Sunday, February 28, 2010

I try to keep a flat, open hand with, well, nearly everything.

When we moved from the house where we'd lived for 14 years, Tom and I gave away one-fourth of our belongings, probably more. Do I regret any of that recklessness? Not really. Oh, there was a cute desk I wish we had kept and there were things we had to replace, though their importance must be lightweight because I can't recall them specifically (oh yeah, a lawnmower, garden tools, oh, and a couple books, etc.). But mostly I appreciate how we purged our stuff with no tears and minimum angst.

And have I regretted releasing the house where I lived longer than all others, the one whose every wall I painted? Nope. And not just because we have this small, dream-come-true farm, either. Both Tom and I loved that one-bedroom apartment we shared for 6 months before moving out here, still now we speak fondly, dreamily of our simplistic apartment days.

I've heard some people say they would die, just simply roll over and die if they couldn't preach about God. Or sing about Him before crowds. Or work in their church or do a bazillion good deeds for others. And I realize that sounds quite holy.

But me? If God asked me to leave this blog, this ministry, this connection He's given me with you, (some of the most wonderful people in the world), well, I would do it--in a heartbeat--if He asked that of me. And I know I'd be fine (though, yes, I would miss you).

Why? How? It goes back to the open hand thing. I desire to hold all things in this Earth upon my opened palm, not squeezing so tightly as though--if I were to let go--I would waste away without them. My earthly life is so temporary and all lives, the Bible says, are like grass, here one day, then dried-up and blown away the next. So really, I only grasp dust when I make a fist around anything or anyone I believe I need so badly.

The only non-sand-like thing in this Life? Jesus. And that is why I so often think and write and say that as long as I have Jesus, I'll be ok. Just give me Jesus and all will be well. Only He can be here whenever I need Him, only He promises to stay until my final moment and beyond that, even swooshing along with me to Heaven.

Only He will never squeeze out from between my fingers like sand and so it's only Him who I grasp so very, very tightly all the days of my grass-like life.


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1 Corinthians 2:2
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.


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1 Peter 1:23-25
For, "All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord stands forever."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Some years have passed since I'd read anything by Keith Green so I was thrilled to find this today. Written long ago, it's more relevant in 2010 than ever before and it's a subject I walk around my house thinking about often.

Friday, February 26, 2010


We are getting socked. With snow, that is. This morning I even had to shove the back door open against a wall of snow. But since there's no place for us to go today (and maybe we'll stay in our pj's all day), let it snow, let it snow, let it, well, you know...

It's difficult to believe on mornings like this that Spring will ever come. That there will be picnics with blankets upon the lawn and yard sales with tables in peoples' yards and countryside drives alongside green pastures and barns and old white farmhouses. It's nearly impossible to imagine sunshine warming ones back while planting seeds and hoeing weeds in gardens.

But those things, those days will come. They always do. Now what remains is that we'll be able to wait patiently until we see Spring and hold onto hope that it will bring new life, new birth as it always has before.

But how tragic, how devastating to lose all hope. And here at this point I'm speaking of the tragedy of Andrew Koenig, "Boner" from Growing Pains, a show I often listen to on video while repainting my rooms. This week I followed the story of Andrew's disappearance, I prayed for him and his family all the prayers within me, cried along with his parents before the camera and was reminded at how one life can affect thousands of others. And then the horrid news came--they found Andrew out in the woods he loved... and he'd committed suicide.

Oh people, please, above all else, never, ever lose all hope.

If you are feeling desperate please seek help until you find the help you need. Help is always out there, it's just hard to find at times. And if you're feeling depressed? Along with seeking help, please learn all you can about nutrition, ok? But always, help is everywhere, yet you'll find it only if you never stop searching. And God is always there waiting to reward the search--seek me and you will find me, He says. He's given us Himself, He's given us people who love us and He's given us hope. All He asks is that we never, ever let go of any of those gifts.


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"You will seek me and you will find me when you search with your whole heart." ... Jeremiah 29:13



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Micah 7:18
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Truly, I wish God was letting me choose the weather for today. I so would not choose snow, snow, and more bigtime snow to come tomorrow. Uh, no.
Thirty-four winters I've lived in snow country and you say today is February 25th? Yep, that's normally when it hits. That's when bad news feels extra-bad and I can't get fully warm and my hundreds of books all look dull and I'm known to mutter, "Enough snow, already!"

I so want to play in my garden. I so want to see green. And sail over the countryside to estate sales, into houses where I walk up stairs, barely glancing at trinkets for sale, but looking deeper. Alas. But Spring will come in its own time and I must respect this long season of Winter and accept its purpose and that it's still here. A guest who's stayed too long, but still here, nonethless.



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To everything there is a season .... and a time.... and a purpose...

