Friday, July 31, 2015

Lions. Do They Even Matter?

Facebook reminds me why I don't spend oodles of time with people in Real Life.


Have you seen those articles floating around which pretty much say, "So what if Cecil the Lion died? People are more important anyway. Get over it. Let's discuss what really matters."

(Insert steam coming out of my ears here.)

I mean, look. Yes, Jesus died for people and they are more important. Ok. And true, the media does not always cover the more vital stories in, well, big ways and yes, we should care about injustice toward humans.

But does that prove that this story shouldn't be spread? That animal lovers should be shamed? That animals mean nothing to God and should barely be a blip on our radar? I think not. 

If they were just oh-hum-animals, the Bible would not say this about sparrows:

 "Are not two little sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s leave (consent) and notice."   ... Matthew 10:29

God notices when each tiny brown sparrow falls--or in the case of Life at Hobbit Cottage--gets pecked to death by grackles. And who's to say His eyes aren't upon other animals' stilled bodies? Hmm? Why do we keep shoving Bible verses into boxes, believing they mean just one thing only?

And well, if you know the story of Christian the Lion and can watch this video without a tear in your eye (while reconsidering a few mindsets), hey, I feel sadness for you.

To me? All life matters. Every breathing creature has a purpose upon this planet even if, yes, it's to, mainly, feed us. Yet always I believe there is more. Why would God place the ability within us to care deeply for our pets as well as appreciate with gratitude the beauty of all wild creatures if none of this, of them, were important?

It all matters: right and wrong and Life and Death and compassion, amazement and gratitude for all God's provision, design and creatures whether covered in skin or fur or feathers.

On the Sixth Day God stood back, viewed what He'd spoken into existence and called it all very good. And as for me, I'm still calling it very good, as well, all these thousands of years later, even if many of my friends seem not to anymore.

But oh well.


My sweet husband feels as I do about this. We are simpatico about much in this life and truly I am blessed. Truly.


If we'd daily, faithfully, do what we're called to, we might just, with glad acceptance, extend that same freedom to others.


Free Kindle Books:

The Christmas Sisters

To Love Anew

California Dreams

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Good Complaining vs. Bad

"Do everything without complaining and arguing..."   ...  Philippians 2:14


I think about odd things. 

Like, if I was on Death Row and scheduled for the electric chair, I've got my final meal all planned out. You know, just in case:

Spaghetti and meatballs
A beef enchilada
Chocolate ice cream with chocolate bar pieces
Orange soda (In real life I always choose orange seltzer water, but in this case, I'd go for the full-blown, sugary orange soda, because hey. Why not?)
Oh, and yogurt. Any flavor of yogurt because I love it all.

Speaking of yogurt (were we?) ...  Did you know that the Yoplait company removed high fructose corn syrup from all their yogurt because regular ol' people (a.k.a. consumers) complained about it by way of Yoplait's Facebook page and website? After that, the company eliminated 25 percent of sugar in their products following more complaints.

I think about that often, also, because it makes so much darn sense. 

Those changes at Yoplait were not made because thousands of people sat in their living rooms with friends, moaning, "I wish Yoplait would remove high fructose corn syrup from their yogurt. Somebody should do something about that awful company. Shut it down or something. I, myself refuse to eat the stuff."

It wasn't complaining to friends at Facebook or Twitter that got things rolling in a right direction. No, consumers became active, instead. They sent their concerns, their complaints, to the source: the Yoplait company. To people who could actually do something. 

And there's the lesson for today. 

Why go on complaining to our friends and relatives who just don't want to hear it and can, usually, do nothing about our complaints? Why not, instead, voice our concerns only in places they stand a chance of being addressed and taken care of?

It's, like, a waste of our breath/time/efforts to do otherwise and it's probably costing more friendships than we realize(!)



Speaking of complaining--if we truly realized how good we've got it, we'd stop our needless whining (and dare I say, worrying?). 

It's all rather like this illustration, which my buddy, Dolores, shared at Facebook:

(If you saw the movie, Up, you realize the deeper meaning of this.)


Yesterday I finished reading the free Kindle book, Time and Again by Deborah Heal. What a delightful summer read! Could not put it down.

Free Kindle books:

The Miracle of Christmas

Making Money Online

Herbal Antibiotics and Antivirals For Beginners


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Intending To Miss Nothing Wonderful

"Behold, all things have become new..."


The poor ol' Fed Ex guy carried my always-heavy box of canned cat food to our front porch and, after he drove away, I opened our red door and stepped outside and suddenly stopped.

