Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Are You Ready?

Fire at HTI Recycling in Lockport, NY

"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest."   ... Proverbs 6:6-8


So we have a local town called Lockport where, a couple weeks ago, a tire recycling plant caught fire. (That link doesn't mention a few sad details. I'm sparing you.)

Anyway, I watched a woman on our morning news say, "A policeman banged on our door and said we had three minutes to evacuate because of the toxic fumes heading our way. Three minutes!"

Eegads. They couldn't return to their homes for at least 48 hours.

Immediately I (a.) Felt bad for this woman and her neighbors and (b.) recalled the sorry state of our 'bug-out box' upstairs. We'd eaten up half the supplies and I'd not replaced them nor had I included things like a change of clothes for each of us. Of course, I'd meant to (you know how that goes) but just hadn't. It's now a To Do on my list this week.

See? Who even needs an end-of-the-world scenario in Today's world? Always it pays to at least be a low-key, sensible prepper who's ready for a handful of scary scenarios. Really, you never know. 

How are your preparations going?

Here's my 'one stop shop for prepping' post. 


Saw this commonsense article online this morning about bad habits which can contribute to depression and anxiety. I'd never heard of Vitamin F, but if you've read here long, you know I swear by Vitamin D3.   :)


Spied this at Facebook yesterday:

Is that adorable or what?

Five years ago today we bought our own little yellow house. Can you believe it's been that long ago??


Free Kindle Books:

Waiting On God

A Death in Duck

Acts of Random Kindness

The Measure of Katie Calloway

The Recipe

All God's Children

Cookie Dough Crook

The Icecutter's Daughter

Mid-Life Career Rescue


Monday, August 29, 2016

No, Really--Your Part Matters.

"The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable."   ... 1 Corinthians 12:21,22


In high school I took Physical Science, obviously a required course, otherwise I'd never have darkened that door. Sheesh, I struggled and groaned through all but the Periodic Table part which--wildly-- I didn't hate. But the rest is a sorry, nightmarish blur. 

Yet, Mollie Bloomstrand (who sat beside me) understood it all. And she wasn't even haughty about it, but rather, I'd ask her questions and never did she make me feel like the science moron that I clearly was.

But still I wondered--why did science appear simple to Mollie (and various others), but not to me? Not much came easily to me, only English/creative writing and gymnastics and--Well, that's about it. (I was a whiz at French, though, in Jr. High.  Does that count?)

No, I had to strain my brain just to get report cards so average you'd yawn to see them.

If only I'd understood then about people being gifted by God to do certain necessary-for-our-world things. That He'd created and equipped taxi drivers and doctors and morticians and bakers (and all others) with specific giftings and world-spinning purposes in mind.

I never did really understand science (or higher math or playing musical instruments or--), but that was ok. God created me to be, amongst other things, a writer, and there came a time to accept that and stop kicking myself for not being talented at much else.

Need further proof of all this? Well, you can read about Mollie Bloomstrand online, (though she married a man whose last name is Bloomsmith. Did he sit in front of her in a class with alphabetized seating? Hmm... Interesting thought. ). Anyway, Mollie went on to become one of our Country's greatest authorities on behavior of primates in captivity. She's even Doctor Mollie and oh, can you imagine all the research and science classes she's had to take to get there

Here she is, at 57, still studying primates and publishing books/papers about the effects of 'zoo life' upon them, still leading teams in their hands-on research and still learning from the animals, themselves, all they can teach us.

And here I am, also at 57, just writing about life at Hobbit Cottage and all the ways God is so patient with me as I learn to know Him.

And we're both, Mollie and me, doing what God meant us to. 

We're fulfilling our wildly different callings so to make this world spin more smoothly--and that's just as it should be, with no competition or hanging of any heads via insecurity (me) or wishing we'd been given other gifts, instead. 

Nope, we're both encased within a peace which only comes from obedience to God and His unique, custom-made plan. And how sweet is that?

Sweet. Very sweet, indeed.

                    "We all need each other. Each person's calling is vital, important, yours included."