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Ok, I take that back about all of my books appearing dull. I picked up Adventures in Friendship by David Grayson and found exactly what I needed. I do hope you've read that book or Adventures in Contentment or Adventures in Understanding. They zoom you back to 1910 and peaceful countrysides, oldtime Boston and the things which actually matter.


You can read all of Adventures in Understanding here.

And here is The Friendly Road online.

Adventures in Friendship is here. I especially enjoy the A Day of Pleasant Bread chapter.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Last night I had the oddest, coolest dream.

Tom and I were standing outside an airport on the tarmac one Saturday afternoon in a large crowd (in all my dreams I'm surrounded by people. It's weird.). Anyway, Naomi was due to fly in, but her plane was quite late and all the people next to us were growing concerned that their loved ones hadn't yet arrived.

Suddenly a large, bright angel swooped from the sky over to Tom and me. The angel was invisible to everyone else (I assumed since nobody shrieked or anything) and he asked us to step over to a more secluded area, so we did. Then he told us that, on Monday, the world was going to end.

Well, Tom and I asked a few questions regarding that bit of news, but mostly? Mostly I felt such peace. Heaven so soon! Then the angel turned to me. He said, "God has chosen you for something. He wants you to decide what kind of weather you would like to have on Monday before the end of the world takes place."

Wow. I felt honored. With no hesitation, I told him, "I'd like Monday to be sunny and 70 degrees." Then I felt happy that --hooray! I could count on at least one sunny, warm day after all these dark clouds and snow we've had this winter.

Then a rumor began spreading through the crowd that something dreadful had happened to the plane for which we were all waiting. I began to panic a bit, but the angel said, "Don't worry." And suddenly I felt even more peace, a sweet peace, peace which deep inside told me, "If something has happened to Naomi, you'll see her on Monday when the world ends. You, Tom and she will meet up in Heaven in only two days." And I knew I could easily wait just two days."

So I relaxed while all around me the people panicked and began to cry due to the rumors of an accident. And just as I was thinking how marvelous is God's peace in the midst of tragedy, of a supposed one--and how necessary, I awoke.


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And one more thing--today was sunny all day long. And what was the temperature in our enclosed (uninsulated) front porch? Seventy degrees, on the nose. I loved it. Sat in the sun for hours, read and stared out at the snow.

"My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God..." ... Hosea 4:6

I think of that verse when people tell me that pesticides used on foods are perfectly lalala safe... that nitrates and phosphates and hydrogenated oils are peachy keen and God will keep us healthy while eating whatever foods we desire as long as we pray over them or pray over ourselves. (Good grief.)

And I think of that verse when Christians say, "We just have to trust God. It doesn't matter if we exercise or save money or take care of this planet or drink clean water or swallow medications by the bucketful or have them injected into us. God is greater than all that stuff."

I think of that verse when, every week, I hear that someone else is now sick with cancer--and people I know personally don't seem to even question why cancer is ravaging bodies in our Country, killing young, otherwise healthy people.

And I think of that verse when people act like they will never, ever reap what they--or the FDA-- have sown, as though God never heard of such a wild thing.

I know, I know..... I'm ranting. But every now and again a person just has to rant, you know?

There. Now I feel better.



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Proverbs 14:8
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.


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Need some nutrition and safety information? Dr. Oz has a good website.

Dr. Mercola has a good site, too, but since he pretty much says everything is bad for us, it's best to read him in small doses--if you dare! :)

Both these men will give you health info. at Facebook if you join them there.

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Things will not always be as they have always been.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hooray For Losing Your Memory


The older I've gotten, the, uh, less accurate my memory has become. At times, this rather universal fact annoys me no end, especially on days when my head's 'automatic pilot' blinks out, making one do silly things while thinking about three other things. You know, like placing a glass plate in the pan drawer while one was thinking about the apples and cheese one needed to buy at the supermarket and how one really should blog something soon, perhaps the story of what happened last week. Not that I've done that, you understand.

But you know? Being of Pollyanna ilk I've discovered there are some benefits regarding ones memory fading.

No, really.

For instance, I can watch the same episodes of Law and Order or Perry Mason or NCIS three times, spaced apart, and always be surprised to discover 'whodunnit.'

I can hear the same jokes again and laugh just as hard as the first time.

Since I tend to forget the numerous undone jobs waiting for me around the house, I don't feel as overwhelmed. I'm loving the lower stress level.

I no longer insist I'm absolutely positive that I'm remembering something correctly and you aren't, because--oh my--I've been wrong many times lately. Chalk one up for a new-found humility in that area.

But the best thing about one's memory becoming faulty, I think, is when one forgets the bad times of years prior and the hurt those times imposed. And the slights, the offences aimed ones way from friends and others. How lovely to begin each day with a washed slate, to recall our friends as just that--friends. To remember only the smiles and companionship they bring into our lives and to treasure them for that kindness...

... to recall we, ourselves, are not perfect and that to forget the imperfections of others is a boon to growing older and closer to Heaven.


