Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Fabric Story

"As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance ..." 1 Peter 1:14


Speaking of high school (my last two posts), an acquaintance from one of mine shared a fabric website with us at Facebook which has prices lower than JoAnn Fabrics. Well, some prices are. Today I actually drove to JoAnn's to make comparisons and came away with some better deals, yet they did not have the selection that has. Alas.

Perhaps the huge JoAnn's a few cities away from me does, but though the younger and sillier Debra used to cruise that area all the time (searching for something she never did find in stores), she no longer feels the need to shop in such a hectic town.

So, like I said, I visited JoAnn's for fabric, something I'd not done in eons, but I've been giving myself a sort of 'college course' on decorating by way of rereading Kim's Daisy Cottage blog from the beginning and studying the photos, asking myself, "Why do you love what she did there?," taking notes and realizing that all of Kim's fabrics make my heart stand still (in a good way).

When I arrived home (and after some lunch and Dollar Tree cookies on the red couch), I ironed the fabric upstairs and placed some here:

Lately I've gone non-blue-is-ok-now up here because, remember how the wallpaper has yellow flowers and I painted the dresser to pick up on that?

(Notice the yellow polka dotted fabric I added to the pitcher today. Polka dots make me happy.)

Well, at a rummage sale I found a like-new bedspread with blue and yellow:

... then I cut off a strip and made two throw pillows, covering pillows found at the same sale, for the beds:

Of course, I used the stuff all we burned-out seamstresses adore: glue tape. I'd searched online for throw pillows and would have had to pay something like $40 (ack! If you're a non-burned-out seamstress you may want to consider selling homemade pillows). The two I made probably cost, oh, $3. Yes, seriously.

Then I recovered this chair seat with a lightweight, quasi-fabric that I got for a piddly $1.98 a yard (I used two pieces to reinforce it, not that anyone ever actually sits here). :

(I'll repaint the happy polka dot chair later.)

So now, lighting issues aside, the room is looking like this, minus the dresser to the right:

And I am happy with it.

Don't you just love following God and Grace? They know where and when all the best deals are and they give you creative ideas and the inspiration and strength to push past apathy and see them through. That is, as long as we don't get sidetracked and bullish, say, stampeding the backyard into a Hawaiian getaway when God and Grace were waving their hands, calling out, "No! We're here to help you makeover your bedroom now!"  :)

Oh, the wonder and benefits of doing things God's way, with His strength and in His specific timing!


"When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies..."   ... Psalm 119:59

"The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore."   ...Psalm 121:8


If you detest McDonalds you'll probably not like this, but if you're okay or indifferent (and enjoy all things retro), you might like it.


Free Kindle books:

The Road to Reality

Dirt Cheap Organic

Jew in the Pew

Apple Cider Vinegar:  Powerful Remedies

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

More About Good Ol' High School

"...and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf."   ... 2 Corinthians 5:15


It's odd.

Yesterday I wrote about At Seventeen and high school, etc., yet I didn't re-mention that I'd attended 3 high schools. Yes, three.

And well, for super-shy me, starting over at each one felt like torture, what with the not knowing anyone (though at the first school, I'd met my youth group kids 2 months earlier, but even so, I spent lots of lunch hours alone in the library.). The not-knowing my way around or the unwritten rules every school has and not having a knack for breaking into years-forged cliques--well, each school presented a sort of nightmare. The first 2 months, especially.

And yet now, all these decades later (and referring back to At Seventeen) I still recall in all 3 schools the many non-pretty/handsome/rich kids who became ultra-popular, respected and loved. Each was friendly toward others, cheerful, with a good, kind sense of humor and open to fun times. 

And though they could have chosen self-absorption and self-pity because of their average looks and homes, they didn't. Nor did they wait to be asked out for a good time--instead-- they created the good times wherever they went. Not in loud, look-at-me ways, but more in the way a foundation holds things together (if that makes sense). 

They gave instead of insisting that others give to them. They drew from wells inside themselves rather than waiting, begging to be watered by everyone else.

And I guess that's partly what bugs me about At Seventeen--it's so darn full of self-pity thinking:

I learned the truth at seventeen
That love was meant for beauty queens...

The valentines I never knew
The Friday night charades of youth
Were spent on one more beautiful...