"One of the best cures for pain, illness and physical discomfort is creative thinking. It fills one with a sense of well-being, an indescribable joy which carries one's thoughts and imagination along, so that one's body can be forgotten. Creative effort lifts one above the senses of the corporeal body. It is in periods like these that I have come to realize that work is a sacred thing, a way to praise God."

.... Lois Lenski, Journey Into Childhood


Free Kindle Books:

The Marvelous Land of Oz

Anne of Green Gables: Complete Collection


Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Reminders in a Scary House

"For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it."  ... 1 Timothy 6:7


Yesterday Tom and I stepped into an estate sale house belonging to semi-hoarders. Oh my-- Chotchke City! Two floors of glass and ceramic trinkets stretched across tables and old Bakelite (and similar) radios, and jewelry, books and who-knows-what.

We both felt overwhelmed and actually concentrating on any specific item proved difficult. My eyes kept darting though windows facing the huge grey river behind the house, for it was peaceful and so unlike this crammed-with stuff split-level house.

And this was the second day of the sale! 

Of course, to be fair, drawers and closets must be emptied so to display items, so the house wasn't always like this. Also, the kitchen had recently been remodeled because it felt like stepping into an episode of Flip or Flop--but still--Tom and I whispered, "If all estate sales were like this one, we'd probably stay home, instead."

It was just too much. Too much stuff. 

Yet I did get to play Detective Debra. I spied 10 (or so) yearbooks, two copies of most, meaning this couple had attended the same high school, one only 2 blocks away as the crow flies, one from which I already owned the 1948 copy. If only I'd checked for their names, though! Piecing together yearbook students' later lives is a hobby of mine, but oh well, as I said, I couldn't think straight in there. 

It's like too much physical stuff can jump inside your head somehow and crowd out what you really want to think about.

Yet later, ol' Detective D. figured this couple fell in love in high school then bought this river's edge house brand new in the 50's and lived there always. Together. And that's a sweet story, one we see repeated lots around our area, one which reminds me why I've so enjoyed my 23 years in Western New York after coming from the transient states of California and Nevada.

Anyway, all we purchased was a dvd and this lighthouse picture, below, which I placed in my beloved closet room to act like a porthole. I'm pretending it's a window to a lighthouse and the sea (and yes, I have quite the imagination)--

Tom and I walked back to our car soberly. We recalled how, for years, we've hoped to not leave such a huge burden for Naomi by way of a big house crammed with possessions after we're gone (if the Lord tarries). Yet sometimes I feel we have a small house crammed with stuff. Uh-oh! Yet I do often drag a heavy bag (or two) down the street to the Salvation Army bin--but still--our basement remains crowded and we do own some stuff we neither currently neeeed or love, but it stays because we have room for it.

We drove away quiet in thought, both remembering past lessons and promises. (Our respect for everywhere-lessons keeps us from complaining about lots of folks who do things differently.) And yes, we visited a few more yard sales, but made purchases soberly while recalling that Wisdom chooses wisely and can release, from home, what one season found valuable, but now feels more like clutter because of change. 

We all change, as well as Time, circumstances and Life, all as it should because growth is like that. And may we willingly, without remorse or dread, change along with them. As needed.


"He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding..."   ... Daniel 2:21


My other (self-controlled) finds yesterday were these two fun vintage pillows which make me smile. I'll try to brighten them this week.


Free Kindle Books:

Anne's House of Dreams

The Bronte Sisters: The Complete Novels

Cassidy Jane

Take a Break

Come to Me Alive

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Just So You Won't Think The Summer Heat Melted Me...

Still here! Still learning some lessons I've already told you about and didn't want to go all summer-rerun-blah-blah-blah on you. 

You're welcome.  :)

I did forget to share a photo of another yard sale find--the pizza wheel:

Surely screams 1970's doesn't it? Of course I hung it on the wall (wouldn't everyone?) rather than hiding it inside a drawer. Rubber-band-ed with it were some dinner forks, rubber spatulas, a bottle opener and teaspoons all for, get this, just .25 cents. What fun to come home, remove the rubber band and examine each item.

