Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Here is a plaque I found at a yard sale. My grandparents owned one very much like it and for me, it's hard to pass by anything which reminds me of them. Remembrances of those two sweet folks are here and there around my house, keeping them close.
And here is one of our 'miracle' storm doors. We ordered two of them yesterday and were told it would take four weeks for them to be delivered and installed. Alas, they were installed today! And oh ... I didn't know just how much the dirty old broken screen doors bothered me until until these new doors came along. A small change, yet a huge impact--the house even feels larger, looking from the kitchen to the front porch. (The green bench was a yard sale discovery for only $2 and made by the father of the woman who sold it to me. She was feeling sentimental about letting me take it, I could tell.)

Tom and I celebrated our new doors with rainbow sherbet while watching Stargate SG-1. Does it get any better than that? :)


******

I so appreciated each of your comments to my last post. They reminded me that one of the reasons we go through hard times is so that we'll be more sensitive to others when they experience them later. We generally will know the right things to say if we recall what we wish others would have said to us.

I spoke with Naomi over the phone yesterday morning and felt better afterward. She's leaving Oreo The Cat with Carl because Oreo has become a great buddy to Carl and she hates to take everything and leave him alone, with nothing. I appreciated hearing the compassion in that thought and also knowing that they plan to remain friends. I realize lots of people say that, but knowing those two, I believe it will happen.

Anyway, there was more in the area of explanations, and well, I got off the phone feeling more at peace with the situation. So that's good.

Tom and I traveled over to the village of Niagara Falls yesterday and ordered two storm doors to replace our two ugliest-dirtiest-screen-doors-on-Earth. Valu Home Center had an amazing sale on them, installation and delivery, included.

How fun to make this home, ours. Even when I buy simple things like brass switch and outlet plates or decorative ceramic balls for the ends of pull chains, I feel like I'm creating something all my own. Or recreating, maybe. Every wall I paint or curtain rod I replace makes this more like Tom and Debra's House, rather than a house belonging to a line of faceless strangers. (Though I do like to imagine faceless strangers within these walls back around 1900. That, I think, is fun.)

One of the many ways in which I like New York better than California? When you buy a house here, you are given the Abstract of Title (as it's called). What's that? It's an amazing list of everyone who has ever owned, not only your house, but the property upon which it sits, even before it was divided up into your current lot. It's like reading the history of your house! Well, sort-of.

Anyway, I thought I'd share with you some of the wonderful old-fashioned first names of people listed upon the pages of our title:

Charles and Blandina (1828)
Ebenezer and Jemima (1832)
Theodotus and Ann (1833)
William and Cornelia (1833)
Trumbull and Sarah (1833)
Elbridge and Ruth (1853)
William and Eugenie (1895)

There are more, but you get the idea.

Remember the 1970's decor I've told you about? The orange counter tops, gold/tan/white kitchen floor, orange shag carpeting and bicentennial wallpaper (which the previous owners removed) and aluminum windows? Well, after reading the title, it all makes sense now. A man and wife bought the house in 1975, in November, then she filed a quit claim deed in March(!), which means, he must have later decorated the place himself. Only a man would have put so much effort into making this place look so bad.

Heh. And there is your smile for the day.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ack. Tom and I were just dealt a blow on this raining, dark day. Our daughter and her boyfriend of seven years are splitting up. And although this isn't a 100% surprise, it comes close.

I don't believe I've mentioned here that Naomi and Carl have been living together for a couple years. Some things are no one else's business (and yes, we know what the Bible says about such things). But alas, they have been living together, and now Naomi will be moving out, taking just two of her four cats with her. Naomi is letting Carl keep her favorite cat of all time--and that concerns me. Shocks me. I never, ever thought she'd give up Oreo--Naomi's always been more passionate about that cat than she ever was about Carl.

Carl! We've always liked Carl. He appeared right after Naomi's relationship with a guy we were actually afraid of, one who caused us to pray, pray like crazy for two long years. But Carl came along and was instantly a breath of fresh air. A sweet, helpful guy who took care of our daughter. He helped us with rewiring and insulating and lifting heavy things--and more. And all those holidays with the four of us! And in these seven years we grew to love him.

No, they weren't married, yet this still feels like a divorce.

Naomi will be moving into an apartment closer to her job, but a bit farther from us, although we do often travel over there. Living on her own again, which will mean more prayers and more trusting of God to protect her and provide help when she needs it.

