Friday, January 29, 2010

Of Kevin and Jay and Conan



"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands... " 1 Thessalonians 4:11


For a few years, our local morning news station (CBS) had the Why Guy. What's a Why Guy, you ask? 

He was a hilarious young man who drove each dark morning to interesting places here in Western New York. He'd visit shops, diners, farms, factories or even peoples' basements if they had wild memorabilia collections. 

The Why Guy segments were popular. Everyone loved Kevin and we all enjoyed learning more about our area's history, our neighbors and places we'd not yet visited.

Life was good back then.

But then, something happened. Kevin, the Why Guy quit his job at the CBS station and moved over a few blocks away to their heaviest competition--the NBC station, where he pretty much does the same thing, except that he's not called the Why Guy. He's just called Kevin.

Boy, was I steamed at first. I called Kevin a traitor. I vowed to boycott the NBC local news and when I'd catch Tom secretly watching it, I'd ask, "How can you watch that, knowing how they stole Kevin away--and how he accepted their offer and just left his friends at the CBS news for probably money, money, money?"

Yes, I did that. Good grief. I know.

But alas, I eventually took peaks, myself, at the NBC morning news. Wow, those local folks were good. They made news fun--imagine! They showed us how to save money and did product tests with regular people in their homes, visited elementary schools for weather shows and the camaraderie between the newscasters was delightful. Not to mention that they had good ol' Kevin and his fun, around-town segments, too.

Three years later, I'm still watching them at 5:00 a.m.

What lessons I learned. I mean, hey. Kevin had a perfect right to switch jobs! He has a right to make more money, to go where he wants--and none of that is any of my business. Just because I enjoy seeing Kevin on tv does not mean I own him. He has his life, his choices, and I have mine. 

And I have no right to wish away any of Kevin's freedom. None.

Yes, the CBS local morning news suffered. They held auditions for another Why Guy, but they stopped searching--they could never find another Kevin. They fired one of their longtime news anchors which caused quite a stir (it upset me, too, because I'd sent her a couple emails--she'd read one on the air. She was a sweetheart. People wrote newspaper articles calling the whole team, boring compared to the NBC one.A

Why am I writing about this? Well, this latest thing with Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien got me all riled up, especially after Oprah's (rather mean) interview with Jay yesterday.

Tom and I much more prefer Jay Leno (or perhaps it's the Old Jay of the Old Days we prefer). We don't understand the huge majority of people who appear to be on Conan's 'side.' For everything they say against Leno, we are thinking, instead, those things about Conan.

But here's the thing: It's all none of my business.

God has given me hundreds of beautiful things to contemplate and well, I've absolutely no leftover time to get all steamed up about the Leno vs. O'Brien fiasco.

Life is way too short. 

Other people have a right to make their own decisions. I have a right to make mine. And it's not up to me to yank them together, creating a mess inside my own head all because I could not, yes I'll say it again--mind my own business. 

There's no Grace in minding other peoples' personal affairs. Trust me, I know. And I only want to go where Grace is.



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People who keep their noses in other peoples' business deserve the discomfort they often get by doing so.


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This is my business, though: "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." ... 1 Timothy 2:1-4



*****

Finally I'm making actual progress on our large-ish middle bedroom upstairs, the room I never show you because of its brown paneled walls, brown painted floors, brown painted window frames and brown painted doors (what was someone thinking? Sheesh.).

How wonderful, though, to give this room an airy, light touch. While wielding a paintbrush, I listen to lovely instrumental music and glance at the dancing birch tree reflections on the 'table top' (a framed print set upon a round table) while I give these paneled walls, well, a voice of sorts. They sing now, where before, they only moaned at their ugliness.

How amazing the ability to make my home lovelier even in Today's economy, to leave it fairer than I found it. But then, always that's been possible for those people who seek cheaper, more creative solutions rather than just sitting in chairs, venting and sputtering at the way things are inside their world and outside, as well.

And so it goes for the whole of this old farmhouse, a re-clothing of its walls and windows so to add warmth and color and to release its voice to sing, even on these snowy, blowy winter days.



