Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Making Dreams Come True




"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."  ... Matthew 6:33

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Way back in the 80's I tore out a magazine article about the book, Wishcraft, encased it in a clear plastic sleeve and read it often.

That article helped me decide what I loved: mothering, creative housekeeping, books, writing, reading, teaching, gardening, travel. Deciding wasn't hard. The article said to choose--

... what makes your heart beat faster
... what gets you out of bed in the mornings
... what charmed and captivated you as a child
... what you would do if you could do anything

Then rather than say, "But I can't do what I love because I'm too busy/poor/old and I could never make money at it/become professional/certified/outstanding in that field," we should simply ask--

"How can I get more of  ___________ in my life?" 

You know, more of what you love doing.

Like, if you love photography, rather than get bummed-out because your friend's had many photos published in magazines and you feel left in her dust--can you begin by checking-out photography books from the city library? Could you take a photography night class? Can you ask for birthday or Christmas money so to save up for a great camera? Could you ask your famous friend for advice and to nudge you when you want to give up?

The article's main point: The 'all or nothing attitude' is an excuse, a trap to keep you from doing what you love. In everyone's life there's time to do what God's placed in your heart, what He created you, alone, to do (well, that's my paraphrase. I'm not certain the book/article talked about God). We just need to--

... know what we love
... and be persistent in carving out time to do it

That Wishcraft article changed my thinking. I'd been one of those, "I can't do what I love because _______," whiners. (Tsk. Tsk.) But after reading those inspiring paragraphs, I felt encouraged about starting small! Moving forward, even a tad, was excellence. Staying mired down in the Land of Excuses and Indecision was not.

And ever since that article, ever since the 80's, I've actively pursued that list of what I love, the unique arrangement of desires which God placed inside my heart (Psalm 37:4). And I've watched over 90% of my dreams come true.

Wouldn't I rather that number be 100%? Nah. I'm only 58 and the Bible does say--





No, I've got more dreaming to do. More doing, more adventures to take. And actually, I often, lately, seek new ideas, new things I love doing at this autumnal season of my life before I move on to Heaven.

Here or there, Life with God (and following His custom-made plan for us) is awesome. And just the beginning.







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One of my favorite dreams which came true in large part because of that Wishcraft article? Decades later I now own the best personalized-for-me library in all of Western New York state. (I wrote about that here.) 

My library began in Nevada and grew slowly with books purchased using hoarded coins or gift money at thrift shops, yard sales, book stores and online. How tempting at first to say, "But I could never buy all the books I've loved from libraries!" Yet Wishcraft encouraged me to dump the excuses and get busy, instead, imagining ways to build my dream library.

Decades of making excuses would've gotten me zip. Nada. Nothing.







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Oh! Some of you asked to see photos from inside this house from last time--




So here are my favorites (ooooo, so nice!)  --










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And now I'll leave you with some sad news, but I'll understand if you would rather click away right now. I totally get that because, Honey, many's been the day that I've thought, "No. I cannot take one more sad story. Sorry."

So feel free to leave--I'll see you next time. Be blessed, my friend!


              

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And for those of you still here? This weekend a friend of Naomi's since high school, lost her husband. I don't know how it happened, but he passed away and now Danielle is left with their five children to support. They were such a loving family--what an awful tragedy this is.

Danielle's sister created a Go Fund Me Page for the family and should anyone feel a nudge by God to contribute, even a little amount, you'll find the page here.

And of course, all prayers would be appreciated as well. Thank-you.






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Friday, May 19, 2017

Details, Details.

Just for fun on this Friday, ok?


1.) Saw this local house for sale online last week. Isn't it adorable?



*Finally* houses in our area are rising in price. This one is $147,500, which sounds cheap to some, but when you've lived here for 24 years you can't help but remember how real estate used to be.  😌 



2.) Here are a couple lines from a recent obituary from my old hometown in CA --


"Doris loved dancing, family, music, parties, ukulele, hula, adventures, camping, gardening, animals, writing, coconut ice cream and beer.
Doris passed away at Dixie Canyon on April 11, 2017. At Doris’ request, there will be a celebration of life consisting of “music, dance and merriment” on July 8 at Dixie Canyon. “My life has been a great celebration and so it should end in the same manner.”

