Friday, April 30, 2010

The One Thing

Always, I'm looking out our kitchen window. Get a pan from the cupboard, glance out the window. Drop bread into the toaster, gaze out the window. Stir the soup on the stove, look out the window. So yesterday morning this view, above, is what I saw--a spotlight in our meadow upon my chair and fairy pool. (Click to enlarge.)

Wow, a spotlight from the sky! And instantly I thought, "That's the kind of light I feel during my quiet times with God. It's as though His light shines down upon me while I sit in my chair thinking about Him and everything good about my days. A light of Heaven, of sorts, seen and felt only within my heart."

Has anyone else noticed that Life isn't exactly getting easier? The Bible warned us that these days would be rough on everyone, and well, they certainly are. Read II Timothy 3 and the front page of the daily newspaper comes to mind:

"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God..."

And as if that weren't enough, people are dying of rampant diseases and killing themselves, too, leaving behind grieving, wounded, distraught families and friends.

I don't know about you, but in our present world, I need God. I need to sustain an awesome, passionate love affair with Jesus Christ, Himself. For me, friendship with Jesus is the one thing which is going to get me through the remaining years of my life.

Yet not just 'get me through' in a struggling, limping, white knuckle sort of way--no! But rather, in a victorious, overcoming, strong, joyful way.

I refuse to settle for less.

The apostle Paul said, One thing will I seek after--that I may know Him.

I'm with you, Paul. One thing will I always seek after, too. That I may know Jesus. That I may walk with Him through the aisles of my supermarket. That I may sit beside Him at a table in Tim Horton's. That I may listen to Him speak while we kneel together out in my garden, pulling weeds. That I might sense His presence, His light, anywhere, even upon my bed in the wee morning hours.

And that I may share Him with you.

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One thing, one thing, one thing... One thing does it behoove me to seek after with my whole being. One thing will get me through with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Booklist Which Takes You Outdoors


I've mentioned the Woodswoman books a few times lately and was asked to explain why I like them.

How do I begin? Probably thirty years ago I fell in love with man- (or woman)-versus-Nature books and have devoured each one from all libraries near my homes, as well as purchasing some from yard sales and online.

There's something endearing about people who choose to build cabins in wilderness surroundings. The descriptive coziness of those cabins, especially during blizzards, enchants me, igniting my nesting instinct. The adventure of hunting for your own food or hiking miles into towns for it amazes me. The living alone, either by yourself or with a spouse or family, secluded in the middle of deep woods, challenges me, as well as the writing disciplines companioned with all that extra physical work.

"How would I behave in such circumstances?," I ask myself. Would I complain and whine and regret my decision to attempt such a risky, independent lifestyle? Uh, yes. (That's my usual answer.) But then, I've not been given Grace to live in the wild. And without Grace, well, I always whine a lot.

Mostly? I'm just an armchair adventurer. I prefer to let others describe their wild adventures to me, rather than take the life-risking, daring adventures myself. Oh, I do enjoy countryside car rides, yard sales, harvest festivals (etc.) and the occasional vacation, but most of my adventures come from just living my daily life. My gardening and the mowing of our lawns, the occasional walk in our woods and visits with friends here on our land or in their homes or at restaurants.

But these books about others' lives out in the wild, well, they broaden my horizons. Books carry me where I would otherwise never go. They share stories and details and pictures for my mind of whole other ways of living and being. Things I'll never experience first-hand in this life, but second-hand through books written by adventurers who were thoughtful enough to write them for the rest of us.

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Here are some favorite titles of books about adventures of living in the wild:

Woodswoman I and II by Anne LaBastille
At Home In The Woods by Bradford and Vena Angier
Wilderness Wife by Bradford and Vena Angier
Green Mountain Farm by Elliott Merrick
Women and Wilderness by Anne LaBastille
(These last two I've not read yet, they're on their way, but I know I'll love them. Green Mountain Farm belongs more in the list, below.)
Arctic Mood by Eva Alvey Richards
The Gift of the Deer by Helen Hoover
The Silence of the North by Olive A. Fredickson


And these are we-bought-a-farm-and-didn't-know-what-we-were-doing books (my other favorite genre):

Fifty Acres and a Poodle by Jeanne Marie Laskas
Still Life with Chickens by Catherine Goldhammer
Sylvia's Farm by Sylvia Jorrin
A Year on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball
At Home on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball
Peace At Heart by Barbara Drake
Gladys Taber's Stillmeadow series of books


To name just a few.......

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Okay, here is why I asked if there were any subjects you wanted me to write about. From your comments, it appears no one figured out the reason. :)


I'd wanted to ask that question for months and a passage in Woodswoman II finally nudged me. Anne LaBastille told us that readers of her first book began searching for her and her hidden cabin in the Adirondacks, which, alas, was the opposite of her desires. After all, she'd moved to the woods for privacy and to write books.


