Monday, April 30, 2012

An Explanation And a Blog For You

Yikes!


We bought a new printer a couple weeks ago, and ever since, I've not been able to print coupons. So after  taking a vacation, of sorts, from coupons, I asked Tom to try fixing my computer so to make it 'coupon friendly' again.


Well, uh-oh. My comptuer is now royally messed-up. I mean, I can still read my blog, but I can't post on it. I can't play movies at Netflix nor can I see my Facebook page. I can't sign into anything. Grr--mega frustrating (I'm sure you all know that feeling).


Well, Tom knows one drastic solution which he'll apply later today, but in the meantime, he said I can use his computer not only for coupons, but to let you know what's up.


So for today? I'll send you to a spiffy, contemplative blog, instead, one I found on Friday. Delightful stuff there and I just know some of you are gonna love that place! Read four or five posts to get the feel of it, ok?


I especially loved Blaine's:


"Becoming a great artist is about sitting and paying attention to the world that is passing everyone else by."


... and the St. Francis of Assisi and Aaron Niequist combination liturgy which I will leave with you today since it so beautifully sums up my theme around here last week:


Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi / Bless


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Bless
Aaron Niequist
I want to bless - whoever I see next
I want to give - not just use and forget
I want to leave - more than thoughtless regret
Not gonna run away
I want to give - even when I feel poor
To let it go - when I want to keep score
I want to hear - who is always ignored
Not gonna back away
I’m only a part of the story
But wholly a part of the story
So I’ll take my part in the story
Get out of myself
Get over myself
Get lost in the story of somebody else
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen
I want to lift - everyone that I meet
Knowing well - I need them to lift me
Unified - in our humanity
We’re gonna pour it out
I’m only a part of the story
But wholly a part of the story
So I’ll take my part in the story
Get out of myself
Get over myself
Get out of my fear
Give all of myself
Get lost in the story of somebody




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Again, here is Blaine's blog. I'm excited about sharing it with you.




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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Messes Happen



Now, don't laugh, but I meditate upon this verse a lot:


"Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox."   ... Proverbs 14:4


Ha! Have you ever thought about what that verse is really saying? To me, it says, "If you want to have an abundant, full-as-can-be life, you must accept that your helpers will sometimes dump messes on you along the way."


Alas!


I mean, let's start with Tom's and my new cats, Sammy and Daniel. Oh wow. The first six weeks with them felt eternal, complicated, tiring and we wondered what we'd gotten ourselves into. But now? These cats fill our lives with companionship, laughter and a coziness you discover no other way.


Yet we had to slog through those first six weeks--and still now--we must put up with a few knocked-over items, tufts of black hair on the carpet (I vacuum daily now) and of course, the litter boxes must be changed. But Sammy and Daniel are worth it all.


And how about the friends we all have in Life? Sometimes they criticize what we love, have a headache and take out their pain on us or pass over lightly something we valued incredibly high. But what happens if we can't accept their humanity? If, after 'three strikes, we throw them out'? 


We will eventually end up, alone. And God, Himself, said, "It is not good for (wo)man to be alone."


So if we want friends, we must accept that friends come with potential pain. At times their truth-about-us will hurt us, too! And yes, sometimes we must confront others if their behavior, over and over, is unacceptable. There is that, of course.


And yet mostly? The fact remains, if we want help getting through this thing called Life, we must accept that our help will often come, flawed. Because oh, we are--all of us--so very flawed, being human and all.


And that is where God's bright, unconditional love comes in--a love that sees past the flaws and peers much deeper into the heart's intentions. For most friends mean well--we ourselves mean well--but somewhere between our heart and the doing of a thing, we can sometimes blow it.


But yet, again, no abundant crops will grow if the stall is always clean for all its emptiness and we'll only experience an exciting, abundant life when we're humble enough to stoop down and calmly, gratefully, sweep up the messes.




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Speaking of stalls and oxen,  I was tooling around my blog and found this old, original picture of our former barn:



And then I compared it with the 'after picture':


Wow. Kinda reminds you of the changes God makes inside us when we finally let Him work on us, doesn't it? 


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Want to see some really gorgeous old barns? Go here.


