Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday Treats

The photo? The entrance to Nostalgia Lane which I introduced you to yesterday. One thing I never tire of back here in the East--the overhanging trees which meet in the middle of the streets. Always makes me feel as though I'm entering a special place beneath a canopy or a doorway into a time machine. Or something.

And today? Today I'm sharing some of Susan Boyle's latest songs with you. Oh my. What a treat. Enjoy...


You Have to Be There (my favorite of all these. Beautiful.)

Mad World (I've always liked this song and now even more so).

Perfect Day

Enjoy The Silence (loved the gorgeous photo with this one).



****************


You can also find Susan's, Someone to Watch Over Me, on youtube, but I thought I'd share these other songs since we've not heard them already, like, our whole lives. :)


****************

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ready For Another Walk (and Something Free)?

Do you remember when I lived in the 'burbs before and I'd show you photos like the one, above? My favorite street of houses like these was the one right beside ours and you know? Walking over to that street almost daily was probably the only thing I missed when we moved away. I so enjoyed strolling amongst those houses early mornings, getting my retro fix, then skipping back home and feeling like Mrs. Suzy Homemaker 1920 for the day's remainder.

Well, guess what? That photo was taken today just three streets away! I feel so very blessed to again, after our three farm years, be within walking distance of such nostalgia.

In fact, to you, my Readers, this street shall be known as Nostalgia Lane.

That old retro feeling in which I'd easily imagine women in aprons and head scarves stepping out doors to shake rugs and porch sit, is now just three streets away and mine for the dreaming.

And these next photos were taken only two streets from Hobbit Cottage. (Oh, the crisp, energizing air of autumn! And I love the almost Monet appearance of that tree.)


Just thought I'd share more of my new world with you. Delights are better when shared, as are Life and God. And candy, too. :)

And truthfully? Sometimes I think we feel a cranky, aimless discomfort within our skin simply because we're not sharing enough of what we've been given. Hits me that way, anyhow.



************************

(Always, I'm in Leave It To Beaver Land when I see garages like this one.)





***************

Would you like one of those old-fashioned booklet-type cookbooks for free? I received this one today in the mail and am delighted with it. Lots of recipes for autumnal type dishes, each with raisins as one of the ingredients. Sign-up for your free copy here.



***************


Want one more? Another lovely autumnal cookbook booklet arrived today, also. This one has recipes using pumpkin, sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Sign-up for it free here. (Just ask for the free cookbook in the comment box after leaving your address.)

Both cookbooks contain delightful artwork. Just thought I'd mention them to you.


****************

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Observations

So here's our corner, Tom's and mine. We live right behind that hedge at the left. Of course, the trees are everything in this picture and pretty much in Real Life, too. Heaven help us if they're ever chopped down (on the next street over, they were cut down to widen the street, the one I take to the supermarket. Doesn't look dreadful, just more modern and streamlined, two of my least-favorite words.).

And here's what you see one block in the opposite direction (hmm... that wasn't a tour bus after all nor was it yellow. Ah, my faulty powers of observation again. See my last post if you're wondering what I'm talking about.)  And yes, that's a big blue bridge out there over the water, but since I like to remain rather anonymous here, I'll not tell you its name. :)

Beside the high rise motel there's this old house which I like to stare at (along with the water) while I'm stopped at the light. I enjoy dreaming about living there, but only for a moment, for I'm perfectly content at Hobbit Cottage, thank-you very much.

Okay, now lest you think I'm living in a low-scale lap of luxury, here's a picture for you of one of the average, scarier parts of the street behind us, though the sun makes it appear more cheerful. Honest, we now live in the midst of the cheap and the run-down, with only pockets of nicely-kept homes.

These, for example, are sweet and lovely and they're just across from the homes, above. And that's what you find lots of here--pockets of homes which need not decorate for Halloween because they're tilting and peeling and sad-appearing already, right next to other pockets of dearly-loved homes all bright and tailored.

But I've found to really know what's inside a pocket, you must take the time to pause and look around inside it. Oh, how easy to stroll quickly past these sad places out of fear and make assumptions! No, God is teaching me that in each scary house around here lives people who He loves very much and may I always remember that and knock-off the judging from the outside. And love everyone also, sight unseen, because they're loved already by Him who I love most.




