Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So Tom and I won't be online tomorrow, what with the threat of that annoying April 1 computer worm. We'll turn off the modem/router thingy and unplug everything computer-related, etc. And we'll even take a little money from the ATM today. Just in case.

It's sad, really, that there are people out there who create these viruses and probably find the whole high-tech crime thing fun and exciting.

Last week I had to go 24 hours or more without using the computer because we had a sort of ad virus and, since he was working night shift, Tom didn't have time to fix it. And actually? It was rather pleasant not having computer access. Those occasional breaks remind me of what life was like before all this. It reminded me to stay balanced, too.

On his way home from work last night, Tom bought another tractor, one for only $20. Sigh. The seller will even deliver it for him on Friday, though Tom said this morning that he'll give the guy an extra $20, because after all, that's a lot of trouble to go to for only twenty. Maybe Tom can retire and just sell tractors full time. Maybe it would behoove me to just accept his love for them, especially since I'll now be living with 6 of them. Again. Especially since Tom subscribes to two tractor magazines, reads about tractors online, has fat binders crammed with tractor information and dreams about tractors at night.

A girl should realize when she's losing battles.

Making threats and begging Tom to stop bringing tractors home certainly hasn't worked and you'd think after 30 years I could remember the lessons I learned long ago. Namely, nagging nearly always backfires. Nagging makes the other person want to do the opposite of what you say.

I've beheld miracles when I stop nagging. When I stopped getting after Tom to pick up his clothes, he began picking them up. When I stopped telling him to put his dishes in the sink, he began putting them in the sink, himself. There are more examples, but you get the idea.

Nagging, I think, is a sign that I don't believe God can get through to Tom. It's as though--by nagging--I'm acting like Holy Spirit Junior, except that the Holy Spirit does not raise His voice and get ugly (though He, too, can be pretty darn insistent).

But He does speak in a soft voice and if my loud one keeps blaring, then that could make it harder for Tom to hear the One who he should be listening to the most. So I guess it makes lots of sense, all those times I've watched Tom change after I gave-up trying to change him. Maybe only then was he able to hear that still, small voice.... only after I switched off that blaring Nagging Siren.


So did you hear we're supposed to avoid pistachios now? Always something...

Monday, March 30, 2009

I am loving this golden color, for I step into our dining room and feel as though I'm being hugged. Once again I remember that I can change my surroundings to a degree. If I'm feeling overwhelmed in all areas it could be because my imagination has rusted shut from lack of use. Always, daily, there's some kind of change I can make to my life. Always.

There's a Christian message board I've visited for years, one which alternately blesses me and makes me nuts. The 'prophetic portion' of the board is the one I read most and some people there are very wise, sensible and balanced. Others? Well, others, let's just say, ain't. :)

Oh, I'm not speaking of those people who predict about wacky things happening in the future or those who write in such a way that I've no clue what the heck they're saying. (Though there is that.) No, I mean those folks who so easily proclaim that it doesn't matter what difficult times are in our Country's future, they will be fine and dandy and won't worry even a tad. They don't need to have a pantry ready for emergencies, God will provide. It won't matter what tragedies surround them, they'll be able to handle it with a peaceful mind. And there are even those who say good, happy times are ahead and it's going to be one big Christian revival party or that God will be swooping us all away before times get really tough (wouldn't that be nice?). (And yes, I do know about pre-Trib, mid-Trib and post-Trib.)

What do I believe? I believe that today and tomorrow and the next day I need to allow God to prepare my heart for the days to come, these Last Days, as the Bible calls them. I need God to keep 'killing me slowly' as He shows me hourly how to die to self. I need to begin passing my daily tests and stop whining when things don't go the way I expected them. I need to die to all that would make me complain about my tiny hardships so that I won't totally go bonkers when the huge hardships arrive. And I need to grow in compassion and fortitude so that I'll be able to help others in the days and years ahead. (And I'm not even mentioning my issues with laziness and procrastination and ---)

And wow... all of that requires time and stamina and patience and so much more. Can I, today, glibly say that I'll be just hunky dory if some catastrophe hits the U.S.? Truthfully? No, I can't say that. It's all still too fresh in my mind (and in this blog) all the complaining I've done since we moved to this farmhouse eight months ago. Man, I have whined about so many of the decisions Tom has made (did I tell you he has five tractors, and that's after he sold two others??) and there were those two months God made me rest because of all I've faced since October of '07. That, my friends, is a luxury which doesn't usually exist in times of crisis. Oh, how I need Him to toughen me to adversity now, ahead of time.

Am I positive something big and scary is coming soon? No. But I am positive that God wants to, today, prepare me for anything and everything, even if what He shows me appears quite trivial. You never know--the tiny stuff can make a huge difference in God's way of seeing things. His ways are not our ways and they're usually quite opposite so usually we have much relearning and 're-seeing' to do.

And something else I'm certain of? If I cooperate with Him today and tomorrow and next week, I'll be as ready to face anything in the future as I possibly can be.

Romans 12:3
"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice. (Amplified)


If you'd like to check out that Christian message board I mentioned, please email me at GladOne4@yahoo.com

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tom and I finished Netflixing all available Stargate Atlantis episodes, saw the first ten episodes of the final season online, and will have to wait (I'm guessing) for the final ten to come out on dvd. I can't explain how addicted I am to that show. (Hey, stop giggling.)

