Saturday, May 31, 2014

Changes To My Room In Photos

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time..."   ... Ephesians 5:15


Thankfully, I don't put chairs together for a living. It took me nearly an hour to piece together my new slipper chair.

But it was worth it.

The chair is comfortable, luxurious (to me) and fits perfectly in this peaceful room which feels cloud-like when I ascend the stairs. (I'll be updating the tabletop, I'm sure. That's just what I put there for now.)

And here's the bit of wallpapering I did on Thursday. The outer back wall of the closet will have to wait till next week.

Progress, even in fits and starts, feels fine. How freeing to break away from procrastination! And when God wants us to do certain things, He always makes a way. He just doesn't always make it obvious, I've found, so that I must listen more closely to Him.

And now it's time to celebrate the weekend, Tom's and my favorite time. May yours be special!


(Oh, and the top photo is a better one of that swag which I spray-painted last month.)


“When we procrastinate, we also put a hold on happiness.” 
― Charles F. Glassman

Friday, May 30, 2014

Whining About Things or Fixing Them?

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” 
― Karen Lamb


Busy, busy. 

I finished half of my wallpapering project upstairs yesterday. (Do always buy peel-able wallpaper--it just peels right off, no warm water needed!) 

Then in the afternoon, my new slipper chair arrived, so today I'll push the box upstairs then put the chair together and then lug up my white table from the front porch and maybe re-paint my dresser up there and finish the wallpapering and --

Stay tuned to see what I actually do.


Oh, and remember my dear little table which I use every single day and consider one of the best purchases of my life?

 Well, on one Saturday as I sat upon The Red Couch, I reached over to set my cup of coffee down and discovered my table was gone! I looked over at Tom and saw--what the heck? He was using his work computer while it sat upon my table.

What a big, hairy test for me. :)  I neeed my table, especially on weekends.

There's a season for everything and here at Hobbit Cottage it's the Find Solutions For Nagging Problems Season. Seriously. Why keep complaining about annoyances when you can, instead, creatively fix most of them?

So I went online and looked at side tables for Tom and although I fell in love with this one:

... I knew it would take up too much room physically and visually in our tiny living room. We both decided, instead, upon this table, below, though yeah, it's pretty modern, but otherwise, perfect. Maybe someday I'll paint it red:

Tom l-o-v-e-s that table. He smiled all last weekend while sitting at his recliner with this table and his computer in front of him.

What a terrific feeling to fix the things which nag at your head rather than use-up your energy whining about them. 

And remember how I'd felt convicted to stop shopping for another house? Well, that was a bigger deal than I let on, because 1.) Since childhood I've been 'all about houses'. They're a huge part of who I am and 2.) We live in an area with hundreds of cheap-but-cool houses (with actual closets and an extra bedroom) in safe neighborhoods and we could make a straight-across-trade-for-cash for so many. Oh, the temptation for this house-loving lady to view these cute homes online!

But what I'm discovering--again--is that as I've stopped spending energy looking for a better house, my energy now goes to making this house better. 

And there's your remarkable revelation for the day. heh.


"The soul of the sluggard desires, and [has] nothing: but the soul of the diligent will be made fat."  ...  Proverbs 13:4

“...the best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today's work superbly today. That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future.” 
― Dale CarnegieHow to Stop Worrying and Start Living


My buddy, Susan, shared this oh-so-sweet video about a couple who've been married 60 years and, not only will they inspire you, but so will the police officers involved. Their part encouraged me because--sadly--in the past year, 6 officers here in Buffalo have been suspended for various reasons. It felt great to be reminded by the media that officers help us in myriad ways which we often forget.


This week's SavingStar Friday Freebie? A 6 ounce can of Hunt's tomato paste.

Oh, and last time I forgot to mention that on each Tuesday, SavingStar issues a healthy offer which is good until the following Sunday. It's usually 20 percent off of loose vegetables or fruits and so this week we receive 20 percent off of loose tomatoes. 


Thursday, May 29, 2014

No One Else Creates Like You Do

"So then each of us will give an account of himself to God."   ... Romans 14:12


Maybe you got the kindle book, 10 Commandments for Creatives, which I listed days ago when it was free. If so, have you read it yet? It's majorly inspiring! Just look at a few of the lines:

No one else forms ideas like you do.

No one else creates what you create.

Artists bring feeling to a numb world.

