in them.

Romans 15:13
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

Very special Easter wishes to all my readers.... He is risen!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Picturing The Next Place

Okay, you've probably realized I'm already dreaming about my next home. Being a lover of old houses, it doesn't even require an impending move for me to do that! But here's the curious thing... For years I've sat here hoping that, when we move, it will be to a rambling Victorian or a huge Craftsman or one like the house above.

But lately I'm becoming more practical (for which Tom is grateful, especially since, where we're considering moving, they're not exactly handing-out houses for free). No, now I'm pondering more about the size of the yard, rather than the size of the house and these are the types of houses where my dreams have shifted:

It feels strange to study myself evolving like feel pulled back to the small cottage-type houses of my grandparents'... to want to return to our earlier years of, well, struggle. You know, the good kind of making-the most-of-what-you-had-because-that's-all-you-had-to-work-with. That type of fondly-recalled struggle. Which, ok, is great that I'm desiring, too, because although this job is a promotion for Tom, at first he'll be making less money. Sometimes you must make those kinds of choices and believe they are the best and right ones.

And yet it feels refreshing to change, too. I mean, who wants to be, at 48, just the same as she was at 25? Who wants to remain that unchanged, that same ol', same ol' and still grasping old plans, dreams and beliefs from an immature head?

Well, not me, anyway. This becoming someone new has me too fascinated and curious and anticipating all the yet-to-come differences in the years ahead. Who knows how wildly different I'll feel and be at 58?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Loving Him First

Ten Christmasses ago, I gave one of my own copies of an Alexandra Stoddard book to a friend from church. We both loved the same kinds of decorating styles and enjoyed sharing creative ideas, so I thought she'd enjoy this book. I even inscribed it to her in my customary blue ink.

Three weeks after Christmas, she returned the book to me.

I asked her, "Didn't you like it?" She answered, "I liked it too much. I loved it too much." And as we sat alone in the church auditorium, she explained that God was doing some important work in her heart and she felt if she kept the book, it would become a distraction to her.

Okay, now it felt weird and awkward to be given back a Christmas present which I'd given someone else. That had never happened to me before (nor has it happened since). And yet, in the midst of such an uncomfortable thing, I totally understood where she was coming from. That was one of those years when God was rearranging everything--cleaning house Big Time-- inside my own heart, also.

That incident came to mind as I thought about all of you, my kindred spirits, today... as I read your encouraging comments about our upcoming move and pondered over all the encouragement and friendship you've shown me since I began this blog.

What do they have to do with one another? If I'd have had a blog 20 years ago (or 15, or even 10), I would have loved it too much. I would have loved all of you too much and grasped and yearned and lived for any kind word you tossed out to me. How do I know? Because for many years I wrote snail mail letters, sometimes 1,000 per year (yes, seriously) in a vain attempt to get from people what only God, Himself, could provide me. Always a solitary, homebody person, this whole Blogland adventure would have proven too grand of a dream come true--and hurled my heart even farther away.

So first, God had to change me on the inside... to fill me up with Himself so He could show me the difference between Living Water and the normal kind... so that I would never again mix them up. Oh, sometimes He has me step back and take a breather from this blog and friendship and ministry to others when they threaten, like a scale, to lean me away from my first love.

But I appreciate that. I need that. I need to be reminded why I'm even doing what I do... and why everything... and everyone else... must come second. And when He truly comes first, there is a peace which no distraction or wonderful worthy cause can bring. And by now I've grown to desire that Giver of Peace more than anything else.

Mark 12:30
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment."

Open Hand Living

Before we moved from Nevada, we gave away lots of our furniture to my friend, Connie and her family. Connie was incredulous that I could give away tables and recliners--nice stuff--so freely, but I told her I like Open Hand Living. You know, where you picture your house and its insides upon your opened palm--not all scrunched-up in your closed fist.

With Open Hand Living, you appreciate and are grateful for what is yours, but you realize you don't actually own anything in this life. At least, not forever. Things might be taken from you or you may be asked to give them away. You may outgrow that gaudy lamp you once loved because now you have taste. You may misplace favorite photos, drop money or gloves out of your pocket or accidentally shatter that heirloom fruit bowl. You might realize your friend or child loves your favorite candlesticks even more than you do, so you release them to her, instead.

Or God might even ask you to give away much of your furniture and books and move to a whole other state for unknown purposes and adventures.

