Monday, February 19, 2018

A Bad Day? What's That?



"For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure". "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."   ... Philippians 2:13, Luke 6:38



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On Sunday, Naomi and Justin had an early gig for their duo band. Five o'clock pm at a nice Buffalo restaurant. 

They invited Tom and me, their aging ol' folks who usually collapse into bed by 7:30. Tom invited two co-workers and Naomi's bff from high school, Kellee--







-- came as did a friend of hers.

We all sat around a table while Naomi and Justin sang and played vintage tunes, like, wow! So awesome. Made us super proud, indeed.

Now, (it seemed like) everyone at the bar and in our large room was drinking, well, not the adorable toddler at the next table nor ol' teetotalers Debra and Tom, but we're used to that. Rather than drink, I always sit there, feel love for everybody and I, shhh, become Secret Prayer Lady. 

Really, I sat munching a Basic Burger, covertly praying everybody would drive home safely. That they'd all come to know Jesus, to grow in Him, even the scary-looking dude at the bar who, as I nudged Tom and told him, kept staring at me. Without blinking. 😊






Ha! Even Tom agrees there's a resemblance there.



Yep, the music plays and I pray all sorts of things for the hard-laughers and shouters. For me, that's the fun part. That, and to show support for Naomi and Justin is why this introvert makes the effort for these gigs so not her cup of coffee.

Because of love. Because of obedience to what God asked.

Sometimes, like last night, God clears a path and lets me scream shout encouraging words. He was terrific at parting the Red Sea, so it's certainly not hard for Him to provide chances to tell a guy we'd been praying for him. Or to be kind to someone who needed that. Or to thank two strangers on the outside steps who'd attended school with Naomi and had no idea she'd be playing that night--yet had remained much, much longer than they'd planned.

Anyway. Often online I'll read comments from Christians who say they're sick of giving and being taken advantage of. Of not being thanked. Of being done with mean relatives/folks who only use them to get what they want.

Really, People?

I love to obey God and give. To give as lavishly as I can simply because that's how God gives. To give and not expect thanks from people because I know full-well the sweetest blessings, 'thanks' if you will, come from God, Himself. No person on this Earth can ever thank me the way He can.

(And also I realize sometimes saying 'no' to others is saying 'yes' to God. Sometimes being obedient to God means allowing others to do for themselves.)

Life changes when you become an obey-er and a giver. When we sign-up at places like Facebook so we can give like crazy to others rather than seeking what's in it for me, me, me. Rather than bailing-out when people show their hurt via crazy-to-us political posts. Truthfully? I stay at Facebook so to help. To allow God to heal and encourage through me if He can. To keep myself available.

If we want to minister in Today's world? We must let God make us strong lest our hurts and offenses make us hide.

And frankly, that's why I've not had a bad day in years. Oh, bad moments, certainly, but an entire bad day, no. How is that even possible when always, especially now with our connections to hundreds of friends via this Net, we can obey God and give, give, give?

How can we have bad days when, after giving freely and without strings, we experience the joy unspeakable which He sends afterward? The joy and love which, God, Himself, is?







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The problem is--many bad days adds up to an eventual bad life. A life which could have felt awesome--but didn't.






The unhappiest people I know are those who think and speak, over and over, about what they've lost rather than receiving the comfort only God, Himself, can give--and then spreading that lavishly so to help others.

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"Keep singing the song I have placed within your heart. Keep dancing the dance I have placed within your feet. Keep gazing upon the vision I have given you. Keep remembering the words I have spoken to your heart. Continue with these things, for they are not small. They will strengthen, guide, encourage and empower you. For what I have given you is spirit, and it is life, so do not discard it..." ---as shared by Neil Vermillion


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On Friday night Tom and I watched the movie, Wonder. Wow. Cried through half of it--it was terrific.  😊  Highly recommended for anyone with a heart.


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Friday, February 16, 2018

When Your Mailbox Only Echoes--or--Our Life In 2018



"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (I will ease, relieve and refresh your soul)."   ... Matthew 11:28





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So I awoke on Valentine's Day morning and thought, "Yay! My favorite day of the year and later I'll find some Valentines in our mailbox since I've only received one so far."

