Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wanting More for 2014

 
"The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him"   ... Lamentations 3:25
 
****.

I stepped around my living and dining rooms and noticed the green wall I'd painted this year and the red grandfather clock, too, as well as our scarlet couch and mustard curtains. 

I gazed out the window at the 'farm garden bed' added last Spring, reread a few blog and Facebook posts from earlier in 2013 and recalled lugging bags of clutter down to the Salvation Army bin.

Then after picturing sitting on my front porch while staring at the sunshine upon the river (feeling hypnotically relaxed) I remembered walking over to my favorite  neighborhood with the American Foursquare houses and being whisked away to the 1930's there.

I felt gratitude for the calmness of 2013, worrying less this year than any other, knowing it was because God's worked extra hard at disciplining my mind to immediately say, "No!" when worry sneaks inside the holes in my head. heh.

This year found me taking hundreds of photos, clipping a zillion coupons, planting seeds of all sorts, buying books at yard sales, playing with our cats and sitting upon my lawn to watch the flowers grow.

And you know? For 2014, I want more of all that was good about 2013. More color and lessons and walks. More discipline, gardening, daily balance, books and hot chocolate on dark mornings. And blogging and friendship and afternoons with the sun upon my face at our dining room table. More oldies on the kitchen radio, phone calls from Naomi, birds at the feeders and Tom arriving home happy at 5:00 because he so loves his job.

And more of God. Always and forever, more of Him.

So more of 2013, please, but on an even deeper, more appreciative level of all God's given and awareness of all He wants to share through me here, there and everywhere.

Yep, more. Just more.

 
"Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!"   ... 1 Chronicles 16:11  


"Oh, give thanks unto the Lord for His mercies endure forever!"





***********

TV haters will roll their eyes, but two of my favorite surprises of 2013? Fringe and Chuck.

Especially Chuck. Wow. I can't even explain why, other than that show feels old-fashioned and every single episode tickles, charms and delights my head.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Trust: Full of Headaches or Hope?

Since I'm still feeling in vacation mode, here's a post from July of 2006, ok? :)

*****
Yesterday while I walked all across Blogland during the big Home Tour, I came across a Christian woman who was all in a dither. Bees buzzed inside her bonnet because of the current Mid-East crisis, and she was troubled and mad that all the rest of us in Blogland were not troubled and mad. She'd visited some of our blogs and scoffed that we spoke of trivial things, instead, and now she felt even more sick than ever because of us.

And ok, there is that. There is choosing to view Life that way and peering at the rest of us as clueless morons if we don't join you in becoming sick with worry. And there is such a thing as believing oneself more spiritual if one always has a headache, a heartache and an I'll-take-you-down sermon.

And if that's your idea of being truly spiritual, well, go for it. Go in God.

But as for me and my house, we will lift our head because our redemption draws nigh, more nigh than ever before. We'll not dash around in panic just because the world is going exactly according to plan as written in the Bible, but rather, we'll use these times to get out our Bibles and read them for God's perspective.

We'll pray for Jerusalem and those who stand against her, we'll give money, comfort and hope to various places where God leads and we'll trust that He's just as mighty and in-control as He ever was.

And in drawing closer to God as we watch The Times, we will come away refreshed, renewed and excited about the days in which we are living--days when one can see all of History being brought to an adventurous close.

We'll laugh and trust as children walking beside their Father with their hand in His and sing down paths with His joy unspeakable and full of glory...

... and keep on singing, even when we've discovered--oh my!--we've stepped across the very threshold of Light-filled Heaven.


******

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

*****


We decide where we'll travel inside our heads.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Me, Write a Book? Don't Clear a Space On Your Shelf Just Yet.


"To obey is better than sacrifice..."

****
Back in the old days, some of you told me I should publish a hold-in-your-hand book, and well, I appreciated your wanting me to do so. Truly. And recently another round of, "Why won't you publish a book?" has started again.

But here's the thing. Whenever I go and ask God,"Should I write a book?" all I hear are crickets. Just the sound of crickets. 

Ok, sometimes I hear a wispy, faraway, "Not right now. Maybe someday." 

