Monday, March 31, 2014

Not As Young As I Used to Be. But That's Ok.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."   ... Philippians 4:13


That small window in Time! The one in which Tom and I crawled through in order to live on a farm before we grew too old. Wow. I saw it again so clearly today as I reread blog posts from our Farm Days.

The writer did not even seem to be me.

I kept thinking, "Who is this woman who could walk over a mile to the tiny town library and 50's diner? And then return home and put up a bit of wallpaper, poke around in the garden, sweep the kitchen and then make dinner?

Where did she go?

All I know is that she only left a specter of her former self, one which now walks around the block and--as she nears her house--looks like the perfect picture for a child's dictionary entry about hobbling. And who, afterward, crawls up the back steps and throws herself into the nearest chair until she recovers.

A pathetic specter, indeed, but at least she has hope of reclaiming some of what this past winter's laziness, especially, took from her. :)


All that reading of those farm days and what with today's Springtime-in-the-air weather (seriously, it's awesome)--I've decided to take on some more projects here. In fact, already this morning I hung some new white curtains in my bedroom, even had to hang a curtain rod. It only took me 2 1/2 years to decide on white curtains. Hmm. 

And remember when I shared this magazine photo with you, saying it was inspiration for future plans for a tiny closet guest room?

Weeks ago I decided I'd use striped wallpaper along the side walls and then paint the ceiling a light blue. So here's the wallpaper I ordered from just moments ago:

Loved,  loved this.

And since Naomi will visit us the last week in April, I have just enough time to attempt this project. A guest room for her? No, one for me. This is the way I want it--my own cozy 'secret room.'

All of this will probably take me twice as long as a six-year-younger Farm Girl Debra would have taken, but you know? That's ok. What's important is that, as we age, we keep doing what we can, even at a slower pace and on a smaller scale. God's dreams for us shouldn't be tossed, but rather, tweaked as needed. His way.

And even more importantly--we need to seek Grace's ideas and methods rather than our own. Grace is one smart lady who really knows how to get a job done, no matter what our age or how much hobbling we must do to complete it.


"The greatest work you will ever do will be within the walls of your home. - Harold Lee"

"Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass, it's about learning how to dance in the rain!"
 Mar 30
"Seeds of doubt will never grow dreams." -


Small opened windows... how tragic to not crawl through the ones meant just for us!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Report From The Twilight Zone

"...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever thingsare lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." ...Philippians 4:8


I think I live in The Twilight Zone.

I mean, this weekend while at my supermarket, people laughed with each other while ambling along with their carts. I helped one older couple find a working scale and we joked together and I felt giddy. The cashier pushed through my coupons which 'bad beeped' and I saved $63 with sales and coupons. And when I told the 20-something woman at the service desk that I hadn't been charged for a huge bag of birdseed last week and wanted to pay, she said I must be an honest person. I told her I needed to be able to live with myself--and God-- and she chuckled and said, "Right!"

At Target I didn't slip in the ice rink parking lot and had the store to myself (nearly), the only sound breaking the silence was more customer and cashier laughter. The genuinely pleasant cashier put through my coupons with not one bad beep.

I expect to find delight whenever I shop and God (and Buffalo) never disappoint me. "Be it unto you even as you have believed, " and all that. Really.

And a miracle? God helped me not complain as much about winter this year (in my past years' blog posts I complained lots ...tsk) and I actually enjoyed this one(!) And even when we awoke to snow this morning I reminded myself that occasional snow in March means Winter's power is weakening and he's losing his grip.

And that is celebrate-able.

I think I'll spend less time online around Complainer Christians. You know, those critical, you're-all-wrong types who tattle on people they do not know and crab about Life's imperfections. The ones who say even with God inside us, this world is mostly a horrid place. Why face battles in my head to view people and Life as God does if there's no need?

God sooo loves people, even though He remembers we are only dust. (Proverbs 103)

Instead, may I keep asking God to show me what's and who's Gone Right and Pleasant. And may He keep giving me more Good to report back to you from out here in The Twilight Zone Buffalo.


