Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Where She Got Pretty Darn Upset With Herself

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time   ...   do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."   ... Ephesians 5:15-17


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Maybe you recall my birthday post of 2016, you know, the one where I walked over snow to 7-11 to buy ice cream for breakfast and then oh! On the door of an abandoned store front I spied a sign saying a coffee and sandwich shop was coming soon.

Gee, I was excited that day. I'd wished over recent weeks that our neighborhood had a cafe I could walk to.

Well. The coffee shop opened that May and many times I walked past it on my way to yes, 7-11, for milk or eggs, etc. I'd covertly glance into the shop's windows and think, "Way cool! It almost resembles Luke's Diner (ala Gilmore Girls)--





--what with it's vintage formica tables, cafe curtains and cozy decor. I'd switch the milk to my other hand and think, "Someday I'll go there and take a book with me. How pleasant it would be to sit and gaze outside the tall window." A couple yard sale Saturdays I even asked Tom if he'd like to go, but (kinda weirdly) he always hem-hawed and we'd just drive by.

I walked past that place probably 20 times and for one whole year I procrastinated stepping inside. One whole year.

Then two weeks ago on my way to 7-11--oh dear! A 'For Rent' sign was taped to the door. Nooooo! I'd waited too long. I'd blown it. I'd procrastinated and assumed they'd be there longer.

Man, Debra.









“Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”   ... John Greenleaf Whittier



Well, the shop appeared the same (tables neatly in place, etc.) and below the 'For Rent' sign was a letter so I stepped closer and read that the owners would love to see someone else make the cafe even better. Yet if anyone wanted to rent it for a different purpose, they'd auction off the furniture and supplies.

Eegads, I kicked myself all the way home. For days afterward, too, but I also promised that, should it open as a coffee shop again, I'd be one of their first customers.

I've often told you here that both Tom and I love supporting local businesses and we're naive enough to believe it makes a big difference. By ignoring the nudgings from Grace I'd felt the past month, especially, I missed my chance to help, to encourage, to have a cozy time of reading and enjoying a morning snack.

Don't let this happen to you.

Today's lesson? Never assume anything. And always obey those nudgings you even think might be from God and Grace.

Always, they know what's coming down the road.






“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone” 
― Pablo Picasso


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To end on a lighter, happier note, here's what I wrote at Facebook on Saturday morning (what a way to begin that day!) --



I opened our curtains this misty, moisty morning, stared out dreamily, then oh! A young man silently rode by on his old bike with a gorgeous white cockatoo leaning into the breeze upon the handle bars.

Don't you love it when that happens? (Happy sigh.)





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For those who also enjoy Unsolved Mysteries (the 'revamped ones' with Dennis Farina) you can watch them free here. Just look for any which do not have the little arrow pointing up and to the right.  :)


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Thursday, June 15, 2017

When I Saw Heaven In Her Smile


"
A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.... he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."  Proverbs 18:16 and 11:25


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Before I explain my title, here's a little story ---

Three weeks ago, Erin from Joyce Meyer's new Partner Care Team emailed me, saying she'd be in our town and would Tom and I like to meet her for coffee and prayer about any problems/concerns?

I wrote back, saying, aww, that was a lovely idea, but we were fine, greatly due to Joyce's excellent teachings these 20+ years. And that we're happy homebodies who'd rather free-up her time to meet with other Buffalonians with more urgent prayer requests.

Erin said that was sweet of us, and instead, would it be ok if she left a free gift at our door? Of course, I couldn't pass that up.  😉

Well. Last Sunday evening came and no free gift lay at our door. But I totally understood and all was well! No problemo. I know things happen.

So Monday morning there I was in our yard, taking pictures, after having mowed the lawn and trimmed the hedges in my black shorts, grey shirt and the ugliest oh-so-comfortable black shoes on Planet Earth. I'd done my make-up, but my nose was red since the lawn mower had set-off annoying allergies and my hair was mussed after recuperating upon the couch.

And that's when, like a vision, Erin stepped into my Prayer Garden. 

Oh my goodness. She had gorgeous, long blond hair, a trim figure, a sweet smile and an adorable black summer dress.

Eegads.

