Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Books, TV, Shopping and Our 'Hunted Plan'



1.) Well! WalMart must be pretty serious about their new 2-day delivery policy, for twice they've sent me a $5 gift card because parts of my order took longer than 2 days.

Gotta love that, certainly, especially when hey! Waiting four days, five, or longer for my WalMart orders was no big deal, especially being from the 'please allow 4 to 8 weeks for delivery' generation. Back then we just felt giddy-grateful when the items arrived. Imagine.

But anyway, woo hoo! Ten dollars off my next WalMart order online--the stuff of dreams for us penny pinchers.  



My friend, Robin, made this for me and inside I keep a list of stock-up non-perishables. How easy to just refer to this list when shopping online!



2.) Wow, it's been weeks (and weeks!) since I've trudged through visited the supermarket. That whole prepper thing changed my life, as has ordering non-perishables online. How fun to walk along my own shelves upstairs,  or in our office and basement with plastic shopping bags, instead.

Oh, sometimes Tom shops on his way home for items on his own list and occasionally (like today) I'll walk to 7-11 for eggs, milk or bread. But to me, it all feels rather like cheating. Like not stealing time or energy from our so-loved, relaxing weekends.

This 'non-shopping shopping' is simpler, a pleasant change and how pleasant to be pushing 60 but still be discovering ways to leap outside of worn-down old ruts.

Mix it up sometimes, ok? It does a body (and mind), good.







3.) Oh wow. This book --





-- transported me to a winter we're not having here (it's the warmest Buffalo February ever!). It scooped me away to a family, their housekeeper and visiting nephew inside an old farmhouse back in 1961. The mystery, the minute-by-minute details truly gave me that 'fly on a wall' feeling. Super-highly recommended for those who appreciate vintage kids' novels, especially mysteries.

How'd I discover this book? From a list on the back cover of another similar novel. It's weird, but I often forget to check-out the backs of books(!) Though currently, I'm retraining myself to examine all new books, back and front, after tearing away the mailer packaging.


4.) Did anyone else cry when Bones killed off one of their cast members? Sigh. It's their final season so who knows who'll be next? :)


5.) Oh! And only fans of Hunted will like this last part, so feel free to move on to your next blog if you wish.  See you next time!  :)

What's Tom's and my brilliantly simple plan if we won a spot on Hunted?  

****(Wait-- I need to add here that *no way* would we ever actually apply to be on the show! We just wanted to outsmart those guys in our heads. heh.)****

a.)  In 2015 Tom bought our latest hutch via CraigsList from a kind, older woman, Anna, who lives 10 streets away. She came over here when the hutch was delivered, we've spoken with her at estate sales, Tom has toured her large, beautiful home and she keeps asking when I'll come see it.

I've never mentioned her online. Until today, that is.

b.) Before applying to Hunted (and after securing Tom's necessary days off from work), we'd drive over to Anna's and ask if she'd let us stay with her the 28 days (she has 8 adult kids and often they've, for various reasons, lived with her). We'd promise her at least $15,000 if we won the $250,000. And if her kids find out what we're doing? We'd promise them rewards if they keep our secret and if we win.

For us, it's not really about winning the money. It's more about fooling those FBI and CIA folks who think they're sooo smart. Ha!

c.) If Anna agreed, we'd sign up with Hunted. Even without knowing whether we'd be chosen, we'd tell Naomi about the possibility that we might be--and how she'd not be able to contact us for 4 weeks. We'd give her Anna's phone number only for a real emergency.

We'd then ask Sue across the street if she'd care for our cats and bring in our mail (as she has before). Sue's a dear--she'd do this for us and we'd also promise her a few thousand dollars.

d.) We'd pack the majority of what we needed, then drive the bags (including groceries) over to Anna's and leave them.

e.) Then if we were contacted by Hunted and given an hour to hide? Assuming we were both at home, we'd gather our last minute items, leave a message with Naomi, then I'd zip over to Sue's house and let her (or Sally) know we'd been chosen and then leave the house keys with them.

Oh, and I assume we'd now have a cameraman with us. 

Tom would call a taxi and ask them to pick us all up at least one street away, then we'd leave his cell phone, our car and computers at home. We'd walk to where the taxi would pick us up, then tell the driver to take us to an address two (residential) streets away from Anna's home, pay with cash, wait till he leaves, then walk to Anna's. Like all our older neighborhoods, it's rare that people have house cameras.

f.) Then once the three of us were inside Anna's house? We'd just stay there. And offline. We'd sit around like slugs, basically, in Anna's beautiful, antique-filled home.

