Thursday, August 29, 2013

When Others Feel Differently



"Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."   ... Jeremiah 1:5

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I just finished watching The Flat through Netflix, a documentary made by the grandson of a Jewish woman who lived in Israel, in the same flat, for 70 years. Such a long time to live in the same rooms, especially to do so contentedly. When the family pulled out drawers of her possessions from the past century, it felt rather like standing at another estate sale. Loved that.

Anyway, if you're interested in genealogy, old Germany and the way Jews were told to get out, family relationships and the ways people react differently to grief, war and The Past, well, you'll like this, especially if you watch it while in just the right contemplative mood.

There's a mystery involved. Travel. Meetings with people still alive who knew the film maker's grandparents. Old photographs, history and family angst. There's more, too.

But what I took away? We need to not expect everyone to feel as we do about the big things like Life, Death and War. In many ways we are all alike--yes! Yet God, also, created us with our own unique make-up, with varying differences.

One way we differ? We each do what we must in order to process what happens to us (or our families or ancestors) so to pass through this life peacefully, sanely:

Some people don't like to ask questions, some choose to keep a childlike trust in the goodness of God foremost, no matter what evil things have touched them.

Others choose to keep asking questions until they find answers which finally give them a sense of peace.

Some people choose forgiveness. Some seek to forget, compartmentalize. Others choose resentment and an anger they learn to live with.

You can probably add a hundred more variations of all of the above.

But The Flat reminded me to respect peoples' feelings rather than believe they should feel as I do. For the first three decades of my life I expected that and didn't even realize how prideful it all was. You know, to believe my feelings about Life were all the correct ones, especially when they appeared to be 'biblical.'

(In this documentary, the film maker questions his mother about her way of leaving the past alone, asking, "Don't you care that you don't care?" To me, that sounded too much like, "Don't you care that there's something wrong with you?")

Only God knows best and gets it right 100% of the time. After all, He's the one who created us as one-of-a-kind individuals and only He can make us more like Him. And He's the one who created freedom to be who we are, to dislike what some people enjoy (or vice versa), to choose Him or deny Him...

A scary freedom, that last one, especially. To me, anyway. But one I must always remember to respect while living as I believe He's asking me, personally, to live.



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"... and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,"   ... 1 Thessalonians 4:11

What happened when, in my 30's, I began obeying this verse (especially the 'mind your own business' part)? I got happy. And stayed that way.



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One of my all-time favorite kids' lit. novels:  Stand In The Wind, by Jean Little. Once they arrive at the beach house, it's as though you drove there along with them. Love this book and the final page always leaves me teary-eyed.

Your town library may have this one.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

From Worry to Joy



From another August, one way back in 2006.... (I'd write something new today except I'm puttering inside Hobbit Cottage, away from the humidity, and just silently enjoying being alive.)

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"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ... Romans 15:13

I am finding that the more time I spend with God... the more I get to know Jesus and what He is all about, well, I worry less. Oh, the temptation to worry is always there, but Jesus and I have a history and now I feel I'm hurting His feelings every time I worry. It's like I'm saying, "You've helped me in the past, but this time, well, I don't think You're quite big enough to handle this. This situation deserves my worry."

There's such conviction now when I worry--as though a grand piano is slowly being lowered onto the top of my head... squishing me, reminding me of how, really, I am hurting Jesus' feelings by all these fearful doubts--tiny ones, huge ones--they all matter equally.

I think part of it is that the older I become, the less energy I have to worry. (One good thing about aging--you more wisely choose how to expend your energy because you have less of it.) And too, it's like, now, I have hundreds of past examples, memories, of all the times my worries never even happened. All I did was waste time, add some facial worry lines, subtract a few years from my life and insult a huge God by my petty fears.

Or maybe, in large part, it's because I have become, well, dare I say it--addicted--to the joy and peace which God gives when I choose trust instead of the automatic worry switch. Joy and peace arrive rather like a reward for refusing to meditate upon what can go wrong, what will get worse, what will never change-- which is so very far away from:

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

Trust shows...