Some people even began calling her after she installed an answering machine at her neighbors' house. Some of her visitors and a few of the callers were scary, threatening, even without provocation. Anne wrote:


"What do such visitors and callers hope to find when they search out the Woodswoman? I still don't know exactly, but I'm sure America is lonely. Americans are looking for identities. They want to attach themselves to authors, singers, actors and TV stars... They need to sublimate to enrich their lives. They want to talk..."


The "America is lonely and wants to talk," parts struck a nerve, because you see, before 1994 I often struggled with loneliness. Like a black, inky cloud it hung over me, threatening to choke me, making even my clocks appear to run backward at times, so that afternoons felt eternal. (Really.)


One reason for the loneliness? I relied on Tom or Naomi or friends or entertainment or pen pals to keep me 'fixed,' busy and distracted rather than pulling from God all that I needed. So when Tom or Naomi or everything or everyone else was gone, I felt empty. Bored. Depressed.


So anyway, I've shared some of those stories here in my blog and those years are never too far from me. And because of the help I've received from both God and my favorite teacher, especially, my desire is that this blog will be a help to others who may be lonely, too.


And that is why I asked you to tell me what else you'd like me to write about. I so desire to help others, to set them on a deeper search for the One who can meet all their needs, having been so helped myself. So if there is some specific subject which would help and comfort and encourage you, I do wish you'd tell me and I'll try to include it.


Daily I ask God to speak through me here and I believe that He does as best as He can, given what He's working with...heh... And yet, I'm not too prideful to think I always get it right--because, certainly I don't. Sometimes I'm listening more to my own head and opinions and thoughts than to the Great Shepherd whose sheep hear His voice. I realize that.


But because I want this blog to always be an encouragement, especially for those of you who are hurting, I want you to know that I'm always here, willing to help. And if your needs aren't being addressed, please don't hesitate to spell them out for me. In my old age and frequent self-absorbtion, I can be rather clueless at times.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Of Plan B and C and D Dreams


Okay. Regarding the comments to my last post, you all are too nice. And I thank you.

But there was a specific reason I asked that question. I'd mulled it over for months then something Anne LaBastille wrote in Woodswoman II nudged me to finally ask it. But I'll explain that in a separate post.

There was something else in Anne's book I want to comment upon, though. It's this:

"Yes, I get scared--sometimes.... And a long-term fear and anxiety is whether I'll be able to keep in good enough shape, physically and mentally, to chop wood, carry water and backpack at age seventy-five... I would hate myself if I ever got fat, stared at tv every night and sat in a passive park by day. I'd despise any home where I had to take an elevator to reach it... throw garbage down a chute or flick on fluorescents. After the life I've led? No way!"

Anne wrote those words at age 51 while still living in her two cabins on her remote land in the Adirondacks. Today she is 75 and according to research I've done online, she had to sell her land, give away her cats and move into a retirement home/hospital... and is in the beginning stages of alzheimers.

Oh dear. I devoured her first two Woodswoman books as soon as they hit my mailbox. Her adventures in the Adirondaks make for exciting, but also peaceful reading.

But things do change. All of us grow older--we are growing older this very minute. We lose friends, spouses, relationships of all sorts and times and communities and lives shift and move and change.

So what do I propose? I propose that we have Plan B Dreams. Plan C and Plan D Dreams, too. And I also propose that we try to walk through our years with no vows such as this: "I will never, ever live in a way which is different, smaller, less free than I'm living at this moment."

This past February Tom and I attended the birthday party of a good friend and while there, we chatted with someone we'd not seen in eight (or so) years. And when we told him that for the six months before buying our farm we rented a one-bedroom apartment, he wrinkled his nose and said, "Oh. That must have been rough."

I was surprised! I told him, "Actually, it was amazing. We stored two-thirds of our possessions, so we had very little to care for. The apartment was cozy. We felt free as birds and went lots of places. In fact, it was like a second honeymoon."

I meant every word. When Tom and I discuss that tiny apartment, always, always we smile. And always I'll be grateful that we took that detour, that we lived in such simplicity before our 'elder years.' For now, we have nothing to dread. We make no ultimatums or threats about always living on this farm or independently with a house and yard. No, a tiny future place will be fine, for we'll have had our farm season, our adventures and our years of appreciation of all good things.

One room, even, for the two of us would be ok. Or--let's be realistic--a room for just one of us if the other should leave for Heaven first, well, that will be all right, too. For both of us have God--and He's so big that He fills any room up with the love and friendship and light which is Himself. So even alone, we are, neither of us, ever really alone.

And woven within my own Plan B or C or D Dreams is this: May I never, ever be mad at God or people or Life because of the way things turn out. But may I hold Life out upon my opened hand, palm-side up, and in the other hand, may I always grasp God with every bit of strength I possess.