*********************

A little example... last night around 9:45 I was awakened by a domestic disturbance (it appeared to be) down below me outside at the opposite corner of our street. I peeked down from behind my curtain, the voices cooled a bit, then I wandered downstairs where Tom said even patrol cars were there earlier, but the officers had oddly done nothing while one loud person tossed plastic bags out of a pick-up bed and left them on the corner. Hmm.

I climbed sleepily back upstairs and prayed for all involved, even remembering some of Tom's and my own heavy-duty arguments and though usually they happened inside our houses (or cars), that's not a whole lot nicer (as in, it doesn't make us better than those people outside last night).

Anyway, this morning the bags were gone and all that was left was an ugly tv cabinet. Tom said later the couple appeared to make-up and he smiled and said they probably told each other, "And let's just leave that tv cabinet since it's too disgusting to take back home, anyway."

Oh, and nothing else like that has happened here since our move 8 weeks ago, so please don't picture it happening nightly. And too, I've chosen to view this whole Hobbit Cottage In The Big City experience as an opportunity for ministry and helping rather than fearing and hiding.

************************


Oh, and NancyR left a comment this morning to an earlier post asking what we did with all the stuff in our barn loft. Truthfully? We left it all there, all but the old chandelier we'd found on the curb. That we sold at our moving sale. We'd already explained to the new owners that we'd be leaving some barn items and they were fine with it, even a little excited to see what they'd be. :)


***********************


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hurried Musings...

Busy, busy around here today. All the new glass block windows are in as well as two new storm doors. Tom and I are now as snug as proverbial bugs in a rug. Just in time--tomorrow we're due to be in the brrrr zone.


And yesterday I did a bit of stenciling because a.) I'd been meaning to and b.) my friend, Donna, and our mutual friend, Marian, are coming over for coffee on Friday so now I have a deadline and I work best with those. Some photos to follow, perhaps tomorrow, but don't get too excited because it's not much. Really.


I also snapped more photos of our neighborhood along with some of the river at the end of our street, but a bright yellow tour bus blocked much of the view so the water ones may have to wait. I've not told you yet, but along that river is a tall, snazzy motel. In fact, since I'm such the early bird, I can see their lighted sign way up at the top from our kitchen window on silent, dark mornings. Well, a few letters of it, anyway, and I think that's kind of spiffy. You countryside-purists may disagree, but that's all right. I had my three years of seeing only blackness outside windows during early morning hours and I've discovered I prefer street lamps, porch lights and those bright motel letters way up there in the nighttime sky.


So anyway............... Here is a better place to go today. Sara's post, I'm thinking, should become one of those forwards you email to everybody in your address book. It's that good.


More words and photos soon.............






*************

Speaking of porch lights, yesterday our neighbors across the street decorated for Halloween (personally, I'm not a fan of Halloween decor), but! Into their two porch lights they installed something that, from over here, looks exactly like orange flames. Exactly. Now, Tom and I find those pretty darn cool. :) We're both, like, "How do they do that?" (And no, we're not talking cheesy orange crepe paper with a tiny fan, either....heh... It's something way better.)


*********************

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pic's of My New 'Hood

Well, finally I took a walk around our block. I'm embarrassed to say I'd waited a whole 7 weeks, but I have my excuses. heh. And I must admit some parts of our neighborhood are well, scary. I left-out those houses, though I may show them to you someday (in case you don't believe me about their scariness). 

So anyway, here is part of my new 'hood.


This is the tree outside our windows on the sunny side of the house. That tall house has been empty all this time, but a new family is in the process of moving in. They look nice.




Kinda rough, but I think it's cute.


At the end of our street, one of the nicer places.



And this reminds me of the street I used to walk along near our apartment in '08. It has a countryish, though park-like feeling. Yet running up a hill beside it is part of a thruway. Alas.


So there's your mini tour for the day. I'd love to get to know more people here. The day before we moved-in, one woman, Shirley, came and greeted us. She's lived in her home for 61 years! She said the woman who lives behind us is named Florence so here is how I remember both their names: I picture Shirley Booth living in the grey house and Florence Henderson living in the red one. Hazel and Mrs. Brady in my neighborhood!


.....smile....






********************




A special thanks to Sarah who left such lovely comments to some of my older posts. I really appreciate your kind words. Thanks.


Thanks to each of you who take the time to let me know what you are thinking...




*********************


Oh! I think you will love this blog post which was written by a friend with whom I went to high school. It's about the power which comes from just one of us allowing God to move through us. Fawn is so cool and so is her latest post!


