Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Finding a Way. Again.

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content."  ... Philippians 4:11


Even as a little girl I loved marble. Eons later I still do.

Now, do I have marble counter tops or even ones which look like marble? Uh, no. Certain things just don't seem to be able to happen 'round here--and that is one of them.

Remember that post where I suggested rather than complaining about what you can't do, just do what you can? Well, once again I heeded my own advice. From Ebay for a good price, I (finally) bought a marble pastry board--

Ooooo. I loved it so much that, immediately, I stepped here to the computer and ordered another one. It arrived yesterday afternoon --

Now of course, they're not the same as whole new counter tops and yet? They still delight my eyes and senses: the sound of Fiestware as it's placed upon the marble. The juxtaposition of ceramic or glass upon it. The warm glow of a lamp upon a cool stone surface.

You know. 

And I'm not even planning on actually using them for pastry or slicing vegetables. Nah, I just enjoy staring at them. And feeling happy.

At this moment, I don't need a whole, long hunk of marble to make me any happier than I am already.

(And somewhere, there's a lesson mixed up in all that.)


Tom, being male and all, enjoys describing his aches and pains. Me? Not so much. 

Like, I've not even told you that for two months I've had a bit of plantar fasciitis. For the blissfully ignorant of such things, that's where the bottom of your heel hurts when you walk upon it.

Now, it's not been a bad case (and oh, people out there have much worse problems). I've read about what helps and given my foot lots of rest and become adept at walking on tip-toe with barely a limp. Yet twice I took walks when I thought it had healed, but alas, no, it hadn't. Ouch.

But hey, it's not been a big deal and not too painful--just mostly annoying.

So why even mention it? Because of this, I've still not visited that new coffee shop around the corner. The one I declared I'd walk to the minute they opened, the one which God granted me as a reprieve for never stepping into the one which closed.

And uh-oh. I've been nervous that--after 6 weeks of being opened--they'll shut-down before I get there. (Tsk. Tsk. Oh Debra of Little Faith.)

Maybe I'll do Plan B. Instead of walking there, perhaps I'll have Tom drive me and we'll go inside together. He did sweetly volunteer earlier for that, but I told him he'd had his chance with the last place--twice I'd hinted I'd like us to go, but he just nodded and kept on driving. So this time I said, "No, I'll go by myself so I can be sure I get there."

Hmmm. Ol' Debra might just have to eat some crow with her donut while she and Tom sit at a table in that shop. If they do actually make it this time.

Stay tuned.

(The lesson here is pretty clear--always keep your options open and don't go burning any bridges you may want to someday cross.)  😉



Friday, October 13, 2017

Just a New Wardrobe? Maybe Not.

"...and make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands..." ...1 Thessalonians 4:11


Some women meditate lots about their own clothing, shoes, and they notice what everyone else wears--whether folks' clothes are up-to-date, coordinated, flattering.

I am not one of those women.

But since this past Spring? Grace has hung around my house and head, encouraging me that, hey, "After around a decade, it's time to  pull together a new wardrobe. Something with less black, more color. A casual clothes collection with variety and accessories so you can do what you need to with a bit of added confidence."

And what I love about Grace is that--when she tells you to do something--she declares it a season and then gives you the 'want to'.

The stamina.
The inspiration.
The best leads to sales. 
The right books, teachers and tv shows (like, I've been watching What Not To Wear reruns at 6:00 a.m. on TLC)

Oh and I've studied my wardrobe books, taken lots of notes--

And frankly, I'd be loopy to procrastinate Grace's nudgings. She won't wait forever--Grace tends to move on to the next thing after a reasonable time and if you dawdled or chose to, say, hone your writing skills when Grace wanted to update your wardrobe? 

Oh honey--look out. Struggle Time is coming. 

Yep, push away Grace and replace her with Just You and you won't have much fun, energy or success, either.

So well, I updated my wardrobe.

  (Both were from Salvation Army. Online I bought black tights and shoes to wear with this. Scarves, too.)

And you know? Mostly, I'm shocked at how smoothly it went. Systematically, calmly, detail-oriented-like.

Oh ok, there were times while shopping online that I felt steam coming from my ears. I'd discover the perfect top at a clearance price, but they'd be out of my size. Or something with potential had 0 comments--or--half the comments said 'buy a size up!' and the other half said 'it's true to size.' Or pieces I loved were expensive or totally out-of-stock (over and over) or else, just had a couple ugly colors left.

But then I'd remember Grace. How, with her, you've gone too far when you're considering taking a hammer to your computer. 😉 So I'd step away, read or watch tv and cool down. Then try again another time or day, even. Then often, I'd find something much better.

