Sunday, March 30, 2008


A couple of you have reminded me of something I've not mentioned here. Not lately, at least.

Namely-- It should be illegal the amount of energy I have.

No, really. Especially now since I have almost no place to channel that energy. I sooo need something huge, something beyond me to throw myself into, something like this farmhouse I've mentioned lately (see posts below). You just don't know how much.

In fact, Woman's World Magazine says I have ADD. You know, Attention Deficit Disorder. Now there's good news. heh.

Well, they didn't exactly tell me I have ADD, but after reading their symptom list, I'm thinkin' I do:

Eagerness to start a task, but difficulty finishing it...
Feeling disorganized...
Trouble concentrating on mundane activities...
Difficulty sticking to a schedule...
Interrupting conversations...
Acting impulsively... (well, not this one so much, but all the others)...
Trouble sitting still...
Getting easily distracted...
Procrastinating... ( Me Big-Time!)

My, my, my... who'd have thunk it? You know, that good ol' Debra has ADD. :)

But I loved that the article said that people with ADD sometimes need more stimulation. You know, like listening to music while they read or concentrate... fidgeting in their chair... doodling... chewing gum. And how they procrastinate because they require made-up pressure to get things done. And wow, is that ever me! I've been playing my own version of Beat The Clock since I was a teenager, as in, setting a timer to complete household chores and I often create goals/deadlines when in reality, there's no true need in my own relaxed homemaker world.

But I digress...

All I'm saying is that I'm only 49 and not nearly ready for a rocking chair. I've still got a few good years left and trust me, this ol' girl needs a challenge, lest she start bouncing off the couch every five minutes in search of something to do.

Oh wait... been there, done that and am still doing that on a regular basis... and I'm thinking a tiny farm just may be the ticket I need out of this current mediocrity.


***
Disclaimer--In this post, I am only making fun of myself, not anyone else. I hope you read this with a sense of humor.


We're back! From seeing the above farmhouse, that is. We loved the barn and the peaceful 3.8 acres and I could envision myself strolling the valley-like land on summer mornings. The current owners even have chickens in the barn and two Angora sheep (we believe they were. Huge ol' hairy things on tiny, skinny legs--it's surprising they don't topple over).

And the house? Did I tell you it was built in 1880? Lots of ancient stuff in there--old original doors, even pocket doors and a butlers' type pantry--a tiny one. Tall ceilings and three huge windows in the dining room--nearly all the downstairs windows are almost floor-to-ceiling, making for a very sunny, cheerful house.

But, as with any old house, it comes with problems. The floors in three rooms downstairs need to be refinished big-time, "Before we move in," I told Tom. Life is simpler that way and we never did refinish our floors in our last house because we hated considering shoving all that furniture around. Fortunately we know the greatest, most honest carpenter in the world and he just happens to live near that house. Tom called him minutes ago--Tom is, surprisingly, more excited than I am.

Yet I told him I wouldn't even consider the house if I can't paint the natural woodwork, white. For 14 years I lived with woodwork he wouldn't let me paint and it nearly made me insane, me and my paint-happy hands. He said, "Ok. I promise you can paint it. It's only yellow pine, anyway. Not like it's oak--that would be different." I told him I'd take that in writing, thank-you. :)

And the stairs are only the enclosed kind and they're off the kitchen. Now, I've always wanted stairs off of a kitchen, but only in addition to a stairway you can actually see from an entryway. But oh well. And there's no window over the kitchen sink--yet if you turn your head sideways at the sink you can see outside through a window in the kitchen door and one in the large back entryway.

But overall, it's a very livable house as it is and any work would only improve upon it. A very sturdy, good bones house.

We adore the tiny country town where this house stands. Just 15 miles from where we live, yet it felt and appeared like a whole different state. We ate lunch at the only restaurant there and everybody was friendly beyond belief. Genuine country folk. We'd not even seen the house yet, but after that meal, we were ready to move there.

All those countryside drives we've taken over the years! Instead of always driving back home, someday we hope to drive out there and stay. For ten years, or so. Or even longer... who knows?

