Saturday, March 31, 2012

Another Survival Show







So! Not that Tom and I neeeeded to find another survival-in-the-wild tv series, but we did. It's called Man, Woman, Wild and we discovered it at Netflix.


In each episode, this husband and wife team purposely get themselves stranded out in various types of dangerous terrain and, basically, they take nothing with them, which Tom and I think is quite stupid. I mean, the show was created to enable people who get lost in the wild to survive, but hey! Most people who are out in the desert or mountains, etc., at least carry a bottle of water and a granola bar (or something) with them. But not these folks. No, usually they just have the clothes on their backs and a long knife dangling from their belts. (Okay, in a few episodes they bring a tiny bit more with them, but in only one episode out of the 7 or so we've watched, did they have a bottle of water.)


Anywayyyy....... Often it's a hoot. The husband is a former Green Beret, survival expert (tho' sometimes we wonder) and his wife (with a lovely English accent and quirky way of naming things) is out there to learn from him. Tom and I laugh most when they're exhausted and nearly starving and they have tiffs, though they keep them pretty mild. As with all these shows, I so enjoy watching human nature!


Well, if you like this type of program as we do, you'll enjoy this one. I think. (I must warn you--we've fast-forwarded a couple parts where, in order to survive, things got a bit too realistic.)  But if you're a die-hard tree-hugger type who wouldn't kill an animal, even if you were rolling around, dying, well, you probably won't like it much. (Though, hmm... that description pretty much describes me and I love this show. Oh well.)


Oh! And while they were lost in the Smokey Mountains they came upon a grassy clearing where once, most likely, a cabin had been, but now there was just an apple tree left and some strawberry plants with lovely red, ripe strawberries. Inspiring! After that episode I came up here and used part of my birthday-gifted amazon.com card to order some strawberry plants from the same company I ordered from while living at the farm. Each plant grew to be a beauty, gave me the illusion of eating off the land and left our little farm a better place than the way we found it.


And that's how I'd like to someday leave Hobbit Cottage, as well.






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Oh! I found the prettiest blog, ever. Wow. I thought the first page was incredible and then I went to the second one(!) Gorgeous. All of it.




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Friday, March 30, 2012

Updates



So! Have you wondered how Naomi's doing way down there in Nashville?

She loves it. The whole banana (as the saying goes). Her job, her home, her new fellow-musician friends, her city.

And here's a little story she shared with us: The people she lives with have a parrot, a dog and other animals, but the parrot is hilarious. He'll go, "Squawk, squawk, squawk!," then immediately he'll say, "Polly! Be quiet! Be quiet!" Then when the dog barks, Polly will say, "No, no Rover! No!"

Love that.

So our own little bird is livin' the dream and Tom and I are thrilled for her. We had our season of having her near and now we cannot wish her back here with us--that would be too selfish of a wish. So we just keep praying for her and enjoying her joy.


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Let's see.... oh yes! A couple days ago I mentioned to you that we had company over to lunch. They were the parents of the woman from whom we bought our farm. Back in 2008 they dropped by to meet us on the 4th of July while I was outside with a wheelbarrow picking up downed branches and 'livin' the dream,' myself. Tom was inside, sleeping, for he had to work the night shift, but I brought Roger and Elizabeth inside anyway to show them a few of the changes we'd made to the kitchen and dining room.

Anyway, after that I began reading Roger's blog and he read mine and I kept telling him we'd have him and Elizabeth out again soon, for dinner. But nearly 4 years later that still hadn't happened.

And yes, I'm hanging my head about that. But hey! Rather than just write-off the whole thing out of embarrassment or condemnation or just assuming it was too late, we went ahead and made it happen. And it was a lovely lunch, indeed.

There's a lesson in that, you know. Namely, don't put things off--but if you have--don't let Procrastination tell you "It's just too late, Sucker." Learn from past mistakes and just take the plunge and make things right today, before it really does become too late, before people pack-up and move away either to different lands or to Heaven, itself.


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One more update-- our friend, John, still really needs your prayers. There's some kind of blockage in his liver which the doctors can't find so we need to pray they'll locate it and that it isn't a tumor. Thanks to all of you who've told me you're praying for him--please keep the prayers coming, ok? He and Donna are just about the best friends we have locally and they both mean so much to us. Thanks.


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Thursday, March 29, 2012

What Matters Most


My recent post about aging received some interesting comments both here and in emails. Surprise! I'm not the only one getting older around here. :)

And I wanted to add more to that puzzle I began in that post, namely:

Years ago I realized I'm a human-being, not a human-doing.

Really, back in the 1990's I noticed some odd things for the first time, ever, like:

The more I concentrated on becoming who God created me to be, the less concerned I was with  proving myself by doing a bunch of stuff. You know, the way a lot of us were taught that we must work, work, work to keep up with everybody, to prove we're as good as everyone else (which is extremely pride-connected, btw).

For me, what came to matter most was that I allow God to change me into the kind of person He always intended me to become. And the vast majority of that, takes place on the inside of me, though yes, He prefers I don't 'let myself go' and end up looking like an unkempt weirdo on the outside. Alas.

But as He said, it's the inner (wo)man of the heart that matters the most.

And you know? When I finally stopped trying to make myself into a good little Christian woman and allowed God to do that (big, difficult) job, I noticed some huge changes:

Like, I did less, but accomplished more. When I listened to God, suddenly, Grace appeared to show me what needed to be done today, what could wait, and she gave me strength for that work. 