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Mark 11:25
"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

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"I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note - torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one." ..... ~Henry Ward Beecher

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I like what I heard once on Oprah. "Alzheimers isn't when you forget where you put your keys. It's when you forget what keys are."

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Oh! If you enjoy looking at retro kitchens, you'll love this. Keep scrolling down for others.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Friday evening the Dell Guy arrived at our house to (try to) repair Tom's new laptop computer. He was here at dinner time so while he and Tom leaned over the computer and chatted, I brought in two plates of fried potatoes and eggs, peas on the side (our cupboards being oh-so-bare and a grocery trip looming fast). Dell Guy, a man about our age (oldish...heh) left the peas, telling us later that he never eats vegetables because his dad forced him to sit at the table until nine o'clock most nights until he ate them.


Oh dear. (On many different levels).


Mr. Dell Guy also told us about another home he'd visited that day. Before he arrived, the woman asked him by phone the exact time he'd be there, and when he said it was impossible to say precisely when, the woman replied, "I need to know when to clear a path on the floor to my dining room so you can reach my computer."


Oh dear, again.


After he arrived at the woman's home, Mr. Dell Guy stepped through the winding path and sat down at the computer, then a flash of something white zipped over his feet. He mentioned it to the woman and she said, "Oh! That must have been my missing ferret. I have four of them and I could only find three." Mr. Dell Guy had wondered what that suffocating smell was. He told us he's visited a few homes like that lately.


Oh dear, yet again.


I feel so bad for people who could easily qualify for an episode of Clean House, Clean Sweep or Hoarders. Sometimes I've thought perhaps my fantasy job would be to help people declutter their homes.


I do realize junk-filled houses get that way because of myriad reasons. Yet there's one reason which--I feel, anyway--outshines them all. Namely, it's that gaping hole in peoples' hearts which was designed to only be filled with the passionate love of Jesus. Only that awesome love will, finally, seal that vacuum. Not possessions and shopping, nor money, food, sex, fame, friends, marriage, dreams fulfilled, good deeds, travel, church activities, education. Those things are ok in the right perspective, yet still, they are but crumbs in comparison to Great Love.


Only that vast and endless, unconditional, passionate love of Jesus will fill the holes in our hearts, holes which He created in the first place.






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Jeremiah 31:3
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness."


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We love others best when that love is spillover from the love we have first received for ourselves.

Saturday, February 20, 2010




Oh!

For years and years I've told you about our local old-fashioned movie theater which always catapults me back to 1940. I've tried to bring you there with me by my descriptions.

But now, alas! For the first time you can see photos. Yes, actual photos of the inside and outside of that magical place (the outside not being all that old-fashioned, but still...). The slide-show moves rather quickly so run your cursor along the bottom of the photos and click on the 'stop square' which will appear. That way you can wander around the rooms for a better look. Click it again to see what comes next :




Be sure to stop in front of the framed movie posters and photos of old-time movie stars lining the hallway. I always, always do that in Real Life. I stand on the green and white tiles and remember back as far as I can with each face.


Of course, the photos of our theater aren't like actually being there. You can't breathe-in the pop-corned air nor the enchanted air molecules which sweep you up and swoosh you back 70 years. But still, color me happy that finally you can glimpse a bit of the magic for yourselves of this place where (odd thought alert) I've often sat in the dark with Jesus in the seat beside me. He and I always have the very best time.



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When Tom, Naomi and I first went to this theater each seat cost $2.00. Now they've soared up to $3.50. :)


Every now and again I like to rerun this one...

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I Am From

I am from backyard clotheslines on hot afternoons,
from Ivory soap and red-checkered tablecloths. I am from church parsonages with tiny rooms and doors always open
and from roasts baking in ovens as the sun goes down and children stop skipping rope.

I am from roses hanging over picket fences,
and fields of wild lavender blowing warm scent through our Ford's windows on road trips. I am from mornings spent with Captain Kangaroo and Friday evenings with the Brady and Partridge families.

I am from Christmas at grandparents' houses and travelers always searching for a better place,
from people near and those very far away.
I am from the quiet ones who are lost in thought and those who spend their lives loving simple things which others never pause to see.

From reading in bed when the rest of the house lay dark
and from stories of family long gone. From people-are-watching-so-you-need-to-behave and folding down my ankle socks just right.

I am from old Baptist churches with hard wooden pews
and services on sweaty summer nights with people waving fans labeled
Owl's Drug Store and Fountain on a stick.

I'm from the busy shores of California, from a people who migrated from silent, muddy mid-western plains,
from mashed potatoes and fried chicken on Sundays with company after church.
I am from Yosemite summers in tents and swimming in ponds just down the road.

From the days of plaid dresses and ponytails and hopscotch and hula-hoops.
From moms at home wearing aprons, from Batman on tv during your after school cookies and milk, and from that scent of sprinkler water sizzling on sidewalks.

