Thursday, December 14, 2017

Christmas Gifts for My Readers 2017

Here are some simple gifts just for you during this Christmas season. Hopefully there's something for everyone. Enjoy!


1.) Clara's Depression Era Cooking videos. Clara is an inspiring gift all year long!

2.) Here's a fun Christmassy farmhouse tour for you.

3.) For free printable gift tags go here. You'll find others here.

4.)  Go here to read hundreds of free classic books.

5.)  To read millions(!) of free books, go here.

6.) Enjoy browsing through vintage dress patterns? Click here.

7.)  You'll find awesome nature photography here.

8.) My all-time favorite decrepit-old-house photographer is here.

9.)  To get a free Kindle Cloud Reader for your PC, click here.

10.)  I'm really enjoying my free trial of Hulu--so many great tv series there! Go here to sign up (and if you have Ebates, don't forget to click the button!).

11.)  Interested in reading what was happening the year you were born?  Go here.

12.)  Here you'll find free video teachings from my very favorite 

13.)  For a free issue of Good Old Days Magazine, click here.

14.)  You'll find many free printable charts to help get you organized here.

15.)  And here you'll find 100+ ways to organize your home.

16.)  To listen to hours of vintage Christmas music online, go here. Oh! And my buddy, Ann, just now shared this fun-ness with me: KMart In-Store Music 1974.  (Ahh... memories.)

17.)  For many and varied holiday gift ideas click here.

18.)  Go here for 1,000+ free online courses.

19.)  You'll find lots of free dollhouse printables here.

20.)  To receive daily emails with offers of free Kindle books, go here. (You can customize the book categories you'd like to see.)


And repeat after me:  "This year I refuse to let December make me crazy!" 😏


Oh! And if you ever need images/photos for Facebook/blogging/Twitter, etc., just do a search for any theme/Bible verse/quote you'd like, then add the word 'image' to it. 

That's how I find all the free images I use here and at Facebook.

For example, to find the images I used in today's post, I just did a search for 'vintage Christmas images'. (Go here if you'd like to see the many I couldn't fit here!)


Winter has come to stay awhile here in Buffalo! Time for snuggling up with good books, music, snacks and tv.  


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Little House On The Schoolyard

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way."  2 Thessalonians 3:16


For years I've meant to show you something.

Here it is, on the back route to our movie theater. The Little House On The Schoolyard --

(From the other side of the street, this all looks odder.)

It's the only house on this side of two long blocks, in fact, another school, an older one, is at the left, across the street. (Can you imagine the congestion during mornings and afternoons?!)

Always as we drive past, this makes me smile. 

Why? Because--every time--I picture city men in suits, in 2006, stepping up to the door, then telling the owners, "Now, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. We've mailed you many notices that a school is being built here. We've offered you a generous amount of money to move. Your neighbors are moving. What's the hold up?"

Which makes the couple scowl, and the husband growl, "We built this house and we're staying! I carried my wife over this threshold and we raised our children here. No one's forcing us off our land. Get it straight--We're. Not. Moving."

And of course, part of me admires anyone willing to go against The Man. It takes guts to do that, guts which, most days, I don't have.

Another part of me wonders what Tom and I would've done in that leave-your-house! situation. Knowing us, we'd, most likely, have snatched up the stipend and eagerly called the moving van. A new adventure in a blank-slate home--whoopee!

But of course, many people would've fought.

Many folks go all rabid-loyal about their homes, declaring, "You'll have to carry me out feet first!". And I understand that--I do. But, seriously, I can't imagine feeling that way, myself, in this temporary world. 

Yet one thing I know for certain. I must always ask God first how He feels. Why? Because if I do the opposite of that, my peace phhht! Floats away. And what a horrible thing to live without peace. 

What I've seen? If, in this case, God nudged us to move--and we did--we'd have peace in the new home place. And if He asked us to stay, we'd have peace there, too. Yes, and even much grace, as well, while living in a little house on the schoolyard.