And those of us with ravaged faces
Lacking in the social graces
Desperately remained at home
Inventing lovers on the phone...

Yes, that's how it was for many, but it was not must-be-truth, but rather, chosen behavior and thinking. And avoidable.

From each of my 3 high schools I recall  'average students' (even ones with 'ravaged faces') who we wanted to hang around because of a warmth radiating from them on the inside, a warmth which grew as they did in learning how to treat the rest of us even more kindly, as well as themselves.

Self-pity paralyzes. It tells us Life cannot become better so we, in turn, don't even try to improve any of it. Self-pity keeps us alone lest we step out and get rejected, it makes certain we remain on our own minds so--without realizing it--we become selfish, not caring, not daring to lift another person up. Self -pity lies but calls those lies, truth. It tells us it's all we have and all we can expect. Forever.

Anyway. As I did say yesterday, God can heal all that. Trust me--I know from personal experience and oh! Being healed by God brings pure freedom and a joy worth having and giving away.


"Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."  ... Matthew 16:24


Certainly the most destructive vice if you like, that a person can have,more than pride, which is supposedly the number one of the cardinal sins - is self pity. Self pity is the worst possible emotion anyone can have. And the most destructive. It is, to slightly paraphrase what Wilde said about hatred, and I think actually hatred's a subset of self pity and not the other way around - ' It destroys everything around it, except itself '. 

..... Stephen Fry

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Hope You're Over High School. And College. And Your 20's. And--

"... Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life."   ... Romans 6:4


So. Last Friday while searching for a certain street with a yard sale, I got a tad lost, but that lostness turned pleasant when the song, At Seventeen wafted over the radio.

I love that song. Ok, mostly just the melody. And Janis Ian's voice. And the placement of the words, "dubious integrity" together. 

The rest of it is rather a bitter mess. 

A bunch of so-called wisdom where the singer says she had everything figured out at 17 (as if that's even possible), like how the pretty teens were, well, plastic, with shallow souls and/or married young, settling, missing out on the good things in later life.

It also rambles on about how the non-pretty kids all stayed home and were lonely and made-up good times inside their heads because that's the best they could do or could expect.

Then rampant  generalizations really start whirling everywhere. All the non-pretty kids had bad times in high school and all the pretty kids only thought they were having good times, but it was like the game, charades. Everybody pretending.

But yeah,oddly, I still love that song, both for the reasons I told you and also for these lines:

To those of us who knew the pain
Of valentines that never came
And those whose names were never called
When choosing sides for basketball
It was long ago and far away
the world was younger than today...

Except I wish she would have stopped the lines right there (she didn't), for it all was long ago and far away! Years and years and another life ago. And we all were younger than today. 

We were all: 

... clueless, just babies, really, and often thoughtless of others' feelings, being far more concerned with our own.

... so afraid of making mistakes, looking foolish, dreading that others would forever remember us for those mistakes.

... trying to discover who our present and future selves were supposed to be.

... and on and on.

Sometimes I meet people who--in their heads--got stuck in high school. They still believe they're the same shy, insecure, pimply nobody that someone called them in a note or between classes. The words still haunt and sadden them, still direct their decisions and the way they feel about themselves.

And if that is you? Today I would remind you that high school is over and it may have been real, but it wasn't realistic, for teenagers are all trying to find their way and will too often step on top of others to do it without knowing, usually, they've done so. Without realizing the deep hurt which words can inflict.

And the best news? God can totally heal us from the Past. And no, not just give us some ability to live with emotional pain, but rather, heal us. Change us. Free us to fly in a whole new life...

... if we'll trade him the pain for His healing. If we let go and be willing to stop polishing till they shine, all the bitterness or the helplessness or hopelessness we were told--long ago and far away--was who we were.

Thank God, He makes all things new.


"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!"   ... 2 Corinthians 5:17

"Whom the Son sets free is free, indeed."   ... John 8:36


Who we were 20 years ago is not who we are today, but only a shadow, another us who had yet to grow into who we've become.


Free Kindle book:

Accounting for Love

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Best Friends I Cannot Have

"A  little yeast leavens the whole lump of dough. I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty."   ... Galations 5:9-11


         I love where I live. The city, the state, the house, the yard.

