Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday Sighs

Well folks... Until further notice, I'll be disabling my comments.

Was it because I received a bad one? Nah. It's because of this:

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick."  ... Proverbs 13:12

My visitor meter tells me 100 - 120 of you read here each day, yet only three or four of you comment in a typical week. And well, I guess I'm tired of coming here early mornings all bright-eyed and hopeful for some interaction with you good people, some comments discussing your own thoughts and experiences in these areas from my heart ...  and often finding not a word.

So instead, I'll offer my email address: GladOne4@yahoo.com  .  If you'd like to share a thought, experience or a need, please contact me there, ok? Thanks. 


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


Gah. Yesterday afternoon was a nightmare. One of those this-is-just-a-test-this-is-just-a-test-breathe-breathe-breathe! times. We'll eventually need a $2,000 repair to our drainage system (ah Hobbit Cottage, ya let me down...) and Naomi will need an expensive, immediate repair to her car (which Tom helped her choose) before she leaves for Tennessee this week. Immediate $$$. Then Daniel and Sammy had a fight, Naomi's stress ran over, as did Tom's, then mine, especially when Naomi made one of her famous, "Well, what else do you do around here, anyway?" remarks.

And while that was happening, our neighbors chose to continue their basement project which meant tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap ... tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap... tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap (what are they doing down there, anyway?).

Today will be one of those extra krill oil days along with extra pampering and extra time spent with God who told me to ignore (and forgive) Naomi's hurtful remark because He thinks I do plenty around here.

This is just a test, this is just a test, this is just a, well, you know...


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

My heart and prayers go out to all those affected by the school shooting yesterday. It's wild that more people than ever don't believe in satan (and hell) even though more evil than ever is taking place.  I would say people are getting stupider, but in reality, they're becoming more deeply deceived by someone they don't even think exists.


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

P.S.   Naomi came over again today and things were much, much better. Back to her same sweet self and just understandably stressed-out about moving out of state as we all would be.


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

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ah, Pruning...


My weekend was great fun, due largely to those Jesse Duplantis youtube videos I shared with you. Oh, that infused joy he has! Well, it's the spreadable kind, it spread all over me, and how I appreciated it.

I mean, most of the Christians I know in Real Life or Blogland or Facebook are well, bummed-out. They're complaining about the President and who's running for president and money woes, the bad economy, the cold weather and their hurt feelings, body pains and wayward kids.

You know, the same things everybody else who doesn't even know Jesus is complaining about.

And truthfully? I need a few more good, joy-filled, God-knows-what-He's-doing folks in my life. My quota for bummed-out Christians was long ago filled-up so now I'm on a search for more joy-infused Christians, ones like Joyce Meyer and good ol' Jesse Duplantis. You know, rare, shining jewels in the midst of typical, everyday ones. Praisers, not mutterers.

For me, this is another of those godly pruning times. He is snip, snip, snipping off anything from me which would pull me down into mediocrity, depression and gloom.

Like in 2010... He pruned away one of my oldest local friends. It was such an obvious thing---bam, bam, bam! In one week there appeared a stack of misunderstandings between us, we couldn't seem to communicate suddenly, and she came against a blog post of mine-- said it was mean-spirited (it was about accepting and forgiving people). I'd already been feeling like I was doing all the giving in that friendship, had become more of a constant phone counselor, than a friend.

And snip! God pruned it all back. We visited once shortly before Tom and I moved from the farm and things appeared fine, but nothing has happened since then. It was an amicable parting, but a God-ordained one... and you don't go trying to resurrect those unless He tells you.

Truthfully, I've been fine ever since. And it's not like I've got this whole plethora of friends in the wings, either, just waiting to go out with me for coffee or shopping. No, I'm often alone, well, here with Tom, though we do enjoy having friends over to the house. But one thing I've learned--I'd rather be alone with God than surrounded by people who weaken my faith and bring me down, so much so, that it requires weeks for God to yank me back up. Been there, done that, don't want to go back for the T-shirt.

Pruning times! What lessens the pain of all the snip, snip, snipping is for me to remind myself that--when God removes something broken or diseased--He replaces it with something fixed and healthy. Sweeter things, fresher, and something which will help us grow stronger and more beautiful in Him.



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


"But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits."  ... Psalm 5:11




"Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit."  ... John 15:2



"Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality, as though something strange (unusual and alien to you and your position) were befalling you."  ... 1 Peter 4:12




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

Of course, now I'm asking myself, "Do I carry around a supply of spreadable joy? How about spreadable peace? Spreadable compassion?"


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

Free half-gallon of milk with the purchase of 3 breakfast products. This is a Facebook coupon and is available until March 3rd to the first 10,000 people daily. I was able to use my back button to print two...yay! I wish this would have been available last week when my favorite cereal was on sale...


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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

So, Like, We're Supposed to Hate People?!

So! Sarah noticed that I removed that "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened" quote by Dr. Suess beneath my header.

And well, I didn't do it for any negative reason, but rather, I felt the Bible verse that's up there now is way more vital. I mean, especially for people who may just click here accidentally once in their lives--my hope is that that verse will absolutely haunt them. So much so, that it will set them upon a whole new course, the end which will be their realization that there will be no Heaven for them unless they first enter through Jesus, the only door. 

So there's that explanation, in case you wondered.