...not in worry-marks on a forehead or in an ulcer or through 38 panic attacks--not in faithful-sounding words spoken out of a stressed-out, frenzied, spinning head--but in joy and peace and a calmness which cannot be shaken. And I am in and out of that, I admit, but I want, someday, to always be 'in,'-- not whining, "I'll be happy when...", but instead, to just be happy now, in this one, present moment, simply because of Him.

And I am aiming for just one thing, the same thing Paul aimed for--to know Him...to know Jesus so well, that worrying feels like a slap in His dear face--and to be horrified by such a thing.... to be horrified at even the thought of worrying.

I want to know Him so well, that He completes me and makes everything else look so tiny, meaningless and dull... that although all my friends may be taking vacations to exciting places or buying lovely houses, clothes and cars or getting terrific jobs or ministries--all of that will look small compared to simply spending every oh-so-normal day filled with the joy and peace which come only from knowing Him--not just by reading about Him--but by walking beside Him, listening to Him, being corrected by Him and realizing He has become more real than the very people walking all around me... to not feel silly giving Him the extra chair at the table or even clearing off the passenger seat of my car while I drive, making room, making Him comfortable...

... to say--and mean it--"As long as I have Jesus, I'll be ok." ...to know Him until He becomes much more real to me than any of my worries--real or imagined... and to know all will be well. Somehow, someday--He will make all things well...

...and in the meantime, knowing that marvelous joy, even while I am yet in this body... even while I am yet upon this Earth.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Spreading Happiness


Oh my goodness.

There is nothing better that I could share today than this.

So here you go... The Business 9 Women Kept a Secret for 3 Decades.

A special thanks to Judy and Clarice (check out Clarice's new table!) for sharing this wonderful article at Facebook.


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And for those of you who do Swagbucks? Each morning I do the daily NOSO right before I try earning points with a search. What often immediately gives me those search points? Inserting the phrase I typed into the NOSO just seconds before. Doesn't work everytime, of course, but many times it has.

Just thought I'd pass along this hint!

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"When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you ... But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. "

From Matthew 6

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Slowing Down Lest This Body Fall Down

So since whenever, it's been a bit discouraging how high-maintenance I'm becoming.

If I skip my back exercises, my poor ol' back hurts.
If I don't take walks, the weight clings to me like magnets.
When I skip my Vitamin C, my ears and teeth hurt.
If I forget my nighttime vitamins, well, forget about sleeping.

... I'll spare you the rest. (You're welcome.) heh.

But then weeks ago while rereading Chicken Every Sunday, I reacquainted myself with Miss Sally and, although she was 'over-the-top'--yes! (and therefore an interesting literary hoot)--still-- her 'southern regimen' made pampering oneself sound luxurious, tempting and rather cool:

"After breakfast Miss Sally took a little nap--she said it helped her digest her breakfast--and then got up and washed the underwear she'd worn the day before. (She said it was too nice for anyone else to handle.) She hung this in the bathroom and while it was drying, she made her bed and straightened her room. Then it was time to do her ironing which she did with infinite care. After this exertion she must have her morning bath and then cream and powder her face and dress for lunch. After lunch she undressed completely--the only way she could relax, she said--and had her afternoon nap."

The author also said that Miss Sally awakened from her nap at 4:00, took another bath, dressed for dinner after brushing her hair and working on her nails and patting her chin. After dinner she began a whole nighttime beauty ritual, including changing her sheets nightly.

I'm thinking Miss Sally is my new hero.

Ok, ok, calm down... :) At least she's inspired me to no longer resent caring for this aging (God-given) body of mine. Rather than muttering about it, frowning in the mirror over the faded old thing or neglecting it into early onset rigor mortis, Miss Sally's overboard lack-of-balance nudges me to rev-up my almost non-existent regimen.

Miss Sally reminds me that caring for oneself can become a daily, slow-it-all-down-awhile ritual, one representing luxury, relaxation, chats with God and even a bit of fun. For as with many things, happiness and satisfaction depend upon how we treat and view and react to this thing called Life.

