Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dauncey, Anyone?


"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."   ... 1 Corinthians 10:31


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Remember when Lucy Ricardo, before discovering she's pregnant, tells Ethel she's been feeling 'dauncey', her grandmother's word 'for when you're not really sick, but just feel lousy'?

Well, this summer ol' Debra felt dauncey, herself. Muddy-headed and bleh. Yes, because of the humidity, but also (I knew) because I'd veered from eating according to this book--






Ages ago Naomi shared Eat Right For Your Blood Type with Tom and me, and well, that book confirmed the months of online research I'd done to discover why, at 40, I felt 90, instead(!) 

And boom. Instantly I felt better when I ate the foods my blood type (O, if you're curious) thrives on and avoided the ones which send me spiraling. For me that book was--and still is--a present from God.

In Eat Right, foods are divided into these categories for each blood type:


Highly Beneficial
Neutral
Avoid

Do I obey the recommendations 100%? Ha, not even. But I do try going heavy on the Highly Beneficial and Neutral lists and super-light on the Avoid one.

And really, whenever I return to eating this way, my head can feel the sun rising--





--and my energy returning like a lost old friend.

Oh, and last week I ordered the Type O Cookbook. I tend to dig myself into an old rut when I eat this way, so I need new recipe ideas.

Every few years I mention this book to you, so there you go. It's like a book of hidden health secrets and common sense.

This is kind-of a diet, kind-of not. Mostly, it's about changing the types of fruits, vegetables, breads, meats and juices you buy because (according to Eat Right) even certain super-healthy foods might not be healthy for you.

I've found that to be oh so true. And thank-goodness I know the difference.










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Read comments about this book here.

I've linked to the first edition at abebooks since 1.) it's cheaper there and 2.) It's the issue Tom and I own.

There are updated editions available here and at abebooks as well.

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Need a more spiritual pick-me-up today? Go here. I'm so enjoying Shauna Niequist's book, Bread and Wine and I was blessed to see her On Demand on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday program. 

What an awesome interview.  Wow.

Seriously. I hope you can check it out for yourself, especially if you've lately felt convicted to slow down.


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Sunday, September 17, 2017

When Debra Went All Rebel Without a Cause



"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."   Romans 12:2


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After I told you about this book--



-- some of you ordered it and said you loved it. I, also, am enjoying Vivian's art while slowly perusing these pages and it'll make a perfect snuggle-on-the-couch-on-Winter-afternoons book.

But. This book contains just the tiniest mention of God (in a quote, actually) and, well, much of it feels (to me), uh, er, trivial. The words leave me feeling so thirsty for the deeper things of Life and God.

Which sounds like a negative spin, but isn't, for it makes me want more of God--and that's good.

Well, just a few pages in, I began an online search for similar books (full of art), but ones by crazy-about-God authors. And well, so far, no go. (And boy, have I searched!) 

Seriously, what I really want is a Susan-Branch-ish type of book, but with God and Jesus all over the pages. Guess I'm asking way too much.

Anyway.

This all reminded me of the 35-year-old Debra who fancied herself a real rebel/soldier for God when she chose to never visit another Christian Book Store. Why? Because of Christian authors/singers who totally ripped-off secular authors/singers. For years I'd seen it -- a terrific idea/style for a book or album would explode on the secular market, then weeks later, bam! A nearly identical book/cd appeared on Christian Book Store shelves, but with a 'God-spin' tacked on.

The young, everything-is-black-and-white me eventually freaked-out. I told Tom, "Christians are plugged into God and should have the most creative ideas! It should be the opposite--the world should be ripping us off. How can these people even sleep at night having stolen others' ideas? Since when is stealing, but under a Christian label, ok?"

I lost all patience. And didn't shop at anything resembling a Christian bookstore for decades.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Where I viewed myself as a warrior for Truth, Jesus probably saw, most likely said--- 

"Debra, Debra... You are worried and upset about many things. But few things are needed--or indeed, only one."

Oh, so true. How vital to know that One person and to crave His viewpoint and His love toward others. To fight for what truly matters, but only after He's nudged me to do so.

To keep a sense of humor and to recall that, seriously, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." And ha! Now all these years later I'm searching for a Christian version of a Susan Branch book. My, how tables are spinning. My, how I have a clearer understanding of different purposes.

Does God still want me to take a stand in some areas? Of course. But now, may my heart remain pliable enough to follow Jesus and not my emotions.