The sun shone bright! 
Naomi came for a surprise 5 minute visit bearing gifts of flowers and (healthy, dark) chocolate!
Friends here and at Facebook wished me a happy Valentine's Day after reading my blog post!

Talk about your Valentine's Day high.

Then around 1:00 I saw the mailman in our front window, waited as he stood at the mailbox, then waited some more after he left (lest I appear like a needy-mail-loving nut). Then I opened the door, reached for the mailbox lid and oh. my. goodness.

Inside sat only a lonely bill.

A bill? Just a bill? I looked again at the black depths, spied nothing else and asked, "But where are my Valentines?"

To which my mailbox echoed, "But where are my Valentines? Valentines? Valentines?"

Oooooo. Disappointment--how you irk me .









What happened to the other 4 or 5 Valentines I always receive? Hmm?

Well, I'll tell ya. I stepped inside the Disappointment Train and rode along a couple minutes. Then do you know what came to me? That blog post I wrote, the one where Jesus told Peter, "What is that to you? You just follow me."

And I giggled. Yeah, I needed that. What is this to me? I mailed the Valentines I was supposed to this year. I obeyed the nudge. Did my part.

And then? It was like Jesus urged me to do even more. As though He said, "How about if you email Valentine images and greetings to friends? Maybe even order Valentines for next year?"

Well, shopping always sounds good (heh) and I thought, "I suppose I'll swallow this tiny lump in my throat and send a couple cheery emails." So I did both. And truly, felt better.

That is, until the Florida school shooting happened.

Oh no. More. More of the Last Days evil which the Bible warned us would happen. So I prayed. Read bits of the details, but mostly prayed for all involved, including us, all of us whose hearts are more emotionally affected than we realize. 

And this latest horrible happening placed the correct perspective over my previous empty-mailbox-echo thing. The reason for my earlier disappointment appeared tiny now.

What highs, what lows this week, right?

And let me add: during these ultra-troubled days, please do whatever (biblically-permissible) thing needed to keep your mind and heart whole. At rest.

If you can't handle hours of bad news--skip it, even if your friends laugh/accuse you of the ostrich-in-the-sand thing.

If it comforts you to read old-fashioned books totally unrelated to our 2018 life? Read them.

If you must say no to some gatherings and say yes to coming away with God, instead? Say no to the first, yes to the second.

Keep things simple: listen to what God's saying. Then do what He's asking with the Grace He sends along. 

Even if no one else is.
Even if people tease you.
Even if what you're doing is 'so ten minutes ago' or odd.

Just do it. Just obey God. Let Him make you strong and heal your wounded heart in whichever ways He customizes just for you.

This way, you'll make it. You'll be ok.







"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you..."  ... Matthew 7:12


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Speaking of doing what one must-- I even walked to the coffee shop twice this week(!) And what a treat this morning to step inside and see four other people there, creating more of a 'Luke's Diner vibe' than ever before.






Often I pray this shop will do well and last much longer than the previous one.

Oh, and I've stopped wondering why I never did visit the first one, the one I'd prayed would appear. It's a strange, I-can't-figure-it-out thing so perhaps God was involved in my not going for reasons I may never know.

Sometimes God asks that we become comfortable with not knowing, with not understanding. It's called trust.

Or maybe I simply 'missed it'. But whatever, I've chosen to move on and just enjoy, enjoy, enjoy that I've a coffee shop so close by.



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"I follow three rules: Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care."  --- Lou Holtz


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The Valentines I bought for next year? I found them here (though they were 50% off at the time rather than at their present 25%). 

So vintage. So pretty.


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Does anyone else find this kitchen beautiful?






My, my, my. Be still my heart.




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A friend who I've known since we were both 8-years-old, became a great-grandmother this week.

Oh dear. I read that bit of news at Facebook and immediately I felt like this--






Yikes!  😏


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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day Wishes For You


Valentine's Day! Here's a peek at how this day looks at Hobbit Cottage, beginning with the roses, above, from Tom, then favorite old Valentines, below, with a new one, a lovely card from my buddy, Wilma--





Valentine's Day for me is also Friendship Day so please celebrate--if you wish--along with me.

