Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Grace. Use It Or Lose It.


"But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”   ... James 4:6


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Every single day I peek into my town's houses.

Ok, calm down. I look via Realtor.com. 😊 I'm just an ol' house lover at heart. Can't help myself.

See the house at the top of this post? Yesterday I spied it. Sixty-three years old and it's being sold by the original owners(!) 

Tom and I attend estate sales at those and always know when a married couple lived there forever. How? The vintage furniture and knick knacks (especially those in the basement), the carpet, flooring, the bedroom paint colors--all obvious hints. 

We're like Original House Owners Detectives now.

Some kitchens make me gasp, "The poor woman! Imagine spending 6 decades in there." But oh, not this time. Call me nutso (you will), but I'd take this kitchen as it stands--






Ol' 'Vintage Is Better Debra' could have some major retro decorating fun in that kitchen.

And ok, I would replace this carpet in the living/dining room (50 year old carpet being, well, 50 year old carpet) --



But (hold onto something, ok?)--I'd replace it with the same shade of green.

No, really.

And some people would remove the wall to the entry area/room with the big coat closet, but not me--




Nope, I'd leave the wall and decorate that tiny area adorably.

Of course, there's the obligatory green bedroom--




But you simply must see this hiding in the basement--wildly, it's the second one I've seen this week(!) --







Oh my goodness. 

Can't you see the ladies with their hair in pastel perm curlers? Women wearing vintage aqua plastic covers, sitting beneath hair dryers, reading magazines or getting their nails done at the tiny table?

Man, oh man. Another room I'd not touch. No, I'd sneak down there often to escape this crazy world and probably play 'beauty parlor' like I used to as a little girl.

Ahh. Houses like that one are a major reason I love Western New York. Tons of folks here stay all their married lives in just one home. 

Now, could I have done that? No--Grace wasn't upon me that way, for I've craved more variety and housing adventures these nearly 40 years of married life.

But now, oh, move me into a house like that one and I'd play Retro Lady until I went all grey and pokey. I'd buy a few old style dresses, wear my aprons and curl my hair (down in that beauty parlor, but of course). My vintage radio music would waft 'round, retro magazines would lay, scattered, and not one iota would I care that we weren't updating the house for a future sale.

Nope, we'd just grow old together, Tom, the house and me. We'd play a 1950's through 1970's sort of Life Game and yes, probably slip happily into a Vintage Land of Senility.

But hey, there are worse places.

Anyway, stay tuned. That house costs more than we'd like to pay, but other very similar ones in a less expensive part of town often pop up.

But in the meantime? Gee, I need to receive more Grace and stop complaining about this meant-to-be-temporary house of mine. For hey, all houses on Earth are temporary (and I chew on that awhile).

May I remember to stop believing happiness comes by my trying so hard to get what I want.
No, may I, instead, receive Grace.
Grace's help and awesome creativity.
Her timing, stamina and imagination.

May I seek to receive from God rather than doing things on my own, without His strength, His 'ok'.

Receive and be joyful, at peace and contented on my way to the permanent home God's building for me just down the street from His.







" I worked hard, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me."   ... 1 Corinthians 15:10



(Oh, and I'm not just talkin' houses here--but you probably figured that out.)


Perhaps we didn't complete our goal because we tried doing it, ourselves. Alone.


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A special thanks to my friend, Betty, who let me know that these plates, below--





... are called Ma and Pa plates. I have four in my kitchen now, but where are those three in the photo? I couldn't have sold them before we moved--or could I? Perhaps they're still packed away (nearly 7 years later) down in the basement. Sigh.

But I'm grateful to finally know what they're called. I can now look them up online and occasionally find them.



(These are a sandwich plate size, found for just .25 cents each at a yard sale)


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Naomi shared this at Facebook and oh my, after nearly 40 years of married-life I still often feel this way. Guess I'd better ask for--and receive--more Grace!





(Anyone else?)   😁


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Tuesday, August 07, 2018

What Makes You Feel Like (The Real) You?



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


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One night last month while upstairs hurrying to lecture Sammy The Cat (don't ask), I tripped over the edge of a box fan. 

Sigh. Turns out I bruised two toes and hurt the muscle in my right arm.