And for whatever reason, I feel the need to share how I look at this different verse, below:

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple." ... Luke 14:26

That verse used to confuse me like it has tons of other people. But now I get it. In fact, I even drew a little picture to help explain it (I've taught Sunday School classes where kids burst out laughing at my stick figures, so go ahead and laugh if you'd like at my Love Line. I'll understand. heh)....


See on my 'Love Line' how God is waaaay over on the right in the Love More area? And see how everyone and everything else is on the left in the Love Less portion? Well, the thing to remember is that everyone is on the Love Line! There's no hate section there. But love for God is way ahead, far beyond love of everyone else--so much so--that in comparison (at a quick glance), it might appear like the longer column is a list of 'things we hate.'

It's the comparison that matters to God most--what he desires is that we love Him so overwhelmingly more than anybody or anything else. That He is our main passion. Our main purpose for living. Our main source of companionship, joy, vitality and strength.

Keep Him first like that, keep Him waaaaaay over on the More Side, and then we're totally free to love all other good gifts from Him, especially the people He places in our individual lives. God is big about loving others--just check out 1 Corinthians 13 again.

And well, I'll tell ya.... Back in 1994 when God first placed this great love for Him inside my heart, it changed absolutely everything. It's all been a process, but I began then to stop expecting people, places, money, positions--or anything else--to give me what only God could. I began worrying a whole lot less because I felt like, hey! Whatever I may lose in this life--as long as I still have this enormous, satisfying love from God--I'll be ok. And I began treasuring His nearness, cultivating it, so much so, that it became lots easier to let go of anything (or sometimes anyone, at His direction) that interfered with it, with that sweet sense of His continual presence.

Anyway, this is all too much for just one blog post, but I did want to share an explanation of that "hate your family" verse in case anyone who reads here had a problem with it. I've learned that when I get these 'pictures in my head' it's probably time to blog about them. Just be thankful there were no stick figures involved with this one.  :)


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


What to do if you don't have that kind of passionate love for God? Ask Him for it. Learn to simply receive from Him. He wants everything in our lives to come from Him so that none of us can boast, "This came from my own head." From beginning to end, it's all of Him.  (I read that last sentence years ago and recall it often.)





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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The New Guy At Hobbit Cottage


So. Meet Daniel, the new baby. And what a baby, indeed. It's like having a toddler around the house again, a toddler who likes to jump up on countertops and tables (though I think he may be cured since, after the 20th jump or so, I began flicking water drops at him). He loves to talk to us, (little mrrts-mrrts?) and you know? He's like our favorite cat of all time, Lennon, and the best cat Naomi ever had, Oreo, all rolled into one.

What a character. Follows me around like a puppy and is never too far from either of us. Took over Tom's recliner already and the spot on my bed where I sit during these winter months to watch tv or read. Pretty smart for a 14-month-old baby.

So the first cat has arrived. Sammy (Samson) comes to stay on Wednesday after we take Daniel to his free doctor check-up to see if all's well with him. Thankfully, 8-year-old Sammy is easy-going and just wants to play with anything with a pulse. Whether he or Daniel is the alpha male won't matter to him--he met Daniel yesterday and just kinda looked at him as if to say, "Hey kid. I think we'll get along. I'll let you know later."

Tom chose the name, Daniel, because then we'd have two Bible names for cats. :) (I'm thinking we should have named Daniel, Major Distraction, instead. heh.)

And so the cat adventure at Hobbit Cottage begins.


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

Daniel is fixed, has all his shots and was half-off at the shelter. Nice. Tom and Naomi went out to buy tires for Naomi's car yesterday (she leaves for Tennessee next week), and came back not only with the tires, but with Daniel. I didn't mind. For some reason, just thinking about the trip to the shelter and picking out a cat was almost stressing me out. I'm so glad they went ahead and did the choosing, themselves.


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

Oh and one last thing. All day I've been listening to Jesse Duplantis youtube videos. Off and on for 30 years I've watched him and always appreciated his hilarious sense of humor, his gifted story-telling ability and his joy-infused way of being and speaking. (Oh, how I wish I knew such excited, joy-infused Christians in Real Life!) So since Jesse has been today's special assembly speaker upstairs here at God College (heh), I thought I'd share some of the links with you. His 7-part testimony about Heaven was awesome and his 18-minute personal salvation testimony had me practically rolling around on the floor ( Listen here.)


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

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday This and That


"But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  ... Luke 21:36


*****

Whew. For three days God had me reading those online testimonies about people who'd seen hell either by visions or having visited in their spirit with an angel or Jesus or by near death experiences and oh my, it was rough.

But oh so necessary.

And through all the reading, God showed me I'd become drowsy to the realness of hell--that I needed to stay awake to the severity of the fact that millions are rejecting Jesus (and/or what He calls sin thus making their other judgements, murky) and landing in this horrid place forever after they die. 

And He also showed me that my love and mercy toward people often was out-of-balance to where I sometimes no longer even saw (nor really cared about) the sins they committed which the Bible says will keep them from Heaven. He reminded me, yes, He is love and He loves to show mercy, but He is also a righteous judge. And His judgements are perfect, no matter how harsh they may appear.

The reading of those hell-visiting testimonies was awful--but Grace read along with me. Then I'd walk around the house afterward with questions, but immediately God would answer them. He was so there in all of this for those three days. He is so good.