At first I wanted to sink into the lawn. Disappear. But then God told me to cut it out, I was home, working, so forget about myself, smile and receive (then give) His graciousness. So I went with that--or tried, anyway, and Erin and I had a pleasant chat. I quietly marveled at her kindness, then she handed me a gift bag, we said good-bye and she stepped back through our hedges.

A lovely Monday morning surprise, really, but being human (and a woman) I couldn't help but think this --

Sigh. Won't it be marvelous in Heaven when we'll consistently be dressed-up and looking our best for everything?   😃








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And speaking of Heaven --

Remember when I sent you over to watch Darci Lynne, the amazing young ventriloquist?  --




Well, next day, I noticed Darci's smile immediately upon finishing her performance and a 'scene' came to me. It's like I imagined a young girl in Heaven (not Darci, but someone like her) performing with a puppet on a stage before huge crowds who, afterward, heartily cheered and smiled and praised God. 

And it's as though through her smile, I heard this girl say, "Wasn't that an enjoyable thing? Our Father gave me this wonderful gift with puppets! Isn't He a good God? Isn't He so creative and marvelous with the gifts He gives us to share?"

It's like the puppet gift/calling was a separate part of her, not belonging to her, but to the audience for their enjoyment and uplifting.

You know, as our gifts are meant to be spread here, creating avenues so God can share His endless creative facets with us before Heaven, even. So although we're 'seeing through a glass, darkly,' we can begin to understand the glorious days awaiting us, above.







"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."   ... James 1:17 


However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”[a]
    --the things God has prepared for those who love him—  ... 1 Corinthians 2:9


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Have you shared your Father-given gifts lately? They matter here (especially during these Divisive Days) and will matter in Heaven, too. I just feel it.

All gifts matter, all are important since all are from God's heart and His big-planet plan.



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And the free gift from Erin? A so pretty leather-like-bound copy of this--



Tons of Bible verses inside. Love it.


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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Prayed-For Table And Other Stories


" Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act."  ... Psalm 37:5


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So nearly two years ago Tom's sister, her daughter and her two children visited us and somehow, for two meals, we got six people around our 36" table.

Eegads! Do the math and that's ridiculous. Six inches of space per person. Only. Six. Inches.

But our dining area is tiny! The table fits well and we'd purchased an expensive-ish circle of glass for the top. So--what I wanted--was a 36" table with an added leaf so that, when company comes, we can remove the glass, s-t-r-e-t-c-h the table and not feel like we're eating off each other's plates. 

I didn't even want a fancy/pretty table. No, our long tablecloth under the glass covers everything. Ugly was ok.

Well, we searched on Craig's List. And searched. Oh, we'd spy one occasionally, but always in a faraway town. So we waited. Prayed. Trusted that God had a cheap nicely-priced table for us someplace close.

Fast-forward to Saturday when we visited a yard sale 5 miles away and poof! There it was--a 36" round table with a 12-inch leaf. Oh, two leafs would've been nice, but for just $10? We gladly drove it away.

Now when four people sit at our table (a normal company's-coming number), we'll each have 12 luxurious, spacious inches in which to dine.

And you can color this lady grateful and contented. And glad she kept believing.







“The little house is not too small
To shelter friends who come to call.
Though low the roof and small its space
It holds the Lord's abounding grace,
And every simple room may be
Endowed with happy memory."   ... Edgar A. Guest



"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘How shall we sit around this small table?'"  ....   Matthew 6:33  (Tweaked by Debra.)  😏



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Tom hadn't asked for a full day off yet this year, so he took Friday off and we visited many yard sales and met tons of extremely friendly folks. Even after 24 years here, we're still blown away by the local kindness of strangers.

Oh, and at one sale, I found the copper-colored sunflower, above, in my new header photo of my Prayer Garden. I stuck it in the ground and loved it so much that now I want to spray-paint everything out there, copper. 😊

We even went to our local movie theater, first time in ages(!), and saw Wonder Woman in 3D which we both super-enjoyed. So inspiring--made me want to be brave, self-sacrificing and courageous. Wow. I need films like that.







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Then Saturday we drove to more yard sales and later, to this (as I wrote at Facebook)--


If you felt the earth shake (or something similar), it's probably because Tom and Debra actually got out and did something *different* today. :) The local SPCA had a big outdoor event and Naomi's band played there, plus there was a car show, pie eating contest, vendors, police horses, dogs on leashes, a cool breeze and we had milkshakes in the shade. So nice!