Stay tuned.


***
I really appreciate all your comments to the post where I first spoke of this house. Thanks for your stories, warnings and encouragement!

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Okay, if I wanted to rent my dream house, I'd rent this one. Only $850 per month, on a couple acres, and it has beach access to Lake Ontario. Can you imagine? (Click to enlarge any of these photos.)




But back to Reality Land..... Here, below, is the house Tom and I are currently considering, one which has an open house tomorrow, one not too far from the house, above... On 3+ acres with fruit trees, a barn and all for less than $90,000...






Just by seeing these photos, I love it already.... though pictures sometimes lie, or rather, don't tell the whole truth. heh.

Tom and I have said for nearly thirty years that we'd love to live in the country... that we'd love a barn, an orchard and some land. Of course, it's easy to speak such bold words... it's making me nervous to consider that we may just get what we have wished for--and perhaps find it not to our liking or more work than we'd enjoy... and that it was all a pipe dream rather than a God-inspired one.

Yet making bold moves usually feels that way and I realize that when God has a new project/ministry/plan in mind, He always makes it more than what we, ourselves, could handle on our own. Why? Because if we could do it all easily, then we'd be doing it all in our own strength (not His) and He would get none of the glory.

So I do know better than to look for something I-could-do-with-one-arm-tied-behind-my-back-no-problem. And gazing at this farmhouse I know it's more like a this-is-gonna-fail-big-time-if-God's-not-in-it project.

And in the photo of the side of the house, can't you just feel that country sunshine?

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Oh wow.

Have you seen the new Kohl's department store commercial? I seldom love tv ads but I love that one. While the oh-so-terrific song, Horse With No Name plays, it shows four young women traveling in a convertible (convertibles... Tom and I always oooh and ahhh over them) through the desert and one girl lifts her scarf and lets the wind catch it and tear it away. It floats to the road so they stop the car and then they (in beautiful, trendy clothes) run down sandy dunes where they come upon a gorgeous carousel (in the middle of just sand for miles... so cool) which lights up, after which they jump up on it and twirl around. Then they frolic back through the sand to their car and drive away, leaving a yellow hat lying on the road.

And then comes the reason I'm even writing about this. A slogan pops up. It reads:

"Kohl's: Expect great things."

Oh my goodness. I've learned to discover encouragement and lessons in odd or ordinary places and I found both today in that slogan.

"Yes! Expect great things," I reminded myself. "God would want you to believe for the best in people, in circumstances and Life, in general."

But how easy it is to slip into a lazy sort of expectation apathy. You know, expecting that Spring will never really get here... that the skies will always be as grey as they were today...

... or expecting that I'll always be in this state of mid-life adjustment, always having to adapt to this my-fate-is-up-in-the-air feeling...

... expecting that tomorrow will be just like today (Dullsville), that I'll keep running out of things to do in this tiny (but nice) apartment or that I'll never catch up with my email, snail mail ... or that my current annoyances about my Life, myself and my winter weight will never straighten themselves out.

You know... that kind of thing.
It is good to pause, sometimes, and ask, "Just what am I expecting, anyway?"

But always God has something better and always He wants me to believe for it. He is all about faith and hope and love, too--and everyday I'm given opportunities to believe for all that. And even more.

And so Kohl's--even though the one time I visited your store I nearly bounded out the doors, screaming because of your high prices--I do thank you for your tv commercial and your reminder... and I'll be taking your advice to expect great things. I promise.

...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Robin left a comment yesterday saying she was confused because she thought Tom was getting a job transfer to North Carolina.

It then occurred to me that A.) I would be confused if I were her, too and B.) I never did tell you what happened about the Richmond, VA job possibility. (Technically it was Virginia, not North Carolina but hey... they're close.) :)

Short version? Through none of Tom's fault,the Richmond job fell through. The powers-that-be couldn't agree on some vital things so the whole new project was put on hold--or even shelved. So that was out--and it was ok. After some time, the whole thing didn't feel right to us... the house hunting online was becoming a pain, we got tired of all the pushed-back deadlines, etc.

