Monday, January 29, 2018

Where She Recommends Something

                "You have not because you ask not."   ... James 4:2


The main thing is to remember complaining is not the same as asking for what you need. Just ask Moses' crazy Israelite friends. Er hem.

Really, there's a huge difference between, "Lord, this house is a big, fat mess. Why should I be the one to clean it?" and "Lord, please put within me the desire to keep my home organized."

So this January I've been asking God to help me stay sanely-happily-busy (as opposed to insane-and-unhappy-busy). And inspired, especially during these gee-I'm-inside-the-house-a-lot months.

Well, this was an answer to prayer --

Wow. Now, here's $2.99 well-spent. Author Christina Scalise gives us a daily task to keep us organized and isn't it wonderful when someone else does this type of thinking for you? (Yes!)

You can peek inside this book here. I bought it last Thursday so it's been fun (no, seriously) trying to catch-up on all the previous January tasks. (Only my fellow list-loving friends understand that statement.) 

Christina inspired me so much that I even tackled my scary greeting-cards-to-send file.

Oh my. For decades, anytime I needed to mail a card I'd shuffle, dig, somehow find the right card amongst many (or not), then (in some cases) delve deeper to discover an envelope to match. Sometimes I even chose not to send a card rather than face that dreaded box. (Shaking my sorry head here.)

But now finding a card will be a cinch.

After this organizational feat, I searched online for old-fashioned assorted greeting card collections to fill-in my greeting card gaps. Do they even make those anymore? Turns out, they do. I bought mine at Ebay for just pennies each card.

Thanks to Christina, I've organized my desk top and some desk and dresser drawers. Went through my closet, tested old pens, carried some bags down to the Salvation Army bin and tossed a couple objects. I cleaned out a kitchen cupboard and deleted old emails and contacts. As I complete each task, I yellow-highlight it in the kindle book so I know to move on to others.

Yeah, you probably need a certain personality type to get excited about stuff like this. 

But the main idea? Sometimes we all need a little push out of our deep ruts and back up onto the highway where we move forward, freely, without a bunch of annoying, noisy things trailing us rather like metal cans and shoes tied to a honeymooning couples' car.

God is awesome at sending us the perfect inspiration at just the right time! But we must remember to ask and believe for help, rather than complain and believe for worse.

So what are you asking for today?

P.S.  To make the dividers for my greeting card file, I first cut strips of light-weight cardboard. Then I cut business-size envelopes in half, added a self-stick label to each, then slipped them over the cardboard.


And for anyone feeling sluggish, weighed-down by your past, well, I hope this will set you free to fly again---


Oh! Tom and I watched Good-bye Christopher Robin this weekend On Demand and we both enjoyed it much. 

I'd looked forward to this film for months and wasn't disappointed, though it was very bittersweet. Still, it offered an excellent lesson regarding how we view things--and the huge difference it makes. 

Highly recommended, especially for my most quirky friends.  😉


Just one more thing, I promise! Yesterday I felt so blessed to get this kindle book, free. I'd been searching for such a book the previous day, for I'm still working on a new wardrobe. It's short, but helpful--

As of this moment, it's still free, but be sure to check before you click to buy.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Keepin' It New--or--We Dig Our Own Ruts, Ya Know

"Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?"   ... Isaiah 43:19


January! Always this month flies because--finally--I'm free to do the myriad creative things which always zoom (unfairly, really) into my head each November, but which I can't do because, hey! One must slog through the Christmas month first, after all.

Er hem.

But now it's January, a Christmas-free month, but not birthday-free because Naomi's is Saturday. Yet way-gone are those years I'd spend January wringing my hands wondering how to make Naomi's birthday perfect when you just knew it'd be the snowiest, most inconvenient day for everyone, ever.

But now she's turning 38(!) and will create a fun weekend for herself--whew. Those Mother-Must-Be-Wonder-Woman-And-Remarkable days are over for this aging lady.

So yes! It's January, a time for us to seek new ideas, hobbies, books and ways to live our hours. And a terrific month to stop waiting, yearning for some vague Prince Charming-type (or Calgon) to come swoop us up and take us away to a place where--magically, without our effort--we ooze with contentment.

A time to ask God for fresh eyes to view what we have and the can-do-spirited gumption to actively search for what's still missing.