And with Whom we spend the majority of our time with, as well, in all the little ways we spend it. (Though I'm thinking that--in God's eyes--not too much is actually little, as in, it all matters. Much.)


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"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."   ... 1 Corinthians 6:19,20



"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."   ... 2 Timothy 1:7
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Over-the-top or barely anything--neither is ok, neither is more virtuous. Both are out of balance.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

A Post Card From My Vacation





"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."   ... 1 Timothy 6:6-8

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So. This week has found me sitting on our pretty red couch (feeling like a queen, nearly) and taking a bit of a 'healing vacation' while watching scandalous amounts of (netflixed) Law and Order: Criminal Intent, the Goren and Eames episodes, only (why didn't you tell me these were so super?) and just doing around Hobbit Cottage what must be done, lest it cave in upon itself (ha).

Everyone needs occasional times like those, especially we who oh-so-rarely take real vacations or even get out of the house. 

I've had a marvelous time, except when I've had to hush my head about feeling guilty for all this apparent laziness. "Want to go insane?", I ask myself. "In Today's pretty-dreadful world, a smart person takes time off for her sanity. All she can steal."

You know, rather like, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."  ... Proverbs 4:23

Dare I say, "Guard your head" works in there, too? Life today--it's getting impossible to live it well and joyfully without a complete throwing of oneself upon the shoulder of God.

Anyway. Did you see that green table, above? Yesterday I decided I hated it. Well, where it was, anyway, and I couldn't think of anywhere else in the entire house to put it. But after I actually lugged it outside to the porch (while seriously considering moving to a bigger house!) the solution came to me in a light bulb moment. 

And now I'm back to loving the table, the house and my life here. Not only does each piece seem to click nicely there, but they cover all the holes and the wires/cords streaming out that back piece.



And ooooh... There'll be no more thoughts of moving to a larger place, for do I really need more space? No, what I need is more creative imagination and a make-the-most-of-what-I-have spirit. More common sense, also ( often I feel overwhelmed by the work in this tiny place, so I want a larger one?!) ... and more old-fashioned contentment.

Valuable head-saving, money-saving, sanity-saving stuff. Truly.

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Why are there books way up on top of the entertainment center? Because Daniel The Cat kept bang! Jumping up there from the table, startling us each time and making us worry that he'd fall off. Cats.... always something.

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Another incredible book I've reread countless times? The Endless Steppe. Remarkable, at least I've found it so.

Oh! And has anyone recently read any of the books or watched any of the shows I've recommended? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts, good, bad or indifferent--doesn't matter. :)

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Changes are inevitable and not always controllable. What can be controlled is how you manage, react to and work through the change process.”
Kelly A. Morgan




Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Yesterday. A Sober One.


"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."   ... Romans 15:13

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Though I puttered a bit yesterday, tweaking tiny changes in our living room (which perhaps you noticed in my new header), mostly I felt blah, a bit sinus-headachy and well, sad. Mostly it was a day to pause, to heal yet once more. 

Why? Because eons ago during a short window in Time, Tom, Naomi and I had 'real cable' which included fun Disney Channel shows like Pete and Pete, Even Stevens, Lizzie McGuire. Yes, these were aimed at kids, but if you'll recall how much I love kids' lit., you may understand why I also enjoyed these. And actually? Both Tom and I ate many a dinner in front of those shows, laughing together and enjoying the humor, story lines and 'moral niceness' of them.

Oh, and one more show: The Famous Jett Jackson. We found it clever, fun and sentimental. And that's why yesterday I felt sad: the star of that show, Lee Thompson Young, committed suicide.

This one hurt. Watching Lee grow-up and move on to shows like Friday Night Lights and Rizzoli and Isles, well, it nearly felt like seeing a neighbor's child move into adulthood. It felt like 'I knew him when' and almost like I'd actually met him, when, of course, no, I had not. But seeing people on tv year after year does strange things to one's mind.

I've not yet heard if anyone knows why Lee took his life--I only know this is an enormous tragedy. It's left many of Lee's friends, fans, loved-ones hurting, struggling, questioning Life (and God, sadly) and fearing who may be next.