Artists provide sight for our blind spots.

Artists quicken our senses, build bridges of connection and change culture.

When you quit, you're not just quitting on you. You're quitting on us. You're quitting on what we need from you.

Wait. Did I hear you whine say, "But I'm not an artist?"

Tsk. Tsk. Yes, you are. Or you can be. 

You can be an artist if you have a garden or a flower bed or a front or back yard..

Or if you own a camera or a paintbrush. Or paper, fabric and a pair of scissors. Needle, thread, a sewing machine. Embroidery floss. A sketchbook, a canvas, or a scratched-up item begging for paint.

Or if you have rooms to decorate, wallpaper to hang, walls to paint, furniture to rearrange. If you can find creative solutions for boring problems.

Or a blog to write in, a Facebook or Pinterest account. Or if you can tell a good story aloud. If you have a voice, an instrument, a song.

Or if you have a unique way with hair, make-up, clothing.

Or a kitchen in which to cook and bake. A cookbook collection, baking pans, cookie cutters.

Or---well, you get the idea.

No one else creates the way you do. Nobody inspires the rest of us to stop our laziness or excuses the way you can.

God longs to release the creativity He's placed inside each of us:

"Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house."   ... Matthew 5:15

He has a specific plan in mind, a way to spread His light through you, but if you're not spreading that light? The rest of us are limping along without your help. We're missing-out and--perhaps--we'll never be all that we could have been.

And that is sadder than we know.

So! How will you choose to inspire and help all the rest of us today? Hmm?


This post comes in part due to Maya Angelou who used her gifts throughout her life--who shined brightly on a hill--and blessed us all.


"Jealousy is the death of creativity.... Celebrate others and connect with them to further your own creativity as well as theirs."   

... From Ten Commandments for Creatives


Oh! Audrey Hepburn's old home. Be sure to check out all the many cool photos and their captions. Wow. Wowwww....


Free kindle books as of today, May 29th:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I Still Read Nancy Drew. Deal With It. :)

"...for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him."   ...   Matthew 6:8


Sunday night I sat on the floor of my new closet room while reading an old Nancy Drew book, thinking, "I'm glad I have these vintage books. They're fun to reread."

Then with a smile I recalled how, when I was 14, my mother stood behind me at my bedroom desk while I read yet one more Nancy Drew and she said, "Shouldn't you be reading books more for girls your age?"

I replied, "But I love Nancy Drew! I want to read all the ones at the school's library." She sighed and walked away. (Poor Mom.) 

Heh. I probably won't tell my mother that, even at 55, I'm still reading Nancy Drew.  

And why do I read lots of kids' novels every year? Partly because of this: everyday, my head stays awfully busy. 

Hourly my mind is thinking about my next blog post (keeping my brain open in case new ideas pop in there) or who might need encouraging or am I obeying God as I should? Or where can I place my stocking-up groceries and how should I fix all the tiny inconveniences around here? Or when's the best time to mow the lawn, take my walk or do the laundry while I still have the strength to lug it upstairs to dry? Do I have a plan for dinner, for decorating, for my future?

Yada, yada, yada...

And just when things begin spinning inside my head, that's when I pull out a kids' lit. book. And oh--the calm. The serenity, the balance, the being whisked away to a whole other time and place.

It's the same for whatever current tv series Tom and I are watching via Netflix (now it's Heroes again) when he arrives home in the late afternoon. With our dinner plates we watch the show, pausing it when we remember an interesting item to share, but just watching while our heads cease their whirring. And we bask in the peace of it all and the harmony we feel.

Grace. I have learned to follow Grace even when nobody else understands why the heck I'm doing what I'm doing. But Grace knows what I need and exactly when I need it while other people think I need what they need and fail to 'get' me.

But what I need most? To keep believing that God and Grace know me better than I know myself and--if I live by their directions--I'll end up where I should, with my sanity intact, maybe with a few less friends but with ever so much more contentment. 

And I'll have so enjoyed the journey along the way.


Remember how, on Sunday night, I felt grateful for Nancy Drew? Well, on Monday morning Tom and I visited two yard sales and I found that orange book, above. It's called Teen-Age Mystery Stories and was compiled in 1948 by Frank Owen. I felt a little shiver down my back as I held that book in my hand for, totally, it felt like God placed it in that old box just for me.