It's another gorgeous Springtime morning here at Hobbit Cottage. :)


"Love hardly even notices when others do it wrong." ... from 1 Corinthians 13

"To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people."   ... Titus 3:2


“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” 
― John Wesley

"How you treat people is always within your span of control. is easy and free!" -

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lose Your Sense of Fun and You're Sunk

"You are painting every moment of your life on a canvas using indelible ink. Live beautifully. Live intentionally." ... Bruce Van Horn


So this morning I reached into my cupboards and moved the mustard and pancake mix way over to make room for the killer deal coming this weekend on cereal. Vintage music played when I grabbed the salsa so to place it across the kitchen on a high shelf and well--even though I've been married more than 3 decades (and my young chickadee days are over)--still, it all had that Playing House Feeling of my days as a sweet bride.

No, really.

And later online I got a free subscription to Family Circle Magazine (you can get one, too) and I recalled sitting on porches wrapped in an apron and clipping recipes, coupons and pages of pretty rooms. And feeling like the 1950's were alive and well, no matter who declared them dead.

Then I printed out coupons which our local coupon blogger kindly, amazingly matches up with sales for us and I felt a tiny bit like this:

She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family...

...She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come...

... when I recalled articles lately which warn us groceries are going up another 3.5 percent. Am I afraid? Uh, no. I'll just keep buying only what's on sale and with as many coupons as I can find. And of course, God will keep providing as He always has. (Inflation doesn't phase Him, either.)

Today when it reaches at least 40 degrees(!) I'll grab a rake and gather up the leaves I left beneath the snow, then I'll walk around the block, then probably wash a load of towels. (Oh, I forgot to tell you--I think Jesus repaired our washing machine--or sent an angel. Seriously. It was ending cycles with water in the bottom and that's usually The Sign that you'll be driving over to Sears to buy a new one soon. But it works great now.)

My point? Have fun. Yes, even in 2014. Even in this sad world that needs God so badly, a world which watches us to see if we really believe and if that belief resounds with a peace that passes all understanding ...

... or with blog or Facebook posts crammed full of bitter political complaints and character assassinations (the unsaved are not drawn to a merciful God when they watch us shoot our own soldiers or people who are Holy Spirit-clueless).

Choose gratitude. Choose smiling. Choose delight.  And then reach Heaven having missed out on no good thing.

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."   ... Romans 8:37


Last night Tom and I finally watched Gravity and oh! Scary stuff. But good and I still can't believe how short it felt. And it made me even more grateful for my simple life upon terra firma!


If anyone else loves books about Alaska, you may enjoy this one I ordered today. Read the reviews here, but I ordered it here because I'm such a cheapskate penny-pincher.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Shared Something With a Teacher Lately?

Now, here is a verse we tend to keep inside a tiny box:

"The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him."   ... Galations 6:6

Like robots we (usually) believe it means to be faithful in our tithes or offerings to our pastor/favorite evangelist/church.

And that's about it.

But oh my! God's been convicting me lately that it also means that--if I learned something of value at Facebook--then I should thank the person for taking the time and effort to share it. And then, if that person didn't create the lesson shared, zip over and thank whoever did. To then let them know what I learned, even.

Same goes for bloggers. Their posts teach and inspire and change me, so am I thanking them for allowing God to help me through their talent? And all those hours they spend writing and rewriting? Even just one grateful sentence can appear huge to someone who's poured out their soul in words.

When an author writes a helpful book, I can buy that book (helping, encouraging, by financial support) and send the author an email of gratitude or post my thanks on their Facebook or Twitter pages. I can tell my friends about the book and share links in my blog.

If a Twitter member consistently shares uplifting tweets, I can retweet as an encouragement to them that they're spreading hope and courage. I can also post a note to tell them how he/she improves my day by their godly words.

God's been reminding me lately how much I learn online, especially, every single day. Yet am I saying 'thank-you' enough? Am I being faithful to 'share all good things with my teachers'?