And I know that Life is fragile and Hollywood and its watching public can be ruthless, unmerciful and cruel.

And also? I know that the power of life and death can be found in our words--so we need to share our opinions carefully, kindly. Sparingly works, too. And when God nudges us to pray for people we don't even know? We need to pray, without questioning the why. And if He leads us to visit a relative or neighbor or call them out of the blue? We need to visit or call. Or send a card.

Basically, we need to care and to show that we care. To love. Because we all matter to God. Truly.

And may none of us ever, ever give-up.



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"Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off."   ... Proverbs 23:18

"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."   ... Proverbs 18:21

"The greatest of these is love..."  from 1 Corinthians 13


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I've recommended Pete and Pete before, but I must again. Though yes, it's humorous, the overall feeling is incredibly retro (you'll recall the best days of your own childhood), sentimental, sweet, even dreamy and well, it's one unique show that's hard to describe. I watch these over and over. 

Perhaps order a few of these from Netflix? I've got the 1st season episode, What We Did On Our Summer Vacation, memorized. Do you have fond memories of summer and the ice cream man/truck? You'll love that episode, also.

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"Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"  




                                                                          ... From It's a Wonderful Life



Monday, August 19, 2013

The Wonder of To Do Lists and Sunday Afternoons

Daniel on a lazy Sunday afternoon...

Speaking of Sundays... Does anyone else feel like Sunday afternoons last twice as long as normal days? At 17 I first noticed this strange phenomenon, but found it annoying and boring since I wanted Monday to arrive with school, friends and fun. 

But now? Now I anticipate Sunday afternoons because, finally, after a week of days which zoom past, I'll have 'extra' time with Tom, and extra time to think, appreciate Life and just, well, be without having that 'sands of Time flowing through my fingers' feeling.


*****


Anyway...

Weeks ago I bought a tiny, sad-looking succulent plant for half-price at our supermarket and now see what a fun-looking plant it's become:


Always reminds me of the 1960's 'flower power' stuff you saw everywhere back then. Always makes me smile, too.


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Last month I returned to making To Do Lists on Mondays (being a first-born, I've created many a list in my day) and oh! I highly recommend those old-fashioned things especially if, as you've gotten older, your short-term memory has become more like no-term memory. Heh. 

Some folks find these lists stressful, but not me. Once something gets scribbled upon mine, I can stop telling my brain 37 times, "Don't forget to clean/fix/paint the ________! " (or whatever the case may be).

Oh, and I always keep my list in just one place (on the kitchen counter) so that it won't become lost, nor will I forget to look at it there. 

And you know? The To Do Lists weave a bit of magic, the good, fairies-everywhere kind around Hobbit Cottage, surprising me with feelings of getting ahead. That is, they're magic only while I keep the lists positive, viewing them as kind reminders for my forgetfulness, not nagging slave masters. 

Nor kicking myself for tasks left undone--but rather--celebrating those crossed off and smiling because next week Grace will help me complete even more. 

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Why defend To Do Lists? Some people view them like New Year's Resolutions, seeing them only as negative things setting us all up to fail. I, personally, see them as a discipline, a map, of sorts, leading to some surprising places of accomplishment.
 
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“Rename your “To-Do” list to your “Opportunities” list. Each day is a treasure chest filled with limitless opportunities; take joy in checking many off your list.” 


"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death."   ... Romans 8:1,2


Sunday, August 18, 2013

I Wandered Through a Time Capsule. Again.

"But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either."   1 Timothy 6:6,7

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Oh wow.

Yesterday at an estate sale I stood inside the aqua-painted kitchen with orange and yellow floral curtains of a small, nondescript 1950's house and sorely wished each of you, my vintage-loving friends, stood there with me.

The colors! Beside that aqua kitchen was a peachy-pumpkin living room and hallway, a 50's green in one bedroom, aqua in the other two. Most likely this family had lived with wood flooring for the first 20 years then had a goldy-mix carpet installed around 1972--incredible stuff--for it hadn't even worn down to the floor in the hall. But nearly so.