And now it's time to move on in my reading, but may I never become drowsy in this area again.


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


So finally I've come to a true acceptance and peace with Tom's retirement. Only took 18 months. Yet when you've lived a Suzy Homemaker lifestyle for 33 years--and adored and splashed around in those days--time is required to learn how to appreciate a whole other way of living. But I'll not feel guilty about the length it took for acceptance, for it came in stages, layers of sorts, through many trial-and-error lessons and that's how we learn much in this Life, anyway. So I'll not hang my head that the total acceptance required a whole year-and-a-half.

But... I did apologize to Tom for all the times I'd been a pathetic, cranky goon during those adjustment months.  :)


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

Some of you have asked how to become closer to God and how to be aware of His manifest presence. Well, good news! I found a beautifully written chapter from F.B. Meyer's book, The Secret of Guidance, which just may answer your questions. Here's the chapter:  In The Secret of His Presence.

Wonderful, lovely, truthful writing there... the kind of things which will set us all free to live closer to God's heart, in great peace, while still upon this Earth full of hard times.


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


"One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.... Psalm 27:4,5


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



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Back To School

So! I've returned to God College.

I love it when Grace is upon a thing and she's certainly upon these afternoon classes I'm taking. Each day around 1:00 I sit at my computer and start reading. Reading what, you ask? Well, I begin with that page of classic Christian authors I gave you earlier this week. I pick one of the books, read a couple chapters, perhaps, then often something within the words reminds me of something else I'd like to Google.

So then I do a search and travel somewhere else to read. And then because it's good to meditate upon what one has read, I might go downstairs and wash the dishes. Dish washing! A very contemplative thing to do and a reason I only use the dishwasher once a month. (Well, the real reason I use it that often is to keep it in running order, though ok, sometimes it's because all those dirty dishes in there appear daunting, indeed.)

Anyway, after completing this 'recess'  of sorts, I'll return upstairs and read and search and read and search some more for perhaps another hour or so. Then I call it quits for the day while remaining a bit meditative while trying to hold onto what I've learned.

I love God College. He's an awesome administrator and gives me the most interesting and timely things to study and He's oh so patient! He never gives tests too soon, but always after He believes I've had time to study enough to pass them. And He even lets Grace help me with my homework. :)


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


And oh! I told Tom earlier this week that I'm quite tired of using Yahoo as my homepage because each morning all bleary-eyed at 4:30 or 5:00, I'll turn on the computer and wham! Yahoo displays it's Big Bad News Box dead-center, showing me the latest tragic news, in pictures, even. And silly or worrisome news, too, like which two actresses wore the same dress, which athlete has an odd new hairstyle and how we're all wearing make-up containing arsenic, etc.  And well, I was finding the bad news too sad and the other stuff too distracting, sometimes even clicking on them (I know, I know) and awaking later to find myself standing on yet one more bunny trail.

Not good.

Well, yesterday God answered another prayer by--who knows how--taking me to iGoogle where I then created my very own, custom-made, news-free homepage.

Oh wow... love it! This morning how much more pleasant it was to not see the Bad News Box but rather, these headlines:


Bible Verse of the Day
Daily Bible Devotional--Days of Heaven Upon Earth by A.B. Simpson
Daily Bible Devotional--Our Daily Homily by F.B. Meyer
Daily Bible Devotional--Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles Cowman
(Those previous 3 links were apps I got from those pages, not from the iGoogle Add Gadgets button, as were the rest.)
Reminders from God
Daily Blessing
Simply Recipes
Healthy Eating Tips
Local Weather
French Word of the Hour
Daily Photo Tips
Date & Time (shows the date, a clock and a calendar page)

Hooray! Something new, something useful and something much improved for my personal needs. Don't you love such discoveries? I totally recommend iGoogle. Check it out!

Now, lest you think I've gone totally news-less, I still watch our local Buffalo early morning news which I've told you about before. The anchor people all feel like family and they share lots of good news and information from our community--so much so--that the bad news feels only sprinkled in here and there. So I'm still getting the news, only in a way I feel is Grace-given to me.



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

You've probably never heard of Smith Wigglesworth, but he was another old-timey author who I discovered way back around 1994 and I bought a couple of his books of sermons (technically he wasn't an author, but rather, his sermons were recorded by people in shorthand and placed into books). Well, yesterday I found a website which shares lots of his sermons online--yay! (Scroll down a little.) His sermons tell delightful stories of his daily life adventures as God helped him save and heal many people. Mr. Wigglesworth was one unique dude. :) I look forward to meeting him in Heaven.



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


Another College I've Attended? Homemaking College.


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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hard, Sad, But Necessary Truth

Uh-oh. Yesterday I discovered something online which I found beyond scary, I read the entire thing and now feel I must share it with you.


What was it? It's a book about hell by Mary Kathryn Baxter, published back in 1983. For thirty nights Jesus walked through hell with Mary so that she could later write about what she beheld as a warning to the rest of us.


Now. I realize it's popular today to not even believe there is a hell (or a devil), to instead, cast off the whole idea as just being a product of pagan stories from ancient times. Do a Google search and you'll see all sorts of conversations centering around statements like, "Only stupid Christians would believe a good God could allow people to go to so-called hell."


Well, call me stupid, but I believe He does. Yet does it make total sense to me? Do I understand and agree with all the whys about it? No, truthfully, I don't. And it all doesn't seem to match-up with the God I have come to know and love through experience.