Especially as we grow older. Oh my--all those cranky, "Well, in the old days, we---" ladies out there. They make me cringe. And sad.

Debra's new January things?

My second photo book is finished and I learned all sorts of creative techniques. The book arrived this week and I swooned. What a marvelous idea, these books, and what a wonderful life (I was reminded) we've experienced during our 25 New York years.

Also, I'm playing with another book of blog posts, this one in a Word document which requires relearning now (it's been ages since I used Word) and a learning of new things later if I decide to actually publish this. We'll see how that goes.

Then there's that iPad I told you about. I'm becoming a whiz at the Kindle part--I've read three or four books so far. I deleted tons of old emails via the iPad and I even snapped a picture and emailed it to myself. Wow. Moving right along. 😉 

Here's that photo--

                        My world during Winter.

Oh, and for Christmas Naomi also gave me one of those new-fangled SodaStream machines and yikes! My mind got stretched there, also, just learning how to put it together, then fizz-up the water. But now it's second nature (and tasty).

And I'm still walking over to the coffee shop once a week. Went there yesterday and the funny thing? The sun always shines there, even when my walks begin beneath grey clouds.

Anyway, during Winter it's super easy to let our mind slide into deep, numbing, sad, boring ruts, but don't, ok? Fight, if need be, to stay above dullness. Stretch and learn and keep moving forward.

But should we slip,  immediately we can ask God to lift us up--and out. Way up and way out to where He always is, waiting to make things new even in a very, very old world.


"If you keep your mind active, regularly take on mental challenges, and continually think about the right things, you will develop the disciplined thinking that will help you with whatever you endeavor to do."
... John C. Maxwell


Something else new? The documentary, California Typewriter. I watched it twice via Hulu and both times came away utterly inspired to view things with a different spin and outside of the same ol,' same ol' box.

So there you go.


More ideas for s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g ...

Read books you wouldn't normally read.
Drive or walk a different route.
Find a new hobby.
Collect new items (or declutter your home).
Live as creatively as you can in all ways.
Speak to a neighbor you've not yet met.
Change things up by listening to different music.
Dive into those free kindle books you've collected (hint, hint, Debra).
Begin a new exercise program.
Call or email a friend you've not talked to in years.
Visit a new 'mom and pop' business/store/coffee shop. Leave a favorable review on their Facebook page.
Clean out a closet then donate the unneeded items.
Try a different form of social media.
Study fashion-for-you and plan a new wardrobe.
Begin developing a new skill.
Write an essay or a book about your life.
Watch a new-to-you tv show.
Rearrange your rooms. Organize them drawer by drawer.
Plan this year's garden and yard changes on paper.
Hang wallpaper or paint walls or furniture.
Thoroughly study subjects online which have always interested you.
Try new recipes and/or a different way of eating.


Monday, January 22, 2018

Pensive After Another Death

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord..."  ...Psalm 19:14


I read online yesterday that a friend of ours from Nevada had, at only 55, passed away last month. 

Oh dear. He'd been a co-worker of Tom's both in California and Nevada and our families had, for a couple years, lived on the very same street. We appreciated that 'Rob and Sarah' moved to Nevada during our early days while Nevadans hadn't warmed-up to us. (It takes Nevada folks awhile-- I've even read this in books.) They had 2 little boys and our families spent much time together.

Eventually Tom, Naomi and I moved to New York. Sarah and I wrote letters, then emails, but after I encouraged her to do everything possible to save her marriage before leaving it (they'd had problems), Sarah emailed and politely, sweetly really, suggested we not write for awhile.


So we lost touch. But via Internet searches over the years I happily noticed that Rob and Sarah, in a different state, were still together and yes! Yesterday's obituary stated they'd been married 33 years. And that blessed me--they'd always seemed right for each other.

Anyway, Tom told me he recalled Rob saying, "Yeah, I'll die early like my dad did. I just know it."

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Color me someone who'd rather not play around with words like that, the power of life and death being in them, and all (Proverbs 18:21).

The Bible cautions us to use our words sparingly because we'll give account for every careless one (Matthew 12:36) and that he who guards his mouth preserves his life (Proverbs 13:3). 