"But we have the mind of Christ."   1 Corinthians 2:16


If I more often sound angry rather than grateful, something is probably wrong.



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This latest book search of mine led me to this book which--though not full of art--is full of the things of God --




I've felt convicted lately to more often have company, so this is perfect. Take a peek inside the book here, perhaps save a few pennies on it here.


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Oh, and yesterday while searching for a decent PG-13 suspense movie On Demand (a search oh-me-of-little-faith believed would, again, end fruitlessly), I actually found one! Tom and I both really enjoyed the film, 2:22.

When will I remember to always expect good things? Hmm?

Anyway, this film had almost no 'language', hardly any violence and we simply fast-forwarded the obligatory bedroom scene. 😉 

Part Groundhog Day, part Hitchcock, part Twilight Zone. Check out the trailer here.


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Thursday, September 14, 2017

When The New Season Isn't What You'd Thought



"To everything there is a season ... For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing."   ...  Ecclesiastes 3:1, Jeremiah 31:25


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Well, my summer was rather a bust. All that humidity, heat and tiny annoyances (I'll spare you), so much so, that some days I'd play the Name What You're Grateful For Game--and lose.

Oh dear.

Thankfully, September's felt glorious and yet? There's still the mowing, raking, weed-eating and hedge-trimming as well as yet one more Get Your House In Order season which must be God's idea because I'd prefer to lay on the red couch. Well sometimes, but then, lolling can become dull when overdone.

Anyway, this summer I floundered a bit, felt like somewhere out there was a new dream/vision/task/calling me--but I never found it. Mostly I felt curled inside one huge question mark, and not for the first time--I've experienced this before. You know, feeling like God has a new plan for me, but why's it invisible?

So I just kept plugging away at my certainties. All the daily obediences: homey chores, yard work, writing assignments and words of encouragement. In the past, faithfulness has often led me, poof! Up the hill to a new road, new opportunities and new lessons galore.

Yet that didn't happen this time. All obedience led me right back home.

But it was at home, at Facebook, where I got an answer. I read, "Not every season is a learning season." Wow! I'd actually forgotten that not every month should feel like a spiritual college course. Imagine.

God does give respite months. Times to slow our spinning heads and to recharge lest we burn out like that light bulb hanging over my basement washing machine. Times to simply meditate upon what we've learned and what we may have forgotten--and times to prepare emotionally for what's ahead.

So. Perhaps my 'new season feeling' was actually a resting season calling to me ("Debra, rest why don't you?"). A season to release the pressure to minister and just bask in the goodness of God already-known. Those seasons? Vital ones, yet loud voices of others in their ministry seasons (or Bible verses about slothfulness), can lead us to guilt rather than God-appointed rest.


Uh-oh.

So what remains is that I--we--obey God in our rest just as earnestly as we do our ministry to others. Obedience when He asks us to step back into silence, for a time, is still obedience, after all.

I think I missed it this summer, the calling to rest. Though ok, humidity led me to rest, but not always peacefully. Next time may I be--may I live--more aware. 

And now during this House In Order season? May I receive much grace and do with peace what should be done.





                          
“Relax, Recharge and Reflect. Sometimes it’s OK to do nothing.” 
― Izey Victoria Odiase


 When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise."  ... 2 Corinthians 10:12









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Some of you (I'm thinking) would love the quirky movie, This Beautiful Fantastic. Tom and I plan to watch it this weekend (Netflix disc). Check out the trailer here.



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And here's a free kindle book I'm currently enjoying. (I'm only on chapter 2 so if it falls apart into a sleazy, disaster book, please don't become mad at me. Just move on.)  😃



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Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden {and} overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]   ... Matthew 11:28


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Monday, September 11, 2017

So There I Was Last Friday ------


"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."   ... Philippians 4:13


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So. After eleven months, ol' Debra finally drove the annoying, complicated new car. But only because she had to. 😉

See, on Friday Tom had another colonoscopy (poor guy) and at that place, the prison wardens nurses watch us designated drivers. Trust me, the world will end before a patient drives himself home.

Anyway, a nurse led me back to Tom in recovery and after he stopped sounding so loopy-headed (and I quit laughing at him), we got him dressed. The nurse led me outside to the spot where I was to pick up Tom, then I hurried to the car so she'd not see me trying to figure out how to run it.