3.) Attention Gilmore Girls fans! Most likely, you'll enjoy this (wow, what a rabid fan, indeed!)-- 

4.) So to delay a visit to Home Depot as long as possible, I've been ordering things, here and there, online. Well, at Ebay I found 250 catnip seeds for only $1.95 with free shipping. Don't you love discovering cheapo deals like that online? She even has Buy 2 Get 1 Free offers on her other seeds. Sweet.
The seeds arrived in a regular white envelope with this so-cute bag inside --

5.) Someday Tom and I would love to travel Route 66, preferably on a bus tour from Chicago where someone else does all the driving/planning/thinking for us. We even toy with the idea of living someday in a hilly, evergreen-tree-like place we saw on this episode of Hotel Impossible then taking side trips on our own.
Anyway, for the meantime, I ordered this awesome Route 66 book stuffed with history and photos. So cool! Almost like you are there --

6.) Would you like to see a photo of my sleeping pills? --


 I take three 'pills' before bedtime. Now, three fresh slices of banana are even better, but these work when fresh isn't available. Really, they help me sleep better, they, and the minimum dose of Melatonin.
7.) Oh, and two best things from my Stocking a Pantry research? 
a.) Canned potatoes, whole or sliced. Man, these things are convenient. They don't spoil or grow roots inside my cupboard and poof! Instantly they're ready for potato salad, fried potatoes or however else you wish to use them (though I've never tried mashing them).
b.) Spam (yes, Spam). I recalled my mom used to cook Spam with crushed pineapple, so I tried it myself, and oh! Even better than I remember. Lately I've made it once a week with perfect-tasting sides of mashed potatoes and canned cut green beans.
Here, roughly, is the recipe --
One regular-sized can Spam, sliced into 1/2 inch-thick slices.
One medium-sized can crushed pineapple.
1/4 cup brown sugar (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. powdered cloves (or to taste)
Add 1 tbl. oil to frying pan and 1 tbl. butter. When melted, add slices of Spam and heat just till heated through. Spread crushed pineapple on top, adding, oh maybe 1/8 cup of the juice from the pineapple. Spread the brown sugar evenly on top, then spread the powdered cloves. Cover, then heat till everything is hot, about 3 minutes (don't over cook or it'll become rubbery and you'll hate me. heh.)
That's it! And yes, I realize I'm taking a chance y'all will think I'm crazy. But really, Tom and I both enjoy this and that's saying a lot since Tom normally won't even touch any meat with a fruit sauce.
8.) And lastly, was anyone else horrified by the season-endings of Chicago Med and Criminal Minds (which, for the record, cut out the majority of gruesomeness of recent seasons)? Oh, and ack! Chicago Fire, too--the worst ending of all! (Just now watched it.) My, my, my. Torture that they're making us wait four months to discover what happens next!  😏

Have a wonderful weekend! (And color me grateful that we've cooled down 20 degrees after two hot-too-soon days. Whew.)





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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My Worlds And Welcome To Them


"We are limited only by our own imagination."  ... copied


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After my last post, does anyone want examples of what I meant by 'creating my own worlds'?

Above, you have my Front Porch World. On rare, not-frigid winter mornings I venture out here with a book, for the sun's warmth bounces off the concrete like a promise that yes! Spring will return and so will long reading hours outside.

Some promises are unspoken--you just have to slow down and tune your ears toward finding encouragement rather than things gone wrong.




Here's my Prayer Garden World. Oh my, if this was all the yard I had, it would be enough. Sometimes I sit in the chair, but usually I place the cushion on the lawn and, with books beside me, play picnic and being a young woman again.




And I lift my face to the sun and dream and let gratitude well-up within me for this quiet, whimsical, semi-hidden, private world of mine.



Another favorite world?  My Closet Bedroom World.