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Soon I'll paint the floors, white (a la this room). Though Heaven only knows how I will keep Lennon and McCartney The Cats off of them until they dry. :) Oh, and I'll paint the nightstand and footstool white, also. There's ever so much left to do up there.

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Trust in the Lord (not your job, not the economy, not the President) with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength.... lean not upon your own understanding.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

So for weeks I've planned on feeling very old on this day. But actually? I'm still celebrating feeling loads better than I did all last year, what with, for months, walking around with an infection inside my mouth. (Don't ever do that, ok?)

Anyway, why was I planning on feeling old? You see, today is my daughter's 30th birthday.

Oh my. I'm thinking that--somewhere--a mathematical mistake has been made. Surely! For on most of my days I feel only 30-years-old, myself.

Alas.

But no, it's true... For thirty years Tom and I have loved this beautiful creature who God gave us, a gift we've cherished through good times and bad. A gift like none other, one which keeps on giving to us year after year. A sweetheart who takes care of us, worries about us and gives us presents of vitamins and neck pain massagers and massage appointments and organic food so that we will last and last and so that her dad, especially, will be made more comfortable from his polio-induced problems.

What a dear girl, no, what a dear woman is ours straight from the hand of God in these our golden years. Our drummer girl, our sweet daughter.


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"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him." ... Psalm 127:3


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Here's my favorite post about my daughter.

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Oh, and if you want to watch something hilarious from Your Show of Shows, go here. Loved it.

Monday, January 25, 2010


I've had friends who say they are too busy, too holy or too intelligent to watch tv.

And I respect that. Honestly, I do.

I have other friends who say that--nowadays--there's absolutely nothing decent/interesting/good to watch on tv. And well, though I respect that view, too, I also believe that's an over-generalization. Tom and I have a few favorite, current tv shows which we've found to be morally decent, though I admit, some of them cross the violence border frequently. And we don't even have 'real cable', just 'baby cable' (as I call it), so who knows what other inspiring, uplifting shows we are missing?

Anyway, being the great pragmatist which I imagine myself to be, I thought I'd give a list of tv shows/movies which we own on dvd for the benefit of those of you who, like me, don't consider yourself too busy, too holy or too intelligent to watch tv. Perhaps you aren't aware that some of these shows have even been released on dvd. Maybe you meant to buy a set of certain dvd's, but forgot somewhere along the way. Or maybe you would simply appreciate some suggestions for family viewing, given the state of Today's tv comedies, especially.

So for whatever reason, here's a list of some of the dvd's Tom and I own and enjoy watching:

TV Series:

I Love Lucy, This Is Your Life
Monk, Fame
The Waltons, Boy Meets World
Perfect Strangers, That Girl
The Odd Couple, Early Edition
Road to Avonlea, Family Ties
The Andy Griffith Show, Rick Steves' Travel Series
Growing Pains, Touched By An Angel
The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Jack Benny Show
Red Green, Frasier
Petticoat Junction, The Adventures of Pete and Pete
On The Road with Charles Kuralt



Movies:

Rear Window, The Thin Man Series
Harvey, The Snake Pit
The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer, Suspicion
Laura, What About Bob?
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, The Lost Weekend
The Blondie and Dagwood films, His Girl Friday
The Ma and Pa Kettle films, The More The Merrier
Frequency, I'll Be Seeing You
Destry Rides Again, Big Fish
My Favorite Wife, Groundhog Day
Christmas in Connecticut, Runaway Bride
America's Heart and Soul, The Trip to Bountiful
America's Scenic Rail Journeys, Hook
Cheaper by the Dozen (Clifton Webb), Freaky Friday (2003)
Father of the Bride (Spencer Tracy), The Railway Children (2000)
Anne of Green Gables 1 and 2
I'll Be Seeing You


Of course, the majority of these can be rented through Netflix, so it's not like I'm saying you must buy all these. It's just that I know how winter evenings can seem oh-so-long sometimes and it's too easy to just complain all sour-like that there's nothing good on tv. And it's nice when we have a choice of some good, decent shows to share with our families... and to put us to sleep, just like when we grew-up in the Old Days. :)


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Brave, creative people don't complain--instead, they seek solutions.


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The photo, above, is of our backyard on this misty, moisty morning. (That's not even the lake I usually show you, it's another one.)

