Thursday, October 18, 2018

She Of The Perpetual Purple Toes

"Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save."   ... Isaiah 46:4


First, I dropped the vacuum cleaner on my foot. Hurriedly, I'd replaced the canister (that thing with the handle) so it hadn't locked into place.

One night, Sammy The Cat kept meowing so, frustrated and intending to lecture him, I burst from my bedroom and tripped on the corner of a box fan.

Then two weeks ago while running late as I prepared to walk to the dentist's office, my foot caught the edge of our clothes hamper in our bathroom. Never in 7 years had that happened before.

Each time, ol' Debra ended up with some purple toes. Sigh.

Oh, nothing major, just enough to make me appear like a 90-year-old lady gingerly walking to the coffee shop.

Er hem.

Since, oh, age 35 I've been rather a running on fast-forward homemaker. Even without coffee(!) That was after the Exhausted Mommy years and before this next-year-I'll-turn-60 one.

But now at 59? Changes. I've simply got to make some changes.

What I'm loving most about God right about now is He understands "this old grey goose, she ain't what she used to be."

And He makes plans for me accordingly. He 'leads me beside these still waters'--

To the slower pace places. Slow down, He says. Listen, walk rather than run. Pause. Breathe. Renew.

To appreciation of new activities places. But to get there, I must leave behind what I can no longer do. Ban regret, hopelessness, and believe, instead, for a different happiness. 

To find my house's self-cleaning place. That's where I learn how to keep dirt and cold and heat from entering. Where I work smart, not hard. 

Oh, these new places!

Places of forgiveness for all these changes, not resentment.
Of new friends just as sweet as old ones lost.
Of yet-undiscovered adventures everywhere, even at home.
Of new topics, skills learned.
Of grasping what can only be understood in the slow, quiet places.

And longing for the old days? No, I'm thinking that spoils the progression. Oh, I can visit them, but spend my remaining hours longing for them, no, that feels too much like --

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other."   ... Matthew 6:24

For me, there's just one day, Today, and one master--Jesus. He will still ask me to do things for Him yet, thank-goodness, they'll be customized for His dearly loved, 'old grey goose'. 

So that I can still obey Him, even now, in this later season. Whew.

"For he knows we are but dust  and that our days are few and brief, like grass, like flowers,  blown by the wind and gone forever." ... Psalm 103:14-16

Never resent having to slow down. Oh, what we can discover in the slower-paced, quiet places!

Stop often. Celebrate what you have. Take nothing for granted.

As we age, sometimes we must discover all new ways to do the same ol' thing. (And is that really all so bad?)


Speaking of doing things differently... Last week I bought a sign, below, from Ebay because I kept forgetting to take my daily walk. This sign, now beside my computer, will remind me. Hopefully. heh.


Found this at Twitter, shared it at Facebook, for it caught me just where my procrastinating habits have held me lately--

A bit different than what I usually share, but couldn't help myself.

This funny statement, below, made me pause and go hmmm about myself. Not making comparisons here, just asking myself if I'm moving forward the way God would like--or are a ton of unfinished tasks holding me back? (Hey, I like a good challenge!) 

"In just over 2 years Harry and Meghan have met, fallen in love, moved her entire life to London, had a royal wedding, and got pregnant.
I still haven't rehung the towel rail that fell off the wall in 2014."

--- Laura


Don't you just love that?!



Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Where She Clears Up Some Confusion. Or Tries, Anyway.

"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night."  ... Psalm 1:1,2


So! Yesterday's post confused some folks. 

Perhaps it was semantics, you know, my usage of the word 'mediocre.' Man, I hate that word! Hey, look at the definition I gave. Who can thrive or love living like that? ("Neither good nor bad,  inferior, poor, not adequate.")

Anyway. Today, below, you'll find illustrations of what excellence means to me. 

Your ideas may vary. That's cool. 

When the couch and a donut are calling, but I take a walk for my health, instead--that's excellence.

Tearing myself away from social media when God nudges--not hours later--that is excellence.

Baking a pie for new neighbors (even though I'm nervous) because God asked me to --that's excellence.