I found myself in the right places at the right time. I didn't have to do a bunch of running-around-searching for things I needed--they just seemed to appear wherever I went.

God led me to the people who wanted to be helped, rather than wasting years helping people who just didn't want to change. 

I finally saw real progress in myself and in people God led me to help.

And the best thing? My motives changed. I stopped working and being kind for "brownie points with God" and so to appear valuable to others-- and instead--I just began obeying God out of love for Him. Out of the changes He'd made in me. 

And that made all the difference.

This will sound odd to some, but I believe God prefers us to be lovers of Him rather than busy worker bees. He so enjoys our companionship! And the bonus in spending time with Him all day long is that, over time, we become closer to Him and move farther away from the insecure us who believed working, proving our worth, was the way to live. 

And time spent with God is never wasted... always, it leads us to our own unique purpose for being here and we come away wiser, more peaceful, with hearts that love to help others and with strength enough to do what He asks, no matter how old we become upon this planet.


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"He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself."  ... Luke 10:27

"But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." ... I Peter 3:4

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Oh! Months ago I told you Tom and I discovered Out of the Wild: The Alaskan Experiment in the instant view section of Netflix. Nine people were dropped off in the wilds of Alaska with only a map, a few supplies and a few wilderness skills. They were to hike back to civilization just for the personal challenge of it--no prize money was involved.

We *loved* that 8 part series so much!

So yay! Yesterday we discovered a new season, this one was called Out of the Wild: Venezuela. Oh wow, instant addiction there, too. We watched the first 5 episodes in one day--couldn't stop watching. Two of the men were Christians so there was some prayer and the Bible involved, so of course, that added to our enjoyment, as well. 

Just thought I'd mention these for anyone who may like the same sort of thing. This is how Tom and I prefer to take wild, risk-your-life journeys--by watching others make those trips on tv. heh.



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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stepping From The Tunnel


Well, I'll tell ya... These past ten days (or so) I've felt kinda like a biblical Job Jr. 

Man, it's been one thing after another. Daniel The Cat had a life-threatening infection. He's needed daily antibiotics and has pretty much gone postal around here, what with Spring and all. We still can't trust him and Sammy together. Some days, we can barely trust him and us together. 

My printer died. Tom bought a new one and it works great with his computer, but it still won't let me print coupons from mine. 

We couldn't find certain tax receipts. The bank lady closed the wrong bank account so basically, we had no money in the bank. Tom had to make lots of phone calls. Our bank ATM card is now invalid. The bank sent a check with the money from our closed account to us, but it's either lost or was mailed to our old farm address. 

Tom received a letter from the unemployment check people who said they tried to deposit his check but couldn't because the account was closed, so they put that money, instead, on the old visa card they first gave us 75 weeks ago before we went to automatic deposit. Tom threw away that card months ago.

Plus, for days my lips became all blistered because of some evil chapstick. (Took me awhile to figure out the source.)

!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And you know? I'd love to tell you that I've been sweet and patient and have watched my words carefully all during these past ten days. But that would make me a big, fat liar. No, a few times I've worried. Spoke some doubt and unbelief. A couple times, complained like there was no tomorrow.

But I did try to recall all I've learned and to trust God, but oh, these tests were so hard for me. I probably got a C+ (C-?) and you know what that means, don't you? Someday, most likely, I'll have to take those tests (similar ones) again, for God tends to wait till we pass with an A before He allows us to move on. To another, different class. With more tests.

Oh well.

But today? Today feels like the end of a bad dream. As though we've stepped from a dark tunnel back into the light. Daniel The Cat is much, much better (though still a pest, albeit a beloved one) and hopefully in one week he and Sammy will be able to be together without a cat carrier between them. We found enough tax receipts (crossing our fingers). Our bank situation is 90% resolved. The unemployment check was deposited into our account, after all. And today we had a sweet couple over to lunch who we've been meaning to have over for nearly 4 whole years. The sun poured in through the windows and a lovely time was had by all.

Now, I realize it's generally not a good practice to fill a blog post with whining, but there's a reason for this one, and mainly it's this: if you are having a rough time, please, please hang in there. Do not give up. In just a few days (or maybe even tomorrow) God may just choose to iron out the vast majority of wrinkles which are making you want to run/scream/cry, iron them out in ways you've not yet thought of.

 But you must hang in there and believe for those better days. And cling to God while recalling all you know to be true... and do your part, while trusting God to do His. For He will, in time.

The main thing is that we learn to wait well ... and that's where I still have a ways to go. But I'm choosing to believe I'll get there. Some day, with His help.


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Oh dear. Immediately after writing this post I received an email from my friend, Donna, as in Donna and John who I've mentioned here many times. John's not been well these past few weeks, but he'd been released from the hospital and was home. But Donna injured her back and her email stated John's returned to the hospital with serious liver problems and so please, I'd appreciate your prayers for our friends. I recall how you all prayed for Tom's dad who, the doctor said, was just days from death so oh! I'm going to ask for you prayer warriors to do your thing again. Another miracle is needed quickly.

Thanks so much.


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Monday, March 26, 2012

Long Ago and Far Away


Oh my. I decided to return to Facebook on a small-scale basis, keeping my friend list to only around 30, or so, and what greeted me the next day? This photo from the time I was in The Music Man at age 17. (I'm standing against the wall, first on the far left.) 