Of course, we're talking some very boring film-making for the show! All that sitting around watching tv, eating crackers and chips or reading--yawn. But hey, I really do believe we have the perfect plan. Except that with 4 weeks of constant togetherness time, Tom and I would probably strangle each other.  (And the cameraman would be so bored he'd cry and just go home.) heh.

Oh, and if the Hunted folks somehow discovered us early? For us, there'd be no running out the backdoor. Uh, no. We're too old and that would just look ridiculous. Instead, we'd smile and say, "Well, we tried!" Then we'd go ahead and pay Anna and Sue something for their trouble.


So what do my fellow Hunted watchers think of that plan? Did I overlook anything? :)


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Monday, February 27, 2017

All Lamps Matter



"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another ..."   1 John 1:7


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Anyone notice there's a war going on out there? Wow, you turn on the tv and there goes your dream that maybe people are becoming more sensible.

But there is good news. All that strife makes it easier to obey this --

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever."  1 John 2:15,17


There's a whole lot about this world I'm not loving right now. 

But then I watch the news and remember, hey! This world is not our home. And that sets me to dreaming about the next world (Heaven) where people will actually always get along(!)




Anyway. Most Februaries I'm complaining about snow, but not this warm, sunny one. So I've used my time to ponder instead (smarter use) and what I've remembered?

Spiritual wars are fought in different ways. Sometimes God asks us to march in unity or to stand, alone, speaking His words in power. Or He asks for our silence, especially if our emotions are considering Blab Fests. Or to pray with a faith directly from His heart. Or to simply stand, undistracted by the chaos--and acting as a light.

But how sad, the inward fighting. The criticizing that your battle methods aren't like mine so mine are less--or--heeding the self-doubt that whispers, "Shouldn't you be racing to the front lines instead of attending what looks more like a quilting bee?"

If only we'd all just listen to God for ourselves. 

He's more like a symphony director who sees all instruments as vital. He knows each soldier in a battle, matters, even if his part is to hold up a light by which others may see to continue to wield their swords.

Besides, our small lights, in unity, meld together into a huge glowing ball, each becoming indistinguishable in all the bright glory reflecting the incredible face of God. And that is what matters most.










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 Pauline Duncan-Thrasher quotes 




 Randa Manning-Johnson quotes 




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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Where's Debra?




Where've I been lately? Upstairs, mostly, in our three-bedrooms-made-from-one. Me and the Seavers, that is, who cheerfully help me reorganize up there since Naomi left.

Oh, and I bought a clothes rack online because storing clothes in totes supporting my bed was insane. Sheesh. All the trouble of yanking out half the tub, lifting half the lid, digging through stacks of clothes in dark depths just to wear a shirt was, well, ridiculous (as Balki, who's also aiding The Great Reorganization, would say).



                I could've just kept complaining about the clothes storage bins, but I thought this was better.  :)


Also up there, I've turned shelves into pantry-storage-for-the-end-of-the-world, and too, I've Played Books, my favorite game. That's where you walk around finding books of the same genre, place them on a shelf, alphabetize them by author, then wonder why you didn't do this all sooner. After that, you step back and feel happiness because now you'll actually be able to find the book you want.





Oh, and because I love my little pink ballerina so much--





-- I bought a friend for her on Ebay.





I also brought up a clothes-drying rack from the basement so our clothes will dry faster over the winter and I purchased bed skirts which I'll iron today and place on the guest beds (whose covers are light blue, not white).



                                 
 
I'm also cleaning carpet spots up there and dusting, pulling linens to be washed and listening to Andy Williams' swoony songs (like this one) via my record player.

And if there's a better way to spend February (besides, ok, maybe visiting Hawaii), well, I'm not sure what that would be.

So! Just letting you know the score at Hobbit Cottage and hoping you, too, are involved with good things and keeping your mind on true, noble, right, pure, lovely things as Philippians 4 nudges us to do and maybe? That just might be the verse of 2017. You never know, right?










............. aaaand right this moment I'm headed outside to do yard work in the sunny 51 degrees---in February!




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“What you're supposed to do when you don't like a thing is change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it. Don't complain.” 
― Maya Angelou



“When we engage in what we are naturally suited to do, our work takes on the quality of play and it is play that stimulates creativity.” – Linda Naiman 


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Our sunset last week ---





---reminded me of how creative God is. He could have just made all sunsets color-free --oh dear!







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Thursday, February 16, 2017

So, Over The Past Couple Days ---



So this morning ol' Debra found herself back in the dentist's chair, but whew! Only for a cleaning. Gone is all the horrible pain from last month and today I even thanked the hygienist for her gentleness. Will I ever forget the one from ten years ago who used the hammer and chisel method? 

