Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Can You Believe It? Thirteen Years Blogging.


"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people."   ... Colossians 3:23


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Thirteen years and approximately 3,400 un-reposted posts later, I'm still writing to you my 'letter to the world' (as Emily D. put it). That's probably 6,000 type-written pages chronicling my adventures with God, Grace, marriage, motherhood, houses, farm-life, cats, apartment-living, decorating, books, neighborhood walks, estate sales, train rides, daily joys and struggles. 

And lessons--oh, the lessons one learns over 13 years.

Also, today I'm thanking those of you consistently read here, yes, but especially those of you who 'go deeper,'  fishing between my lines for the important thoughts floating behind my simple words and stories. To those of you who not only 'get me,' but who understand that, really, following some of these lessons might just possibly lead to a wonderful, contented life.

One more thing. A dear friend said in an email--

"When I read your blog, you make me feel important, rather than the dopey house frau that so many like to put down."


Wow. Could I receive a better compliment? Perhaps not, for I truly believe--

The dusting, vacuuming, cleaning which must be done over and over;
The caring, the loving, the apologies;
The gardening, the laundry, the errands;
The shopping, the learning, the growing in Grace, contentment and acceptance of what cannot be changed;

---It all matters. It's all important. Everything we put into a day means something to God and will--somehow-- touch even our lives in Heaven.

And may this blog continue to spread these lessons like seeds upon good, fertile ground over more happy years to come.







"Life is a lot more interesting if you are interested in the people and the places around you. So, illuminate your little patch of ground, the people that you know, the things that you want to commemorate. Light them up with your art, with your music, with your writing, with whatever it is that you do." 

---Alan Moore


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Wait! Don't go yet.

In honor of my blogiversary, I'll be giving away two $25 gift cards from Amazon.com to two readers whose names I'll choose from a hat.

To enter the drawing, please leave a comment here, below, or at Facebook (more than a 'like', please) or by emailing me at GladOne4@yahoo.com. Don't be shy! Just do it.

I so enjoy these give-aways, dare I say even more than those who happily win them.

I'll hold the drawing tomorrow (7/26) at 3:00 pm e.s.t. Please feel free to enter, even if you've won a previous drawing!



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Ooooo. The gift for my 13th blogiversary? A cool September-like morning which poof! Made me feel 70 years younger. (Heh. Read my last post.)

Oh, how 62 lower-humidity, breezy degrees can lift ones perspective and remind her that Life (with God) is--still--wonderful.




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Monday, July 24, 2017

Uh-Oh. Summer Strikes Again.


" ... for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust."  ... Psalm 103:14


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Is it Autumn yet?

Oh, the humidity! Lately, poor ol' Debra's had the mid-Summer blues, you know, where she feels 90, ill and beat-up and the verse, "Vanity! All is vanity," swirls 'round her head and things she enjoys the rest of the year suddenly feel, well, bleh.

And I crawl up the stairs, hands and feet, a lot.

And if complaining really does shrink our brains, mine is now probably strawberry-size. (I won't tell you about the night I sat up in bed and said, "I hate Summer!" And yes, we have air-conditioning, but even that messes with my head.)

Gee, am I ever glad God understands 'I am but dust.' 

As long as I do my best, He's ok with that, even if my best didn't include washing a few clothes or dishes. I remind myself that I'm my biggest critic, not God or Tom--so knock-off the mental pushing. Be kind to yourself, I say; accept your Summer limitations, the age ones, also, and follow Grace who knows best when and how to do anything. And brings a certain ease with her.


Over and again I remind myself to 'take gratitude pills' to get me through this and to recall one lovely thing -- Autumn is coming! (And lately, even a snowy Winter sounds pretty terrific. And no, I'm not crazy--frigid temperatures invigorate me whereas humidity turns me absolutely zombie-ish. Really, nothing else undoes me like Summer.)






"This, too, shall pass!"   ... copied




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Tom repaired our washing machine! Hooray. He's my hero. And now I'm so grateful I can do laundry again (a perfect example that attitude is everything, right?).