******************

Monday, October 24, 2011

Quite This and That

See the little bird couple? Yesterday I painted the green square around them because I think just about everything looks better with a background of color. (So why will my livingroom walls most likely remain white? Because I'm not the young, zippy painter I once was. Alas. But I do plan to paint that archway a lighter green someday.) So anyway, I love that green square and would like to perhaps stencil a curvy something above it. We'll see.




Last week I finally got these non-skid strips attached to our stairs. Didn't want to mess-up their old-fashioned look, yet didn't want to slip, either. I'd slipped a couple times (just from the second step to the first, not a big deal) so I'd taken to coming down the stairs like an old lady, all slow and touching each stair with both feet before continuing (BOR-ing). But now? Now I come down them all speedy like a pro. Nice.


Oh, and on Saturday Tom and I went to the old-fashioned theater and saw two movies(!) To get him there, I said, "How about if we go see Planet of the Apes today?" I knew he'd be all for that. He was. But then after that film (which was better than I'd imagined, though still quite silly), I talked him into staying for another viewing (for me) of Midnight in Paris. Happy sigh. I enjoyed it just as much as the first time (oh Paris!) and Tom liked it, too. (I didn't ask which movie he enjoyed more, though--he might not have given the correct answer.).


But we both returned home smiling for the rest of the night, thanking one another for making our outing so much fun.


During our three years on the farm we came into town just twice for movies, once at this favorite cheapo-old-timey theater and once at the flashy-big-deal-expensive one. So I guess we've been making-up for all the movie outings we missed! Though of course, this is one of those odd, rare times when we've actually had a choice of good, decent movies to go see. Years past we've been in moods to go see something for weeks and weeks and weeks, but have been frustrated that nothing worth viewing ever did show up.


But here in our new life we've actually had too many choices and how delightful is that, especially now, before Tom and I go into hibernation when the snow flies and movie dates become just pleasant memories.


And lastly, tomorrow our two new storm doors will arrive (the third house in Western New York to receive storm doors from us) and on Wednesday our glass block windows for the basement will be installed, too (same goes for this being the third basement, ditto, ditto.).


So soon Hobbit Cottage will be quite the snug little place and I'm happy that we can do this for her. I didn't tell you yet, but our neighbors said this house had been vacant for five years--oh my! How sad for her. From what we were also told by our real estate attorney we've pieced together this story: a couple lived here many years until both passed away, then their children sold the house to people who could not pay for it and it went into foreclosure and just sat here, lonely, for all those years.


But now Hobbit Cottage has another couple within her walls again and oh my, am I ever happy to be part of that couple!








******************




Sunday, October 23, 2011

'Bye 'Bye Facebook


Something I thought I'd never say? I don't miss Facebook. At all.


Oh, part of me understands one reason why this could be.  Since childhood I've been--mostly--a loner. When I wanted to be one and when I didn't. It just always turns out that way and when I try to change it-- when I attempt to surround myself consistently with people, with friends--it never forms into a great thing. Always, I eventually fade from the crowds, returning to quiet rooms at home where I take deep breaths of grateful freedom.


So I'm thinking that is partly why I've not missed Facebook.


Yet during my 2 1/2 years there, I greatly enjoyed Facebook because of the opportunity for silliness (I can be overly-serious) and because it was the simplest, fastest way I'd ever discovered to encourage people. A friend would write that they needed prayer about their health/children/finances and poof! Debra flew in to let them know she'd be praying. If they needed help with something, click! I shared my availability. And the long list goes on. Encouragement at Facebook--easy, efficient, quick.


Yet here I sat this past week, not really missing those opportunities and wondering at this apparent selfishness. Could I have changed so quickly in just seven days?


Then God came along and said simply, "Debra, for goodness' sake. I never created you to become an encouragement machine."


Hmm. Now, that made sense.


At Facebook I did attempt to "dot all my encouragement i's." A few times daily I'd zip down my home page just to make certain I'd missed no one's 'needy status'. Here was my chance to encourage any of my 162 friends who might be hurting or feeling left out and I hated to skip any opportunity to cheer them and make them feel part of a group.


But what I'm feeling now? Nearly everything in this life exists for just one season and my Facebook season is over. A mostly successful and dare I say obedient season, yet I did spread myself a bit thin (as they say). Tried to be Mrs. Super Encourager, but the touch often came out too light, my words did not venture as deeply as they should have. Oh sometimes, yes, but mostly? Uh, no. I spread hundreds of tiny seeds, yet didn't take the extra time to plant them.