Ever read all those verses about our words? Eegads. They're enough to keep us all aiming to keep our tongues careful, disciplined and spreading grace to our listeners rather than, well, the bad stuff (Ephesians 4:29). 

After reading Rob's obituary, I searched online for Sarah's street address so I can snail-mail our condolences to her (her old email address no longer works). I found it.

Speaking our condolences, matters. Expressing our gratitude for others, matters, also, as does voicing our concern and sharing happiness over others' joys.

It's all vital now--and what we did here will matter in Heaven one day. Somehow I feel this like a tug.

And lately? Often I lecture myself to not allow 'the haters' to convince me otherwise. Even James Taylor reminded me of that while in my kitchen this morning listening to him sing --

People can be so cold
They'll hurt you and desert you
Well, they'll take your soul if you let them
Oh yeah, but don't you let them.

Please don't let others take away the sweetness in your (God-changed) soul, ok? May we each become better, not bitter during Today's turbulent, sad times, and always guard our heart because everything we do flows from it. 


"Never choose the easy path, choose the one that has morals. It's your life, live it! Be honest, follow your heart and do the right thing. God sees and knows all."

--Nishan Panwar quotes

May we leave this Life having made others smile and glad we spent some time here.


Speaking of hearts... Valentine's Day is fast approaching and are you ready? Hmm?

Even my local coffee shop's in the Valentine mood. Here's a photo they shared at Facebook of 'my' table where I always sit (be sure to notice the vintage touches)--



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Winter Day Amongst Thousands

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."   ... Colossians 3:17


The best thing about winter? I never must mow the lawn. No, it sleeps beneath the snow, so my energy and time now go to more productive things, although yes! Mowing the lawn matters.

Everything we do, matters. God watches us, examines our hearts, too, you know.

Winter slows things down--at my house, anyway. After my hot chocolate and snack on these quiet, dark mornings I wipe down the glass table and counter tops with vinegar and water. Of course, I've already lighted the four votives in the fireplace. 

Wintertime was, partly, created for candle glow so I cooperate.

After the sun rises and I've put on my make-up and dressed, I step down to the basement for birdseed, then climb back up and outside so to feed the shivering sparrows crouched upon our hedges. These icy mornings, they wait close to me while I fill the feeders. They appreciate what I give them and so do Daniel and Sammy the Cats, watching from the windows. Their favorite show, this fluttering bird one.

I might run the dishwasher or set the ironing board up across from the tv. Maybe I'll dust, vacuum, set out salmon to defrost for dinner with Tom.

Or perhaps, like I'm planning this morning, I'll gather my book bag, my coat, gloves and change purse, blow out the candles, then carefully step over snow until I reach the coffee shop where I walk so to encourage the young owners. These days only the brave go into business for themselves and I like to bless them, if just by showing up, ordering coffee, dessert and hanging out awhile.

It's important for everyone to feel they're needed, that they've made this world, better. 

Back home? Perhaps I'll shovel a bit of snow or begin gathering a Walmart order online. Maybe I'll send emails to friends, post something on Facebook or just read there what my friends are doing. Or perhaps I'll gaze at my latest photo book online, the New York years book, the one I felt so much Grace putting together (perhaps Grace plus streaks of obsession? Oh my!).

But whatever that was, recalling these past 25 years did me much good. Truly, it reminded me that yes! I really have had a wonderful life and--thankfully--continue to do so, even on these icy, quiet Winter days spent mostly alone-but-not-alone. And even though this present life--and myself--look quite different. Even so.

And with all my heart, I thank God for this gift of Life.

"How could you have had such a wonderful life as me if there wasn't a God directing?"   ... Maureen O'Hara

Did you notice my header? It's one of many pictures I unearthed for that new photo book. Another day I recall with such fondness. (That was our church's tea party group on our favorite gathering of them all.)


Yes! Always, God makes a way where there seems to be none. Some days it's harder to find ours, but keep looking! It's there.


Now here's something quite rare, indeed. 

A photo from my early New York years. Dated, yes, but it makes me smile to remember those days ...

                                        Taken in 1997, I believe.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Your Suddenly! It's Coming.

"Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone's chains came loose."   ... Acts 16:26


Only sections of our streets resembled an ice rink yesterday so I declared, "This morning I'll walk to the coffee shop." So after getting dressed (no tiny feat when wearing winter layers), I couldn't find my driver's license--oh no! 