Expressing my condolences online to friends when they lose a loved one or pet or they ask for prayer and I promise to pray --that is excellence.

Giving my family a clean, safe home is a gift to them--and also excellence.

When I stop making excuses about doing challenging things (because God doesn't fall for them anyway)--that's excellence.

Rolling my shopping cart back to its designated spot is excellence.

Mailing surprise gifts (or buying a stranger's Starbuck's treat)--sowing seeds through all giving--that is excellence.

Expressing to someone how their words or deeds helped me--that is excellence. Getting a bit more sentimental than saying only, 'Happy birthday' is as well.

Forgiving others is excellence. Being kind rather than offended or keeping score of peoples' mistakes is, also.

Finishing what I start is excellence. As is pushing past procrastination.

Refusing to gossip is excellence.

'Going the extra mile' with someone, doing more than they expected is excellence.

Not 'letting myself go' is excellence.

Being a wife my husband can safely, totally trust is excellence.

Not comparing myself or my house or talents or family to others' is excellence.

Being the first to apologize is excellence.

Doing today what I'll be satisfied with later on--that's wisdom. And excellence, also.

None of this condemns me. It convicts, though. 

And keeps me growing, busy with good, productive tasks, stepping not to the beat of the world's strife-y music. Uh, no.

And am I there yet 100%? Of course not. But hey, I'll get there much faster if my aim is for excellence rather than settling, aiming for a barely adequate, just-get-by mediocrity.

Jesus wants to live excellently through me--and I'm learning to let Him. When Jesus lived here on Earth? He was excellent every day.

And He asks that we be like Him.

There is no awful stress living His way. No ugly competing. No kick-myself-guilt. Instead, there's encouragement to keep marching forward, even through hard times, tears.

In a godly joy.
In love.
In determination. With focus.
In a strength not my own.

... all creating a history I'll not be embarrassed to mull over when I reach Heaven. 

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."   ... 2 Corinthians 5:17

"Only let us live up to what we have already attained."   ...  Philippians 3:16

Aim only for doing less than we're capable of--and we'll always hit that bullseye. Always.


Oh wow. This book is even more gorgeous than I'd remembered.

I just slightly skimmed it, for it'll be the perfect (perfect!) wintertime book to dive deeply into and keep me far from cabin fever--or even--to make me treasure the time, the months of snow.

Really, I own many books, but this one? Perhaps the most gorgeous.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Aim for Mediocrity? Really?

Now in this post, am I speaking of stressing yourself out with selfish ambition and being the best whatever in the whole world? Uh, no. I'm, as always, talking about being led by God in His way of excellence and not settling for less. Of being the best you that He created. And there is NO crazy-stressful-gotta-keep-up anything about that. None. Zip. Nada.


So I read a (went-viral) blog post where the author wrote eloquently about her desire  to be mediocre and forget all about striving for excellence or making her life count. Yikes!

Oh, my head (and the room) spun and I turned a sickly shade of greeny-purple.

Seek mediocrity? Seriously?


1.) of only ordinary or average quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate.

2.)  not satisfactory; poor; inferior.

No thank-you, lady. Ol' Debra gets itchy, something's-wrong-but-what? inside her spirit when she goes acting all mediocre.

But oh! The article sounded so sensible, so freeing and right in some parts (you might say).


No one will ever convince me that I should aim for mediocrity regarding the way I think, keep house or live these few short years on Earth. 

Now, if you want to arrive in Heaven having lived an average, neither good nor bad, barely adequate life, well, ok. Go for it.

Yet it all sounds too horrifying to me. Too much like an excuse to remain 'in the bud', in one stagnant spot physically, emotionally forever--and call it Good.

No, personally, I need challenges, a hand to yank me up from this average pool where I sometimes drift, as if asleep. I crave God's nudgings to behave better next time: to be kinder, work harder, set my sloppy attitude upon the street. And I need the inspiration via books or film or just plain watching  people of excellence and the different, finer choices they make.

We're all placed here, in fact, with a huge potential 'to spur one another on to love and good deeds' (Hebrews 10:24). And if you ever catch me here urging you, instead, to be mediocre? You may, well, not shoot me exactly, but please do call me out on it, ok?