I realize many people love being sentimentally and mystically attached to their homes and furniture and pets and their favorite restaurants and shops and all their stuff. But I'm finding, more and more, that I'm happiest when I can gaze at all that I think I own and realize, in truth, I own nothing. Someday I will sail away from my house and books and furniture and all my loved ones and I'll travel to meet God-- grasping not one single thing inside my hands.

And perhaps I'm preparing for that now in tiny ways. I like the peeks I'm getting of who I am--and what I am-- aside from, apart from, all the things and stuff it appears I own. When I stand before God, it will just be me and Him--and not one box of my trinkets anywhere. True, I'll not miss my stuff there in Heaven... but it worries me how my heart gets all flutter-panicky when I consider letting go of my favorite stuff now.

There's much more to me than my stuff--than even the gifts and presents God gave me down here. And in this autumn of my life I want to develop and cultivate this inside area of my heart with love and mercy and understanding, because that's all I'm taking with me. There's a whole other form of currency in Heaven... there's a whole other kind of wealth up there.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It's All Bountiful

For probably 15 years, The Trip To Bountiful has been one of my all-time favorite movies. In case you missed it, it's the story of an elderly woman who longs to return to the farm where she grew-up. The farm--and her favorite memories--are all in the country town called Bountiful, a place, all these years later, which has pretty much faded and collapsed into the ground. Yet, through determination and planning, Mrs. Watts finally escapes the tiny city apartment she shares with her son and his wife, back to the farm she loved as a child.

I've no real clue why I watch that movie and wipe tears away the whole last half-hour every single viewing.

For me, there is no old home place. There is no house anywhere, no town I call home, other than where I presently live. And mostly, I feel grateful.

While I was growing-up, my family moved too often--we never lived in the same house or town for even three years. (No, my dad wasn't in the military--he was in that other transient occupation. He was a pastor.) Later, when I married, although Tom and I lived in a California mountain town nine years together, then in Nevada for five, still, we never lived in the same house for three years, either.

Not until this house did we unpack our hearts and all our boxes. Not until this house did I allow myself to fall in love with what amounts to walls and floors and windows.

And yet, truthfully? My heart is still a very transient being. Deep inside I feel half at home and half already-moved. I long for a new adventure. And a window over the kitchen sink. And a clothesline. And land enough to keep a dog, perhaps--at least more land than just a driveway separating my house from the neighbors'.

And although this old-fashioned Buffalo suburb has, for 14 years, afforded me a dream-come-true lifestyle reminiscent of the 1940's, still, it will never be my Bountiful, where, like Mrs. Watts, I plan and scheme and yearn to return to some long year ahead from now.

My own private Bountiful is the place wherever God leads me... for however long or however short. God is always on the move in lots of ways and I want to move along with Him... not growing stale or seeping all la-de-da-cluelessly in dead, dry tradition.

And besides, my Real Home isn't anywhere near here at all, anyway.

"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands." ... 2 Corinthians 5:1

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Preparing To Follow God Elsewhere

This morning Tom met again with the man who's in charge of hiring for that Richmond, VA job. And when he came home, and while we ate breakfast out on our sunny front porch, we discussed the meeting. Basically, the job is Tom's if he wants it... it wouldn't begin for another 2 or 3 months... or perhaps a bit longer... which, again, is more than fine for procrastinators like ourselves.

For six months, a peace about this has led us, guided us and kept us patient, calm and pondering things in our hearts. Such a move is huge, states away, we've lived here 14 years and we'd be leaving our daughter here to forge ahead in her own life and world. And there's the whole getting-the-house-prepared-to-sell-and-will-it-sell-in-time-and-what-about-finding-the-right-house-outside-of-Richmond thing?

But this we know--if this truly is God's idea, then everything will be all right.

There's no need for lists of pros and cons. No need for worry as to how the job will work out, whether we'll sell this house in time or find another one in time or whether we'll be happy, by ourselves, so far away from what we've known here. No, if this truly is God's idea, then it is a good idea... because He is good. Not yet has He guided us somewhere, then hidden away in a cave and stopped leading. No, He's always hung around as long as we've remained afraid of our own plans--and sought and longed for His advice, His ways, instead.

For me, there's only one thing to fear, and that is this: my own bright ideas... and skipping ahead of Him, instead of running alongside, holding tightly to His hand.