Of course, I could blast past God and Grace and force together a book, receive a ton of rejection letters, keep trying, then maybe find an agent who'd work a miracle and find a publisher (on a slow day) who'd take the risk and then I'd have to fly away from my home to meet with her in a city (I hate flying and all its hassles, I hate leaving my home, I hate cities) while feeling horribly out of place and so unlike the real me. 

Then if the book was published, I'd be made to, alone, fly around to strange cities (did I mention I hate flying and cities?) for mandatory, we-own-you-now book signings in too-warm bookstores with recycled air that always makes my head woozy (and my heart cry, "Must leave now!"), all to be hedged-in by crowds (though I, personally, find people fascinating, I do hate being suffocated by crowds of them), pretending I'm pleased by all the attention. 

(Can you tell I've given this some thought?)

--or--

I could self-publish a book (which feels like a better fit), but books generally cost more that way and I'd hate to make anyone pay actual money for what they can get free here in my blog every week.

(Did I ever tell you that 28 years ago Tom and I had our own music store beside our home and--when I worked the counter--I sold things for less than we'd purchased them because I felt so bad about making people pay for stuff?) 

Clearly, I have issues.  :)

But anyway, this is certain: If/when God wants me to publish a book? I'll feel that nudge and then Grace will be all over the project (as she's all over my daily life). No horrible nightmares involved, no bashing my head against walls with regret and no turning into someone different than who you've found inside this blog.

There shall be peace if God asks Grace to help me write a book, miraculous peace even should planes, cities and crowds be involved. 

And perhaps? Perhaps God calls some people just to be bloggers. He might, you know. If so, I'm totally ok with that, for there's great happiness in doing what God created you to do, however small-appearing.

And in the meantime, please feel free to read/print/share these 2,900+ blog posts, my 'letter to the world' as Emily D. phrased it. Besides, any hold-in-your-hand book I'd write would simply look a heck of a lot like this blog, for I have only one heart--the same one I've shared for these 9 happy-to-be-here years. With you.

****
Yep. That drawing says it all. heh.


****

Last week through Netflix I watched A Perfect Day and when Rob Lowe (as a new author) gets yanked from his family and all around the Country by his publisher, I was like, "That's it! That's my nightmare right there on the screen."

(It was a good movie, by the way. Terrific lessons with an unexpected twist.)



*****

"From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."   ... Ephesians 4:16



Oh, the contentment of accepting and obeying the personally designed calling of God upon us.







Friday, December 27, 2013

The Things I Hide From My Husband


(Intriguing title, huh?)  :)

Seven Decembers ago I re-posted this and here it is again. May it make a marriage or two a bit sweeter in 2014. 


***
I have been married a real long time and well, I've learned there are, generally speaking, two kinds of arguments:

The ones you cannot avoid.
And the ones you can.

And I want to mention the latter--the arguments I avoid by hiding things.

Like what, you ask? Like my very own toolbox. Around 20 years ago I bought a toolbox and began collecting tools for it (cheap ones from Dollar Tree or yard sales. It's not like I use them everyday). I'd become extremely tired of needing hammers/screwdrivers/stud-finders/nails, etc., while Tom was at work and having to wade through piles of his tools to find them--or not find them. Which, of course, required that I nag (nag, nag, nag) Tom about his lack of organization and my frustration thereof.

A real marriage-saver, that one! My toolbox is my responsibility--I keep it hidden--and so if a tool is missing, it's my own fault. End of where's-the-stupid-tools? arguments.

Something else I hide? A chunky black indelible marker which I find indispensable for my kitchen. After 25 years and 300 did-you-steal-my-black-marker-again? accusations, I finally got the idea to hide my marker in a little cupboard in my hoosier cabinet. Tom never peeks inside that. Oh my, Life feels so good since we have no more chunky black marker arguments.

What else do I hide in that little cupboard? My very own flashlight. It only took me 27 years to finally hide a flashlight (which, I confess, the older I get, the more I need so to read or find certain things). No more why-can't-I-ever-find-a-flashlight-around-here? arguments. Happy sigh.

I also hide my own scissors, stapler, glue and measuring tapes.

Get the idea? I'm not talking about keeping secrets from your spouse(lest you thought I was going there. Heh.) No, it's more like this:

Lots and lots of arguments saved(avoided) equals lots and lots of peace and harmony earned. And--personal responsibility: how sweet it is.