Oh, and we (well, I) also dropped into Jo Ann's Fabrics where I found this adorable tiny birdbath (I'd needed an off-the-ground birdbath for ages) :

(I spray-painted it yesterday.) Oh, and also, these cute metal flowers:

All these were 70 percent off. Gotta love that.


A state of mind that sees God in everything is evidence of growth in grace and a thankful heart.
 Author: Charles Finney


Free kindle books as of today, May 28:

Down Home Cooking

Natural Green Cleaning

30-Minute Meals

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Don't Come Late When Called!

"Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon Him while He is near... As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts...You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."  ... Isaiah 55:6,9,12


Don't you just love those verses?

Back in the 90's, God began asking me to 'come away with Him' for various seasons because He had new things to teach me or rebuild within me (since I'd built stuff all wrong). Usually He wanted to strengthen me in some way.

But I found those times to be like a 'you snooze, you lose' thing. If I procrastinated calling upon Him while He was near, I'd find He'd moved on when I finally got there.

So not good.

Obedience, coming when called, matters. When God's waiting, you can't tell Him, "I'll be with you after I run some errands, clean the house, catch-up on Facebook, mow the lawn and go to choir practice." That is, not if you want to be changed. Not if you want to see the good Bible promises happening to you.

God's ways and thoughts are higher than mine and long ago I got tired of my average thinking and ordinary whining about hard times. I craved God's way of looking at Life because it's so out-of-the-box and creative, positive and better.

And well, this morning while I watched The (bad) News, I felt grateful for all the times I actually made it to God when He called. Because during those times, those years--even when I didn't understand all the 'why's'-- He strengthened me to watch Today's dreadful newscasts without becoming a depressed, scared, what's-gonna-happen-next? mess on The Red Couch. And also? He's become my strength during my own rough, disappointing times, as well.

Now my weeks are more like that last verse, above, and these, also:

"Blessed are those who dwell in Your house and Your presence; they will be singing Your praises all the day long.  Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. 

Passing through the Valley of Weeping (Baca), they make it a place of springs; the early rain also fills [the pools] with blessings. They go from strength to strength [increasing in victorious power]; each of them appears before God in Zion."   ...  Psalm 84:4-7

Yeah, it feels a lot like that--because God is a lot like that. He's not up and down, down, down and all over the map. Instead, He goes from strength to strength, glory to glory, and He enables us to walk that way, also...

... if we'll come when He calls us.


" ... but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."   ... Isaiah 40:31

(Loved this.)


Free kindle books as of today, May 27th:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Gotten Pretty Old? At Least It Can Save You Money :)

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]"   ... Matthew 11:28


Of course, growing older may not be exactly fun, but it can have its perks, such as senior discounts!

If you're at least 50 - 55 years old (and older), this list of possible discounts will astound you. If you're not yet 50, the list may make you wish you were. heh. Oh, and some discounts may vary from store to store and area to area.  So ask. Nicely. :)

Remember today and always "to keep your hope fixed on God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy," (1 Timothy 6:17).

 Keep Him (truly) Number 1, love Him with all your heart, and then nothing--no disappointment, hard time or death--can ever totally blow you away.


"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength." ...   Matthew 22:37   


A special thanks to my sister, Corrine, for sharing the senior discounts list at Facebook.

And speaking of saving money, remember the coffee recipe Naomi gave me? Well, after three weeks, I've decided I prefer my homemade coffee now over any from a coffee shop. It's that good.

Here's what I do:

I place 1 tbl. of decaf into the filter of my coffee maker then sprinkle some baking cocoa over it.

While the coffee brews, I place these in a coffee mug (all approximate measurements) :

 1/4 cup coconut milk 
1 tsp. butter
1 tsp. sugar
1 packet Stevia
1/2 tsp. vanilla
and a sprinkle of cinnamon if I'm feeling adventurous

I add the brewed coffee to the cup then pour it into our (cheap, Aldi's) Bullet mixer, blending for maybe 20 seconds.

Then oh my goodness ... I drink this creamy, soothing stuff. Yum. Perfection.

(The only imperfection is that it doesn't travel well in a thermos. I discovered that when I took some to Tom's back injection appointment last week. So be sure to drink it immediately.)