Or worse-- staying behind in a place where He's finished with us... and experiencing the boredom and discomfort of having missed His will out of fear... or out of caving-in to what everybody else thought we should do according to their own experience.

No, already He's been loosening my heart's grip upon this house and this town where I've lived longer than anyplace else--ever. My mind lately wanders and designs rooms in a new house, a new garden--not in these old places I've known for so long. Last April I could not have faced a move like this. But then, last April Grace wasn't here gently prying my fingers off of what is no longer mine. And last April, God wasn't saying the time is right and ripe to begin dreaming of moving on... and working toward something new during this autumn season of my life.

Yet they are here--both God and Grace. And so like I said, everything is going to be all right.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Cutting Back... And Liking It

Tom and I joke about us becoming more high maintenance the older we get. And it's the cutting back of things we're finding is most helpful. I'll show you what I mean.... and you can take these or leave these as you wish:

To cut back on salt, I use tomato puree instead of tomato sauce and use fresh or frozen vegtables instead of canned. Instead of salting foods while cooking, I add lots of salt-free spices, instead. (Check labels... chili powder and lemon-pepper--to name two--are loaded with salt.)

To cut back on computer time, I try to earn my time here. I clean parts of my house or do laundry or run errands, etc., before allowing myself to peek into Blogland or whatever.

Instead of drinking soda (either sugar-drenched or with nutra-sweet), I drink flavored seltzer water with just two ingredients: carbonated water and natural flavor. You get used it. In fact, I'm addicted--I sit on our porch with my chilled can of lemon-lime seltzer and feel positively decadent.

I save money and gas and time and my sanity by shopping for postage stamps and gifts online and ordering Netflix movies, too... and having all these arrive at my door, rather than chasing after them through traffic in my car. I also renew my library books online to avoid last-minute trips and fines.

To cut back on toxins and chemicals in our home, I use baking soda to clean our sinks, vinegar as a laundry softener in the washing machine, and I buy a natural type of laundry detergent for both laundry and dishes, etc.

To avoid sinus and ear problems, I take 2,000 mg's of Vitamin C each day and go easy on dairy, wheat, corn and citrus... and sleep with an opened window during winter for added moisture in the air.

To cut back on sugar, I use Stevia packets and/or just a tiny fraction of real sugar in recipes (you get used to that, too).

I take daily walks to cut back on gaining weight and I also try to exercise at home at least 5 days a week. (Keyword: try.)

To avoid burn-out in any area, I try to stay balanced by following where Grace leads me... when she leads... the way she leads.

To cut back on egg yolks, I--generally--use just one in any recipe and use extra egg whites, instead.

To cut back on decorating disasters, I first picture how I want the finished room to look and feel, down to the details. After that, I buy paint, fabric, pillows, etc.

For fewer bad moods, I take at least one fish oil tablet each day, avoid as much sugar and caffeine as possible and get enough sleep. For an afternoon pick-me-up, I mix two tablespoons of baking cocoa with a teaspoon of powdered sugar (or Stevia), some vanilla and a little milk to form a consistency of frosting... then eat and enjoy slowly.

To avoid ruts, I mix things up... do my tasks in a different order or on different days... shop at different stores... drive different routes... visit different restaurants... create different meals... read different books or blogs...

To keep from bogging down in unforgiveness, guilt and laziness, I remind myself often to let things go and that 'we are all but dust'... and I spend extra time with God when those things are trying to attach themselves to me.

And to cut back on wandering away from God, I meet with Him often each day, spend moments with Him and take Him with me wherever I go.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Wanting To Spill Over

Just some jottings from my quiet time this morning...

I think the happiest people are those who are comfortable in groups and in the Silence. Both have their delights and either is fine. They are people who do not fear the Silence because God waits for them there. They've learned to pull and dream and welcome its treasures from lands untraveled by some...

... and to spread the treasures around to those who hesitate at its borders.

I want to give away what I find--I want more than "just enough" for myself. More than just enough money for "us four and no more." More than just enough of anything, barely eeking by.

Just enough of God or energy or time is not enough for me. Instead, I desire to be so full, that I spill and overflow everywhere I am.

So full, that, when I move away from this house, the walls and floors and windows will still be warm to the touch... and breathing not only joy-splattered memories, but Hope and Peace. Rooms so full, people will wonder if its Jesus' footprints there in the dust upon the floor, because surely, He must have visited here and mingled and left His presence behind.