Oh dear. Sometimes, yes, I do. But always? Uh, no way. (Gulp.)

Looks like it's time for me to make some changes again. To become more faithful about encouraging those who step out and obey God ... and to grow in unselfishness, myself, along the way.


A major "ouch verse":

"If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them."   ... James 4:17

"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."   ... 2 Corinthians 9:6

“Positive words left unsaid are like sachets of currency notes burnt in vain. Positive deeds left undone are like deep wells filled with soil to the brim. Do the undone, say the unsaid and turn the unturned.” 
― Israelmore Ayivor


Our local radio broadcaster cracks me up. The other day he said, "And that was Barbara Streisand sounding all upset because," (he switched here to a whiny, nagging voice), "you don't bring me flowers anymore!"

Oh my. A week later, that still makes me giggle.

(Want to listen to my radio station along with me? Go here and click Listen Online.)

Heard this song again this morning and swooned like I always do.... happy sigh.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Free Books As We Await (Real) Springtime

This drawing? I love that it doesn't even matter what's outside of her window (appears nearly like a desert, in fact), but rather, all the plants and light and colors make it feel like Spring inside.

And isn't that what matters most?


Many of you know sweet Clarice from Storybook Woods, but did you know she's giving away a lovely issue of her emagazine? It's a Springtime treat as we wait for the outdoors to become green and garden-able again.

Pick up your free issue of Storybook Woods Egg and be enchanted here.


Speaking of Spring, here's something I shared at Facebook yesterday:

"If you want springtime ahead of time, then you must have it in your heart, out of reach of the weather, just as you must grow cucumbers in a hothouse if you want them ahead of time."

... From The Spring of the Year by Dallas Lore Sharp

Oh my goodness! How amazingly true and how it reminds me to shove away complaining so that there's more room in my head for imagining joyful, Spring-like things, instead.

Mr. Sharp--a naturalist, an English professor and, at one time, a pastor--is such a treasure from long ago. Would you like some of his relaxing, free Kindle books? If so, here you go:

The Hills of Hingham .   My favorite of these and rather reminiscent of David Grayson's books, if you're a fan of his, as well.

A Watcher In The Woods

Roof and Meadow

And in other free, but non-kindle formats:

The Lay of the Land .  My favorite of this next list. Took a few pages to really draw me in.

The Fall of the Year

The Spring of the Year



Wild Life Near Home

I see all these titles, all these free books streaming into my home and am amazed that I need not brave the weather to find them nor pay money before they whisk me away. Oh, what I would have given as a young even-tho'-we-ain't-got-money-I'm-so-in-love-with-you-Honey wife and mom in deep snow country (and dark, eternal-feeling winters) to have a computer in my home with such reading (and couponing and writing and friendship) options! 

May I never take any blessing for granted. May I someday stand before God having already noticed and appreciated each treasure He fluttered down to me, missing not a single one.


Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.

–Author Unknown

"If we complain about the negatives, we will overlook the positives."

"Arrange whatever pieces come your way." ... Virginia Woolf


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ways to Wait Well

"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."   ... Proverbs 17:22


So it's snowing this morning as I'm eating leftover pizza and fries(!), but does it bother me? Not really, because for the past nine (or so) evenings, Tom and I have traveled to sunny, always-summer Hawaii.

And just how have we done that, you ask?

We discovered Magnum PI by way of instant Netflix. That's how. And oh, that show cheers and warms our very souls as we watch Thomas Magnum out upon rolling blue water on his surf ski beneath bright sunshine. (I even say, "There's our towel again!" when he uses one like we received in a wedding set.) And all those sandy beaches! And the beach-side tables with tanned people in bathing suits sipping their tiny pink umbrella drinks. 

Hawaii right here in our living room.

Ah, Magnum PI ... it does a winter-in-Buffalo body good. And when you add the humor and camaraderie between Magnum and his friends, you've got a perfect combination to keep you going another few snowy weeks.

