Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Free Vacation For You!


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


*****

Did you really look at that photo? I wasn't going to tell you, but ... It was taken in Florida and that's where I currently am. 

Yes! I'm sitting right there in the yard, staring at the gorgeous trees, green grass and back meadow, recuperating from this long, frozen winter. Oh, the gentle breeze here, the silence, the healing as I brush the grass with my fingers and lean back and let the sun warm my face.

Okay, okay. My body is actually still here in this ice tray called Buffalo. :)

But my heart! My heart can be anywhere it wants and today it wants to be inside this photo of Kim's former yard which she shared at Facebook.

After all, even the Bible says,


"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."      ... Luke 12:34  ...


... and I treasure beautiful places like the one, above. Dreamy places where Life feels Good and you just know fairies hide behind trees and God sits beside you, watching your face as you drink it all in, smiling at your joy.

Today you can go anywhere you wish! For free. For relaxation, rest and peace.

Today. Tomorrow. Next week. Your vacation will begin the moment you set down your suitcases of burdens, leave them with God and keep on walking. 

Jesus never meant for us to carry our own burdens--we must leave them behind, otherwise we'll be too heavy to fly.  We'll bog down before we get to where we're longing to go.









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"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”   ... Matthew 11:29,30

"Oh, give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endures forever.a'   ... Psalm 136:1


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Do be sure to click and enlarge Kim's heavenly photo!


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Long winters don't have to be burdens if you've taught your heart to take you on journeys. 

*****

Oh wow. If you enjoyed the first Jeff Gordon "test drive ad" you'll especially love this. 

(Tom and I find this kind of thing hilarious. Your results may be different. heh.)


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Messy? Okay. But Do We Camp There?


"Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom."   ... Daniel 6:3

*****

So as I'm visiting lots of Christian blogs the past 6 months, I keep seeing the word, messy. Messy, messy, messy.

Messy rooms.
Messy hearts.
Messy lives.
Messy relationships.

I'm being told that messy is okay and that it's real life and God understands.

And yes--to a point--I agree. I mean, hey, if God doesn't understand our messes, who does?

But. (You saw that coming, right?) Does He want us to park, forever, at The Messy Campground? Should we still be settled there in our messy tents after He's worked with us for years?

I mean, families have children and children make messes. Granted. But why should moms be the ones at night cleaning-up the Play-Dough, the Lego's, the little pink socks? What has happened to teaching, "You were able to pull these toys out this morning so you're also able to put them away tonight?" 

Teaching personal responsibility habits. It's a parent's job.

And seeking to make Jesus-led decisions (financial and relational and otherwise) so we stop reaping messes from the bad ones--that's every Christian's job. And forgiving others so that we'll stop unnecessary depression, stress and sickness messes. And asking for help with our ill-chosen words so we cease living in the messy pits they dig for us.

And looking unto Jesus, our author and finisher, allowing Him to finish this work He began. That, too--our responsibility. Day by day we should resemble Him a little bit more ... not the mess we were when He found us.

All I'm saying?

Messy. It's a great place to start.
But as for me? I'm sorry, but I can't pat myself (or my readers) on the head and say, "Just keep doin' what you're doin'. God gets you. Messy is fine." (But oh, the temptation to pull in more readers that way!)

Yet, no. I'll keep asking God for Grace who gives the enjoyment of creating a clean, healthy, sweet home for my husband, our cats and myself. And for the desire to honor God in all I do and am.

I long for a better place than The Messy Campground and I'd rather have Grace than the personal messes that would trap me there forever.




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"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"   ... Romans 6:1,2


" ... as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."   ... Romans 6:4


“Excellence - Take what you have and do the BEST with it.”     ― Joyce Meyer


*****

Here's a post from years ago where I spoke more about balance between housecleaning and playing with children.


*****

Oh wow. Did you read this article about the couple who found buried cans of treasure on their own property? Amazing. And I can totally understand why they'd wish to remain anonymous ... can't you just imagine all the people with flashlights, shovels and metal detectors sneaking around their yard at night? :)


*****



Interested in brushing-up on some writing basics? I enjoyed reading this free, short Kindle book yesterday.




Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Twitter Tales

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."   ... Ephesians 6:12


*****


So I never told you this, but, awhile ago, I joined Twitter. 

Yet wait! Many are my disclaimers.

1.) I only do Twitter on my computer since I'm radically cell phone challenged and know only enough to, after mild aggravation, make a phone call.

2.) I never send messages (tweet?) because a.) It's complicated for me and I barely understand what's going on there, b.) I can't think of clever things to say in so few characters (and oh, the pressure to sound clever there), c.) For whatever reason, I feel Twitter-shy (probably because of a. and b.) and prefer to be just a Twitter stalker watcher.

I know, why even join? So to follow a few Christian actors. That's it, (well, not counting a couple Christian teachers). I learn much from their reactions to both personal affronts and political ones affecting our freedoms.

One actor who I follow, earlier (before I joined), mentioned simply that he is a Christian and lost hundreds of followers that day. Yet his friend, another Christian actor, backed him up, supported him openly on Twitter and gained his friend more followers than he'd lost.

Viewing courage in action, even on Twitter? I thrive on that. It's nearly like watching Braveheart again, especially when actors--super easy targets in today's We Own You world--confess their faith aloud knowing (but not the full extent) that the backlash will affect them professionally and personally in ways we 'common folks' will never understand.

Anyway.

So while these actors on Twitter stand-up for God's principles, I watch and feel a new sort of bravery seep into my bones. And that's good.

Yet, there's one thing that bugs me. It's when these folks forget just who is behind all the evil in this world and they begin naming names, instead. And poking sarcastic fun at those people whose god is not, well, God. 

People who need Him.
People who cluelessly, blindly, have believed a lie.
People who will land in hell unless they find Jesus.

Oh, in this Life there is black and white, yes! But there are also fine lines we mistake in crossing and balance and compassion and remembering that sin began in a long ago garden, not in Today's deceived politicians or actors or others.

There is standing tall for Truth! And there is also living that truth, ourselves, humbly, and with the compassion Jesus died to give us, so we could spread that powerful love everywhere. Yes, even on Twitter.


*******

“Through You we will push down our enemies; through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, and have put to shame those who hated us. In God we boast all day long, and praise Your name forever.” Psalm 44:5

“This is the word of the Lord ...  ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts. Zechariah 4:6


Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 
—Ephesians 6:14–15 


Monday, February 24, 2014

Oh, The Consequences!


"For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."   ...  Galations 6:8


*****

Remember the old show Bob Barker hosted, the one called Truth or Consequences?

I'd watch at 6-years-old, laying in front of the tv, my elbows upon a pillow and enjoy the shenanigans, but when they'd show reunions between wives and their servicemen husbands or family members separated by time and distance? I'd lower my face to my pillow to hide my tears from all the non-criers in the room.Those reunions! They'd catch in my throat, hurt and bring tears, but oh. They were my favorite part.

Yes, me in the 1st grade. Goofy, I know.

Well, now there's a show on TNT all about reunions and early each Saturday morning from The Red Couch I watch with my mandatory kleenex and feel like that 6-year-old all over again. This one's called APB and stars Troy Dunn whose passion/calling is to reunite families and friends.

I. Love. This. Show.

For the reunion portions? Well, yes, of course, but also because we're shown every week the (scary!) power and consequences of our choices. How they can mightily be rippling decades later, still hurting or helping long after we made them.

Like the choices to engage in premarital sex or affairs while married ... and babies which resulted and were given away sometimes to good families, other times to bad ... 

... and then children wondering why they were cast away, feeling incomplete, inadequate, tempted to childishly imagine "Life As It Could Have Been," rather than accepting "Life As It Is" and determining to make Life better today.

Or children snatched away because parents chose to dabble in drugs or liquor, which swept them down river, causing them to waste all money and to neglect their kids inside horrible homes and circumstances. Young siblings torn apart emotionally and then physically into separate homes, missing out on what God planned--childhoods spent together amongst stable parents.