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"Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life." ... Proverbs 4:23


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Anymore suggestions for my lists? I also want to order the first season of Perry Mason--oh the luxurious clothes, cars, furniture and hairstyles! Oh, and the interesting court cases, too. :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wearing Ones Guilt Like a Bag of Cement



I have a friend (or had one-- you decide) who would feel so guilty about not reciprocating my gestures of friendship, that she'd 'hide' from me. And then feel guilty some more.

Oh my. We'd have the best times when we'd get together two or three times yearly. We'd laugh, relax and watch movies in our basement or go out to eat or share lunch with our husbands or visit at outdoor church functions. We had much in common. 

But then Life would get in the way, especially for her since she has a real job, and too, she lives a distance away over the New York state thruway, the stretch which makes me oh-so-nervous. So always there were obstacles to our getting together, but as I said, when we did, we both agreed it was grand. Simply grand.

Once a couple years passed that we didn't visit together, but I wrote letters, mailed a couple gifts and she called me sometimes and sent Christmas cards. More time passed then her husband called and asked if he could bring 'Sarah' over to our house as a surprise because he knew she'd missed me, but she was imagining I was upset with her because she'd allowed our friendship to go stale. Silent, even.

So he surprised her and Sarah was so happy her husband had 'pushed' her into this visit. And after I assured her that I'd never been mad at her, we proceeded in having the sweetest fellowship ever. 

Well, except when she reiterated her list of all the things in this life which make her feel guilty. Sarah had a long list. 

It wasn't a list with big-time sins--she's robbed no banks (heh) and has never considered straying from her marriage. No, but rather, she still feels guilty that, when her daughter was young, she prayed she'd be popular because, Sarah, herself, had struggled with her own unpopularity in high school. Her daughter did indeed become popular, a fact Sarah regrets because she believes her daughter's popularity was the source of all her hardships in high school and ever since. 

With every mistake her daughter makes, Sarah blames herself for that long ago prayer.

That's the kind of guilt I mean, the kind which rides around upon your head like a heavy, uncomfortable bag of dry cement, veering you into a ditch to the left, a ditch to the right due to great imbalance. And slowing down every single journey you take.

Since moving to this farm we live even farther from Sarah and her husband and though I've sent a few cards and notes I've not heard back from my friend for at least 5 years, perhaps more. I've emailed her --unanswered, all. Sarah, most likely, has slipped back into thinking I'm mad at her, when actually, I'm just sad. Sad that, for the 17 years I've known her, Sarah's life seems to go from one sad happening to another, from one guilty ditch to another, seldom varying from the well-worn condemnation road.

And today if you, also, walk that road? I hope you'll remind Sarah (and yourself) that Jesus died to carry all that guilt away. And the conviction He now brings is wrapped inside a Love so great, a burden so light, that there are never, ever any bags of dry cement within His outstretched hands. 

There's only guidance, light and freedom and a straight path to joy.



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"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." ... Matthew 11:29, 30

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Need a laugh today? Read this. (I'd love to know if it made you smile.)

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"... do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength..." ... Nehemiah 8:10


To everything, there is a season-- even friendship. And no season lasts forever.



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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Debra's Day Out




Imagine this-- Debra had a day out yesterday. 

I drove with Tom to his job at 6:00 a.m. (!) then after leaving him there, drove through darkness to the supermarket of our old town, you know, the place we lived 15 years and where God shook-up and rearranged everything inside me. 

The supermarket was shadowy, lights, low. We early birds don't need lights to shop by, obviously. heh. No, I respect the saving energy thing and bought my coffee and squinted through a few decorating magazines.




Hung out until 8:00 and daylight then drove to our old neighborhood, past our former house and the streets I once walked upon and noted few changes--and appreciated that. I'd not missed too much this past year-and-a-half, I mused.




Then to Burger King for breakfast where I sat beside my favorite big window, full of morning sun, and read my current book, even whipping out my reading glasses which I don't like to do in public. But hey. What are ya gonna do at my age?




Then off to Salvation Army across the street where I searched only for a good book, but found none. Then around the corner to the town library for old time's sake where I went online a few minutes and then alas! Ran into an acquaintance from years gone by. She thought we'd moved to Virginia so I told her that, instead, we'd chosen this 4-acre farm. We chatted about composting and gardening until her little guy began squealing for her from the children's room and I left the library, smiling.