I am from family reunions potluck-style and cousins who you saw just once a year.
I am from scrapbooks and photo albums all yellowed with age,
and from hundreds of memories playing in my head like fading, speckled home movies.


***
Other "I Am From" posts in Blogdom:

Nearest Distant Shore
Pazette
Miss O'Hara
Is There Anything of Interest?
Magically Mama
Semicolon
Promptings
Owlhaven (Mary)
Owlhaven (Mary's son)

Friday, February 19, 2010


So while tooling around Facebook this week I came across the profile of one of my old high school boyfriends. Ha! How fun to see his photo after more than 30 years. Perhaps I'd have recognized him on the street, but probably not.

While I sat here looking at his picture I remembered the 'Dear Jane' letter he'd sent me from college to break things off. Though I'd not been shocked by it, (having sensed things were ending), still, it stung and I remember reading it over again, then ceremoniously (as only an 17-year-old girl can do) I opened our woodstove door, probably whispered, "Fare Thee well," and tossed the letter into the orange flames. Then I went and took a long walk out into the snowy woods.

And while I sat here smiling at those memories, this thought came to me: "How foolish we are to become all upset about various stop signs in Life's road."

I mean, obviously that old boyfriend and I were not meant to be married. Not even. No, Tom and I always have been perfect for one another and our marriage is the quintessential 'made in heaven' type.

But at 17..... oh, what do we really know at 17? True, sometimes couples meet in their teens, marry, and stay happily so all their lives. But most often? Most often I think at 17 we are, well, just silly.

Me at 17? One day I'd want to be a teacher, the next week a writer in a lonely cabin in the woods (thus also fulfilling my desire to become a hermit). Then the following month I dreamed of being a journalist. Then an artist. Then a professional dancer (of the ballet persuasion, alas). And every time a foreign missionary came and spoke at church--aha! That's exactly what I wanted to be--a missionary.

At 17 I was changeable. Most people are. And yet? Here in Blogland sometimes I'll read posts from women who harbor intense regrets that they never became what they envisioned themselves to be at 17 or 20 or 25. They've based their unhappiness upon dreams yet unfulfilled at 35. Or 45. Always, that makes me sad, for what do we really know when we're young? Aren't we still being formed in those fragile years, formed into who we will be at, say, 50? Aren't our roads, our bridges, still being built at 25, the ones which will take us successfully to the end of our lives?

I think peace comes when we realize some of our dreams were temporary, born only of a certain changing season in our lives. But God-inspired dreams happen. That is, when we cooperate with His way of doing things, for He allows for distractions, for Life journeys we never imagined at 20, for detours and traffic jams, where we sit only and wait.Yet those God-inspired dreams remain alive only as long as we don't let go.

Many a dream has died prematurely at our own hand.

And one last thing I've noticed? Usually, God's dreams for us, the ones He implants, can always be lived, even in tiny ways. Daily, no matter where in the road we are standing. Want to be an artist? Draw, paint, create. Want to be a writer? Write, read, observe. Want to teach? Teach, learn, take a class. And on and on it goes. The best dreams, I think, are liveable ones where the delight rises up daily.

Some dreams should be seen for what they were and given-up, set aside. But what is real will always rise to the surface. And God is wonderful at finding a way where there is no way to see those dreams, His dreams for us, come to fruition.


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"We do the things we really want to do." Some people disagree with that old saying, but I've nearly always found it to be factual.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More Snow, More Ice and a Book Recommendation


Why am I painting many of our rooms warm shades of autumn gold?

This photo shows why. This is our backyard this morning and much of the year it looks exactly the same. Cold. Winter Wonderland-ish, ok, but cold nonetheless. I guess all that gold is part of creating my own world and not just floating along, helplessly, in the 2010 one.

Alas. My mind keeps wandering to when, in Springtime, I'll sit out in my garden and move the dirt around and stare up at the sky and feel the sun upon my face. Oh wow. Can anything else compare to that?

But for now, at least I have an imagination. Aren't you grateful that God built those into us?




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Remember when I told you about DearReader.com? You know, the online book club which sends you a beginning of a book to read each week? Well, I belong to the Good News Book Club there and they recently shared the book called Things Left Unspoken by Eva Marie Everson. I bought a copy at amazon.com and oh my... I am loving it! I'm nowhere near being finished, but I can totally recommend this. How lovely to read such a good book on these snowy days. Check it out here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I was in the 6th grade when the President's Physical Fitness Tests began.

Dreadful old things.

Especially the test where the teachers placed three strips of white tape on the playground and then told you, one at a time, that you had to touch each strip with one foot as fast as you could while traveling from one side to the other. Sound confusing? Well, it was to me, a very uncoordinated, kinda pudgy 12-year old. What made it worse was having your classmates watch you attempt this.