Actually, it reminded me of when, as a child, my family visited my grandparents and we all attended an auction. The adults went halfsies and bought a largish sealed box for $2 which everyone stood around later and opened upon my grandparents' stone porch. I don't recall a single thing inside the box, but I do remember the giddy suspense as each item was lifted out and shown all around. Young and old, we felt it that evening, a collective wonder of what treasures the box could hold and the closeness of family within that literal circle surrounding it

Funny how we can travel back in our minds nearly 50 years ago like that, right? How wonderful of God to insert the ability to keep our loved ones close while, presently, they dwell so far away.

                             Another yard sale find that same day.


I'm rereading Clara's delightful cookbook and she's almost got me convinced to stop trying to save steps in the kitchen (a la Lillian Gilbreth) or dreaming about a one-level house, laundry on that level, included (rather than a basement one).

Here's what 94-year-old Clara wrote:

"Always use the stairs. People tell me that I shouldn't be going up and down my stairs at my age, but I need them--they keep me limber. So what if we wear out our shoes if we keep ourselves fit?"

"If you don't think you have time to exercise, just clean your kitchen. I think it's kind of silly--the people jogging. Scrubbing my floors and counters makes everything strong, and my kitchen looks good."

"I like scrubbing the floor clean on my hands and knees with a hard-bristled brush. It doesn't get clean any other way. Sure, there were some things that made life easier, but some things I never really trusted."

There are reasons people like Clara live to be 98. Maybe we should listen to their wisdom, right? They just may be in on a few secrets.

"These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God."   ... Titus 2:4,5

"Clara makes you feel like you can do anything!"  
 ... by Dakota in an Amazon review


Just a few words from another interesting and sweet obituary from my old hometown in CA:

Matt was a warm, loving husband, a gentle man who loved the out doors. He had many talents … among them, a skilled builder, champion jet skier, motocross rider and snowboarder. A man's man with a tender heart, he was full of life, enthusiastic and up for anything. He possessed a quick sense of humor and was a wonderful cook, happy and always whistling.

He was so loved and will be missed.


And now I return you to your regularly-scheduled summer afternoon.


Free Kindle Books:

The Complete Father Brown Anthology

Gabby Gibson: Middle School Detective

Me, Jill Robinson! Seaside Mystery

My Journey to Live From the Inside Out

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Cool Day and Winning a Different Way

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."   ... James 1:17


We in Buffalo are currently experiencing a miracle.

Sane weather.

Oh wow, for the first time in too many weeks, I sat outside on the porch this morning and read. I still have the windows open, even.

Truly, what a celebratory thing--and my cup overfloweth.


Did you see that greeny-yellow bowl in the photo, above? In a dusty garage at an estate sale this weekend I picked it up then, in the kitchen, snatched this plaque which my own going-for-the-1970's-look kitchen simply must have:

Love it. Even the little white paint drips.

The house was built in 1946, wasn't fancy or very vintage-dreamy, but oh, look at their view of the Niagara River:

My, my, my.

Anyway, speaking of estate sales, some of you have told me your area never has them.

I can't imagine such a catastrophe! Never being able to walk through old houses, time capsules, not redecorated in decades? Yikes!

But you know? I got to thinking. Different areas have different names for estate sales. Sometimes they're called tag sales or household sales or even house sales. Other times they're advertised as a garage sale and in fine print in the newspaper ad you'll see 'whole house' mentioned.

Just thought I'd pass along that encouraging thought, for hey! You never know. You just may yet be able to 'play Tom and Debra on their weekends'.  It's one terrific sport, indeed. :)


And now in my haste to return to the front porch while I still comfortably can, here's what God's been working into me lately, in a variety of ways, almost like you'd kneed a batch of bread dough (oh dear):

"In relationships, don't try to win, but rather, understand the other person. You'll never find peace if your insecurity feeds your need to always be right."

Ouch. Sometimes we can slide back into old habits without realizing we "Wheeeeeeeeee...." went on that old ride again.

Or am I the only one?


"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."   ... Ephesians 4:32


Enjoy your today, even if it's in such a simple way as Daniel has chosen:


Tom and I super-enjoyed this YouTube video:

A Journey Home: 40th High School Reunion, Niagara Falls High School. 

...even though we didn't graduate from that school, though yes, we're familiar with the area and that added interest. But even so, this video was very well done and to me, had universal appeal, especially if you're interested in the not-too-far-away past of Niagara Falls, NY.