Personally, I believe anyone living in snow country should watch Magnum PI in March or shows like it or read books about dreamy places--whatever soothes their snow-weary hearts and infuses courage to finish winter well

I hope you'll proactively search for the good in life, whatever keeps you on an even keel, rather than tumbling down when the weather or circumstances are 'down.'  Watch something, read something, craft something. Write or paint or encourage or give to others. But oh dear.... never sink beneath your complaints. Complaining ruins the waiting times, makes them feel 50 years longer and makes our heads feel progressively worse.

So why go there? God sprinkles personalized treats for us (your friends' ideas of treats may differ, but don't let them trivialize yours) along the way to help keep our sanity in sweet and contented mode. All that remains is for us is to fling away the weights of complaining and begin our own search along sunny shores.


Non-searchers are non-finders ... !


"For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?… "   ... Matthew 7:8,9

"A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed."   ... Proverbs 15:13


"Stop crying over yesterday and start smiling for tomorrow."

 Mar 20
"To move into the next season— stage of life, you must decide what to keep, give away or trash from the last season."


"Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits--"   ... Psalm 103:2

Friday, March 21, 2014

When You Don't Get Why What Happened, Happened

"You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues."   ...  Psalm 31:20


(I didn't make a big deal of our 20th anniversary in Buffalo, so this post as we approach our 21st will, I think, make up for it.)   .....................

When Tom, Naomi and I moved clear across the United States to New York, who knew the real reason?

Only God did. Trust me, not even Tom and I understood why we'd put 2,500 miles between us and every family member, friend and town we'd ever known, but oh! Still, many of those folks ventured guesses, most silly and absolutely wrong and some, sadly, hurtful.

Yet in these 21 years, God and Time continue to give us every answer so that not one question remains. It's wild how God takes His time explaining things, right? But we can rest in mind if we're in His plan. Even lately we've joked about how He won't let us leave New York--and if you've read this blog awhile--you know we've certainly tried

Yet mostly it's 'that husband God gave me', he of the gypsy blood and the ilk of Pa Ingalls, who's attempted to steer us out of here. Heh. Mostly, I've adored New York from Day One and my heart is planted deep here, though like anyone, I sometimes toy with moving elsewhere to see and experience new things--but in the East. What a kindred-ness I find here.

Anyway, our moments of wanderlust aside,  as we experience these marvelous adventures which Buffalo has afforded us, I think, "What a tragedy if we'd missed what we have known here!" 

When we arrived back in April of 1993, God and Grace awaited us with open arms and they've never let go of us. But still, only slowly did we see that God made us braver here, and stronger, with a strength found only when throwing oneself upon His chest for help. We knew not one other soul here! God wanted to be our Number One Source.

Also, He desired that we think new thoughts and become released from ones limiting us since kid-hood.  He set us free, enlarged our hearts, yanked us out of tiny boxes --and mostly--increased the hugeness and wonder of Himself within our eyes.

It's been 21 years and you know? Most of the people we left behind understand why we left. Why God moved us whole states away. But a few others probably never will admit it was God's plan.

But when you're following God, you can't afford to waste energy, arguing, and certainly not adjusting your plans so others won't be mad. You just focus on the favor He's done you, then you shake the dust from your feet and walk on, forward. And then splash around in all the happiness of obedience there.


"Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favor my righteous cause: yes, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of his servant."   ... Psalm 35:27

"A person's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?   ... Proverbs 20:24

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."   ... Hebrews 12:1


"When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it resolves a great deal of anxiety." ... AW Tozer

You have to be willing to withstand insults and keep on moving. Darts may be thrown on every side, but you’ve got to focus on your mission.

"I would have missed out on so many things in Life if I had not simply done them."   ...   Ann Kiemel Anderson


Something else I love about Buffalo? It's the way the local news shows us these little films throughout the school year. I never tire of them.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

In Honor of Springtime

"Don't bemoan the sad state of the world. All around you there are things that need to be done. So do them." ...Patty Shaner


Never do I tire of old photos from my backyard of Autumn Cottage and since we must wait much longer for real Springtime here in snow country (so why complain?), I will stare at these photos on Spring's first official day, and recall how Grace must have done the majority of the work and creative stuff, because alone? No way could I ever have created anything this lovely. Without God and Grace, I'd have had disaster and a sad, bad back.