Eegads. My outstretched foot was about a yard from the gas pedal (via Tom's pre-setting for exiting) so I had to push the seat way up. Then when the car started (I remembered to step on the brake), the steering wheel zoomed out to my stomach. Ooof! Then I looked down at the gear shift diagram which said you have to move it to the right, then down. Seriously? I'd not seen that since I failed at learning to drive a stick shift (in the 70's with my new husband as the teacher so what else would you expect?).

Of course,Tom's long list of Things to Remember hadn't included this. I tried to find a button on the handle like our Toyota had, but gave up and moved it to the right, then down and, eventually, drove to where the nurse waited with Tom. 

He got in and I took off. At one point he said I needed to close the four window vents by using buttons on the door. "You've got to be kidding," I said. "Take my eyes and hands off the wheel? Ha! Dream on."

Fortunately, the drive home was only around 3 miles. Tom kept talking about how we'll have to customize the Setting Number 2 Button just for me so I can actually breathe while driving (remember the steering wheel in my stomach?). Right. Can hardly wait.  😉

(But seriously, at least now I know I can drive the ol' complicated thing if I must.)






“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” 
― Winston S. Churchill




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And the winner of The Best Book Debra Read This Summer Award? (Drum roll ..............) ----




What an adventurous life Jeannette's grandmother had! You can read about this book here. I could barely put it down.

Which reminds me--on Labor Day, Tom and I went and saw The Glass Castle (which was taken from another of Jeannette Wall's books). We both super-enjoyed it, yet I can't fully recommend it to you due to the sometimes harsh language. 

Other than that, though, it was an old-fashioned type of film like we all used to go see in our younger years, one which haunts you a few days. 

In a good way. (Well, mostly. Some parts made me truly grateful for the life I've had.)


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Oh and wonderful news! Remember the coffee shop near us which I never did step into during its one business year? Well, looks like a new coffee shop will be opening there soon! Whew. Thank-you, God, for second chances.


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Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Wisdom in Today's Wild, Spinning World



"Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life."   ... Ecclesiastes 7:12


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In August of 2015, I felt convicted to become somewhat of a prepper, to prepare for all sorts of emergencies in this scary, unstable world.

It's been an interesting 2 years. 

I've learned much, developed a calmer lifestyle (there's far less I-can't-believe-I-must-run-to-the-supermarket-for- ___! craziness) and somehow discovered ways to store extra groceries, blankets, towels, water, hand-fueled gadgets, gas, kerosene, bleach, vinegar, candles, pet food, batteries, bug-out boxes and other assorted emergency supplies in this feels-too-small Hobbit Cottage (and garage) of ours.

I've practiced new (rather primitive) cooking and survival techniques, grown a larger garden (and collected seeds) and Tom even has guns now (and took a gun safety class) something, as a young bride, I never imagined he'd do. (He's also, though not for the sake of prepping, exactly, getting in shape and eating right. Wow.) We're still lacking sheets of plywood for windows, though. Alas.

And with all these hurricanes, flooding, and also, raging fires out West (and general unrest and crumbling of our Country), I hope you are determined to remain ready for anything, also. 

Like my friend, Joyce. She lives outside of Houston and she believes in prepping ahead of time (Joyce is wise). Her town didn't have a ton of flooding (though enough)--but still--grocery stores (and others) around her closed when they were needed most. A couple stores gave people just ten minutes to shop for supplies that, most likely, were already long gone.

Oh wow. But what a difference if, like Joyce, you'd already spent weeks, months, years preparing ahead of time! How wonderful not to be sucked into panicked crowds with shopping carts rolling beside nearly empty shelves, but to, instead, walk around your home setting your already-made-plans in place (or driving away quickly, prepared, because you'd already planned for that, as well.).

You know? I'm wondering if it's ever been this important in all of history to crave wisdom. To ask for it daily, then to use whatever wisdom we've been given while we still have the freedom and time to do so.

Just thinking aloud today as I watch the wild news reports of disasters already here and those yet to come--and while I ask for more wisdom like crazy while simultaneously clinging to the peace only an all-knowing, all-wise God can give.






"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."... James 1:5



“Anything can happen to anyone, but it usually doesn't. Except when it does.”    --- Philip Roth


Here's my Presents for Preppers post from 2015 with a ton of helpful links.




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Saw this on Facebook from Scott Baio. (No link was provided, so I had to copy and paste it all here.)



To all my friends who may be in the path of Irma & riding the storm out.
This is the most comprehensive list I've seen so far! Be prepared!