So, in the meantime, we've begun Netflixing Stargate SG-1, its predecessor. Ten whole seasons are out there! And although we still prefer the characters of Atlantis, SG-1 is growing on us and some episodes we've found downright amazing.

One of those episodes made me cry.

(Super major spoiler alert, but watch it anyway later, ok? .................... )

It's the episode in the 2nd season called The Gamekeeper. The SG-1 team travels to a planet where there are acres of lovely formal gardens with paths and benches surrounding a huge glass garden dome, like an indoor winter garden. So the four on the team step into the silent dome where they see people shrouded in black netting, lying back in chairs, appearing to be asleep. The team is then grabbed by hoses from chair-like things and instantly those hoses attach themselves to their heads and bodies and whisk their minds into a virtual-reality world.

It takes the team awhile to figure-out what's happening. They're in separate places, in pairs, re-living past memories of one in the pair, all the time being watched by silent people, standing covered in black shrouds. But after the four are reunited in this virtual world and meet the 'Keeper' (as he calls himself), he tells them he's done the silent watchers ('residents') a great service by protecting them inside that huge dome and in this alternate reality world for over 1,000 years because their planet had become a poisonous, vile, uninhabitable place.

Well, the team knows that to be a big lie (remember the garden?), so they turn to the shrouded folk and tell them their planet is a gorgeous, livable place. But the Keeper makes the watchers disappear so they cannot hear the truth. Yet later (skipping some things here) the SG-1 team again has a chance to expose the Gamekeeper's lies to the watchers, who ask some questions, and through a series of events the SG-1 team breaks out of the virtual world.

And while they're again outside of the dome and in the garden, the Keeper (who's being held in place by Tealc) tells them that he'd lied to the people on this planet to keep them from destroying his beautiful garden. He didn't want them to pick flowers or ruin the grass or the flower beds which he tended faithfully. He wanted things to stay as he, alone, wanted them.

And then this is what made me cry: The Gamekeeper told the SG-1 team that the people in the dome had always had a way out. They could have left anytime. Colonel O'Neil said, "But you lied to them about this planet. You wanted to control them. And they couldn't get out unless you told them there was a way."

The Gamekeeper said miserably, "You told them."

Then the Colonel said, "But they couldn't find the doors unless you showed them where they were."

And the Gamekeeper said, "You showed them."

And at that moment, the shrouded people slowly, gingerly stepped from the dome into the garden, into the light, staring all around them at the lush garden. Amazed. Grateful. Breathing-in fresh air.

And I cried because I sensed God telling me that right there was one of the purposes of my blog--of all blogs of Christians who share the truth that God has a better way of living upon this Earth. We are here to show the Way. We are here to show the Door to a whole other way of living in the light upon this planet.

And when we do share our changed lives, it's as though we're exposing the lies of satan who tells people there is only one way to see Life--his sinful, hopeless, despairing way.

But we are here to show the Doorway out of lies and into a world more real than most people ever know. A Door which leads to a fruitful life here where surely, goodness and mercy shall follow us--and to another place, another amazing world beyond this one where God has prepared something even better.

And oh, what an awesome responsibility is ours.


2 Corinthians 4:4
In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Here's a Peek...

... at what I've been doing today. I've been painting, though the color appears darker here than in real life (once again I'm having lighting issues). But anyway, I love this new spicy mustard thing I've got going, although it took me forever to get the color right. In the past I've had a sort of mysterious gift for mixing my own paint--today there was no mysterious anything. No, just tons of trial and error, dumping one can of paint into another, and painting a bunch of test patches on the wall.

For now, I'm leaving the blue sponge-painted and stenciled part above the window. We'll see if it remains. Didn't want to so quickly paint over my hard work from months ago.

But anyway, this color is so much warmer than my previous light-blue and so next winter our dining room will not resemble a room right out of the Snow Queen's castle. :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

For months I've known what color I want to paint our dining room and living room, but over and over I've walked out of hardware stores with Tom because I just couldn't find the right 'autumn gold'. Or the price of paint was scandalous. Or I needed more time to decide. Or more likely, I just wanted to decide alone without Tom standing nearby, waiting for me to make a decision. During our long winter I never did drive to a hardware store or Walmart alone--I hardly drove anywhere alone--and if there's one thing I know, it's that I shop best by myself when I can take forever--if that's what I need--to make the wisest choices. (Is anyone else like that?)

So finally this morning--hooray!--I drove through the sunny countryside to Walmart. I just knew this would be The Day when I would not only find my autumn gold paint, but I'd find it in the Oops Paint Section for only a fraction of the original cost. I just had a feeling.

And guess what? Before I even knelt down before the cans, I spied that perfect little dot of paint on top of the can. The perfect shade of a dark autumn gold, darker than I need, which is a great thing because now I can stretch the paint and mix it with white, creating more than just one gallon. (Always, we've got white paint around the house, but then, doesn't everyone?)

And the paint was only $6.34 for the whole gallon. Love that. And no, it's not a less-toxic kind... I seem to vacillate, especially lately, between saving money and risking my health. Sometimes the penny-pincher wins, sometimes the tree-hugging, health nut does. Today it was the penny pincher. Alas.

Anyway, it was fun, for as I said, I just knew my paint would be there waiting for me. And it was... and I whispered, "Thank-you," many times while I rolled my cart away.

