Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Your Heart. What Are You Gonna Do With It?

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it determines the course of your life."...Proverbs 4:23


So! Naomi arrived home on Friday evening for a 2-week visit (so the house is relatively clean), Italian vegetable beef soup is already in the crockpot this morning, the open areas around the air-conditioners have been 'sealed' (oh, the flies lately all over our picture windows!), the dishwasher is chugging away and my outdoor plants are watered because of all our crazy June rain. 

All is right (mostly) with my world.

Yet the carnal outside world! Oh dear--that's worse and more sneakily deceptive than ever.

But you know? I've decided to guard my heart from all that. To pay attention to what's happening, yes, but to not soak my heart (and head) in The News. I'd rather choose to soak in the presence of God where there is fullness of joy, the kind that doesn't shrink into a tiny ball if people everywhere are acting cluelessly/badly/like godless meanies.

Someone has to' keep their head while others are losing theirs', right? Especially in the troublesome days ahead when, more than ever, wisdom and love will be our saving graces...

...and God will still know what He's doing, even though others insist that He doesn't.


“For I the Lord do not change..."  ... Malachi 3:6

“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man ...." (who said of others) ... “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God."    ...   Luke 6:22, Luke 16:15

"You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You."   ...Isaiah 26:3


I've been meaning (and meaning!) to tell you I'm considering trying this:

Little Free Library

If anything would be a more perfect fit for ol' Debra, I don't know what it could be. What an opportunity to provide a bit more light in my tiny corner of the world.

Anyone else want to consider doing this, as well, in your own yard? Have any of you already set one up?


Free Kindle Books:


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Go Here Instead---If You Dare

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits."   ... Proverbs 18:21


My very good friend, Anne, wrote a truly inspired blog post which, ok, some of you, uh, might hate. (But oh well.) Others of you won't know quite what to think, while others will, as I do, just plain love it.

So because I have nothing better to say today, I hope you'll zip over to Anne's and read what I would have said if only I had the courage, especially the part about Mrs. Obama, because oh my goodness... many's the time I've gone all bug-eyed livid when Christians (especially) criticize her so cruelly. 

Oh, the prices we unknowingly pay when we speak such words. The bad days, the bad headaches, the bad lives--for by our words we will be justified, by our words we'll be condemned (Matthew 12:37).

But don't get me started. Just go read Anne. If you dare.


"Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech." ... 1 Peter 3:10

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you."   ... Luke 6:27-29


And to reinforce Anne's noticing grace all around her? Here's more proof that Grace is alive and well on Planet Earth. That not everyone is out to ruin The Good Old Days.


Free Kindle Books:

The Rancher

Who's That Dog?

Passive Income

Land of Dust and Tears

365 Days of Weight Loss Inspiration

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Brady's Had It Right

So how many of you remember these lines from this Brady Bunch song?

"Oh, when it's time to change
You've got to rearrange
Who you are and what you're gonna be."

That tune came to mind when I realized yesterday that I must make a huge (to me) change here at Hobbit Cottage:

I must start using my crockpot. Regularly  

In the mornings when I chop and toss ingredients into a crockpot, I feel creative. Clever, energetic, accomplished. I dream about how the end result will taste 8 hours from now and then feel all anticipatory.

Yet for months as I've made dinner in the late afternoon just minutes before Tom arrives home? I've hobbled into the kitchen (especially if it's a lawn-mowing or almost anything work-related day) and thought, "Eh. Just open a can. Or a box. Who cares? You're tired and can barely move because of your poor ol' back. Give yourself a break." And I'll not even mention how crabby and whiny I can become toward Tom. 

Yes, really. We're talking Big Change here and rearranging who I am and what I'm gonna be. :)

It's wisdom, not weakness, to know when to say when. To accept that things have changed and to feel truly ok with that, not believing the lie that we are less--when in reality--we are only different. 

And it's wisdom to keep a sense of humor. To accept that today is what it is--while still believing tomorrow may shine brighter. But whatever, God is still God and He'll carry us through all other changes heading our way. That's the faithful kind of God He is.


It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”   Deuteronomy 31:8


Fortunately I have this fun crockpot cookbook, a years-ago yard sale find for only .25 cents(!) I find it a good starting point for ideas, though seldom do I follow the recipes exactly.

  (Speaking of changes, I'll also need to change the way I grocery shop and who knows what else?)