Even on dark, rainy days like this one I love staring at my 'farm garden bed'. Even the squirrel on the fence enjoys  looking.

I've found that Life with God at the center is awesome.

Yet some Christians disagree. They believe Life on Earth is bad. All of it:

Non-Christian music
Laughing in church
Yard sales in a church parking lot
Women teachers/preachers
Dresses above the knees
Welfare benefits for anyone
All tv evangelists
Mega churches

They make a bigger deal of what appears bad than of our huge, awesome God and alienate inquisitive, seeking non-Christians.

I don't spend much time with those Bad Things Spreaders, those for whom Christianity has become a Thou Shalt Not Agenda (sometimes blatant, other times subtle). If you are one, well, I may spend a little time with you and I will ask God to help me love you, but I'm afraid we can't be best friends. (But then, you probably don't want me as one. It's wild how that works.)

I have to protect my mind and the person God's still creating and keep the poison out of my soul. If I don't, who will?

Once God opened my eyes to all the beauty, I told Him I wanted to help Him broadcast it, like seeds, everywhere. And I mustn't let anything hinder me from spreading the Good News-- I can't afford to ever become a Bad Things Spreader.


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

"...having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people."  ... 2 Timothy 3:5  (Sometimes when we separate ourselves from certain others, satan and/or our conscience will tell us we're sinning. But if we're obeying God in it, we're doing right and can rest peacefully in that.)

"Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the Lord's commands; he meditates on his commands day and night."   ... Psalm 1:2

And in case you're wondering .... no, nothing happened recently to spark this post. This is just something never too far from my mind, given Today's negative-leaning world. And if this post makes me sound conceited,well, let's just say I hope it doesn't. I'm only careful where I place my allegiance, how I care for my sanity, and how I spend my days, which adds up to my life. That's all.


Free kindle books:

Yesterday I spray-painted the bottom half of our flagpole but it is not that florescent(yikes!).


Renee Zellweger's farmhouse is for sale and some photos are here. Some of the outdoor views reminded me of Gladys Taber's Stillmeadow.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Potential Danger of a Spare Room

Alert! The two names I chose out of Tom's cowboy hat as winners of the Amazon gift cards will be announced at the end of this post.  :)


"For He knows how weak we are. He remembers we are only dust"  ... Psalm 103:14


Yesterday I drove to a church rummage sale and came home with these roosters, above, which I think are the perfect finishing touch to my kitchen:

And after two whole years I finally found a place for my old sugar sign:

Yes, it sat against our refrigerator for two years because the creative corner of my brain must have crashed around age 52. It's been pokey-slow ever since and that's what brings me to my title.

After returning from another church rummage sale this morning, I lugged a like-new quilt and two throw pillows into Tom's room to store until I get around to cutting up that quilt so to recover the pillows for my guest room/bedroom upstairs. Oh, the convenience!

That's when I looked at the rest of his bed and saw the largish box of vitamins I'd ordered but hadn't unpacked and the empty box my red Fiestaware cups arrived in, the 20 rolls of bathroom tissue which need to be carried to the basement, a wooden star I need to spray paint and hang on the patio wall, two empty hanging baskets, a quart of white paint and the stack of Tom's catalogs that usually go beside his recliner but which, since he's away, look better not there.

All in only 4 short weeks.

And I thought, "Oh my goodness. This is why God didn't let us buy a house with a spare room!" Procrastinator Me would have turned it into one of those horrifying rooms like on Hoarders, you know, with piles of I'll-get-to-it-later bags and boxes six-feet high and leaning.

Whew. Once again God knew me (us, really) better than we know ourselves. He didn't keep something out of our reach nor was it 'just one of those things' having to do with money or time or whatever. He just did the wise thing, for we already have a cluttered basement with bad secrets and we certainly don't need an above-ground room to nag and shame us, also. Uh, no.

If we truly want God's will (not ours) and if something is a long time coming or just never comes--most likely--God's got an extremely good reason. And may I remember that often He's gotta be honest with my weaknesses because I'm refusing to be. But the times when I am honest, I usually understand God's reasoning much more clearly, mystery solved.

Lesson learned. Again. And again. And again.


"My times are in your hands..."   ...Psalm 31:15

Another sweet treasure from today's rummage sale. Probably from the 1960's (50's?), complete with very old alphabetical dividers and new index cards (old recipes would have been nice, but hey. I'm thrilled with the metal box).