It's exciting to walk in faith and expectation of good things, even for just a simple can of paint.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I have a favorite author who turned very negative when she became elderly. I've known people in Real Life who got that way, too, and I've seen tons of negative, older people online. Boy, grumpy people are everywhere online--and they're not all old, either. Some are practically babies.

Well. Even before I turned 50 last week, I long ago vowed that I'd never become a nasty, sour, "things-aren't-the-way-they-used-to-be-so-that-means-they're-bad" little old lady.

Heaven help me if I put a permanent kink in my aging neck because I'm constantly staring backward. I mean, I'm already tired of hearing how email will never be as meaningful as hand-written letters, how you can't tie them up with a ribbon for others to someday discover in dusty attics (uh, ever heard of a printer?). The main thing is--face it!-- letter-writing had become an almost Dead Art. Yet now? We're all writing to each other again. We're communicating, sharing our beliefs, our days and making changes through our words-- just through a different means. An electronic one.

The problem I've seen? Older folks (and those 'older inside their heads') believe different is bad and change is negative. They believe if it's not their preferred way, then it's the wrong way.

Oh, may I never live inside such tiny boxes!

The Internet is here to stay, Folks, and it's making a difference in our world--not just our online world, either--but in this Real World. There is a crossover going on--I see it in headlines of newspapers and through reports on the Evening World News. And shouldn't we rejoice? Shouldn't we be happy that quiet homebodies, whose wisdom was once ignored, have been given a Voice in this world, one independent of literary editors who dislike what they're saying or how they say it? That people everywhere can now share their beliefs and opinions with many others--and make some wonderful friends along the great online way, as well?

We know Emily Dickinson through poems she wrote then placed inside drawers and through her letters, and written accounts from her friends. We know Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder by way of the wonderful books they penned and published. They and thousands of other authors spoke to us, shared themselves with us through the written word. So shouldn't we be rejoicing that people everywhere today are writing now, also? That in one brief lifetime we can come to know more people than ever was humanly possible in the history before us?

I see that as a Good Thing. And as I continue to age, may I never view it as anything else. And as changes of all sorts come, may I view them with an open mind, first, before quickly making a judgement. May I be quick to listen to other points of view, slow to speak and always willing to change my mind about a few things.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I've told you before that I enjoy the show, Clean House. You've gotta love any show which helps people go from clutter and depression to organization and light.

But what do I love most? I love the episodes where the design team (Mark, Trish and Matt) discovers that way more money for the re-do was made at the yard sale than they needed. Why? Because after the homeowners leave for the motel, the design team dances around with joy and hugs one another with glee. More money with which to decorate! More potential for surprises for the homeowners! Perhaps a flat screen tv? Or maybe an extra desk or comfy chair? Oh, the possibilities.

So why do I love that? Because the design team is thrilled for other people. They, themselves, will keep no extra prizes. Not one cent of the additional design money is theirs to keep. No, they are just thrilled to pieces that the family they're helping will reap some extra gifts.

And that is what I call pure happiness. A light-hearted, dancing sort of joy because other human beings will receive delight. An unselfish giddiness for other folks.

Kind of like when I watch The Price Is Right and skyrocket--whoosh!-- off the couch and clap my hands when someone wins a car. :)

(Oh, I do hope no one reading this will go all "holy" on me and start preaching about things and stuff not being fulfilling. Please don't be a humbug like that, ok?)

What I'm getting at here is that this kind of happiness for others is much like what 1 Corinthians 13 was getting at when it said love does not envy and is not self-seeking. And how wonderful if each of us lived our days like that... always thrilled for our friends and relatives when they receive something we craved for so long ... or when they get to travel where it's always been our heart's desire to go... or when they get the promotion we prayed for.

You know... like that. I'm thinking that must please God and make Him smile.

And that's all I'm saying.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Victory Gardens in 2009? Yes!

Wow. The delights keep flowing-in regarding our economic yucky, hard times.


I mean, first (after they stopped just whining) many folks cut back on junk food, they started using coupons, then they began searching online for ways to save energy and money at home (and began living frugally and way more sensibly). Techniques for saving money became a hot topic on news programs of all sorts.

And now? Now we're returning to the days of Victory Gardens! Except they're not called that today--they're called Recession Gardens, instead. Wow. Just do a Google search for Recession Gardens and it will knock your socks off. Here's a search to get you started.

And on news reports I've seen that seed catalog businesses are running out of seeds--they've never, ever seen such a demand for them. People are beginning gardens for the first time in their lives, thousands of them are learning the joys and miracles of gardening.

Whole neighborhoods and communities are gardening together in vacant lots, backyards, front yards, (even filling-in swimming pools), meeting each other for the first time and working together to grow food for their families.

I. Love. It.

And here you thought all the news out there was bad... shame on you. :) And frankly I am encouraged up to my eyeballs to see so many rallying and not allowing these hard times to blow them away. Even more? I'm thrilled to watch those who are learning how to make do, make over, create and learn new ways of thrift for the very first time in their lives--and enjoying it, even promising to keep their new ways if times should improve. How awesome is that?


Personally? I prefer to still call them Victory Gardens because they're a clear sign of victory over that awful moaning, whiney, give-up spirit.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Homemade Soup and a Candy Surprise

Speaking of healing (my last post), I'm going to share my recipe for soup. If any food has healing power, homemade soup certainly does.