Of course, I don't need it for a short walk, but hey. Forgive me my idiosyncrasies.

Man, I searched through my card stack 3 times, looked elsewhere, gave-up, then even began an online DMV form, when oh! I recalled where I'd put my license. 

Wow. I exclaimed,"Thank-you Jesus, like, four katrillion times!" and my later icy walk to the coffee shop felt like pure celebration.

Yes, mine is a simple life.  😉

The only customer inside the tiny sun-splashed cafe, I liked to think of my entry as an encouragement. I greeted the only attendant, ordered a large coffee and lemon scone, then sank gratefully at my usual Formica table in the window.  I gazed out at the tall hotel and river across the street and thought about all my recent Suddenlies. 

Remember those? Your life is going one (sad-ish) way then Suddenly! A vibrant, glad change happens. 

Suddenly! this coffee shop appeared while I kicked myself for not visiting the defunct previous one I'd actually asked God to bring.

Suddenly! I'm reading like crazy again since Naomi gave me the iPad which I can carry to our bright dining area (rather than Kindle-read in this darkish office).

And suddenly! I recalled my obsessive exciting work on my second online photo book when just last November I'd thought, "Scrapbooks, for me, are so 20 years ago. Bor-ing." 

And you know? Earlier while browsing all those photos I'd experienced another Suddenly! I 'heard' Clarence's voice, you know, the way he told this to George in It's a Wonderful Life--

"You see, George, you've really had a wonderful life."

Yes. Put ol' Debra's name in there and you've got truth. These New York decades shine brightest of them all.

Please rejoice over all your own Suddenlies, ok?

When that cough suddenly disappears.
When your relationship suddenly heals.
When, suddenly, this month's bills all got paid.
When a friend suddenly contacts you after a long time.
When your head suddenly stops hurting.
When you step outside and realize suddenly! It's Spring.
When, suddenly, you recall where you'd placed something!
When you suddenly understand why things happened as they did.

Oh, Life is fluid! Suddenlies arrive, so please, never quit. Never lie down in the road, lingering so to die, for your next Suddenly is rushing to you through the avenues of Faith and Time. And when it comes? You'll be thrilled that you waited.


"But the multitude of your enemies will become like fine dust ... and it will happen instantly, suddenly."   --- Isaiah 29:5

"Then Jesus said to her, "O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed at once."   --- Matthew 15:28

"I (God) declared the former things long ago And they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass."   --- Isaiah 48:3


Aww... This early morning I read that my very favorite Jr. High teacher, Mrs. James, passed away only last August. 

She taught French  and I'd have sworn she'd just deboarded the plane from having lived in France (oh, her classy clothes!), but no, not according to her obituary. Yet always, Mrs. James will represent all things French-exotic, chic, dreamy and kind to me. What a strong influence she was to this timid mouse lots of decades ago. 

For decades and decades she was a dear lady to so many.

And I must add this smile---- 

Whenever someone in French class said, "I'm done with the test," (or whatever), Mrs. James would always quip, "Only cakes get done!"

Oh, the times I've remembered that these past 45 years (and quipped those words, myself. Just ask Tom.).  😊

One more--in 8th grade I crocheted Mrs. James a long brown winter scarf for Christmas and I was thrilled to pieces when she wore it to school one day. As she left for home, she told me, "I'm going to wear my scarf so I'll stay warm."

And that kept *me* warm inside for a month.

(If you'd like to read about Muriel James, please go here.)

(The above photo of Mrs. James? It was probably taken 10 years, or so, after I met her. Wasn't she beautiful?)


Friday, January 05, 2018

Finding Things To Do Instead

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."   ... Ephesians 4:29


We'll stay below 5 degrees F. today and Saturday. Outside my windows stands a frozen, quiet world, but you know? I'm ok. Better than, really.

Who'd have thought that the Bible was right about watching our words and our attitudes? After last Summer's thought-I'd-die humidity, I'm celebrating my returned happy energy rather than complaining about all that white ice out there. And instead of moaning that Neighbor Mike can't shovel for us due to working the graveyard shift, I remind myself that at least, now, I won't so closely resemble a walrus by Winter's end.  😉

Frankly, I'd rather have a peaceful brain, so any peace-crunching-habits must go. Nobody ever experienced consistent mind-calming hours by complaining about weather, neighbors, grammatical errors, mega churches, comment box meanies, worship songs, politics or --.