Well, at least, that's what I have found.


***
"The tendency to whining and complaining may be taken as the surest sign symptom of little souls and inferior intellects." ...Lord Jeffrey

(Ouch!)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

This Latest UPS and Fed Ex Fiasco

 
Happy Day After Christmas!
 
******
 
"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." ... Luke 6:45


Only sometimes do I comment upon current news stories, and well, this is one of those sometimes.

I mean, did you hear how people went all ballistic with hate tweets because UPS and Fed Ex, due to historic weather woes (and making some wild, we're-overreaching-here-can't-you-tell? promises), couldn't deliver their Christmas gifts on time?

Where do I begin?

Weren't the people who're screaming that delivery companies ruined (ruined?) their Christmas, the same ones purring just last week that Christmas is all about being with family?

Aren't they the same folks decrying Christmas commercialism? The ones (probably) repeating to their children, "Sweeties, Christmas is about much more than just presents."?

And aren't they the folks who, quite likely, procrastinated buying gifts and didn't wisely allow for the extra delivery time needed every single December? 

(I saw this sign in an old, old key maker's shop 30 years ago:  "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on our part.")

Who we truly are as people is found in what dribbles out when we are s-q-u-e-e-z-e-d. 

Yes, basically, we are dribble.

Either gross yellow mucous dribble like complaints, threats, whinings, promises of revenge, unforgiveness and angry tears of disappointment 

--or--

Clear, twinkling dribble of acceptance, learned patience, real smiles, remembering what is true and trusting that God is still God and He will makes things right.

So what kind of dribble are you, am I, today? I hope we're all dribbling the clear, refreshing stuff. Everywhere, upon everyone.

No, really.  :)


*****


And for the record, Tom and I had the most relaxing, calm Christmas, ever. This doing 'Christmas Lite' totally works for us and for Naomi, too.

Oh, and one of the gifts I sent to my mom and one I sent to Naomi didn't arrive in time (my fault--I should have ordered sooner). But never fear... the dribble from each of us ran clear and twinkling and Christmas still felt very blessed, indeed.. :)

*****

It's time to unpack this Bible verse from its too-tiny box:

 " ... not many of you should become teachers, because we know that we teachers will be judged more strictly."   ... James 3:1

Are you a parent? Then your children are learning from you and you are a teacher.

Are you a co-worker? Then your co-workers are watching how you react and behave ... and you are teaching them.

Are you a neighbor? Someone standing in the check-out lane at the store? A friend? A church member? A relative? A blogger? A Facebook or Twitter friend? ...

... then you are a teacher, for each of us watches. We learn all sorts of data from each other. Every day.

 
"Peace be unto you...."





******

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Always Leave Room for Surprises


'Twill be another white Christmas at Hobbit Cottage...

****

Anyway. I forgot to tell you what happened last Friday...First, I received a wonderful email that morning from a new-to-my-blog reader, a double-kindred-spirit that blessed my very heart and which would have been plenty, but something else happened after that.

Remember when, last December, I mailed a letter to my junior high choir/general music teacher from Sacramento after snooping doing research online and discovering his home address? 

Well, I heard nothing back so the temptation was to assume that perhaps I'd not found the correct address after all. Or maybe 'Mr. Brown' (I'll call him) had moved or died(!) or my letter dropped out of the mailman's bag and flew under a bus or even, perhaps he got my letter, read it, smiled, then threw it into the little trash can beside his desk for any of a thousand reasons.

Hey, this having an imagination can be both a blessing and a curse.  :)

But guess what? On Friday I received a box in the mail from Mr.Brown. Oh my! And suddenly Christmas came early this year, for he'd included a sweet letter to me, his email address and a Christmas cd full of songs he'd sang. Also inside was a cd of his daughter's songs plus the lovely (and creative) funeral program from his relative's service (that's mostly how I found him online) which included this incredible piece that was found in her Bible, plus, the cd from her service and another cd, even, this one by Mr. Brown's wife and a small booklet.

Wow. An out-of-the-blue surprise, hearing from a teacher of 40 long years ago. And trust me, I felt relieved that I'd not rented space inside my head to those doubt-filled imaginings and I was certainly grateful that I'd not voiced those things for, as I've mentioned here mega times, the power of life and death are still in our words (Prov. 18:21), Old Testament scripture or not (read The News lately and that's obvious).