And Life will go on, I know. But these blows which come along when everything--for just awhile--was going smoothly... these blows require Time to adjust to. And I know many of you know just what I mean.

So Tom's tractor buddy, Al, told him there was a swap meet (flea market) on Saturday, an annual one at the county fairgrounds. Tom and I drove there, each of us envisioning tables and miles of cool, flea market type stuff.

Well. We had to pay $6 each to get in (hmm...) and the first few tables held Man Stuff. You know, tools, hubcaps, car repair magazines, tools, old car parts, tools, diecast cars, rusty metal things and did I mention tools?

I told Tom, "We must be in the automotive section, so tell me which way you're heading and I'll search for the good stuff and find you again soon."

So in the sun, I walked up and down three more aisles, scanned table after table, and here is what I saw:

tools, hubcaps,
car repair magazines, tools,
old car parts, tools, die cast cars,
rusty metal things and did I mention tools?

Oh my goodness! Though I spied a few token items which women would appreciate, I realized we'd landed at some kind of Manly Men's Swap Meet.

Sigh.

So I went and found Tom, who appeared as though he'd been beamed-up to Heaven, what with the stars in his eyes. And you know? The old Debra would have been all, "This is pathetic! There's nothing in this whole place for me." (Me! What about meee?) Yet the new Debra, the one God is re-creating (after I messed-up the first one), felt such peace, perhaps even supernaturally-so. I felt happy for Tom, even, that this was the flea market of his dreams.

So I told him (while his eyes darted everywhere, trying to absorb it all), "I'll go out to the car and get my book, then I'll sit and read in the food court area and you can find me when you're ready."

He loved that idea. What's more? I did, too. I loved sitting at a picnic table with a root beer and a spiffy yard-sale-found book while also watching and listening to people. Oh, it was sunny and hot and I felt myself frying, but sometimes a cool breeze wafted through us. Besides, I love those fairgrounds, for the happiness of people feels so palpable there. If only the lambs and baby pigs and chickens were inside the barns, it would have been perfect.

But alas! There was a classic car show and both Tom and I adore those. So after we ate lunch at my table, we wandered down to all those waxed, gorgeous cars and named our favorite--a beautiful sea-foam green and white Oldsmobile from around 1957. Oh my. We stood before her and swooned and agreed if we ever get into the classic show car thing, we'd buy a car exactly like that one.

Anyway, the hours we spent there were fun for both of us. And I'm so thankful that God is changing me day by day. I'm grateful He's replacing my tendency to moan and whine when I don't get my way and --in its place--He's putting contentment and joy, powerful things when they've come from Him.

Life is a zillion times more fun and downright pleasant when I let God change me rather than trying to change myself. It's usually not fun during the changes (uh, heavens no), but afterward, oh the peace!

Friday, June 26, 2009




Happy National Stay-At-Home Mother's Day! :)

There's something I've been meaning to tell you, but well, you won't believe it. You just will not believe it.

No you won't.

What is it? I am going to repaint my kitchen again. Third time in just over one year.

I warned you that you wouldn't believe it.

Yes, the green is just too dark. The sun shines in the kitchen only 2 (or so) hours each day and those times are glorious, bright and pretty. But the remaining 22 hours, well, it's like a cave in there--and who wants a cave-like kitchen? And the stripes I was painting? Shudder. I painted some more, they turned into a big stripey mess, and with the dripping paint brush in my hand I thought: I. Hate. Painting. Stripes.

Grace was not helping me paint those stripes. She sat in a different room shaking her head because painting stripes was Debra's idea and Debra's ideas nearly always lead to bad times, disasters and pity parties. Grace never suggested stripes in the first place--and deep down--I knew that.

So I stopped painting stripes. Of course, I could have forced myself to finish them, struggling and murmuring the whole way down the wall, for after all, God has given me free will and I can be stupid if I wish. But I'm no fool. I've learned to leave things alone if Grace has gone away (or if she never showed-up in the first place).

So here is what I'm thinking is Grace's idea for my kitchen. I believe she wants me to paint the top half (over the white tile) a similar autumn gold which I used in our dining room. I love that room. I make-up excuses to spend extra time in that room. So I'm thinking autumn-gold in the kitchen will finally, finally make me happy.

And if, truly, autumn-gold is Grace's choice, then all will be well in my kitchen, indeed. Finally.

Life rolls along more smoothly when I listen to Grace at the beginning of any project or relationship... and somedays I recall that better than others.