Check it out if you're feeling sentimental and have 25 minutes to spare on a lazy summer afternoon. Lots of retro and bittersweet stuff there.


Free Kindle Books:

Home Before Dark

Edith Wharton: The Complete Collection

Tapas, Carrot Cake and a Corpse


Friday, August 19, 2016

So What Are You Drinking?

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

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."   ... Romans 12:21


So lately it's been like God's encouraging me to drink more.

Let me explain. 

This old world seems twice as bad as usual (and that's saying something) so I'm feeling like I need to absorb, drink, if you will, twice as much of Good Things. You know, so to combat the craziness with a peaceful, calm spirit.

Actually, I've felt God nudging me to watch more Joyce M. and inspirational Youtube videos like Oprah's old episodes (deal with it) and shows where people help others (yes, like Emergency) so I don't just think of myself.

And to meditate more upon the Bible as well as read light-hearted books like ones by Betty MacDonald, Erma Bombeck and Rosemary Taylor so to strengthen my head lest it faint during the News and all that mean-people-stress out there. You know, 'so to keep my head while others are losing theirs.'

Drink-in more, more, more than usual, He says.

And oh! Guess what arrived in my mailbox yesterday?

Oh Clara... I never even met you, but I miss you. How could I not when I read your delightful words like these:

"Pasta with Garlic and Oil... It's still my favorite. I still make it for myself sometimes. I used to use my small pot without the handle to make this. I really loved that pot, but it started getting dangerous lifting it off the hot stove with pliers, so I had to throw it away. I hate to throw things away."

I've bought scads of cookbooks, but Clara's is wildly-awesome. Her stories of Depression Era life invigorate me, push my summer-lazy-self into finally cleaning the bathroom floor beneath the hamper, mowing the lawn, ironing and wiping down the kitchen stove.

I read her book and can't sit still. 

Clara's hard work as a teenager helped her family survive and her words spur me to push past Easyville. I've not told you just how hard this summer's been on me (only hinted), but books like Clara's (and other inspirational outlets mentioned, above) infuse me with what's necessary to more than just survive these humid summer afternoons. With faith and strong hope, I can believe tomorrow will be better.

So what are you drinking--the good stuff? I hope so. Maybe I'll scan the room at the Happiness Within Cafe and see you there. Perhaps we can sit together and count our blessings. 

Now, that would be cool.

"Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again."   ... John 4:13


" ... while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it..."   ... 2 Timothy 3:13,14


You know about Clara's Depression era online cooking videos, right?


Oh! I discovered another vintage blog. It's awesome! Find it here:

The Glamorous Housewife  

And while there, I even discovered Retro Depot. Wow! Fun stuff.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Christian Movie I Didn't Exactly Love

"But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord."  ... James 1:6,7


Now, nobody have a cow or anything, all right? :)

On Saturday while eating take-out, Tom and I watched the movie, Miracles From Heaven.


I loved the (short) part after the tree incident, but the rest? Not so much. I mean, I kept waiting for things.

I waited for the family to cling to faith for a good end. To vow to believe for healing no matter what. I waited for a solid, peace-from-trust perseverance to appear. And I especially waited for a deep love for God to shine, the kind which declares "even though He slay me, still will I trust Him."(Job 13:15)

In those 109 minutes, I never spied any of that.  

No, I saw fear. Fear so huge that it pushed out all faith, leaving no room for it. (Even weariness from believing would've been refreshing.) I saw resentment toward God, family and church members, no positive talk about Heaven (before the tree incident), and very little of making the best out of a bad situation (except from mostly the non-Christians). There was a brief mention of 'Jesus will be with you, also,' to another patient, but it felt surprising almost. Like it came from an untouched field where the main character hadn't walked, herself.

And yes, this movie was based on a family's true journey which 'was what it was.' It would be wrong to portray the story in a more strong-faith, powerful light and I'd never suggest that, of course.

It all just discouraged me. Why? Because the world longs for God and answers and godly heroes, but we in 2016 so often disappoint them. We're generally missing those things, ourselves, so we cannot give them to the hungry.