And then these grown-up children spending years and money searching for the sisters and brothers they lost, sometimes finding them in time, sometimes not.

And other cases where rashly-chosen words caused loved ones to flee for decades, choosing to accept what happened, but hurting, still. Some choosing to move on and love another, some choosing walls, instead, and living alone.

Human nature. It fascinates me.

I remember one girl on APB with the world's weight etched into her face who'd come to reunite with her older sister (a lovely woman who'd healed and was a true light), but twice she said, "I can't do this," and nearly walked out before the reunion. I almost heard the lies taunting her, urging her to run rather than stay for help, the help her sister promised. Satan loves to see us run back to our pits and avoid the teachers who can help set us free.

Anyway. I love shows which God uses to teach me lessons about people and myself and I want to continue learning forever, veering from possible mistakes. I desire more wisdom. More light. And then to show more love from those lessons taught me upon the screen or anyplace where God points me.





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 "Do not forsake Wisdom, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you."   ... Proverbs 4:6

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many."   ... Matthew 7:13


*****


Tom arrived home safely on Saturday..... yay! We shared a wonderful reunion weekend together and we thank you for your prayers for Tom's safe travel!


*****

Did you miss those two weeks of Olympic action like I did? Never fear. You can get caught up on it all in just two minutes here

Ha! Now, that's my idea of saving time!  :)




Saturday, February 22, 2014

Oh, Our Words!


"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."   ... Ephesians 4:29


*****

I don't know how this happened. Really I don't. 

But somehow I watched every single episode of Chuck again

I know, I know. But remember how I wasn't ready to let go? Well, immediately I re-watched the 1st episode just to ease my separation anxiety, my sense of loss of Chuck's dearly-loved characters. Then I thought, "Okay, just one more episode ... then one more ... then-- (you know how that goes...). Then one night I came to myself at the end of episode 91 and wondered how did that happen again? 

Yes, Chuck is that good. (And ok, in my defense, I did fast-forward through many stressful scenes, listened to some while in the kitchen, cooking, and fell asleep late at night during a couple others. Alas.)

And what did I do for fun last night at Netflix? I read through 16 pages of glowing, passionate reviews by my fellow Chucksters.

Oh, how I crave positive words! After typical weeks of sneaking peeks at message boards for varieties of topics ("keeping my fingers on the pulse of this sad world for the sake of relevancy in my blog" as I prefer to call it), how refreshing to see people gushing, overflowing with positivity. 

I can't remember where I even last saw such a thing.

At least 99% of the all-across-the-board-in-age reviewers raved about Chuck as I have, choosing words I've spoken, expressing my same thoughts and heart-felt reactions.

If only ... If only kind, uplifting, encouraging words flowed like this everywhere. How different our world would look!

In fact, this experience made me recall the public library in the tiny log cabin of our tiny mountain town where I moved to my senior year of high school. The librarian was a classmate's  mom and she used to show me his baby photos, much to Ben's horror. heh. Anyway, she was a hoot to speak with and when three years went by, I saw her at a community function where she, sitting beside her friend, told me, "Ben said you'd gotten married and are living over on Cedar Street now. I told him, "I'm sure Debra's decorated her house to look just like Springtime."'

Then she turned to her friend and told her, "She has such a sunny disposition and I can just picture her rooms reflecting sunshine."

Now, the thing was, my house had lots of dark earth colors (this was 1979, after all) and I'd not felt satisfied with them. And you know? Ben's mom's words made me want rooms that reflected Springtime. Suddenly the clouds cleared and I knew surrounding myself with bright, golden colors would make me feel happier. 

And when I returned home that day I rearranged my living room. I replaced some dark items with colorful ones hidden inside my cupboards and I made plans. I asked myself, "How can I bring more color into our home?"

Yes, all that from kind, uplifting words. Words remembered, still close to my heart all these 32 years later.

Never, ever dismiss the importance of speaking positive, encouraging words into peoples' lives. And never take good words for granted, even if you find them in a message board, for nowadays, positive words are becoming altogether too rare.