Thursday, June 25, 2009

Is this ladybug tea kettle cute, or what? A yard sale find today. So Mary Englebreit-y. So welcome. :)

We had a huge thunder/lightning/torrential rain storm this afternoon and I'm grateful Tom was home because ok, ok.... I morph into a huge sissy coward during these big storms. The electricity went out twice, but came back on soon after. The siren downtown sounded for the volunteer firefighters, too... sigh... (perhaps a house was struck by lightning? It happens in our area). I have friends who enjoy these sorts of storms (are they insane?), but as I said, I do not.

Yet all's well now, except for the remaining heat and humidity. But alas, it is summer, in Buffalo after all, and complaining about the weather will do no good. We're attempting to leave the air-conditioner stored down in the basement until at least July 1st (to save $$ and set a personal record), but at this rate that's gonna be a challenge. (Sitting here sweating as I am, I'm ever so tempted to sneak down there right now and lug the thing up here.)

But hey, I'm not complaining.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Personally? I believe everyone should make a major life change around age 50. You know, something beyond ones self, something that --if God doesn't do it through you--then it will fail.

I'm still learning to deal with mine.

Oh, there's so much to learn out on this wild, old farm! I call it wild because--take a few days off--and the whole thing turns all over-grown and wild-looking and starts screaming, "Do something, for I'm such an eyesore!"

What a challenge. But alas, a good one, what with the mowing and decorating and pulling of weeds and gardening and pulling of weeds and the errands and pulling of weeds and cleaning and cooking of meals in the midst of all the aforementioned activity--and did I mention the pulling of weeds?

And all the learning of new things! That's what makes me recommend a huge life change at 50. Because often by then some of us have become all been-there-done-that-what's-there-left-to-do? ... and that's not good. I've known people who, as they age, become sour, foreboding and cranky because of how Life turned out or after losing their curiosity and love of learning. Whimsy slid out the back door eons ago, a mild sort of bitterness entered, instead, and colored everything, as though peering out of brown glass windows. And then the talk becomes all about the good old days, even though the Bible says this:

"Do not say, 'Why were the old days better than these?' For it is not wise to ask such questions." Ecclesiastes 7:10

I want to start out well and finish that way, too. Not whining about changes, even huge ones, but rather, I want my relationship with God to determine how my days go and feel--not my circumstances. Oh, there will be days when I'll slip into that moaning gear, I'm sure. But if you ever hear me sniffling on and on and on like that for months at a time, well, you have my permission to shoot me. :)

Monday, June 22, 2009


In the movie, You've Got Mail, there's this:

"George, are you online?"

" For me the Internet is just yet another way of being rejected by women."

Ha! I love that and often think of that line, too. Why? Because through Facebook, Classmates.com and email I've contacted old friends from jr. high and high school and my young, married days, too. I ask questions about their current lives and they write exciting descriptions of their years and those of their grown (brilliant) children. Then I tell them about my simple/farmgirl/homebody life and my waitress/drummer daughter and--often-- I never, ever hear back from them. And then comes that bothersome sting of rejection.

Heh. Many are the times that has happened and many are the times I've told myself, "Duh! No wonder we lost contact ages ago. All we had in common was that we attended the same high school or church or lived in the same neighborhood or had babies at the same time." And though some folks can re-build a whole, vital relationship on that stuff, I usually can't.

So here's what I've learned over the nine years I've been digging-up these dead relationships online: having nothing in common is not the same as rejection--it's more a lacking of ability to connect. Not all friendships were meant to last forever; some served their purpose only for a season. People change. I change. We all travel in different directions and only some of us will meet up in a new place, still able to connect and build something lasting. But that is the exception, not the rule.

And if the people of our past don't appreciate the new us, well, that's ok, too, and should hold no shock. In a way, our past is a sort of Tower of Babel where God says, "Go out, grow-up and become a new creation in new places with new people and form the Life I created you to live."

That's how I like to picture it, anyway. And if sometime down that Road of Life we reunite with old friends and form godly connections with them, that's terrific. But if we meet some with whom we have nothing left to talk about, well, that's ok, too. We each must travel where God leads and He's always making all things new. Especially relationships... and there are always new ones to be found.



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Sometimes it's not me. It's not them. It's just Life.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Speaking of My Garden.....



So yesterday I talked about my garden, and well, here are a few photos (click any to enlarge... most everything is still baby-size). All is pretty tame right now, but someday it will go all out-of-control. Trust me.


I've got an amazing crop of Creeping Charlie in the back corner. heh. That's my current project--clearing it all away and then planting my final row on this side of the garden.