There have been other job offers in the meantime (offers, technically not transfers), but you know? Lately I'm not wanting to move out-of-state. Lately I'm liking the thought of staying near our daughter who we enjoy gathering with (her and her boyfriend) on holidays and the occasional weekend. And now that Spring is here(!) we have so much lovely weather to experience (say what you will about Buffalo, but when it's not snowing, it's darn nice around here weather-wise. Usually.)

And Tom? Well, lately he's considered staying here, too, but his gypsy blood messes with his mind sometimes. He's always, all these years, talked of moving, but usually--we are both noticing--he mostly just enjoys the talk...

... and the dreaming about moving. After all, nearly 15 years of talk later, we're still right here. And now I'm wondering if that year-and-a-half was meant for just that--the dreaming... a time given to us to dream about moving far, far away.

After all... each of us needs our dreams and imaginings and anticipations.

But now there appears to be a job opening up in our area. Something which would be easier on Tom and something which would also allow him to occasionally travel--and that is what he's always wanted to do. And there is a farmhouse for sale in the countryside near that job opportunity--it's also near enough to Tom's current job here...

.. so who knows? All I know is that we both want to buy a house with a bit of land... and a clothesline ... and room for extended visits from my mother... and space for a dog... and a few new projects, both at home and in this world.

So stay tuned... all of this may change by next week. But that's how Life goes sometimes when you are at the half-century mark and trying to listen to God's plans, but finding your own thoughts and confused desires get in the way.

But it's a relief knowing that God will not let us stray too far or make too drastic a mistake--if only we keep Him near.... if only we keep Him first.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Happy Easter to all my readers!

I certainly am glad He arose. I couldn't get through one single day without Him.
No, really.
And I'm grateful that He's big enough to help me through all my days, in all ways, including the way He helps me remember things... to love, forgive and show mercy... the way He encourages me... and keeps me going, unafraid, year after year.
No one else, I've found, is big enough to do all that for me.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


So what did Tom and I do for hours and hours this morning? We searched online (all bleary-eyed) for houses to buy in our area.

Sigh. And here I told you yesterday that I didn't want to get out of balance with this... but there I was, like all, Must... Find... A House... THIS... WEEKEND.

So I'm taking a break and I'm going to share some helpful hints with you. See, for a few weeks now, I've been strolling down the five blocks to the convenience store and buying the weekly issue of Woman's World Magazine for the 'natural cures' section. I've already shared with you how we're trying to 'go organic' and well, I'm also searching for natural cures because--I don't know about you--but the older Tom and I get, the more high maintenance we become.


Bleh.

So here are some of the hints, ones that I'm finding actually work(!). Especially the grape juice one--I'm really-truly sleeping better now. Thank-goodness.

Ease muscle and joint aches with cherries/or cherry juice.

Vitamin D helps protect against heart attacks, cancer , kidney stones, osteoporosis and eases joint pain associated with arthritis. It also helps your brain release serotonin, a mood-boosting hormone.

You can reduce 'bad' cholesterol by as much as 20% by eating three almonds per day.
Eating oranges can help decrease lines and wrinkles in your face.

Prevent migraines by: relaxing, getting enough sleep, cutting out lunchmeats, taking CoQ10, getting more magnesium, and cutting back on fats found in foods.

Protect your memory by eating fish and foods high in vitamin B (folic acid), exercising, getting enough sleep, enjoying new experiences and taking fish oil supplements. Vitamin B also enables us to extract energy from the food we eat and keeps estrogen from fueling fibroids..

Trouble sleeping? Eat grapes! Grape skins contain melatonin, a hormone that clues you to feel sleepy. (I've been drinking 1/4 cup of organic grape juice before I go to bed and it's been helping me sleep better. Honest.)

Earwax build-up? You may be low in essential fatty acids. Try taking 1 tbs. flax seed or 2,000 mg. fish oil daily.
Also, you can fall asleep faster by eating starchy foods like potatoes four hours before going to bed or eating a little protein, like peanut butter, right before bedtime.