An ironing board set-up in the back aqua bedroom still had its 1970's cover, all the drapes everywhere were from the 50's, 60's or 70's and the kitchen's dishes were from those eras, also. The kitchen cabinets were all original and the formica table in the corner held ceramic roosters and carnival glass.

Such a basic, one-story, house! Most likely, it's owners never had any real money--the only update I noticed was a new front door, but everything else seemed unchanged and not even cute, actually, but oh! I wanted to stand there forever.

I realized--again--that I feel best amongst vintage items and retro colors and small rooms. I thought, "I should toss anything in our house which you'd not have found there in 1979. Walking into my own house should zap me with dreaminess this way!"

Of course, I realize it's popular for people nowadays to give-in to pressure to replace old things with brighter! Newer! More modern! stuff. And I also realize it's possible for me to go all bonkers while coveting vintage finds, for it works both ways and always there must be balance at whichever end of the spectrum we spend our lives.

And so, (reminding myself to remain content), I'll keep walking through these Time Capsule Homes and pity no one who spent long lives inside them, but rather, feel happy that they married and then created a family inside just one house, caring with a joyful type of gratitude for what they owned, never packing a moving van, never buying a larger (brighter!, newer!, more modern!) place.

Hopefully they didn't waste time yearning for more. After all, most of Life is what happens inside our hearts and heads and I step through these rooms where people laughed or lay sick in bed or loved or cried, hoping they realized that type of contentment as their lives played-out within those walls. 

And I always thank them, each one, when I wander dreamily to our car, for reminding me to create my own simple life and live inside it with contentment, joy and a great big God who makes each day unique, special and to be remembered.





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Did I buy anything at this estate sale? Only two retro, like-new dishtowels. But at another sale I found this 1970's Avon piece for a quarter:

 
(That's someone else's online photo...). This looks very spiffy on my kitchen window sill!
 
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Tom and I have probably walked through more than 20 such houses in all our years here in NY. Truly, a treasure from our area and I consider each experience a personal present from the One who knows what I love best.
 
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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Just Chatting Today

See this pretty yellow house for sale on the Enchanted Lane three streets from me?:


Lovely, right? On my walk home I dreamed about living in that pretty place, but later, online, I saw that it's bedrooms and its one bathroom were upstairs, many of the walls were paneled (quality paneling, but still...) and the kitchen! Have you ever seen such a poorly laid-out kitchen?:



Lesson learned? The outside of something may appear wonderful, but that never guarantees the inside is, as well.

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Remember that week of weather so hot that I thought I was gonna die? Well, apparently so did those evil, sparrow-eating grackles because they grabbed their suitcases and flew away to milder places and now the sparrows can safely eat outside our windows again, making Daniel and Sammy especially happy.

Lesson learned? In this life, much falls below the This, Too, Shall Pass title so never say (or think) never. And never give-up.

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For three weeks we've had glorious open-your-window days in the 70's with brilliant blue skies, puffy white clouds, reminding me of perfect days when I was ten. And when this song came over my kitchen radio, I turned it up and Life felt too perfect, Jesus was everywhere, and happy tears stung my eyes.

Lesson learned? A normal Thursday afternoon can become more memorable than any vacation, any party/potluck/retreat, any other activity under the sun.

But then, I already knew that.

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Are you a fan of Jessica Tandy? A few weeks ago Tom and I watched Camilla (instant Netflixed it) and enjoyed the movie much. (I especially loved Jessica's house as well as the 'servant's quarters' next door.)

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Enjoy kids' lit.? Here's a perfect summer book, one I never tire of rereading: Ten Kids, No Pets. Your town library will have this one for sure.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Stepping Past Fear, Intertia and Procrastination


"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."   ... Philippians 4:19





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After my last post, Anonymous said:  "I wish I had the courage and know-how to paint my walls. They surely need it."

Oooo....! Ol', Do It Herself Debra adores this type of challenge. And even if you, personally, don't need any walls painted, these tips might help with any household project that has you cringing/crying/procrastinating/considering moving.