Oh how I love the tiny deck I made last year! I sit out here upon the boards and putter and play with a bucket of water and feel like a kid with my Barbies all over again (as I told you about here). The water gets splashed on the boards of the deck and suddenly I'm on a pier jutting out over a river. (Quite the imagination I have, huh?)



And don't you just love June roses? Our one-and-only here, I'm thinking this rosebush is old--its base is probably five inches around (six maybe?). You've got to love a rosebush that can survive storm after storm, year after year.

Oh, that we all were like that.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Of Gardens and Gardening


I found this passage in the book, People With Dirty Hands, and it's been such a comfort:

"Could I see your garden?" I ask.

"Maybe in the spring," he says......I have two fifty-by-one-hundred-foot plots and my wife complains that they're not pretty at all. It's just in rows, everything, my flowers, my vegetables..."

"It sounds like my garden," I say. "It doesn't look like much of anything. And by August it's full of weeds."

"And that's okay," Rick says heatedly. "People don't seem to understand that amending the soil and all that--you don't have to do that stuff. If by July, it's too hot to sow successive crops and you don't care anymore--that's okay. A lot of years in August, I look forward to the first frost. So what? ..."

"Me, too," I say. "So what is it about gardening?"

"It's a meditation," Rick says. "I don't think, necessarily, when I'm gardening. I have an active mind and I'm always talking, talking and thinking. In the garden, I'm not. I'm a much more relaxed gardener than anyone I know. I grow it for my own edification, and that's all."


Love that. The whole thing is me to a T (as they say). Right now I'm passionately puttering in my garden, rearranging plants, planting seeds in containers on my little deck out there, snipping banana peels and apples and placing them in rings beneath the soil at the base of plants. And I'm putting down borders, some wooden ones, some plastic, and scratching the earth, pulling weeds and watering, staking, and even walking the rows, checking things in the rain. It feels like playing on a playground and being ten all over.

But come August? Eh. The passion will be gone. It always goes and I've always felt guilty about that, not to mention I've always felt a bit uncomfortable that my gardens seldom resemble everyone else's. Mine look, well, different, usually like a huge viney catastrophe.

But no more will I feel that way. My garden is my garden and it can look and be anything I want it to be. I can learn from it and meditate in it and stare at it while it grows and then walk away from it when I tire of it ... and start all over again next Spring. Because it is mine.

And that, my friends, is one huge load off of my own tired ol' gardener's shoulders.



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And for me, this 'philosophy' carries over into other areas of Life as well.............

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Simple Delight


Remember when I told you about the town-wide yard sales, most of them held in yards of old farmhouses in the countryside? And how Tom and I ate lunch at an old-fashioned diner with the Flo-like waitress?

Well, after lunch Tom stepped across the street to a hardware store and I walked to the thrift shop. I discovered something special there, my favorite sort of hardcover book to find on dusty shelves-- a 'malt shop book', called Sixes and Sevens. The author was one I'd never heard of, Esther Elizabeth Carlson.

You've heard of malt shop books, haven't you? They're teen romance books from the 40's, 50's and 60's by authors like Anne Emery, Rosamond du Jardin, Betty Cavanna, Mary Stolz, Beverly Cleary, Janet Lambert, Lenora Mattingly Weber and others. To taste them you can go to fun websites here and here and here.

They're books where holding hands was a big deal and going steady had negative connotations (tying oneself down to only one other boy or girl) and family problems usually weren't too severe--and solvable (though some dealt with the aftermath of a parent's death). Cashmere sweaters, pony tails, swoony formals, a boyfriend and a good college in their future was all that most girls wanted.




I checked these books out from libraries as a high school student of the 70's and loved them so much that, because of their influence, I felt more like a teen of the 50's and 60's, myself. I viewed my life through malt shop books, you could say. These books were 'nice,' but not fluff--always there was some sort of lesson to be learned and some bits of wisdom to be gleaned concerning friendship, family-life or teen romance. And many were beautifully written.




Anywayyyy..........I hugely enjoyed reading my thrift book find, Sixes and Sevens. Afterward I looked up the author online and found another of her books, The Long Way Around, for only 89 cents. It arrived yesterday and in-between cleaning and gardening and decorating I am devouring it in bites. Loving it. Classic good stuff, especially since the main character was a very shy teen just as I was long ago.