This past week I've noticed all the extra time I have to go deeper here at my blog and in emails (I'm nearly caught up!) and in Real Life, as well. I have time for everything I need and want to do. And that is lovely, restful even, which means I can think more clearly and listen more closely to what God would have me share with others. After all, His words and thoughts will always be the most powerful ones.


But the one thing I'll take away from Facebook is this: I so enjoyed that season while it lasted.








*****************


The photo? The two new shepherd staff hangers Tom brought home for the  birds, who adore them. The squirrels, however, have been demoted to picking through the grass for seeds. Oh, and don't forget to notice our extremely tall flagpole. Since actually hanging a flag from it would prove complicated (and would get torn up amongst the tree branches up there) we'll probably just hang another birdfeeder from the lower part. (We have the technology. heh. You have to be my age and a tv fan to understand that joke.)




****************

Saturday, October 22, 2011

More Perfection (Or As Close As It Gets)

So yesterday I just knew I'd find another delightful book at Dollar Tree and well, I did. It's called How To Fit a Car Seat On a Camel, edited by Sarah Franklin. As with A Matter of Choice, this book contains beautiful essays, yet these are stories about traveling with children, all humorous so far.


Wow. Another keeper book and from Dollar Tree! As God's been trying (and trying) to teach me, never assume anything, not even that Dollar Tree just sells loser books. :)


Then I stepped over to our supermarket where I meant to leave a note thanking them profusely for playing that glorious 1940's and 50's music. When someone does something you appreciate, even in businesses (or perhaps especially then), it pays to tell them so they'll keep doing it. (Hence, the reason why Tom and I watch movies in theaters when we can. It's like casting our votes for good, decent films.)


Well, anyway, I shopped for groceries and forgot to hunt around for their suggestion box/forms. Guess I'll just have to return soon. No problem, that.


Later in the day Tom drove to an estate sale, only his second one in all these 7 weeks here at Hobbit Cottage, (remember, he found the much-needed refrigerator at the last one). This time? This time he found two of those shepherd staff birdfeeder holders, $1 each (the movers lost our previous one), so I placed one outside of our kitchen sink window, the other outside of those windows you always see in my header. Filled the feeders with seed and immediately those suburb sparrows flocked them and had a party.


Would have taken the farm sparrows 24 hours to be sure it wasn't a trap.


But Tom brought something else home--perfection, nearly. See, at the end of our couch we'd been using our (small) Craftsman footstool to hold our phone and that meant scraps of Tom's phone message papers cluttered the footstool, also. Behind that, we kept a paper grocery bag to hold newspaper/squashed boxes, etc., for recycling, being the most convenient (and only) place for it.


Frankly, that end-of-the-couch area looked bad. And it was just inside the front door! Ack. So much for first impressions.


Well, here's the perfect thing which Tom drove home from the estate sale:








How fun! He'd not thought of putting it there, but oh, the tiny drawer hides all the slips of paper (pens, too), the cabinet holds the bag with recyclable paper and even a few other of Tom's clutter which had been crammed in the end table beside his chair. We're both thrilled with this improvement.


Don't you just love it when you discover an efficient piece of furniture which allows you to hide your junk and collect even more? :)


And did you notice the painting of our farm by our friend, Donna? That picture reminds me of something so special--namely, whenever I ever feel the urge to take a walk in the countryside amongst land and trees, all I must do is--inside my head--return to the farm. How simple to view myself unlatching the gate beside the barn, walking down the brick pathway I began creating in the sheep yard, then stepping through grasses (usually tall because I couldn't  keep-up with mowing) to the wicker chairs and fairy pool.


Then I can even walk farther to the back fence and almost smell that sweet, wild scent which existed only there and stand beneath the trees, inhale deeply, hear the birdsong and feel gentle breezes upon my face.


Now, following three years of having memorized that farm for a later time such as this, I can return and hike around it anytime I wish. Night or day I can wander the meadow or woods again--and not have to mow a single blade of grass.


Proving the point: we needn't own something in order to have it.


Happy, happy sigh.






**********************









"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever."   ... Psalm 118:29






*********************

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Good Happens

In seven years of writing in this blog I've tried to convince you of all sorts of things. But besides the fact that we all need Jesus, this is the other major thought I'd like you to carry away:


It's up to us to make our lives wonderful. It's up to us to believe for remarkable days.