Be creative.
Be generous.
Be happy.
Be ten-years-old.
Be colorful.
Be forgiving.
Be free.

And let's toss in some Charlie Brown, ok?








Happy Valentine's Day to you!

And may you also celebrate that Jesus loves you incredibly-much all the time.
All. The. Time.

No really, He is your Valentine for all days.
Think about that today rather than this old world-gone-wrong. Meditate upon what God's done so right for you and let the arguers argue amongst themselves.

Choose celebration today, instead. 
Then choose more tomorrow.
Then more the following day--for truly--God has done great things worthy of our daily thank-you's.
Indeed.








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"Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing for me! Thou hast put off my sackcloth.
Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing for me! And girded me with gladness."   ... Psalm 30:11



 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.   ... Colossians 3:15





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Monday, February 12, 2018

Lucy P. And Grace And Me


"I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  ... Isaiah 41:10


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My buddy, Ann, shared at Facebook a photo she snapped and oh! Read the part in italics--





Wow, that's haunted me--in a good way. "She hath done what she could." 

Now personally, I'm planning to be cremated (deal with it. heh.), but if I wasn't? I'd choose that wonderful phrase for my own tombstone, but tweaked a bit--


She loved Jesus--
And she hath done what she could.


Why do I so appreciate the phrase given to Lucy P.? Perhaps because to me it says --

Lucy did her best, even on crazy days, then trusted God to do what she couldn't.

Lucy didn't waste hours moaning, nagging, complaining. She kept busy with good things.

On her sick days, Lucy did what she could, then leaned back upon her pillow and gave herself permission to rest without guilt.

Lucy did what God called her to do rather than make herself insane attempting to do what others could. (This realization helped her not resent anyone.)



Yep, Lucy's tombstone reminds me to reach out for Grace in all my tasks. To be faithful, yet not frenzied. Steady, but able to take breaks. And calm, reminding myself that God 'knows my frame and remembers I am dust'.

And how sweet to know that God and Grace daily help this 'bit of dust' so that--by her life's end--she'll know 'she hath done what she could'. 

With joy.











"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."  ... Romans 15:13



Always choose to heal, not to hurt, to forgive not to despise, to persevere not to quit, to smile not to frown, and to love not to hate! At the end of life, what really matters is not what we bought, but what we built, not what we got, but what we shared, not our competence but our character, and not our success but our significance. Live a life that matters. Live a life that cares...


 Ritu Ghatourey quotes  




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Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Where Becoming Older Felt Rather Nice



"Then the older women can urge the younger ones to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind ..."   Titus 2:3-5


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Yesterday, I tap-tapped the snow from my shoes before swinging open the door of the coffee shop. Two older gentlemen sat at a table and turned to wish me a pleasant good morning. (As I later told Tom, "Boy, you and I are catching-up fast to the ages of old guys who sit in cafe's!")

My favorite employee stepped from behind the curtain and greeted me happily then I ordered a medium coffee and the birthday cake muffin she'd posted earlier on their Facebook page.

Oh my goodness-- that warm, delicious muffin. And how good to sit in this prayed-to-appear coffee shop on a cloudy winter morning listening to Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra, me with the quietly-chatting seniors, my coffee and muffin and this wonderful book --




              (For personal reasons I adore this title.)


Have you read Hildegarde Dolson? Think of her as a spinster (her word) version of Betty MacDonald. Turning the last page felt bittersweet--if only this book could surprise! keep tacking on more droll, funny Hildegarde stories forever. 

Anyway, the men left (after wishing me a good rest of the day) and I sat there longer, alone, with the music then oh! The sun burst from the clouds as it does (no kidding) 99% of my first-it-was-cloudy visits there.

So relaxed I could barely gather my book bag, I rose, tossed my cup, then as I pulled on my black wool coat, the woman at the counter asked if I was on my way to work now which, hey, flattered me because I always wear clothes here from my I-actually-tried-with-this-wardrobe so perhaps I looked dressed-up enough for a real job. 😏 And of course, me being me, I never leave the house without full make-up and my hair brushed.

But I told her, "No, I'm just a happy homemaker on my way to buy bananas at 7-11." We chatted more then as I reached for the door she added, "Be careful driving out there. It's still a bit slushy."