The main delight for me? Discovering a new-to-me malt shop author of the 1950's on a lovely Friday afternoon in 2009. These are the happenings which whisk me back in time and keep me there--to some extent. Just as I went through high school viewing Life through these old malt shop books, I find myself, at 50, doing the same thing. You know, looking at Life differently than everyone else, staying young at heart, finding the good which still remains in our world and not growing all sour because of the bad.




So thank you, God, for helping me find and buy my lovely collection of malt shop books, ones which libraries have mostly phased-out forever. And thank-you to the long-gone authors who took the time to write these books which still flavor my days like cherry syrup on a sundae.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I've mentioned here that Tom and I are currently Netflixing the seasons of Stargate SG-1 since we've become such huge Stargate Heads. heh. We have the 'two discs at home at a time' option--we usually have one Stargate SG-1 disc and one movie, usually of Tom's choice.

Anyway, we've watched five whole years' worth of Stargate SG-1 and the first disc of season 6 was due to arrive last Wednesday. But on Tuesday I saw in my queue online that some Netflix guy totally skipped over our first two selections (each Stargates, season 6) and was sending a movie, instead. Selection #3. And both of those Stargate discs said they were available now. Now!

This was not the first time this had happened, and well, I threw a fit.

"I can't believe these people! What kind of idiots do they have working at Netflix? It's like some dufus at a computer peers at our movie list and says, "Aw, they don't really want to watch those oldy-moldy ol' Stargates, do they? They'd much rather have a cool, new movie, wouldn't they?"

I was livid. I had so been looking forward to our next Stargate disc (but then, aren't I always?). Tom arrived home soon after and I told him that once again those stupid Netflix morons had used their own judgement instead of just giving us what we wanted. And--if both those discs were unavailable--then they should say so and not label them as available now. Tom smiled. Stayed calm, even(!) I told him I should send Netflix a scathing email because they've treated us like this once too many times and he said, "Yes. Go ahead."

But guess what? When I quieted down, God began speaking to me. Convicting and correcting me. Calming me. And reminding me that this was a small thing. Not world-shaking and certainly not worthy of a fit throwing. And I was better than this, He reminded me.

Man, He's always right. Sigh.

So I apologized to God and Netflix (inside my head) and went on to adjust our queue where I put three Stargates at the top and a movie at number 4. With a smirk I said to the computer screen, "Let's see them skip over three Stargate discs!"

And what did they send us the next time? The movie.

Ackkk! I felt my blood begin to boil, but you know? This time, almost immediately, I realized it just was not worth the energy to get all upset. And also, I knew this was the second half of my Not-Getting-My-Way take-home test. And I knew God was watching to see how I handled it. What grade I would earn.

So I stayed calm. Smiled. And said, "You Netflix morons--uh, very nice people-- are not going to make me mad this time. So there. I know what's happening here and this is one test I'm going to pass." And I simply moved ten Stargate discs to the top of our queue. (Ten!)

And soon after that is when the miracle happened. Well, a kinda-sorta miracle. In all the years we've been signed up with Netflix, not once--not one single time--have they processed any of our returned movies on a Saturday. And believe me, many of our movies have arrived at the Netflix warehouse on Saturdays, but not until Monday do they let us know about it, then mail us a movie.

Well, that Saturday I got an email saying they'd received our last disc and we'd be getting Stargate SG-1 on Monday. Wow. That had never, ever happened before. Maybe they began adding a Saturday shift that very Saturday or maybe it was a fluke. But whatever, I couldn't help but feel this first-time 'miracle' happened--in part--because I'd passed that earlier test. I'd not thrown a fit, didn't allow my blood to boil, but just took it calmly, the way I should have the first time.

God doesn't let me get away with much. And you know? I'm glad. Life is way more enjoyable as a grown-up who is letting God grow her up His way... not hers.


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Dying to self: dying to my right to say whatever I want,
dying to my right to do whatever I wish,
dying to my right to concentrate upon whatever thoughts fall into my head.

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A special thanks to each of you for your sweet (and over the top in some cases) comments about our front porch. I really appreciate your kindness.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


The inside of our front porch looks, well, shoddy. (The outside isn't so hot, either.) The eight big storm windows are old, probably from the 70's and some of their smudges can't be wiped off. The lower panel on the storm door was replaced with plexiglas and is marked-up and all permanently smudgy like you wouldn't believe. The lower walls have never been painted, they're water-stained, they've worn to yicky-grey and need to be replaced. The two sills which I've not yet painted are flaking and the floor is just plywood. Or something like it.




