Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Visited His Kingdom Lately?



"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."  ... Romans 14:17


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So last night this Bible verse kept me awake awhile--


"... for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."   ... Luke 17:21


And the funny thing? I kept picturing this whole land inside me looking rather like this-- 













It's a regal, peaceful place, in there (I mused) where I can go to rest, anytime.

That is, if I forgive others in my 'outside land' rather than sulk. 
If I'm happy for others instead of resenting.
If I choose trust rather than worry.
If I'm more bold than cowardly and -- 

Gripping my 'right' to be upset/worried/shy then becomes like sending a dark, chaotic cyclone of enemies to that land inside-








For, like, if I refuse to forgive, then God can't forgive me and where's the peace in that?

There are reasons God asks that we die to self. 

Go turning your respite place all stormy and suddenly you start searching on the outside for something, anything, close. But it's never the same lasting peace or rest or joy out there. 

On purpose, God made it that way. So lets both, you and me, keep it beautiful within our own kingdoms, ok? These days, my oh my, do we ever need a place where we can receive from God all it takes to keep going. In joy.






"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."   ... Matthew 6:33



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So since Tom's and my favorite tv shows are on hiatus, we needed something new to watch and oh! We found something delightful (at least so far) --


It's called Reverie, on NBC. Some very creative stuff there and rather relevant in Today's take-me-away-from-all-this world.


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And here's something I shared at Facebook:


Last week on my walk, an adorable small boy asked, "Why do you carry that big hammer?" I smiled, stopped and told him it's a cane, actually, and I carry it in case, during the last part of my walk, I get too tired and need it to walk home with."

We both chuckled.

But actually, that's the 2nd reason I take that cane. The first? In case I run across grouchy dogs or wild-eyed men. But I didn't want to scare the little guy.






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Thursday, June 07, 2018

Maybe Your Wimpy Best Was Actually Amazing



"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. "   ...Romans 8:26


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Eegads. 

Where've I been, you ask? Oh, just here at home, just me and these annoying, wipe-me-out springtime allergies

Good grief. Ol' Debra's been achoo-ing on the couch like she hadn't this whole millennium. Weren't these days over for me long ago? Guess not.

I did manage to will myself to the coffee shop this morning and the gal said others had been allergy-moaning, also. And ok, yes, I felt a tad better. Hey, who wants to suffer alone?

Oh well. This, too, shall pass. Yesterday wasn't as 'poor, poor Debra-ish' here in my sealed-like-an-Ebay-box house. Whew.

Anyway, during not-fun times like these I just do what I can. Just. Do. What. I. Can.

Like, during tv commercials (oh, the episodes of The Middle I've watched and felt happier while doing so) I roll off the couch and load the dishwasher. Or vacuum. Or pull salmon from the freezer to defrost or clean the bathroom sink or zip outside and do 5 minutes' worth of weeding.

The best idea at times like these? Follow Grace. She knows exactly what needs to be done and what can be ignored. What'll create the biggest impact with the least amount of my poor, wilting-Debra energy. How to, shall we say, 'get the most bang for my buck'.

Grace, I've found, is super efficient. Wise. She never wastes time (or waning energy) and she sees ahead, something I certainly cannot do.

Grace helps me do my best when my best is oh-so-wimpy.

And you know? Doing my wimpy best may be even more meaningful to God than when, on normal days, I'm a cleaning tornado 'round here, able to, in a single bound, cross off every item on my To Do list.

Perhaps following Grace oh-so-close and totally relying upon God for strength (and trusting all will be well someday) is the way to go even on normal days. You know, when I've got everything under control.

Imagine that. Hmm.






"I can do all (necessary) things through Christ who strengthens me (even during allergy season)."   Philippians 4:13 (tweaked)










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I shared this at Facebook after Mother's Day. Oh, how important to keep our sense of humor when things don't go our way! (Even ol' Debra needs to grow in this area. Er hem.) --



After visiting us on Sunday, Naomi and Justin drove the 2 hours to Toronto to see a concert, only to discover it was cancelled by the venue. Rather than be blown away and angry, this photo shows that they kept their sense of humor and chose to have a good time with friends anyway. How inspiring, especially since ol' Pollyanna Debra can't say for certain she'd have reacted with humor.









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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Unmerciful Much?



"There but for the grace of God go I."   ... copied


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So this Roseanne thing, right?

Not gonna go into detail here. Nope. Yet I'll admit Tuesday evening after hearing the Roseanne show was cancelled, we hurried to our On Demand and watched the only episode we'd missed, lest it be ripped outta there by Wednesday.

Tom and I enjoyed the new season. So there. I can confess that, being in my older, braver, sassier years.  😉 We liked how they addressed Today's issues, especially the getting older ones.

Now, please remember this is a blog post, not a book, ok? 