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There is a joy which comes to those who respect the seasons of Life.

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"To everything there is a time and a season and a purpose under heaven..."

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"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." ... Woody Allen

Here's a Question for You


Long-time readers of my blog have probably noticed that I tend to write about the same subjects over and over. And over.

And over. :)

Homemaking. Decorating and gardening. Quiet times with God and lessons He's taught me. Books and movies. Yard sales, country drives, appreciating the small daily things in Life. Attempts at a healthy diet.

Over and over and over.......!

So I thought I'd ask what you would like me to write about. What would you like to see me address in my blog?

I can't promise I'll tackle all suggested topics, but I'll sincerely try if I can.

You can leave your subject ideas in my comment box or email me at GladOne4@yahoo.com. I'll be waiting anxiously to hear your ideas!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Weekend, A Birthday



Here's our little McCartney The Cat on the spot where she always waits while I dish up her food. Isn't she cute for being an old lady of 91 (13 in our years)? Love her spacey green eyes. :)


And here's our dining room as of yesterday. I tried placing it in my blog header, but good ol' Blogger can't handle that right now. Again, there are problems when I try to shrink it to fit.(IWillBePatientIWillBePatientIWillBePatient...) But please do notice the crab apple tree with its pink buds. Such vibrancy turns my head whenever I walk through that room.



Today is the World's Best Husband's birthday! (Yes, I'm speaking of Tom). We had a three day celebration weekend with yard sales, estate sales, country drives past more 1800's farms we'd not yet seen and lunch at a favorite cafe in a nearby town. Naomi came for a birthday visit on Saturday and we showed her the new improvements on the garage and chatted around the table. Two sunny days of fun and yard work and one rainy day of relaxation. Just right. Just perfect.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mega Gardening Inspiration


Wow. Here is your inspiration for the day.

It's a YouTube video about a family who grows all their own food on one-fifth of an acre in a Los Angeles suburb. It's eight minutes long and well-worth every inspiring second.

If it wasn't raining outside right this minute, I'd zip out to my yard and start gardening like a wild woman. I hope it will inspire and encourage you, too.



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And here is the family's blog. (Thanks, Lisa, for letting me know it appeared at the video's end!)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Oh, Our Words!

I belong to an email group with women who are very smart and usually the conversation is controversial and intellectual and beyond me. But yesterday one of the women who I've exchanged personal emails with over the years, someone I like a lot, shared how it greatly bothered her how two of her Christian Facebook friends joined this group:

DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA.

Thus began a flurry of emails from the group saying that--yet again--here was a prime example of the foolishness and cruelty of Christians. Many stated that although they never liked President Bush, at least they never wished him illness or death.

A couple Christians tried to defend the rest of us, but well, it's difficult to defend such behavior (over 1,000,000 people have joined that Facebook list). And this morning, though I almost never write into this group, I emailed words to the effect that we Christians are always at different stages of maturity and it depends upon how willing and humble we are as to how much we'll allow God to change our hearts and therefore the words we speak. I asked people to pray for us because we all certainly need it everyday. There was a tad more, but mostly I tried to calm things down.

People, people, people... Love is the key. So is wisdom. And so is humility. This computer life is Real Life to the extent that even here--or especially here-- we can make or break our Christian witness. We can ruin it for other Christians and we can wreck non-Christians' chances to become saved by our sloppiness with our words, making them run.

I've read blogs where Christians come down hard against pastors and evangelists (tv ones and otherwise) who teach heavily about Christian behavior. Well, you'll never near me criticize them because oh! Millions of people have been permanently turned off from Christianity--and from seeking God--because of the lousy, unkind, judgemental behavior of those who call themselves Christian.

Our behavior is important. Watching our words is vital. It's all Life and Death stuff to God and so it should matter a ton to each of us who are God's lights in this dark world. Even in our blogs, even on Facebook.



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"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Of Earth Day


Happy Earth Day! I'm thankful there's a day to celebrate gratitude for this planet God created for us and to think about ways to care for it better. All of God's gifts should be treated with respect and appreciation, especially this huge gift--planet Earth! I'm always searching for ways to leave a smaller carbon footprint, myself. And no, it's not easy, but Life's large things seldom are simple, though they're worth the effort. Always.

Yesterday I began my famous 'sit down gardening' out in my garden. How lovely to sit there beneath the sun with my trusty trowel, feeling the trees, the birds, the beauty around me, while de-weeding my first garden row of the springtime. Inch by inch, truly, everything's a cinch. And always that saying reminds me that if God has given me a thing to do, then He's also given me the way, the means, the ability to do it. Yet sometimes I must search for the way or listen for it--it's usually not obvious.