The kids before me seemed to get it and then, alas, my turn arrived. The two women teachers, one with a stopwatch, said, "Go." And I went. But not with the graceful, almost dance-like steps of my classmates, but in a halting, crossing-my-feet-instead-of-side-stepping manner.

Kids giggled. One teacher said, "Stop, stop." Then she showed me the right way. I started again and made the same old clumsy-footed mistakes.

"Stupid old President, anyway," I thought, my face hot, reddening. "He should mind his own business."

Both teachers looked at one another, shook their heads and then one said, "She's just not getting it. Let's just write down 26."

You know how words like those translate to a 12-year-old, don't you? "She's just not like everyone else. She will always be clumsy."

Heh. (I am laughing right now, so please don't feel bad for me.)

Well, those words (and my kid's view translation) challenged me. I went home that day, asked my mom for some tape, then put down three lines of it out on the sidewalk. And then I practiced that side-stepping, touch-the-tape thing over and over. And over. After some time, I became quite good at it.

But of course, by then, the tests were finished.

And yet, I learned that for some of us, some things just take longer to achieve--and that's no great crime. Many hard things simply require going home and practicing alone, with no one watching, and being patient with oneself. Some might even name this perseverance.

And that was a lesson I carried later through Jr. high and high school, actually, especially when it came to understanding algebra and sewing and folk dancing and art (and myriad other subjects I've probably blocked from my memory). Even into adulthood I've practiced this.

But way back then, I went home and practiced gymnastics, too, alone, and you know? That clumsy 12-year-old, several years later, became a gold medalist at her (small) high school for her floor routine. People told her she was quite the graceful little thing.

Given some time, these three-- patience, practice and perseverance--can become quite valuable.


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Be patient with yourself, first. Only then can you become truly patient with others.

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James 1:4
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

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Need a laugh today? Check out Pat's brilliant post.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


A dear old friend of mine from high school asked this on his wall at Facebook:

What if doing the "hokey-pokey" is what it's all about?

Such a quirky thing which got me all dreamy-eyed enough to question, "What if it is, indeed?"

And what if, when we reach Heaven, we discover it was all about listening more than talking? And singing to our babies rather than singing on American Idol? And not having a famous name, but a respected, cherished one amongst our family and friends? What if being kind was more valuable than being smart?

What if it was all about taking walks rather than always driving? And laughing and dancing at church rather than always crying and whispering? And spending more hours reading than watching tv and meditating more than even reading? What if organic, tree-hugger types really were right after all?

What if it was all about flying kites and feeding wild birds and rescuing dogs and cats from shelters? And taking country drives on Sunday afternoons? And playing more, singing more and hanging our laundry more often on clotheslines?

Or what if it all was about walking with Jesus on city streets, leaning against the wool of his coat on icy days and introducing Him to others we pass on the sidewalk?

Just some thoughts on a cold, wintry February day while the earth around my house sleeps beneath the snow, always with one eye opened for the arrival of Spring.


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I would dearly love to hear more of your own 'what if's' in my comment box!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Seeking The Fun of Housekeeping


I find myself in the middle of four Gladys Taber books. Four! *

So this morning I discovered this passage which spoke exactly what's in my heart, but stated it better than I ever could. So here you go:

"But housekeeping is fun, and I think the women who hate it lack imagination. It is one joy where you enjoy the results right along as you work. You may work all day washing and ironing, but at night you have the delicious feeling of sunny clean sheets and airy pillows to lie on. If you clean, you sit down at nightfall with the house shining and smelling faintly of wax, all yours to enjoy right then and there.

And if you cook--ah, if you cook--that creation you lift from the oven goes right to the table.

One way to look at it, of course, is that women's work is never ended, and I have heard housekeepers say they hate to make cakes because they get eaten right up anyway. You can make it drudgery if you want to, but it isn't. And it is not monotonous either, for no day is ever really the same. Lucky the woman who has a home and can live in what she is creating!"


From Stillmeadow Seasons by Gladys Taber



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It's been awhile since I mentioned this, but I'm a co-moderator of a Gladys Taber Yahoo Group and if you'd like to join us, you can send me an email at gladone4@yahoo.com and I'll tell you which Gladys group we are.

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And if you're seeking the fun and real benefit of using coupons, here's a very inspiring article. Though I don't use nearly the amount of coupons I once did (since we don't eat nearly the amount of processed foods) I do still enjoy saving money on the products which we still deem non-poisonous. :)

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Need to find some coupons online? Here's a good place to start. Here, too. (I'm on their snail mail list and they send me the very best coupons from the health food aisle!)


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* Jodi asked which four books I'm reading:

The Stillmeadow Road
Stillmeadow Seasons
One Dozen and One
Stillmeadow and Sugarbridge

Plus, I occasionally peek into Stillmeadow Album for photos of the rooms and things Gladys described in her books. I am always so inspired by her photo album.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I stood gazing at some of my Valentines and smiled.