Wow. Truly a blast from the past.

And you know? Some people long to return to 17, but not me. Well, I'd still love to fit into that dress which my mom made for me (oh!), but otherwise? Forget it. I'll take Today.

Six months before that picture was taken, I went through a terrible time--we moved from a town I'd grown to cherish and a church, especially, packed with encouragers who made me feel special for the first time in my life (which is huge when you're a teen). I'd left the first high school I'd attended up until the second week of my junior year and frankly, I felt devastated, almost to the point of having a nervous breakdown. I cried all the time, wrote letters constantly to the people I'd left behind and missed a ton of days at this new school because my misery weakened my immune system.

I was a mess. 

But after a couple months of all that, God blessed me with a special friend, Tara, who's also in that photo, but standing behind the leading man (Scott, who I had a wild crush on), and God used her to help snap me out of my grief. I'd never before had one very best friend and she became mine and oh! The crazy things this formerly shy mouse and Tara did together after school, on field trips and on weekends. As they say, Tara was exactly what the Doctor ordered.

And too? Tara helped me return to joy and to one of my God-given purposes, which fortunately, I recognized early in my life, around age 14, there in that town from which I'd been ripped away. The purpose? That of using my writing to encourage people, to help pull them up when they were down. But after we moved I lost the heart to help anyone else--I was too wrapped up within my own pain, so determined to return someday to my old town and so bent on hating this new place where God had dragged me.

But again, along came Tara who befriended me, who helped me choose, once again, to help people as God wanted to through me--and He needed me to return to joy so that I could pass that joy along to others. After all, we cannot give away what we have left beside the road.

That, and Life sails by too fast to sit around, crying, over what's been lost. God and Life , always, move forward and we get left behind when we allow ourselves to stay stuck inside our own heads.

And of course, there's more to all this, but this is a blog post, not a book, and this former 17-year-old needs to get up and do some old-fashioned housework. Happily.



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In case you're wondering, yes, I'm still in touch with Tara after all these years. She was also my maid-of-honor when Tom and I were married. I'm also still in contact with the young man seated on the far right who was two years younger than Tara and me and who had a crush on me at the time of this play. He and I were on the school newspaper staff together. 

Ah, memories.  :)


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"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."   ... II Corinthians 5:17


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Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Delight of Pauses

"The joy of the Lord is my strength."  ... Nehemiah 8:10




*****


I so appreciated Pat's post yesterday, one called Tired of Being Tired


It was timely for me, because--as soon as the warm, kinda-humid weather sailed in this week--I became reacquainted with that ol',  "It's 2:00 in the afternoon and I feel drained" feeling. You know, when you do ten minutes' worth of sunny, outdoor work and then must spend 30 minutes (or more) inside resting-up from it.


And during those times I'd recall when I was in my  mid-30's in our other suburb house. How I'd get Tom off to work in the mornings and then I'd get dressed, feed the cats, eat breakfast, wash dishes, dust, paint two walls of a room, clean-up the paint supplies, mow the lawn, put in a load of laundry, clean out the refrigerator and then stop for lunch at noon. heh.


Ah, those were the days!  But you know? This 53-year-old woman has had to accept that those days are gone forever. Well, this side of Heaven, anyway.  I simply cannot work like that anymore--and I'm in good health, even! Ok, ok, adequate health. (If I'd always obey God when He convicts me to exercise and eat better, I'd feel better than I already usually do. Gulp.)


But it's my stamina, I'm finding, which has changed most. I just can't seem to work as steadily, as long, as I used to. I must take many breaks in order to keep going and you know? A couple years ago I realized I just had to accept that fact, and accept that--actually--it's the new wisdom for me. It is wisdom that, as a woman who's lived for more than half of a century (!), I need to accept a lifestyle of pauses.


Pause: a temporary rest, an intermission of action, a stop in order to consider, to reflect.


Oh! When you put it that way, pauses sound lovely. I usually associate the word, 'intermission' with movies and how good it sounds to take an intermission during my own life's film. To consider my actions (are they the best and wisest ones? Am I expecting more from myself than even God is?) and to reflect upon all my blessings, the sweetness of God and the abilities I still have in my 50's. The strength God still gives me and the tasks He honors me with during this decade of my life--all good things to meditate upon.


But in order to see beauty in these pauses, it has required new eyes of acceptance. Acceptance that I've stepped into a different season. And contentment with where I am today (and what I can still accomplish) along with hope and assurance that tomorrow will be a good day, also, with God, especially if I live the day in joy, for that joy is my strength. Physical, emotional, mental and otherwise.


So I'm no longer 35, but the reverse, 53... oh well! As long as I keep desiring God every moment (this is how I stay close to him 24/7: I refuse to live without Him for even 60 seconds)---all will be well. He will make it so, will complete what I cannot, as I move into these later years where--truly--I must learn to receive more and more of His strength, not mine.


And that's not such a bad way to live at all. It's actually rather marvelous, this becoming less so that He can become more.






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"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."  ... Philippians 4:8


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My favorite place to pause? On my own front porch where I gaze down at the shining river and watch seagulls circle lazily in the quiet afternoon sky.


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Friday, March 23, 2012

Just Fluff



Lightweight stuff today.




Being a normal human being, I love getting stuff for free.  So see that photo, above? Those are just some of the things I've gotten free--totally free--from online.