Friday, March 21, 2008


I know, I know...

I disappeared again. It's just that I've had a lot on my mind. A whole lot. Fragmented, up-in-the-air, bits and pieces of stuff which I can't articulate--or if I did--it would confuse you out of two years of your life. Heh.

But I'll tell you about one part. Tom and I walked through a 1940's kinda-cottage house on Tuesday, one on a huge parcel of land. Four bedrooms, one-and-a-half baths and a family room. A double car garage with a loft, even (a very rickety loft, though) and way out in the 'back 40' there's a little greenhouse, or mostly just the frame of one. Always, I've wanted a greenhouse.

It's an estate house and the adult children just want to get rid of it-- they'd probably come down on the already-fair asking price, especially (the realtor told us) if we had it inspected and she gave them the official list of its faults.

But I don't know. I loved it, but I didn't love it. I told Tom he'd have to promise not to even mention moving to another state for at least two years. He promised, but still.... I know him better than he knows himself--he's got gypsy blood. And if we stayed just two years, they'd be two years of hard, noisy work... and did I mention that the house has 1,900 square feet and that it sits on probably an acre? (I think I'm tired already just considering the work...)
And yet? I need a challenge. This tiny apartment, I realize, is too small for the bubbling creativity within me. And too, I like to think about having my mom come and stay for extended periods of time and I know she'd love to help. (When we left her following my dad's memorial service, we made her promise she would not climb up on her roof to make repairs alone. At nearly 70, she still enjoys construction.)

We'd be pouring money into that place, and too, I'm wanting to move to the country (it's a very desirable street) to live in peaceful quietness, but we'd hardly have that. Already I can see and hear all the cigarette-toting construction workers we'd need, each with hammers and electric saws. They'd be like members of the family, they'd be around so much.

Well, anyway.... You know how it is when you're back in the market for a house. It's almost all you can think about. Except that I don't want it to be, for I'm always preaching about balance and it's important to me that I practice what I preach.

So we'll see... In the meantime, I may tell you about fifty 'possibility houses' but please take each one with a grain of salt. And if I'm not here everyday, you'll know where I will be... Here inside this tiny apartment dreaming about a larger home, but one not too large... and standing at the windows wishing for Spring...
...and keeping quiet to hear from the One who knows exactly the move we should make next.
***
P.S. Thanks so much for all your kind birthday wishes! I so appreciated each one.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


So it's another birthday for good ol' Debra on this auspicious Sunday.

These days, I love what's going on inside of my body and head and heart.

But I am shocked with what's happening on the outside.

Heh.

While the morning was still dark and before Tom was awake, I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and stared at my face with its fringe of grey hair. I sighed. Got my hair wet, scrunched its curls and made them curlier, then trimmed the whole shaggy affair.

And called it good.

I put on some make-up, pulled on a knitted sweater-top in my best blue shade (third change in an hour). And smiled. I still looked 49, but a better 49. And I guess that's what matters--that I make the most of this aging face and accept its lines, creases and spots with grace (with the help of magical foundation, but of course.)...

...and then move on to the myriad things in Life which matter much, much more.
***
Tom and I celebrated my birthday yesterday. In perfect sunny weather we went out for Chinese buffet in the next-town-over then saw Juno (my second time. I know, I know...but I like what I like) at our favorite 1940's-ish theater. Then we drove out in a country-ish area near us to look for For Sale signs buried in snowy lawns. Those signs are everywhere in our town, but out in the sprawling, farm-filled countryside? We glimpsed only two signs. Must be that the people out there realize just how good they've got it. :)

Friday, March 14, 2008


Okay. Tom and I are on the brink of being certifiable. Today we talked about buying another house--something here in this Eternal Winter town!
Maybe we could find something super-cheap, we mused. We could pay cash for nearly all of it (cheapo houses still do exist here) with the money we got from the sale of our last house--money in the bank which is burning holes in our pockets.