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Friday, April 27, 2012

The Necessity of Your Own Life


I first posted this in 2010 and decided today to post it once each year from now on. That's how vital I believe this to be. So here you go. Again:


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Ages ago, I chatted with a widow (for some years) at church, probably 65-years-old, and sweet. We were speaking of mornings and I told her I usually am up before 6:00 a.m.. When I asked if she, too, was an early riser, she nearly gasped, "Oh my, no. That would make my days feel eternal. I try to stay in bed as long as I can."

Oh wow. I could only suck in my breath then change the subject for I felt surprised and sad for her. Her words haunted me while I drove home that afternoon and they haunt me still.

Since then I have watched women lose their husbands either by death or divorce and here's what I've seen: The women who had created another life separate from their husbands, those are the women who survive. Thrive, even. After the initial shock, they do well, smile real smiles and discover other worlds and the people who people them.

But then there are the others. You know, those who clung to their husbands for all their support and encouragement and companionship. The ones who had outside acquaintances and activities, yes, but no close friendships or passionate interests. Mostly, their spouse was not just the center of their world, but their whole world, period.

No need to draw you pictures of what happened to those women after their losses. You can imagine how they fell down hard, splattered, crumbled, and then needed whole truckloads of Christians to help peel them off the floor of despair.

So today? Today I would tell those of you who are married: Get A Life. You know, a life apart from your spouse, separate from him/her. A nice life, certainly--I mean, hey, I'm not hinting at a secret, tip-toeing-down-alleys-behind-his-back kind of life. Uh, of course not.

But I mean please search-out something you are passionate about. If you're still not sure of God's unique calling made especially for you, now is a marvelous time to discover what He designed you to do. It amazes me how many women don't know what their special talents are! How can we use and refine those gifts/skills to help people if we don't know what they are? 

Even something simple like learning to love your daily rituals is big. Teach yourself to find the joy and peace in drinking your morning coffee, washing your dishes or folding your laundry. Develop good habits like taking walks, deadheading your flowers, reading inspiring books and learning new hobbies and skills each year. Find and keep and tend to good, solid friendships.

Oh, and learn to pay bills and where to go for help with your investments, insurance, home repairs and all that annoying stuff.

And above all, discover who you are in God and who He is in you. With all your heart, seek to love Him best. Better than anyone else, for He's the only one who, if everyone else fades away, will still be with you. 

Discover and learn and do and be you today--the you apart from your spouse. Learn what you like (and what you don't) and what you do best. And step away from any fear of the new or the future. 

But don't wait for your spouse to join you. No, this has nothing to do with him/her. This is for you, this is for now and this is for later, also.








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Not sure what God wants you to do for others?  Go here.


You are significant. Even alone.        ... Jan Kiemel Ream



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The first time I posted this, Kristi (a widow, herself) left this very insightful comment which I appreciated much:

"One little postscript: When you still have the gift of life on earth, you can always use it to think about and help other people. I think the poor woman in your first paragraph would not have found her days so long if she had involved herself in helping others. I hope she has discovered this by now."

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Backbone, Not Wishbone

So yesterday was Tom's birthday. 


I asked him, "Would you like us to go anyplace today?" But he said, "No, I'd like to just stay home." So we looked at his birthday greetings, together, at Facebook and played with the cats and chatted with Naomi and Tom's mom on the phone. The Chinese food delivery guy came then we ate our meal while watching the first Lord of the Rings movie.


Didn't we do that same exact thing just last month on my birthday?! Yes, ok, we did, we did!  But we began with the second movie and watched part of the third. So hey.... :)


I know, I know. Probably you are shaking your head, thinking, "That Tom and Debra. My, but they are birthday duds! Haven't they ever heard of birthday parties or birthday shopping trips or birthday vacations?"


Well, yes, we have. But you know? I find it kind-of amazing that--of all the adventures we could have on our birthdays--we prefer to stay home, together, and watch inspiring movies. I mean, our daily home life must be special if we choose just another simple day here to celebrate our births. 


Besides... oh those Lord of the Rings films! How can you not have a whole portion of your brain rewired when you hear words like these?:


Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened. 
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.