And often? The way is inch by inch, for God, I've noticed, is never in a hurry. We are, though. So when my head is feeling that whirring, hurry!, hurry! feeling--most likely--that means somewhere I made a wrong move, a bad decision, as in procrastinating till the last milli-second.

Have you ever seen this sign in businesses? "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on our part." I'm thinking God might have that sign hanging beside His throne in Heaven. :)



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"The Earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof."


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Earth Day free stuff.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



I've told you before about our real-live milkman, Bob. Well, here is his truck. Cool, huh?

And here is Bob driving away. :)


And guess what? After a year-and-a-half, we now have a garage door. The guys put it in yesterday.


They will return soon to remove another portion of an inside wall and to install the "works" for the garage door. And then that will be it, no more bigtime work until Autumn, that is, if we can save-up more money for probably more concrete.

Basically I had to wait 35 years to live on a farm. I was 14 when the dream began, although at that time, my house was going to be a cabin in the deep, dark woods with no one else around, not even a husband(!) But alas, as one grows-up, ones dreams get some common-sense-tweaking.

Well, ideally.

And what I believe? I believe it matters how we are living the years before our dreams materialize. If I spend hours complaining about my present house, why should God give me another one to complain about?

Yes, it mattered, I think, that for 35 years I didn't mope and hold grudges and bite peoples' heads off because I didn't have my country place. It mattered that I tried always to be content and make sweet little homes for us, even in the double-wide mobile home in the trailer park in the Nevada desert or the single-wide on a corner in the tiny California mountain town. Or in our last house with the postage-stamp yard, the house where, if you reached out far enough, you could almost touch your neighbors' fingers if they, too, were reaching.

No, I felt Grace in all those places, and the other houses we inhabited as well, and I knew joy and contentment and peace (with the houses, not always with myself), even though not once did we live in the country (although the mountain town had an overall country-ish feeling. Kinda.).

And then finally, when the time must have been right, God opened the Country Door and Tom and I skipped through it. And because I cooperated with Grace all those previous years (or tried to, anyway) I didn't move out here with a load of, "Why Didn't We Do This Sooner?" regrets. I'd had a pleasant life, so why complain?

God's timing is always perfect and that's why I try to lean my ear to His voice, because I certainly wouldn't want to end up where He never planned for me to be. For starters, there would most likely be no milkmen riding around in trucks out there in the wrong place. :)


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Think home delivery of milk in glass bottles is a thing of the past? Here is a list of some dairies which still serve milk in glass bottles, some of which have home delivery. And this must just be a partial list because our own local dairy with Milkman Bob isn't even on this list. These kinds of old-fashioned places make my day.

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Psalm 37:5
"Commit your way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and he shall bring it to pass."


"You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You." ... Isaiah 26:3


Psalm 37:4
"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Monday, April 19, 2010


To repeat, there is truly nothing else like a country morning. Oh, I know vacations can be incredible (my favorite vacation included the trip to Almanzo Wilder's childhood home where I became embarrassingly giddy with glee), but these springtime country mornings sure feel like a vacation to me, also.




Oh, and I forgot to tell you that we've commissioned our friend, Donna, to paint a picture of our house! Exciting, huh? We've never done that before, though I sorely wish we had paintings of the houses of our past. Oh well.

Donna and John drove out here on a sunny morning last week so she could take pictures of our house and what a remarkable surprise to see them on an average day. The three of us sat on our patio, sunglasses a necessity because of the glow and the glare, and we watched birds, the tall, greening trees and the neighbors. What a treat to chat with them awhile, a welcome break in my day.




Then yesterday our friends, Joe and Elaine, who we'd not visited with in ten years(!) came for lunch and a farm tour. We had hours of fellowship with them, took right up where we'd left off much too long ago (don't you love it when that happens?). And they brought carrot cake! As perfect a cake as you can buy off a shelf (can you tell I'm still savoring its memory?).

And now it's a glorious Monday on our enchanted acres. That country air! I do wish I could puff it through your computer screen so you, too, could enjoy it with me. :)


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And besides all this wonder, another remarkable book arrived in the mail on Friday. It's called Woodswoman and you can read about it here. High adventure which continues in other of her books, which of course, now I'll have to read. Speaking of which now it's coffee time out on the sunny front porch with more of Woodswoman. Lennon the Cat is waiting for me.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Of Actual Power


Some people believe they are powerful because they can make others obey them. Or because banks are full of their money. Personally, I believe we are powerful when we--and God--can make ourselves behave. From the heart.

We are powerful when we can forgive the big, hurtful stuff.

We have power when we don't just pass along tons of negative, complaining 'forwards,' but rather, ones which teach and illustrate how to change. And when we go out and change the world, rather than sit at the computer condemning it.


We're powerful when we praise God rather than whine.


We are powerful when we show genuine, quick mercy toward people who misunderstand and malign our email, blog post or Facebook status.