So well, you can consider that while I share this:


Probably the silliest photo and concept you've ever seen shared in a blog is this:




I am hopelessly in love with this bathroom tissue holder.


No, really. At the old farmhouse, just to remove an empty roll you had to push a button which would then make the permanent roll shoot across the room. Then you had to pick it up, figure out which end went in which way (it mattered), add the new tissue, then struggle for at least five minutes to fit it back into the holder, picking it up whenever it, again, fell down (usually in the trash can. Ew.).


Gah, I hated that thing.


But here at our adored Hobbit Cottage you just poof! Slip off the old empty roll and poof! Slip on the new one.


What luxury. What ease. What a full-blown blessing.


Moving on...


So for a few weeks my computer rested upon a chair and I sat on a tiny bench in front of it. Good gracious, got so I could barely walk when getting up from the bench. Well, there came a day I had to admit I'm no longer 16-years-old and can no longer sit in any ol' position. So here's my new set-up:








Again, oh the ease, oh the luxury.


Yet I am able to still handle sitting on the floor for awhile, so here's where I read and think and even pay our bills:







I use the little bench as a table to write upon and the extra bed to hold the books I'm currently reading, plus a writing tablet, some lists, etc.


Some 'experts' say you should not combine office duties in your bedroom because your head will think it's supposed to be working when actually it's time for bed. But alas, this hasn't bothered me--I sleep blissfully here at Hobbit Cottage. Oh, and I do shut-off the computer at night, lest that concerns you electronic-wise. Concerned me, also.


Much of my whole world is upstairs here: my little tv and dvd player, our ironing board and iron, my library of deeply-appreciated books, my clothes, a wicker chair, drawers for office supplies, my stereo, cds, art supplies and a full-length mirror (something I'd not had in our house for whole decades, but figured I should have now so it would inspire me not to let myself go. Alas.).


I came here expecting life to be better and oh my, God certainly hasn't let me down. I've shared various examples with you, but here's another, though it begins with a negative. See, that Facebook thing was being a bother again, so after I drove down to Naomi's apartment to feed her cats (she was out of town for a few days visiting friends in Nashville), I thought, "I'll drop by 7-11 for a doughnut to help me work through this Facebook fiasco some more when I get home."


So I pulled into the 7-11 around three blocks from our house, stepped inside and the woman working there greeted me kindly as though she was glad to see me, as though I was a regular customer.


I'd never been there before in my life.


I bought two doughnuts (one for Tom), and she and I chatted friendly-style at the check-out. Then as I neared the door, a man with a very long grey beard already held it open for me so I thanked him as I always do when people hold doors for me which happens a lot here in Western New York. He cheerfully responded, "You're welcome."


Then I drove home beneath trees overhanging the streets, leaves fluttering down, came into the house and told Tom, "People are just sooooo nice here!" To which he replied, "Yes, they certainly are."


So please, if you've not gotten into the habit already, pul-ease start expecting good things to happen to you instead of bad, ok? Have faith for wonderful events rather than sad ones. Keep it up and keep it up and Life just may begin appearing differently than it ever did before.


I don't put-off joy until Heaven and I hope you don't, either.






**********************






Psalm 5:3




In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.


 
 
*******************

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Inspiration For You

Oh, this was such a sentimental story of an old-fashioned homemaker and her dear husband. Made me cry at the end, and well, I just wanted to share it with you all. Made my day.


Go here.










****************


Oh, and you can now sign-up to receive my blog posts in your email box. Glance over to the top of my right-hand column, add your email address to the box and go from there. Just thought I'd mention it. A special thanks to Angela for the suggestion. :)






*****************

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

You Might Not Believe This (But It's True)


I forgot to tell you something pretty incredible about this new life of mine.


While I shop at my local supermarket, they play Big Band era music. And stuff from the 1950's, like Doris Day and Nat King Cole and Rosemary Clooney. Weekends and weekdays.


Oh. My. Goodness.


And it's not like this supermarket is some local Mom and Pop set-up, either. No, they're a major chain in New York and Pennsylvania and this is one of the large ones, an International.


I drive to the market early mornings, anywhere from 7:30 to 9:30 and there's Benny or Glenn or Doris or Rosemary playing or singing me down the aisles. Sometimes I even have to keep my feet from dancing. Sometimes people push their carts past me singing along with Bing or Patsy . Other times they whistle along. Or hum.