Free shampoo, calendars, cologne samples, toothpaste and coupons for free items from the supermarket. Free laundry detergent samples, an issue of The Good Old Days, 3 cappucino packets, breakfast cereal, a Woman's Day subscription for a year, travel guides and tea bags.


And my favorites? Twelve free hot chocolate k-cups (yum! I just sliced them open since we don't have the 'correct' machine). Also, the sweet cookbooks along the bottom of the photo--they blessed my old-fashioned-lovin' soul.


Something else I love about this stuff? The vast majority is meant to be used, then the packaging, discarded. That means it doesn't all pile up around the house--and my new decluttering self loves that.


So how do I find these offers? They're sent to me by email. Just sign up here:


Shop 4 Freebies
Thunder FAP
Simple Deals
FreeFlys


Now, if an offer seems too complicated, too long (or invasive) of a form to complete or if you must promise to give them your first born child, well, I skip it. If I must give my correct phone number, I pass by that offer, too. And I never, ever do any offers where a credit card is required. Never.


So there you go! Why not hop over to those sites and sign-up today. I must admit, during these months when Tom and I have seriously cut back on any unnecessary spending, it's become a delight to step out to the mailbox and discover treats inside. Makes me skip into the house with a smile.






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And here's your other lightweight item for the day. 


Anyone remember The Patty Duke Show from the 1960's? Well, did you know they made a reunion movie a few years ago? It's called The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights, and if you have Netflix you can watch it instantly. 


Now, is it, like, the most incredible movie ever made? Uh, not even close. heh. But don't you just love to see how dear ol' favorite actors have aged and then watch them interact with each other, imagining the fun they must have had being together again? Well, I do. :)


So there you go.






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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Of Respecting Unity



So don't laugh, but Tom and I watched the first two Lord of the Ring movies again this week.


I know, I know. But lately I've wanted to watch only shows with substance and those certainly have that. And after watching all the gorgeous scenery of the Shire and Rivendell and the courageous journeys and long, hard-fought sword and spear battles, etc., my main thought was: 


... truly, I need to stop getting annoyed with Tom over tiny things.


Sounds odd, I know, but God reminded me that--to keep satan out of our home--we must keep love, agreement and unity in. Especially during these 2012 days when tons of relationships are being blown apart.


So I decided to stay in unity with Tom, as best I could. I pictured everything becoming smooth sailing around here, because hey, now I'd be more loving and patient and we'd get along better (lately I've been the cranky one, I confess. sigh). But now unity would keep the uglies away.


Oh boy. Things changed all right. On Tuesday we began gathering our receipts for our tax return and always, always Tom and I have hated paperwork. You know, keeping track of it, filing it and the way you always can't find those two most important receipts which The Paper Snatchers steal every single year, the cruel ol' meanies that they are. :) 


And well, it happened again. We couldn't find some very important receipts. But in the midst of the rising tension, before it got anywhere, we decided to just gather what we could, make some notes, then search for the missing papers tomorrow. After all, a good start is a good start--and it felt terrific to at least make a dent.


Then came Wednesday. Gah! 


We searched through files and brief cases and drawers for the missing papers/receipts and could not find them anywhere. They are still missing. And oh, the tension rose, even while I whispered to myself over and over, "Remember Lord of the Rings, remember Lord of the Rings," and prayed and tried to remain calm.


And then in the middle of all that, we got a phone call. Remember our dear local dairy who we'd gotten home delivery from for years and who we had to release weeks ago because of our financial crunch? Well, the woman in the office called to say our check had been returned with an "account closed" stamped on it (!) and we now would be charged $20 more.


^%*&^%)(*^%$#@&


Good grief. Last week Tom went to the bank to close a tiny, extra account we no longer needed and, obviously, the bank lady closed the wrong one! Our one-and-only main account had been closed, for I'd used a check from that one. 


And what do Tom and I hate just one notch below paperwork? Incompetence. Grrr.


And so then, as Tom stormed into his room to get dressed so he could drive back down to the bank, Sammy The Cat pushed past him out the door. Tom shouted, "Sammy's out! Sammy's out!" and then Daniel the Cat tore after him down the basement stairs with me racing after both cats, shouting, "No! No!", picturing another huge veterinarian bill if Sammy bit Daniel again.


But alas. In the midst of all the boxes and junk down there, I was able to chase both adrenaline-fused cats back upstairs and Sammy flew straight for his room again and Tom shut the door.


Obviously satan did not appreciate my quality decision to love Tom better. 


Well, to sum this up, Tom drove to the bank (and I cleaned the house which is what I do in times like these) and the manager apologized profusely for the person who'd pushed the wrong button. She said the bank would send any letters of explanation if needed and would pay all the check-return payments necessary. Then Tom came home, made three phone calls to companies I'd written checks to this week and patiently explained to them what had happened. 


And then we ate the ice cream he'd brought home with him (which we certainly deserved) and watched the movie, Hidalgo, an old favorite, in the sort of peace which comes after a storm. 


Still in love, for love is the greatest, most vital relationship protection there is, especially in this troubled century. Still standing strong in that love, lest the enemies of our souls burrow in through rifts ... and lest they intrude to permanently spoil what God has given us here at our sweet Hobbit Cottage.






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A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.   ... Ecclesiastes 4:12




"And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint."  ... Galations 6:9







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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When God Says "Leave it Alone"



Really, I certainly love to read.