Free kindle books as of today, May 24

Friday, May 23, 2014

Oregano and Freebies

Been wondering about herbs which grow great in only morning sunlight? Well, here's one:

Oregano. My, my, my. All this (and more which I pulled out and planted nearby) came from two tiny plants from my supermarket in 2012. Maybe this year I'll actually dry some of it to use like I did in my most intense Suzy Homemaker days years ago.

Other herbs which grow well there: parsley, thyme, chives and basil.


Have you heard of They allow you to download coupons onto your supermarket shopper's card so no clipping of coupons is necessary. Your savings add up to gift cards for places such as and PayPal.

Each week they offer a Friday Freebie for which you'll be reimbursed if you purchase it that Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Some previous freebies:

Ajax dish liquid
King's Hawaiin dinner rolls
Starkist tuna salad pouch
Renuzit air freshener cone
Jiffy blueberry muffin mix
Keebler snack cup
Domino or CH brown sugar
Dannon Greek yogurt
Kraft macaroni and cheese, etc.

Anyway, each Friday (when I remember) I'll be reminding you about the latest freebie. Another idea which took me forever to think of!  Tsk. Tsk.

This week's Friday Freebie? A 3-oz. package of Jello. (Not the best one ever, but hey. It's something.)  :)


"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?"   ... Matthew 6:26


Oh, my radio station is playing this song again right now. It always makes me cry .... with happiness. Just one of those special tunes! (But I would tweak the lyrics if I could.)  :)


Free Kindle book as of today:

My Way Home

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Just Doing It: Giving and Saving

"There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered."   ... Proverbs 11:24,25


Last night I bought a chair.

Was it used? Cheap? From a yard sale? Salvation Army?

No. It was brand new. Twenty-five percent off and I used a coupon code for an extra $5 off, plus, shipping was free. I'd been watching that chair. I've wanted a real, non-wicker chair (which stays on our porch most of the year) for my upstairs room for nearly 3 years and I couldn't find the right one, used, not even one I could slipcover. It's probably the first new chair I've ever bought for myself. Tom said that was fine and I told him it was just a pittance compared to what I saved on our groceries last year.

I've spent money more easily lately--because we have money now? Not really. It's more because we finally got smart (took 3 decades, sigh) and saved-up 10 months' worth of paychecks. We built that cushion, so now we can spend money with a clearer conscience. We could have done that ages ago (or at least some of that), but we got stupid presumptuous and thought, "Oh, Tom will never get laid-off. God wouldn't let that happen."

Huh. Well, as you know, it did happen back in August of 2010. And although, when it happened, all our bills were paid, we had just one month's worth of savings leftover. Just one sorry month's worth. But God came through (and the story is in this blog) and when we, in 2012 got down to $200, it's like we began getting money from The Heavenly Bank of Reaping What You've Sown. Money came from the strangest places!

Then Tom got another job, then another, and let me tell you--we had two new goals. 1.) To give more money away than we'd done in previous years (part of true religion is giving to the needy...James 1:27) and 2.) To quickly save-up at least 8 months' worth of paycheck amounts.

We so didn't want God to have to stretch His mercy toward us again. He's good that way, yes! But I feel bad because we made Him do that unnecessarily, for we could have saved up money earlier for a possible lay-off, yet we didn't. 

Oh, I don't feel condemned, just wiser. Already God has blessed this new wisdom: with money saved up, I spend my dollars with a freer, happier head.

Why share this? So to encourage those of you having rough times financially. Please do hang in there and keep (or begin) making financial decisions the way God advises us in the Bible. Give to others. Sow cheerfully. Reap. And remember: things can change for the good suddenly and become better than ever before! For God can make a way where there is none.

And to the more financially secure? The same, but also obey those godly nudges to put money aside now for possible future rainy days. You'll never, ever regret doing so.

This is an older photo and I've tweaked some things since then.


Proverbs 21:26
"…the righteous gives and does not hold back."

Proverbs 28:27 
"He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses."    (Very sobering, that one!)

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."   ... Malachi 3:10


Free kindle books as of today, May May 22:

Camping Recipes: Foil Packet Cooking

How to Start a Blog That People Will Read

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sometimes Trees Must Fall

See this beautiful tree in front of our house?

At this moment, they are chopping it down.


Now, the old, tree-huggin' Debra would be having a royal conniption fit right about now. You know, like she did back at Autumn Cottage when two neighbors behind her cut down their huge trees (can't believe my way-too-intense 'ballistic-ness' there) (and here). But this newer Debra? 