And, below, Daniel just being cute.

(Speaking of which, this kitten video was hilarious!)


And now ... drum roll please........... The two winners of a $25 gift card are ................  Cheryl Dawn and Dolores Lynn!  Congratulations, ladies! If you'll send me your email address at I'll have a gift card sent to each of you.

And truly, I had so much fun with this drawing that I'll definitely be doing others in the future. A special thanks to each of you who entered and for adding your kind comments!!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Ten Long Years Ago ...

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."   ... 1 Corinthians 10:31


July 25, 2014

Ten years and 3,000 posts ago I oh-so-tentatively stepped into Blogland, hesitating because (as I asked one friend) who would want to read about my life?  And isn't that too me, me, me-ish?

But then it's like God said, "How about if you let me write through you and see what happens?" Awesome idea. I try to do that.

Oh, what I've recorded in ten years! I've lived in 4 different houses, all of them old. Back in 2004,  Naomi still lived at home, but now she's in far away Nashville and Tom's job was only one mile down the road, but now he spends weeks at a time way over in South Africa. Me? I'm still here, still happy, still content because of the Friend who sticks closer than a brother and does not fly away.

During these past ten years I lost my dad, my aunt, two dear friends I'd known for decades and 4 cats whose deaths hit me harder than I told you. I've lost some friendships, but gained others and when I began this blog I had a cute little figure, but now it is neither little nor cute. Nor do I have the stamina I once had. Alas.

You've watched me play happy 1950's homemaker with my aprons, retro radio music, old magazines and vintage decor. I've painted lots of rooms, wandered through old houses at estate sales, bought a thousand books and old-timey bargains, eaten at 1960's-type diners and taken myriad country drives through Western New York and Buffalo, an area you probably feel like you know by now. (I love this place.)

You saw me sitting in my gardens with a spade and you read about our adventures on a 4-acre farm which I simultaneously loved and hated, but wouldn't have traded the experience for a zillion dollars. And during Tom's 20-month layoff, hopefully you saw me grow-up, become braver and complain less while trying to trust God more than ever.

Occasionally, blogging feels frustrating and love-and-hate-ish, but when it does, God tells me I'm working in my own strength and not leaving the difficult parts/people/results to Him. I'd never trade away these ten blogging years, either.

You shared in our big cross-country train adventure and you know? I form sentences for you inside my head and feel like I take you with me everywhere. Always you are here with me, each of you, even when it appears to others that I'm home alone when Tom's away. But oh! You and God and Grace and our cats are so here, so real, that often our little Hobbit Cottage feels downright crowded with friends, so much so, that never am I lonely. My heart feels too full for that.

I do thank you for reading here about my simple, but wonderful, God-given life. I consider that--I consider each of you-- a very rare, precious gift.  Today, and all days, my cup runneth over and will continue to do so because of God and His goodness toward me.

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord, He is good."   ...Psalm 34:8


Now, no one go and faint from shock or anything, but today--in honor of my tenth blogging anniversary--I'm holding a drawing for two $25 gift cards. Just a tiny way of giving back to you who've so often blessed me.

So! All you have to do is leave a comment below this post. Or--as some of you have told me Blogger doesn't let you do that--you can comment at Facebook or in an email sent to Be sure to leave your name--I'll write each one on a slip of paper then draw two names from one of Tom's cowboy hats.

I'll draw the names at or around 12:00 noon (my time) Saturday (you can enter until then, just once, please) and will let you know the winner at that time. "Good blessings" (as opposed to good luck) to each of you who enter the drawing!  :)


Want to read my very first post? Go here. The interesting, telling thing is that I didn't even introduce myself first. More than anything I just wanted to 'get the good word out.'  I've lightened up since then, having learned better how to weave my messages into daily stories of my very average life... but I still think being a 'Mary' is the best way to be.


Free Kindle books:

Ordained Irreverence

Storm Clouds Rolling In

Etsy Selling Success


The Savingstar Friday Freebie is a Celeste frozen pizza for one.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

One Strike and You're Out(?)

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal...   And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."  ...  1 Corinthians 13:1,13


I view each day as special, almost holiday-like, but here around my blog, tomorrow will be extra-special and will even include a gift card giveaway(!)