Anyway, today on this Christmas Eve may you leave wide open spaces for out-of-the-blue surprises. May you sow a zillion good seeds and never cease watching for their harvest, forever believing that God wants to bless you out of your ever-loving-Him mind. Suddenly, creatively, lovingly.




A very merry Christmas to all my special readers who put up with my rather odd and quirky musings year after year..!


********


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

"Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body."   ...Proverbs 16:24


********

A couple who've lived under a rock for 30 years(!)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Know Thyself. Heal Thyself.




        
All day I've been feeling like someone out there may need to read this post from my archives. So, well, here you go... and may you again find peace, even within this busy time of year.

                                         *****

"Be still and know that I am God."   ... Psalm 46:10


                                                       ****

 I went through a rather hard time emotionally last week (don't ask) and my summer was busy, involving actual manual labor (!) and so I'm thinking I need a vacation. Badly. 

For too long I have felt switched On.

But, well, Tom's working 12 night shifts in a row (sigh) so it's not like we'll be taking a 'real' vacation soon. 

So what's a lady to do? Take her own vacation, at home, her own way--that's what.

It's allowed, really--you just have to know how. You must know yourself, you must know what you need and what rejuvenates and frees you or else you'll walk through your days, your life, well, like a tub of emotional jello.

So I'm making a list, checking it twice (heh) and for the next week I'll give myself permission to do minimum household chores and to find maximum enjoyment from these activities (or non-activities, as the case may be):

I'll read. Some of my waiting-till-winter books, even. I'll sit in my tiny library at the top of the stairs and browse through magazines and cookbooks which whisk me back to 1940 or earlier.

I'll remind myself to wear aprons while I sweep the front porch or cook. I'll sit on the porch when the weather warms a bit and stare at our pretty red door (I so recommend painting your front door a color which thrills you.)

I'll sit at our sunny dining room window, drink decaf and think. Daydream. Recall who I am aside from an encourager.

I'll walk through neighborhoods I've been meaning to see by foot. I'll take lots of pictures, maybe post them online, maybe not.

I'll release myself from feeling I must write in this blog. I'll take a few days off from writing anything, even from sending email (reminding myself the world will not careen into blackness if people don't hear from me). I'll stop checking my blog or email or Facebook, like, every half hour.

I'll drink coffee at our supermarket and peruse a couple magazines and listen to the retro music they play there. Perhaps, while Tom's sleeping, I'll watch a movie at the 1940's theater in town.

I'll play that same retro music here and perhaps mix it up with some classical and Christian pop, too, variety being the spice of Life (and all that). I'll avoid any news which I don't have the Grace to bear.

And best of all, I'll grasp a stronger awareness of God. I'll lean against His shoulder wherever I go, whatever I choose to do, and look up into His face, His loving eyes, and bask. Just bask.

It's wisdom to know how to avoid ones own burn-out, when to take a break. But it's silly to wait until somebody else says, "Hey, Debra! Take a week off, ok?" (Like anyone would actually say that.) I know myself best, know what threatens my sanity and what keeps it healthy--and it's up to me to find places where I can go to get strong again so that I can keep going and going for as long as God needs me down here.













Sometimes we must give ourselves permission to be happy while the rest of the world isn't. And sometimes, while others are working, we must give ourselves permission to go on vacation. Otherwise, we'll become sick along with the other sick people... and be unable to help anyone.
 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Ice Queen Cometh ... So What?


 

"If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot."   ...Jeremiah 20:9

****

Ice storm! All night, freezing rain like bullets (rocks?) fell upon our roof only 18 inches (or so) from my head. Then once, boom! The night turned even darker, for our neighborhood lost its power. Only for a few seconds, though. Whew. 

Could the boom have been the sound of these huge limbs falling into our street?



Whatever, Tom and I awoke to a world where (apparently) the Ice Queen threw down buckets of water which coated sidewalks, mailboxes, electric lines--everything--then froze.


Debra's seen a few ice storms in her day and she does not like them. 

But you know? Inside Hobbit Cottage all is warm and glowing with contentment so why complain?  

It's rather like Life, I think. The world outside grows colder (perhaps you've noticed), but on the inside around our hearts? That area need not cool (or worry) just because of the outside's harshness. 