We have great power when we truly love the unlovely, whether they live on the street, in our neighborhood or in The White House.


We are powerful when we practice what we preach, even when so few are watching. Especially when we're home with just the family.


We're powerful when our tongue pauses before it speaks, waiting for right words, rather than just saying whatever it feels like.


We are powerful when we are content with what God has given us Today, not moaning to our spouse about all we wish we owned.






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1 Timothy 6:6

"But godliness with contentment is great gain."


1 Peter 3:10

"For he that will love Life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile..."


Proverbs 18:21

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."

Friday, April 16, 2010




It's that time again.... Windows Full of Magnolia Blossoms Time!
And Lennon and I love it.




And hooray! The siding guys came yesterday, like, two weeks early and nearly completed siding the garage. On Monday they'll finish and install a garage door as well. (Click to enlarge.)





I love seeing changes around this place and I keep lists of improvements, even, for encouragement when it seems things are creeping along, snail-like.


On Sunday afternoon we have local friends coming who we've not visited with in more than ten years. Yikes! How wild that Time can zoom past like that. And how sad all we miss, too. Alas.


Now, will I race around here changing things and cleaning like a woman possessed? Well, the old Debra would have done precisely that. She was funny that way.


But the new Debra is more relaxed, more secure and older, too, meaning she's too old for the nonsense which says if your house isn't perfect, then your friends will talk and snicker about you the whole car ride home.


No, at this phase I'm more into presenting to others the Now Debra in her Now House with her Now Husband just as they all are, well, now. Someday things will look and be nicer around our farm, but why try to leap into the future these two short days before Sunday? Why try to be what we are not yet? And why kill myself trying to be what I'm not?


So when our friends arrive, things will be straightened and nice, but they will not be immaculate and changed and overhauled and redecorated. Our house and yard will just say, "This is who we all are today." And that will be good enough.


We'll enjoy the extremely overdue visit more that way, besides.




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Disclaimer: Well, I did actually rearrange our livingroom yesterday, but since we're planning on having lots of company this year, it was a necessity. The 'winter look' was cozy, but not open enough to entertain more than two extra people. Alas.


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Sometimes it just is what it is...

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Your comments to my last post made me smile yesterday (thanks!). But especially Saija's because she asked if I have 55 hours, or so, in my days, instead of the usual 24. Ha! And that gave me the idea for my next post (thanks, Saija!).

Here's an idea which helps me get more done. Namely, years ago I read that if you time your household tasks (yard ones, too), you'll probably be shocked that they don't take nearly as long as you imagine.

Well, I did that and wow! Washing the dishes didn't take the 30 minutes or longer which I'd had set in my mind. It took half as long. Making the beds required, really, only seconds, not minutes. Changing the kitty litter boxes took, perhaps 5 minutes, when, according to my head, it took forever.

And what I discovered actually sucked up the most time? Thinking about all my chores. Procrastinating all that work, waiting days longer until the job now required additional elbow grease. And dreading my tasks zapped time and energy (uh-oh! Who wants to become tired before they even begin?).

No wonder I used to accomplish so little. My best mental energy went to avoidance techniques. It would have served me better to recall the immortal words of Nike: Just Do It.

But ever since I timed a few simple (and not-so-simple) chores it's as though I was, hmm, set free maybe? It's as though I'm free from believing that housekeeping, when done the way I like, requires endless, dull hours. Actually, it doesn't take long at all.

Something else? I enjoy making housecleaning and yard work fun. I love to read a favorite book, finish a chapter, then jump up and do a couple chores before returning for more. Or I do 'commercial time cleaning,' which means I hop up off the couch during the tv commercials of my favorite shows and accomplish as much as I can in three minutes. Or I'll watch a half-hour show on dvd, then do some cleaning, then return for another episode.

I'll tell ya..... I am very much into this enjoying everything I do thing--making an art of it,even. And why not? Why not go through Life loving all the daily, seemingly mundane stuff? Why not discover ways to make all work a joy, seamlessly combining work and fun, thus making mundane-ness obsolete?



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A new book arrived in my mailbox yesterday. Oh wow. Still Life With Chickens was a perfect purchase, indeed. I positively raced through my chores in between chapters. :)

Oh! And through this book I learned about Mike The Headless Chicken. Go here to read about him. :).

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Think reward, not punishment, when doing housework.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

No Dull Monday (or Tuesday) Around Here


Monday and Tuesday were, well, incredible.

Did I travel to exotic places? Eat at a fancy white-tableclothed restaurant? Stay at a cozy bed-and-breakfast inn? Swim at the beach? Hike through a forest? Shop some terrific sales?

Nah. I just stayed home.

But oh... Over those two days I spent hours on our front porch reading wonderful books in the sunshine with Lennon The Cat snuggled up beside me.