I'm blaming it on Spring. I walked home from uptown this morning and felt Springtime in the air, even though snow lay frozen everywhere but in the streets. That air! It felt soft, but strong, and was weakening Winter even at that moment and I could hear it, too, in birdsong--even smell it, as well. And I had that March feeling I love--we may get more snow, but Springtime is winning and Winter will not be as strong as it was. Not this year, at least.

And while I strolled along, I saw gardens in my mind's eye and a big yard and a decrepit old house in need of love and decorating and one with enough rooms to have my mom come and stay with us a month or two.

Sigh. We are impatient, I know. Tired of waiting and wondering now--after a year-and-a-half of considering a move out-of state--whether perhaps God just wants us to stay here. And well, Buffalo Winters can make anyone dream of new adventures and become impatient (I know. I know.).
But Tom and I have always been sensible--to a fault. I think we will get to Heaven and God will shake His head and say, "Well, one thing for sure. You kids sure did play it safe."

The only wild thing we've ever done? We moved from Nevada all the way over here to New York. And even that turned out to be the best thing we ever did.

So have you ever wanted to break out of your own sensible ways and just leap and do something wild, something you're not sure is right but you just wanted to do it anyway? How did it turn out? (she asks with fear and trembling...). Well, that's kinda where we are now--wanting to leap, instead of sitting here on the couch, waiting. But like I said--maybe it's just cabin fever, Spring fever and the fever of impatience.

And I'd just bet it's because I have another birthday coming this weekend--the big 4-9. Veering that close to 50 is enough to get anyone a tad antsy. :)

***

P.S. Do not take this post too seriously. I'm just rambling to any of you who still read here. (And a big thank-you goes to any of you who are listening.)

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I've been thinking since my last post that, personally, I don't have too much advice for widows.

I think any advice I have would be more for potential pre-widows. You know, for those of us who have been married, like, forever.

And here is my advice: Right now, today--if you haven't already--make a creative, honest life for yourself separate from your husband. Something all your own. Or even lots of things all your own.
And most of all, know God on your own. Form a close, just-Him-and-me relationship which is present inside you, beside you, even when no one else is there.

I can't even imagine the loss of a spouse, but I do imagine that, after and during healing, being able to return to this world you've walked in for years would be a comfort. Something to do and be and hold onto--not with reminders of your spouse at every turn--but with memories of times spent with God and friends or hobbies, persons, places and things. Something which reminds you that, yes! You are still necessary valued and loved.

I shared 29 ideas here, mostly aimed at empty-nesters, but the kinds of activities and callings I'm speaking of. Life is full of dimensions--you know, layers of who we are and what we are called to do. And there are always people who need help. But where Life gets scary is when we see only one dimension, one layer, and help only those inside the four walls of our home. You know, those who have been known to fly the 'home coop', one way or another.

But there will always be a hurting world outside those walls.

So for us potential pre-widows (or pre-widowers) I would fling out reminders to sow, sow, sow. Now--today. Sow help. Sow peace. Sow kindness. Sow mercy. Sow education, knowledge and wisdom.

It's only sowers who reap good things... even if they are sowing seeds years and years early... and even if they are sowing seeds alone.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Seeking Book Recommendations


Ok, so here's an easier question. :)

Can any of you recommend great books for newly-widowed women? I think my mom would appreciate something very practical and upbeat. You know, a book filled with ideas of what to do now and how to accept and discover a fulfilling new life.

If you know of books like that geared more for empty-nesters, that could be ok, too. It would be good to have a list in my comment box for both widows and empty-nesters of quality resources.

I'd really appreciate your help. My mom is doing well, all things considered, but I think she'd benefit from anything which can encourage her to make the most of this new phase of her life. True, she's still in the grieving stages, but I'd love for her to be able to anticipate the future and view it filled with potential.

Thanks!

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Question

Ok. I have a weird question for you techno-geeky types.

So there I was watching my ultra-favorite-tv-show-in-the-whole-world today, Sue Thomas FBI. I was taping it to dvd (on our dvd recorder) in our living room which comes to us via Time Warner Cable on CTV, a Canadian station.