Sometimes couples, old or young, get a little playful in the aisles. One husband even embraced his wife, they slow danced a couple steps, then he twirled her by the hand.


Does it get any better than this?


I'm thinking probably not.  :)









********************




Hmm.... In case you're wondering if this post is for real--yes, it is. Come visit me some early morning and I'll take you the six blocks to my supermarket and you can watch the magic for yourself.  It'll be fun.




********************




And once again, here's the amazing website Dolores shared with me filled with stations which play 1940's and 50's music.




********************


And speaking of  'once again' I must repeat that I'm absolutely loving my Dollar Tree book, A Matter of Choice, edited by Joan Chatfield-Taylor. Could hardly be more perfect and really, I need to get back down there to search for more treasures! (If you enjoyed Thoughts of Home and If These Walls Could Talk, guaranteed, you'll love this book, also.)




*********************


Oh, you must do this. (Pretty please?) Go here and listen to this youtube song while picturing yourself grocery shopping. If you're a woman I'll bet you can't help but see yourself in a full-skirted dress and clip-on pearl earrings while pushing a cart around. This is one of the types of music my market plays and--when they do-- suddenly I'm transformed into June Cleaver.  :)




********************






Deuteronomy 8:10




"When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you."




Trust me, I have and I am! :)




****************

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Good and Bad of Lately





Gah. I had to bail out of my dearly loved Facebook. Something hacked my profile there and was giving me and my friends a royal headache.


ThisIsJustATestThisIsJustATestThisIsJustATest.......


Please don't share horror stories about Facebook in my comment box, ok? To me it was an encourager's dream come true. I'll miss it. Now I'll have to rely upon hearing from God more so to know when and how others need to be encouraged, but of course, anytime we need to rely upon God more, it's a good thing.


Perhaps someday later I'll join back up, but for awhile, I want to see how I deal with being Facebook-less. Can I handle it? Tune in next week. heh.


I first noticed the problem at Facebook this past Saturday and was upset and considered staying home and trying it fix it rather than watching Contagion with Tom. But then I realized a trip to the theater would be refreshing and Contagion would put all of this into perspective and oh my goodness--it certainly did! :) Having a Facebook problem in no way compares to millions of people losing their lives through sickness.


Oh well... Life goes on. We heard that those of us in the Great Lakes Region are due for the worst winter in, like, a kazillion years so that certainly gives Tom and I incentive to continue winterizing around Hobbit Cottage. On Friday the last four 80-year-old windows in this house (not counting the basement ones) were replaced and oh! How wonderful to just sliiiiiiide a window open with a finger rather than push and shake and yank it open. These new windows are dreamy.


My winter grocery stock-up continues and my oh my that downstairs 1920's kitchen has certainly come in handy for that. Sometimes I step down to the basement just to peek at those extra groceries and I call them Good.


Of course, I could just sit here and dread the coming winter, but I'm choosing not to. You realize we do have those choices, right?


Our heater and I are coming to terms, too. At times we've been bitter enemies! (Darn those complicated programmable thermostats anyway.) But finally we're both figuring each other out and calling a truce. Finally.


But a glass pie plate did shatter (crash!crash!) everywhere from our stove top yesterday because I'd turned on the wrong burner (again). %^$#( . Whenever we move, it seems the ability to use the correct burner without thinking takes forever. I'd just finally come to that point in the farmhouse.


Oh well! These things take time. And patience. And in the meantime Life is still wonderful, especially as I keep my mind disciplined to concentrate on what is good and lovely instead of what's oh-so-annoying.






****************

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Alone? Never.


So I'm skipping around from essay to essay in A Matter of Choice, choosing by title the pieces which sound interesting. And chewing each one, slowly.


But I felt sad for one of the authors this morning when she wrote this about arriving in Mexico for a vacation (of sorts), alone:


"I realized that I had never, in my forty-seven years, had dinner alone in a restaurant...  When I think about going out, an advance video runs through my head: I am sitting at a table trying to look content. The restaurant is filled with smiling, chatting people. I am the only one alone. They are staring, pitying me, wondering where I'm from and why I have no companion."