And although I still prefer good old-fashioned books, I've become a fan of reading essays, books and articles online, too. And I've also grown to love reading comments from people who leave their additional positive thoughts and revelations, thus enriching my reading experience.


But then there are the negative comments. 


You know, the unmerciful ones where people, like wolves, rip apart what's been said and how it was said and the people who were written about. Mean-spirited words and religious-spirited words, too, for of course, we all know there's a difference between being truly godly and 'having a form of godliness'. There's being filled with almighty God and then there's being filled with a religious spirit which loves legalism, The Law and flogging people when they make mistakes, real or imagined.


Well anyway, God's been telling me (again... sigh) to leave those negative comments alone


He asked me, "Since you realize I don't want you to be negative and mean and critical, why would you keep reading words from people who are?"


Why, indeed?


All that fault-finding stuff wears me down, makes me mad and colors my inside world (and the outside one) all grey, zapping out the light and joy which should be leading me onto new growth and good thoughts and actions.


So note to self: For goodness sake, knock it off.  Leave the negative comments alone. You'll be happier--not only because that stuff brings you down anyway--but because you'll be obeying God and obedience opens doors for more joy.


And of course, it all sounds so simple. But sometimes it's the simple things which appear too small to really matter. "Really? Reading negative comments is what's been messing me up?" Or we'll watch other people 'getting away with' what we've been told to leave alone and they appear fine, so did we really hear what we thought we heard? When that isn't what matters at all--what matters is that we obey God. (And mind our own business while we're at it.)


But it keeps returning to this: It's that still, small voice which we must heed if we desire to live the amazing life God desires us to have in Him, yes, even here on this sad, negative planet. For even here, we have Him and in His presence there is fullness of joy. Again, even here on Earth. Even now.


And that--He--makes all the difference.






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"They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! "  ... 2 Timothy 3:5





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Monday, March 19, 2012

Oh Spring!



Ah, Springtime! It came early to our house this year and placed the joy of old-fashioned housekeeping in my blood again. 


So this morning I got  made-up and dressed and drove the sunny morning street to my supermarket where they play 1940's tunes. I pushed my cart around happily and even chatted with a lady about some special coupons in our local newspaper and how our store still didn't have the pancake mix they'd advertised. And the young, pretty check stand woman did such a superb job that I filled out a comment form on my way out, singing her praises.


And when I arrived home, Tom helped me unpack the groceries while I showed him the items I'd gotten free this week and Daniel raced around and grabbed our ankles. 


Then I changed into my housekeeping skirt which I'd not worn since November and the rest of today I will play Susie Homemaker, apron and all, for I'll iron upstairs and wash laundry down in the basement and after I make lunch I'll sit on the front porch and read from 1930's magazines. I'll mail a get well card and then wash a couple kitchen windows and vacuum upstairs and probably fold away my winter clothes (yay!) into drawers and place my fair-weather clothes, instead, at the closet's front.


And who knows what else, for hey! Spring came early this year and we're due to break 6 records this week warm-weather-wise and you know? I'll take it. And be grateful for it all, housework included.






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Psalm 128:2 
You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. 





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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cat Tales







Man, oh man. I don't recall Lennon and McCartney the Cats ever being so complicated. In two weeks of having cats again we've already experienced probably 2 months of complication.


Take today, for instance. Tom arrived home from buying a printer at Target (remember, ours bit the dust a week ago, which has meant a vacation for me from coupons, which, ok, has been kinda nice). So anyway, he rang that doorbell thingy I told you about from the car so I ran down the stairs, then out the backdoor, making sure I unlocked the door on my way out.


Well, I carried the bag with the printer back to the house and Tom opened the door, except that he could only open it two inches. Oh dear! That darn ol' Daniel The Cat had taken that short moment of my being outside to sneak down to the basement, knocking the board we had across the basement doorway just far enough back to where it wedged against our back door and the interior wall.


There was no getting inside that way and though our front door was opened, the storm door was locked. And neither of us had ever added that storm door key to our key chains, though you can bet we've done that now.


&^%*$#@


So Tom said, "What about a window?" and instantly we both remembered that the window of the front bedroom (where we must keep Sammy until he stops trying to tear Daniel apart) was fully opened (the only other unlocked windows were the small ones upstairs). 


Thank-goodness Sammy loves to sit in that opened window in his room. So I ran around to the front porch, lifted the screen in that bedroom window, then crawled inside, let Tom in, then took that board down to the basement where it will stay, now that the weather is nice and we can leave that basement accordion door opened all the time, which we might as well, since Daniel's always trying to get down there anyway. (And yes, we'd already made a search of the basement to make certain it's safe for him.)


Oh, how I crave simplicity. And I'll do just about anything to get it.


But I also love these silly nuisance cats, so sacrifices must be made when you desire two polar opposite things--and the test comes in not complaining about these sacrifices, but rather, accepting them and accepting more Grace so to deal with them. And just doing the best you can, using your imagination if that will help, too.


Fortunately. Tom and I watch Daniel learning to be more obedient every day and that encourages us to keep on being consistent, even if it means getting up from the couch over and over to remove him from the table and place him on the window sill, instead, while saying, "Window, window, window." And what we saw earlier today? Daniel jumped up on the table--but when I said "Window, window" from the couch--he moved to the window,  himself. I didn't even have to get up.