See, by the time we moved from Nevada in 1993 I'd become a pretty good cook. Not terrific, but pretty good. But something happened when we arrived here in New York--it's as though my cooking skills never got on the plane! They stayed behind in Nevada.

It was weird.

And ever since, I've never had quite that golden touch with cooking nor baking. But alas, the past few years I've learned to make terrific vegetable lasagna and wonderful vegetable soup. Which is nice, because both of those are what I enjoy calling Something From Nothing Dishes, food you can make when the cupboards are looking pretty darn bare.

Debra's Something From Nothing Vegetable Soup

1. Open your fridge and pull out any pieces of vegetables you can find. Start chopping them up, about 3/4 c. of each, if you have that much of each. I also chop up a small onion.

2. Heat maybe a tablespoon of oil (or less) in a dutch oven pan, add the vegetables and some seasonings (I like garlic powder, onion powder and Italian seasoning). Stir to blend, heat a couple minutes. If you have some frozen vegetables in your freezer, add some of those now. Then if you have some leftover chicken, chop that and add it, stirring to blend. Heat a couple minutes more, but not until anything is mushy.

3. Then I add 7 or 8 cups of filtered water and three "ice cubes" of homemade chicken stock. (After I make chicken stock, I place it in ice trays in the freezer.) Increase heat and bring to a quick boil. Then I decrease the heat to medium and add either a half cup of brown rice or one cup of elbow macaroni (or other noodles). If I have a small can of tomatoes, I add all or half.Then maybe I'll add a tiny bit of salt, or 'essence of salt' as I like to say, and more of the previous spices. Heat until the rice or macaroni is done and either have the soup at that time or simmer at low heat longer.

You don't ever have to be exact with soup-- just play around and make it different each time. Soup is forgiving.... soup is special.... soup is Good Food. :)


My sister and her hubby sent this box of old-fashioned candy from Woodstock Candy to me for my birthday. Quite the yummy trip down Memory Lane and made me feel around 10 again. :) Thanks again, Corrine and Mark!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My family lived in the country from the time I was 5 until I was 7, then again when I was 10 and 11. I've never forgotten what early Spring felt like upon the countryside and--I believe--I've yearned to return to the country for all these 39 years.

That's such a long time to crave something, sometimes vaguely, for not always have I realized I craved it.

I told you that I feel healed after taking these two 'medical leave' months off as directed by God. And really, I do. But you know? These past few sunny days as I've soaked and dreamed and listened in the sun before the windows of our (paint-chipped, uninsulated) front porch, I've felt like I was healing from something else altogether.

Healing from what? From having lived -- for 39 years-- inside houses with no countryside views from their windows, but only brick or wood slat walls and fronts of other houses across the street... From living sandwiched between two other houses, squeezed and feeling watched or listened to, even, and hearing others, also, if they raised their voices (or the volume on their radio or tv)... And from feeling as though all windows had eyes watching me whenever I stepped outside the doors or sat upon an open porch.

Thirty-nine years of all that non-privacy placed upon this private person. Wow. No wonder the healing is taking all these hours, all these afternoons. But oh.... it feels so good! All that warm sunlight pouring in through old porch windows upon me at the round table-cloth'd window corner... the Great Doctor's office, I believe. All that heat tenderizing what had grown hardened when it taught itself to not yearn for what it could not have. Heat like x-rays, like heating pads, like Ben-Gay and saunas.

Usually, Lennon The Cat sits upon the table all squinty-eyed just inches from my face and when he turns to me I truly believe he is healing, too. "Now this is Good," his golden eyes tell me. "Windows should have views of pastures and trees and robins and sky."

I stare right back at him and agree. Totally. And we both go on healing at the table in all that sunlight, together.


In Today's World, with today's news reports, I highly recommend taking time-out to heal, stealing it even, doing whatever is required to stay whole.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

First-- I loved your comments yesterday. So insightful and fun and appreciated... thank-you!

Second, I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that I'm now 50. Wow! I'm needing to toss away some life-long-held misconceptions, I think. Untruths about how I should be feeling (old) as opposed to how I actually do feel (still young and chipper and nearer to 25).

And to that end, here are a few things I'm thinking this morning:

By 50, I should know by now which kinds of clothes look best on me--and which ones make me look like Godzilla...

... and which types of people are good for me to hang-out with--and which types poison and shrivel my soul...

... I should know what kind of decor I love--and what feels too cluttered or unnerving...

... and how to take care of myself as though I planned to live another fifty years.

By 50 I should know when to take breaks--and when to keep going...

... I should be comfortable inside this skin--and not wish for someone else's...

... I should know what I can accomplish alone--and which things I need help in accomplishing (and not be afraid to admit I need help).

By 50 I should have learned a ton from past mistakes (all that time to make them!)...

... and I should have learned it's not all about me, but instead, it's all about the God who made us all.

And on and on... So many lessons, so little time (relatively) upon this Earth to learn them!