Stay tuned ...


See the above photo? I bought the little shelf at Salvation Army, spray-painted it (though what I really wanted was a more mustard color like the curtains, but couldn't find that) and bought the Fiestaware cups from Ebay.

And speaking of Ebay, a friend purchased something, but when it arrived, it wasn't the brand that had been advertised. So she asked us at Facebook what she should do because both Ebay and the seller refused to pay the return shipping cost.

What surprised me? The number of women who told her they had a bad experience at Ebay, they never shop there anymore, choosing to buy from Amazon instead. They encouraged my friend to do the same.

Good gracious. Talk about throwing out babies with bath water! To me, it sounded like making decisions based on fear which makes for one sad life. Where is bold courage Today? Also, it's another example of how we've become a "one strike and you're out society." You know:

"You hurt me last week and you're not my friend anymore."
"I forgave you once, but I refuse to do it again."
"Show mercy? Not after what you said to me."
"I never thought you'd do that. I'm outta here."

Yep, comment after comment recommended my friend buy from Amazon, instead, but hey! Can you even buy vintage, used items there? Besides, books, that is? What if you want something only Ebay sells?

And get this: in the last 12 years I've never had a problem with Ebay, but 3 times I've filed claims for items which did not arrive through Amazon.

Gasp! Yes, the perfect, much recommended Amazon. (I still shop there.)

Why is it so hard to remember that nothing on Earth is perfect? Nothing and no person will ever be 100 percent perfection. And personally? I believe God planned it that way so that we'd only seek Him for the kind of perfection our souls crave and so we'd remember that our Perfect Home can never be here.

I think that's also why He told us Love is the most important thing, because oh my ... do we ever need to walk in it. We need the kind of love which helps us to forgive "seventy times seven", to show new-every-morning-mercy toward others (especially if we wish to receive it, ourselves), to understand why people do what they do and to give them more than just one measly strike before they're out, forever.

Love. The most needed and the best and highest choice down here upon this oh-so-imperfect world.


I also painted Tom's side table, red. Finally.

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.." ... Matthew 5:44

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful ..."   1 Corinthians 13:4,5

1 John 4:7-8 ...  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.


Free kindle books:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Are We Awake Yet?

"For anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, oh sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”   ... Ephesians 5:14


I enjoy watching tv with God. I do that all the time, sit beside Him on the red couch and feel very loved. Another reason I like it? Sometimes He has me push the pause button, consider what my eyes saw and take it a bit further. "What did you learn?" He asks. " Did you notice  _____? Was there a valuable lesson for your daily life? Your blog?"

Yes, that really happens.

Anyway, after watching the X Files episode, Field Trip, (via Netflix ... major spoilers ahead) my brain absolutely swirled. The 'stay awake Bible verses' exploded into little plumes inside my head, you know, like this one:

"But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”   ...  Luke 21:36

... because, through most of the episode, Mulder and Scully only thought they were awake. They kept returning to their 'normal' lives where things seemed very right and real.  But in reality? Both stood trapped inside a cave, in darkness, having hallucinations, dreams. And worse? Slowly they were being eaten by a plant's digestive juices.

Ever so slowly they were being duped into thinking all was well! That they'd returned home to Washington D.C., solved the case, even, when really, everything they believed was wrong and they were dying.

Eventually they are yanked-up from the ground, by their hands,  into the light of day. And see the truth.

My, my, my.

May I stay awake, living in actual truth, not the supposed kind (sleepy, religious-sounding lies), and making the most of all the strength and joy and peace of mind in hard times that God provides to those who love and obey Him and His word.

May I not arrive at the end of my life being more often stubborn than open, so wrong and in the dark, clueless, yet believing I'd been awake and dancing in the light all the while.


"Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming."   ... Matthew 24:42

"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ."   ... Colossians 2:8

"They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie."   ... 2 Thessalonians 2:10:11

There are hundreds of ways to learn and be ministered to and may we never criticize another person's method just because it doesn't match our own.


Free Kindle books:

Homecoming: A Novel

The Pastor's Heart

100 Easy Camping Recipes

The Places We've Been

Love to Write?


There's a new Roman Meal bread coupon for $1 off here.