I gazed around at the old homes and the construction workers two doors down and our green hedges and potted plants and felt that 1960's-esque hush of early afternoon sun and air and whispered, "Oh wow. It's too wonderful. Again."

With God added to the mix it's all too glorious to bear. And when I reach Heaven? I plan to tell Him I noticed everything; each remarkable, simple-but-awesome moment designed to spin my head with gratitude.

May I suggest something if you're not quite feeling that way today? Set down the complaints about politics, summer heat, money woes, the humanly flawed media or the kids' worrisome behavior--kick them away or bury them, even. We can't squeeze both complaints and gratitude and have joy come pouring out. 

Ain't gonna happen. So release what gives you headaches and bad days. Please.

Then hold out your hands and ask God to fill them with gratitude. Ask for new eyes and attitudes and newness of Life. Go for it. Ask, ask, ask. Ask and you will receive.

Then watch the good that happens. Miss nothing.


"You do not have because you do not ask God."  ...  James 4:2

"... 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


Want a terrific place to take your new eyes?  Go here and see what happened to Naomi during her last time drumming on the streets of Nashville. Wow. Not something she'll forget soon. Nor I.


Ok, you'll laugh, but someday I'd like to magically find myself down on the Buffalo Waterfront sitting beside Shark Girl for a photo:

Yeah, you'd love to see that, too, wouldn't you?  :)


Free Kindle Books:

Red-Tailed Rescue

A Million Steps

The Strange Ways of Providence in My Life


Monday, July 27, 2015

Time Traveling on Saturday

"Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him."    1 Corinthians 7:17


Tom and I are hopeless when it comes to discovering new hobbies we enjoy together. After years of attempting to find other fun activities, we still can think of only 3 we enjoy:

1. Estate sales (and yard sales)
2. Car shows (but we've not been to one in years)
3. Watching tv and ordering out for lunch on Saturdays.

Oh, and the occasional theater movie is pleasant and we love Buffalo Bisons' games, but getting us to the stadium--that's the hard and oh-so-rare thing.

Yeah, it hardly gets more pathetic than that. :) 

But hey! Some things you must finally accept just are the way they are. If they're pleasing, why seek to change them just because friends and other busybodies hint that you should

I mean, whose life am I living anyway? Go living someone else's life and we'll end up over in some weird, not-meant-for-us place. We'll reach Heaven, surprised that we didn't live the life God chose for us (and unable to return for a do over). What matters is doing what fits Tom and I as a couple.

You should have seen us on Saturday all dreamy-eyed in Estate Sale Heaven. The first house was a 1920's Tudor quite like this:

Oh, I barely noticed sale items, but rather, the walk-in pantries and closets and built-in white shelves surrounding the fireplace in the sunken, light-carpeted living room. And the other closets and nooks and crannies and light green striped wallpaper in the open stairway and the private little hallway in the master bedroom and did I mention closets?

I had to yank myself out of that one.

One family had owned the second house for nearly 100 years and they'd brought lots of Victorian decor with them when they moved in. The real, like-in-a-museum stuff. They'd not really done anything to the house (it appeared worn and dark), but that's preferable over 'remuddling it'. The kitchen still had it's original floor-to-ceiling cupboards with glass-fronted doors and the floors, windows and doors were all original. There was even a real-live formal front parlor. 

This was the 3rd day and the best stuff was gone, but here's what I found up in a sunny bedroom and in the attic:

Lots of ancient rocking chairs had been banished to the attic decades earlier as well as dressers, etc. We saw a type of candle holder you see women in nightgowns holding while climbing stairs in old movies. It could be hung on a wall, even. (Yeah, we should have bought that. It was probably only $1.)

Oh, we drove home that morning all warm and tired, but perfectly contented. We'd again experienced Time Traveling Bliss, our version of Disney World or Hawaii, and found it Good. Indeed, even if our Real Life friends don't 'get it.'

Yet I know some of you do, and that makes our unique hobby all the more special.


"When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise."   2 Corinthians 10:12


Anyone else ready for Autumn? Oh, the humidity of July--always it makes me feel 90-years-old. Or what I think 90 feels like.

We often get cool(er) Augusts here in western New York and guess what wilting ol' me is already praying for?


I so appreciated your taking the time to share such kind words about my 11th blogging anniversary! Thank-you. Much.


Free Kindle Books:

The Seasons on Henry's Farm

Mother, Walk By Faith Not By Sight

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Eleven Years and Still Blogging

Can it really be? Yes, as of today I've been blogging for 11 mostly terrific years.