A special thanks to my buddy, Susan, for mentioning the spin-cycle switch! Tom then found YouTube videos and instructions online. Isn't the Internet really something?



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Anyone else watching the new Battle of the Network Stars? Brings back memories from the 70's and 80's episodes and we especially enjoy it when stars our age appear on the teams. Makes us feel that we're not the only folks who aren't quite what they used to be.  😉




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Oh! Look what I ordered from Etsy (except that mine will be red)--




Exactly what I'd searched for. I wanted to scare away adults, but not children.  


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Be sure to come back tomorrow for a free gift card giveaway!


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Monday, July 17, 2017

Complain And There Goes Your Brain(!)



"Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life..."   ... Philippians 2:14

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First, Sammy The Cat got sick. Now I must give him meds and keep him in a large crate upstairs because for two nights he used our newly cleaned carpet like a litter box.

At this same time, my alarm clock became undependable. Then died. I bought a battery-operated one which works--when it feels like it. So then I bought an electric one from Ebay (and during all this, lost sleep while wondering if I'd wake up on time to get Tom out of here for work.)

Last Monday a black round thing fell off our dishwasher door. Fearing it might leak now, I began washing dishes by hand till Tom could look into the problem over the weekend.

On Wednesday, our 12-year-old washing machine filled with water, agitated ok, then refused to spin and rinse. As I pulled sopping wet clothes from the dirty water I willed myself not to cry (but cried a little anyway).

This is only a test. This is only a test. (And those were just the ones I care to mention.)

It's hard to keep a sense of humor and hope during these times, right? But I'm trying anyway, reminding myself that complaining displeases God--oh--and now articles like this one are popping up --

Complaining Is Bad For Your Brain


Wow. Better brace yourself with some coffee before you read that or the many similar articles out there.


These lines stood out for me--


"The problem with many complaints today is that they can become a way to vent, as opposed to a way to problem solve .... rather than resolving problems and creating change, complaining can become ineffective and create unnecessary stress.


The stress caused by complaining can have a lasting and negative impact on the brain... even a few days of stress damages the neurons in the hippocampus (the part of the brain used for problem solving and cognitive functioning), and impairs its ability to create new neurons.
Over time this can result in the hippocampus shrinking, which can cause a decline in cognitive functions such as memory and the ability to adapt to new situations."

Oh. My. Goodness. At 58, I certainly cannot afford to have my brain become any smaller. Heavens, no.
I want to solve problems rather than just become one (the type people unfollow at Facebook). I want to hold onto God's peace rather than man's stress (which brings that dark, discouraged feeling). I want to remember God is able. He is, you know.
Even during these trying days, may I choose shining like a beacon of Light rather than moaning like just another whiner with a negative, shrinking brain.


We can do this. We can live and believe positively even in Today's world because hooray! There's more grace available now to do so.
Whew.

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Progress report (as we've been trying not to complain, but to fix things, instead) --

Sammy The Cat is improving!
Both my alarm clocks are (mostly) working great. (Here's the vintage Ebay one. Cute, right?) --

I can use our dishwasher while we're waiting for the replacement part!
The washing machine, though ... We'll have to use our hopefully-not-complaining brains (what's left of them) to figure-out how we'll deal with that. Stay tuned.

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"Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them."   ... Ephesians 4:29

"Complain and remain. Praise and be raised."  --- Joyce Meyer

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Lightweight Friday

Recently, for 20 cents, I bought this edition of Jean and Johnny at Salvation Army--





Yet although I'd read this before, I just couldn't get past 6 pages because the cover felt all wrong. Jean and Johnny was written in 1959 (an excellent year, indeed, hint, hint), but that book cover! So dreadfully 1980's. Or 70's, whatever. Ew.

And ok, I get why book covers are updated--young folks (and old) supposedly won't even open a book if the cover is dated. Judging a book by its cover--it's still rampant today, sadly. 

We're only human and all that, I guess--and here we thought we'd come so far.

Anyway.