Yet that only means something is faulty with my understanding of God, not that something is wrong with Him. (Heaven forbid that my comprehension of God would attempt be usurp truth about Him!) For always, what the Bible declares must stand tallest and all over the New Testament hell is mentioned as being real, as is satan,  with whom Jesus even spoke (what do Christians who don't believe in satan do with  Matthew 4:1-11, you know, when Jesus was out in the desert with satan?).


So anyway, here is the book: A Divine Revelation of Hell by Mary Kathryn Baxter. (Scroll down the page until the book begins.)


You remember how yesterday I wrote about our needing more compassion for people? Well wow, I came away from reading this book with more of that godly compassion-- in spades. Oh dear. Many parts were extremely difficult to bear--it's always agonizing watching people suffer--and it set a dark tone for the remainder of my day. But it was, is, all necessary to keep me awake to reality, to remind me to pray for people and to do my part in keeping others (and myself) from one day wandering into such torment.


One other thing--as I read this book, I felt God telling me not to begin wondering if perhaps, by specific name, this person or that one was now in hell experiencing such anguish. He reminded me that I do not know hearts and I do not know who may have asked for forgiveness from Jesus days or moments before their deaths. I could easily be all wrong about who's there, He told me, and also for my own mental health I need to mind my own business and just do my unique part in helping to save a hurt and dying world.


And lastly, I came away with these things: always obey the convictions, those not-so-loud promptings of the Holy Spirit. Love God more than anyone else. Obey Him, remain humble, repentant. Love people from the heart and forgive everyone. Forgive, forgive, forgive.






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




To read Mary Kathryn Baxter's writings about Heaven (which, of course, are much easier emotionally to handle) go here. (Again, scroll down.)


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

"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."  ... John 14:6



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

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The View From The Supermarket ... And Beyond


Well, let's see... In my last comment box, Becky asked what the book, It's Bright In My Valley was about since no one at amazon.com had reviewed it (people seldom review my favorite books cuz they're too quirky, old and forgotten. The books, not the people. heh.)

Anyway, this is how I described that book:


"It's rather like Gulley's, Front Porch Tales, except that it was written around 1961.

Philip Jerome Cleveland wrote essays about his days as a young pastor and the memorable characters he met in the New England towns where he pastored in the 1930's and 40's. He was able to lead some of them to Jesus, not all, but each person was interesting and many were quirky and what others would label as People Least Likely To Step Inside a Church.

He learned to deal with people with respect, patience and to find common outside-interest denominators which would help him form friendships with them, first.

These were true stories and I never tire of reading them!"


I'm glad Becky asked about It's Bright In My Valley because it always reminds me how we can tell we're maturing in God: our own community starts looking different to us.

Huh?

Well, take the supermarket for instance. We're still immature in God, in love, when we see the mom with a screaming baby in her cart and two little boys racing down the aisles and we think, "Gah! Why are there so many lousy moms who refuse to discipline their spoiled brats  children every time I go out to shop?"

Or everyone we pass in the aisles is talking into a cell phone, perhaps blocking our way, oblivious to us (me, me, me) and we glare and think, "Cell phones everywhere! Can't anyone stand to be alone for even ten minutes anymore?"

Or every check-stand has a long line and the one we choose (of course) takes the l-o-n-g-e-s-t to get through because the clerk is new and painfully slow and everybody and his Aunt Jane uses a fistful of coupons nowadays and we want to scream because everybody is making us (me, me, me) late for our own Very Important Next Thing.

Want your town to instantly change? Ask God to change you, to grow you up in love. Trust me, I know about this one because when we change, the mom in the supermarket will, instead, appear like a tired woman who truly needs an encouraging word or a helping hand.

And all those people with cell phones suddenly look like sad people afraid to be alone for even a few minutes or perhaps young husbands who just want to bring home the right things for their wives at home all day with toddlers.

And those tons of folks in check-stand lines become our fellow brothers and sisters for whom Jesus died (and for whom we can pray) and the coupon users become people struggling financially, just trying to save some money for their families and the slow clerk becomes someone who's grateful for her new job and doing the best she can lest she lose it.

God sent Jesus to this planet because of love, not condemnation, and when we get on that same page we, too, get sent out into our world because of love, not condemnation. And the whole world changes with our going.




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

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."  ... John 3:16,17


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

Oh! And yesterday I discovered a very cool website with a list of classic Christian books written by authors like A.W. Tozer, Andrew Murray, Madame Guyon, David Brainerd, John Bunyan, D.L. Moody, Brother Lawrence, Watchman Nee and others. Way back in '94 when God began His huge makeover on me, He led me to these authors and I devoured their writings and yesterday I had fun becoming reacquainted with them. And what an answer to prayer! Since last week I'd been desiring to read these sorts of books again, but knew I'd not be able to buy any at this time....then poof! There they appeared online (can't even recall how I arrived there).

 Again, go here for the many ebook links (though, sadly, some links appear to be broken).


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









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

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Living and Loving It


I confess.... I've been absent from here just enjoying Life again. 