I rearranged plants in the flower beds up against the house, then turned the compost heap and watered it, too. I began raking the dried-up leaves into rows (to use as mulch) in my vegetable garden.


I filled the bird feeders and poured water into the bird bath. Then watched the birds play and eat.

I spray-painted the bistro table and chairs on our new patio.




After, I rested in the sunshine and listened to the afternoon sounds of animals in our marsh. With my eyes closed and face toward the sun, I sighed happy sighs.



Later I realized this thing outside our backdoor is a real old-fashioned boot scraper!



(Can't you just picture the cowboy boots coming back in from the barn and the fields at the end of the day?) We'd assumed it was just a doorstop. Silly us.

I mowed part of our way-too-large lawn for the first time this season and was giddy that the lawnmower started right up. I re-painted our front steps, white.

I hung freshly laundered towels outside on my spiffy clothesline and draped our newly-washed bathroom rugs over the woodpile to dry.

I read more outdoorsy, farm-type books on the porch and drank more coffee (de-caf, but of course) and dreamed a lot more, too, while classical music played from the old radio in the kitchen and the windows were open for the breezes.

And oh my.... It was all, every hour of it, better than any vacation, according to my own head and heart, anyway. And perhaps that's how all of Life should be and feel--like a working vacation. Work done while the head and heart are set free from worries and simply brimming full of gratitude and happiness. Perhaps?




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"...the Lord has done all things well..." ... Mark 7:37

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Year We Had Two Springs


In February of 1993, Tom moved out here to Buffalo while Naomi and I stayed in Nevada and prepared for the Big Move. And as Tom dealt with record-breaking snowstorms and chills here that year, Naomi and I enjoyed sweet sunshine and green--green trees, green grass and green stems of flowers. Warm breezes. Bliss.


Finally, Naomi and I flew out to Buffalo on April 28th of that year. Wow. Brown! Everything was still Winter-brown that day as Tom drove us to the home where we'd be staying for two weeks. I gazed out the rain-splotched car windows and saw brown and grey trees and grey skies. I adored the thousands of old, old two and three-story houses, but all this grey and brown so late in the year! Not so much.


Yet fourteen days later we moved into our new-old house and Spring had begun her rebirth. Lawns were greening and daffodils were blooming and leaves were popping out upon branches. What a glorious homecoming gift, indeed.


And what a miracle, I remember thinking all those years ago. What a lovely miracle to experience the birth, the unfolding marvel which is Spring twice in one year!

If ever you can pull that off, I highly recommend it. All these seventeen years later, I've never forgotten that joy.


Monday, April 12, 2010

My Daily Conviction List


So during this past winter, especially, I'd wake up at night, 2 or 3 a.m.. Sometimes earlier, sometimes later. And in the blackness, the conviction would begin. Droning. Nagging. Whispering.

"You didn't do your back-strengthening exercises yesterday." (And usually my back was hurting to illustrate that point.)

"You didn't brush McCartney The Long-Haired Cat, even though she doesn't like it. But the hair which she can't reach to clean is all matted."

"You forgot to floss. You've not written in your diary in weeks. You barely drank any water yesterday. The birdfeeders outside are still empty. And you didn't eat one single vegetable yesterday, either." (Good grief.)

Convictions keeping me awake at night! Gah! Some were from God, some from me, but all came in the silence of the night. (It's harder to ignore God when the noises of daytime are gone--and He knows it.)

So after a few weeks of all that nighttime nagging, finally I got out a large index card and wrote down what I call My Daily Conviction List. On the list are those things which I'd heard whispered in the night (above) and other tasks which I tend to forget like, getting the newspaper from the mailbox before Tom goes to work, playing the old-fashioned radio in our kitchen because it's a cool retro thing to do, taking my vitamins, keeping the water-filtered jug full, etc.

The List stays on our counter top and when I'm feeling especially energetic and efficient, I go down The List and do the things bam! One right after the other. Check, check, check. All done.

The best thing? I'm sleeping better. The nighttime nagging has ceased. Hooray! The second best thing? My daily tasks are getting done daily. Kinda blows your mind, doesn't it?

Isn't it amazing what a little bit of obedience to God can do?



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"To obey is better than sacrifice." 1 Samuel 15:22 (Always, I hear Keith Green singing those words whenever I read them. Anyone else?)


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"It's the little foxes that spoil the vine." ... Song of Solomon 2:15 (And if I'm sloppy, it's the little things which will spoil whole portions of my life.)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A sweet blogging friend of mine wrote a post about Tiger Woods, how she felt we have swept his behavior/indiscretions/sins (whatever you choose to call them) too quickly under the rug. I'm not certain she'd want me to link to her original post, but the Tiger Woods situation is something I've wanted to blog about for some time, so I thought I'd simply share here my comments to her post. (I'm sure some of you are just dying to know how I feel about Tiger's behavior/indiscretions/sins ......ha! As if. But here are my feelings anyway):

"What comes to mind is when the woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus and everyone stood around her with rocks in their hot little hands waiting to kill her. Jesus said, basically, "Only the perfect people can throw first." When they all walked away, He forgave the woman and told her to go and sin no more.