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"There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."   ... Proverbs 12:18

"For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit ..."   1 Peter 3:10



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Of the many (many!) Chuck reviews, this was my favorite. I nodded wildly in agreement, laughed, and thought it nearly said it all:



"WARNING - THIS SHOW IS HIGHLY ADDICTIVE! DO NOT ATTEMPT TO WATCH THIS WHEN ANY DEADLINES IN YOUR CAREER, RELATIONSHIP OR FAMILY LIFE ARE EMINENT. Seriously, I've recommended this show to five of my friends since I found it on Netflix. Everyone's experience has been the same as mine... dragging into work after being up half the night, knowing it will be hell to pay in the morning but.... "maybe just one more episode". Every character is explored over the five year run and its difficult not to fall in love with all of them. Of course the twists and turns of the two main characters, Sarah and Chuck (beauty and the nerd), is the stuff of romantic comedy legend. The writing is the best I've experienced in many years as the plot switches seamlessly back and forth between the world of super spies and their villainous adversaries, and the daily grind of life at the "Buy More" (a take-off on a certain consumer electronics chain) with each of these parallel universes swinging wildly from madcap zany to deeply heartfelt. The performances from every actor are rock solid and consistently, exuberantly believable (a difficult feat over a five year stretch for any actor). Hard to single anyone out but I found Adam Baldwin's take of "John Casey" especially delicious! Finally, there's guest appearances from some really terrific actors to add to the mix. I have completed four seasons in nearly as many weeks and already feel the onset of withdrawal with only thirteen episodes left in season five. These characters have become so real it's difficult to let go of them. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but I might need a "Chuck" support group when it's all over."





Friday, February 21, 2014

Almost Home!


"Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us."   ... Isaiah 26:12

*****

Big Adventurer Tom arrives home tomorrow! Yay! Finally I'll be able to call in falsetto to the cats, "Daddy's home! Daddy's home!" and we'll see if they recall what that means.

Six weeks home-alone-but-not-alone has made me an adventurer, as well. These weeks! An ultimate vacation where Grace invigorated me, surrounded me, glowing off the mirrors and windows, making the air so heavy with gratitude that it eased me upon my couch to relax and meditate and learn from quiet thinking, music and tv. Often.

I needed this winding-down time. Tom needed his South African journey (for many reasons) and we both felt Grace bathing every moment in liquid-like peace.

This was incredible. God-designed. And I think we saw in deeper ways why letting God empty your trash and replace it with His treasure, instead, leads to incredible days 'whether apparent or not',  and whether others ever understand or agree.

Tom's planning another long trip in May, though we've learned at our advancing ages never to grip our plans by their necks, but rather, to hold them upon opened palms, for that is wiser. Yet if he goes? All will be even better next time, for I'll have Springtime and all outdoors rather than, primarily, the walls of our home and snow and ice and shivering sparrows out the windows. 

I'll have gardening. Walks around the block and to the river park. Green everywhere instead of grey and oh, warmth ... blessed Springtime warmth.

But in the meantime, is it back to the daily grind? No, in God, there's no going back, no coming away unchanged, no labeling precious days that way. There's much to glean and learn and create and--with God beside you--Life feels a whole other way than the majority perceive it. So what is left is to share.







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I  let the radio play when I leave the house and this week when I opened the door, gripping my plastic grocery bags, the song, 99 Miles From LA--a song I'd loved but not heard in decades--wafted down the kitchen stairs, stinging my eyes instantly with grateful tears. 

One more gift during this time of enchantment from the lover of my soul.


*******


 "For let him who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good—whether apparent or not] keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from guile (treachery, deceit)."   ... 1 Peter 3:10


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sheep And Goats and Others


Truthfully? I'm horrified, uhm, I always suck in my breath and my stomach swirls when I hear Christians condemning the poor on welfare and our Country's aliens (legal and otherwise) and the prisoners stuffed within our prisons and the weak.

It's just that these can-you-get-any-clearer-than-this? verses from Matthew 25 instantly shine like bright neon tubes across my mind:


 "All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.