Friday morning before the sun even rose, Tom and I slipped away to his appointment for another twice-yearly back injection. In darkness we crossed the bridge outside my bedroom window and over busy roads (which I do not like, so I sit silently and pray). The wait was less than usual, under three hours this time and I nibbled on (bad-for-me) food from the vending maching, bought decaf from the nice man who owns the on-site deli and reread It's Bright In My Valley for the umpteenth time. Also read my free issue of The Good Old Days and considered contributing to the card showers requested by relatives in the magazine's back section. So old-fashioned and sweet, those card showers.

After Tom's injections he's supposed to rest the remainder of the day so, when home, we had another Numb3rs mini-marathon and I began cleaning the house in between episodes for our company the following day.

On Saturday, Tom's tractor buddy, Al, and his wife, Shannon came over to lunch. We gave them a tour of our sweet little house then sat 'round the old pine table eating Fideo, Spanish rice and homemade applesause and chatted about where our lives have taken us since we last saw Al at our farm (this was the first time we'd visited with Shannon). And before waving good-bye we stepped out on the patio and showed them our river view, grey on this very grey day.

The visit was lovely as Hobbit Cottage visits are. And then, since I'd worked like a proverbial horse cleaning and cooking earlier in the day, I left the dirty dishes in the sink (where I'd wash them the next day while recalling the good time) and Tom and I watched more Numb3rs. Eventually I came up here and you know? The loveliness continued upstairs in Debra's World, this place where God and I hang out for hours and hours each day, listening to vintage music, reading and watching dvd's, clipping coupons and answering emails.

It's all good. Truly.

And although He reminds me to always savor, memorize every good time with Tom, Naomi and our friends--and I do try so hard--still, it is God who enchants me. He is the best thing that ever, ever happened to me. And even if all things change for me someday--as long as I have Him--everything will be all right.

And better than that, for He will make it so--as long as I desire Him now, hold Him closer than all others before the changes occur.



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





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



Uh-oh! I've created a Little House Monster. Tom finished reading The First Four Years in just one night (!) 

Thought I still owned a copy of the next book, On The Way Home, but instead, I had to order it (cheaply, with leftover gift card $$). In the meantime, Tom's reading Little House On The Prairie for the first time and is already half-finished.   My, my, my...  :)



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



"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."   ... Psalm 16:11


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








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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

This and That. Majorly.



Oy! Y'all must be some mighty prayer warriors (and God must be quite big) because Tom's dad was given only three days to live, but here's what our brother-in-law emailed about him five days after that diagnosis:

"Mike has bounced back.  He is eating and laughing and living!"

My, my,my.... Even in the best of times that would be an overly-zealous description of Tom's dad. heh. So we really do thank you for praying. Perhaps Tom's dad just needed to know he was still loved--and with the way the family rallied around him--he saw that for himself.

Again, thanks. Any continued prayer would be great, also.



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


Uh-oh! I've turned Tom into a Laura Head, too. :)  Nine years ago after one of his surgeries, he read Farmer Boy and The Long Winter and now in the past week he's read By The Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter and he's almost finished with These Happy Golden Years. This afternoon we even visited LIWFrontiergirl.com together where we viewed the Ingalls' and Wilders' houses, plus, we looked through a magazine I've kept since 1999 which showed the inside of the Surveyors' House and the house that Pa built in the town of DeSmet.

Happy sigh.

And it's pretty wild to see Tom reading a Laura Ingalls Wilder book at the same time he's also watching some blood-and-guts cop show on tv. Alas. :) Makes me chuckle.


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

Oh, how I do love coupons and sales! I went to my favorite supermarket today and instead of spending what would have been $107, I spent what will be just $50 after I receive my rebate for the cat litter I bought (I'll end up earning one dollar by buying that).

Here were some of my best deals:



Hormel Compleat Kids' Meal:  Regular price: $2.39. I paid: .90 cents.
Two  64 oz. Welch's Grape&Cherry juice:  Regular price:  $8.78. I paid $3.80.
Four cans of Starkist Tuna Selects (low sodium albacore):   Regular price: $9.56.  I paid $2.
Four boxes of Mom's Best Naturals Cereal:  Regular price: $9.96.  I paid $5.96. (For 4 boxes of cereal--yay!)

Plus, the store gave me a coupon for one dollar off of anything on my next visit.


Happy sigh. It's amazing the ways God finds for us to save money. Truly.




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

And that's about all that's new from 'round these parts, except that today I received two more Valentines in the mail and was totally thrilled about that!


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



Evening sunlight. Love it. Makes the roosters almost come to life.



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

Some favorite sites for grocery coupons (The Krazy Coupon Lady has the very best printable coupon data base, imo). It's easy to subscribe to the ones which are coupon blogs:

Red Plum

Smart Source

Coupons.com

Saving Naturally

Living Rich With Coupons

Coupon Dad

Money Saving Mom

The Krazy Coupon Lady





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



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Of Cats


So! Tom and I had this great plan.

The very same week that our new financial plan becomes all settled, we would adopt two cats from the shelter. That way we'd be assured to have enough money for their food, litter, veterinarian and other kitty expenses. Yes, that's what we'd do--and we'd bring home only young cats (1 - 2 years old) so they'd live a long time.

Well. Sunday night Naomi came over as she's done a lot lately because her computer's on the fritz and to slip in some extra visiting time with us before she moves to Tennessee in March.

At one point, she paused and said she needed to ask us something, but we would be free to say no if we wanted. (Hmmm hmmm.) Then she asked if, when she moved, we'd take her huge black pony cat, Sammy, to live with us.