And today I would say to you--if you want to receive Valentines, send some out, first. Don't just wish for them. Sow a few Valentine seeds and see what you get. But look to God for the return--He may use different people, different means to bless you back.

I enjoy scattering seeds, recklessly almost, well, just everywhere. An encouraging word here in my blog or there at Facebook. A tiny surprise in the mail, ecards in email. A donation to the needy. Sharing a video of a song I loved. Inviting a friend to my home. Sharing decorating ideas and photos and recipes and advice and help. Praying for people who don't even know me.

Seeds blowing in the wind and settling in the places where they'll best grow. And then finding myself watering where God says, "Water here." But leaving the growing, the results to Him.

Some people believe they have no say in how their life goes. They feel helpless or they blame their unhappiness upon unkind or unwise family members. And yes, some people are quite helpless and must rely upon others for much.

But for the millions of the rest of us? We have choices. Especially when it comes to how we live on the inside. And to me, that's where most of Life happens--in the areas within my head and my heart. Basically, I'm in charge of what goes on in those areas. If circumstances on the outside are bad, it doesn't automatically follow that on the inside things will also be bad. That's up to me. I make those decisions.

What's happening inside those head and heart areas of mine this morning? Gratitude. Gratitude for a sweet husband and Valentines and friends and Springtime just down the road.

And more.


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“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.“ – ... Eleanor Roosevelt

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"We need more backbone, not more wishbone." ... Joyce Meyer

Friday, February 12, 2010


So have you watched the new Style Network show called The Ten Things I Hate About Me?

It makes me nuts.

I mean, these women write in with a list of ten things they hate about themselves, things they feel powerless to change on their own. Are they huge things? Not usually. Which means, their lists end up sounding like whining.

You know--I hate my hair. I hate my figure. I hate how my living room looks. I hate that I can't cook healthy meals. I hate that I can't write thank-you notes. I hate how my house smells. I hate my clothes. I hate how I never finish anything I start.

Good grief.

You know what I hate? I hate it when women sound so helpless. :)

Complaining is so very, very easy. Yet complaining wastes time and ruins everything. It certainly ruined things for the ol' Israelites of Bible days:

"Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp." Numbers 11:1

Uh-oh.

So rather than complain about what I don't like or have, I remind myself to be grateful for what's going right. And then I either discover ways to fix what's wrong or I pray about what I cannot repair. Or I ask for help. Or I accept what I can't change. Or I accept myself, which isn't as hard as it once was now that I know I'm so loved by Jesus. That love truly does change everything.

But I do not allow myself to hate myself. I never go there anymore.

What am I saying? Today I hope you don't hate anything about yourself or your life. But if you do? Well then, fix it. If you hate your living room, rearrange it. Make it unique and different (paint that wall you hate. Ask for help if you need it. Find some ideas online if you need those.). If you hate your hair, make an appointment to have it changed, ask a friend for help or learn to change it, yourself. If you hate your body, seriously look into nutrition and exercise (and if you think you can't exercise, recall those tv shows you've seen where the elderly sit in chairs and do toning exercises. I've had some lazy days in my life where I've watched them and thought, "Wow! Pretty strenuous stuff compared to what I've done lately!")

If you hate that you don't have extra money, discover ways to stop spending in some areas so you can start spending in others. If you hate clutter, clear one corner at a time, learn to let go and then deal with the reason why the clutter invaded your home in the first place.

In other words, forget about complaining, blaming and excusing--just do it. Just do what you can, never fall for the "I can't help it" lie. Or just ask for help. Or pray. Or wait patiently, sweetly for the things which require time. Or accept what you cannot change (you might need to make certain first, though, that you cannot change it).

But whichever choice you make, please do not hate yourself. You'll go nowhere, well, except to despondency. And who wants to live there?


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Be inventive. Be creative. Be smart. Be open to new ideas. But do not be mad at
yourself.

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I finally got pro-active about decorating the top of our stairway:


It does feel great to make changes, to complete things, to overcome inertia or a lack of creative ideas..

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I realized I've left you hanging....

All is well. Tom has taken tests and talked with doctors and is finally thinking he should get back into shape and eat right. (Isn't it annoying how husbands can hear their doctor say something which their wives have said for years, yet it all sounds new and inspiring to them?) I'm thinking he's serious this time--hooray!

The shoulder surgery could take place on or around March 2nd. And Tom will return to work until then--that's where he is at this moment, even. So Life is returning to normal. I so love my normal.

I'm happy the surgery is weeks away. Perhaps because that was the appointed time for it or perhaps it's the reprieve we've been granted (or maybe because I do so love procrastinating). But again, all is well.

And more-- we've only had an inch or so of snow lately. Oh, our much appreciated little country corner of the world! This winter and last we received fewer snow storms than our previous town and yet we're only a 20-minute drive away.