Oh wow. I've tried the sit-around-wishing-my-problems-would-go-away thing, but it only leads to a whiny, depressing sort of helplessness. To just yet one more all-night pity party.


But what beats wishing? What will carry us beyond our tears and keep us out of our beds with the covers thrown over our heads? 


Doing what God tells us to do. 


Taking Him with us everywhere we go, fighting that good fight of faith as the strong soldiers we're called to be and sharing what God's shown us, with others (who are probably out there wishing none of their problems had happened).


Oh, how He desires that we daily remember we are soldiers!  That there's a battle raging for our world and our very souls. And wishing for change and whining about bad government and bad neighbors at Facebook or in blogs (spreading darkness rather than Light) will only get us, well, trampled on the battlefield. Injured, killed and in Time, forgotten in the thick History books of Life.


But when I reach Heaven? I want God to look at me and say, "Oh now, there's my little soldier, Debra. What a giver she was, what a fighter for Truth while down upon Earth! And now the battle is over--now she's come home ... and now she can rest."


But until that day? I must keep my armor on. I must keep fighting.




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"Finallybe strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might Put on the full armor of Godso that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devilFor our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulersagainst the powersagainst the world forces of this 
darknessagainst the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the full armor of Godso that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm"  ... From Ephesians 6


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Thursday, April 26, 2012

My History Lesson




"Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He whose gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith;
    [He whose gift is] practical service, let him give himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching;
    He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness.
    [Let your] love be sincere (a real thing)... Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord." ... from Romans 12


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Way, way back at age 11, I became born again. It was cool and very real. In fact, while walking down the church aisle so to 'get saved', I beheld my first 'vision.' Suddenly, I saw myself inside a dark, dusty cabin and to the right was a door opened wide to sunshine and green trees. In my heart, I knew the brightness and greenery outside the door represented the new life I was now stepping into.

Even at age 53, I've never forgotten what I saw that evening. 

Over the next two years I noticed that, at school, I could write essays easily. Even in subjects I barely comprehended (not being very bright, actually), I could 'fake it' and make it appear as though I understood just by wording things certain ways. Beginning around age 13, teachers sometimes read my essays to the class or made me stand and read them. As I got older, they'd chuckle because my words sounded passionate, but that never offended me--it just increased the feeling that writing was my 'super power,' something appearing as my own ability, but which actually (I knew) came from God.

We moved to the Bay Area of California and at age 15 God put it upon the heart of my English teacher to help fine-tune my writing (even though this teacher would have denied God had anything to do with it.... He's always been quite agnostic, though I still pray for him and we're still in touch all these decades later.). He even spent some lunch hours working with me, critiquing assignments he'd given me outside of my regular homework.

And that's when God added another dimension to my writing--He began using my words to encourage the people in my life, my church, especially. Adults, other kids my age, didn't matter--He'd tell me when to mail or hand them notes and what to say on those slips of paper or cards. When I became obedient in that area, He began working with me to become brave enough to speak encouragement out loud.

Now, that's where God really had to work hard. For a lot of years, brick by brick, He had to tear down huge, towering walls built by shyness. Walls designed to keep me trapped inside myself, rather than allow me to become close to other people so to love them, love being the most important thing, after all. Becoming vulnerable to others, to not keep hugging God's goodness to my own heart, took a very, very long time.

But God, being extremely long-suffering, did eventually knock down those bricks, the vast majority, and now, as long as I lean on Him, I can speak encouragement as easily as I can write it and the desire to 'share all good things with all men' is strong.

Anyway, I am so very grateful that God made my gifts plain to me at such a young age. Even though I've had a rather simple, plain sort of life, still! It's somehow always been a rather remarkable one whenever I've obeyed God and used these gifts when and where and how He directs.

And what I love best about the Bible verses, above? It's the ways we're told to use our gifts. You know the "let him give himself to ..." parts.  The "... let him do it in simplicity and liberality..", "with zeal and singleness of mind..", "with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness" and the "be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord" parts.

For wow! When we use our God-given gifts/talents in His strength and in those passionate ways, they just have to amount to something amazing and eternally important here and in Heaven. How could they not?