Oh dear. Naomi's reasons and proposals were as follows:

Naomi will be just renting a room at first and Sammy is too big of a pony cat to be (fairly) kept inside one room.
Sammy needs a house in which to live comfortably.
Naomi's finding it impossible to find a place to rent which will allow 3 cats.
And ok, Sammy is 8, but still, he just wants to play 24/7, yet his sisters, Ginger and Farah, can barely stand him. They would fight all the time inside one room.
Sammy needs a playtime-buddy and if we got another, younger male cat at the same time, then Sammy would be new here, too, and not as territorial and the two cats could play together and live happily ever after.

And then Naomi hurriedly promised she'd buy all sorts of food and litter and whatever else we needed and she'd even send monthly checks and -- she was getting teary-eyed by this time and Tom was the first one to give-in and say, "Sure, Sweetheart, we'll take him."

And I was close behind, because hey... If you, too, are a parent you know this was one of those things where--if we said no-- Life as we know it would end. :)

So we'll be getting two cats at the end of February and everything money-wise will be fine. How do I know? Because this is one of those things where the only choice was choosing to do the right thing and God honors those kinds of choices with all the provision we'll ever need.

So stay tuned! The next Cat Chapter of our lives will begin in a couple of weeks. And all will be well and good.

Besides, Hobbit Cottage badly needs a couple cats, anyway.




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

Valentine's Day around Hobbit Cottage was so special. I hope it was the same at your house.


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

Did anyone check-out those PioneerGirl and FrontierGirl websites yesterday?


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


Proverbs 3:5  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."

Proverbs 16:9  "Man's mind plans his way, but God directs his steps."


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

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Of Valentine's Day and Compassion Toward the Unlovely



Happy Valentine's Day to you, my Readers!

Woo hoo! Ring the bells and sing a song and smile and know that you are loved by God, your family, your friends and me, too.

Celebrate love all day long today, ok? Let this simple day in February be the start of looking at things a whole new way. You won't be sorry.

(I absolutely loved your Valentine ideas in my last comment box! Thanks so much for sharing those with us. Really.)

Oh! And I almost forgot to share this delightful blog post with you. My buddy, Elizabeth, shared photos from the Valentine Tea Party she held for her grandkids and friends... you will love the sweet photos!

And good gracious, one more thing--Susan Branch has a cute bookmark for us. I printed two out on cardstock--fun!



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


So! I've been hanging-out at a new place lately. Where? PioneerGirl.com.

And my oh my, this is one Little House groupie who's having a grand ol' time peeking at the behind-the-scenes stuff about the Ingalls and Wilder families. That website has something for all of us Laura Heads. :)

Like yesterday... I began rereading These Happy Golden Years and I got to thinking about that awful, awful woman, Mrs. Brewster, who Laura stayed with during her first weeks as a teacher. All these years I'd pictured Mrs. Brewster looking like Mr. Rochester's (from Jane Eyre) insane, long, dark-haired, hide-her-in-the-attic-lest-she-kill-you wife. And each time I've read These Happy Golden Years, I've dismissed that terrible Mrs. Brewster as a totally unreasonable woman who was cruel to Laura (and everybody else) without a cause.

Uh-oh.

All these years I've judged her without even considering her own back story, her behind-the-scenes life. You know, the way each of us has behind-the-scenes stuff from our Past which at least partially explains why we behave as we do. 

Well, I discovered a message board about the real-life Mrs. Brewster, (Olive Bouchie) and I read down that message board and was convicted! Women there reported what they'd read other articles about Mrs. Bouchie and oh wow, take a look at this list:

She may have been recently widowed--perhaps divorced-- because her son, John, was from another marriage and he was 3 years old when Laura came to teach.

When Laura arrived, Mrs. Bouchie had given birth to another boy only three months earlier. So she actually had a toddler and a tiny baby and who knows? She could have had postpartum depression--and that, alone, could explain lots of things.

But there was even more-- Mrs. Brewster had only recently moved to this middle-of-nowhere place, this field in unsettled South Dakota,  having come from Iowa. So she probably left family and friends behind, not to mention a more civilized town all for what? A lonely place with only a smattering of families-- in-laws, mainly (oh dear).

Plus, the Bouchies had only been married one year, exactly, so they were still relatively newlyweds (speaks for itself, as well).

 And all four in the family lived in a crude, dark, two-room drafty log cabin with only a blanket separating the two rooms, which meant basically no privacy for this poor woman, especially during the winter when her husband and boys would be inside the house constantly.

Then throw into the mix a young, pretty, free-and-single woman (Laura) who comes to stay with the family for weeks in an already-too-crowded dump of a place.

Oh wow. Move over Mrs. Bouchie--I'd have probably been walking around at night, swinging a knife, too.

My, my, my. How many times do I have to be reminded of this lesson? To relearn that all people have behind-the-scenes stuff which I cannot see and which would explain a lot if only I'd take the time to discover it. Or at the very least, to never judge or assume or write-off anyone as just being a scary, hopeless, creepy freak of nature. You know, like all those violent people we see on CNN or in the newspaper.

Oh to be more compassionate and willing to take the time to understand others, where they came from, and how I can help them find a better place while on the way to where they're going....



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


To read about the people in Laura's life and books, click on the People button there at PioneerGirl.com.