And in our kitchen I was watching Sue Thomas on our little tv via the broken-down antenna which I must play with for ten minutes to bring in a snowy-barely-can-see-it version , also on CTV, of course. (I like to listen while I cook dinner.)

Ok, if you're confused already, you'll never be able to answer my question. heh. :)

So halfway through the show, they went to commercial and then, after the commercials, Sue Thomas came back on out in the kitchen, but not the living room! Gasp! Instead, there was an infomercial and I had to stop the dvd from recording.

But again, the kitchen tv kept playing Sue Thomas.
The living room tv played an infomercial.
Both tv's were set on CTV. But in the kitchen CTV is channel 9 and in the living room (on cable) it is channel 15.
(And yet, again, both are CTV.)

Sigh. I kinda-sorta-can-vaguely imagine what happened and how this could be, but can anyone explain in terms a techno-moron can understand?

I'm making a dvd of Sue Thomas for my mom and so I called her today (not just for this reason) and explained why one of the episodes will be only one-half hour and will have all sorts of loose ends.

Answers, anyone? This all felt kinda Twilight Zone-ish....

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Rather than whine about our latest big snowstorm (I am sooo tempted...) I'll just keep this short. And about something else.

You've probably noticed I've not been writing here much lately, and well, trust me--I've noticed it, too. And wondered about it. I asked myself, "Am I going through a dry spell? Writer's block? A great big lack of inspiration due hugely to this winter-which-will-never-end?" (Oops! I wasn't going to talk about the weather...)

But no, I think rather than a dry spell, I'm experiencing a "just living it" spell. You know, just living what I have learned and putting it into practice... Not learning a ton of new things, but instead, it's as though I'm being watched by God--closely--to see how well I am obeying what He's spent months teaching me...

... and I've a feeling there won't be a ton of new lessons till I begin recalling --and passing--these old lessons first. At times we're so anxious to 'move on,' that we forget some more work must be done first.

And I hope that will encourage some of you who are in similar places. I've known people (and have been one of them) who panic at times like these.... wonder at which corner they got lost...wonder where they went wrong (or more dreadful--where God went wrong).

But since there's a time for everything, then there must be a time to just live what one has been taught. To hold onto one's peace and nearness to God while walking-out the lessons He's taken great effort to teach.
And if you are there now, remember, I am there with you.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


So.
Laura Ingalls Wilder's, The Long Winter, has found its way to Buffalo. Will winter never end?

Ok, ok.... I'm exaggerating. Our glorious Monday is only a memory (or did I dream it?) and we've had lots more ice, more snow, which has filled my head with complaints--hence, my lack of blog posts. (And there is a lesson in there which I'll let you figure out.)

We were due for The Big Snowstorm at 4:00 p.m. yesterday, but it landed at 9:00 a.m. instead, (sigh), so I rolled my eyes and dressed for outside much earlier than I'd planned.
Bundled up, I walked down to the deli where they were out of eggs (again) which I was in dire need of, but I bought a bag of potatoes and tuna. While the lone cashier totaled my purchases I gazed up above her and noticed, for the first time, an ancient framed sign with a black and white photo of the original owner (it said), probably from the 1920's. Next to it was one of those oval frames from way-back-when with an elderly woman's photo, probably the man's wife. This deli is new to this ancient street, but perhaps those photos have always hung there, even when this tiny shop was something else.
Whatever, I love anything which catapults me back in time. In my cap and long black coat I felt like one of those elderly women who make their semi-daily trip to the market with coin purse in hand. I hope you have some of those ladies in your town--they're the salt of my earth, anyway.

I carried my purchases back home, put them away, then headed out the door again into more snow which was not yet sticking. I walked down that 'country road' I mentioned to you (the one which is a country road only in my head, the one which runs parallel to the railroad tracks in people's backyards). As usual, I walked on the street's edge since most people have given-up shoveling their sidewalks because of the coatings of ice on top of the snow (ever shoveled wet concrete?). Then I cut across one of the 'ghost town neighborhoods', so-called by me because, with all this winter stuff happening, the streets are eerily silent. But cars sleep under snow in driveways so I just assume people live inside those houses--and yet I feel all Gone Away Lake-ish anyway. (I've read Gone Away Lake probably ten times. I think you'd like it.)