Free Kindle Books:

The Ultimate Book of Quotations

Maine Immortals

Deja vu Bride

Homemade Laundry Soap and Supplies


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Here We Go Again(?)

This may sound weird, but I find this an extremely fascinating verse:

"... the seeds which fell among the thorns--these are [the people] who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked and suffocated with the anxieties and cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not ripen (come to maturity and perfection)."   ...Luke 8:14

The 'anxieties and cares' part is what I recall when Christians get all flustered and vocal (at Facebook and other places) during presidential campaigns and then go ballistic after their favorite candidate loses. Then when they complain the next four years about how the Country's being run--I also think about that verse. And sigh. A lot.

Well, it's that complaining campaigning time of year again. Maybe things will be different. 

Perhaps Christians won't use up their energy whining, criticizing, fearing, but will pray, instead, standing in the gap with a strong confidence that God will still be God no matter who gets elected. And that He'll still be a wonderful Father to His kids.

Perhaps they'll realize, in this case, it's a choice they're making to be miserable.

And if they're called to openly campaign? May love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, meekness, self-control not get stuffed into a dark cupboard, only to be used on a better, calmer day. No month or year, no project or desire, is worth casting away the seeds God spreads so liberally within our heartland, hoping for soil ready for new growth.

May He discover a rich, loamy soil within each of us. 


“Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.” ~ Ralph Marston

The older I become, the more I physically can't afford to waste energy on thinking upon things gone wrong. Now in my 50's, I must choose where my reduced energy pool will flow. And you know? That's leading me more frequently to tranquil places.

I'm liking that.


This Gorgeous House Was Once Covered In Garbage

(This article reminded me of the verse where God says, "Behold, I make all things new.")


Free Kindle Books:

Billow Creek Bride

Crafts and Hobbies: 100 days of Kindness

Fighter Pilot In the Kitchen

Wedding Crafts

Organize Your Home in Five Days

Salads and Dressings


Monday, June 22, 2015

New Carpet and Book Recommendations

Okay. Lest anyone begin hyperventilating when they glimpse the color of our new carpet, let me add this:

1.) We had similar berber before--and after 11 years--a carpet cleaner guy guessed, when I asked him, that it was maybe only 2 or 3 years old. 

2.) Those were the years our daughter and her friends had myriad parties at our house and workers (with their dirty boots) practically lived with us during lots of reconstruction. Oh, and we had cats. So very many cats.

3.) In our area, people remove their shoes before entering your house (or at the very least, they ask if you'd like them to).

3.) So no-- we're not crazy.  :)

Here's a first peek:

It's soft, cushy, cream-colored (as opposed to white), makes the room appear wider and oh, it feels like a miracle to have it done, after having procrastinated its installation ever so long.

So there you go.


One of my all-time favorite kids' novels? This one:

Beneath the window of our guest room, upon the floor, squeezed in beside boxes, I began rereading this on Saturday during the carpet installation and recalled why I love it. Purely nostalgic and beautiful. Here are its first lines: 

"The woods were full of wind that morning, of dry, warm, October wind, which sent the leaves twirling down from the gold and scarlet birch and maple trees. They swept all around Dick Milton as he walked forward steadily; they did not rustle and crackle under his feet for they were not yet dry enough, but drifted into layers that were thick and soft as he pushed through them. The mountainside was steep and it was quiet and empty; it was here for him to explore quite by himself."

A family moves into a large old house in New England and it's a mystery why the townspeople barely speak to them. Find it here. Inside, there's a long list of other books by this author and I'm shocked that, in the fifteen (or so) years that I've owned this book, I've not yet searched for them. What was I thinking??? :)

Update: Hooray! I found a free Kindle book this morning by Cornelia Meigs. You should have heard me whoop "Oooo doggie," all Jed Clampett style.  :) This one, though, was written 35 years prior to Wild Geese Flying.

  And her book, The Pool of Stars, is just .99 cents.

Loved this picture of Cornelia:


Speaking of lists, here's one with Lois Lenski's regional books. Most likely your city library will have at least a few.

  • Bayou Suzette
  • Strawberry Girl
  • Blue Ridge Billy
  • Judy's Journey
  • Boom Town Boy
  • Cotton in My Sack
  • Texas Tomboy
  • Prairie School
  • Mama Hattie's Girl
  • Corn-Farm Boy
  • San Francisco Boy
  • Flood Friday
  • Houseboat Girl
  • Coal Camp Girl
  • Shoo-Fly Girl
  • To Be a Logger
  • Deer Valley Girl

I can't even describe how much I love these nostalgic glimpses into the lives of families in the 1920's- 1950's. Never do they grow old to me and always they fill my heart with gratitude for what I've been given.