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"Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins." ... I Peter 4:8


Something I've noticed? The happiest times of my life are when I'm most fervently loving others.


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Oh! I found this delightful sermon /testimony this morning thanks to Bear Grylls of Man vs. Wild. His friend, Charlie Mackesy shared the message that day at church. Loved it. It's 23 minutes long, yet sails by much faster because the stories were so interesting/anointed/humorous.




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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Net--Making Us Lonely?



So did you read that article entitled, Is Facebook Making Us Lonely? Frankly, I didn't read the entire thing because, my oh my, was that baby ever wordy! And now in my later years? Just give it to me in a few clear, precise sentences, please, so I can move on with the decreased remaining years of my life.


I mean, hey...


Anyway, I found the article, well, silly. Yes, silly because throughout all of Time anything becomes what we, ourselves, make of it. Anything. And the easiest thing, ever, is to blame, blame, blame other people, their choices and differing methods, traditions, ways of life--and now--social media for our own lack of common sense.


Whatever happened to personal responsibility? To staying far away from the selfish thing known as Me Me Me? Where did balance go, for heaven's sake? 


Good gracious. For myself? In the 12 years since I first went online, I've found the Internet to be a whole other (delightful) world where new friends stand along every field and sidewalk, waiting to reach for my hand and pull me into their homes. Oh, the fellowship of kindred spirits I've found in these 'hoods! The deep conversations and the playful ones, too. The reunions. The parties. The peeks into homes and the inspiration for all things decor and friendship and spirituality-related.


Oh, what I get back from all that interaction!


And mostly? It blows my mind how much giving of myself I can do within the realms of this Net world. In just one day I can send lots of ecards or emails to tons of friends so to encourage them, lift them higher, or to just express my gratitude that they stepped into my life. I can comment at blogs, letting others know their valid, important thoughts have touched and inspired me. I can congratulate friends at Facebook on the births of their children, grandchildren or on their promotions, graduations, new marriage, home, pets, shoes, yard re-do's or cars or --


Also at Facebook (or in emails or ecards or --) I can respond to prayer requests, the aches in peoples' hearts, letting them know they're not praying alone, but rather, I and other of their friends will pray, also. I can spread those prayer needs to at least one hundred other people in a matter of moments, thus increasing the intensity of the prayer going upward toward God.  And I can go about my day here in 'real life' praying while I work or shop or drive downtown, bearing others' burdens as the Bible instructs me.


At amazon.com (and other stores) I can order surprise gifts for friends either just because of my gratitude for them or as a lift to their spirits. I can email gift cards to those who rarely have money to spend on themselves. I can send birthday ecards or gifts or greetings at Facebook to make others feel especially glad they were born on their special day and that they have friends in these troubling 2012 times.


Let's face it--sometimes we're lonely simply because we're not giving. Not enough, anyway.


Here online I can keep a blog where I share my deepest thoughts to an audience who cares to hear them (an audience I found quite hard to find during my pre-Internet days). I can finally say here what I always found difficult expressing before, being a better writer than speaker, especially when it came to the phone, not being a phone person at all. Basically? It feels incredible to finally feel listened to. Heard.


Oh, the seeds I can wildly spread all over the Internet! Good, healthy seeds which will reap good, healthy blessings in this Internet Land for others and myself, as well. Seeds which will grow and leave a huge part of my eternal legacy. 


Facebook or any part of the Net is making me lonelier? Ha! Not even. Not as long as I behave myself here as God would have me behave anywhere else in the so-called Real World.




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"Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ."  ... Galations 6:2


"He who willfully separates and estranges himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire and pretext to break out against all wise and sound judgment."  ... Proverbs 18:1




"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."  ... Philippians 2:4

















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 "Store up in your hearts these parting words, be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." - Horace Mann, Educator




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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wandering Around My House This Evening

See the Little White House In The Sky? Well, that's what I call it, a house very much like ours, but theirs sits up on top of a single-story house, blue even, like a summer sky. Just outside my window for my dreaming pleasure.


A couple of my very favorite book jackets and other assorted books and stuff.