1. Charge any device that provides light. Laptops, tablets, cameras, video cameras, and old phones. Old cell phones can still used for dialing 911. Charge external battery back ups.
2. Wash all trash cans, big and small, and fill with water for flushing toilets. Line outdoor trash cans with trash bags, fill with water and store in the garage. Add bleach to sterilize.
3. Fill every tub and sink with water. Cover sinks with Saran Wrap to keep it from collecting dust. Fill washing machine and leave lid up to store water.
4. Fill old empty water bottles and other containers with water and keep near sinks for washing hands.
5. Fill every Tupperware with water and store in freezer. These will help keep food cold longer and serve as a back up water supply.
6. Fill drinking cups with water and cover with Saran Wrap. Store as many as possible in fridge. The rest you can store on the counter and use first before any water bottles are opened. Ice is impossible to find after the storm.
7. Reserve fridge space for storing tap water and keep the sealed water bottles on the counter.
8. Cook any meats in advance and other perishable foods. You can freeze cooked food. Hard boil eggs for snacks for first day without power.
9. Be well hydrated before the storm hits and avoid salty foods that make you dehydrated.
10. Wash all dirty clothes and bed sheets. Anything dirty will smell without the A/C, you may need the items, and with no A/C, you'll be sweating a lot. You're going to want clean sheets.
11. Toss out any expiring food, clean cat litter boxes, empty all trash cans in the house, including bathrooms. Remove anything that will cause an odor when the A/C is off. If you don't have a trash day pickup before the storm, find a dumpster.
12. Bring in any yard decor, secure anything that will fly around, secure gates, bring in hoses, potted plants, etc. Bring in patio furniture and grills.
13. Clean your environment so you have clear, easy escape routes. Even if that means temporarily moving furniture to one area.
14. Scrub all bathrooms so you are starting with a clean odor free environment. Store water filled trash cans next to each toilet for flushing.
15. Place everything you own that is important and necessary in a backpack or small file box that is easy to grab. Include your wallet with ID, phone, hand sanitizer, snacks, etc. Get plastic sleeves for important documents.
16. Make sure you have cash on hand.
17. Stock up on pet food and fill up bowls of water for pets.
18. Refill any medications. Most insurance companies allow for 2 emergency refills per year.
19. Fill your propane tanks. You can heat soup cans, boil water, make coffee, and other stuff besides just grilling meat. Get an extra, if possible.
20. Drop your A/C in advance and lower temperatures in your fridges.
21. Gather all candles, flashlights, lighters, matches, batteries, and other items and keep them accessible.
22. Clean all counters in advance. Start with a clean surface. Buy Clorox Wipes for cleaning when there is no power. Mop your floors and vacuum. If power is out for 10 days, you'll have to live in the mess you started with.
23. Pick your emergency safe place such as a closet under the stairs. Store the items you'll need in that location for the brunt of the storm. Make a hand fan for when the power is out.
24. Shower just before the storm is scheduled to hit.
25. Keep baby wipes next to each toilet. Don't flush them. It's not the time to risk clogging your toilet!
26. Run your dishwasher, don't risk having dirty smelly dishes and you need every container for water! Remember you'll need clean water for brushing your teeth, washing yourself, and cleaning your hands.
27. Put a small suitcase in your car in case you decide to evacuate. Also put at least one jug of water in your car. It will still be there if you don't evacuate! You don't need to store all water in the house. Remember to pack for pets as well.
28. Check on all family members, set up emergency back up plans, and check on elderly neighbors.
29. Remember, pets are family too. Take them with you!
30. Before the storm, unplug all electronics. There will be power surges during and after the storm.
31. Gas up your car and have a spare gas container for your generator or your car when you run out.
32. Life jackets/vest & inflatable rafts might also help if you need to leave your home if it becomes flooded.
If you can, take a video of your house and contents....walk room to room--open cabinets/drawers and closets. This will help if you need to make a claim later. It will show proof of items and help you list all the items (help your memory, so you don't forget anything)...I highly recommend!!!
I also heard you should freeze a cup of water, place a coin on top after it is frozen...keep this in your freezer to help you gage the temperature if the power goes out. If the coin stays on top, the food is staying frozen. If the coin falls into the water, the freezer thawed out and most food will likely need to be thrown away. This is super helpful if you have to leave and come back, as it may appear everything is still frozen, but if the coin is in the cup--you will know!!
Finally, anything that you want to try and preserve, but you can't take with you---place it in a plastic bin and put in your dishwasher, lock the door---this should make it water tight in case of any water intrusion into your home. But of course, take all the important/irreplaceable items you can!!
Stay Safe everyone!