Here's how I feel:


"In the last days, people will be .... unkind and merciless... they will have no self-control or pity."  ... 2 Timothy 3:3


You might not get this, but it's the mercilessness of the rabid, unforgiving, we'd-never-say-that! masses that makes me mad.

Yes, seriously. 

Because always, when folks start screaming about what other people said, this verse flashes like neon inside my brain--- 


"We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check."   ... James 3:2


Oh my. It's the pride of it all. The pride which smirks, "I would never say that awful thing. Never!"

But have you, have we, ever spoken something else, anything else, which we, later, deeply regretted?

Then we, too, have sinned. Exposed a wrong-heart defect. Blown it in God's eyes.

These times? These instances? May they humble us. May they remind us that we, oh dear! We stumble in our words in many ways, we're miles from perfect and we cannot keep our whole body in check.

And that there, but for the grace of God, go I.

God sent Jesus to this dreadful world so it could love Him, act like Him and apart from Jesus? We can do nothing right. None of us. Even with Him, good gracious! We still royally mess up sometimes.

May that keep our heads low, as in prayerful. And for heaven's sake, quiet when really, God's saying, "Hush. Can't you take a moment to learn rather than speak? To forgive rather than pat yourself on the back?"

Can we still forgive in these last days? I hope so. God still does. 

And may we long to see everyone wake up to such amazing love waiting for every weary, aching, outstretched arm.









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One of the 7 things listed in Proverbs 6 which God hates? 

A proud look.

Yikes.



Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.


It's ludicrous to expect non-Christians to act like they're saved. Absurd, really.



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Pride is pervasive. It's scary how it snakes around within us believing itself to be invisible, but oh, it shows. It shows.



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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Walked On Water Lately?


"For we walk by faith, not by sight."   ... 2 Corinthians 5:7


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It was weird.

Yesterday morning, Memorial Day, before Tom got out of bed, I kept asking myself, "If you could go anywhere on this holiday, where would it be?" And my answer was, "I'd go to my coffee shop."  Yes, the one where, two or three times weekly, I'm (usually) sitting alone, feeling as though it's my godly mission in Life to pray for and encourage the owners with my money and just being there.

But it isn't open Mondays.

So Tom and I went thrift store shopping, put away our treasures, then I made spaghetti (my favorite food since age 8. Seriously.), then we watched two movies. Later, Naomi stopped by with popsicles which I truly needed after stepping outside to give her garden plants I'd potted. 

Here in Buffalo, we had 2 1/2 glorious, Julie-Andrews-the-hills-are-alive weeks of Spring. But now it's sizzling, humid summer--the time where ol' Debra races around on cool mornings so she can earn her afternoon collapse. heh.

Anyway, back to the coffee shop. I walked there again this morning, sat alone in the room again (except for the sweet owner near the back), prayed again for people to come in, to become passionate about this place. 

I read there for an hour again, scribbled my To Do list, complimented the young woman on the muffin again and then stepped outside feeling joyful, as though I'd obeyed God, almost like I'd done something important. Again.

Often God asks me to go there, sometimes on mornings I'd not planned to. It's like a godly discipline: will I obey that slight nudging or must I wait for, like, eight confirmations? Must my head understand all the whys, first? Must I be certain of where all this will lead? Or will I just go because I think He wants me to?

In one simple area, God can teach us how to obey in future more complicated ones.

Some folks believe God just throws us into a pool then stands back and watches. But no. He gives us the desire to swim then teaches us how. Then He leads us to deeper places where oh! We could've sworn that, for a moment, we walked on water.

Often in Life with God, walking in obedience feels just that way. But only those who step out of the boat understand.








‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’   ...  Jeremiah 7:23


People who must have a map to exactly where they're going and know just what will be expected of them there, seldom accomplish much for God.  He asks that we walk by faith that He knows what He's doing--and that needs to be enough.


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                               My Prayer Garden. A peaceful morning place.




For Mother's Day, Naomi gave me a large bowl of potted bulbs, exactly what I'd been wanting! Loved that I found space for them.




The older I become, the more I train my flower beds to take care of themselves. You know, so this aging lady won't have to.



                                            It's only wisdom to do so, I reason. I believe they call it 'thinking ahead'.


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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Miracles. Everywhere.



"Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."   ... Matthew 17:20


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Where've I been? Experiencing deepest gratitude. 

Oh Winter, truly, must've lasted forever because for two weeks the greening of our trees has felt like a miracle. Really, I stand outside and gawk--you'd think I'd never seen such a thing before.

And finally, after 6 years of perennial-planting, my flower beds are caring for themselves. Well, nearly so. And the lesson? 

Give plants and people time in which to grow. Mature. God's not in a hurry and to Him the process is big. Cooperate, slow your expectations--and know peace.