"An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels."   ... Proverbs 31:10

"But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”   ... Luke 21:36

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." 

Martin Luther King, Jr.


Attention all my fellow lovers of vintage girls' mysteries. You can get 25 novels from this genre for your Kindle for only .55 cents.

What a deal!

There are even second and third similar books available.


Want to read more Bible verses regarding excellence? (These are so convicting, inspiring.) Go here.

Or for verses regarding 'the brother of mediocrity' known as 'laziness,' go here.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

― Anais Nin


Ooooooo..... Now, this has excellence written all over it! Wow. (Naomi's boyfriend, Justin, shared this wonderful story over at Facebook.)


How tragic, how final, to reach Heaven and think, "God had more for me to do and be. But I chose something less. Something safer, easier and ultimately, sadder."


Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Looking For a Conspiracy?

"Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart...Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." ... 1 Peter 1:22, James 1:19


So this morning I sat on the red couch after Tom drove to work and a story popped up on our local tv news about this video--


---which some guy had spread over Facebook because he'd attended Sunday's Buffalo football game where he filmed a sheriff's deputy snatching away an American flag (the big Fascist meanie) from fans.

And (I quote), "In the headline above the video, the Facebook poster used two expletives directed at the Bills and the NFL and said he walked out" (while others chanted 'U.S.A! U.S.A!').

Turns out, three times the fans were warned that their flag was covering a game clock, thus disrupting the game. If they didn't move it, it would be taken away.

They didn't and it was.

Later, after getting the facts, the Facebook poster apologized for sharing the film without first hearing the complete story.

I laughed. Grunted, actually. Wait for the whole story? Who even does that anymore?


Yet also, I laughed because hey, I know my own tendency to latch onto a juicy conspiracy theory, especially if it matches up with a biblical Last Days Bible prophecy. 

There's just something about believing we know what's really going on, right? Poor ol' ignorant other folks, we think.

And yes, there's some pride in that. Er hem.

But also? I, personally, believe some of that comes from our wanting more. More than the (yawn) same ol', same ol' surface stuff that we (and everybody else) already know.

Basically,  I think, God designed us to want more so to keep us longing for more of Him (He who is endless). More of His deeper truths, His light, His ways, His love.

You know, rather like this-- 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."   ... Matthew 5:6

And if we seriously hungered for and sought those, instead? Oh my, we'd not have an extra half-hour for those substitution conspiracy theories.

We'd be far too busy. Too actively learning how to better love, (for example), than waiting to pounce on the next words (or actions) from others who (to us) never seem to get anything right.

It's a habit, this expecting the worst from people or this 2018 life. And may that be one habit we ask God to help us break--so that we may free-up room for a more excellent way.

How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!"  ... Psalm 133:1

"And now let me show you a more excellent way--

Love is ... not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, it does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and it endures all things. Love never fails."   ... from 1 Corinthians 12 & 13

What if we expected the best, not the worst? What if we ceased speeding toward conclusions and instead, earned peoples' respect, not their derision and teasing?


Had to smile about these yesterday on Facebook--

Life's short. Make sure you spend as much time as possible on the Internet arguing with strangers about politics...🙂



Thursday, October 04, 2018

How's The Book Coming?

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."   John 21:25


Speaking of Facebook (my last post), I'm actually friends there with my 4th grade teacher.

Cool, right?

And I keep forgetting to show her that hundreds of (well ...50) years later, I still have the journals she had us keep. Seriously. Need proof? --

Sometimes Miss Noakes asked us to write short, imaginative essays, but my favorite pieces? They're the ones where I described fun outings with my family, grandparents, relatives and friends, days which would be lost had I not written them down.

Go venturing close to 60 and you treasure those captured days, especially when, years ago, you ceased having adventures with many characters of your autobiographies because they moved to Heaven.

Anyway. In one of the entries, I wrote that my mother was 29 years old (actually, she'd turned 30 the previous month. No math whiz, me.). But still--how young she was. Wow.