Back to the supermarket for groceries then to the main reason I'd come along with Tom so early in the day--my appointment at the oral surgeon's so she could remove my two tiny stitches inside my mouth. Was out of there--truly--in less than five minutes. Whew.

Then off to the drugstore, then to the old-time supermarket next door, the one which hurls me back to the 1940's, but just enjoyed strolling the aisles amidst all the mostly-over-age-60 people, the ones who keep this ancient place in business. Then over to the old-fashioned "Dime Store" (where I bought Valentines and cheapo birthday cards), I drove back to pick-up Tom who'd arranged to leave work early.




We made other stops, picked up lunch and drove back through the sparkling countryside, then back home, unloaded groceries from the car. I gazed all around at the sun and silence upon the snow and felt its warmth and said, "If only the whole winter could be like this--what a piece of cake!"




We changed clothes and then--finally--we watched the movie, Up. Oh wow. 

I think this barely qualifies as a kids' movie. All I know is that it tore-up my adult heart and made me cry at all scenes with Ellie (who I loved from Moment One). Perhaps Carl and Ellie reminded me too much of Tom and myself, I'm not sure. 

But we made it through this emotional roller coaster of a flick, then Tom was off to a physical therapy appointment, leaving me here to think about the movie and such a perfect day, the best part being the arrival back to this old farmhouse.


It's pleasant to visit the past, but it's even nicer to leave it back there where it belongs.



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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Of Mill Valley, California


On this winter day (due to be sunny, hooray!) I am feeling nostalgic. I'm wondering, too, if any of you remember the song, Mill Valley, California (That's My Home)?

You can listen to it here at Youtube. It was recorded by the song's author, a kindergarten teacher, Miss Rita Abrams, at Strawberry Point Elementary School. A class of 3rd graders sang it with her and the video was directed by a young Francis Ford Coppola, even. All of this happened 40 years ago. Forty-years! The song went national, playing on radio stations everywhere. I remember it well.

Why does this interest me so much? Because I attended Strawberry Point School in the 2nd through 4th grades and my family moved away the summer before Miss Abrams wrote her song. So that makes the children in the video two years younger than me and the same children with whom I played upon the playground.

Mill Valley--an enchanted place. My very best memories of childhood happened there, in fact. My family lived at the Golden Gate Baptist Seminary, a beautiful community on a hillside overlooking Richardson Bay (personally I believe we had the best view) and filled with Christian families with tons of Christian kids.

Utopia at times. Nice kids, iron banisters outside galore which to slide down, hillsides to roll, roll, roll down, concrete to roller skate upon and play hopscotch, tiny laundromats to sneak into, wood-slatted, enclosed clothesline 'outdoor rooms' to play in, a rock hill to climb, outdoor stair landings to jump off, wooded areas to pretend-camp inside and--well, stop me before I blather on all morning.

Anyway, I'd be interested to know if any of you remember the Mill Valley song. And do take a look at the video if you can, ok? (Warning: the tune will stick with you all day.)

The video will return you to a sweet time and place of 40 years ago... Forty years! This sort of thing reminds me that a year is just a span of time, like an hour. And the older I become, the more each year feels only like a moment.




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A special thanks to my dear old friend, Althea, (who I connected with at Facebook) for bringing back these memories of our Mill Valley days.

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Here's a nice article with updates about Miss Abram, her song and her life.

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Yes, this means I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1960's. And yes, it was pretty cool--I still remember all those colorful clothes and heavy make-up, bouffant hair-do's and mini-skirts! :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Being Well-Rounded--It's a Good Thing




In the early morning darkness last Friday while I snatched the newspaper from our mailbox, our neighbor walked by with her dog. 

We spoke awhile and she told me, over at her house, winter is making her bonkers. She's just itching to get back outside--she's all about being outside in her yard, not inside the house.

Uh-oh. It's only January, after all, and there's whole months of winter left for us here.

I've learned I must be tough to survive these snowy Buffalo winters which can last even six months some years. And I must plan ahead and be smart and well-rounded, too.