I also asked Grace to show me the best weekends to shop at our local Salvation Army and wow. The terrific deals I found there.

Oh, and even though Stacie and Clinton say not to wear capri's if you're short, I saw my buddy, Judy, wearing them in a photo, noted she looked adorable, and then bought two. And now love them to pieces.

Anyway. Although this post appears mostly feminine, lightweight and not exactly important, let me add this --

This isn't just about the clothes. 

Follow Grace. Her timing. Her ideas, even if they run counter-clockwise to The News and how the world's currently spinning. With Grace, all is relevant and vital regarding a personal future we're unsure of. Grace comes from God who always knows exactly why He's doing what He's doing--

--and we can safely, calmly rely upon them both.

"To obey is better than sacrifice..."  ...  1 Samuel 15:22

"Throughout our lives, God's grace bestows temporal blessings and spiritual gifts that magnify our abilities and enrich our lives. His grace refines us. His grace helps us become our best selves."
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Today what is Grace leading you to do?



And for those whose current season of Grace revolves around decorating your home, check out this helpful article ---


Today would've been my dear grandmother's 104th birthday. There aren't many people who I miss-- but these are two of the few.


For days I've been praying for all involved with the California fires. While growing-up, I lived near some of those areas and have friends there. It's so devastating--one of those things only a total reliance upon God can get a person through sanely.


Thursday, October 05, 2017

Come Heal With Me. Or Not. That's Ok.

"But even the hairs of your head are all numbered."   ... Matthew 10:30


Tom and I were cute, young, but so clueless when we ministered each Saturday night at our (tiny) town's senior hospital wing. Back then, I wondered why the women's heads told them it was the 1950's rather than the 80's,  but oh Honey--I get it now.

Thinking backward feels so comforting, especially when you don't like what Life's dolling out to you now.

And after this latest tragedy in Las Vegas, it's like my sanity has encouraged me to take a couple backward journeys, myself. Oh, some Christians insist God heals us only in specific holy-holy-holy ways (piffle!), but long ago I lifted Him out of that box.

Why? He created us all uniquely and it only makes sense that He comforts us uniquely, as well.

Selah. (Or, pause and calmly think about that.)

Anyway, maybe you'd like to journey backward with me today. If so, here we go --- 

We moved here to New York state in 1993. Even that late, our local plaza still had this decades-old diner--

                                                          Illustration by Paul Lachacz

Oh, by this time the vinyl seats had holes and a sort of grey pallor hung over everything, but I'd always stare while quickly walking past to the variety store. I'd think, "Wow! It's like that place is the 1940's held and kept within glass. Tom, Naomi and I need to go there."

Of course, we waited too long. Just months later, Your Host closed forever (which may help you understand better why I was so upset with myself for not visiting that coffee shop nearby before it shut down).

You snooze, you lose. You procrastinate, you create regrets.

Anyway, don't you love that illustration? I discovered it at a Facebook group I belong to, one which chats about our former town, reliving the old days. In fact, I belong to a similar group from the place where I graduated and also met Tom. They keep me up-to-date while also reminding me about what I loved there.

Say what you will about Facebook, but I appreciate it. Much.


Now, decades ago I'd have been too embarrassed to tell you this, but my Internet-found kindred spirits will understand and not label me wacko.

What is it? This morning while searching through local real estate online, I came upon another example of A Dream Kitchen For Debra --

Oh! Oh! Did you see the little refrigerator tucked into it's own cubby? And the old stove? And the retro table set?

(Insert a long happy sigh here.) This is my favorite type of house to discover at estate sales. Truly, I feel blessed to have walked through so many here in dear old Western New York where God brought me 24 years ago because He knew I'd love living where the Old Days are still so very Present.



As for the rest of today? I will wrap myself in an apron, take laundry downstairs, then bring it up again where I'll hang it outside on a clothes rack.

I'll look through some vintage magazines. I'll dust, vacuum. Fill the bird feeder.

I'll think June Cleaver thoughts and maybe even scrub the bathtub. I'll sit on the front porch, drink hot chocolate, read and glance down the street at the gleaming blue river.

And I'll thank God for Autumn. For family. And most of all for Him through whom all blessings flow and flow and flow. Even in 2017.


"For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust."   ... Psalm 103:14


Wednesday, October 04, 2017

First We Grieve. Then We Heal.

"But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days."  ... 2 Timothy 3:1


Monday evening after Tom arrived home, I stood before our front window closing our mustard-paisley curtains. Always I do that, but this time? I paused, feeling like my fingers had shut out the awful outside world. And it felt good to do so.