And here's Lois:


 "All of us have moments in out lives that test our courage.
Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them."
- Erma Bombeck

..... Oh, Erma--I miss you.

Someone else I miss? My dear teacher-friend, Loana Gakle. Today is her birthday and she's still most fondly remembered by me and many others.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Until Monday ...

                 Saw this at Facebook. Looooved it.

Oh my goodness. 

I didn't even move tons of furniture yesterday (but enough), yet all week I have gone up and down the stairs a lot, carrying our way-too-much-stuff up there. Now I'm carrying it back down. And I am so tired.

But the new carpet is in (yay!) and it's beautiful. Took only 2 hours of Tom and I hanging-out in Debra's World upstairs. We had 1 tiny complaint, though--you can see the old carpet in Tom's room when his door is shut (we noticed only after the guys left). But that's most likely his fault because communication is not his strong suit (long story, has to do with him telling them we'd put carpet in his room later). So we'll not quibble and try not to point it out to everyone, as Tom enjoys doing. Pointing out things gone wrong, that is. Er hem.

Anyway. Afterward while I dragged myself around putting only a few lamps and knick-knacks back and Tom was on the floor re-hooking-up my computer, he said, "I just can't handle this kind of thing like I used to." 

To which I replied, "See? I told you we're both decrepit now. We're gonna be stuck here we get to live in this house for the rest of our lives. Another move would probably do us in."


So while I'm recuperating/puttering/reading my new book (and this one, also), let me send my fellow cat lovers (and others) to this blogger's story. May you enjoy it as much as I did.


Pictures of the new carpet will follow tomorrow. Maybe. Hopefully. :)


Happy Father's Day to all!


Friday, June 19, 2015

Wildly This and That

Well, tomorrow is THE day. Finally we'll have quality carpet installed at Hobbit Cottage. We're nearly finished with the packing of knick-knacks, books and dishes and soon I'll move small furniture to the porch. 

I'm trying not to say "I'll be happy when it's Sunday and all the hassle's over with." I've told you not to speak words like those, for it's better to be happy now, in the midst of whatever must be done. 

For most of Life, we're in the middle of not-so-wonderful things, rather than on the other side, so why not enjoy it all?

When I return here Sunday or Monday, I'll (hopefully) show you photos. That is, if I can find my camera somewhere inside all these boxes.  


I don't often mention the bad/sad national news here, but about the tragic NC church shootings? May it make us all determined to overcome evil with good. May we become more prayerful regarding our nation's wandering, deceived young people. 

God, through prayer, changes things.

Not complaining about what's wrong.
Not vilifying our President and his wife on Facebook.
Not forwarding bitter emails.
Not favoriting sarcastic sentences on Twitter.
Not gossiping over coffee and apple crumble pie.

But praying. And loving others into wholeness. And standing in the gap for those who have no anchor.

“Let us never forget to pray. God lives. He is near. He is real. He is not only aware of us but cares for us. He is our Father. He is accessible to all who will seek Him.” 
― Gordon B. Hinckley

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."   ... James 5:16


Surprising news! The Rosamond du Jardin teen novels which I've enjoyed for 40 years are now available in Amazon's Kindle Store. And yes, part of the delight of these stories is holding an ancient copy in your hands. But still, if you've ever wanted to try one, here's your chance to do so for a decent price.

This Spring I've been rereading the Tobey and Midge series (my favorite) and am on #4, The Real Thing. These are perfect for a summer escape.

Just thought I'd mention these delightful books for you who are still young at heart in your reading tastes.  :)  Find them here where they're conveniently numbered for you.


Free Kindle Books:

To My Sons (enjoyed the wisdom & drawings in this)

Elderberry Croft

Death by a Honeybee

How to Make Money Blogging

A Shot in the Bark

Heart of Clay

Secrets of Clean Eating


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

It Happened Like This ...

(The Craig's List photo. Mine came out too dark.)

"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."   ... Colossians 3:13



We terribly needed a big hutch for our home office with both visible and invisible storage for nearly 4 years. Instead, we've used a set of Craftsman shelves which I've never shown you because they only look good with books. 