Thanks again for your good wishes yesterday! I had a lovely, sunny day--drove to the next tiny town and did a little grocery shopping, then visited my friend's antique co-op where I only bought a couple old issues of ME's Home Companion. Then I drove to our town's old-fashioned malt shoppe for lunch and read my magazines, came home and soaked in the sun with Lennon The Cat on our porch, then awoke Tom (who worked last night). Told Bob The Milkman it was my birthday, read a ton of good wishes from you and friends on Facebook, chatted with my mom on the phone, then Naomi came over and gave me sweet gifts and the three of us talked and laughed around the table until 8:30. My very favorite sort of day, indeed!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Uh-Oh! The Big 5-0

Wow. I'm 50-years-old today. Half a century! I'm shaking my head and trying to believe this fact. I still feel 25, only happier and way more content. More energetic, also.

I remember in the fourth grade when our teacher gave us this math problem: figure-out how old you will be in the year, 2000. So I did the math and gasp! Figured that I'd be nearly 41. I thought, "How awful! I'll be too old to enjoy the new century."

Ah youth...

My hardest birthday (the only hard one, really) was when I turned 29, for I felt sad that this would be my final year in my 20's. That decade had been full of surprises and changes, most of them huge and most of them Good. I thought no other decade could feel like that one.

Ah silliness...

Although, yes, my 30's were, after all, rough. So much shaking by God! It was like He shook me and shook me so that all sorts of scales and junk would fall from me. But even in the midst of the shaking His comfort was still there and His amazing presence and peace. Wild how He can do that.

My 40's--now that was one awesome decade! Ten amazing years of feeling nearness to God and experiencing new freedoms from caring too much what other people think. During my 40's it's as though I awoke, really awoke to Living Beside God with all the sweetness and friendship that He gives.

And now? Why should I dread any new decade? Each one seems to improve. Each one offers new gifts, new insights and new delights. So let this encourage those of you who may be growing older, too. :)


"Oh taste and see that the Lord, He is good."

"You're not 40, you're eighteen with 22 years experience." ~Author Unknown


The above photo is how I like to pretend I still look. Pretend along with me, ok?


Oh wow... God gave me geese for my birthday! This morning for the first time I saw geese land on our 'lake.' Oh how I love geese! I've been known to race down the stairs and out of the house when I hear them honking in the skies above.

Flying away.................

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Please tell me you've already seen the Christian the Lion video.

It's amazing. Tom and I loved it and have watched it a bazillion times (well...), practically sobbing every time, too. But then, we are big babies when it comes to animals.

This will warm your heart! (Turn up your sound.):

Christian the Lion

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Standing... Then Standing Some More

I've warned you that I can find inspiration in the craziest places and I've told you I love the tv series, Stargate Atlantis.


I'm combining both of these by way of the YouTube link, below. These scenes with Elizabeth Weir make me want to stand and be brave and to stop whining about my tiny problems. In future times I'll need to stand strong so I may as well begin practicing by standing firm (and not boo-hooing) during my current smallish trials. I'll certainly need a warrior spirit rather than a whiner spirit.

Besides, I've noticed when the Stargate Atlantis team is fighting against evil forces, they're certainly not blown away and distracted by facts like their spouse bought six tractors or where the money will come from to concrete the barn floor or whether winter just seems to go on forever. No, they stay focused upon winning the battle and using the skills they've acquired for such a time as this.

The chorus of Stand In The Rain in the video is inspiring, too:

"So stand in the rain

Stand your ground

Stand-up when it's all crashing down

You stand through the pain

You won't drown

And one day, what's lost can be found

You stand in the rain ."

So here is the link, given for those whom it may inspire, too:


"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and having done all, to stand." ... Ephesians 6:13

If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength! ... Proverbs 24:10

Friday, March 13, 2009

Well, officially as of today, my God-mandated 'medical leave' is over.

"Darn," said my lazy side.

"Hooray!" said my normal, energetic side.

So it's back to work today and mostly I'm glad. Sitting around and healing felt super at first, but tiresome toward the end. I think that's the clue--you know healing has come when you feel antsy to 'get back out there'.

I've a feeling I'll be more grateful for my medical leave in the future. I still feel there is something Big (and not nice) on the horizon for our Country as I hinted at here. My head feels better prepared to face it now, though I've no clear idea what "it" is.

And I'm so not alone in these feelings. David Wilkerson is hinting, too, and suggests we all have one month's worth of groceries at home at all times (when people panic, the first thing they usually do is strip supermarket shelves bare. Remember that.). Cindy Jacobs and Hal Lindsay are also 'sounding the horn,' to name just two more. (There are many others.)

(You might want to read Wilkerson's Perfect Peace post first. You'll see what I mean.) :)

I can do that. The one-month supply of essentials, that is (keeping in mind that others will need help at that time, too)... and eeking out a savings account and doing what I can around the house to make it as comforting and prepared-for-adversity a place as it can be.

And frankly? I appreciate and am comforted by being given something to do to prepare for possible hard times ahead. It's harder to sit and do nothing--and being found unprepared is even harder. Staying close to God and remaining as prepared in all ways as He directs--that's about all I can do.

And it will all be enough as long as He directs my steps. As long as He comforts my heart in the midst of any hard times ahead.


Oh! I just now found this. Can it be that the government is finally "getting it" that they've spread too much fear lately?

"It is this transition from an excess of greed to an excess of fear that President Roosevelt had in mind when he famously observed that the only thing we had to fear was fear itself." .... Lawrence Summers

How Not To Have Dry Spells

It concerns me when people preach that we all go through dry spells when God seems very far away. Frankly? I've not had one of those times in the last 15 years. Not one.