There are projects which I leave specifically for the dead of winter, like painting rooms or stairs or furniture. There are books I save to read at a cozy table in front of a window and recipes I try for the first time and music I save, also (I'm currently listening to the soundtrack from Road to Perdition. Pretty stuff). I have friends who don't mind driving in winter and they can come visit me for lovely hours of chit-chat. 

And just think of all those un-interrupted hours for crafts!

I write lists in wintertime. I list what I'll plant in my garden come springtime and which flowers I'll need to buy. I list which home and yard improvements I'd like to make and the approximate costs of each.

Then of course, there's my life online. Wow, does that come in handy during these long Buffalo winters! I can stay in-touch with all of you, my friends, here at my blog or on Facebook or through email. I can send you ecards or encouraging little notes anytime. (Our neighbor pretty much just emails her daughter and grand-daughter. Hmm.) 

There's a whole other world here on the Internet! I can research anything--- recipes, the history of anything from movie stars' and authors' lives to train travel to, well, anything! Not to mention the movies and tv series I can instantly watch online at places like Netflix, Fancast or Hulu.

During our icy winter months I can rearrange furniture, write letters (you remember letters, don't you?), read magazines, organize drawers, watch dvd's, clean house or learn new skills. (I've become quite expert at making meals from 'nothing,' considering how I try to avoid supermarket shopping on snowy days.)

I've known a few people in my life who do One Thing--and they do that One Thing extremely well. I respect them greatly. But come winter, I'm thankful that I'm more just the jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none type. Give me these long dark days to putter, contemplate, pray, create and hang-out with Jesus and I'm perfectly content. 

A whole other winter world appears inside my home and, finally, I've learned to enjoy it. Well, till at least around the first week of March, anyway. heh.  シ


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There comes a greater enjoyment of winter once we stop fighting it, accept it instead, and sail in its quiet flow.



*****

Tuesday, January 19, 2010



Oh! Oh! Look what I found early this morning. A Charles Kuralt dvd set is out. Finally.

I never did watch Charles' On The Road series while it aired on Sunday night all those years. Why? Because back then I was the good little Christian who you could always find sitting on a church bench during that hour. heh.

But probably ten years ago at our town's library I discovered one of Mr. Kuralt's videos, Unforgettable People, and I checked it out over and over until I (oh happy day) found a set of three videos at a yard sale. Oh, how inspiring to watch the woman who cooks lunch in her home for hours each weekday for her townspeople. She feels that's what she's called to do. Or the elderly farming couple who built a boat in their yard then sailed it away when he retired. Or the aging black man who keeps a garage full of bicycles for the children in his neighborhood to 'check out', as they would library books, so they can ride around after school then return the bikes at night.


Oh, old-fashioned people who think and act outside of the box! I so need inspiration to live my own life creatively, to dance through my days to the beat of the Great Drummer and not just walk around zombie-like, as though by rote, acting or even feeling as everyone else acts and feels. We already have enough ordinary folks-- that quota is filled, I believe.


To read about this set of dvd's go to Amazon.com, here

These would be my prescription for cabin fever and the winter blues. Guaranteed. Anything whisking us away to other worlds with unique people tends to be wonder-filled.


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And if you grew-up watching and loving Charles Kuralt's On The Road, you'll love this dvd, too-- Disney's America's Heart and Soul. I watch this dvd over and over, especially in wintertime to keep me inspired.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Of Bunny Dogs


Speaking of creativity (my last post) here's a cute, creative idea. Years ago a friend of ours introduced us to 'bunny dogs' which he'd been served in a local hamburger joint on the Niagara River. What are bunny dogs, you ask? They are steamed carrots in a hot dog bun which you top with condiments just as you would a hot dog.

I loved my first two, but after some time and more bunny dogs down the road, well, the love affair fizzled. heh. But they're a healthier alternative to traditional, chemicals-and-who-knows-what-else-laced hot dogs. Gotta love that.

Here's a recipe, but basically you just steam whole, peeled carrots till they're tender, grill them a bit if you like, then place them into hot dog buns and top with your favorite condiments. Then enjoy them while feeling clever and better about what you are eating.



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Here's another recipe, the one where I found the above nifty photo.