Of all the rooms I've decorated in 38 years of married life, this wins all prizes. Each night before switching off the lamp, I stare at these shelves, wallpaper, books and pictures and feel sweet contentment.



Other worlds I've created?  My--

Blogging World
Family and Friends World
Book Collection World
Retro Music With Aprons and Vintage Magazines World
Stocking a Deep Pantry For The End Of The World World  😉


And who is the light and warmth and joy of these worlds? God, Himself. None of my worlds would spin upright or comfort me without Him.

I feel sorry for people without hope, a sense of humor or an imagination. Those who believe the chaotic, filled-with-arguments, 2017 world out there is the only one. Oh dear! No, the best worlds are those born inside hearts, worlds which become so huge that they burst! 

... and then become cozy, but strong refuge places for the rest of our journey on the way to Heaven, the most perfect world of all.





“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” 
― Albert Einstein



Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”   ... John 8:12


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And of course, a special nod to James Thurber for today's title (though tweaked by me).


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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Creating Worlds With Adventures of Their Own


"Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses." 

----- George Washington Carver


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Well. Months ago I passed-up an $8 copy of Anne LaBastille's, Woodswoman III at Ebay, even though wow, what a terrific price! Usually that book is, like, $36 to over $200.

What was I thinking? Mostly, that I had much to buy online that month, I could order this book later, I already owned Woodswoman I and II-- and wasn't that enough?

The following month I checked and yes, the $8 copy was phhhtt. Gone. "Way to go, Debra," I muttered.

And yeah, suddenly I wanted it. Badly.

Eight weeks passed, then one morning, on a whim, I looked at Amazon and oh! Spied a copy of Woodswoman III for my, my, my-- just $8.

Wow. A second chance! Often we don't get those (I'd mused just days before). Oh, to follow Grace who always gets it right the first time.

Anyway, the book arrived yesterday, so beneath bright sunlight I sat upon a chair cushion on the lawn of my Prayer Garden, thumbed past two sun-glared pages, then gasped! For I saw this --





Oh my goodness. No one mentioned it was autographed! Suddenly I felt like Anne sat down beside me, even though she passed-away during our last summer out at the farm. Gave me chills--the good kind--and turned that Monday all memorable.

And you know? I needed this. The hour out on the lawn, the autograph and Anne's adventurous stories. Ever since our broiling-hot summer last year and then the realization that I've, pretty much, decorated this house as much as I can (and we won't be moving soon), well, I've too often chosen complaining, pouting sitting and excuses rather than using my energy to discover new adventures.

Tsk. Tsk.

We really do create our own worlds, Anne reminds me, even if it's the peaceful, away-from-it-all world of our own backyard. We choose the way we live in the worlds we create by how we think about them and move within their parameters. 

Our own choices and decisions! We like to blame the Times for bitter thoughts and worlds-gone-sour, but no. We, still, are free to choose, decide and live as God specially-designed each of us to.

Even in 2017 God is greater than choices made by those who have never met Him. And how much better is Life when we walk with Him by way of the unseen garden-worlds of our hearts.





"...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."   ...Philippians 4:8


“Believe in your infinite potential. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself.” 

― Roy T. BennettThe Light in the Heart



We have problems when we jump out of worlds God specially designed for us into worlds He created for others.




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Yikes! See the guys waaay up there on top?




Last month our neighbors had their roof replaced and guess who I prayed for all afternoon?  

Lots of folks appear outside my windows and it surprises me how often God asks me to pray for them. Really, it's kinda weird. 


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Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Tour While I'm On a Contemplation Vacation





"I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways." ...Psalm 119:15

"But godliness with contentment is great gain."   ... 1 Timothy 6:6


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Still here! Just been living in, shall we say, Contemplation City, with much time alone, listening. Thinking, avoiding the computer/news/negative-headed folks. And considering to choose contentment with the fact that perhaps I'll live in Hobbit Cottage till I'm old and very, very grey (and never get to sit beside a community pool outside my front door).

I'm not quite ready to decide that (stubborn ol' thing), but I'm much closer.  (It's like God reminded me I must choose contentment rather than waiting for it to mysteriously fall on me.)