I'd had enough of that world and of the pain from the Las Vegas massacre news. As you know, I'd lived in Nevada--and that brings the tragedy closer to ones heart. We'd once visited Las Vegas, also. 

The Bible says 'grieve with those who grieve' and I've allowed my heart to do that.  People who ignore grief or shove it downward for later (or never) find they cannot heal at all. Watch the hoarder shows--you'll see.

"First we grieve, then we heal." My mind keeps repeating that, so I've been grieving with millions. 

And now God's healing my heart.

I'm so grateful that God didn't just float a warning down to us (via the Bible) that these horrible days were coming and then poof! Disappear. No, He promised He'd never leave us, then He provided the Holy Spirit, the best comforter of all.

And I'm grateful for the reminders at these times that my own frustrations, annoyances and so-called problems are--in reality--incredibly tiny. Seldom worth mentioning. Times like these I recall what and who really matters.

Yet back to our front curtains--that was a permissible day/time for me to shut out the world, but not a 'forever time'. No, with all the evil out in that world, I, we, need to double the love we show. Double our obedience to God when He says "give". 

And double our empathy, our compassion, especially now so to honor those who can no longer help loved ones left behind, hurting.

And as always, it's in giving that we, ourselves, continue to heal.

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another comforter, to be with you forever..."   ... John 14:16

"Encouragement for today: “This is a tough time to be alive.” But I want to encourage you today, if this is the time frame that God chose for you to be in, then you’ve got what it takes to be here." -----Joyce  Meyer

"Put on strength, put on hope, put on courage, and step into the place of activation. Be bold. Take action. Live by faith."     ----- Neil Vermillion



Oh wow. I just now saw this at Facebook. 


Friday, September 29, 2017

Some This. Some That.

1.) Here's an adorable kitchen I spied in a local house online for sale. It's so cute that I don't even mind there's no window over the sink --

Sweet, right? (Though, yes, I'm not a huge fan of black appliances,  either. But still.)

2.) Back in 2013 I bravely ventured over to WalMart and bought a sorry-looking daisy plant in a 4-inch pot. It was half-off and since I'm pretty good at resuscitating cheap, dried-up plants I placed it in my cart. I love white daisies and thought, if this one lived, it would make a  small, pleasant addition to our yard.

Oh. My. Goodness. Look what it has become --

The Daisies That Ate Tokyo (and 1/5 of my flower bed)! 😲  But they remind me that some things in Life begin tiny, yet given faithful care they become beautiful--and what they were meant to be.

Or -- "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin..."   ... Zechariah 4:10

3.)  Oh! Have you watched the new show, The Good Doctor? Tom and I both found it excellent and as it ended I wiped away tears. Really great pilot episode.

4.) Wow. Yesterday our weather was 20 degrees cooler and suddenly I felt 20 years younger(!) My, my, my. I mowed (most of) the lawn and raked and pulled weeds and used the watering can and vacuumed upstairs, even, and washed carpet spots and baked a blueberry dessert and made dinner and-- Well, you get it. 

We're even cooler today and oh how glorious to feel young and well again. Whew.

5.) So in my perusal of real estate online I've seen some strangely-painted rooms, but none ever quite like this one---

Hmm. Just hmm.  😉

6.) And now to erase that image from your eyes (and mind), here's a painting by Paul Gustav Fischer which I find positively perfect --

In fact, inside my head that's exactly how I look and live my days. (At least up there it's a whole lot easier to arrange things the way I prefer them.)

And for today, that is all.


"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."   ... 1 Thessalonians 4:11,12


Oh my!  -- 




Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Life And Other Stuff

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep."   ... Romans 12:15


So yesterday morning while still feeling bummed about Tom's and my Sunday argument, I walked to the dentist's office. Not having visited for six whole months(!), the time had arrived for a cleaning.

Gee, that circus atmosphere over there really is something. I told you before it's a downright magical place--on the stroll back home I felt lighter, happier, closer to normal. Also, a change in place probably helped.

Anyway, Monday's remainder felt pleasant (well, not counting our crazy September heatwave), then oh! Look what Tom brought home for me --

Such lovely surprise flowers  which helped our home's atmosphere normalize to Peaceful. You go being married nearly 39 years and hopefully you've learned to forgive and release things. Well, if you don't want a consistently rough life, that is.

And actually? I no longer let these where-did-that-come-from? arguments send me spiraling for days. No, if I want to be blog-relevant, to avoid resorting to weak Christian platitudes and if I wish to remember how some of you often feel, well, I'll not resent difficult moments added to my story. For your sake.

I believe they call it ministry.


Oh, look what a special art-filled book I ordered --

It's full of more than art--substance, also. Lots of hints so to make our homes feel more comfortable, relaxing and luxurious. 