Always, these verses shake (shake!) me. They spur me to action, to giving done by love and to keeping my critical (foolish) mouth shut. And may I never feel or speak otherwise. 

May I never settle for living my Earth life looking like a goat to Jesus.


*****


"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,"   ... James 1:19


"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."   ... James 1:27



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Is anyone else seeing pop-ups running across my blog? A reader mentioned having that problem, but I've never noticed anything. Let me know if you have, ok? Thanks.


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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Blogging And Not Imploding And Saving Money And --


"Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house."   ... Matthew 5:15


*****

That Debra.

She writes about Valentines one day, then Revelation and the world ending the next, and then coupons (today's post) after that.

Who can figure her out? Only God. 

Only God.

I've gained many lovely friends by way of this blog (you know who you are), but I've lost a few, too, mostly because of the God stuff and needing to spend much time alone in order to contemplate and write. But I must remind myself of (at least) two things:

1.) Our real friends are real. Some appear real, but in time, you discover they were meant to be someone else's real friends. And that needs to be ok, accepted, because what matters is that we be led by God. And then? On our path we'll look beside us and those friends still there, they'll be the ones God gave to keep us company.

And 2.) ... I'm not in this for friends. I'm here because of obedience (this blog was God's idea in 2004. I, actually, hesitated big-time.). But I'm also here because long ago I'd have burst if I'd not had this outlet. You know, like this:

"But if I say, “I will not mention his word
    or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
    a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
    indeed, I cannot."   ... Jeremiah 20:9


Before blogging, I felt like that nearly always for (it seemed) people around me wanted to discuss different subjects than these I've blogged about. I think this blog saved me from imploding. 

So I've gotta be pretty grateful for that.  :)



*****

Anyway. Last year I saved over $3,700 by buying groceries on sale, using coupons, buying gas with earned grocery credit and earning amazon.com gift cards through SavingStar and Swagbucks

While many in our Country pay wild 2014 grocery prices (and lots of parents struggle to feed their families), many other couponers/sales-only purchasers are getting groceries either free or are paying 1980's (or before) prices.

Being a Practical Patty, I'm mentioning coupons and sales this time because of the hundreds of articles out there about current droughts and how they have, and will continue to, affect what we pay for groceries. And it will not get better.  

So today, again, I'm reminding you that it's still possible to pay little for groceries and to stock your pantry so that you're prepared for anything. You know, like snow or ice storms, unemployment (yours or friends'), all emergencies, unexpected guests, community food bank donations and the aforementioned end of the world. heh. 

And just keeping the thousands of dollars you would have spent on groceries is pleasant, too.

Here are a few of my latest examples of combining sales with coupons:



Lloyds Barbeque Chicken:  Free
Wholly Guacamole:    Free
Suave Shampoo:  Free
Progresso Soup:   .25 cents each
Del Monte Tomatoes:   .50 cents each
Reach Dental Floss:  .50 cents
Kraft Recipe Makers:   .45 cents
Kashi Cereal:   $1.10
Bananas:   20 percent off the sale price

Oh, and I forgot the 2 Betty Crocker cake mixes I bought for .12 cents each.

(I feel all reminiscent when I buy groceries for prices I paid as a new bride in 1978. When I get them for free, I feel dance-in-the-aisle excited(!), but never fear... I reign myself in.)

Oh, and those (gluten free) Food Should Taste Good bags of chips in the organic aisle for a ridiculous $3.69? I got a bag last week for .50 cents. I would have bought another one, but I didn't trust myself home alone with two bags. :)

These are typical savings (mostly) for me and if you're interested in learning how to shop this way, email me at GladOne4@yahoo.com for something I sent out last year to help those interested in saving on groceries. (Please mention saving money or coupons, etc. in the subject title. Thanks.)