Ah, progress. And maybe someday we'll actually have some simplicity like the good ol' days, too.  :)




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 And the top photo is not of Daniel, it just looks like him a bit. I'm finding myself rather too tired to go around chasing him with the camera right now, what with crawling in through windows and everything..... heh...




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Saturday, March 17, 2012

More Lessons





A lovely birthday was mine yesterday.


I did all the things I told you I'd do, plus, I raked leaves beneath a sunny, warm sky, read more Gladys Taber on our front porch and ate pineapple-upside-down cake. I also read delightful birthday ecards and your wonderful comments here (thank-you!), a friend gave me a gift card to amazon.com (a total surprise!) and Naomi called us from Tennessee.


What a peaceful, perfect day. And Tom and I even, after finishing the second half of The Two Towers, got out the extended version of The Return of the King (which Naomi gave us before she left) and we watched that, too. And after all those battles, after being reminded of how brave we must be to finish our journey here with God gloriously, I came upstairs at nightfall and felt strong and brave enough to slice off a few enemies' heads. heh.


Always I receive something new from those films or am reminded of forgotten things, like, just as I thought, "Oh! I'm glad I'm not into craving power," God ran a filmstrip through my head of the way I like household things run my way and Heaven help Tom if he chooses a different path than mine.


Uh-oh. 


Really, you'd think by now that anytime the words, "I'm glad I'm not like that" cross my brain, I'd instantly bite my tongue and repent. Sheesh. You know, because it's too much like that prideful guy in the Bible who stood 'praying' in the temple next to the repentant guy, etc.


Anyway, this time at least four scenes from these films blew new, timely strength into me, but I'll end with this: I saw that we Christians are here, as soldiers, to help God hold back the huge Army of Darkness. It's a growing, marching army, hypnotizing its soldiers into a subtle (and not so subtle) darkness full of pride, cruelty, depression, hopelessness, critical judgement and much more. And someday (Revelation says) that terrible army will take over and rule here, for awhile--but before then--we're here to keep it from advancing too quickly, before its appointed time.


So, oh! The necessity of keeping our armor on, not in a forgotten heap in the closet. And of not giving away our strength by whining about petty things, holding grudges, worrying or accusing God of flaws in His way of doing things.


How vital it becomes to walk in love and thus fulfill the law. (Romans 13:8)
And to enter into His rest and cease from our own works (Hebrews 4:10), doing what God specifically asks us to do, instead.


And to forgive those who just don't understand, those whose eyes have been blinded lest they see the light-- and to pray for them, also, rather than criticize them for their blindness. After all, we also help defeat the darkness by doing our part to increase the Army of Light.


And how vital to remain awake!










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Truly, I appreciated each of your comments so much! They totally made my birthday, completed it, like icing on proverbial cakes. Thank-you.




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Friday, March 16, 2012

Another Birthday?! My, My...

So guess who's having another birthday?


Wow!... these things sure add up after a few decades.


Yes, it's another birthday for me and I think I'll keep it simple. I'll probably drive the few blocks to my favorite supermarket and maybe have some coffee there and sit with a couple magazines while tapping my toes to the retro tunes, something I've not done since we moved here. Then I'll buy a few cans of cat food for these crazy cats of ours. Alas.


Oh! And here's a picture of Sammy in case you're wondering what he looks like:








Then later Tom and I will order out for Chinese and perhaps finish watching The Two Towers (for the fourth or fifth time), but you know? I like all three of those Lord of the Ring movies because they seem to speak to any recent questions rolling around my brain, they remind me there's a battle going on for our very souls--and always--they remind me to fight bravely. And never set my shield down, all forgotten-like.


And oh, that reminds me... For the second or third time, Tom has the option of extending his unemployment insurance checks. Wow! We've already been receiving them for something like 73 weeks and we'd thought last week was the final one. But two days ago they said we could have more, though Tom will have to hop through some extra hoops to receive them, but that's ok.


 In all these weeks we've cut back so much spending, so much so, that these checks have seemed like more than enough, especially when you add the way God has swooped in a few times to cover the major expenses which arrived unexpectedly.


And you know? I've come to love this new simplicity. Really. And Life does become much simpler when you have lots of choices removed because you just don't have the money to travel certain places or buy that big (or small) new gadget/book/trinket. And what is left? A peace which comes from knowing God will provide for the necessities if we remain faithful to give our tithe and to give to others however we can. The knowing that if we do our part, God will certainly do His.


I highly recommend simplifying ones life. Tossing the clutter, then refusing to load other, new clutter into the house. Keeping ones mind uncluttered, too, and at peace, by being obedient to God and trusting in the middle of all hard times. (I am aiming my heart toward that last part.)


And setting aside whatever it takes to fall in love with Jesus. That's what I recommend the very most, because--once you have that love--everything will look and feel differently, good even in the midst of bad, and you'll always have a friend sitting there beside you, comforting you, gladdening your heart and showing you the way. Come what may.






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"In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."  ... Ephesians 6:16




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I'll leave my comments open today in case you'd like to wish this old lady a drive-by happy birthday.  :)




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Oh! Y'all know how I love out-of-the-box stuff, and well, this certainly qualifies. Oy!




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Thursday, March 15, 2012

First I'll Finish. Then There'll Be Heaven.

"But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." ... Acts 20:24


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So last week as I read and watched peoples' testimonies online about their visions of Heaven, I kept thinking, "Oh! Beam me up, Scotty! I'm ready. So wanna go there. So wanna go now."