What a wonderful addition to my Winter reading.


Speaking of which---some may have a cow, but I'm actually anticipating Winter this year. No, really, for Summer was too hot, too long and brought lots of annoying baggage with it.

Phooey on it, anyway.

So already I'm making plans. I'll cozily hibernate this Winter with books, newly-washed afghans, old movies and hot chocolate. In fact, I'm trying now to stock-up on groceries so I won't need to order as many (and so to give the delivery guys a break during snowy afternoons).

I'll respect the season which, imo, was created so to slow us down.

Basically, I'm giving myself permission to take Winter off--no guilt allowed. Those months will be about hibernation, rest and renewal.

Really, God and I are thinking I neeeed this.


Oh and since Tom's still leaving early for work each morning to exercise and since he's still serious about eating right-- I've been looking for new recipes. Here's one he loves --

Quinoa Chicken Recipe

Really, it's pretty great, even with my tweaks, as in, I use two small cans of chicken, instead of 1 1/2 lbs. ground chicken. And 1 cup chicken broth, 1 cup water, rather than 2 cups of broth. And a few green onion shoots from the garden instead of half an onion. And I add half a can of diced green chilies to the Rotel.   

Other than that, it's practically the same recipe. 😉


Lastly, (there's more I'd like to share, but let's not go crazy)-- I saw this at Facebook and was so inspired by it --


Monday, September 25, 2017

Your Soul Been Tried Lately?

“THESE are the times that try men's souls."   --- Thomas Paine

 ---Ain't that the truth. Eegads. The news, the division out there just worsens and--even if you're not a huge news-watcher--there's still a palpable tension, stress, amongst the folks in our lives, maybe even ourselves.

Well, along those lines --

Every Autumn, Tom and I have a huge argument over you-never-know-what. No, really. Always it happens, but last week I recall thinking, "This year's been so calm for Tom and me. Maybe we'll be able to skip the dreadful Autumn verbal fireworks."

Huh. Big-time Pollyanna dreamer, me.

Yesterday Tom stepped down into our basement (something he averages once yearly) to search for weights and I specifically told him, "Just don't get mad because of what it looks like. I've spent hours clearing out that basement, but I'm not finished."

Yet twenty minutes later, what does he do? He climbs back up, complaining specifically that I'd not opened enough windows (I thought I had), things were moldy, and within five minutes insulted my ability to keep house (and the yard) and what I write in this blog.

Oh. My. Goodness. Those tasks are what I do. Hugely who I am and how I spend my life! And wow, all my insecurities wildly flung their heads--and I saw red.

I yelled. I even threw a book on the floor and Tom remarked about the immaturity of that and said, "Be sure to write down in your blog that you threw a book."

So there you go. I did.

And ha! I don't even get extra points because not for a nanosecond did I consider throwing the book at him. 😏  Men--they're so clueless.

Anyway, these are certainly the times which try ol' Debra's soul. 

They make her want to dive deep (deep!) within herself and never swim back up to Normal. They make her hold the hurt tight against her chest (and feel the dark heaviness attached to that), to cry with the pain of a broken heart, to shut her mouth and slam various doors to her heart. And lock them.

They make me feel like this song and oh, Honey. I've been so tempted to be bad

But what keeps coming to me? That still, calming voice of God. The one which reminds me that if I don't forgive, neither will He. And how much effort He's put into changing me, to making me more like Him, He who remains strong when I feel so very weak. He who'll hold me up--but only if I receive Grace, not resentment.

He reminds me that I have choices. I can sulk like a baby and lose ground I'd gained (and take these tests, again, some future day)--or--I can walk forward, in love, and grow. Today.

God loves us too much to leave us alone. He has plenty of babies whining in the nursery--but what He'd really appreciate? Friends. Real-live, grown-up, stepped-through-the-fire-and-came-out-stronger Friends.

Real friends who eagerly wait for Him to walk through the garden in the cool of the day--with hearts that have forgiven much.

"And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”   ... Mark 11:25

"My flesh & my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."  -Psalms 73:26

"Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day..."  ... Genesis 3:8


"What I'm finding is that when I'm hungry, lots of times what I really want more than food is an external voice to say, "You've done enough. It's ok to be tired. You can take a break. I'll take care of you. I see how hard you're trying." There is, though, no voice that can say that except the voice of God. The work I'm doing now is to let those words fall deeply on me, to give myself permission to be tired, to be weak, to need."

--- Shauna Niequist, from her book, Bread and Wine


Here's the rest of Thomas Paine's famous quote. Interesting, indeed--

"THESE are the times that try mens' souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”