Heh.
First? Look up online a youtube video (or three) which shows beginners how to paint walls, which types of paint to use, tips about taping edges, etc.

The wonderful thing about paint? You can always paint over it if it turns out wrong.

In fact, painting can be a wonderful way to burst out of Fear Boxes, you know, the type of fears which cheat us from becoming our best selves, living inside our best rooms.
Then decide on a room in which to begin. Choose a color. Think one wall at a time. Perhaps begin on a small bathroom wall for experience?

Check Sunday newspaper inserts for sales on paint/brushes/rollers, etc. Or if you're into yard sales, often these can be found cheaply there. Perhaps a friend or neighbor has leftover paint they'd give to you or sell cheaply?

I save old sheets and shower curtains to use for drop cloths. Perhaps buy a new shower curtain (Dollar Tree has them) and use your old curtain to catch stray drops? I always use a paint brush rather than a roller and have almost no drips that way.

Can you ask a couple friends to help? If not, choose a time when you'll be alone, switch on the tv, radio or a CD--pray--and then just do it. Start. Step past fear and inertia. Usually we are the only true obstacle in the way.

Ok.... But what if you're unable to paint due to chemical allergies? Then I'd recommend doing some online research on no-VOC paints then--after you've learned about those--look online at your local hardware store websites to see if they carry those paints. Or make phone calls.

Yet what if you're physically unable to paint walls? Consider bartering. What are you good at? What do you do well that you could trade with someone who'll paint walls for you? Or do you own something you no longer need which you could trade with a friend/neighbor/painter for their painting help?

I believe God sprinkles tons of different gifts upon people so that varying, myriad needs can be met. When we're all using these gifts/talents/abilities no one goes without. Everything gets done.

Ok, in a perfect world it would be like that all the time and everywhere. But even so, the bartering system has often worked for Tom and me-- at times we've traded guitars, amplifiers, furniture and even firewood for household projects we couldn't handle, ourselves.

Again--we're not just talking painting here. In fact, I even think that sometimes God, Himself, brings us to a helpless place so that we'll trust Him to show us a way to accomplishment. So that we'll remember we're not islands unto ourselves, but rather, so we'll humble ourselves and see we truly do need each other, making this world go 'round the way He intended.

The main thing? Never let yourself feel hopelessly helpless about anything God wants you to do. That scary type of helplessness sinks us into despair... into a sad type of life God never intended for us. Always--one way or another--He has something better available.



*****

My latest "I can't do it myself project"? I really, really want two tubular skylights placed in Debra's World upstairs. One in the main room and one in my just-like-a-black-cave closet.

An example of a tubular skylight is here. (Kind-of a weird video and will only take you ten seconds to see what I'm dreaming about.)  :)

*****

The photos? From my walk this morning. I'd forgotten how a bad couch (or bad bed) can give you a bad back. The new couch already has my back feeling better which means I'm able to once again walk to these spiffier neighborhoods. Yay!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Oodles of Money You're Probably Making


Really. If we'd stop listening to the world telling us homemakers that we're a bunch of stay-at-home lazies without incomes, perhaps we could hear some truth, instead.

I mean, when I spend one hour on my grocery list and coupons and then go and save $60 at the supermarket, then that's like I'm earning $60 an hour. Even if it takes me 2 hours, I'm at least earning $30 an hour. When I save $300 a month on groceries, that's $3,600 savings each year.

If I'm making my own 2 cups of coffee each day, then I've earned/saved anywhere from $60 to $120 (or even more) each month (as opposed to purchasing it in a coffee shop).



When I buy clothes at thrift shops I'm saving hundreds of dollars each year. When I do my own yard work, gardening, composting, decorating, laundry (air-drying clothes, included) and housecleaning (making my own cleaners, as well) I save thousands.

By painting my own rooms I save thousands, as well as cutting my own hair for all these decades.

Yearly I save thousands of dollars by cooking my own meals rather than eating out frequently.  I save hundreds on a gym membership by walking around the neighborhood and exercising at home, instead.