Sammy jumps off the bed whenever I eject a dvd, for the whole process fascinates him. And when I place a video into the other side? He steps around to the back of the player, expecting to see the video come out there. He's one weird cat--but we love him.



Our dining room. Again. With fake springtime flowers.

Speaking of flowers, these are the lovely red carnations Vicki and Dale brought to us when they came to lunch on Saturday. These are much prettier in-person, especially with the light shining through the water.

So there you go. A peek at my world this evening.




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(Wo)man vs. World


Here at Hobbit Cottage, yesterday was an all-day-pajama day. After weeks of sunny, gorgeous days, we had a dark-grey, frigid, snow-spitting one, so why not? Tom and I lounged around together watching episodes of Man vs. Wild, a survival show we do enjoy, after all, even though Bear Grylls is on camera, alone (normally, we prefer stressed-out interaction amongst those lost out in the wild). But Bear's personality/gifts/talents are just right for such a crazy, wilderness series and once again, we're hooked.

Tom and I prefer our scary, wild, dangerous adventures be experienced the tv way. :)

Something I find so cool about Bear's survival shows? He repeats the same basic wilderness survival hints over and over. Like how to make fire (he wears a cool flint and steel necklace so he's always prepared to make a quick fire. Of course, now Tom and I want a necklace like that!). And episode after episode Bear explains how to land in water when you must jump into it (legs straight, feet together), how to create a basic shelter, how to melt snow in a water bottle (keep it inside your shirt, next to your body) and lots of additional hints, as well ...

... over and over. And over.

And you know? Where many folks would find that boringly repetitive, I appreciate it much. Mostly because my poor ol' Over-50 brain, I'm finding, must hear things over and over (and over) before it can remember them. So really?  After the many survival shows Tom and I have watched, I would tell you I've learned the most from Bear's Man vs. Wild. 

Lose me out on a wild mountaintop and only now would I stand a chance of walking out, alive.

And do you know what all that reminds me of? The way each of us needs to hear/read/listen to the Word of God repeatedly before we really get it. Before it becomes part of who we are-- before we can recall it in rough times, share it with others and use it to keep us at peace and walking in a daily kind of powerful joy.

Hearing the Word in a sermon once isn't enough, nor is reading a daily devotional one morning. No, learning what God wants to tell us requires hours of repetition and relearning. And memorization if you can handle that--but many of us (me, me!) find that rough. What works for some, does not work for everyone and I believe that's why many Christians crawl away discouraged--someone convinces them that memorization is the only way to go, so they hang their heads, kick themselves for their inabilities and eventually, quit altogether.

What works for me? I prefer  to stay doused, drenched in good video teachings and reading for myself and meditating on God's goodness, either here in my room or outside or at cafe's or while doing my housework or-- .  Meditation can be done anywhere once you become good at it--so there again, don't let anyone tell you it can only be done one way, in one place.

Know God, know the Bible, know yourself--what works for you and what doesn't. But know! Seek to learn so you, too, can survive --thrive, even--no matter where God and Life may drop you.



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"But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night."  Psalm 1:2

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."  ... Romans 8:1  (So I'm hoping none of you feels condemned if you can't memorize verses the way other people can.)

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



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Ack! Just discovered our friend, Donna, had to have emergency colon surgery. Good gracious--we can't believe all she's been through this past month. Anyway, please keep praying for her, ok? She really would like to get home and allow God to help her build her new life there. Thanks.


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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Complete Healing


In the nearly 8 years since beginning this blog, I've lost my dad, my favorite aunt, 3 dear friends of 20 - 30 years, 4 dearly-loved cats and various elderly neighbors. Tom was laid-off from his job for the first time in more than 30 years of our marriage. We've had to adjust to early retirement (we thought). We've moved 3 times. I went through menopause. Tom had two surgeries. We've experienced growing pains with our daughter, she broke-up with a boyfriend who felt almost like a son to us and last month Naomi moved states away.

Whew. And I didn't even mention facing a ton of disappointments-- tiny, daily ones and larger ones, too.


Some of you have ridden along this entire journey with me, others, for tinier portions of it. And I'm sure most of you can recall me saying, a few times, something like, "For the sake of my sanity/healing or just needing a rest, I'll be taking a blogging break, probably for a week or more." 