Uh, no. My head throbbed for hours back then and later at home I was in a bad mood for hours. But this time? No aching head or crankiness.

Oh, and earlier it'd been (super-lightly) snowing for hours, but I asked God if He'd stop the snow so I'd have a more pleasant walk there. And you know? Five minutes before stepping out the door, He did. 

Wow. As I gingerly stepped over the snow, I smiled for the whole two blocks and felt very, very loved.




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On Valentine's Day sunshine poured through our windows and Daniel The Cat and I sat at the table basking like crazy. I read books and--don't laugh--even with snow on the ground outside, it felt like a day at the beach inside (and yes, that's some imagination I've got). But still.

After work, Tom brought me flowers (above) and sponge candy. What a sweetie. And the night before, Naomi stopped by, giving us chocolate chip cookies from her workplace. Yum! She even brought some for Neighbor Mike, for his help to us and her while she lived here.

I hope your day was memorable, as well.




                              How delightful to receive Valentines from friends!



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Well, the Yahoo News homepage is making me nuts. If they ran a single positive story about President Trump I'd probably tip over in a faint. 

So currently I'm training my eyes to skip over it all. As I often tell myself, "When God wants me to do something, He provides the Grace to soften any blows I may receive." And well, instead of Grace, I've been feeling just plain mad at Yahoo News.

Want it explained more succinctly?  Here you go:   No grace? Stay away. Got grace? Go for it.



 "But He gives us more and more grace [through the power of the Holy Spirit to defy sin and live an obedient life that reflects both our faith and our gratitude for our salvation].  ...  Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you."   ... from James 4


"John answered and said, ” A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven."  ... John 3:27



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Oh! And I painted the tops and fronts of three dressers, two in our kitchen and one in our guest room. They all needed freshening-up with more of the same paint.

Don't you love it when you finally stop procrastinating? Even while in the dentist's chair this morning, one of my happy thoughts was those light-yellow dressers and their now-gone dirt spots, scratches and purple pools of something (long story).   :)

As Nike says, just do it.




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Ack! And I keep forgetting to tell you this --  if you admire beautifully written blogs, you'll love this one:

A Lovely Inconsequence

This post, especially, charmed me no end. Such an awesome getaway place, in case you need one (and don't we all need a few such places nowadays?).


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"The greater perfection a soul aspires after, the more dependent it is upon divine grace."   ... Brother Lawrence


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Monday, February 13, 2017

Jumping Off The Carousel. In A Way.




He says, “Be still, and know that I am God..."   ... Psalm 46:10

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."   ... Philippians 4:7

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So have you watched the reality show, Hunted, yet? Couples try to hide from professional FBI and CIA folks for 28 days in hopes of winning $250,000 for remaining un-find-able.

Want to know something? Tom and I have come up with the perfect so-simple hideaway plan. 

No, really. 

My brain loved the solve-a-riddle-like exercise over a couple days. Too bad, though, that we'll never actually apply as contestants to Hunted. Just call us Mr. and Mrs. Big Talkers.

Anyway, while contemplating this pretend 28-day escape, I've recalled how being online becomes such a habit. Right? In a nano-second I can conjure up an excuse why I must check/do/buy something here. Of course, I (usually) love the ministry part of both blogging and Facebook, but the other stuff! Especially the subversive headlines and friends' sometimes oh-dear! FB posts, well lately, I'd just rather not know.

And let's face it--I'm not always that great at online self-control.  :)

I need a break, a return to the old pre-Internet Debra who more often read books and homemaking magazines and cleaned and decorated the house and took walks, watched old-time tv shows, cooked, shopped, visited. In fact, my buddy, Dolores, and I have decided to spend less time online this next month, to get re-acquainted with who we are apart from The Net, among other as yet unknown things.

It sounds refreshing, actually. A sort of God saying 'come away with Me' thing.

Now, this isn't really a blogging break--I'll still write here when I have something to say. It's just that this old-fashioned girl needs to distance herself, for a time, from a world gone crazy-divisive. She's longing for less of the Net and more of the Good Old Days so she can handle these wild days, better, slowing down so to spend time with the woman she's become--

---and remembering some things she's most likely forgotten.







"And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one." ... 1 Thessalonians 4:11,12


“If you don't know who you truly are, you'll never know what you really want.” 
― Roy T. Bennett



" ... 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

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These are the books I'm currently reading ---





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And for fun, here's a photo of Daniel searching for trouble as always---






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Happy Valentine's Day in advance to all my readers!