Another miracle? (Though some of you won't like it.) I told you before that a church bought the plot of land at the end of our street (opposite side) and plants vegetables for our neighborhood in raised beds.

Well, they also planted three baby evergreen trees exactly across our view of the river through the picture window. What a disappointment! Those trees stay bushy-thick all year 'round.

And ok, I confess: I prayed the trees would die. And two of them did(!) The two especially in the way.

Now, calm down. Before anyone's eyes bulge and pop, let us remember the little thing about Jesus cursing the fig tree, ok? (Mark 11.) And how He said if we had mustard seed faith we could move mountains.





Er hem. Anyway, I think it's wild. Reminded me how, out at the farm, I prayed they'd move the street sign from in front of our sunroom--and they did(!) Eight years later, that's still shocking--and feels like a special thing God did for me.

Moving on-- For nearly 7 years I've wished (maybe prayed) someone would remove the ages-old ugly telephone pole across the street. Four feet of its bottom part were whacked off and it was connected to a new, lighter-color pole. Leaned a bit, too.

Guess what? This week men unhitched it from the new pole and took it away. Farther down the street they did the same thing to poles with the same unsightly set-up.

That happened while I visited with Sally who's celebrating her 80th birthday(!) I brought her a card and we looked at the fish in her new fish tank from her kids. On Saturday her grandson-in-law drove her to church for a potluck, but turns out it was a huge surprise birthday party. (Sally said she nearly had a heart attack.) Even her kids from Ohio came.

Oh, and we had our carpet cleaned and the guy (the owner) even washed the old 5' x 7' area rug on our front patio! (Who does that? I'll definitely leave a 5 star reference on his Facebook page.) Also, he returned yesterday to give extra help for a spot which I probably ruined a couple weeks ago (don't ask. It's horrible, but I'm attempting to keep it in perspective.). For free, but we insisted he take a tip.

Oh glorious Springtime when I become all Energizer Bunny-ish! How easy to pray, believing for miracles beneath your sunny skies. But may I believe through all seasons, even grey, stormy ones, as well, when I'm tempted to be all down and moody. 

And may I never miss, nor take for granted, a single miracle handed to me from the Giver of all good gifts.






                                   It's that frothy-like-ocean-foam time of year.





Remember: Complaining and whining and giving-up are not the same as praying. Sounds obvious, but sometimes we spend hours doing those things and only seconds, praying. And everything turns a little hazy: did we pray? Or only wish?



Dare to believe.







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Did you know that Trading Spaces is back?! It's on TLC.

Hooray for the return of creativity! What fun to watch folks decorate outside the box again, rather than all that grey paint and granite countertops HGTV constantly feeds us.



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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Guest Post From Doctor Debra :)



"If our minds are ruled by our desires, we will die. But if our minds are ruled by the Spirit, we will have life and peace."  ... Romans 8:6


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From that title, above, can you tell I crack myself up? 😃

This past March, I set a personal record: I've only been sick once in 7 years.

(Color me as surprised as you are.)

Oh, occasionally I've had sinus issues, but always they resulted from a childish I-wanna-do-what-I-wanna-do and, as you likely know, seldom does that work out well.

But every time, I fixed the issues with some cheap common sense and poof! They vanished, usually within a few hours.

Anyway, today I'll share what I believe keeps me healthy, the ideas I've researched since I turned 40 and my body began crumbling into pieces. (Well, it felt that way.)

You, as always, are free to do whatever works for you. 


The main thing? Please become your own best health advocate--and--always first treat the cause rather than only the symptoms. Vital, that.

Selah.


When did I notice myself no longer catching colds or the flu? When I daily did these--


I take 2,500 - 5,000 units of Vitamin D3, in divided doses, the larger dosage during winter. (These help our long winters feel soo much more bearable for me--seriously.)

To help with Vitamin D's absorption, I take 1,000 units of magnesium (which also helps me sleep).

I'm a huge believer in 'gut health'. I take 2 - 3 chewable acidolphulus tablets daily. (The chewable kind are amazing for the earliest sign of indigestion, as well.) Antibiotics kill the good bacteria within (as well as the bad), so acidolphulus is vital to restore balance.

I take 1,000- 2,000 units of Vitamin C, in divided doses. More if I've gotten sloppy and found myself with sinus issues again. (And Vitamin C is awesome for my gums. Dental folks look at them now and give me compliments rather than lectures.)

I take 1,000 units of krill oil just because it helps me sleep and feel good all over.  😉 (Actually it helps with muscle relaxation and in a ton of other ways.)

I drink 1/2 cup of cranberry juice each day.

Personally, I sleep better if I eat dinner 3 - 4 hours before going to bed. I've discovered the foods which keep me awake if eaten too near bedtime (chicken, pasta, potatoes, rice).