God provides ways for us to shine like beacons so to keep us warm and so to tempt the ice-encased to draw near the Fire.

It's natural for Him to make ways where there appear to be none, to keep us standing when others drop beside us. What matters is that we remain beside the Fire, warming our fingers and all else, doing our part to revive hearts gone to ice.




*******

"Wake up! And strengthen what remains and is about to die..."   ... Revelation 3:2


"He makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire."   ...Psalm 104:4





Just a note--all the white upon the trees in these photos is ice, not snow. At all.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Passion to Understand


"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."   ... James 1:5

****

In Lois Lenski's book, Prairie School, Delores' sits with her mother and sick baby brother in a cold house while her father and brothers slog through snowdrifts to un-bury old railroad ties to split for firewood (her mother reminded her dad for months to buy coal). They're also digging miles of paths so their cows can eat from stacks of hay scattered everywhere and their expensive tractor lies buried (ruined) beneath the snow rather than resting inside their barn.



Sitting at my dining room table yesterday, Delores' mom's words got me all teary-eyed:


"(Delores asked) "Don't the cows get cold staying out all winter long with no food and no shelter?"

"Some of the cows die. One winter they all died--three-thousand dollars we lost. Plenty farmers lose their whole herd..."

"Does Christy need a doctor?" asked Delores.

"So many times we run," Mama went on, "we use gas, we have the old car, the truck, the tractor. We can take one or the other and run off to town... But in the winter time, when the big blizzard comes, and the baby lies sick, there is no car to take him to the doctor... it's broke down, it's got a flat tire ... and the truck and the tractor, they are gone."

The tears ran down Mama's cheeks and Delores could not bear to see it. She wanted to cheer her up, but she did not know how."


Oh, how it hurts me to see people not using wisdom. Especially when they choose to blame the economy, the President, nature, relatives, banks, parents, personal history, lack of schooling, neighbors, the Times and even God, Himself, for their own unwise Life choices (when that is the case. Yes, it's not always, but when we're honest, our impatience and not seeking God's plan often ruins things).

Lois Lenski wrote her regional series in the 40's, 50's and 60's (she'd visit folks, then write what she saw) and I'd love to believe that people nowadays have grown wiser--that they meticulously care for what they own, buy only what they need and always make God-led financial decisions concerning homes, vehicles, gifts, vacations and education.

But that's mostly wishful thinking.

The great news? Wisdom is still available in 2013 for anyone who's sick of disasters after choosing to live by their own brain, feelings and wrong desires:

"Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
Love her, and she will watch over you.  
Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding."  ... Proverbs 4:6,7

"Though it cost all you have ...!" Oh, to always live with such red-hot passion. To go after wisdom, to leave short-cuts and laziness alone.

God's ways are not ours so what becomes vital? Longing to know His ways--to put them into practice--with all our heart and our ways, on all our days.



******
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."   ... Ephesians 5:15-17



“It’s a puzzling thing.  The truth knocks on the door and you say, ‘Go away, I’m looking for the truth.’ And so it goes away. Puzzling.” – Robert M. Pirsig


“The real things haven't changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Life In My 'Hood


So on Monday afternoon I watched a crime show where a man in his 20's had three 'friends' his age who kept encouraging him to kill people, except that only he (and we, the audience) could see them. He kept telling these friends to leave him alone, but they stayed and tempted him, anyway.

(Don't worry... right before the violence happens in these shows, I jump up off  The Red Couch and go dust, wash or fold something.) :)

Well. After that episode ended, I pulled on my long black snow-shoveling coat so to go open the garage door for a soon-arriving-home Tom. But as I stepped outside, a young man in a red hoody raced down the center of the quiet street beside our house. A very strange sight! I paused with my hand upon the doorknob so I could dash back inside lest he veer my way, but he didn't even glance at me.

His footfalls continued down the street and though tempted to step back inside the house awhile, I thought, "No. I refuse to let myself be afraid," and continued toward the garage.

But that's when, from a distance, I heard the young man shout, "Leave me alone!". I quickly looked through our near-leafless hedges and saw him a block away, but not one person was near him bothering him. I watched as he continued running around a corner.

Oh dear. (Insert the Twilight Zone theme music here.)