She's ok. And surprisingly ambivalent-leaning-toward-upbeat about it, which makes me a bad person in some circles. If you're in one of those circles, I hope you'll forgive me.

But, because the tree is gone?

My herb garden will get bright, not dappled sunlight.
Fewer small/medium branches will fall on our house and in our yard every time it's windy. I'll spend less time (and back-bending energy) picking them up.
Fewer big branches will wreck Paul & Robin's cars as they've done in the past (they must park there). Years ago, Paul asked the city to cut down that tree and either they finally came through, or Paul hired these folks.
The threat of the tree falling on our house in bad weather is gone.
The threat of branches taking out the power lines is past.
Fewer ice balls will go rolling down our roof.
I'll have thousands of fewer leaves to rake.
My room upstairs will have brighter light. (Love. Brighter. Light.)

I've tried to feel sad about another tree biting the dust, but it's hard because more good reasons come to my mind than bad ones.

Don't worry--we are still surrounded by huge trees. When you come across the bridge near our house, all you can see are tree tops as you look across our area. And if you're wondering, the tree shaded our house from only a little morning sun. That's all.

Sometimes a tree just must come down. 

And sometimes, things happen that we wish hadn't, but rather than fume and make ourselves sick with bitterness, we must just accept that, in Life, we're in control of so very little and we seldom understand The Big Picture. What becomes important is to remain at rest, at peace, with God. And move on. 

And maybe I'm finally grown-up enough to realize that.

R.I.P. pretty tree.


Photography and recent history nuts will enjoy this:

Honeymoon Photos: A Window to the Past


Free kindle books as of today, May 20:

A Christmas Peril

Insignificant: Why You Matter In the Surprising Way God Is Changing the World

Getting Organized: Improving Focus, Organization and Productivity

Monday, May 19, 2014

Just Musing

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life."   ... John 6:63


In the old days, like, five years ago when my brain was yet unbroken, I could find solutions for problems of all kinds in, oh, 15 minutes or a half-hour, tops. Just give me a few moments alone, in silence, and I could (creatively, even) fix just about anything, be it a temporary fix or a permanent one.

But now? Gah. We're talking years to come up with what once took minutes.

Like, on cool spring afternoons, it's too cold to sit on either of our patios so I'd grab a towel (and a book and glasses) and sit on the damp lawn to read until that became uncomfortable. Or I'd pull on extra clothes and brave a shady porch until I began shivering. Or I'd just sit inside the house in front of the sunny windows and wish I could sit outside.

The sad thing? It took me 2 years and 8 months to think of this: 

(Green! Green! Do you see all that green?)

... just bringing down this wicker chair and table from the porch, setting them in the sunshine and reading there. For hours, comfortably.

As Charlie Brown would say, "I don't know. I just don't know."

Now, if this was the only example I could give you, it would be no big deal. But there are many, many more.

Sigh. I'm taking my vitamins, walking, exercising trying to remember to exercise, eating more 'brain food' and sleeping great, actually, since I created that room in my closet. (Oh, and also since Naomi told me taking vitamin D3 before bedtime is a no-no once your body's caught up on it.)

Yet actually, I think it's all a matter of my head and imagination slowing down because I am, er, older now. I used to be a 'spring chicken,' but that young thing flew away years ago and I have changed. Times have changed, this old body has changed and --- blah, blah, blah.

But the good news? Thank-goodness God hasn't changed. And you know that  verse that says don't worry about what to say when you're questioned about your faith, because the Holy Spirit will give you the right words? Well, along those lines, I'm thinking that with all this slowing down, I'll just need to lean more on Him. Rely on His abilities way more--  minute-by-minute more--trusting that if something needs an immediate solution, He will bring it to my mind. Immediately.

Otherwise, may He grant me the patience and trust (and calm) that He'll bring creative solutions to my head at His right time. And the acceptance, the knowing that all will be well anyway. May I rely upon His perfect ideas, not my flawed ones. His timing, too. 

And really, that's not such a bad way to live at all.


"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day."   ...   2 Corinthians 4:16

"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."   ... Galations 2:20


Free kindle books as of today, May 19th:


Must say.... I'm pretty happy with the way my new header photo turned out!  Gives Hobbit Cottage a sort of Green Gables vibe and perhaps a tad bit of Stillmeadow as well?  :)