Then just before bedtime, I eat a bit of banana, maybe 1/8th cup, if that. Seriously, it helps me sleep.


Recent things:

We've eaten a whole lot of vegetable stir-fry.

Since February, I've tried to take a walk at least 5 days a week. This has hugely helped strengthen my back.

Oh and around 1999 I had to give up daily real coffee (traumatic!). Then I switched to decaf, but had to stop that since arthritis runs in my family and wow, decaf almost turned me into a statue (so stiff). The same with dairy (milk)--eegads! So unfair, but I can have a little now and then.

(Oh and my head can handle 2 cups of real coffee a week now--hooray! I just have to be sure to separate each cup by 2 - 3 days.)


Anyway, the final thing? (It's huge.) I remind myself to stand far away from unforgiveness and stress and instead-- 

Stay grateful
Calm 
At peace (due from trust)
And if there's a choice (there usually is) to choose the simple way/plan/explanation.

And though it's taken years and tons of God Time (tons), oh-so-very-rarely do I have a bad day. God's incredible goodness is capable of making all days sweet and memorable. 

And you know? I feel physically/mentally/emotionally better at 59 than I did at 39. (So many reasons, so little time to share them all. heh. It should be illegal to feel this good at nearly 60.) 

Okay, as long as it's not too humid and my energy holds out, usually till around 5:00pm. That is, if I've kept the ol' work a bit, rest a bit pattern throughout the day. Inch by inch (and all that).


So there you go. Dr. Debra clocking out.  😉







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Did anyone else love the season ending of Blue Bloods? Saw it coming--what a delight, that is, if the writers don't mess it up next season. Er hem.



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Oh! And after my last post Rebecca asked to see some of my books (the best library in all of New York State, as I say. heh.)

So here you go. Most of my treasures:


























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Monday, May 14, 2018

He Sees Ahead. Whew.



"For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly."  ... Psalm 84:11


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Saturday we stopped at our local library, the first time in, oh, ages. I only buy books at that place--why? They stripped the kids/teen section of anything vintage, preferring long, grey empty shelves, instead.

Grrr. Don't get me started.

Anyway, Tom waited in the car, I walked up the back ramp and uh-oh! Our library is now closed on Saturdays. Darn.

Then back inside the car I realized, hey! No more library for me maybe ever. Well, unless I walk the 1 1/2 miles there (an old girl can dream) or Tom retires (and I have access to the car I don't even drive) or I pay a taxi guy--

--or I just face this: Five decades of library visiting are over. Finis. Phhht.

But hey! Please don't feel sorry for me. God gave me a heads-up 30 years ago when He provided a young woman in the Nevada desert who sold my dearly-loved vintage books, ones libraries were already phasing out. I'd take Naomi to that many-windowed sun porch store and, with sweat trickling down our foreheads, we'd find books written by authors long gone.

Inside me I kept 'hearing', "Libraries won't always provide these. So buy some now."

God knew. Even decades ago He knew libraries would disappoint me. In 2018 I can no longer find the right vintage books via our huge New York inter-library loan system and years ago I ceased anticipating a cozy hour just browsing book shelves within old library walls.

That's over. But it's all ok.

Really, because I serve a God who cares, who knows me so very well. 

He cared that I be prepared.
He showed me where to buy books (thrift shops, yard sales, online, etc.)
He provided money and gift cards so to buy books. 

And all these 30 book-buying years later? Here at Hobbit Cottage I've got the best library in all of New York State. For me.

Always, God knows what's ahead. We don't, but He does, so to follow the daily nudges, instructions, becomes wisdom. We'll find ourselves prepared,  emotionally and otherwise, for anything--and so close to the very heartbeat of God.

And nothing shall blow us away.





                   Good-bye, my library days. Good-bye.





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After the library stop, we drove to our local theater and watched Avengers: Infinity War.

Hmm. 

Not my favorite of the series. Way intense, dark and too much fighting for my taste. And as the reviewer at Plugged In said, my mind is still trying to process that ending. Oh my. That ending.

And yet?

As with all those Avenger films, this one reminded me:

As Christians, we must be brave.
Courageous. Even if our best friend disagrees with us. 
Not crybaby runners to safe hiding places.

For God will hold us responsible for standing, in His strength, with His armor. Ours is to prepare now for the day where the fighting will matter most.

So thanks, Avengers: Infinity War for that reminder.








"My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me."  ... Psalm 31:15



(Oh, and if you share anything about the Avengers film in my comment box, please, no spoilers. Shhh... heh.)  😏



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My Mother's Day weekend? Perfect.
Hope yours was, also.

(Oh, and the two photo books I made and mailed to my mom? They were a big hit. A.Great. Big. Hit.)


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