But before then? Yes, I had dry spells, like, every day. heh. Well, often anyway.

So what has been the difference? You've heard of extreme make-overs, extreme sports and extreme shopping, haven't you? Well, for 15 years I've practiced Extreme Dependence upon God. Remember that old hymn which goes something like this?-- "I need Thee, oh I need Thee. Every hour I need Thee." Well, it's like that. I need God every single hour.

And now I could not survive one hour without Him. I wouldn't want to. And He knows that.

I need Him to be my sanity in this wild world. I need Him to be the peace inside my head and heart. I need Him to be my friend. I need Him to be my common sense and to help me understand things. Hey, I need Him to be my memory, even, as I grow older.

That's just the short list. And after all this Extreme Dependence, God knows I would be sunk without Him-- in only one short hour.

Scary thought, really.

But on the other hand? I'd never return to the days when my proud little head thought I could do everything by myself. That is the scarier thought. The lonelier thought, too. My Extreme Dependence has made all the difference and I would never, ever go back. Why would I want to, for goodness sake?!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Have you visited the Woman's Day Magazine website? There's great stuff there, for instance, under 'Recipes' there's a pull-down menu with a link to their Month of Recipes calendar. A calendar like that can boost your creativity in the kitchen and keep meal time planning from becoming too exhausting for your head. :) There's also a recipe finder where you plug-in the main ingredients you have on hand so to find recipes for them.

(I've not seen an issue of Woman's Day for a couple years... Do they still always have a Bible verse on the contents page? Loved that.)

I saw a fun story this morning on Good Morning America about a woman who, for one month, lived on just $1.00 a day for meals. She blogged about her journey, too (the link is in the article at GMA).

I like people who attack a challenge with a positive spirit in order to show that something can be done, rather than aiming to prove it's impossible.

What a plethora of money-saving advice there is out there! Of course, it's always been available for anyone willing to search for ways to save money, but now it's way more obvious-- help is plastered daily all over tv and the Internet. And now no one has an excuse to cluelessly spend more money than they need to.

I heard last week that just as most people who lived through the Great Depression and WWII kept their frugal ways ever after, people nowadays in our challenging economic times may just hold onto the ways of good stewardship they're now learning.

We can only hope.


And yes (before anyone asks) I did watch Oprah's 'Chefs Move In' episode yesterday and, yes, I found it so sad that the moms had no idea how to cook for their families. But I refuse to get all mean and critical about it the way some women did on the message boards. Good grief. Is it necessary for us women to turn on each other like that? I think not.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wow. Remember that Ben Stein piece I linked to earlier? Good grief. I read just a few of the 15 pages (or so) of the ensuing comments and got a horrible glimpse at the state of our Nation's people's minds.

What a bleak, determined-to-be-negative state, indeed!

But will I let those depressing, bitter comments latch onto my brain like some science fiction slug-like-creature and bring me down to their miry level? No way. Instead, I will continue to fling and scatter good seeds everywhere I go.

I will keep this blog a positive, un-fear-based place to visit.
I'll smile at people wherever I shop.
I'll send silly comments and gifts to friends at Facebook.
I'll encourage people to give out of hope rather than horde out of fear.
I'll bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things the way Love is supposed to.
I'll do whatever I can to encourage the heavy-hearted friends crawling along my path. I'll remind them that God takes care of people who obey Him--somehow.
And I'll continue to believe that--by reminding people that God can make a way where there is no way--perhaps some extreme negativity will be crushed on our planet.

Anybody can say what everybody else is saying. Anybody can be negative. But nowadays, especially, it takes guts and faith and determination to keep Negative-Minded-Body-Snatcher-Types from taking over our minds. If they've not already come to your house to snatch you, I hope you will be ready to fight when they arrive!

How fun! I just now discovered there's a Happy News Website. :)

Find Stonyfield Farms coupons here.
Kashi free entree coupon here.
Organic Valley coupons here.
Mambo Sprouts coupons here.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Happy Birthday, Barbie

Barbie is exactly one week older than I am--imagine that! Fifty-years-old today. She and I have created our share of controversy, but I think hers is silly. She's a doll, for goodness sake. Get over it.

I've known women who, as girls of ten-years-old, preferred baby dolls and to this day they think all young girls should play with only those dolls you'd stuff into a diaper and swaddle in a blanket. Well. At ten, I'd grown bored to tears with baby dolls and I craved something fresh and fun.

Enter Barbie.

Oh, was she amazing! My little sister and I raced over sidewalks after school in order to burst into our house to play with our Barbies. My mom one Christmas created an imaginative Barbie dollhouse for us in a box (I still remember the clear glass Alka Seltzer bottle 'lamps' with plastic vines inside and the white hairspray lids with trim as shades), but our baby brother later sat on it. Wow, we were furious with him. The next Christmas we received a dollhouse made from a sturdier, little-brother-proof suitcase. My mom also included lots of gorgeous Barbie clothes, all handmade.

But my favorite use of my Barbie imagination involved playing outside with our friends on summer afternoons and using coffee cans as Barbie swimming pools. How fun to get soaked along with Barbie and to warm in the sun on towels while our Barbies laid on tiny beach towels of their own, ones we snipped from old terry cloth.