To read even more about the Bouchies and how it's now pretty much agreed that Laura began teaching at nearly 17, not 16, click on the Other button, then click on Schoolhouse (it's a very long article, keep clicking Next at the bottom.)

There is sooo much at that website--you could easily spend a week there. Trust me, I know. :)

Want to visit Laura's little houses online? Go here. (If this link doesn't take you to the house links, click on Laura's Homes on the lefthand side.) The videos of the houses are great except that some go a little heavy on filming tiny Emily (who, yes, is adorable) and too light on filming the actual houses (or replicas), themselves. I'm thinking there was a mom or a grandma involved with the filming......heh.....


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



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

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  ... John 13:34,35


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

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tomorrow, Being Valentine's Day...

So I read a post from one of my favorite bloggers and she mentioned not looking forward to Valentine's Day, and well, it wasn't her post that bothered me, but rather, comments she received, ones like these:


"Personally, I think Valentine's Day is for children and the companies who sell cards and candy."


"Valentine's Day is a  &*^%$#  made to make single people feel badly."


"I rarely got valentines from "peers" in school, so I've always hated the holiday."


"If it helps, I think Valentine's day is totally lame, and I'm happily married."


"It's the only holiday that is built around our collective societal insecurities."






Good grief. 


The vast majority of these came from a younger generation than mine, people who (I've noticed) tend to find it cool to criticize happy stuff.


In fact, yes, I'm probably going overboard on this, but their whiny, we-hate-Valentine's-Day (and just about everything else) comments reminded me of these Bible verses:


"They will ... hate what is good."  ... 2 Timothy 3:3


"What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter."  ... Isaiah 5:20




And I'll even add this: people who hate Valentine's Day lack imagination.


Why? Because they can't think or create past their it's-all-about-commercialism prejudices. They insist the holiday is designed to makes singles feel like losers and to make lovers feel pressured--and then are blocked from venturing out any farther than that.


Well personally, I believe God rather likes holidays, especially ones designed to show love toward others. All over the Old Testament, especially, He called for feasts and celebrations, some lasting whole weeks. New Testament weddings were lavish, long affairs. And dancing was present at just about any kind of joyous victory celebration (yes, dancing.).


Can we please just think outside the box? And think for ourselves, rather than allow a sad, pessimistic crowd of people do our thinking for us?


I had such fun this year mailing out my Valentines. I sent some to four dear widow ladies. Some to single women and some to married friends. I mailed out my simple Valentines to create smiles, to let others know they are in my thoughts not only on February 14th, but the rest of the year... and that they are loved by me and God.


Am I saying you must send Valentines? Nope, not unless God asks you to (then it's still your choice).


No, what I'm saying is that bitter negativity douses our ability to think clearly. How foolish to fight against something which is ultimately good! And how sad that we could have spent that same energy blessing others rather than thinking of ourselves (and our pathetic past experiences), and that we could have made it a joyous day for everyone rather than one to be dreaded or adamantly avoided.


Anything will always be what we make of it. Always.






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








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




"But the greatest of these is love."  ... from I Corinthians 13




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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Life Around Here




Lovely weather we're having, huh?

Last night I had a sudden surge of creativity so I put on The Dick van Dyke Show (Netflix) and ran down to the basement and got this shelf, below, which I finally hung up here at Hobbit Cottage. I saw those photos of our old suburb house the other day and missed having these types of surfaces on which to display my junk collections:


I placed some old brooches upon the shelf, some of which I'd not seen in years and had recently wondered about, ("Do I still have that ____?"):









So I puttered and laughed at the Dick van Dyke episodes and stayed up past my bedtime (8:30!) and had such a good, just-like-the-old-days time.

Then this morning I checked my email and found one from a friend I've known since we were both 14 and went to school and church together and oh! She, her husband and their two best friends are planning an autumnal leaf-peeping trip and they're considering starting with our area! Now, that's exciting stuff because we've not seen Linda since 1983 and Tom has never met Guy, her husband, who I also went to church and school with, but he was two years older.

I  enjoyed answering her travel questions and sent links and photos of our area and how lovely to dream about and plan for something like that, especially on a snowy day, one in which, too, Tom's dad is never far from our thoughts (see my last post).

I even did more creating this morning, moved the items around on my dresser again:




And there's even more--- Our neighbor across the street, Carrie, shoveled our driveway for us and our sidewalk to the door (!) She's probably ten years younger than I am, in good shape, and I was wracking my brain as to why she would do such a nice thing for us since we've only spoken once (besides waving hi a few times), and that was the time I had to ask her to move her van (parked on the street in front of her driveway) so I could back out of ours. (But I did ask sweetly and made it sound like I'm such a bad driver that I'd hate to risk wrecking her car....smile...).

Well, God finally told me to stop trying to figure it out (I think my brain was smoking by this time) and He said maybe she did it because He asked her to, as a divine favor sort of thing. Or maybe as an answer to the prayers I prayed before moving here, ones asking that neighbors would once again help us (the neighbor behind us shovels the sidewalk in front of our garage). So I just smiled and recalled how, in all four places we've lived in WNY, our various neighbors have helped us shovel snow--what a blessing!  And what a challenge for me to keep shoveling for others, too.





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

Thank-you so much for your kind comments and mentions of praying after my last post. I appreciate each thought and comment more than you realize.