If only we'd allow the Holy Spirit to remake us. To let the Bible change the way we think, behave and speak in all situations, best or worst, and prepare us for the unseen ahead. If only we passionately loved God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, shone like bright lights and longed for His will more than our own.

If only.
If only.
If only.

Again, I loved the part of the film following the tree incident, but mostly? I can't recommend this movie. I found it too much like Real Life, not as it could be, but as it usually just plain ol' is.

Barring the miracle, of course, the one God was mega-mega-mega merciful to give.

            "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power."   ... Ephesians 6:10


"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."  ... Romans 12:2

"A positive expectation that something good is about to happen--that's what it means to have hope."   ... Joyce Meyer


This is the best pepper plant we've ever had or perhaps I should have planted the others in a pot rather than the ground. We've had tons of these chili-type peppers already and they're not too hot or too mild, but rather, just right.


Free Kindle Books:

How God Blows Me Away

Sharpe Shooter

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sheesh. Should Have Asked Sooner.

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


So if you've been following my little soap opera here, you know that Naomi returned home from Georgia last October.

And it's been great having her back! 

Well, except for one thing. The night owl part. The she's-a-waitress(server)-and-a-musician-and-we-all-know-what-hours-they-keep part. She started all that at age 18 so you'd think I'd be used to her coming in at 4 or 5 a.m. by now. 

But no. 

Two a.m. or earlier, yes. But not later. I've tried. Tried to sleep soundly at 3:00 a.m. knowing she's not home, but it's hard not to keep waking up and checking. And of course, I want to give Naomi freedom in her mid-30's, just as I'd wish for myself had I been living with my own parents at that age. There's that.

And yes, people are quick to quip, "Just put her in God's hands." (Usually folks who've never faced this situation, who never wonder if their kids will come in anywhere from midnight to 7:00 a.m., I've noticed.) Even Tom told me to go to a different head space, but then, he never notices if Naomi's home by any time. (Men...) The only worrying he's done was whether Naomi would have a cow if I asked her to make some changes.

But what bothers me most? I so respect wisdom. I crave it and love verses like this:

"Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you."  ... Proverbs 4:6

... and well, call me old-fashioned, but I don't believe it's wise for a young woman to be out at 4:00 a.m. For one thing, my lying-in-bed prayers start sounding like this, "God, please let Naomi get away with not using wisdom and not giving us hints as to when she'll return. Amen."

And that just feels wrong.

Finally I couldn't take the no-grace-ness of it all. I told Naomi that if she won't be home by 5:00 a.m., I need her to leave a text or email. I'd feel much better if she would.

And you know? She was fine with that. Grace was all over our conversation and Naomi now even gives me brief verbal itineraries of her daily hours with expected return times.

Wow. The worry weight lifted. I've been a.o.k. ever since.

Truly sometimes 'we have not because we ask not." And seriously, how many other times could I have had what I needed if only I'd asked someone rather than complaining, worrying or playing the martyr (even subconsciously)?

But complaining is not asking. 
Worrying is not asking. 
And playing martyr is certainly not asking.

So today if you need something, I'd recommend you ask. 

Ask. For help around the house. For encouragement.
Ask. For that new toaster. For a friend.
Ask. For favor. For cooler weather.


Hey, who knows? Maybe all sorts of wonderful things will only be released to us after we ask.

“So I say to you, ask and keep on asking, and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking, and you will find..." ... Luke 11:9

Something which mega helped? I saw this, below, at Facebook on the morning I knew for certain I'd have to say something to Naomi.
Confirmation City! 

"As I continue to move you past mindsets of your past, not only will I give you wisdom to make righteous decisions, but I will also give you strength to implement necessary changes too. I have granted you the discernment to identify the problem, and wisdom to identify solutions, and now I am also giving you the strength to make the changes needed. I will give you all the pieces you need, and assist you in assembling them together."   ... Neil Vermillion


And uh-oh! Here's another reason you may want to start doing some asking.  :)

Stress Literally Shrinks Your Brain


And for my fellow lovers of all things vintage, here's a fun blog for you.

(A special thanks to Pam for recommending it!)


Free Kindle Books:

Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar

Chili to Die For