But here's my confession: I'd really be hoping God wanted  us to move away someplace else.  😃


Speaking of houses, oooooo.... Here's a mansion which was abandoned 50 years ago with its possessions left behind.

Which--in a way--reminds me of one estate sale Tom and I attended in a lovely colonial home. All of the beautiful possessions were still there! Clothes, dishes, shoes, furniture, cosmetics, books, paintings. Each room, including the two children's bedrooms, looked as though the family had simply walked away one night.

Eerie, really. But oh, other than that, this was the house of my dreams (down to the choice of wallpaper and paint) and I walked up the stairs, and down, as though inside a dream.


Monday, December 11, 2017

Tom and Debra's Big Night Out 2017

Read here long? Then you know that Tom and Debra, normally, get one big night out a year. This time ours was Saturday.

Tom's company's holiday party was held in the lovely Delaware Park area of Buffalo where the neighborhoods turn you envy-green --

 Well, the party was pleasant, held in what reminded me of an old-fashioned pub, though the roaming violin quartet playing in my ears (literally) and the loud talk and high-decibel laughter did, at times, squeeze the will to live from me.  But other than that, we had fun.

But you know where we'd, earlier, gone to make good our reservation for overnight? The Buffalo Asylum for the Insane. Seriously.

Though now it's called Hotel Henry and mega millions of dollars have been poured into its restoration for its many uses for Buffalo tourists and townsfolk.

We parked here, at the back --

And this place was so huge that every time we left our room, we got lost! No big deal except just to get to the elevator we had to walk down this l-o-n-g hall and my new, pretty shoes hurt my poor feet like crazy. 

And yet, even after all the refurbishment of this asylum--still--you could almost feel folks from 100+ years ago ambling along beside you. (Or perhaps what I felt was all of you, my readers, for really, I bring you with me wherever I go.)

Our room's ceiling must have been 20 feet high and wow, the tall windows!

(My poor ol' aqua breakfast robe looked horrible and Daniel-snagged in this room.  I came home and ordered a robe online.)

We left early Sunday morning for I needed to give Sammy The Cat his thyroid pill and I snapped this photo as we left --

Very cool seeing all the lights. Beside this, though, is a section which is still abandoned and in the darkness looked eerie --

Anyway, how wonderful that they didn't simply raze this entire place (and put up a parking lot, as Joni sang) just because much of it looked like this --

One of the best things about Buffalo? They're never quick to implode history. They don't simply acquiesce to that just-give-up spirit. If it's possible to keep something alive, they will--and it shows. 

All over town it shows.


If you'd like to read about the history of this enormous old asylum, you can go here (tons of old, old photos there) and here


Oh, and after giving Sammy his pill, Tom and I went out for breakfast at a nearby place with just the right vintage mood then to an estate sale where I found these small Cherry Jeffe Huldah paintings for my collection, only $1 each.

Alhough, oh dear. The estate sale house totally stole my heart-- a 1940's 3 bedroom ranch where obvious kindred spirits had lived-----closets and pantries and wallpapered-bedrooms, oh my!

As for our entire weekend? Though it was wonderful to venture out into the big world, it feels awfully nice to be home within the quiet and simplicity.  💛


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Why Rudolph's World Scares Me

It just isn't the Christmas season in my blog unless I re-share this post from 2006. I need reminding of stuff like this. 

(And I'm not just talking Rudolph's World, either.)


Does anyone else see this?

The movie, Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer bothers me. My kitchen radio plays this song and I roll my eyes and frown.

I mean, think about it. Here's this adorably-cute reindeer who was born with a bright, red nose. As if he could help it! And suddenly he grows up, goes to reindeer school and gets ridiculed (dare I say bullied?) by his intolerant, bratty little schoolmates just because his bright, cherry-red nose isn't small, dark and boring like everyone else's.

And because of that one (tiny) difference, he's scorned. The majority don't take the time to discover that, really, Rudolph is a darn nice kid, uh, reindeer. He loves his parents, he's sweet and just wants to be accepted like the other deer at reindeer school. 