But while I pushed up the garage door, the verse, "Be not afraid of sudden fear," came to me and too, I fought the temptation to think, "What is this neighborhood coming to?" Instead, I prayed for this young man and all those out there like him. Prayer and confidence in God's protection are kinder, braver choices.

****

Then the next morning, three broad-winged hawks flew to my house. Wow. I'd only seen one-at-a-time three instances before and now a couple spent hours, off and on, in our yard and I snapped a ton of blurry photos for Tom who never seems to be home when these hawks fly in.

God surely created some gorgeous animals, indeed, and how kind of Him to send them to my home.




****

I've not mentioned favorite books in awhile, but I do hope you've read these:



(I also own Man of the Family but it must have wandered into the wrong stack.)

Oh my goodness--these are amazing true stories from Ralph Moody's childhood through his teenage years. I've read Mary Emma and Company at least 15 times and you know? If you asked me at the end of my life which authors I was most grateful to have found, Ralph Moody would be near the top of that list. Seriously.

****




Each day when I trudge through the snow to feed the birds, I feel like Gladys Taber and her friend, Jill (Eleanor) and always think of them.

****


"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving..."  ...Colossians 4:2

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Best of Times, My Worst and Contentment


"Not my will but Yours be done."   ... Luke 22:42

****

Hobbit Cottage is a magical (the good kind) place.

The contentment wafts thick upon the air here, especially since I learned (on a deeper level) to only want what God wants for me.

Remember our farm? Mostly Tom and I wanted that and God just wanted us to get over wanting one. So He let us have a farm and it turned into one of those, "It was the best of times and the worst of times," type of things.

Maybe you remember some of that.

Yet one day I hiked around those gorgeous 4 acres and I just dreamed of escaping. They were beautiful, but in the end, I hated them. (Yes, hated them more than I ever confessed to you here.)

But the amazing thing? After whole decades of believing I'd love a farm every time I drove past one or glimpsed one on tv, now I can see the beauty of country living again, but I never desire it for myself. I'm forever free from that.

Now, instead, I desire to use-up my energy on what God designed me, personally, uniquely to do. Now I want only what God wants for my present, my future, also.

So since it appears He doesn't want me to have grandchildren, I stop myself from wanting them. Since God made a way for Naomi to move to Nashville, I don't allow my brain to wish she'd move closer. Since she's unable to visit for holidays, I accept that--and feel an infusion of God's joy.

Since God, apparently, wants me to be content (and creative) here at Hobbit Cottage, I've stopped planning to buy another house (and try not to complain about this one).

Since I'm thinking He believes Buffalo needs another old-fashioned snowy Winter, I don't allow myself to long for Springtime. Not now, anyway. Not even for two seconds.

And long ago I stopped wishing I could sing or paint or dance and just got happy with an ability to write. I ceased wishing to go back in Time, to be younger or to move closer to the people I love best.

There is such a thing as self-control, you know. We are not helpless or victims. God designed us braver, stronger than that.

And somewhere along my way I guess I've finally grown-up. Took long enough, yes. And now, like every single day, I experience awesome, uber-contentment nearly to the gate of giddiness.

It has become very well with this over-50 soul.

And what plays inside my head over and over? It's what Clarence the Angel told the discontented George Bailey: " You know, George... You really did have a wonderful life."

And because of Jesus patiently walking me through mine, so have I. So have I.



*****

"But godliness with contentment is great gain."    ... 1 Timothy 6:6 



*****



“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough”
― Oprah Winfrey


“We need much less than we think we need.”
― Maya Angelou



"Complain and remain."   ... Joyce Meyer


*****

Did you watch the latest TCM Remembers yet? Here it is.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December's Christmas: A Contrarian View

 
"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."   ... 1 Corinthians 15:58
 
****
 

Every December it happens. I feel like such a large square peg jammed into a tiny round slot.

Like, whenever my kitchen radio plays "It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year," I mutter, "Uh, no. It's not."

I mean, hey. When it's an old fashioned Buffalo December (like this one), we're already buried in snow and I'm shoveling it at 6 a.m. in 10 degrees, asking God to deliver me from worrying about Tom slipping out there while driving or walking. And it's not safe for me to take daily walks, so extra weight shouts to its buddies, "Quick! Wrap yourself around Debra."  (Yes, Tom and I need a treadmill. We're currently in negotiations for one, trying to imagine ways to squeeze one in here.)