Sunday, January 17, 2010




When my friend, Donna, came over last Thursday we had the most special time around my dining room table. At least I hope she had fun also, because I certainly did.

During our conversation Donna mentioned an artist she'd met who'd gotten a college degree in creativity. Wow--is that cool, or what?! Immediately I thought that if ever I return to college, that's the degree I'll aim for: Creativity.

But since I don't plan to visit any hallowed college halls soon, perhaps I'll go for a Creativity Degree here in my home. I mean, what with this computer and access to books and movies, well, an education in creativity is available everywhere.

If I'm not as creative as I would like, then it's my own fault. I mean hey, I'm surrounded by inspiration. If I'm bored, it's because I've ceased my search for new ideas, colors and style and if I've forgotten how it feels to be 10-years-old and at my creative best, well, that's because I've let go of what I once exercised daily.

So let the classes begin! May I set aside afternoon hours to learn, grow and be creative. May I seek until I find. May I find what I've lost and add to that layers of the creative flow which glimpses art in every room, every field with a farmhouse and every table scape, as well.

And may the acquisition of a Creativity Degree be never ending and an enjoyable lifetime away.



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One of the artist's assignments was to make a list of creative ideas, to just jot down any and every imaginative idea which came to him. Loved that! (And can do that, certainly.)


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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lest Reasoning Get In The Way



So have you seen all over the news and Blogland the way some people are saying that the Haitian government is so corrupt that they're getting what they deserve? 

And that the money we send to help people over there will eventually go into the pockets of that corrupt government so we shouldn't give anything? Or how others ask, "Why should the U.S. give anything to these other countries anyway?"

Wow.

Well, here is what I know: Over in Haiti there are millions of moms and dads and children who are hurt, homeless and dying. And here is a little of what God says about that:

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress ... " James 1:27


"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me... 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me (Jesus).' From Matthew 25

And one more (though there are many more):

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it,
when it is in your power to act.

Do not say to your neighbor,

"Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow"—
when you now have it with you. ... Proverbs 3:27, 28

Others can argue against the many Bible verses like those, but as for me and my house, we will give to others in times of need. 

Keep your extreme complication, reasoning and excuses if you choose, but for me, giving to help wounded people in disasters is simply the right thing to do. The loving thing.

End of story.


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Love gives.


"Whatever a man sows, that also will he reap..."



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"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love." ... From 1st Corinthians 13 (The Message Bible)

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Friday, January 15, 2010



Argh. Remind me to never have another root canal.

This one was infected and needed to be pulled. I've had teeth pulled before--all my wisdom teeth, one molar and another. A piece of cake, those extractions.

But this root canal tooth! When Tom and I got into the car after the extraction, I asked him how long I was with the oral surgeon. He said, "Oh, probably around 40 minutes." I replied, "Forty minutes?! Felt more like 3 days." What with all the digging of that top tooth, the prodding, zoom-zoom filing, pushing upward on the tooth (what was with that? Shouldn't she have just pulled down on it?) and the splintering of the thing into pieces. Ick. (At one point she sighed, "Strong bone, weak tooth." Rather a good news/bad news thing.)

Oh my, all the prayers and promises I made while lying back in that chair! "Just get me through this, Lord, and I promise I will floss every single day for the rest of my life." I did not promise I'll never eat sugar again. I know better than to knowingly lie to God.

But anyway, the annoying, infected tooth is out. Gone. And more? Six hours later I'm still not feeling one smidgen of pain. The oral surgeon even gave me two stitches afterward and a prescription for some powerful pain killers if I need them. But no pain--not yet. I feel blessed.

It felt so wonderful to arrive back home, change clothes and snuggle into the couch. If I didn't love our home before, I loved it at that moment.

And for any of you who said a little prayer when I mentioned that this day would come, well, thanks so much. While lying back in that dental chair I thought of all you readers of my blog and what I'd whine about tell you about this latest adventure. I felt grateful for such a kind, sweet audience who'll actually care to read my tooth-pulling drivel because you care about me

Thank-you for that.


*****

Thursday, January 14, 2010

On My Mind Today



Now with the green walls and stenciled steps, I'm thinking nice thoughts about our stairwell. The more I change this house, the better I like it.