And God let me camp there for awhile. I even planned my first thousand years in Heaven, how I'll mostly follow Jesus around, hold His hand, as He spends time with everybody. And how I'll check-out my mansion which I know will be the smallish one on the block because I prefer small houses and which will be decorated like Kim's Daisy Cottage, what with all its cheerful yellows, reds, greens and blues. 


Happy sigh. Can't wait to invite you all over to my pretty place and talk and laugh with you there.

Also during those first years I simply must visit that Reality Theater which Kat Kerr spoke of here. My, my... her description of those 'live movies' totally captured my imagination. And something else! I know for certain there will be at least one 'nightclub' (Christian, but of course!) where everyone sits regally at small round tables with white tablecloths, listening to music with a 1930's and 40's feel, drinking fizzy fruit juice from pretty glasses. 

How do I know there's a place like that? I just know. That would complete Heaven for me, that and mountains and countryside like you see at the Hobbits' Shire in The Lord of the Rings. 


Yep, just give me all of the above and I'll be happy-out-of-my-mind forever.

So like I said, God let me camp at those thoughts for a few days and then uh-oh! He reminded me of the verse, above. He showed me that I've not yet finished my race here ... and that's what I need to concentrate upon, instead. As with everyone else, He's got a specific purpose for me while I'm on Earth--and the better way to spend my time? Seeking Him for all the myriad ways I should be fulfilling that specific purpose, you know, always doing good like Dorcas:


 "In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor." Acts 9:36

So true.

For you know? More than ever I'm convinced that how we live here will have a huge bearing upon how we'll be and live there. From what I've read and seen, our robes there will even reflect how we allowed God to change us here. And the way we're chosen to serve others in Heaven will be connected to the way we served people on Earth. (Actually? I love helping people with their questions..... Maybe God will place me in a booth at a crossroads in Heaven so I can hand people maps and give out directions. heh.)

How I'm living here, how I'm being--well, it matters. Much. So it behooves me to step-up my Love Walk, especially as these earthly days of 2012 become increasingly evil. As someone said, walking in love is spiritual warfare. Put on love and you've got the best armour, ever, to keep you from falling into the evil all around us. 

So may I put on love--and keep it on--until the day I complete my purpose and finish my race. In joy. And then I'll be ready, prepared, to go flying.


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"Through love, serve one another."  ... Galations 5:13

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Latest

Oh for Pete's sake.


Gah. Gah. Gah.  &^*^%$^$(*


So yesterday was lovely. The sun shone and we opened the windows for fresh air and we didn't need to use the heater even once and I sat out on the sunny porch and read Gladys Taber and peeked at the glowing river down the street and felt that all --mostly all--was right with my world.


The only problem (besides the financial and insurance ones which God keeps reminding me to just trust Him on) was that Daniel the Cat was only nibbling at his food. I even went to the store to buy a kind he'd liked before. He ate part of it, but otherwise, seemed ok.


Then came this morning. 


Daniel growled and hissed at us from across the room. Snapped at us if we touched him. Coughed like he had a hairball, but differently.  Pitifully meowed and then suddenly began limping.


Oh my goodness. Within 24 hours our new cat fell apart.


And you know how it is--at 5:00 in the dark, dark morning light everything looks worse, especially when you discover that your new veterinarian takes Wednesdays off (of course).  And it is sooo hard not to worry, even after you've been in the Stop Worrying Class of God College for decades (because you can't get consistent good grades.) Sigh.


So ok, I worried. Prayed, told myself not to worry, then worried. Watched Joyce Meyer, then worried some more. Went back to bed and thought, "This is all just too hard and too reminiscent of losing our two cats last year at this time." But then I remembered something Joyce Meyer says--- "We are anointed for the hard things. God gives us the strength to face anything we must face."


Whew. That certainly helped.


Well, we had to go back to the vet who I said I'd never return to, the one who had to put down both Lennon and McCartney--I just didn't want to return to that place--but we didn't have a choice. So a couple hours after we left Daniel there (we got coffee then sat at the nearby park in the sunshine.... oh, I'm so thankful for the light!) we returned to the office and turns out that--during Sammy and Daniel's one moment of unsupervised time together (when we'd been so careful to keep them apart for 2 weeks)--Sammy bit Daniel in the leg and it became one big, dangerous, infected internal mess. And without antibiotics, Daniel could have lost his leg or his life.


Allow me just one more (*&^%$*& and Good Grief!


Okay. Moving on...


So many lessons, so little time. Lately we've had all these huge bills just as we're entering a time with no income and truly! God is staring at my heart and watching its reactions. Will I panic? Or will I trust? Will I worry and scheme and try figuring-out things only God knows? Or will I remain calm and obey Him one step at a time?


Well, stay tuned. Most likely Tom and I will have to dip into our retirement account before Financial Phase 2 kicks in and I so do not want to be like the elderly people I mentioned here who refuse to use an air-conditioner because it costs a lot, only to be found dead of heat stroke on their bed. Instead, my desire is to do my part, then trust God to do what I cannot--and to live inside that balance, always remembering God cares for me like a good Father who provides basic necessities lovingly, happily. 


And right on time, especially when worry isn't there to hinder all my prayers.