Yet rather than rehash all that here again, I'll share these photos, below, with you. Probably a hundred times I've described certain estate sales to you held in vintage 1940's or 50's houses and well, this morning I found photos at one local website of a sale near us.

This place is classic. Oh, the hundreds of times we've wandered through such houses during our 24 New York years! So--especially for those of you who live in places without estate sales--here's one for you to walk through online.

Enjoy. (And click any photo to enlarge.)




Classic green walls in the living room and check out the shelves on the stairway, plus the ancient carpeting.




                                   Birch cabinets in the kitchen.






Love the turquoise inside the cabinet (and look at all that stuff!).




The obligatory blue bedroom. There's always one or more. Most likely oil-based paints were used in the 40's and 50's--they held up so well and that's why we still see them. Notice the birch door and wooden window valence.




                                   Here's a cool sewing corner in a gable.




Notice the old lamp, suitcases and the green of the next room. There's always a green bedroom, too.





Isn't that dressing table adorable?




Classic old curtains, furniture and floor tile.




Ha! Old bathing suits, even.




And the pink bedroom. There's always one of those, too.








Peeking in closets is always fun. Nearly all are painted in a contrasting color from another bedroom.




Knotty pine paneling in the basement isn't too common, though. I love the blue dresser and mirror, above.



Pegboard! Every basement must have pegboard.



Love the tiny blue-drawer thing.



So there you go. Of course, when you actually walk through homes where people spent the last 60 years of their lives, all the nostalgia kind of overwhelms you. My favorite houses are not the fancy, expensive ones, but rather, the simple, much-loved homes which hold a million family memories.

Here, they're everywhere and are a major reason I love living in this area.




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Happiest of Mother's Day wishes to you! I'd not have missed being a mom for anything. My, my, my--- how motherhood changes and humbles us into someone we'd not have become otherwise.



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Doesn't Life feel a lot like this lately? Oh my! (And more reason to make each day special in a memorable way.)




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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Catching You Up



Really, everything's fine. 

Well, my computer's been annoying. Super slow, then like lightning. Tom and I fiddled with it, did everything we could. Knowing us, we'll wait till the whole thing crashes before calling knows-everything-about-computers Andrew again.

That's how we roll.

Oh, and Tom obliterated all my saved photo files. Didn't tell me, just left a scribbled note, "Save pictures to the Google cloud, Google drive(?) It'll take up less space." No directions or website included, of course.

Next day, after muttering to myself, I discovered how to save photos to Google, but only from my own file, first. That can't be right. Hmm. And actually share those Google photos to, say, this blog? I've no clue how.

Then with my head still spinning from that, I discovered Spectrum totally changed our tv's On Demand stations. Gah. Crazily, I pushed buttons on the remote to find the "if you want On Demand the old way" channel.

Never found it.

Of course I told Tom, "That does it! This time I'm going to their website and complain wildly. We older folks can only handle so much change." 

Of course, ten minutes later I loved the new way. You just click on little boxes with symbols or pictures now. Heck, you don't even need to know how to read. 

Good thing I didn't race like a foolish, wild woman to the Spectrum website before spending time with the changed way. Guess God knew what He was talking about when He said --


"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..."   James 1:19


Rarely does anything good happen when we rush to do anything

Anyway, there's more, like we had so much rain that it broke records and flooded our town a bit, but Hobbit Cottage is fine, albeit soggy, but at least we're not floating down the river at the end of the street. 

But mostly? Mostly I've been super contemplative lately, taking tests, the kind God gives you so you'll see what you really know or what you missed while you were only acting like you understood so that people would say, "Isn't she something?"

One must focus during these tests, so that's where I've been: Focusing. Meditating. Remembering. Avoiding the strife 'out there'. And mostly being quiet. Still.

And it's been good, that is, during the times I'm not second-guessing and questioning, "Shouldn't I be doing more?". 

Trust is better.









Change. It's inevitable. 

Stay calm and carry on.



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