I told her, "Oh, I walked," after which she exclaimed, "You walked?" as if she'd never heard of such a thing. She's perhaps 29-ish so maybe she hadn't realized one can walk over 3 inches of snow and survive. I said, "I just live around the corner and during Winter I really need the exercise. That's why I don't mind shoveling snow too much, either."

She looked at me differently after that, wonderingly, as though she found me an oddity which, yeah, I probably am these days.

But you know? I like that. I like slipping into the place of those now-gone older women I'd glimpse in my 20's at the supermarket who appeared crisp, neat, and you knew they'd left their homes orderly. They'd inspired me to fling away my laziness and--next time--dress more carefully, myself. To look and be my best and maybe even rearrange my living room while wearing an apron and listening to Big Band era music.

Now truthfully, I'm not thrilled that next year I'll turn 60, but yesterday? Maybe I stepped into a new role, opened a door for future sharing-Jesus times. Perhaps now I'm filling the shoes of women no longer here who would've chewed paste rather than shop in their pajamas or sweat pants, a sort-of teacher-without-a-bunch-of-words holding back a hopeless type of que sera sera attitude from taking over my tiny part of our huge world.

And the fit felt just right.





“Greatness is inspiring others to be their best.” 
― Ken Poirot



If you are a Christian? You are being watched.

Oh and P.S.... Debi in the comments asked if I'd had a birthday (I can see why she wondered, what with the mention of the birthday cake muffin, etc.), but no--it's next month. The 16th. 😁  I do love 'birthday cake' anything--pudding, ice cream, muffins and of course, the real thing. Must be the yellow cake mix which is usually used. Thanks though, Debi, for your good wishes!  💖



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Speaking of the supermarket, can you believe I've not visited ours in a whole year? Now, I've gone to 7-11 a handful of times, but mostly I've just shopped online for shelf-stable foods and Tom's done all the shopping for fresh (he enjoys it. Gasp!).

And with all that online shopping I've gleaned some great rewards from Ebates. (Remember the $43 worth of free groceries I mentioned last time?)

Some of you said Ebates sounds intriguing, but you wouldn't know where to start, so here you go--

Go to Ebates. Sign up.
Activate the Ebates app. which will stay in your toolbar or on your phone, etc. (they'll tell you how).
Then shop online!
The Ebates button will pop up at most stores you visit online and you just click it. That's all.
After you make purchases you'll receive emails from Ebates telling you how much you earned from them simply for shopping.
Then every quarter they'll let you know they're sending you a check--or in this last instance (which I hope they keep doing)--they'll give you a choice of gift cards to buy with your earnings.
So easy, one of those why-didn't-I-sign-up-sooner? things. Definitely.

Don't be shy or afraid--you can do this!  😉




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It's coming! Are you ready?


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Monday, February 05, 2018

Well, There's One Huge Burden Gone



So remember when, in John 21, the disciple Peter acted all jealous (again) of John? Jesus simply, but firmly, told him--


 "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me."



Wow. Now there's a verse that can make me feel like I've lost ten pounds of burdens.

How?

Well, if a friend uses language at Facebook which I never, ever would? Immediately I 'hear', "What is that to you? You just follow me. You be careful not to use curse words. You pray for her."

Or if I feel ignored, left far behind by an old friend, it's, "What is that to you? You just follow me and take proper care of your current friends who still like you."

If people don't answer my emails or comment after my blog or Facebook posts? "You just follow me--and how many emails/comments have you made lately, hmm? You reap what you sow, you know."

If a friend complains a lot? "You just follow me and seek my help in stopping your own complaining. And pray for you both."

(This is an endless list and only a simple blog post. You get the idea, right?)

Oh, how the lessons keep coming:

I can't change other people, but I can pray for them and allow God the years working with them that He's worked within me.

Certainly I can let God change (and humble) me which is a forever task, indeed.

And I can trust God to heal any hurts along the way, especially as He teaches me to love Him most so that any slights and offences from others appear so microscopic in comparison to His great compassion.

So there you go. Don't you feel ten pounds lighter already?