And now we both smile as we recall that happy Saturday hour with all its bright festivities. How lovely to make a different choice sometimes, to stretch ourselves a bit, even though we do love our normal, as well.

(Though yeah, I forgot my camera. Darn!)






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Thursday, June 08, 2017

When You Stop Fighting God's Plan




"Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him ..."   ... Psalm 37:4,5


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Something weird happened when I (finally) gave-up wanting a different house: new, bright ideas began finding me. Ideas for creative home decor and for -- 

... storage solutions
... wardrobe gathering
... food prep.
... gardening
... yard decor
... exercise
... book collecting, etc.


It's like God respects commitment, or something (heh). As long as I remained more committed to searching for a house via realtor.com, the ol' creativity well stayed pretty dry. It's not even that I spent much time searching online, but rather, my heart had moved out of here--and I'm thinking God didn't appreciate the prematurity of it all. The disrespect of this current season He designed for me.

Of course, in my mind I've barely faith that, if we wait, we'll even be able to move someday (not getting any younger and all that). And yet? Long ago I learned: you can get what you think you want, but if God's not in it? Uh-oh. Eventually it fizzles into a hot mess.

And who wants another one of those?

So anyway, I'll leave the future to God. Now He's given me a quiet excitement about fixing what still bugs me around Hobbit Cottage and expressing myself here in unique, creative ways.

And speaking of unique, my buddy, Dolores, shared this photo at Facebook and wow, I fell in love (but wait! My haters-of-all-forms-of-clutter friends better cover their eyes) --




Oh wow. tried to shake this, tried to move on over to common sense reality, but I just can't.

So I'm taking it as a sign. Talked it over with Tom last night and we created a plan to place just two bookshelves behind our couch, then layer them with lots of books and stuff, stuff which will make yard sales actually fun again, for, ugh, we've had to walk away from too many driveways filled with cool stuff, with just our empty hands.

Oh, this meant-to-be-temporary house with it's nearly 0% storage! 

But fortunately after lugging in one huge hutch, seven sets of short white bookshelves for upstairs and two other bookshelves, we've become far more contented here. 

Don't judge us.  😏

So will Tom and Debra follow through on their new living room bookshelf plan? Will they be able to agree upon what to place upon the shelves? Will there still even be space to walk through their living room afterward?

Stay tuned.





"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens..."  ... Ecclesiastes 3:1

Who knows us better than God? Hmm?


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Yikes! Yesterday morning after watching another sad/frustrating/scary episode of Disappeared, I turned to look out our front window and saw this one block down(!)




My, my, my. I ran to the cupboard for our binoculars (of course I keep them handy, heh) and it was like watching one of Tom's and my crime shows, but without the sound.

Turns out our town's police force performed 6 surprise raids in our city in response to calls from neighbors and other surveillance. Thirteen arrests were made. Alas.

Later, the scene outside another window, the one above our sink, caught my eye-- 



Much more pleasant.




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Oh! Another super special America's Got Talent performance. Be sure not to miss this one.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The Wonderful Part About All This Political Fighting



So lately I'd avoided hate-filled comments after politically-themed Facebook posts, but for old time's sake, I read a few on Saturday.

Oh dear. I'd hoped people had calmed down out there, but alas, I guess not.

Anyway, certain Bible verses came to me, like this one--


"But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another."   ... Galations 5:15



Pretty fitting, especially because many folks appear consumed by hatred of our President. Like it's eating them, them, and their gratitude/contentment/hope and their joie de vivre.

It's sad--and not worth it. (They'd disagree, though.)

Then came other verses --


"If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."   ... John 15:19


"For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come." "...our citizenship is in heaven..."     ...  Hebrews 13:14, Philippians 3:20



Here's the 'wonderful part' (as mentioned in my title)--


All this in-fighting reminds me--reminds us--that, on Earth? We're visitors. Pre-Real-Life visitors who God planted here to make a difference during our short stay. Visitors given unique gifts for specific tasks to complete before we move away (to where we'll be rewarded).

But uh-oh, watch out for all those distractions created to keep us from finishing our tasks!











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"Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them."   --- Jack Canfield


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Look what I found on Saturday at a church's annual rummage sale--



Pretty cool, right? (Twelve books for $5.)