Well, don't get me started, for I could blather on and on with Barbie memories. I just wanted to say thank-you, Barbie, for all the Good Times--they were very good, indeed. And again, Happy Birthday.


Anyone else want to share some Barbie memories in my comment box? (Barbie Haters need not apply.) :)


Oh! And here is something fun. Last Friday night I had to laugh at the two emails Brian Williams read from viewers (the ones which come after the ones regarding Hispanic people) about his coverage of all the bad news lately. So Karen and all you others who believe we should demand some good news, here's some progress! (May take some seconds to load and you have to sit through a commercial, too. Alas. But it's encouraging and worth the wait.)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

My World This Morning

The lake behind our house, in the backyard.

The lake in front of our house, across the street.

One thing I love about living in Western New York? In our nearly 16 years here, we've only once had a kinda-sorta-maybe drought. Mostly we're like, "Enough already with all the water!"

And trust me, I'm grateful.


Oh! Good ol' Ben Stein has done it again. This past week I thought those very thoughts while watching the nightly news, but Ben this morning stated them way more eloquently. If you don't agree with Ben in this piece, well, you don't agree with me (but I think we will both survive that). :)

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you give it shall be measured to you again." ... Luke 6:38

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

"...remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " Acts 20:35

Saturday, March 07, 2009

All Those Babies Swooshing Down the Drain

I realize we all have our own personal convictions. You know, decisions we've made about what we will or will not read or watch or do or believe. I certainly have my share. Mrs. Convictions, that's me.

But you know? The past few years I've seen that some of my so-called convictions were actually fears with Godly Conviction Labels slapped on them.

I avoided watching certain tv shows because I didn't agree with the person (or persons) hosting or producing the show. I avoided certain books because the authors came from different places than where I had. Maybe they believed differently than I do about certain biblical principles so I feared perhaps their words would scar me or cause me to change my mind about my own values and beliefs. Rather like a spreading of proverbial cooties.

And to this day, I still avoid certain books and tv shows and even ministers, ok? Like, I said, I've still got some convictions which I believe came from God.

But, there's a difference now. See, I realized years ago that I wasn't growing much anymore. I was hearing the same old things which I had always heard. I was listening to the same old people, groups and denominations I'd always listened to. The same ol' same ol' over and over and over.... And it was like I was running around and around inside a narrow box, rather than running free.

But now? Now I can learn from nearly everyone and every situation. Everyone has a story to tell and everyone has some wisdom to share. And even if a person's wisdom seems lacking, I can learn from the mistakes they are making and avoid those mistakes, myself. So still, they are teaching me new things.

If I don't agree with a person on a few points, that certainly doesn't mean he has nothing to teach me. Besides, by listening to him, I just may discover that I'm the one who's been wrong in a certain area all along. That has happened to me and it will happen again.

But how sad that I could have learned so much from someone had I not been avoiding them for years because we disagreed on a point where I was proven wrong anyway. Or even if I still feel I'm right, it's still sad when I can't listen and learn from people who have so much to teach and share which lines up with the Bible and which would make me more like the person God had in mind for me to become.

And if a person doesn't like me--and I avoid her so not to risk pain and negativity-- I can ask God to show me the point at which I just may be turning some people off. Some people are determined not to like me, but most are not.

And besides, God places non-kindred-spirits in our lives to teach us more about compassion--and how much unconditional love we lack. If we despise people we disagree with, we still have such a long, long way to go.

Godly lessons from unlikely teachers are everywhere! And I'm still learning not to fear the lessons, nor the teachers. Life is too short and too precious to go pouring all those babies down the drain with the bathwater.


"Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater." ...copied

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Jammie J. noticed that I changed my blog header. I had to. I mean, all day long I see that lake and those bare trees outside our windows so why stare at it here, too? I so needed to see green, green, green and leaves like colored confetti. I needed to see a promise that , yes, someday Winter will vanish and Spring will return.

Sometimes--or perhaps all the time--I must make the changes I want in my life. I must do something rather than wait for some mystery man (or woman) to come riding up to my door (if not on a horse, then inside a car) with a bunch of creative ideas or solutions or a wallet full of money.

If I am in a rut or a mess, usually it's of my own making. And therefore, I must dig myself out. Led by God, of course, for only He knows the best way to do all that.

It's too simple to push blame onto everybody or everything else (the weather, the economy, the absence of decent shows on tv) for my own lack. The older I become, the more responsibility is mine for my days and their outcomes. And that fact can either crush me or free me to fly and create, even when my circumstances would dictate otherwise.

But what matters is that I grow-up, that I stop waiting for some all-wise prince-type person to appear and show me what to do next when I'm bored and uninspired (and sick of snow). God is always here for that sort of thing and oh my, how everything changes when I listen to Him, obey Him and rely upon Him all these thousands of hours I am breathing.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Man, I'm thinking oatmeal makes me cranky. Every morning this week I've been snappish and moody and every morning this week I've eaten oatmeal for breakfast. Tom should feel grateful that he's at work--he wouldn't want to be around while I feel like this.

No oatmeal tomorrow morning for me. Nope. No way. Unh-unh. (It's not the first time I've noticed this, either.... Why do I always forget?)

We are due for more sun all day long today! Sitting with Lennon covered in sunshine on our front porch will make me feel ever so much better, oh yes.