Anyway, I returned to my comforting little closet bed, sulked, and remembered how, at 7-years-old, I'd fall and think only, "I skinned my knee again. I hope it doesn't bleed and stain my pedal pushers."

Remember those?





Huh. You go tripping at 59 and it's totally different.

You feel 'jarred' all over. Shaken. 
As though you're an elephant and you tipped over. Crash!
Like it happened so fast, you weren't even present for the middle part.
And you consider taking a whole day (or two) off to recover.

Well, I did take the next day off. 

I tried to do only those things I could've in 1979. I left the Internet alone. Tied on an apron and unearthed vintage women's magazines plus a couple 1950's soda shoppe books. Switched on my retro music radio station, made hot chocolate, then later, watched an old Bogart film. I browsed the magazines on the front porch and gazing at the river, dreamed and imagined myself younger and back in my graceful I-was-a-gymnast days.

Long, long years ago, those.

Tom called and I asked him to bring home dinner. By day's end? I felt like I'd traveled on a healing vacation, back to a whole other happy decade.

How sweet that was.

Funny, but a couple days before, I'd read a headline stating more people than ever ask for personal days off from work. Boy oh boy, do I get that. If ol' Debra had a real job? I'd take every hour off allowed to me. 

With no guilt, either. You'll not find me putting on a (phony) brave, I-don't-need-nothin' face! Uh, no. 

The point of this post? I hope you know exactly what you need in order to heal from, heck, just living in this crazy-spinning, everybody's-freaking-out world of ours. 

What soothes your heart and calms your mind? It shocks me, but lots of women my same (advanced) age still don't know what they need. Instead, they --

muddle along,
complain and feel dauncey a lot,
insist they're fine,
strong as a proverbial horse, 
while stuffing hurts down deep, 
then secretly having panic attacks
or just a sad, half-lived, wishful Life.


If that's you, please ask yourself today, "What do I, personally, need in order to happily do the same ol' tasks day in, day out? What will keep me going? Do I need more of something? More of God or time alone or hours with friends or viewing my life differently or doing new things?"

"What will keep me out of ruts and self-pity? What will help me 'finish my course with joy'?"

We lie to ourselves sometimes and insist we need a huge thing, something impossible right now--but don't do that, ok?

Just know thyself, please. Become acquainted with those small things which add smiles to your journey. I'm thinking it's vital that we let God help us move forward, in healthy ways, first, before we can successfully help others.










"... let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."   ...Hebrews 12:1, Acts 20:24






Yikes! After reading some comments here and at Facebook, I'd better add that my 'trip' happened 2 weeks ago and I'm fine now. Healed relatively fast, actually--it surprised me.


Lately Tom and I have spoken about our need to slow down--and how that will help us make fewer mistakes. But that's a whole other post--stay tuned.



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Want to listen to my local retro radio station? Go here.


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A peek at my Happy Place upstairs where I can go to feel restored and myself again---




We found that piece of glass on the curb Saturday while driving home from the latest Mission Impossible movie (which we much enjoyed).









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Tom and I watched (On Demand) The Man Who Invented Christmas. We both (surprisingly) enjoyed it a lot. 



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Thursday, August 02, 2018

For The Discourager Diegos





Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:3-4

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So. Usually scenes with Mike Heck (in The Middle) are favorites and throw in interaction with his daughter, Sue? Usually you'll see me wiping away tears (those sappy, sentimental writers--sheesh).

But ack! In one scene, Mike royally disappointed me. 

Frankie (his wife) had talked him into replacing their ancient, dilapidated bed and after frustrating days of putting the new one together, they sat upon it, leaned back on the bookshelf headboard and agreed. Soo uncomfortable.

That's when Mike goes all--


"You're always running around trying to change stuff. You do this all the time. (He mimics Frankie)--'I have to have a sanctuary. Stringing beads will change my life. A foreign exchange student is going to bring us all closer together.'

"You've got a millions plans, Frankie, to make things better, but they don't! Open your eyes--this is it. This is what we've got."


Come on, Mike.

Healthy-minded, normal folks try to make their lives better. Easier, smoother, more convenient. They just do. It's called improving the way you live.

It's not wrong--unless it consumes us. (Anything becomes wrong when we can think of nothing else.) But discovering ways to help us move forward, onward and upward? It's a Good Thing.