But you know? On sunny mornings like this one, our front porch feels downright luxurious. On this porch I can sit at the bistro table in my robe and slippers, something I only longed to do at our old house on the open-to-the-world front porch. I lean against the window sill and soak in the sun and gaze at green lawns and myriad trees outside the windows and they soothe my mind while the Big Band Era music wafting through the opened door of the living room cheers me. And I dream, dream, dream. And read. And tear pages from my garage-sale-found Victoria magazines. And feel gratefulness down to my toes.




Our front porch is teaching me this: It's not always how a room looks that's important, but rather, it's how it makes you feel. And so there's your simple lesson for the day. Mine, too.




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You can click to enlarge the photo for some sunny details, some nice, some not. :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Of Appreciating Each Moment


Every early, darkish morning I throw my long black wool coat over my robe, walk down our front steps and take big gulps of damp country air on my way to snatching the newspaper from our mailbox. I keep reminding myself to treasure every moment out here. This is, after all, my thirty-five-year-old dream come true, endless work and all. Work which--mostly--I am enjoying, tired muscles and everything else.


But even with all the treasuring and enjoying and noticing and breathing-in, it all still goes too fast. It'll be Tuesday, the day to take out the trash and then--before I blink, even--it's the next Tuesday and time to take it out again. Weekend to weekend, seems only two days are between. And I'm always turning the calendar, it feels like.... even with all the noticing and breathing-in and treasuring. Still, it all sails past too quickly.

And like this morning... I found out on Facebook from an old friend that another old friend, one from long ago, passed away. He was only a few years older than Tom and myself, a pastor who'd been ill for a couple years. I'm sure it all went by too fast for him and way too quickly for the family he left behind.

So while I am still here upon this Earth, upon these four acres, I will keep treasuring each new day and I'll try to slow it all down, even though, it will still go by too fast. It always does.



.... Good-bye, Greg. I will remember you.


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"What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air]." ... James 4:14

Wednesday, June 10, 2009



On Friday we will have lived on this tiny farm for one year and in all that time (and even a tad longer) we'd not gone to see a movie in a theater. Some kind of record for Tom and myself, definitely.

So yesterday we traveled to our old haunts and watched Star Trek. Oh my, what a wild ride! I did close my eyes through various violent scenes, but enjoyed the movie overall, even feeling emotionally overwhelmed when (slight spoiler) three of the characters parachuted out of the Enterprise. The way it was filmed, it felt as though I had--insanely--parachuted out with them. Yikes! Tears came to my eyes the way they did when I stood before the Lincoln Monument. Maybe you know what I mean.

But speaking of emotions, perhaps that was my favorite part of the film--the way keeping ones emotions under control was a theme. Just sitting there in that theater, I recalled the myriad emotions I'd felt during the ten years' worth of movies I'd seen there. How I'd often worried if I'd left the iron on and was our house in flames at that moment? Or was someone breaking into our car out in the parking lot while we sat munching popcorn? Many emotions, many fears over the years, some silly, some not.

For me, I didn't really begin advancing in this life until I learned to control my emotions. The majority of my days did not, could not, become peaceful ones until I learned to obey not what I felt, but what I knew to be true.

And of course, I'm still learning. Learning to view Life from other peoples' eyes, rather than yell at them or snub them because they hurt me. And rather than not exercising because I don't feel like it, I'm learning to exercise because it's the right and healthy thing to do. Rather than only paying the bills when I feel up to it, I'm learning to pay them once a week... I'm learning to set limits to my spending, to spread out my purchases, rather than buying everything I think I need at this moment... I'm learning to not eat every time I feel very up or very down... or treat others badly because I feel cranky... or give-up when things become harder.

The 'dying to self' which the Bible speaks of really comes into play in this area. If I can let God change me, if I can allow Him to remove the garbage I've collected within me and replace it with His fruit of the Spirit, then my emotions will simmer down. Dead people don't stand up and start yelling at others. Dead people don't whine or cry or throw a fit when someone else gets what they (Mrs. Dead To Self) prayed for for years. Dead people don't overeat, cower in fear or collect a bunch of junk.

I've lived it both ways--Dead to Self and So Alive To Self It's Pathetic. And sometimes there are flare-ups when the old, dead Debra tries resurrecting her sorry self. But what I love are the days when Old Debra remains in her grave and New Creation In Christ Debra, instead, lives in amazing peace because her emotions are no longer dragging her around by the neck.

Ah, those are the best days of all.