As I see it, Tiger is sorry, he's getting counseling and help and he's wanting to make changes. I see that as a positive thing. It's not like he's telling the world he did nothing wrong and will continue to live as he has.

I don't think Jesus would want us to have a 'three strikes and you're out forever' attitude. He told Peter to forgive 70 times 7--and that's a whole lot of times to extend forgiveness, indeed.

The Bible says that God *loves* to show mercy. I used to have a problem with that verse because I liked to make people pay for what they did. But right there is a major reason that God sent Jesus--to pay for our sins, Himself. And who am I to go around and be unmerciful, leading others to see God that way since I (am supposed to) represent Him? It's not up to me to play Holy Ghost Jr., making-up new standards and rules and hoops for people to jump through, though I sure used to love to try. :)

Just a few thoughts... some which I've learned the hard way over the years. But this merciful way of living brings me ever so much more joy--and humility. "

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My friend then wrote that she agreed with what I said, but her concern was that this upcoming generation would get the idea from the media that 'boys will be boys', etc. And of course, that's possible, but this is what I told her I've seen has happened:


"I think we've read different headlines, though. heh. Man oh man, the headlines I've seen have been extremely unmerciful, as if those journalists are as pure as the driven snow. :) I've read and watched terrible, unforgiving articles/news reports where reporters complained that Tiger wasn't answering enough questions (questions, which personally, I didn't think were any of their business). I watched his first news conference and thought he said enough, because really, some things are none of our business. (Frankly, you'd never catch me giving a news conference if I committed adultery!). But immediately afterward, flipping from channel to channel, all I heard were bloodthirsty remarks about how Tiger didn't say enough, didn't sound sorry enough, didn't wimper enough, hadn't paid for his sins enough.

And frankly? It all made Tom and me sick. Sicker than Tiger's sins, even. The whole 'pack of wolves' mentality upset me and I almost wrote about it in my blog, but my emotions were too high and God would rather (I think) have me wait until they stopped boiling and bubbling so I could sound, well, rational. :)

Maybe you watched different tv channels....heh... But really, I heard from plenty of people in all forms of news that Tiger should just pack up his golf clubs for forever or until *they felt* he'd sufficiently paid for his sins according to their time table.

Me? I've been praying that this will bring to Tiger a very real sense of his need of Jesus, the forgiver of our sins and the one who can make us strong enough to say no to temptation--and the very lover of our souls. And I'm now waiting in faith, watching in anticipation to see if those prayers will come true."



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Again, this is how I see it, you know, rather like the title of my blog. :)

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Here's my post about how some things are none of my business. It goes along with this one, I believe.


Isn't this a pretty scene outside our windows this morning? Sunshine after some days of rain! And our neighbors' cute little house which I like to pretend once was a schoolhouse when the property was sliced and sold from ours decades ago.


There's no note on our deed saying it was used for a schoolhouse after the sale, but that's the lovely thing about pretending--you can imagine anything you want. And create little stories, all inside your head, even though you like the sweet little family who lives inside what you imagine to be a Laura Ingalls Wilder-type of schoolhouse.


Inside your head, you can have it both ways. And no one can stop you.


Happy Saturday! Tom and I are considering starting-up our yard sale habit again today. We'll see how that goes.



Friday, April 09, 2010

Look who flew in for a visit yesterday afternoon! For a long time I hung out over our kitchen window, icy breezes caressing my face, and just watched this quiet couple paddling idly, one of them stepping up into the marsh and disappearing amongst the reeds. The other, probably the female, became all nervous at her mate's adventurous trek, but she calmed down when he reappeared. (Rather like some other couples I know. heh.)

When they rose up into the grey skies their honking sounded exactly like, "Good-bye! Good-bye!"

Guess who returned this morning? And Tom was here this time to watch them, too. You should have seen us excitedly tip-toeing through the dining room and kitchen so not to startle them away.

We do love this nature preserve we've got going here in our own backyard. Birds, frogs, deer, rabbits, bats, snakes, squirrels, a fox and now geese. All are welcome as long as they play fair. :)


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It's easier than you think to create a nature preserve in your own backyard, no matter how small. Our last yard was about the size of a normal master bedroom--and in the suburbs--yet we had all sorts of animals back there. Check online for ideas such as toad houses from flower pots and bee condos from holes drilled partially into small posts and of course birdhouses and birdfeeders, etc.