I so love the phrase, 'less snow.'

Anyway. Did you see Oprah today? Oh wow. When Celine Dion joined in with The Canadian Tenors--seriously--I thought my head and my heart would explode with the high intensity beauty of all those harmonies. My sleeve is still wet from my uncontrollable tears. Truly, one of the greatest moments of music I've experienced in my lifetime. Again, oh wow.

And oh wow for all blessings, large ones, tiny ones and in-between ones, too. I'm even finding Valentines inside my mailbox--how perfect that such a sweet holiday be found in what is usually the dreariest month, one which can feel ever so long--when actually--it's the shortest. How brightly those Valentines color my grey, snowy February days.


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Tom and I do thank each of you for your comments and emails regarding his surgery and everything. Thanks so very much for your concern and prayers!

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Hooray! Here's the video of yesterday's performance of The Canadian Tenors and Celine Dion. May you hum Hallelujah all afternoon... may it do your heart some extreme good, just as it's doing mine. (And may my heart convince my earthly head that the music in Heaven will sound even grander than this). :)

Monday, February 08, 2010

So for weeks Tom and I have prepared our minds and schedules and ourselves, period, for Tom's shoulder surgery on February 9th. Tomorrow.

Yet as the day neared I never felt prepared inside, though on the outside the house is straightened, the groceries bought and laundry is, well, let's not speak of laundry. Anyway, Tom has had other surgeries down through the years and always we've known it's important that we both prepare mentally for all the changes a surgery brings. All those weeks of togetherness, for one thing, and all that nursing I must do and the healing Tom must do, also.

But again, I couldn't quite prepare my head this time. I tried, but something always held me back.

And now I know why. An hour ago we found out his surgery will have to be postponed. Tom wore a little heart monitor thingy for 24 hours last week and the results appeared fine to one guy, but not to another who said Tom's heart has extra beats. Alas.

So Tom has to be cleared before he can have the shoulder surgery and we both realize this is wisdom. And I keep telling Tom not to worry. Years ago he had surgeries postponed and each time it prevented mistakes from being made, so of course, we were grateful. God always knows best.

Tomorrow Tom will go and speak with the cardiologist and then decisions will be made.

Prayers for Tom would be appreciated, especially that he'll not worry about the extra heart beats or the surgery or possible problems/changes in the time-off from work--or anything else. As for me, I'm feeling better. As I said, tomorrow did not feel right for surgery (I almost mentioned praying for Tom's surgery on Facebook this morning but something held me back). Probably no surgery date ever feels perfect, and yet, the unsettled feeling inside me is gone--and that is something good.

The sun is even shining. What more could I ask?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Calling All Animal Trackers



Okay. We have all sorts of animal tracks in the snow around our house and I know that the tracks, above, are from rabbits.
But what about these, below?





It's almost like an animal hopped upon a pogo stick in a straight line. Hmmm... We do have deer, too, but do they walk in such a straight line? If you know which animal made these, let me know, ok?

I forgot to tell you that around 11:30 one morning while I sat in my room upstairs before the window, I saw a fox cross our street, then continue running across the field right before my eyes. A bushy brown-red old thing he was. Third time I've seen a fox out here--and since we have no chickens--I bear no ill will toward him.

Although, I do enjoy our wild rabbits and fear for their safety a bit. Speaking of which, one morning at 4:30 I stepped into our dark bathroom, looked out the nearly floor-to-ceiling window and saw a rabbit sitting in the snow and the moonlight only feet away. It was probably just 5 degrees out there in the darkness, but there he sat, peacefully. I stood at the window and watched him awhile, tapped the glass, but still he sat as a statue, as if enchanted by the early morning silence.

I know how he felt, I think. When I step out the back door at 5:30 a.m. to walk over the snow to the mailbox for the newspaper, always I notice the stillness, the silence. And then I take a deep gulp of cold, crisp air to refresh my lungs.

I do love country living.

Of Never Saying Never


Sometimes your blog posts make me, well, sad. And sometimes your comments here make me sad, also.

It's your words which, from your heart, sound as though you'll never feel as happy as you once did in your head, your heart, your relationships. Or feeling that, since your children are grown, the best days of your life are gone. Or believing you'll never use your talents again because they've left you.

You know, 'never words.'

I hate never words. Truly.

Please, if you learn nothing else from my blog, please learn to never say never, ok?

Never is a lie. For instance, back around 1991 during my depressing Nevada Years, I remember standing in front of my bookcases in my home office and asking to see what was ahead in my future (hoping it would be an improvement upon my present).

Suddenly, all I 'saw' was a grey, swirling, grey, grey, grey fog. That's it. That was all. That was my future, one which would never be as delightful as my past once had been.

But you know? A tiny (tiny!) light of hope deep within me cried, "Don't fall for that lie! Always the sun remains behind the clouds. Always the sun is still there even when you cannot see it."