But no, that's asking too much. Even his teachers laugh at him (shame on them!).

But then, poof! Suddenly, Christmas Eve rolls in all foggy-like and since Santa can't see to drive his sleigh, Christmas is nearly cancelled. But then someone remembers that goofy little kid, Rudolph, the one with the red lantern nose, and Rudolph is whisked to the head of the reindeer pack. Christmas is saved, thanks to that odd reindeer who, just the previous week, was considered a royal loser.

Oh but now--now!--Rudolph is a hero. And then how the reindeer 'loved him' (if that's love, I'll take spaghetti). They even shouted-out with glee, because of course, now, Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer is going down in history.

But only after he proved himself a useful member of society. Only after his 'disability' saved Christmas for all of mankind. Only after Rudolph became a valuable asset, a famous reindeer and a credit to his family and the entire world at large.

Give me a break.

Right there is the kind of stuff which is stressing us out and making us appreciation-hungry nuts. The fact is, Rudolph was valuable before that foggy Christmas Eve. He was a creation of God, a son, a friend, a member of woodland society and just a sweet little deer. And here is the truth:

Today God would have sent Jesus to die for you, even if you were the only person on Earth.

Today God loves you just as you are, famous or unknown. For you are not unknown to Him.

Today, even if you overcame all your weaknesses, God wouldn't love you any better than He does right this minute.

Today, if Jesus dwells in your heart, God is thrilled that you are His child. He'd never trade you for all the perfect, got-it-all together, famous, Christmas-saving people in the whole World.


And I hope you'll remember that.


"It’s important to know not only who you are, but who you’re not. If you don’t know this, you’ll spend your life trying to be something that you’re not. When you go through life trying to be something you’re not, you’ll be frustrated. There’s no grace; it’s uphill, always a struggle. Don’t compete, don’t compare; be you."   --- Joel Osteen


Oh, and after my last post, it was said that sometimes we must push back. And yes! God does ask us to do that sometimes. But He wouldn't have us do it with sarcasm and snarkiness which only makes people mad and dig their heels in tighter. 

At least, that's what I believe.


Saturday, December 09, 2017

Yikes! When Debra Got Convicted In A Comment Box.

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."   ... Colossians 4:6


Last week while reading a Yahoo article regarding President Trump's declaration that we recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capitol, I became miffed that, in the midst of such a historic time, the writer concentrated on the President's vocal delivery of the speech, hinting at possible health/sanity problems.

Then I read the comments (big mistake), felt horribly annoyed that people could be so mean to those with whom they disagree--and said so.

Uh-oh. One person then replied I had no room to talk because, months ago (when you click on a person's name, all their previous comments pop up) I'd said, "Snowflakes! Snowflakes are falling everywhere."

Now at first I thought, "Good grief. There's a huge difference between that and the cruel, mocking, degrading statements people are making this morning."

But then, clicking on my name, I read the ten comments I'd written over the years while feeling that, hey, I deserve to let off a bit of political steam somewhere-- and uh-oh. Five of my responses, though super-tame by comparison, still sounded sarcastic and snarky. Oh, bad, bad tone.

Wow. I even thought, "Who was that woman?" Because, really? She's not me now. Now Debra wouldn't make those same comments. 

So I repented to God, first, then deleted any comment which even hinted at not caring that people were hurting over things not currently hurting me. 

And oh, it was Conviction City around here. What I want now--more than to let off steam--is to be part of the solution, not the problem. 

Tons of folks are shooting-off harsh words, hitting, harming others. Yet only a fraction seek to be led by compassion and speak the truth in love as Jesus would.

Which means more than just 'toning down' my comments, believing they're ok with God because, hey! They're not even in the same time zone as mean. Nope, that's too much like this --

"Comparing themselves amongst themselves, they are not wise."  ... 2 Corinthians 10:12 

Oh, some of my readers may think, "But it's not fair to hold back what we really feel!" Yet, actually? It's not about holding in what we feel, rather, it's more about letting go of what doesn't please God. Of giving Him more room within us so He can, through us, love and understand others better. 