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"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." ... Galations 5:22-23

Monday, June 08, 2009



Here are some of our yard sale finds over the last two weekends. There are more, but I won't bore you with them all-- I'm just sharing them to encourage you that good deals do still exist out there, even in 2009. Tom and I appreciate how God provides for us through yard sales, for we've needed lots of new toys for this whole new way of Life down on the farm.

Above, the coffee cup was just 10 cents. The planter was 50 cents.




The picnic basket was just $1.



This cafe rack was just $1.




The coffee bean grinder (new in the box) was $3. The crock pot (like new) was $5.



The umbrella on the left was 25 cents.




The tea kettle was 50 cents.



These old wrought-iron pieces were 2 for 25 cents.



And Tom bought this for me, but I'm not sure how much it cost. It hangs on the side of our old pie cabinet which I'll be painting green soon.

Saturday, June 06, 2009


Yesterday was a dreamy one.

A nearby country town held a town-wide yard sale, so over miles and miles of countryside Tom and I 'saled' through fields and farms and barns and old farmhouses and Australian Shepherd dogs on porches. We've lived in this area for 16 years and we never tire of miles of 1800's houses, all styles, and cute garden sheds and picket fences wrapped around gardens. How lovely that so many people still hold deeply to a respect for the old days and old ways. Many of these farms are well-kept, allowing us glimpses of what we would have seen while tooling around in a horse and buggy in 1900.

We love that.

Our favorite yard sale was at the decrepit farmhouse of two little old ladies, sweetest things ever, who had priced all their cool old stuff so cheaply... a quarter here, fifty cents there. I would take pictures of what we bought from them, but Tom and I are headed out this morning for another town-wide yard sale at a different country town.

We stepped into dark, dusty barns and inside an aging Victorian and into garages and gazebos. So much stuff and we wanted to hurry to see it all, but Time out in the countryside slows one down. Perhaps it is the silence.

We ate lunch at the most old-fashioned diner, probably served food there 50 years, where our waitress reminded us both of a young Flo from Mel's Diner. Or Fannie Flagg. The food was cheap and great and the waitresses called many customers by name, names like Mr. Walter or Mrs. Evans. I sat there sipping my decaf, listening to Life in that place, smiling.

And after hours and hours of tables of old treasures and dusty brown and green books we traveled home and arranged our new finds in our own house and barn.

Happy sigh... How nice to still have days like that one, trips to places where many people believe no longer exist. Let them think what they will while Tom and I keep enjoying our travels back in Time.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


So here's a picture of one of my latest unfinished projects (which are many). But at least I did begin, so I'm giving myself points for that. I had just a bit of masking tape left, I'd been procrastinating seeing how stripes would look and so finally I pushed past my inherent laziness and--as Nike encourages--I just did it.

And I like the stripes so far. I plan to paint only the back wall with stripes, for it makes rather a bold statement and, I believe, would overwhelm the kitchen if all the walls were the same.

Just do it... just do it... Push past that laziness. That's my song of this Springtime, my first Springtime down on the farm. Oh, there's so very much to do, but I'm trying to work smart, not hard. I'm trying to do this year what will make next year simpler, especially out in our yard.

So far, so good, but oh... I'm so very far behind on my emails and comments here at my blog. If I owe you something, please be patient with me. I've never before been a farmgirl in Spring.

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Ew. Ew. Ewwww! (Gross Alert.)

I just came in from mowing our lawn where, unfortunately, I accidentally mowed over what was probably that same snake I told you about here. Argh. I absolutely hate it when I kill an animal, even a snake. And to top it off, by the looks of its guts (I told you this was gross), it was probably pregnant. So of course, I feel worse. But alas, as Dr. Phil says, guilt implies intent, and I certainly didn't intend to rip that poor snake to shreds. Besides, she had at least 15 minutes to hide under a rock or beneath the pallets (where she was just inches away).

Sigh. I hated to have this opened-up snake lying there for Tom to take away when he comes home from work, so I mosied over to our neighbors' barn where I knew Rob (we'll call him) was working. I told him the problem, asked him if maybe a cat or wild animal would just cart the snake away or would it just poof! disappear. He said he wouldn't mind carrying it out to the woods for me. What a sweetie! I must have said thank-you twenty times.

And I know... one must expect these sorts of things when one lives on a farm. But still, I feel dreadful... Poor snake--but at least its end was quick.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Some of my blogging friends are experiencing depression/melancholy/the blahs and I feel sad for them. I also feel deja vu when I read their words for I remember having those same sorts of weeks and years back in the 80's and 90's. But the good news? God set me from from depression and He can do it for anyone.