After this long winter I so need a vacation... to Italy? To France? To Branson, Missouri? Uh, no. Just out to our back yard. Oh, I'm itching to get outside and wheel around our wheelbarrow with dirt from the three volcano-like piles we've got out there. I want to create a country garden behind our barn where I can sit outside, unseen, and stare at a bean plant poking its head above the ground, watch it grow, even, and not be thought insane by watchers. That will be my vacation, my 'staycation,' and it's getting harder to wait.

In fact, we are due for 51 degrees on Saturday and I just may get started out there, even if I sink down into the lawn a couple inches, squish, squish because of the mud. But right now? Right now even that sounds delightful. I'll take it.


Did anyone else laugh at Abby last night on NCIS, she with her yellow do-not-cross tape around her refrigerator and the taking of fingerprints and DNA of her co-workers so to discover who stole her chocolate cupcake? Tom and I found all that a hoot.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

"If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!"... Proverbs 24:10


Lately I watch the doom and gloom finance reports on tv and I watch people reacting to those reports and I watch myself and I think of that verse, above.

Yet as Monk says, "Here's the thing:"

... God is like a teacher who stands in a classroom always available to teach whoever sits in the desks before Him.

The problem? Most of us are always late to that classroom. Or we choose to skip class and go to the beach, instead. All those waves, all that sun and sand and fun.

But this one thing I know--God spies what's ahead and He enjoys telling us secrets of success, ones which will enable us to step through the hard times, prepared and ready for them. And because everything is pretty opposite in His way of thinking, maybe that's when the prepared people get to go to the beach--during the difficult times when everyone else is wishing they'd attended class while the secrets were passed from desk to desk (and are now scrambling to borrow their notes).

There's a time for the beach and there's a time for the classroom and blessed is he who knows the difference.


For a delightful post I discovered yesterday about using your imagination in hard times, go here.

"Timing is everything."

Monday, March 02, 2009

A huge special thanks to Laura for giving me the gift of a link to the perfect blog, the sort of blog I search for nearly every weekend.

Some of you, too, will love the 16-year-old Everly Pleasant. She and her sisters have this sort of Alcott sisters thing going on (perhaps without even trying) and Everly writes 1800's style with a 21st century twist. Hers is an old soul, my favorite type of soul, and I am beyond enchanted with her blog. Some of you will be, too--I could even name you by name...

(I read Everly's blog and poof! I am 16 once again, full of future dreams and ethereal thoughts and plans to read every lovely book ever written.)

Her little sister, Fairlight Crumb, has a dreamy photo blog and oh the peeks we get into their life and home and yard! Be sure to see her old-fashioned photos, especially.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy... And come away inspired to make your own blog a dreamier place to be.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

This is our side yard and can't you just see me ice-skating out there? Inside my head I'm sailing gracefully along the curvatures of our frozen lakes, leaning in, then out, in, then out, my hair floating on a breeze, my white dress reflecting late afternoon sun...

But in reality? It would be more like swish, swish, trip, stumble, splat, rip my jeans.....swish, swish, trip, stumble, splat, rip my jeans.

My head finds it so hard to admit my body will turn half a century in less than two weeks. My head still believes I'm only 22.

And yet since we moved to this farm? My head sometimes sadly nods that, yes, 22 was long ago, far away... and it is gone. Forever. At least for this body and at least for parts of my brain.

I forgot to tell you (or perhaps I've hesitated telling you) that two months ago God put me on medical leave. No, really, He did. He said I needed a long rest because of all I've gone through since August of 2007, the short list being:

We put our house of 14 years up for sale.

My dad passed away.

We flew out to CA for my dad's memorial service (and I hate flying).

We sold our house.

Two months later (in the dead of winter) we moved into a tiny apartment.

Two months after that we decided to buy this farm.

Two months later we moved again and started a whole new life here which involved choices and changes we'd never dreamed of.

Again, that's the short list. And then recently there was the plane crash just miles from us and a few days later, my dear old friend passed away.

I'm so glad that God knows the future and that I don't.

But back to my head... My head has been feeling its advanced years more than I care to confess since 2007. In my early married years we moved often and I could set up a whole house, repaint its walls and get it running smoothly with hardly an extra breath. But in this house? It's been a struggle for me to complete anything or to find places to put things or to finish hanging my paintings. There's still, nearly 9 months later, so much unfinished-ness.

I don't dare mention what stress has done to my memory.

And partly all that is the reason for this God-imposed medical leave. Man, instead of painting and papering and fixing and creating, He's made me rest and read and watch tv and pray and heal. There's been lots of healing and I've needed every golden drop.

I realize, of course, not everyone is able to take two months off and I also know that many are the people who have become like The Walking Wounded, never healing, only bleeding until they can bleed no more--then imagining themselves healed. We are surrounded by those people.

But here is something else I know: whenever God is after us to take some down time, always, always He will provide a way to do that. He will slice open new paths and custom-make healing time for those He's certain need it. He has never delighted in His children walking through Life as Bleeding, Walking Wounded. No, He delights in providing help to anyone who is willing to let the wind whisk away their own agenda and instead, grab His arm the second He extends the invitation to health and healing His way, in His perfect timing. To wait for a better time is a huge mistake. There can be no better timing than His.


"He makes a way where there is no way..."