I walked past some old shops where the owners still live above them, to the convenience store, bought the eggs and my usual yogurt and peanuts, etc., and wandered back home, but this time with baby steps because the snow began sticking, covering the icy parts of the street. Took me forever to return home, but I was thankful that at least I'd gotten some of that filtered grey light upon my (frozen) face. My mind and attitude are so very sensitive to light, this time of year more than ever, and I no longer have the sunroom which aided me through 14 dark winters more than I realized.

Yet later, after I'd been home awhile, I floundered. I could feel the dreaded ol', "there's-much-to-do-but-I-don't-feel-like-doing-it" feeling and I caught myself thinking, "Hmm.. Having a computer around 24/7 the past seven winters seemed to make Life easier. Maybe we should get ours out of storage instead of just using the laptop Tom brings home from work with him at night." And I continued imagining other ways and means of getting through these last few weeks of winter... tried making a mental list of stuff which I could rely upon to keep cabin fever at bay--t.v., books., friends, shopping, studying, decorating, hobbies, activities...

But I stopped myself. No, I want only to rely upon Jesus... upon Him and the ideas He gives me--His plans and ways and means. When I rely upon people and places and stuff, well, I discover real trouble and inevitable disappointment. And so I smiled and began a mental gratitude list and went from there, puttering and anticipating Tom's return... and drawing Life and Light in the meantime from the only One who can really give it...
... and for my aloneness now or upon roads ahead, I want to practice and be ready to go it alone-but-not-really-alone. His way.
***
"In Him I live, in Him I move, in Him I have my being... I am complete in Him." ... copied.

Monday, March 03, 2008


Oh. My. Goodness.

We are at 60 degrees right now. Sixty degrees!

Last week at this time we were at 11 miserable, icy degrees and here we are fifty degrees warmer.

Mostly? I'm elated and out-of-my-mind ecstatic. I walked to our supermarket today, probably three-quarters of a mile away. It felt like Spring! And I didn't have to wear my heavy, cumbersome (and did I mention heavy?) long black wool coat. No gloves, either!

But on the other hand, well, my body is rebelling. Or something. I think it's officially too old to be yanked around like this. You know, having to endure a fifty degree difference in less than a week. And knowing darn well (yet trying to forget) that another snowstorm is arriving tomorrow and we'll be back down in the 30's. And surrounded by snow and ice. Again.

Bleh. (And I'm leaving out how I passed darling, cozy houses on my walk and was reminded that usually (year after year) I'm redecorating a room at this time of year. But in this rental, I'm redecorating nothing.)

Oh well. Don't mind me. I took that aforementioned walk and I even hung some towels out on the clothesline to dry (I have a clothesline again--hooray!). And I even saw two women chatting in the yard across the street, which is like a miracle because we've only lived here in winter and this street has appeared like a ghost town, what with it being too cold to be outdoors. So those were the good things and I'm trying to concentrate on them, and not on the argument Tom and I had last night (and which has, unfortunately, hung around here like a misty fog while he's been at work). And then there's the confusion my tired/old/sick-of-snow body is feeling.

But I'll get through it. Probably, this is what comes from writing a post like my last one---I get tested on it! ("Are you really contented, Debra??," God asks.) Like all of you, I get so tired of tests--yet they are vital. Necessary. How else will I know how far I've come--and how far I still have to go?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Hanging In There with Hope


I pushed my cart through a department store in the next town over this afternoon. Sappy sentimental music played and whisked me back to years ago and those very same aisles.

Sheesh. Back then, I'd try not to cry in the toy aisle because they'd remind me of a once-young Naomi standing there gazing up at Barbie and all those My Little Ponies and Mapletown rodents...

... or else I'd be missing (with an ache) the friends I'd freshly left behind in Nevada...