And although it was hard, I decided to believe the voice of hope, not the grey fog of despair. And wow. Within one year my life became brighter and happier and it's steadily grown lovelier, sweeter all these 18 years ever since that horrible day when I almost believed that Fog Lie.

Again, never say never. Always believe that things will--somehow--get better (don't make yourself crazy, though, wondering just how). Always be willing to change --that's big. Remain open to changing how you see and believe and always be willing to learn, to re-think a few ideas, such as, 'different' is a synonym for 'not as good as'. It isn't, you know. 'Different' often can mean even better.

You can teach an old dog new tricks. Don't let anyone--especially yourself-- convince you otherwise.


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Romans 12:2
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."


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Am I excited about the Super Bowl? Uh, no. Tom is, though. :)

Saturday, February 06, 2010


When Naomi was two-years-old (nearly three, ok?) I taught her how to make her own toast in the toaster.

I know, I know. But hey, (1.) She was very advanced for her age and (2.) She'd hop out of her crib at 6:00 a.m., all sing-song-y and chipper and ready to eat breakfast and play while I, at just 23-years-old, craved more sleep and felt oh-so elderly, what with caring for an inquisitive, always-moving toddler during each long day. So I figured that if I taught Naomi to make her own toast, I'd be rewarded with more lovely moments of delicious sleep.

If you'd smiled and told me back then that when I was 50 I'd bound out of bed each morning between 3:30 and 5 o'clock, I'd have thrown my pillow at you. Hard. Yet now, on most mornings, that's exactly what happens--I'm up when all is nearly-silent.

Until this week I believed, simply, that my grandmother's early-rising habit had become mine. When I was 10, lying inside my sleeping bag upon the couch when we'd spend the night, I remember watching Grandma in her robe walk into the kitchen lit only with a nightlight to make coffee at 5:00 a.m. She'd sit at the table with her coffee and gaze out the window until one of us--usually me--would join her and share with her all the words and stories we'd kept pent-up since our last visit.

I loved those early mornings and sunrises with my grandmother. It felt magical to have someone listen to me.

Anyway. Last week I read an article which stated that older folks need less sleep. Aha! So that explains why, when I get just 6 or 7 hours of sleep, I go about my day, not dragging along, not even considering taking a nap. But feeling fine.

The 50-year-old inside me loves her dark, early mornings, what with her hot chocolate, daybreak morning tv news, writing in her blog (and reading others) and checking her email.

The 23-year-old inside would not have believed this ever could be true.

Yet the 10-year-old inside me wishes her grandmother still sat at her dark kitchen table, watching for sunrise and waiting to hear all the stories I've saved-up to tell her.



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Psalm 90:14
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

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And in case you were wondering, Nope! No big snowstorm here. Just a few tiny, tiny stray flakes here and there.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Of New Decades and Leak-Free Serotonin


Recently a relative of mine said, "Getting older sucks." (I would say excuse my language, but hey, it was his language. heh)

Now, was this person 60-years old? Seventy? Eighty? Nah, he's only around 45.

Oh dear. Personally, I adored my 40's, found it the best, most joy-stuffed decade ever. But I did discover that--to keep the good times rolling--I had to keep letting God change me. Remold the old me into something fitting for a woman in her 40's.

The worst thing I can do is get stuck in a previous, gone-away decade.

You know how "Stuck Thinking" looks, don't you? You feel like you've learned all there is worth knowing (and people who disagree with you are morons). Or that you can only be happy if the sun is shining and you feel great and you have what you want and your friends and family think you're spiffy and if many people read your blog. Or that you can still eat and dress and behave like you're 29. Or that you've already lived your fun years and it's all downhill and boring and painful from here till the end.

Stuck Thinking -- scary stuff! I think there's a lot of anger, wishful thinking and disappointment in Stuck Thinking. And as I've noted here before, those things can suck the serotonin right out of your head and parachute you into depression. Don't go there, ok? I've been there and found it a horrible, dark place and I plan never to return. (Shiver.)

But to avoid that eerie place and to enjoy this new decade of mine, I plan to keep on letting God change who I am and how I live as a woman in her 50's. I'll keep reminding myself that living inside a whole new decade means accepting that I'm here, not wishing I was someplace else. And creating the atmosphere I want while I visit.

And always asking God just how I should do that.


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Oh! I just now found this woman's post. I think she says all the things I forgot to say here in mine.

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And here is our neighbor and her tiny daughter playing upon our frozen lake this morning. Erica brings her little girl outside on most days for fresh air and always I'm wooshed back 28 years to a young Naomi and myself outside in the snow. And always I smile and am grateful I knew days like those and they'll always be in my heart.

It's just as Laura Ingalls Wilder said: "They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago."



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"But if you humble yourself, you will be honored..." ... Matthew 23:12