It's about growing, changing and dying to the sarcasm and snarkiness temptations.

After all --

"It's no longer I who live, but Christ who lives within me."    ... Galations 2:20

Yes, even in a 2017 world where opinions fly as freely as birds, everywhere.

"For by your words you will be justified and by your words you'll be condemned."   ... Matthew 12:37



And on a rather similar note, here's a quote from Cheryl Strayed, which she made here, shortly after the release of Gilmore Girls--A Year In the Life :

 “This is such a beautiful, painful part of life,” she said. “Sometimes it takes even more strength to remember the love and the kindness and the generosity that we’ve received from people than it is to remember how they hurt us, or how they didn’t live up to our hopes and expectations. To admit to their gentleness or their beauty is more painful, I think. It’s not about fighting, it’s about accepting. It’s about saying, ‘Okay, I can see the whole you and I’m not going to fight you anymore. I’m going to accept you.’”


Wednesday, December 06, 2017

December This and That (And Some Shopping Stuff)

1.) Sometimes I miss the ol' hometown where I finished high school, met Tom, and where we began our little family, the town from whose obituaries I occasionally share lines with you.

So recently, at Ebay, I found a postcard from Chester, CA and now display it within our hutch --

What a delight to walk past this and remember those younger-us days.

2.) Oh! It's that rare time of year when Dollar Tree, for 72 hours only, offers a flat shipping rate of $4.95 for your entire order. Normally, you must pay, like, $7+ shipping on every single case you buy(!), so this, folks, is special.  😏 Check it out here (offer ends 12/8 at 11:59 p.m.).

3.)  Two fun things to watch:

The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special.  (During my lone college year I got to watch a dress rehearsal of her show. Such a terrific memory!) You can actually watch this anniversary show online right this minute. Go here.

The Psych Movie. This was a favorite tv series of our family and they're returning on Thursday for a reunion movie. Should be fun.

Oh! Want to watch it online? Go here.

4.) Here's a great idea for renters or others who'd like a new backsplash, but not pay a high price in cash/construction messes/patience -- White Subway Tile Temporary Backsplash. Pretty cool!

5.)  Look what I found at Etsy --

Fits my kinda-sorta-French bathroom perfectly. (Doesn't it feel great when you stop procrastinating and just make the improvements you've considered for years?)

6.)  Now here's something you don't see everyday(!)

7.)  Sometimes I think, "Wouldn't it be pleasant to have prints made of my favorite digital photos that I've taken? (Our printer, being a headache, is evil and I avoid it.)

Well, finally I got serious. Monday I visited various places online that will mail photo prints to you, but good grief! Complication City.

Sorely tempted to give up, a tiny voice said, "Try Walmart." For goodness sake! Clicked over there and easey-peasey. Yet one more thing to add to my What Took You So Long? list. Sheesh.  (And we're not talking wedding photos here, so I'm not expecting perfection. Just some prints to hold in my hands and to send to my mom, as well.)

8.) The strangest thing happened! While signing up for a free month at Hulu, my Ebates button popped up, saying, "Save up to $25." So while thinking that didn't even apply in this case, I clicked the button anyway.

Hours later I received a typical 'cash back update email' from Ebates and whoa! They said I'd earned $15 because of signing up with Hulu. And here I'd planned to cancel and pay nothing(!)

But anyway, of course now I feel guilty. In fact, if I were the boss at Ebates, I'd march over and snatch that $15 away from me, pronto.  😊 But hey, Hulu does have some great tv series. Hmmm. Perhaps I'll stay awhile longer, especially since, technically, it'd be free.

(Oh, and the reason I signed-up? Bronson Pinchot (at Facebook) said Hulu has all seasons of Perfect Strangers.  Hooray!)

9.  Had another gorgeous sunrise this week --

Can you believe God's creativity?

10.) And lastly, how do I spend my credit card rewards cash? On votives for our fireplace each Winter. 

Just looking at those flickering flames in the sundae glasses warms me till Springtime. 😉