Since I downloaded amazon.com's free Kindle Cloud Reader and because I download hundreds of free books, I save untold amounts of money on reading material. By researching information online, I save money on books I might have bought or even on the gas I would have spent traveling to the library, not to mention all the additional ways I'm learning to save money by that very research.

By giving money freely (as we did yesterday to the delivery guys who carried out our awful, old couch before lugging in the new one) I add extra money to a sort of heavenly account which later provides for us in our time of need.

Just by living simply--not caving-in to advertisements which tell me what I must buy or where I must travel--I save thousands of dollars.

Wow. We homemakers really rake in the earnings --and it's time that we see it like that rather than the way we're viewed by those people who just don't understand.

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For you who love books about fixing up houses,  I have another one--you can even find this one online for free!

The Worn Doorstep by Margaret Sherwood

A most unique, dreamy book and I'll always treasure my dusty Salvation Army copy. (Amazon.com has copies if you'd prefer one to hold in your hands or an inexpensive version for your kindle.) 

You'll find some of the first lines of the book here. Many of you will enjoy this one!

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Deuteronomy 15:10
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.


"But don’t feel sorry that you must give and don’t feel you are forced to give. God loves people who love to give. God can bless you with everything you need, and you will always have more than enough to do all kinds of good things for others."   ... 2 Corinthians 9:8

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A special thanks to those of you who commented here, at Facebook and in emails about our green wall and red couch! I always appreciate your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Scarlet Couch = Finally Here!


Yay! After what felt like an eternal wait (long story, one where Debra probably got a C- on the test part of it), the couch has arrived. And I am in love.


And the painting is mostly done except for behind the hutch where I'll probably leave that until moving day, as I did on the farm. You should have seen me out there, wielding my paintbrush while the movers removed the hoosier cabinet from the area I'd not been able to reach years before with a brush.

Hey. That's how I roll. :)

Anyway, I'm thrilled and now I think I'll traipse downstairs to actually try out the couch by watching a tv show while sitting upon it, the big test, but of course! (I just couldn't wait to share these photos with you, first.)

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Color! Our living room finally has some real color. The first word that comes to mind is no longer 'brown.' Thank-goodness.
 
Oh, and remember... the shade of green (or red/scarlet) you're seeing on your computer may or may not be close to the actual shade(s) in Real Life. :)



Sunday, August 11, 2013

Debra's Latest Test


 "The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore."   ... Psalm 121:7,8
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So. When Naomi left for Nashville, it was two years following the big 100 Year Flood. Though a tad nervous, I recall thinking, "Hey! At that rate, it'll be a real  l--o--n--g time before Nashville floods again."

Riiight.

As you probably heard, Nashville flooded again and this time Naomi's there and now the test has been for me not to worry about her, not to soak my head in flood news reports (but instead, God's promises), nor imagine her swimming past the Grand Old Opry. Sigh.

Well, she's not floated away anywhere, but she is searching for a new place to live, for her room has 3 inches of water, has always been on low ground and is beginning to smell moldy. I love the set-up she has there--she and a friend are managers of the house and it's up to them to keep the rooms rented, so they rent them to organic-smoothie- music-and-cat-loving girls just like themselves. heh. But anyway, I've always felt very comfortable with her in that type of living situation--it's even in a country-like setting.

Alas. So now I'm praying she'll find an equally good set-up, though one on much higher ground! Any other prayers on her behalf would be much appreciated. It's been a blessing to watch how well she's handling it all and with such a positive attitude.

Now, if only her mom can stay that positive....!

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What I'm rereading: 

Chicken Every Sunday: My Life With Mother's Boarders.  Oh! I hope you've read this. If you need to get away to a better place, this book will take you there. And for those of you who enjoy books where houses are fixed-up, this book has some of that, as well. And a whole lot of humor. A true story, one I've reread probably 10 times.

In the way of disclaimers, some language reflects the early times in which this was written. Oh, and I always add this:  The first chapter begins with some rather scandalous-sounding undertones (er hem!), but never fear... I would never recommend a book that takes you there. :)



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"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..."   ... 2 Corinthians 10:5

2 Samuel 22:3-4   "My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. 4 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised..."