Oh! And please keep praying. Tom called his parents again today and his mom said his dad is doing better . Tom could hear some strength in his dad's voice, even though he couldn't understand his words (Tom's mom says when his dad does say things, no one can really understand him). But again, he began eating again and seems to be feeling stronger.... so thanks, again, for your prayers!


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


Stonyfield Organic coupons.



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

Friday, February 10, 2012



Oh dear.

February! Ack. Each year I try not to dread it, try only to concentrate upon its good; its Valentine's Day (my favorite) and the way it bridges Winter and Springtime, carrying us closer to green leaves, sunny skies and warm days. I lecture myself not to dread it, to expect only lovely things ("be it unto you even as you have believed")--but still--February seems determined to be the one month of the year doomed to bring bad things.

Sigh. Tom's dad has been given only days to live.

But he is 85, after all. He's lived a long life, lived it as he chose, made his own decisions and he's loved God for whole decades. Death is very much a part of Life, but oh, the finality, the walking away are such sad parts.

Tom spoke with his mom over the phone today and she's handling it well, all things considered, and she told us not to feel we must come out to California at this time. We are grateful she understands our financial predicament for oh! At this moment we are approaching Limbo Time, a time for 18 months we've known would come and emotionally we feel ready for the trusting God part as we make decisions and others make decisions in our behalf while we wait for an outcome. But over these next few months we cannot travel across the U.S., cannot spend extra dimes unless God tells us.

We are so grateful for our train trip back in September 2010 when we visited with Tom's family, back before everything changed for his parents and they moved to a different town to be nearer Tom's sister and daughter, to live where they could be cared for. The normalcy and sweetness of reunions during those soft September days when everyone was alive and well as could be--that's what we'll remember. The giving of flowers while the person was still here to receive them. And we know Tom's dad remembers those days fondly, too.

Live well today, while it is still today. Appreciate everything you've ever been able to do in Life, every place you've ever visited-- let those be utmost thoughts, not the ones about what you may have missed. Be glad for every sweet memory which you can claim as your very own.



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

Somewhere in this house we have a very cool photo of Tom's parents from the time they were first married, a kind-of Daniel Boone, out-in-the-woods picture, but I can't find it at the moment. If I do, I'll post it. You'd like it.


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

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Observations




Everything is better here at Hobbit Cottage, even winter!

In all our 19 years in Buffalo, this winter has been the easiest and sunniest. If winter was always like this, we could stay here forever. And this shouldn't cause summer problems, either, for we've had frigid temperatures, too, and lots of rain. Our poor garage has been flooded twice, as proof.

Oh well! I'll take a sunny winter in Hobbit Cottage anytime. And now? I'm just enjoying Life here-- the living of it more than the writing, at this moment, anyway. Enjoying waking and sleeping. Printing coupons while listening to 1940's and 50's music and shopping down the street while listening, too. Spending time with Naomi when she drops by during her last few weeks here in town. Mailing my Valentines, reading Little House books and watching Numb3rs on Netflix and NCIS on dvd. Cooking, cleaning and standing at the windows memorizing my new neighborhood. Making plans for Tom's job-and-tractor buddy, Al, and his wife to visit us here next week for the first time.

It's all so very, very good, but only because Grace and God make it so.


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

Save $1.50 of two seasonal Mars candy items. I used this today and got four M&M Valentine packages free plus .36 cents. Also, I'll get Swagbucks points because I went over there and printed these coupons, instead of at the link I'm giving you. :)

Buy one 64 oz. Ocean Spray cranberry juice, get one 64 oz. cherry Ocean Spray juice free. A Facebook coupon. This worked out to where I paid just $2.50, total, for both.

Save $1 off any two Quaker oatmeal boxes.

Save .55 cents off any size Welch's jam or jelly. (Other Welch's coupons available, too.)

Want to find a ton of places which will send you coupons for organic foods? Go here.

Save $1 on All laundry detergent. A Facebook coupon.

For a free Sun-Maid recipe booklet in the mail go here. (These are so old-fashioned. I ordered one 22 years ago (or so) and I think I still have it. Naomi and I used the snickerdoodle recipe a million times!)


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

The top photo? Another one of the many you've seen from the two smallish windows up here in Debra's World. It's amazing all the photos one can take of different things from her own windows ... this time I liked the way the old railing looked through our neighbors' dried shrubbery.

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


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Remembering Laura



Just wanted to pop in here today to wish Laura Ingalls Wilder a happy birthday.

Nearly always this time of year I'm rereading Laura's remarkable books. Whenever I read The Long Winter (this will sound odd) I feel I must hurry through it so that the Ingalls can find themselves in Springtime and be rescued from that horrible winter. The longer it takes me to read it, the longer they must again suffer deprivation.

I warned you that would sound odd. :)

But oh my, I am always an emotional wreck by that book's finish. What a scary situation! Usually I'm quick with what I believe to be answers for hard times (knowing all things as I do....ha!), but for the Ingalls that winter? Even I can't think of any solutions. Well, except when they first move to town and Pa goes to the store I always whisper, "Buy what you can! Use Mary's college money to stock-up before everything is gone!" But alas, Pa never listens to me. heh.

Well, now I'm just getting silly.

Anyway, happiest of birthday wishes to Laura today. I do thank her for sharing her stories, her family, with all the rest of us. Though I still  complain too much, I am less of a complainer than I would have been due to these amazing people.






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

Here's a nice piece written about Laura's life.


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