And then friends are, well, generally too busy to talk, email or encourage one another in December because of being busier than ever and all stressed-out about gift-giving, money woes, parties and expectations. Their heads are into decorating, baking, wrapping gifts and holiday shows while my own brain twiddles its thumbs, waiting for the Nation's insanity to return to calm.

Truthfully? I wish Christmas in December meant only meditating about Jesus' birth. You know, not substituting 'the spirit of Christmas' or 'it's all about family,' instead and I wish that spreading real cheer downtown, sacrificially giving to others and gathering with loved ones was The Big Theme for the other 11 months. And wishing no one morphed into someone not them, but rather, stayed their same, sweet selves. Or became eternally sweeter. Or something.

(Stop me before I alienate myself from the whole world. Oh wait. I already did that years ago.)

My own most wonderful time of the year? Early Spring. Now that's a time I can get excited-out-of-my-brain about. Only the tiniest patch of snow here and there and crocuses poking their heads above the ground. Green lawns, not muddy white ones and forget-me-nots in the best shade of blue, ever. Taking walks again(!) and sitting on the sunny front porch with a magazine and wearing only one layer of clothing, not three...

... and the promise of eight more gorgeous, sun and fun months ahead.

Yep, give me early Springtime and celebrating Jesus and a (sane) giving lifestyle all 12 months instead of cramming it into just one. Now there would be a wonderful time of year worth singing about--the whole year. Indeed.


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Okay.... No more 'I wish Christmas was all year long posts.' Well, no more this year, anyway. :)

Oh, and honestly, I feel great! (In case you wondered.) This is just a subject that's hard to write about and difficult to make others understand since it's the polar opposite of what is taught and practiced. Generally.


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Here it is again: a calm, sane place to escape this crazy week before Christmas.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Debra's 2013 One Night Out


Oh my goodness. 

Only one evening of the year do I typically go out to an event and of course--on my one night this year--it had to be the snowiest, most-treacherous-for-driving night of 2013. Gah.

You should have seen me. Well, no you shouldn't have. Leaning forward in the passenger seat, stiff, trying to help Tom drive (he appreciated that. Not.) and trying to pray and hearing God say, "Gracious! Relax. Remember what I've taught you," all the while realizing I was failing this test and thus would be required to re-take it some future day.

Great. Just great.

Well. After what felt like the Donner Party trip all over again, we made it to the Pierce Arrow Museum in downtown Buffalo where Tom's company's holiday party was held (Tom was instructed not to say 'Christmas' yet the boss' wife said "Merry Christmas," a bazillion times. So there.). You would see a couple photos of Tom and me except that we both look enormous so you'll have to wait until we each drop 20 pounds. Good luck with that.



Anyway. The party was fine and I must have shaken 40 hands which, actually, felt pleasant. Tom's co-workers and spouses all smiled a lot and seemed kind and our more than 3 hours there didn't drag. Of course, there was the usual loud music which drowned out what any of us tried to say, but hey, you get used to that. Besides,  dusting-off your lip-reading skills can be fun.



But too soon, it came time to again brave the windy 13 degrees and snow and to scrape the car windows then try to buckle our seatbelts with shivering (gloved) hands. Then we were back out on that treacherous thruway and I prayed and promised God all sorts of things, such as, I'll never leave my house again and if He got us home safely, I'd even kiss the living room carpet.



And He did. And I did. Literally kiss the carpet, that is. And boy, am I joyful-out-of-my-mind to be back home.

And thus ended Debra's One Night Out of 2013.


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Recently Tom and I discovered Chuck at Netflix and wow... ! A show with a perfect mix of comedy and sappy sentiment--my favorite combination for tv comedy. How rare to find that(!) We're halfway through the 2nd season already. Adam Baldwin's part, especially, cracks me up--a big-time NSA agent working undercover at the Buy More. Delightful.

Last night after risking our lives arriving home, we watched an episode of Chuck so to calm my nerves. It did. Must be a case of God working in mysterious ways. heh.


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Stunning Home Libraries To Curl Up In  Each library is a delight, but the small closet one is my favorite.