Also, five of these vintage, pretty plates ($2) --




And this charger plate ($3), close in color to that retro-looking ottoman I bought and perfect for our little coffee table--






Oh, and this tray for which the woman wouldn't even take my dollar. She gave it to me --




Definitely it was Debra's Day At The Yard Sales.   😉


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Oh! And what a gift for me online--

Eight whole years had passed since season 2 of Early Edition (perhaps my favorite drama show, ever) had appeared on DVD and I'd nearly given up ever seeing seasons 3 and 4, that is, besides the very few episodes I have on video, taped from tv fifty years ago (well....).

But.... drum roll.... two weeks ago I found seasons 3 and 4 at YouTube! Woo hoo! I've been watching, savoring them, on weekend mornings. Happy sigh.


Here below, just for you, are some favorite Early Edition episodes which, since the late 90's, I've watched an embarrassing amount of times. 

One reason I so love this show? It illustrates the good and bad of doing what we're called to do--and why we simply cannot afford to just ignore those callings. The price is far too high.



Dad (Season 1, Ep. 22)

Romancing The Throne (Season 2, Ep. 12)

Where or When  (Season 2, Ep. 16)

The Fourth Carpathian (Season 2, Ep. 17)

Show Me The Monet  (Season 2, Ep. 19)

Don't Walk Away, Renee  (Season 2, Ep. 20)

Second Sight  (Season 2, Ep. 22)

Nest Egg  (Season 3, Ep. 10)

Teen Angels (Season 3, Ep. 11)

Crumb Again (Season 3, Ep. 19)

Home Groan (Season 3, Ep. 21)

The Out of Towner (Season 4, Ep. 1)

Duck Day Afternoon (Season 4, Ep. 2)

Weather Girl (Season 4, Ep. 9)

Run Gary, Run (Season 4, Ep. 10)

Performance Anxiety (Season 4, Ep. 14)


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Thursday, June 01, 2017

For The Stuck Amongst Us


                                     


"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."   ... Isaiah 43:19

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So for a year I'd near our house during my walks, glance at the rhododendron bush in my Herb & Etc. Garden and think, "Yuck. That weak, spindly-looking thing is bringin' down the whole flower bed. Maybe the whole house(!) Sigh."

Finally I concentrated, focused on finding a different place for the rhododendron (not an easy task here).

Then this morning I added two feet to my Farm Garden Bed, dug a hole for ol' Rhodie, dumped in homemade compost then plop! Sat her down, sprinkled her with more compost then replaced the bricks, spread newspapers over the remaining area, then covered them with more compost.

Then I stood back--and gasped.




Ol' Rhodie looked healthy, green and beautiful there against the shepherd's staff and fence! A miracle. An instantaneous, before-my-eyes transformation. Finally, she was no longer a disappointment.

After four years, Rhodie landed in the place which suited her, specifically, made her useful to my yard and brought out her best features. And made her shine. 

Yes, there's a lesson in that. 

Sometimes our vague restlessness comes not from being weak or deficient or not-good-enough. Rather, we just stayed planted when God said, "Pull up your roots! I've created something new for you and Me together." 

But instead, we remained mired down in the trappings of --

...the safe, traditional, I've-got-it-memorized way.

... the blame-my-boring-life-on-someone-else way.

... the God-doesn't-even-have-to-show-up-cuz-I-can-do-anything-this-way, way.


But oh, how much better to, like Rhodie, brave a new place, a different way, where one shines. Not even by changing who she is, exactly, but instead, switching where she placed her roots, her obedience, her trust...

... and starting a whole new bright season with God on the same ol' dark planet.









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"Are you waiting on God or is God waiting on you?"   ... copied


"If we're not where we need to be its because we took a wrong turn somewhere, or we're sitting still when we should be moving. Its not God's fault."   ... Patrick Spydell


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Here's a cool house not redecorated since the 1960's(!) My, my, my... Loved it.



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Did you enjoy The Carol Burnett Show? If so, here are lots of hilarious clips to watch.


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Oh! And this absolutely amazed me yesterday. Made my day, my week, my whole month. What a sweet, talented cutie-pie and frankly? I feel God purposely places such big talent into these little ones so to encourage our hearts, especially during these dark, divisive days.

Go Darci!


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