Go here for more ideas of how to attract and care for the wildlife in your own backyard.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Gifts to Myself



When I clear the kitchen counters at night and straighten the dish towels so everything will look pleasant and sweet in the morning, that's a gift to myself.

When I don't stress-out about my poor ol' over-50 memory, that's a gift to myself. (Stress worsens memory.) And when I forgive my forgetting and also research online ways to improve it, that's a gift, too.

When I clean-up around the house after Tom without any resentment, but only chuckling acceptance, that's a gift to myself--and for Tom, also. (Anything which keeps me from nagging and inciting bad vibes around the house is a Great Thing.)

When I take good care of my body, give it real food, exercise and hours of moonlit sleep, that's a gift to myself.

When I take breaks throughout the day to rest, read favorite books or to walk our country lanes, those are gifts to myself. When I approach my chores with acceptance and playfulness, that's also a gift.

When a friend and I chat for hours over coffee, dessert and a pretty tablecloth and china, that's a gift to myself.

I notice a pattern in those gifts. They tend to be gifts from God, arriving from wisdom, but appearing as though they came from me. But true wisdom comes from God, even though He sometimes disguises Himself, unselfishly, in the giving. He's funny that way.


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Wow. And here is an amazing gift for you from Anne.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010







I've been fondly remembering our previous yard this morning. All those forget-me-nots like pixie dust!


And I also recalled how, years ago, it unnerved me the way children would sometimes walk down our driveway then step across our neighbor's lawn to get to the street behind us. A real-live shortcut--that's how they viewed our yards. And what tiny yards we had!

Sometimes our neighbor two-doors-down would walk with her tiny grandson over to our backyard and once he sat on my old wooden chair and broke the seat board. She never said anything about it, she didn't know I saw it happen, (ol' territorial me muttering at the window). Of course, how sturdy was that board anyway if a two-year-old snapped it?

But there came a day (don't you love it when there comes a day?) when God reminded me that, "Freely you have received, so freely give."

"Freely share your yard."

"Freely give others some room to do what you, yourself, might not do. Or say."

"And always remember that Love hardly ever notices when others do it wrong."

Do you know why my life keeps getting more peaceful, more calm and just downright better? It's because of lessons like those.
In our back woods, there's a trail where kids sometimes ride three-wheelers. Our neighbor asked if she can walk her dog across our meadow in the winter. Our other neighbors skated on our pond and, last week, went frogging there (probably to cook the poor old things). The occasional dog tours our yard.
And you know? I'm so thankful for the sharing lessons learned in the postage-stamp-sized yard of our last house because it doesn't bother me having all this action taking place in our present yard.
For as the song says, "Freely, freely, you have received. Freely, freely, give. Go in My name and because you believe, others will know that I live."



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I realize some of you are thinking, "But what about the possibility that you might be sued if someone gets hurt in your yard?"

To which I would say, it is so sad at how fearful we have become in Today's world.

Freely give, freely share, freely give again...



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I Corinthians 13:3-7 (Living Bible) Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way, it is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly ever notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone you will be loyal to them no matter what the cost, You will always believe in them, always, expert the best of them. And always stand your ground in defending them.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


This latest tragedy with all the miners and their sorrowing families reminds me once more:


Show others you love them. Tell them, too.

Have that family over to dinner this week. Do not just say, "Someday we'll have to get together."

Do what you do well. Don't be sloppy.

Take country drives. Look up into the sky. Really see every beautiful thing.

Be grateful.

Live today as though tomorrow may not arrive.

Always live prepared to die.


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"... then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh..." ... Luke 21:28

Monday, April 05, 2010


Watch-out! Suzy Homemaker is back in town. Woo hoo!

Yes, after five-and-a-half weeks, Tom has returned to work. Light duty, desk work, yes, but he's there at the plant again and I am here at home alone with Lennon and McCartney The Cats as Big Band Era music blares in celebration while I write to you.

And plans! My, do I have plans for today. Painting and gardening and laundry and cleaning and doing all those tasks left undone, those staring at me, while Tom was home resting his shoulder. Maybe I'll even stroll down to our tiny market or a bit farther to the town library. Who knows? I can do whatever I want today for however long I wish. (Well, I can't drive anywhere since Tom has taken the car, but who needs to drive on a lovely springtime Monday?)

And even though many people 'out there' are bummed that it's Monday and some are home dreading tackling the tasks staring at them, well, as for me and my house, we'll spend the day together, rejoicing that normality, all smiley and glad, has returned.


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A HUGE thank-you to NancyR for recommending the book, Fifty Acres and a Poodle. It arrived last week and I read it in one (one!) day. A lovely, funny book which I could not put down. You can read about this fun book here and buy it for just three pennies(!), though with cheaper shipping prices and totals at abebooks.com.

Thanks again, Nancy!