Not for the first time, either, I simply had to order a more honest, true-to-the-book's-heart copy. Which yes, is probably a reverse type of cover-judging. Alas. --







But wow,  what a difference. This time the book (an old hardcover copy) 'went down easy' because the cover belonged to the words inside--and to me, that just makes more sense.

Think I'm wacky? Well, thanks to the Internet, I discovered whole crowds of us behave this way. So there.  😄

These (troubled) days, people whine about how, online, we're all so different, but me? The Internet introduces me to kindred spirits galore, ones I'd never have otherwise met this side of Heaven. And how lovely to feel like I fit-in.

And isn't it far more pleasant to meditate upon our similarities rather than our differences? I believe so.















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See this bathroom?




I've not been able to shake it from my head--so--it's the new goal for my own bathroom. In my own style, of course. Probably these walls are white in real life, but I'd like to paint mine a palest pink. A huge help is that everything currently in my bathroom will look pretty surrounded by pink. No need to buy all new stuff.

I'd also love to replace our vanity with one similar, above, but let's not all hold our breath regarding that, ok?

The main thing is that now I have a plan. Rarely does anyone go anywhere meaningful without a plan.

Stay tuned.


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Sammy The Cat is improving! He seemed to begin eating better immediately after you began praying(!) So cool.

Your prayers are still so welcome, though. Thank-you!


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Did you know that HGTV's Good Bones is back? I appreciate how this mother-daughter team takes horribly-treated houses and turns them into gorgeous homes for new families to love.  Happy sigh.


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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Prayer Which (Nearly) Always Gets Answered



If you've read here long you might recall my Restore Unto Me The Joy of __________ posts. In fact, here's one.


Those  Restore Unto Me Prayers! They always seem to work. Simple prayers like, "Restore unto me the joy of ---

... cooking dinner.
... dusting. Vacuuming. Washing clothes.
... keeping up the yard.
... giving. Doing what I must. Blogging. 
... exercising. Writing. Reading. 


Seems even before I step away, poof! The joy, the inspiration to do good is back.

That is, unless I'm still sulky in heart, preferring to cling to recent unfairness. You know, like how certain dreams just aren't happening and probably never will so why even try?

Go playing the resentment card and uh-oh, answers to Restore Unto Me Prayers start crawling like snails. I've noticed when I hold onto pouting, I let go of fun and invite a type of grey boredom, instead.

And who wants that? What kind of a pouting disappointment is worth losing ones peace and energy? 

What I want, instead, is this --


" ... let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us..."   ... Hebrews 12:1



--and God, always, is standing there, waiting, to help me.

Whew. (Now, if I can just remember, every time, to ask for that help.)













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Speaking of prayer, if you're into praying for cats I'd appreciate it if you'd pray for our big black Sammy. He'd been losing weight so Naomi took him to the vet for us and well, he has thyroid issues. I'm giving him his pills and other med.'s but he still looks bad and I'm having to discipline my mind not to let this darken my whole world. Sammy's nearing 14 years old. Sigh.


Thank-you.


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While browsing local real estate (just for fun! Relax.), I saw this second story bedroom with a great old-fashioned vintage vinyl floor cloth--



Nifty, right? And did you know they still make and sell these today? They're probably made differently, but I found it cool that they're still around.


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Oh, and recently, Tom and I watched 5 Flights Up. Have you seen it? I really enjoyed it, probably because of my constant interest in houses and decorating and HGTV. Check out the trailer here to see if you might like it, also.


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Saturday, July 08, 2017

Funny How Acceptance Opens Our Eyes

"Do all things without grumbling or questioning ..."  ... Philippians 2:14


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Yesterday after I replaced furniture I'd moved on Thursday for Carpet Cleaner Guys and wiped down the kitchen cabinets and ironed-- I gazed wearily at our green wall and the fireplace with all its dishes, books and chachke upon it and the nearby hutch with all its similar eye-clutter and uh-oh!

"What was I thinking?" I asked myself. "All that little stuff! A entire wall of it. How did I ever think that looked good? How long have I been decorating, anyway-- a mere six months?"