And I'm glad my friend, Donna, is driving all the way out here to visit me. I've not left the house in ever so long (it seems) so a visitor this morning will be grand, especially such a kindred spirit as Donna.


I'm thinking God be praised for today's sunshine and I'm grateful we have enough birdseed for the birds outside.


And happy birthday to one of our oldest, dearest friends, Pete, far away, but never far in the land of the heart. And I'm sending healing thoughts and prayers outward for my sister's young daughter-in-law who may have leukemia.

I'm praying for all the people of Haiti and how blessed I was this morning to see a group there singing praise songs with arms uplifted--and how only God can inspire people to do that in the midst of ruins.
And I am believing my prayers and my donation to the Red Cross will help, at least a little. No, more than just a little. 

Truly, in faith life, I must start thinking bigger.



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And while I'm at it, I'm also thinking how nice it was of you who told me you also liked my header. Thanks!



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"For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines and calamities. This is but the beginning of the intolerable anguish and suffering [only the first of the birth pangs]."



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Mark 13:7-9

Sunday, January 10, 2010




Oh wow. I can't even explain how much better I feel this January than the last one.There's a whole bag of reasons for this change. 

Last winter I was coming-off the high of buying this farm and then facing three-hundred unexpected annoyances (I've already whined about many of those). And remember that verse which says for a little while we'll be tested and then we'll be given a break (the extreme paraphrase)? Well, there was definitely some of that.

I wasn't nearly as prepared for winter as usual so that meant snowy trips to the supermarket (I hate that) and we were making large payments to pay-off a loan for home improvements so after each payday we had just pennies leftover (we had enough for true needs, but that little bit extra! Love me some extra.). 

Plus, an early winter caught us unprepared, I had that root canal infection and the blue I'd painted my kitchen and dining room looked and felt so very, very cold.

Poor, poor Debra, right?  シ

But this winter? 

I'm better organized. 
I've been granted a reprieve from the testing time, 
the loan is paid-off, 
we have savings and extra money again. 
I'm better stocked-up for winter 
and my new best friend, Alice.com delivers food and pantry stuff right to my back porch (no shipping cost!). 
I'm not feeling the least bit overwhelmed, 
my tooth will be pulled this week 
and my rooms are painted a warm autumn gold (or wallpapered), bringing smiles to my face whenever I step into them.

So why the list of my last winter's woes? To encourage you. To let you know that if your Today is lousy, your Tomorrow just might be amazing.

Perhaps today winter (or something) is bugging you, but always, there's hope that after sometime, you'll love even what you cannot presently stand. Later you may feel and look better and everything else may appear brighter, feel lighter and altogether different.

Never lose hope! Always believe that seasons come and go-- and a better one is just around the corner.



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"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ... Romans 15:13

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(Update 2019: Alas. Alice.com is no longer available. These days I'm a faithful home shopper from Walmart, Target and Chewy.)


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Friday, January 08, 2010



 



Oh, how I love my 'new' stairs. 

Each time I make my way up, those roses and stems remind me that--someday--Spring will return. Someday out the back door I'll step and feel 10-years-old and ready for a new adventure amongst my gardens and meadows. All the deep snow will be melted and flowers and trees, instead, will bloom and leaf and waft their heady scents.

But sometimes, like now in early winter, I must make my own Spring.

Stenciling those simple flowers on our stairs made me realize something so clearly. Namely, I don't want the best house on the block, no, but I'd like to have the most inspiring one. 

I'd love my house to inspire our visitors to return to their own homes and create some Springtime for themselves. To paint a couple walls in bold colors or stencil above the kitchen cabinets or rearrange the living room in a new way. Or to make a valance out of vintage fabric, drape shiny white pearls over the chandelier or just clean that messy spare room once and for all.

A home which inspires--that's what I wish to create. 

Not one that boasts, intimidates or looks down on those entering its doors. No, just a simple place where ideas run rampant and there's way more splash than cash and everyone who steps out the backdoor leaves with new dreams swirling inside their heads the way they once did when they were ten.






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Thanks so much for all your compliments about my stairs! And for those of you who were inspired to stencil your own stairways, thank-you for telling me, for as this post stated, I love inspiring others to create. I hope you know how much I'd enjoy seeing photos of your own stenciled steps!