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And yes, sometimes we're called to confront others, but it must always be at God's loving insistence, rather than our own, "Well-listen-here-buddy-I've-just-about-had-it-ness of it all.  😏


Keep your eyes on God because he is the one who can give you the change that you need." --- Julian Andrew


"Love hardly even notices when others do it wrong."  --- From 1 Corinthians 13.



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Oh, color me so happy with Ebates!

Instead of sending me my 'big fat check' again this quarter (two of which are still sticking to our refrigerator because we almost never get to the bank)--they gave me an option for an instant online gift card whereupon I chose Walmart where I bought $43 worth of free groceries--hooray!

See? Many good things do still happen these modern days of ours.


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Saturday, February 03, 2018

A Nostalgic Conversation for Your Weekend

It's been awhile since I shared mind-spinning nostalgia with you, so here you go, my friends who enjoy recalling The Old Days--



                       Photo by Dennis Reed, Jr.

This, above, is Scalise's Deli, located in our nearby former town (it's a beautiful photo--I hope you'll click to enlarge it. Yes, that's snow flying.)After many decades, it's still open!

Even though I don't recall visiting there (Tom said we did), yesterday these remembrances, below, from the town's 'remember when' Facebook page put a surprising lump inside my throat because 1.) when we moved there in 1993, the town's 'vibe' felt much the same and 2.) some of these brought back memories of my own childhood and 3.) oh my, how our world has changed.

And yet? Old-fashioned places/ideals/kindnesses still exist in Today's world. My nearby coffee shop comes to mind, as does my dentist's office, Sally's house across the street, the ancient drug store still decorated from the 70's (someday I must show you pictures!) and so much more. 

I think we just have to search a bit harder for the old ways--and perhaps that makes them, when found, even sweeter.

Especially in 2018.

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Anyway, here you go, the conversation about Scalise's from Facebook (which can be a very old-fashioned place, itself. No, really.). I added these photos, and well, enjoy your visit to the past.  😊    ---------





"I remember riding my bike or (gasp!) walking to the deli from our house to pick up whatever my mom needed. Might have been 7 or 8 years old (double gasp!) when I started doing that. Today, my parents would likely be arrested for that "free-range parenting" practice."

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"My nonna lived 2 houses away, I would go and buy my dad cigarettes all the time, I was probably 7 yrs old. Can you even imagine that happening now!!"

        "Your nonna, Gina, would come to our house and bring holy pictures and visit with my Mom and Aunts."

        "She was the sweetest lady ever, always concerned how everyone was doing."

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"I used to stock the coolers when I was like 14!"

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"I lived around the corner and my Aunt Maryworked there for years. Memorable part of my childhood!!"

         "I remember so many wonderful trips to Scalises growing up. Penny candy and the freedom to be able to go there without parents! One of my best memories of visiting and growing up with you."

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"Also going with my Nana's note saying I could buy her smoke's. Omg."

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 "I remember living on Geneva St going in and playing pool with Mr. Scalise while Mrs. Scalise made me lunch."

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 "I miss my adoptive grandma by Scalise's. She fed me espresso and cookies."

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"Used to go there when I had enough paper route money to buy my bubblegum and baseball cards!"

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 "Right down the street from the Boys Club."

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"In the late 60's, all the ladies there were cheek pinchers. Josephine would always get you."

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"My late uncle used to make me take him there every time he came home from Texas just so he could get some lunch meat."

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 "My father would write me a note to get him cigarettes when I was little. Also loved their ham sandwiches and spending all my allowance on penny candy!"

      "Cold pizza too. I also remember the notes to get cigarettes. So funny now."

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"I wish we had a store like that now for my grandchildren to go to. I miss my little brown paper bag of candy."

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"My grandmother (Mrs. Scalise) worked hard and did extra things like driving to DiCamillo’s 3 times a week, keeping newspapers for regulars behind the counter, and the steno notepad she kept to run a tab when customers needed a break. 

Thank-you everyone for your positive comments."




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"A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him..."   ... Matthew 12:35


Look for the bad, you'll find it. Look for the good, you'll find that, too. It just may take a little more time, but oh, how worth it. We still can create a good life these days, you know.



And here's something else very worth remembering--





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Want to take a longer trip down Memory Lane (and you're on Facebook)? Go here. Wow.



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