Almost did I feel nauseous. Chachke-overwhelmed. Yick.

Immediately, I pulled my weary self from the couch then shoved and yanked and transferred everything back where it'd been before. (Gotta love a movable fireplace, though.)

Afterward, wow. I felt so stiff --yet thrilled. Relieved. The living room felt right, peaceful and made sense again.

But oh dear. That means that--truly--there's only one way to arrange it. Only one! What a near-tragedy for creative, let's-rearrange-and-paint-and-redecorate-again types like me. 

In all rooms of this small house (it seems) I'm at the Just One More Picture, Chair Or Lamp And The Whole House Will Feel Off-Kilter phase. Tilt, tilt tilt. Darn.

Now, you non-decorator types may find my angst, silly. But just imagine never being able to do your favorite hobby again. Never! Or as I told Tom--it would be like him never, ever watching another war movie. (I think I saw him become dizzy at that thought. He seems to understand me better now.)

But here's the thing: I tried finding another house to buy, but crashed against brick walls. No grace, no God in that tedious search. 

No, only after acceptance of this --


It's folly to want what God does not want for me. Folly and foolish and a huge waste of time and a life--


--did I hear truth. Truth like, rather than imagining a different house, imagine your house, differently. Ramp-up your creativity. See this all as an awesome challenge. Get excited about having to dig deeper. Give away what you only tolerate so you can replace it with what you love.

Etc., etc.

Well, I'm much closer, but oh, the 'mental working through' that it took! The submitting. The dying to a wonderful dream. The acceptance. (Embarrassingly, it took months. Rough-in-my-head ones. Alas.)

But now, finally, at Hobbit Cottage it's onward and upward. There'll be lots more fixing what irritates me, improving what I can, using the imagination God gave me and accepting what cannot be changed. 

And as long as I let God guide my attitude, it'll be a good-for-me adventure.

Stay tuned to see if that actually happens.   😏















Take it from ol' stubborn me--accept that God knows what's best for us, for He really does, you know.

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” 
― J.K. Rowling


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Oh, and I'll probably lower the ol' Blue Boy painting (see photo at top). I had to hang it higher when the fireplace stood there.

Or perhaps I'll leave it up there.  😏



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Need some vintage inspiration lately (as I have)? This is a fun book which will get you cleaning house like the best little 50's homemaker on the block--




It's a newer book, but its tips and hints were snatched from nifty vintage homemaking books. Lots of old-fashioned art, too, like this --



P.S. But eegads! Everyone knows the best way to soften brown sugar is to place an apple slice in the bag/canister. Tsk., tsk.







These blogs might help, also-- Top Vintage Blogs.











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Thursday, July 06, 2017

Too Old To Go With The Flow. And Loving It.




"For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity..."   ... 2 Corinthians 1:12

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My vintage, reliable, Old Faithful radio alarm clock died last week. Waaaaa.

A moment of silence, please.


Er hem. Well anyway, Mrs. Online Shopper here went searching at websites for another (cheapo) clock radio, but half of the reviewers would say, "I love my new clock! So perfect." and the other half would moan, "A piece of junk! Stopped working after two days. I sent it back."

What are you supposed to do with that? Hmm?

Well, on The Fourth, we visited Salvation Army (where everything's half-off on holidays) and Tom showed me a radio alarm clock rather like my old one, but newer and with tons more buttons.

I was suspicious. Lots of online reviewers also stated these newer clocks were complicated (which is a bad, bad word to me). But I told Tom I'd try it. Go ahead and spend the whole dollar.

Oh.My.Goodness. I carried that thing upstairs to my room and had a nightmarish 15 minutes. (I refused to keep trying to understand it any longer, Life being too short, and all that.)

I couldn't even figure out how to set the clock.

So forget it. Just forget it. I calmed down, placed it in a bag to donate, then went downstairs and told Tom that this was yet one more example of how, at 58, I've paid my dues and no longer will I do anything for which I have no grace.