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Hebrews 10:24
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.


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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Of Painting Stairs

Okay. So remember our dreadfully-ugly-grey stairs? Well, they've become the perfect winter project. I'm only in the middle of this project, but I just couldn't wait to share them with you:



Don't you just adore the miracle that is paint?

So back I go to this large-ish project of mine, Day Four or Five, I forget. It's a messy, time-consuming job, but it's worth it. Oh, and I'm considering painting the walls a light-to-medium green. In fact, I also want to paint our large middle upstairs room green, also.

I love it when I finally make up my mind.




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"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." ... James 1:8

Wednesday, January 06, 2010



Lately I've heard from various friends and relatives that they just want Jesus to return, like, right this minute. Or they long to (frankly) just die and go to Heaven. 

Hmm.

They say they're tired. Tired of the way our Country is going and of feeling ill and the way their family and friends act, tired of living the same ol' way, themselves. Tired, and afraid, too.

Yet I have other older relatives and friends who love this life which God gave them. Most days they feel good physically, they're filled with hope that their loved ones will love and serve God someday, they don't base their feelings upon the way the United States is behaving, and Jesus, even after their many years, is still their #1 joy and the reason to hop out of bed, whether it's sunny or a cloudy mess outside.

They're anticipating Heaven and Jesus' return, yes, but in the meanwhile, He's showing them an amazing time and keeping them close to His heart, a place where Life always appears hope-filled.

When I get older, I so want to be in that latter group! Heck, I want to be in that group this morning. And perhaps that's why I so often read about (and mention here to you) nutrition and the importance of exercise, as well as a positive attitude, valuing tiny things, laughter and 'not allowing my heart to be troubled.'

I don't wish to arrive at old age, an old wreck.

And the most vital thing in the world to me is to keep a running, hourly closeness to Jesus. No one, I mean no one, keeps me positive and happy and hopeful like He does. And I believe that what I become in this earthly life will matter much in my heavenly one.

I want to start well and finish well, too.

So may I listen to and obey all the myriad lessons He gives me each day so I, too, can be in that latter group, above, the one which believes to be in Heaven is good, but to be here with Jesus is good, too.



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Our reasons for longing for Jesus' return may not be as holy as we believe them to be.

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Life is a gift from God, a present to be opened--and appreciated-- every single morning.

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"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." ... John 14:27

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

My Dream House




Some people say their Dream House would have 4,000 square feet and bay windows, a highly efficient super kitchen, five huge bedrooms each with a bathroom,vaulted ceilings, a foyer and a spiral staircase.

Me? My Dream House has pineapple tops in saucers and thumbtacks still holding bits of birthday crepe paper and tiny Christmas bells around doorknobs and a creche still on the mantle in July.

There are drawers crammed with linens and damask napkins, hutches with collected treasures spilling everywhere and there's a chandelier with crystals, beads and bendable fairies. There are stacks of old records and Glenn Miller spins on the player with the occasional pop! from dust. Decorated lampshades send out cozy light and cupids are stenciled here and there on the walls above each black phone with a rotary dial.

There's a butler's pantry with stacks of mismatched dishes and seashells behind glass and sewing supplies on the counter and inside floral-papered drawers. The kitchen has a Formica and chrome table and chairs and wallpaper from 40 years ago and glass-fronted cabinets which reach to the ceiling.

The bedrooms upstairs were painted in Easter egg colors back in the 1950's and the closets hold old formals, wedding dresses and Halloween costumes as well as pink striped hatboxes. The hall is lined with sepia photos of the people who once lived in this house and the carpet runner is worn down the middle from their long ago footsteps.

There's dust, but there's a rampant feeling of love on every level and, always, it feels as though a birthday party could burst forth anytime and as though sunlight is shining from behind the heavy drapes, even when it isn't. There is laughter and music and creative activity and the children who live in this house hope to never, ever leave it.


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This post is partly inspired by the essay, Other People's Houses, by Nancy Eberle, one of my all-time favorite pieces. Ever.


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Actually? I have visited my Dream House many times in reality over and over. Tom and I often stumble across it when we attend summer estate sales.