But yesterday, my mom turned 80.


The increasing speed of years--oh my. May we make each day matter, count, by performing at least one memorable act of kindness. You know, one sweet thing done at God's urging, a thoughtfulness which will remain upon the pages of our own Book Of Days when we, too, move to Heaven.

Hopefully our book will be stuffed with kind deed stories--because forever--they'll remain part of our history. 

And too, may we remember that Moving Day is fast approaching, and Heaven, with all sorts of new adventures.

"It all goes so fast. Make it memorable!"

Here's my 4th grade class and Miss Noakes. Wasn't she so very 1960's? I remember loving her clothes-style way back then.


Dorcas. She inspires me all these thousands of years later.


Remember last year when I was all crazy-searching for a book of homey art that I could peruse over the Winter? 

Well, I'm shocked that I didn't even think of the artist, Trisha Romance (though am I really surprised, given the state of my aging brain? heh.)

Anyway, a few times we've visited her lovely former home in Niagara On The Lake (Canada. It's an art gallery now for her paintings with some of her family's furniture, as well) and if you'd like to see it (and the quaint town) via Trisha's eyes and wonderful art like this--

---you can order her book (as I did) here, for practically pennies.

Years ago, I found a copy of this at a yard sale, but sent it to my parents since I'd taken them to Trisha's home just a month before. What a treat this new copy will be on the deepest, darkest Winter afternoons.

 (Or to view more of Trisha's original art online, go here.)


(This book is now $2.99, but still check it out if you wish!)---

Yikes! Almost forgot that today you can pick up another free Deborah Raney kindle book--yay!  Here you go.


Monday, October 01, 2018

Facebook: What Scares Me Most

"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing... for the greatest of these is love."... 1 Corinthians 13:2,13


So perhaps you heard about the recent hacking of Facebook. Frankly, this subject, below, frightens me way more than that. 

Yikes! What is it, you ask?

When my Facebook (or blogging or email) friends post that--

... their dog died,
... they're ill and need prayer,
... they became a grandmother,
... they were in an accident,
... they're facing a divorce,
... their relative or friend passed away,
... they (or their adult child) are marrying soon, etc.

--and I read those things? It's the same as if they are, as in decades past, rushing over to me in church or at a shop downtown, tugging my sleeve and telling me their important news.


Yet if I just keep scrolling down my Facebook (or whatever) page, not pausing to write a note saying I even care-- it's like that photo, above. It's as though my friend shared her news, her heart with me, but in silence, I turned and stepped away.

I ignored my friend in her sorrow or the joy she wished to share--and fled(?) Why? To find/read something more interesting or to finish scrolling because I'm in a hurry or --?

Whatever the reason--if I'm presented online with what, years ago, would've made me express condolences, congratulations or a hug in-person, but now I write or say nothing, oh my, I've gone backwards

I've ignored many scriptures, ones like this--

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep."   ... Romans 12:15

And when my just-keep-scrolling heart neglects Bible commands, uh-oh! It's like a new patch of metal scales appear. Do that enough and someday my heart will resemble an armadillo--

            "Do not harden your heart..."   ... Hebrews 3:8

Heaven forbid.

Man, these latter days, this Internet, have brought such responsibility. How easy it used to be to say, "I hadn't heard what happened. I didn't know. No one told me." 

But now I do know--and with lightning speed. And with great power/knowledge/love of God, truly does come responsibility.

And when I stand before God someday, oh my, may He not tell me I had a horrible case of armadillo heart. 

Instead, may we both know my heart remained soft, pliable and always desiring to become more like His-- full of love-in-action toward those folks who lived down here while I did, also.

(Speaking of Facebook, my friend, Dolores, shared this timely quote there yesterday.)

Hopefully before leaving this earthly plain, we'll have spent our time's majority upon what truly mattered--and left alone what didn't.

Sometimes we don't feel well because we're not living up to what we have learned to be true.

Does it take much time to show others we care? Yes, yes it does. But I can't think of a better way to spend my time--can you?


Another room from local real estate spied online. So cozy, right?


A favorite recent photo of Naomi and Justin--