During my first 4 decades of Life, I usually felt as though (almost) no one desired to hear my heart's words or about what I was reading or watching. But then God led me to you, an audience who actually wanted to listen.

And gracious! Some of you have survived hung around the entire 11 years through all our moves and the best-and-worst-of-times farm adventure and my wordy sermons/teachings, as well as my personal tweaking of things as I grow older. Lots of you have read here for 5 or 7 or 9 years and honest, I'm even surprised when anyone lasts past 2 weeks. I don't always serve 'dessert' here, but often, the nitty gritty how-are-we-behaving-as-Christians? stuff.

Not a lot of people appreciate that sort of thing.

But I'm grateful for each of you who does, each of you who cares and each of you who forgives me when my posts aren't quite what you needed for that day. I thank you for hanging around long enough until I speak about what is needful for your own heart.

So on this 11th anniversary I say thank-you. Without an audience, this blog would have slipped down into the land of Ghost Town Blogs, but you--and God-- have kept it from sinking there. 

Bless you.


In other News:

A water guy from the city came to our red door and told me our water main is broken/cracked/whatever, hence our low water pressure and the screaming shower. 

But the good news? The break is on *their* side so we'll not have to pay the thousands of dollars it could have cost. Whew. Totally thank-you-Jesus whew.

Now, hopefully I can, by faith, believe it won't take them forever to fix the problem.  :) 

Oh, and yesterday 2 of our neighbors from across the way came over as Tom arrrived home and told us they'd noticed a wasp's nest on the front peak of our house. A huge nest that somehow I had missed (I must not be looking up enough. It happens.)

We all stared at it awhile. Commented about it's simplistic beauty, but how it still needs to go.

We'll be calling Wasp Guy soon.


Free Kindle Book:

Evicting Erlene

Friday, July 24, 2015

Freecycle And Hoarders And Giving

"... Freely you have received; freely give."...   Matthew 10:8


So we had a vintage art-deco-ish nightstand which got squeezed out of my closet after I put together my 6th set of white shelves. (I told you we needed extra storage around here.)

So the nightstand, though just the kind of lovely old thing I prefer to keep, had to go. When you live in only 860 square feet (and have low-sloping walls upstairs) you can't keep everything. Well, if you're a hoarder and don't care how the place looks, you can try. But I'm not, though sometimes, oddly, I wish I was. Well, not a big-time hoarder, but someone who can relax and keep things to the point of clutterdom. But clutter makes my stomach queasy, unless I'm at someone else's house, then I rather like it.

Yes, sometimes I make no sense.

Anyway. I listed the nightstand on Freecycle and four sweet-sounding ladies wanted it. Gah. I found myself wishing I had 4 nightstands, not just 1. I love giving furniture away and seeing people all giddy because they got a bargain. Really.

Did you know that the tv show, Hoarders, is back? I still stare at that crazy show, all transfixed and feeling sorry for everybody, even the professionals who must deal with the hoarders' mindsets/bondages and their junk. And even after years of watching, it still surprises me when the hoarders can't find joy in donating extra items to the needy who would care for them. 

Giving was meant to fill us with happiness. To keep the grip of selfishness away and a flow going, instead: things wooshing out, so better things can woosh back in. It should be our 'normal', for God designed us that way.

But I do pray that each hoarder up there on my tv screen will get set free. God designed us to live that way, also. Free. In Him.


“For it is in giving that we receive.” 
― Francis of Assisi


It's been quiet around my blog lately, hasn't it? Well, I've been dealing with sinus issues again and finally had to face facts--again--that my sinuses just can't handle my favorite creamer for my hot chocolate.


So rather than keep trying (like a child) to get away with something (and live with my head hanging in a facial steamer all the time), I had to dump the creamer down the drain. 

And again accept that--even though it's unfair-- I must make changes if I wish to feel well. It's wisdom at its most simplistic.

Poor ol' Debra, right?  


Here are some links you might enjoy:


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Still Accepting The Slow-Poke-ness Of It All

Well, since we moved to Hobbit Cottage I've stood all bent over at the spigot outside while gripping my watering can, waiting for it to fill, so to water my plants. (To use a hose would be, in my mind, too complicated.) I'd been filling the can with less water lately (meaning more times standing there) because they're making water heavier these days.  :)

It only took me 4 years to think of this bright idea:


Oh, and I no longer dream about moving to a different house. I finally realized what I truly wanted was more storage and display options here. The more shelves we bring in, the more content I am becoming.