But now, for me, there are just occasional moments of melancholy and I've learned to--as Barney Fife would say--nip them in the bud. As in gardening, it's one thing to pull up a tiny weed, but quite another to yank and tug a huge monster weed which has been allowed to grow a long, mighty root.

If I feel sadness or a discomfort within this skin, if I've lost my joy and contentment, I immediately begin asking myself questions:

What sorts of thoughts am I thinking? What am I concentrating upon? Too much of one thing? Too much of a negative thing? Am I wallowing in self-condemnation, being way too critical of myself--or others?

Am I holding a grudge toward someone or resenting God, even? Has my heart grown impatient? Am I gossiping? Am I obeying my convictions?

Am I holding onto the past, am I trying to live there? Am I holding onto a fear of the unknown future? Am I worrying about anything or anyone?

Am I eating right, or am I eating the sloppy way I used to in my carefree 20's? Am I taking my vitamins and getting enough sleep? Am I working too hard? Have I taken time out for fun lately?

Am I mistreating the people in my life? Am I nagging my husband? Am I ignoring him or my friends? Do I owe a lot of emails or apologies?

But usually? Usually, for me, the problem lies in one place. Often when my peace has vanished it's simply because I've gone all out-of-balance and I've been desiring something else more than I desire God. My hunger for things or activities or my own way has become greater than my hunger for more of God in my life.

When my minute-by-minute relationship with God is tight and right, then all else amazingly falls into place. When I'm close to God, when I've got a grip upon His strong arm, I can never wander away more than a short step before He pulls me back... before He brings me back to center... before He restores and refreshes my soul.

My hourly hunger for Him, for me, is the key. For He is Light and Goodness and Joy-- and it's inside His presence where I want to remain and dance and celebrate all the days of my Life.



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Psalm 16:11
"You will show me the path of life: in Your presence is fulness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore..."

Monday, June 01, 2009


So Tom and I went to Sullivan's on Saturday for lunch, the place I've told you always reminds me of the 1950's outdoor diners of Happy Days.

All was quiet and sweet on the deck above the river when along came a mom and her five-year-old (I'm guessing) daughter. Before even ordering, they came to the rail near us to see the water and the occasional duck or two below. I could tell the daughter loved Sullivan's for its river and ducks like I do. Soon they left to order their lunch, then sat at a table very near the Order Here Window.

Uh-oh. The little girl began crying, shrieking, "I want to sit by the water! I want to sit by the water!" Well, this went on and on (and on), for the mom appeared to be taking her stand by making them wait for their food well away from the river.

As the noisy moments crawled by, Tom and I looked at each other, sighed, rolled our eyes, then began discussing what the mom should have done rather than subject the rest of us to her daughter's screams. At one point, the mom took her daughter to their car (just a few feet away from us), but the daughter just stood outside of the car with her mom and continued wailing her best rendition of the pitiful cry which most 5-year-olds can do most professionally. Eventually (felt like years) their order was ready, they sat at a table near the water and the girl happily ate her hamburger, not murmuring even one little word--and probably thinking, "Just cry long enough and loud enough and I'll get my way."

Sigh.

So what would I have done had this been me and a young Naomi? At Naomi's very first suggestion that we sit by the water and wait instead (and had she been the type to throw fits, which, of course, she wasn't because we took care of that at a much earlier age), I would have kept the upper hand and said, "Okay, listen. If you can be quiet for one whole minute, we'll go to the tables by the water and wait instead." Then I'd have looked at my watch and said, "Ready? Okay, start."

Most likely Naomi could certainly have handled being quiet for a minute, it would have felt like a game with a prize in sight, then we'd have moved. And I, the mom, still would have been in charge, rather than the other way around. There would have been no 20 minutes of shrieking. No fits. No fighting to get her own way. And no Tom and Debra (and other customers) rolling their eyes and wishing this mom and her daughter would just float away.

No, the lesson would have been reinforced that if one is quiet and obedient, one might just get to do what one wishes.

Is parenting so hard? No. But it does take wisdom. It does require thinking ahead and always remembering just who is in charge here--and who is not.

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And what if Naomi had refused to be quiet for one minute and began shrieking to have her own way? I'd have quietly taken her to our car, either sat inside with her or stood outside beside the door, waited for our food, then taken it home. Thus reinforcing the lesson that people who shriek and wail for what they want, get the opposite result.