But not according to some people. Good grief.

I mean I adore documentaries, especially ones about inventors, but what do you always (always!) see in those? Their contemporaries/friends/others discouraged them from trying--


"What kind of a foolish idea is that?"
"It can't possibly work."
"Who even needs one of those?"
"Where will you get the money to produce it?"
"Why don't you just get a real job?"
"Everyone knows dreamers are useless fools."


Every single inventor in every documentary I've seen faced that junk. And what do most (not all, ok) inventions share in common? They're created to make Life easier for people.

But oh, the Discouragers. I've even got a handful on my Facebook page(!) Dear old friends, in fact, from the Old Days, and frankly? Man, they make me nuts.

People try to make our planet better? The Discouragers become, like, "Bah! Can't be done."  Or all, "It's fine the way it is."

Want to get rid of plastic? "Bah! What about this (plastic item) and that (plastic item) that people still use like crazy? How you gonna change that?"

And any new idea that comes along from across their political aisle? Good luck. "What a joke," they say.

"It doesn't do enough."
"It'll never work."  or, "We don't even need it."


People, people, people. Do you hear yourselves?





It's a trap. A sticky, gooey trap (which can feel erroneously soothing) that's hard to pull yourself out of if you've let yourself sink down, low.

But God can lift us up. He's the lifter of our heads, you know.

Anyway, remember this Bible verse?

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 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

Some folks believe that those who've gone to Heaven can sometimes look down upon us when we've faithfully obeyed God with all our hearts.




And ok, that may or may not be true.

But if it is? Then when my loved ones in Heaven peek over that edge at me, may I resemble an Encourager Warrior Woman, fighting to make things better for those of us still down here.

And certainly not like a grouchy ol' Discourager Diego who only sits in front of his computer telling everyone, "Just give up, already. There's nothing new under the sun. Nothing will help us now."

Nope, instead may I march ahead with fellow doers, obeyers, doing the best we can to serve one another in love, to lift the spirits of the weak and to make this temporary life of ours better for us all.

Every single day.





"Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle...   Psalm 144:1


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


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For my friends who are grandmothers (may this make you smile) ---




😊


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And speaking of plastic, here's what I shared at Facebook yesterday:



For the record, I admire people who try to make things better. Constantly criticizing and joking about folks who TRY, only discourages others and makes things worse.

Anyway, I found this photo and caption hilarious!



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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Nope! Not going There Today.




"See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no 'root of bitterness' springs up and causes trouble..." ... Hebrews 12:15


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So this morning I'd long-finished my coffee cake muffin and still sipped my (dreamy) coffee at the cafe--






... while reading my book --




--and thought, "This is soo relaxing, calm, but darn! It's time to walk home and do all that housework--again. Sigh."

Immediately my head squealed, "Debra! Tsk. Tsk. Do your housework with joy and it'll be as pleasant as sitting here. That's what you blog about, right?"

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  😐  Heh.

Sometimes (every day?) we must get tough with our summer doldrum attitudes and become all Barney Fife-ish. You know, all "Nip it! Nip it in the bud."




Go allowing ugly, grippy roots to grow deep, long, and we'll regret it. But pluck tiny weeds (or trouble-causing buds) upon discovery and oh! A cinch, really.

As I've written before, 90% of our lives is the oh-so-daily stuff and not the vacations, parties, girls-night-outs, graduations, concerts or gatherings where people are all, like, "I appreciate you!".

Uh, no.

Ninety percent of our lives is Reality. The working, errands, washing, driving, paying bills, cooking, helping, shopping and laundry part of our decades of this oh-so-quickly-it's-over Life God breathed into us. 

And oh, how vital that we not --


Complain nor
Dread nor
Wish 90% of our lives away.


So today, Debra, listen up! While you dust, vacuum and scrub the kitchen windowsill where the cats sit, you'll celebrate this huge, joy-giving God inside you. 

You'll water your garden while basking in gratitude and prayer. You'll empty the trash and clean the bathtub while listening to music and maybe even sing along.

You'll help others and count yourself fortunate to be able to do so.

And it'll be a brilliant, to-be-remembered day. Even though it's just a regular ol' 90% one, God will shine bright and warm within the center of it--and He makes all days worth celebrating.