And does anyone remember my make-crockpot-meals-in-the-morning idea? Oh wow--life transforming. There aren't even words. Only took me a couple years of rough, oh-my-poor-ol'-back afternoons to think of that solution.

If you are still trying to accept that ideas which required minutes of focus in your 30's now take years in your 50's (and beyond), please know I'm right there with you.

Acceptance. It's only a starting point, but so necessary and I'm finding I must retrain my brain as I age, as in, keep out the cluttered thoughts (even ones everybody else may be talking about) so to save room for the smaller, necessary ones of this new daily life. I'm also discovering that I must rely upon God more, but hey. That's good.

Really good, because He always comes bearing serenity, so it's easier to think clearly when I'm standing close to Him.


“Why should things be easy to understand?” 
― Thomas Pynchon

“Not every puzzle is intended to be solved. Some are in place to test your limits. Others are, in fact, not puzzles at all...” 
― Vera NazarianThe Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

I can resent where I am and stagnate, or I can accept it and proceed to make progress. The choice is mine.


A spiffy, just-right yard sale find this weekend for only .50 cents:

I'm enjoying the difference it's made in our dining area.

Free Kindle Books:

Friday, July 17, 2015

What a Week. Sigh.


Naomi left on our rainy Tuesday morning and I came into the house, teary-eyed from waving good-bye and thought, "I'd better find something to do." So I finished loading the dishwasher, turned it on, then as the minutes went by, noticed the water in the kitchen sink refused to drain away.


So as I'm praying Naomi won't run into flooding on her way home (oh, all the water back here) I'm now adding, "And please don't let our pipes be clogged. Please, please, please."

Hours later, there I was with my red bucket at the sink. 

And I didn't tell you that weeks ago our water pressure lessened. Oh, and I couldn't go back to sleep Wednesday, early, because I had a feeling Naomi would drive straight through to Nashville instead of staying at a motel, which she did, arriving home around 5:00 am. (No wonder I kept praying for her.)

Well, on Wednesday 'the city' (workers) came out and adjusted our water pressure (Tom called them), and it's better, but still not where it was. But at least the shower pipe stopped shrieking. I spent a couple hours beneath the kitchen sink taking apart the (smelly) pipes and using a plumbing snake and the aforementioned bucket then gave up and called the plumber who came out Thursday and after 90 minutes, $165 and a horrid-smelling basement, fixed the problem. (Don't ask.)

Oh, and I forgot to tell you that Naomi is moving to Atlanta to be in a band with dear old friends and she sent an email saying her clingy-passive-aggressive housemate went ballistic when she discovered this and Naomi found herself 'in the most intense situation I've ever faced' (as she put it).

Gah. No wonder I've been feeling very unsettled inside and praying. A lot.

But Naomi's taking her final load of belongings to Atlanta today and will be rid of this woman and has learned lessons of what to watch for in making future friends. (More prayers for Naomi would be appreciated today as she packs up and drives to Atlanta for good.) While you're praying, say a little one for me that I won't worry, ok?

The wonderful news, though, is that Naomi has received a much-hoped-for endorsement/sponsorship from a drumstick company and is thrilled, as are we.

We all have weeks like this one, of course, where we feel we're being tested on everything we've learned. Will we be patient? Trust God implicitly and meditate upon things gone right, not wrong? Remain calm and non-panicky? Or will we revert to our old ways and lose ground and have to learn the lessons all over again until they finally become real and solid and second nature?

And no matter what happens in the big world out there, will we truly believe (and behave like) God hasn't lost control of things?

And today I can say I'm so grateful for a God who is greater than 'all these things' and brings a serenity in the midst of the storms. Oh, how I've needed, appreciated, His calming ways.

      "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength."

Oh, and I forgot to mention Tom's podiatrist thinks he has gout, yet another doctor believes his foot may have a hairline fracture. But, yes! This verse is a great one to recall:
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."  ... Romans 8:37

And regarding our world's grim situation?:

"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you."... 1 Peter 4:12


So I put together another set of shelves yesterday, this one for our dvd's, but didn't like the modern look they (dvd's) gave my room. So this morning I placed some of my vintage books in front of them and feel better about the whole thing.  :)


This has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but can you believe that Monty Hall (of Let's Make a Deal fame) will be 94-years-old in August?