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A good note--Daniel is eating again and seems better already! And too, he came with insurance from the shelter for a month, so hopefully this little escapade to the vet's will be reimbursed. At least, most of it.


And at least we did get out of the house and sat at a park and read and drank coffee and munched on something like in the old days before we moved to Hobbit Cottage. We really do need to get out more, though I prefer a happier occasion!




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"You will remember all the way the Lord your God led you in the desert these forty years, to humble you, and how He tested you to know what was in your heart to see if you would keep His commandments or not." Deuteronomy 8:2 


"Whatever is not of faith, is sin." ... Romans 14:23




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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Receiving Better Things


Lots of people have lots of bad Monday mornings. Not me!


Except for yesterday. Good grief. 


I awoke grouchy because that silly Daniel Cat kept trying to push me off the bed all night and we all know what interrupted sleep will get you. And well, I must have kept him awake because in the morning he acted like a maniac with spring fever and looked like the poster boy for the definition of Wild Eyed. Up on all the furniture. Wouldn't eat his food unless we sat with him. Racing up the stairs. Then down. Grabbing my ankle. And it was too cold outside to open up the windows so to air out the house from various cat smells.


Oh, and my lips were blistered because of some kind of chemical reaction between some healthy popsicles Naomi left us and my lipstick/lip balm.


And then just as I moaned to Tom that Life Before Cats had been blissfully simple and I now officially regretted  having two cats, Grace raced her hand and said, "Uh, what about me? You've forgotten to receive me to help you be patient and wise and strong."


And boy, was she right.


By afternoon? Grace revealed to Tom that if we moved the table away from the bay window, Daniel could sit on the sill in the sunshine and watch the birds and squirrels contentedly for hours. So we did and he was. And I gave Daniel a different can of cat food which he devoured and which made him calm down even more, so Note to Self--don't buy him beef flavor anymore.


The afternoon continued that way, peacefully, as it does when I stop trying to use my 52-year-old (sorry) brain and ask God and Grace what I should do, instead. 


Some people thrive on brain power and their ability to spend hours figuring out problems and then proudly discovering an answer. But, uh, not me. In fact, this will sound extreme, ok? But I've grown to hate any of my ideas or so-called good words or kind deeds, even, which do not first come from the heart of God. 


 Why? Because the Bible says our own righteousness is as filthy rags in God's sight. And who wants to go around acting and looking like a filthy ol' rag to God? Who wants to waste their time, their whole decades on this planet that way? Not me, certainly.


No, I'll choose Grace and Obedience and Joy. Anyday, especially on Boy-Do-I-Need-Grace Mondays. :)




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"I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing."  ... John 15:5




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There's a big difference between me trying to look like a good little Christian lady and just plain obeying God.




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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Peeking Into Heaven Early



"... nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy..."  1 Timothy 6:17


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Oh! On Wednesday we had 61 sunny, glorious degrees and I got outside to rake and pick up fallen branches (we  have more here than even on that ol' farm of a zillion trees!) and I had to keep removing layers of the sweater tops I wore.


Glorious, just glorious. Even saw a tiny purple crocus or two. Wow.


And all those testimonies of visits to Heaven I've been reading came to me out there and you know? I thought, "Really, I should be having lots of visions of Heaven, too."


And oh now, don't start worrying about me. I don't mean those like the ones I'm reading about online where God zooms peoples' spirits up for a heavenly peek or where others have near death experiences.


No, I mean if I'm truly obeying God, doing what He says, going where He says go and being who He's created me to be, well then, I believe I'll be having peeks of how God meant this world to be from His Genesis beginning--a reflection of how He's created the Paradise which awaits those of us who know Jesus.


Which is rather an involved way of saying if I have a godly attitude, I'll love caring for the yard He gave me, rather like the way He gave the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve to care for. That garden was His gift to them and God enjoyed it so much--He enjoyed them so much--that He took walks around the yard with them in the evenings. And wow, how they must have enjoyed Him(!)


And that, folks, is truly one huge peek of Heaven and something all of us can have, even in our own backyards, since He's given us the Holy Spirit to walk around with us here. Yes, even now.


And just as He created Eve for Adam so he'd have companionship, Tom and I can know a heavenly type of companionship here on Earth when we're careful to get along. To love each other as God has loved us and to set aside our annoyances at our pesky differences or any pressures due to a lack of trust in God's care for us at this 'limbo time' of our lives.


In Heaven, people get along. And here on Earth? Well, that's possible, too, for the Bible says in as much as it's up to you, be at peace with all men. So here upon this planet full of all sorts of turmoil and mega-problems, peace can still be found amongst those who'll set aside silly squabbles to keep it.


I believe I've already seen houses similar to ones I'll visit in Heaven and I've seen similar types of kindnesses and acts of service which we'll see there, and also, times of praising God in one accord in big crowds of people. 


Oh, I could go on and on with those kinds of heavenly glimpses. To me, they're like peeks of what God meant for this world to be when He first created it, before sin got in and ruined much (but not everything, for God's more powerful than sin).


And when I reach Heaven for real? I want to be able to stand before God (when I'm not flat on my face because of His awesome power) and tell Him that I experienced every ounce of joy He enabled me to have on Earth. That I found and noticed and thanked Him for each blessing, be it under a leaf or a rock or in front of my face. And that I saw every single glimpse of Heaven which was possible to behold while on the planet He created for us.


I so don't want to miss one single good thing He drops down for me here.






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"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




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