We had everything but books on them. 

No, just Tom's battery-operated drills, tool boxes, big, ugly white binders filled with powerhouse information, winter gloves and hats, die-cast cars, battery chargers, boxes of canned fireplace fuel and so much more.

Well, even though I told Tom for eons that we should get new carpet before the hutch (so no one would have to move it twice), he bought a (huge) Craig's List hutch anyway because it was local and only $100. And he went to the person's house alone, without telling me where/when, which is something else I've asked him not to do 300 times, Today's crazy world being what it is.

I tried not to go ballistic, really I did. (Being a first-born, it's in my very nature to hate bothering people, like the poor, overworked carpet movers/layers.) But I must be one eternal optimist because I truly thought Tom would wait until after we got the new carpet and that he'd take me with him to see a potential hutch. We've been married 36 years and Tom still, every once in awhile, does exactly the opposite of the wise thing I ask him.

So what's a girl to do? Realize sometimes a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. Then forgive him. Keep praying that, as a couple, your ideas of wisdom will some day match up. And just love him anyway, keeping in mind that you, yourself, sometimes do the same ol' things you've done for 36 years, as well.  

And then just let it go.  :)


It wasn't enough yesterday that I did more packing and moved those Craftsman shelves into Tom's room and moved a Morris chair and little dresser out and who knows what else. No, I had to go and paint the little dresser and place it in our kitchen like an island.

More drawers in there! This is the season of finally adding the storage we've needed at Hobbit Cottage since 2011. I can tell we're cooperating with Grace, because it's not as tiresome as it could be. Mostly.  :)


Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness.


Are these adorable or what? Another yard sale find--they look perfect above our kitchen sink.


Free Kindle Books:

A Dream Unfolding


The Lumberjacks' Ball

Monday, June 15, 2015

When Life Doesn't Let You Get What You Really Want

"Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces patience."   ... James 1:2,3


Remember how the Universe was against Tom's and my having our carpet replaced? Well now it won't let us hire landscapers to trim the hedges.


One company promised to tackle them last Tuesday, but we got a couple intermittent rain showers and the answering service lady said the guys don't want to get their electric equipment wet. But I say what's a little electrocution threat? Ol' Debra's been known to take her battery-operated trimmer out in the mist and lived to tell the tale.

Well, I called Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, spoke to two ladies who promised I was On The List, then gave up. This morning Tom called a company who worked on our neighbor's yard, but he said it would be 3 weeks before they could get here.

Three weeks? We'll have to machete our way out of the yard by then. 

Our helpful realtor friend, Cher, recommended someone who sounds terrific, but he's based quite a ways away (relatively) and ideally, we'd like to find someone local. But he's still in the running.

Anyway, after I got Tom's email about the 3-week-from-now company, I thought, "I'd better listen to a Joyce Meyer message since my attitude right now stinks." I just picked a random one and it was perfect, all about the importance of keeping a good attitude because 1.) God asks us to, and 2.) so the small stuff won't make us insane. 

Then--even though I've got packing and cleaning galore to do because our new carpet arrives on Saturday (and Naomi on Tuesday)--I unearthed the hedge trimmer charger from the bottom of a box Tom packed yesterday, went out to the garage, got the battery and charged it. Then I stepped out into the foggy mist and trimmed the longest hedge (and again, lived), raked-up the clippings into a pile for later**, then hobbled back into the house... 

.. where I am right now, picturing myself all grey and 92 years-old outside with my walker, drooling, shaky, and trying to hold that 4-foot long trimmer up high enough to clip the hedge tops. At this rate, who knows?

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.  :)

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


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

"This is only a test. This is only a test..."

"But He gives us more and more grace..."   ... James 4:6  
(What remains is for me to receive it rather than only use my own strength.) 

I'm guessing God thinks I'm more able than I believe I am since, four summers running, I'm still clipping these hedges. And that I'm not ready for such luxuries as landscapers.  (Oh, but wouldn't it be lovely...?)

** Eventually I clipped the other two hedges, the tops and outside sides, only. This was the most humid day of the year so far, oh dear, but it does feel wonderful to have those 75 feet of hedges back under control.


So when did the royal baby grow up to be a little boy? My, my, my...


Free Kindle Books:

Misadventures of a 1970's Childhood


Innocents Abroad

The Sewing Machine Master Guide