Those days of forcing round pegs into square holes are over
And the realization of that--the deciding of that--has made my life much, much calmer. Sweeter. Better.

Anyway, after chatting with Tom I returned to the computer and pretty quickly gave up on buying an alarm clock with a radio. They're just beyond my brain now.

So I went for cute, instead. Something perfect for my awesome little stripe-and-floral closet bedroom --




Oh wow. It arrived today and you know? It came with no directions. None! But the cool thing? It doesn't need any directions. It took all of two minutes to place a battery in the back, set the clock, the alarm and watch the second hand go 'round.

And it looks adorable in my bedroom.

Today's lesson? Always, always, follow Grace. If you have tons of Grace for complicated machinery or circumstances, well, more power to you. Go with that.

But if, like me, you just can't handle complication anymore? Always ask God and Grace where to go next. Even if everyone else is marching the opposite direction. Even if everyone else teases you about not keeping up, lagging behind. 

Even so, go with God. With Grace. And enjoy all that wonderful new peace on your unique journey. You've earned it.







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Oh! Did you read the prayer Brenda shared in her post called Keep Me Reasonably Sweet? 

My, my,my. It's haunted me (in a good way) ever since spying it a couple weeks ago. Gulp. Could not have prayed a more hit-the-nail-on-the-head prayer, myself.

May it haunt you, too.


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Monday, July 03, 2017

Working Through The Head Clutter to Find Acceptance


"Happy are those who trust in the Lord,
    who rely on the Lord.
They will be like trees planted by the streams,
    whose roots reach down to the water.
They won’t fear drought when it comes;
    their leaves will remain green.
They won’t be stressed in the time of drought
    or fail to bear fruit."   ... Jeremiah 17:7,8



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Still here! Just trying to make friends with Summer (as I do every year).

And trying to make friends with being 58. 

Ugh. Poor ol' thing. Just mix some humidity with what I believe they call 'physical labor' and ol' Debra's all crumpled on the red couch. I do love my yard, but--even with my famous 'sit down gardening'-- the actual work outside still wears me out.

Even when done slowly.
Even when barely done.
Even so.

Oh well, maybe I'm finished out there this year(!) You know, with the moving plants around and redesigning parts. It is July, after all, and I did, during cooler times, make a few pleasant improvements.

As one ages, sometimes smaller projects must be enough.

Speaking of which, remember when I wanted so badly to do something similar to this? --





Well. 

Finally I admitted our living room's too small. Darn. Even pushing our couch out just six inches is six inches too far. So on to Plan B! Now I'm considering hanging shelves over the couch, shelves maybe like these--



Or this.



But sometimes I still struggle with coming to peace with personal restrictions. Oh, and that redecorating ideas arrive sooo s-l-o-w-l-y when, years ago, they'd surface in minutes. 

And you know? Perhaps I'm (finally) getting the 'why of it all'. 

Because if I--now at my age--did all the crazy-creative, day-by-day decorating which I used to? Oh dear, I'd probably be limping/ill/crawling/dead by now.

This old grey mare just ain't what she used to be.





Er hem. But to avoid future problems, there arrives a time, in each season, to accept that wisdom sometimes comes in a confusing disguise. 

To happily accept that  (frankly, I've been stuck there--or not there- lately). Yes willingly, without resentment with myself or with Life's new-to-me patterns so that, hooray! This acceptance will carve another avenue where I must lean heavy upon God. 

Is there a better place than trusting God far, far more than ourselves? Nah. Only He can make our pathway to Heaven, sweet, no matter what our decade or our circumstances.

I'm not yet walking in Total Acceptance Land, but I'm hanging out at its edges. Be sure to wave if you see me inside someday, ok?









"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend." 

----Melody Beattie



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Tom and I watched Passengers this weekend and enjoyed it. After reading a Plugged-In review, I'd thought there'd be lots of 'waiting around for something to happen', and well, there was. And yet? This movie made me think all sorts of new thoughts, all kinds of 'what would I do?'--and I appreciated that about it.


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