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Oh! My radio just now played one of my all-time favorite songs, ever! Listen to it here.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Where She's "As Techno As She Wants to Go"


" ... for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." ... James 1:20


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Still here!

Just taking part in some old-fashioned Avoidance Therapy which sounds cowardly to some, but rather biblical to me --


"Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels."   ... 2 Timothy 2:23

"It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling."   ...Proverbs 20:3


Good gracious. Don't people realize if they sow hatred they'll later reap headaches and lousy attitudes? And if you won't give mercy to others they won't give it to you?

I'm thinking not.



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Anyway, outside my windows we've had grey, but inside, all this yellow, green and red keeps me in a sort of perpetual springtime. I do love how we can customize parts of our life with our imagination (and paint, fabric, wallpaper and candles).

And speaking of cowardly (above), a young Facebook friend said he'd 'developed a mentality of what it is to be "old."' Here's the first thing on his list--

1.) "I am afraid of new technology. I want to use what I have and not adopt anything new."


Hmm. Ok, yes, sometimes. But what I think? They're not always mutually inclusive.

Take me, for example. Three years ago I decided--personally--I've got enough technology. I don't need more. I can already--

... find my way around a computer.
... handle email, Facebook, Twitter and blogging.
... order groceries, stamps, books, furniture, etc. online.
... watch tv shows online.
... add books to (and read from) my (free) Kindle.
... listen to music online.
... dial a cellphone in an emergency.


Do you know all the hours those things require?? Eegads.

So, enough. Back in 2014 I made this 'quality decision': new technology will keep happening, but it'll happen without me.

Am I afraid of it? A tad, but mostly, no. I just don't need more. I don't want more. It's already using too many hours of the relatively few God will give me on Earth.

And there is more to Life, you know.

And frankly--lately--I've felt too techno. I listen to this turbulent, arguing world and think, "Too much information. Ugh."

What I want, instead? More of God. His incredible, headache-free peace. And non-disappearing joy. And love that cannot stop. 

And never can you get too much of those.




"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


Want more verses about the dangers of strife? Go here.


Having a problem with people who believe so very differently than you? This may help.




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During my Avoidance Therapy, I became addicted to discovered Hotel Impossible. Love it! Especially when truth is exposed, people change and rooms get made-over.

Find lots of free episodes online here.


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Have your Valentines all ready to mail?

And just for you, here's a vintage song about love.


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Thursday, February 02, 2017

Opened a Lighted Doorway Lately?




"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God."  ... Romans 8:14


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Every weekday around 6:00 a.m. I flip-on our back entryway lights before stepping out into the frigid darkness so to push up the garage door for Tom. Then I cross the snowy lawn and step back inside.

But this morning as I stood in our bright doorway, a car slowly drove by upon the cross street and immediately I recalled Almanzo Wilder and Cap Garland . You know how, if a man hadn't opened his lighted doorway exactly then, Almanzo and Cap would've, most likely, perished in the blizzard at their backs that icy black night in 1881. 

More, the wagon-loads of wheat they'd bought to save their starving town would've been covered by snow--and lost. And the citizens of early DeSmet, SD would have perished.

Yet, instead, everyone survived because at a perfect moment someone opened his door.

"What an incredible goal," I told myself as I crossed the lawn to the garage. "To be so led by God that just opening a door could change history forever."

Wow. I want to live that way. To not compare my small kindnesses to others' larger ones, but rather, to share simple-but-timely words of encouragement. To smile at someone who desperately needs one at that second. To obey God's always-timely nudges to let folks know I appreciate them, am praying for them and see God using them. 

To--at just the right times--shine the same light Jesus did when He was here, especially these days when a mad darkness is spreading.

And loving God with all my heart will take me there. All things are possible with God, especially when we stay so close that, even unknowingly, we're led to perfect places with Him, even around the house, where our light still can shine ever so brightly.






“Laura felt a warmth inside her. It was very small, but it was strong. It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up.” 
― Laura Ingalls WilderThe Long Winter





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The story of Almanzo and Cap can be found in The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.






"The corner of Almanzo's eye caught a gleam of light. He looked toward it and saw nothing in the storm-dark. Then he saw it again--a glow that shone bright, then abruptly went out. He knew what it was; light was shining out from a door opened and shut."

... from The Long Winter




I truly believe, with God, there are no coincidences.


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


"And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”   ... Esther 4:14




“Laura said faintly, 'I thought God takes care of us.'

'He does,' Pa said, 'so far as we do what's right. And He gives us a conscience and brains to know what's right. But He leaves it to us to do as we please. That's the difference between us and everything else in creation.” 
― Laura Ingalls WilderThe Long Winter



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