And now I dream of making something similar here at Hobbit Cottage, but poor ol' Grace this time! Oh, she will need to carry the heaviest load, for I'm 14 years older and (*&$%#) pounds heavier and way more out of shape than when we began this big project so long ago. (Debra says while hanging her sorry head.)

Yet--with God-- and all things being possible, I'm thinking at least a version of this pretty yard could happen. Something not exactly like what I had, yet a yard which will make me feel the same magical way. (Too often we become all grieving and write-off Life because some good times--and people-- are gone, when really, we could still experience new feelings and amazing times via a new way.)

Although I'm no longer in my Enchanted Forties (as I call them), still, God and Grace keep me cheered and strong even with all the world's bad news and dreadful people and downward spiral. Even amongst all that, the world spinning inside my head and heart still looks good and hopeful. That world still believes this lady of 55 can complete a few more godly dreams before she is whisked away to heavenly, to-die-for gardens where she'll putter forever, but never tire nor run out of new ideas.


"What are you focusing on, the size of your obstacle, or the size of your God?"

 Mar 17
"A bad attitude is like a flat tire. If you don't change it, you won't get very far."
Oh! If Springtime isn't cooperating where you live, here is something which will make you smile, anyway. (Thanks again, Ann!)

Don't Send a Man To The Grocery Store

Happy Springtime to all my readers!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Book And Memories For You

Speaking of humor...

If you appreciate funny, when-I-was-a-kid memoirs, you'll most likely enjoy this free kindle book:

Misadventures of a 1970's Childhood by Tom Purcell

As I click from page to page, it's as though, first, I'm reading about my own 1970's childhood, then I'm switching over to the childhood we provided for Naomi. My days as a child, then hers, mine, then hers ...

I guess it's because the author grew up in Pennsylvania, a state close to ours, not only real-estate-wise, but old-fashioned attitude and house-wise, as well. My own California childhood proved mostly pleasant, but scattered in too many towns and bringing Naomi back East for hers, in a way, made her middle and high school years more stable and even more old-timey than mine. I'm glad Tom and I could give her some of what we wished we'd had when young.

So while reading this book, our childhoods all become blended in an odd way. Hmm.

Anyway. Some of you will really enjoy this book.


One thing our farm taught me was that when you have a concrete patio (or driveway as was the case today), you can, in a cold month like March, sit on said concrete and still feel very warm on a sunny, 38 degree day. The reflection of sunlight upon the concrete (and a light-colored wall behind you) increases the heat exponentially, making one warm even while she's sitting there surrounded by piles of snow.

Which is what I did today in perfect warmth and contentment with only my slacks and the usual two layers of sweater tops. 

Well, except when I stared at the grey house across the street, the one outside our dining room windows, which stood empty all winter. It's hard to shake the sadness of an empty house, really, and I especially miss the morning lights inside. I appreciate the camaraderie they silently extend to me on black winter mornings as I help Tom ready himself for work and that was a major thing which made me shiver out at the farm--the dead blackness outside our kitchen window which faced the back meadow. No friendly, warm-lit windows existed out there. Just an eerie winter black void which--somehow--taunted me.

(The amazing Betty MacDonald wrote about that very thing unnerving her, also, so I feel in good company ... and not looney-tunes.)

Back in December, one extremely sweet-looking family visited the grey house with a realtor, but they walked through that 4-bedroom, 2 bath, full-basement place in six minutes, flat. Being a genius about such things--I knew that was not a good sign. Obviously, all these months later, I was right. heh.

So the big grey house remains empty, yet still I pray for just the right family to fill it up with happy times which they'll look back upon and remember. And warm, golden windows that will make me smile on frigid, black mornings over here.