Good gracious! That's how I always felt, but way back in college while I sat in the cafeteria alone which was often since my friends and I were usually 'on the outs.' The ol' square peg being forced into round holes thing, that was me and a major reason I spent only one year there. I actually preferred eating alone while reading a book--it was the supposed stares of pity from others I minded, though now I realize teenagers are so self-absorbed that probably no one even noticed me enough to pity me. Alas.


But long before I turned 47, I'd grown past those silly fears and often I'd go out for coffee alone or to movies, these times actually pitying other people because they couldn't see Jesus sitting right there beside me. 


No, seriously. I'd always place my purse on one chair (or upon the floor) and leave one empty chair for Him and we'd have these secret rendevous', well, that's how I like to remember them.


 My 40's felt downright enchanted because I'd been 'practicing the presence of God' (have you read that amazing book?) since age 35 when some pretty special things happened (long story). And how lovely to discover true freedom in layers, going deeper by the year and by experience. How marvelous to become more aware of what Jesus is saying about you than any perceived criticisms by strangers.


Well, my 50's didn't start out exactly in the enchanting realm, but they're traveling closer by the day. I've returned to my Real Life, the one pre-designed by God (who knows best) and once again He and I are hanging-out at local coffee shops and movie theaters and having a grand ol' time.


And today? Today I'm hoping you can easily sit in a restaurant or a theater, coffee shop or church  and feel whole, even alone. That you, my fellow square-peggers, don't need another person or certain clothes, houses or cars before you feel loved, accepted and just fine. And that wherever you find yourself, you can turn your face and glimpse Jesus, Himself, pressed against your shoulder and hear Him whisper, "Today and always, you are so very, very loved."








****************




A special thanks to Kim for posting this quote at Facebook (it also helped inspire this post):




"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." -- Roald Dahl




****************




The photo, above, was taken outside of the window above our kitchen sink.




****************




Speaking of movies, I may return to the just-like-time-travel theater today, though with Tom in tow. We'd really like to see Contagion. Just our kind of flick.  :)




****************

Friday, October 14, 2011

Personalized Happiness



Years ago I'd read Miss Read's book, Time Remembered, but these sentences in the foreword practically glowed in fluorescence this time:


"As an unambitious child, I disliked this wearisome regime. I had no desire to do better than my neighbors and lacked any envy of their abilities, looks or possessions. I soon realized that what I really wanted was time to ruminate, time to observe and often time to be alone."


Oh wow. That's exactly what the farm taught me! One of the things, anyway.


What I learned there? Bigger certainly does not mean better, especially if, personally, you prefer smaller. And it's not the person who has the most stuff or money who is the wealthiest, but rather, it's the person who's living exactly how God designed them to live.


Everyday we're all spoon-fed online (and nearly everyplace else) just what it means (to worldly people) to be rich and successful and happy. So I believe it has become a necessity to remind ourselves just as often--every single day--that God has created each of us with a whole unique blend of desires, talents and callings and His ideas of success are not average ones. Uh, no.


And oh! That explains much. It explains why some people adore life inside those tiny, 200 sq. foot homes from kits. And why some folks are thrilled to live in the center of huge cities, or others, in the middle of an African field inside a hut, in the midst of people God sent them to help. It explains why some folks would rather dwell inside a tent or a lone cabin in the woods or inside an igloo.


It explains why some people find liver, yummy. Okra, too.  :)


That whole 'unique blend' God pours into us explains an awful lot and I'm thinking if we reminded ourselves of that daily, we'd understand why people do what they do and we'd stop criticizing them (or declaring them crazy) just because they're doing what we, ourselves, never, ever would. (And perhaps we'd be exposed to our own pride in those statements, you know, words like, "Why would anyone in his right mind want to live in a huge city? I never would!")


And  we might finally stop trying to attain certain things just because we've been told we should have them for happiness, fulfillment or appearances or ______ (fill in the blank). Instead, we could realize God's purposes and plans for this whole world matter and if only we would follow where He leads, even if it's to a place other people have labeled 'just awful,' we might finally know true contentment. For with God beside us, any place has potential for great joy.


Well, this is where my head has been lately. Just thought I'd let you know.




********************




The photo? I call it, It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Autumn. That's the scene from my front window upstairs.




****************


Oh happy day! My buddy, Dolores, sent me the most amazing link to 1940's radio music online. There's tons of stuff there to look at and listen to--50's music links, also. Be still my heart! :)  (And thanks, again, Dolores for giving that to me over at Facebook!)