But you know? Only once (that I can remember) did I take a break for that long--ten days, to be exact-- but that was due to our train trip across the U.S.  I wished to wait until our return home before I shared the whole trip with you.


The other times? I always returned to my blog earlier than I'd planned. I'd slink back here and tell you, "Well, I'm back. Sooner than I'd supposed." And not until today did I figure out the why of that.


So why? It's because God knows that part of our healing involves helping other people. You know, taking our eyes off of ourselves--our own pain, our unfair times, our tears and the me-me-me-ness of it all--and putting them, instead, upon other people. Their pain, their unfair times, their tears.


Because hey, God planned it that way. When He told Adam it wasn't good for man to be alone, He wasn't just talking marriage. No, He meant that men (people) needed each other and they needed to give to each other in order for they, themselves, to be fully healed.


Examples?:


"The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered."  ... Proverbs 11:25


"Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."  ... Luke 6:38


"Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to."  ... Deuteronomy 15:10



And there are more verses than just those.


So what I realized is that, yes, I've needed times alone with God for Him to heal me and times of encouragement from friends, too. But the reason God won't let me stray too far away, for too long from this blog, this vehicle He's given me to help others? It's because He doesn't want me to go all hermit-like. Inside myself, unto myself, concerned only about myself. And not all, "Us four and no more" around my home, either, for even that looms way too small in His eyes.


No, He knows it's vital that I must keep giving to others.  To not only fulfill the calling He's placed upon my life (even before I was born), but so that each healing I've required will be made complete. That my whole life will be made complete, actually, for there is no real life if we're not flinging back out to others what God has so richly dropped down to us. Stop that flow and you have murky, depressing, smelly stagnation. But keep the flow wildly going and you have such an exciting, fulfilling life that--at times--you can hardly stand the extreme, healing goodness of it all. 


Trust me, I know this to be true--and I hope you do, as well.





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2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.

"But the greatest of these is love."  ... 1 Corinthians 13:13



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Window Cats


Naughty kitties on the table. :)


Life with cats is more complicated, yet more fun and comforting, too.






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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Who Comes First?

"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people."   ... Colossians 3:23


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You know how some Bible verses, once they become part of who you are, can change a whole third or fourth of your life? Make everything appear brighter, better? Well, that's what happened with that verse, above.

I mean, instead of writing letters (or later, emails) to people so they'd write back to me (and think of me as Debra, The Faithful Friend), I began writing letters simply because God told me to. When He told me. And how.

And you know? I stopped getting upset if friends wrote just three sentences when I'd written a hundred--or if they didn't write back at all. Oh, I'd be a bit disappointed (being still human, after all), but gone was the, "Well, if they're going to act like that, then I'm not going to write back to them!" attitude. You know, the, "What's wrong with people nowadays, #$%^@& ?" attitude which sours how we perceive the rest of our world.

When I started truly doing things foremost for God, then I stopped keeping count of what people did for me, rather we were 'even' or not in our giving to each other (thank-you notes, included). Over time, I stopped killing myself by working hard to impress people and keep-up with them. I could invite people over without redecorating the whole house and yard, first, for I was now inviting them because God says hospitality is godly and right. (Though I did have to remind myself of all that this past week while out in the yard mowing and transplanting daylilies and forget-me-nots before our guests arrive today. Alas.)

And like, last Sunday when we visited our friend, Donna, in the hospital--yes, we went because she's our dear friend, but the larger reason we'll go again tomorrow? It's because Jesus said if we visit those who are sick, it's as though we visited Him. And also, the pressure will be off of Donna to visit Tom and me if someday we find ourselves in a hospital bed, for--because we visited her 'as unto the Lord'--we'll not be offended if she doesn't come see us. (She's such a dear, that we know she would, but that's not the point.)  :)

God will have rewarded us already, we will have been obedient as unto Him--and always, that is what matters most. That is what simplifies this very complicated 2012 life in which we're all living.

Oh, the pressure I took off of my friendships when I began living this way! When I learned to receive and treasure most and best the blessings from God, first, from my obedience and love toward Him. Then behind that, secondly, the gifts from friends. How much easier it became to love and forgive them, as well.