All. Days. The obviously special ones--and otherwise.

What remains is that I, all of us, wake up and see that.






"So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love ...  and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving."   ... Ephesians 3:17, Colossians 2:7


Every single day brings the potential for wonder, creativity and surprises--good ones. Never forget.



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Well, this book came out in 2016--




--and oh, ol' Debra sooo wanted to read it! But not at its original $28 price.

Uh, no. She's too much of an online bottom-price feeder for that. 

So she waited for the price to drop. And waited--and finally was rewarded. 

She snatched one for $4.26.  😌  (Find it here, also.)

It arrived yesterday and wow. She can't read it fast enough. 

Excellent, smooth writing, 
adventurous 
and scary,
sad, poignant, inspiring, 
and fascinating-- 
all of the above.

She just thought she'd mention it.


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Oh! And my friend, Judy, shared at Facebook this upcoming movie trailer. Looks awesome.


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Friday, July 27, 2018

Fourteen Years, Chit Chat and A Giveaway




"Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him."  ... 1 Corinthians 7:17


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So! This week my blog turned 14 years old. 

Happy birthday to you, this journal of sorts, this teaching tool which teaches even its author, not being solely written by her (heaven forbid), but in great part, by Him, who, like, dictates parts to me (via thoughts, no spooky voices, er hem), sometimes using words I must consult in online dictionaries so to make certain they're even correct.

Seriously. It's kinda eerie, but in quite a pleasant way. (That's a thing, right?)


"... apart from me you can do nothing."   ... John 15:5  ( More seriously true in Debra's case. Really.)


Anyway.

Truly, I recommend that all my readers discover (and do) the thing(s) God created them, uniquely, to perform. God made this huge plan, but if your part is missing (or you're doing what someone else thought you should)? Uh-oh. 

Then our world spins like a scratched record album--

Skip, skip, music plays, skip, note repeats, repeats, skip, music plays, skip, note repeats, etc. Jarring. All nails-on-a-chalkboard like. When, actually, the rest of us could've been soothed and inspired, instead, by your part.

Put simply:  you are needed. Necessary. Yes, you.

Today? Love God with all your heart (oh, what that repairs!).
And do what only you, specifically, were designed to.

That's when Life changes, inside and out. For all of us.







Speaking of a spinning earth, don't you just love this Bible verse?


"He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers."   ... Isaiah 40:22


Good gracious! Hundreds of years ago people blue-face-argued whether the Earth was round or flat when they could've just read (and believed) the Bible. My, my, my. Sounds awfully familiar these days, also, right?


"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."Proverbs 9:10



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My pal, Judy, shared this  at Facebook--






Oh, and for my friends who, like me, sometimes get teased for not bathing in Today's political news? Here's a page of Bible verses which may encourage you that it's ok to take baths in something different.   😃


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Oh! Found one of my favorite things at an estate sale last Saturday--





They'd been wrapped in plastic for years (oh, the dust!). But the exciting part? I discovered the perfect place for one of them (hang one-thing-too-many in this tiny house and the whole thing spins out of control)--



Just right. Ahh.

Now, I've had a few of these over the years, but does anyone know their official name? (Their faces were usually made of felt and the rest was fabric, trimmings, lace.) I believe they were popular in the 1950's. Really, I'd love to know what they were called back then.



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Oh! And could you please join me in praying for my family and friends (and all others) who live in Redding and Red Bluff, CA? The fires near there are way too close for comfort. Thanks so much.






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And lastly--in honor of this blog's 14th birthday, I'm offering $25 Amazon gift cards to 3 of my readers. Just something I enjoy doing, a tiny way of saying bless you for reading here.

There are 3 ways to enter the drawing:

1.) Leave a comment here after this post.

2.) Comment at Facebook if you're my friend there (more than a 'like' only this time, ok?).

3.) Or email me at GladOne4@yahoo.com    Please add 'blog' somewhere in the subject bar.


I'll draw names from one of Tom's old-fashioned felt hats tomorrow (7/28) at 12:00 p.m. eastern.

Thanks so much to all my readers who visit me here so faithfully year after year! I appreciate each of you way more than I tend to say (tsk, tsk on me).



*** The drawing's been held and the winners, notified. A special thanks to each of you who entered with your kind, encouraging comments!