Free Kindle books:

Purple Like the West

I Called Him Dancer

An Unexpected Family

Muffin Tin Menus

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

When Your 'Plan A' Gets Ruined

Whenever Tom and I ate at 'Rita's', a breakfast and lunch restaurant in our town, it was busy. The place had been there over 40 years(!) in an old shopping center, the atmosphere felt friendly, the decor, well, dark and blah-ish, but oh, the food consistently tasted terrific.

Then last year the center's powers-that-be decided they needed a hardware store more than Rita's (and the shop beside them) and told both businesses to, basically, get out. Newspaper articles were written, people complained and declared their lasting love for Rita's, but the shopping center won. It all felt so unfair. 

Rita's closed. Sigh.

Then some months later during one of Tom's African trips, I drove a back street to yard sales and oh my! There was Rita's. They'd moved to a former bar along a quiet canal and wow, cars were packed into their new lot and all nose-to-bumper across the street. (We've driven past there many times now and it's always like that.) 

Dearly-loved Rita's had returned.

Finally, Tom and I ate at Rita's on Saturday morning and their new dining room is prettier and has more light and character than the old one ever had. The atmosphere felt down-home-happy with lots of banter, cheerfulness and old-time (grateful, I'm sure) regulars. 

The new Rita's outshines the old one and may this encourage us all when Life suddenly goes all wrong. God can make a way where there appears to be none, a way that turns out more remarkable than if we'd stayed on the same ol' road as before.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”   ...Joshua 1:9


Naomi begins her trip back home today and all prayers for her safety would be appreciated. She plans on taking two days rather than one so she can stop and take a few videos of her playing the drums, something she's been doing lately so to further her music career.

We'll miss her! It always surprises me how easily and pleasantly she fits back into our lives and home.


Free Kindle Books:

A Fine Mess

Far Country

The Man at the Door


A special thanks to those of you here and at Facebook who said you hope I don't leave Blogland. I appreciate that much.


Monday, July 13, 2015

The Internet: To Stay or To Go?

"But I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father." ... John 14:31


(Disclaimer: I'm just thinking out loud here, sharing my personal temptation, and not implying anyone else should bail out of the Internet. Honest.)   

Saturday, at the town library in the books-for-sale room, I spoke with a woman who never goes online. 

She sounded pretty afraid of the whole thing, but when I mentioned buying books online for a penny (plus shipping) and that my free kindle has 900 free books, she nearly did a 180. I saw those wheels in her head spinning toward Maybe I Should Reconsider This. :)

Later I felt both pity and envy toward this woman. Oh, the kindred spirits she could have met! The encouragement she could have known, the subjects she might have learned more about. The ease of shopping for, say, postage stamps and pet food online, not to mention all those terrific book deals.

But wow, how wonderful to have been spared the myriad articles illustrating specific ways our world has become more hateful/ridiculous/scary. To have missed hundreds of cruel comments from strangers after news articles and to have never seen questionable sides of friends they'd have (probably) held back in-person. To have not been subjected to a million secrets I'd rather not have known.


Oh, the temptation sometimes to bail out of this Internet world! To run from it, not screaming, but silently, back to this serene retro life I've created. To just fade away and instead, 24/7 pretend it's 1975, before the Internet, when people (seemed to) not say whatever popped into their heads.

Who knows? Maybe someday I'll do just that. Perhaps I'll play Time Warp Wife and have only 1975 (or earlier) items in my home, and dress the part, also. How uncomplicated, how luxurious that sounds to me given Today's state of affairs (and the upcoming campaigns/elections which I'm trying not to dread).

But what keeps me here other than friends and the ease of shopping? This blog. In just some days I'll have written here 11 years and God still won't let me alone regarding this most rewarding thing. Grace still places my fingers upon the keys in the way they should go.

But should God one day whisper, "It's time to minister a different way, someplace else"? Most likely I'll use that as a signal to step away quietly back to my vintage world with only occasional, necessary peeks into this electronic one. 

And because I hold things with an open hand, that will be fine. More than, really, because He will move away with me on to the next adventure--and that's what matters. That's what makes Life sweetest.


"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."  ... Ephesians 2:10

"Turn off your email; turn off your phone; disconnect from the Internet; figure out a way to set limits so you can concentrate when you need to, and disengage when you need to. Technology is a good servant but a bad master."


Speaking of books, after two days of picking through yard sales, I found only one thing, but oh! I was happy because it was a much cooler copy of The Boy Next Door than the one (on the left) I'd had for years: 

                                      ... and for only .50 cents.

Free Kindle Books:

Miracle Man

The Snow's Meltdown

The Ultimate Guide to Darcy Carter

Tied to Murder