Uh, no. 

So I'll crave hour-by-hour peace and do what it takes to keep it. (Well, to spread it, also. One must have peace before she can fling it around.)

And one must discover ways to fill what's been let go so--to avoid complaining--I'm reading:


--and feeding birds and the wild rabbits camping below the feeder. And watching vintage tv series on Hulu (gee, Hulu's ripe with those!). I'm dreaming about hiking back to The Coffee Shop after they reopen next week, overhauling my dollhouse and taking pictures and--after creating that photo book--maybe I'll look into self-publishing bits of this blog. (Hey! Calm down and nobody, I mean nobody, hold your breath.)  😳

And so it goes. Another frigid Winter with its shattered records and the challenges to keep my mind on God's goodness rather than all the icy snowflakes He shakes-shakes down upon us who live here in snow country.

After all, He is good all the time and that's enough to keep anyone's mind consistently at peace.

Oh! And if you missed it the first time around, here's my post about how complaining changes our brains (yikes!).


"Do all things without grumbling or questioning  ... "   ... Philippians 2:14

Peace. It can be a combination of what one has and of what one has let go.


Oh! And I had to laugh at these horses who plainly showed their opinion of snow.  (Wait until the video appears. Do not click the green start button! That's for something else.)  😉


Tuesday, January 02, 2018

A New Year Means New Stories

    "Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid..."   ... Luke 12:7


So there ol' Debra was, New Year's Eve, sleeping peacefully inside her cute closet bedroom when, "Boom! Boom! Boom!" awoke her. 

Hmmm. Wasn't the huge always-shakes-me snowplow, though it sounded similar. 

The booming continued, so I stepped into my new so-warm, ice-blue robe then hobbled down the stairs where I met Tom. We both said, "Oh. It's midnight. Happy New Year." Yawn.

Yet not till after Tom stepped into the bathroom did I see the gorgeous fireworks filling our bay window. Wow! Colored light spears exploded over the huge motel on the river and I had one of the best seats on the block for the show. 

Red, green, blue and gold lights flickered upon our table glass, even. So cool. Tom, though, stood beside me maybe 6 1/2 seconds, then returned to bed.

Yet I remained transfixed the entire 15 minutes of showering lights, my heart full of gratitude to a God who so often, in two states even, made sure we bought houses where--if there are fireworks to be viewed--we'd see them from our windows.

Always, I feel like He brings the gorgeous light shows to a couple of home-loving introverts like us. I really do believe He's that kind, that loving. That thoughtful.


 The happiest of new years to all my readers! May you gather many new stories brimming-over with gratitude to a God who loves His kids so very much. 

Voiced-gratitude and praise-- they're much more powerful, Earth-changing than we realize. Use them lavishly.


"Complain and remain. Praise and be raised."   --- Joyce Meyer

Make it a wonderful year. Finish the things you began in 2017. Ask God what to begin next. Sit with God, walk with Him, stand when He says, "Wait." Be creative, giving and kind. Do good to others and say "I appreciate you," often. Scribble all sorts of wonderful things upon the empty, clean pages of 2018!


And to those of you who encouraged me to finish the photo book? It's done! And ordered, two even, one for my mom on Mother's Day.

Seriously, this Mixbook place is meant for us who require things to be simple. Wow. My first book took hours, but at least they were happy hours, not frustrating ones.

Oh! And afterward I received an email saying if I sent Mixbook an email address of a friend who later completed a book, they'd give us both $20 off the next one we made(!) So if you think you might be interested, feel free to email me your address and I'll send it to them.

Other thoughts about Mixbook--

This was a terrific place in which to learn tons of tricks in compiling a photo book. It's free to play around with as long as you like.

As far as I can tell--even if you don't order your book--you can share the online version with friends(!)

Oh, and if you'd like to see my finished online book--and if you already know my last name (it appears on the book and I do like to keep a semblance of anonymity here at this blog), you can email me for a link. Again, at GladOne4@yahoo. com


Currently just down our street, really --

Brrrrrr. But we're warmer today! Tom and I rejoiced this morning that we were up to 13 degrees F.  😉