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"My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long-- though I know not how to relate them all. I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, Yours alone.  "   ... Psalm 71:15, 16

 


"Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds[a] of wheat for a day’s wages,[b] and six pounds[c] of barley for a day’s wages,[d] and do not damage the oil and the wine!”   ... Revelation 6:6


*****

More free kindle books (though always check to make certain they're still free):



The Meeting Place

 A Daughter of the Land

Waiting for Summer's Return

Conquer Clutter

Daughter of Joy

The Pursuit of God

The Mystery of Mary




Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Longer, Harsher Winters On The Way? Yikes!

"The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)."   ... John 10:10


*****

Have you seen articles (like this one) which predict longer, harsher winters will become the norm for the Northern Hemisphere? I've heard Christians whisper this for years and now it's wild that the secular media is catching up.

And I'll be bold (hey, it's my blog) and say I believe these crazier winters are related to this:

Luke 21:7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?” Luke 21:11 "There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and epidemics in many lands, and there will be terrifying things (that which strikes terror), and great miraculous signs in the heavens."


... and I believe crops and food prices will be affected even more than already.

But anyway. While Tom's gone during this record-setting dead of winter, I am grateful to an amazing God who knew my future and put clueless me through years of (not easy) daily preparation for this job of Tom's with international travel and many weeks away.

The afterward has been worth it (afterwards, if we can make it there, usually are). Dream-like. 

No, not like a nightmare! heh. But rather, a sweet, golden time which has shocked surprised me by its contented pleasantness:

The ability to see Tom's face each day by way of Skype from far-off South Africa.
The cold, but clear days that I drive safely to the supermarket.
Being stocked-up on groceries for the mornings it's not safe out there.
Wonderful books upon my shelves, some still new to me.
My Secret, Invisible Library here at Hobbit Cottage: the nearly 600 free books(!) in my free Kindle Cloud Reader.
The help from Neighbor Mike to shovel our snow and the funds with which to pay (and bless) him.
The golden yellow curtains I ordered easily online for my dining room windows. The bright colors in my living room which cheeringly contrast the white and greys outside.
The funds with which to buy birdseed and the happiness from watching their feasts from windows more often sunny than dark (we get most of our snow at night and our days are clear). Again, mostly.
Gratitude at never having lost our electricity.
The ability to print coupons here in my home(!) Facebook coupon groups alerting me to deals I'd never have found alone.
Housekeeping tasks. Retro radio music flooding my rooms with memories.
Blogging. Sharing my days, my life with you all. Facebook. Being like an encouragement stalker there, waiting to pounce with uplifting words for the depressed or those just having a rotten day. Friends' emails.
Decaf. Hot chocolate. Chicken finger delivery.
Netflix! The video store here in my living room (rather than one across icy roads) and one of the best choices Tom and I ever made.
Chuck. Dual Survival. Crossing Jordan. Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Valentines in my mailbox and online.
Our car tucked safely, snow-free, in a real-live garage.
Daniel and Sammy The Cats snuggling with me on the couch each night as I drift off to sleep.
And mostly? This incredible Presence of Jesus. My first love who never flies away anywhere, but who's constantly with me, cheering me, meeting my deepest needs.

Oh, what a Life He has helped me create within these walls and within my heart! To many it sounds boring, but oh! We become free when we stop expecting others to understand and agree with everything about us. God knows me best and that's what counts.

But of course, I could have had nightmare weeks, instead. I could have chosen not to cooperate with God's years of lessons and done things my own way and thought my own (limited, silly) thoughts. And I could have chosen complaining over gratitude, as well, spent my energy these weeks, moaning ... and ruined/crushed/spoiled everything.

I could have been caught unprepared.

But why? Why choose bad and foolish when Jesus stands there holding good? Why reap unnecessary and stressful consequences when we could have chosen Life, instead, and reaped better? Why complain about the weather when we can be invigorated, strengthened, by the challenges of it, instead? 



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Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining and [b]questioning and doubting ..."   ... Philippians 2:14



God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with him.
    Author: Jim Elliot


Every choice you make has an end result.
    Author: Zig Ziglar



I'm currently enjoying this free kindle book: Strawberry Acres. It's a an old-fashioned story about a family and an old country house which needs remodeling.