... or I'd be feeling insecure about my clothes or hair or face or (fill in the blank)...

... or I'd be regretting some idiocy from my far-far-away past...

... or wishing my life or house (or its decor) were different (and that I had money to switch them)...

... or I'd (again) be near tears, dreading the time Naomi would fly from the nest I'd spent years creating for the three of us...

... or I'd worry about Tom's health and its affect upon our future...

Sigh. Those s.s. (sappy sentimental) songs shouldn't be allowed to play in department stores. heh.

But you know? Today I walked those same aisles and I didn't cry. There was no regretting, no worrying, no wishing things were changed. I was homesick for no one. I didn't crave a different house or Life and I was happy for Naomi that she's out on her own and learning so very much. I was glad I'd been a mother of a tiny, sweet girl and I was equally grateful to be the mom of a grown-up sweet woman.

And I smiled. I told myself, "I feel all healed-up! Complete. Contented."

Not perfected--just healed. Fixed. Repaired.

I thanked God for His enormous part in all that (and ok... got a bit teary-eyed. Those darn s.s. songs...). I was glad both He and I didn't give up on me... glad I hung in there during the times satan screamed for me to just give-up and quit and accept that I was the way I was.

But giving-up is not God's way. Today I am so not the way I was. Thank God.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses...


We all have our pet peeves. One of mine is when you hear friends complaining for months about their messy home, yet they allow it all to overwhelm them--and do nothing. And become more buried. And then when you try to suggest some helpful hints, they immediately hand you a list as to why they cannot take your suggestions.

Sigh. Excuses are roadblocks. Fences--with no gates. Stoppers of success and joy.

So... for those of you who are ready for new beginnings inside your home, I offer these--what I hope will be--inspirations:

If your house is a cluttered mess... clean it. Now. No waiting for a better time, season, age, spouse or year allowed.

If that sounds overwhelming, think, "One corner at a time." If you need inspiration, borrow a couple books or magazines on decorating and organizing. Or watch a few episodes of similar tv shows. And then get busy.

If you need help, ask for help. Either from a professional (it's money well-spent if clutter is ruining your life) or from a friend who's not emotionally attached to your things. And ask your family to confine their possessions to their own defined areas. (If they have no defined areas, define some.)

If you have too much stuff (most of us do), give your stuff away. Make trips to your local Salvation Army or other charitable drop-off places. Or call those places to come pick up your extra furniture or larger items. Or have a yard sale. Or advertise on your local Freecycle Yahoo Group, especially if you want it gone NOW, before you change your mind. Find the joy in giving to strangers.

If you are storing stuff for your grown children or other relatives, give those people a deadline to come haul away their stuff. If they miss that deadline, see above.

Remember--you are not your stuff. Your stuff is not you. The couch your grandmother gave you is not your grandmother. Nor is it a memory. Memories dwell--foremost--inside our hearts and heads. (As well as inside photo albums if you choose to snap photos of your memory-invoking possessions, instead. Takes up much, much less space.)

Trash is trash. Trash belongs in trash cans, not on shelves or the floor or in closets or cupboards.

Remember--there's no law which states you must keep every gift ever given you. Nor is there one which says just because you loved something at 25 you must still love it at 45.

Keep a picture in your mind of how you'd like your house to look, feel and function. Let that motivate you. Celebrate each new change, even tiny ones.

If you accidentally toss something which someday you will need again, trust that God will be able to provide you with the money for another one in the future. Don't allow the 'fear of lack' to paralyze you and keep you living in dangerous, frustrating clutter.

After you've decluttered that corner or that room or your whole house:

Ask yourself, "Do I really need this?... Do I love this? ... Do I have room for this?" before you buy something new.

For everything you bring into your home, give away something of an equal size.

Stay organized so you can find what you need--and so you won't buy unnecessary repeats.

Freely give and freely you will receive... (and then freely give again and receive again and ...). Keep the flow going! Live Life as a river, not as a cesspool. :)


***

One more hint? Ask God to help you find your value in His passionate love for you, rather than attempting to find it in your stuff.