I realize this will sound odd to some of you, perhaps like outer-space-la-la thinking, even. But for me? It's one of those concepts, one of those biblical instructions, which has released a ton of pressure from my head and shoulders and which has helped to sweeten and uncomplicate Life. Immeasurably. Again and again, year after year.




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"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."   ... Galations 1:10




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Friday, April 20, 2012

That Down On The Farm Feeling


So if you live in the suburbs yet long to live on a farm, instead, well, today I'll tell you exactly how to get that Down On The Farm Feeling.

Here's how: step outside into your suburban yard and rake a few too many leaves. Transplant a few too many flowers, plant a few too many seeds, carry a few too many gallons of water around so to water plants. Gather fallen twigs, mow the lawn, sweep the sidewalk.

Then when you step back inside your house your legs will whine, "For heaven's sake, lie down!," and you'll collapse upon the couch and wonder if you'll ever be able to move again.

That's the Down On The Farm Feeling. 

Really. I know because I had a farm and every Spring and Summer that's exactly the way I felt. All the time.  :)


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Oh wow. Tom and I finished watching all ten episodes at Netflix of Dual Survival and we were so sad to see it end! Loved, loved that series to pieces. Every moment.

Anyone else have something similar to recommend? We've already seen the two Out of The Wild series and Man, Woman, Wild and I Shouldn't Be Alive and various shows about climbing Mt. Everest. There's one we haven't seen, something with ... hmmm.... is it Bear SomethingOrRather? But he goes out alone and what Tom and I love best is seeing the interaction between people when they're out in the wild. Their reactions, their dependence upon each other and needing to cooperate together in order to survive, etc.

If you can think of something similar to these shows, let me know, ok? Thanks.


Addendum:  oh! I found a list online of other survival shows here. If you personally can recommend any of these, I'd love to hear about it/them!


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We are having more company over to lunch tomorrow. Dale and Vicki are on our list of People We Meant To Invite Over While Living On The Farm But Didn't Because We Were Too Tired And Other Sorry Excuses. Slowly we've been whittling away at that list and it certainly feels wonderful to do so.


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Oh! And one more thing. This was so inspirational--it's a video of how one family created a 10 million dollar business from less than $100. It proves what I've said for years-- one terrific idea can prove to be more valuable than one very expensive education.


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The top photo is of our only tulip which did anything this year. :)


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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sow Those Seeds!





"In Joppa there was a disciple named Dorcas who was always doing good 
and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died .... so when
        the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to
        him and urged him, 'Please come at once!' Peter went with them ... and 
all the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and 
other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them." 
From Acts 9


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Don't you just love that (very abbreviated) Bible story of Dorcas? The part about 
how she was always doing good? That reminds me of how the Bible says "Jesus went 
about doing good ... for God was with Him" (Acts 10:38) and this, too:


"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."  ... John 21:25








Looks like both Jesus and Dorcas were majorly into sowing seeds! Flinging them everywhere they went and watching good things grow from those seeds. 

Jesus and Dorcas made a difference during their short years upon this planet.


And you know? I want to always go around doing good and helping and healing and turning darkness into light. I want to be positive at Facebook so to help override the negativity stemming from the weight of Today's world. I want to be an encouragement here in my blog, in emails and to everyone with whom I speak. When I get to Heaven I'd like there to be at least one book full of the "God ideas" I did as best I could, for Him, using the strength of His joy. I want the list of people I prayed earnestly for to be one super l-o-n-g sheet of paper.


That should keep me pretty busy, right? Too busy to complain about the government and raunchy movies and naughty movie stars and the weather and crime and how the whole world is getting really, really bad. There's so much this simple homemaker can do to make a difference! Well, as long as she obeys and relies upon a really, really big God while she's out there flinging those seeds around like crazy in the bright Sonlight. 














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Do I believe there's never a time to stand against the bad things going on? No, we should say/do something when God nudges us to do so. But I do believe it's folly (like, rather stupid) to believe we're changing anything just by complaining about evil day after day to our friends.










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Today's photos? My world from my window.



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" Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world ...  choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful, But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”    .... Matthew 13:22,23


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