Monday, April 16, 2018

My Invisible Friends


"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."   2 Corinthians 4:18


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So last week beneath sunshine I raked leaves, pruned the rose bush, snipped dead growth from two flower beds and had a royally marvelous time.

Yesterday we returned to this (the slush looked worse then)--




--and more marches this way as I write. Ugh. 

So in the spirit of moving on--

Gee, I wish my coffee shop was open on Mondays. That place cheers me every time, one reason being, well, you know the movie quote, "I see dead people"? When I visit our sweet, 18-person-occupancy-only cafe, I bring along some funny dead folks.

Seriously. Here are a few of them--





Yes, I sit drinking coffee and pulling bites from my muffin at the formica-top table with Emily Kimbrough, Cornelia Otis Skinner and Hildegarde Dolson. Those witty friends of mine! They've stepped into the next world, yet were faithful to leave words which, decades later, make me chuckle at the cafe (which probably makes me oddish, but hey.). Add the caffeine and sugar and yes, it's a special time, always, even on the greyest days.

Oh, if when our weather finally warms-to-stay, I'll ask local friends to join me, but for now? To the cute cashier I appear alone, but no. In reality, I'm surrounded--and calm beyond words.

But you recall the main reason, right? Because of the alive Friend who steps through the door then sits beside me, and who died, also, but He rose again and now never, ever leaves me alone.  

Some women lean heavily upon their still-here girl friends as though they're a foundation (of sorts) for their sanity. (I watched a Christian documentary this morning where a woman kinda did that.) But for me,  Jesus is the only friendship foundation I can afford. 

Oh, of course I appreciate all my friends! But I cannot hand my entire heart, mind and how-I'll-view-Life to any. That's too scary a thought.

Only Jesus never disappoints me. Only He is with me 24/7. Only His comfort heals and only He loves the flawed me 100% unconditionally.

He is the lover of my soul and only He is enough

Doesn't matter a bit to me if--to others-- I appear to be cafe-sitting by myself or walking alone in my black wool coat upon snowy streets, for no! That would be a true physical impossibility upon this planet (or any other). I cannot walk alone.

My Friend made a way so that it could never, ever happen.












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Oh my! Our nephew's wife, Kaylin, actually traveled, like, 107 miles with Tom's sister to meet up with Tom and other relatives just 11 days after delivering her new baby, Natalee, by C section--






Wow! Kaylin is so sweet, family-oriented and brave. No way would a young Debra have done that. 

No. Way. (Which means Kaylin is the better, sweeter trooper of us both. Easily I hand that to her.)

On this business trip, Tom met up with lots of relatives and old friends, had a blast and he especially loved meeting tiny Natalee.



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Friday, April 13, 2018

Thoughts On The Speeding Aging Train


"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." ... Psalm 90:12



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Tonight at midnight Tom will arrive back home from San Francisco--hooray! (If you could say a prayer for a safe trip, I'd be thrilled.)

Now, did ol' Debra do her Three Procrastinated Things each day since last Friday? Yes.Yes she did. And are there still tasks she did not complete? Yep, which means, ack! I'd procrastinated more than 24 things.

Oh. My. Goodness. 

But you know? I refuse to condemn myself. Hey, it's good to 'take Winter off' if you can get away with it (I usually can), concentrating mostly upon reading, relaxing and keeping ones family and cats from freezing or falling.

So there's that, and also, I've lived long enough to know condemnation isn't from God, but rather, conviction is. So I'll choose conviction--then go from there knowing I'm unconditionally loved.

And that's my favorite way to live and be.


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Did I tell you I'm spending this next year mentally (and emotionally) bracing myself so I don't freak-out when I turn 60 next March? Many folks insist, "Age is only a number," but I'm not so sure. 😉

(Not until my 51st birthday did I accept, rather defeatedly I mused, that I'd arrived in such an advanced decade. So this time, guess who's getting a year head start?)

Some people can turn 60, 70, or 80 all willy-nilly with flippancy and barely a thought. Me? I'm not one of those people. I think about my age and whether I'm spending my decades wisely. I ask myself questions like, "Have I accomplished by now what God designed me to? Am I caught-up? If it all ended today, would I have left God-ordained tasks undone and things avoided?"

And of course there's the ol', "I have far fewer years on this Earth to live than I've already lived. Am I truly at peace with that?"

Anyway, I'm making a What's Terrific About Aging list and here's something on it: you learn the difference between what really matters and what only appears to:

Loving God with all your heart, matters.
Wearing a Busy For God Mask, does not.

Treating everybody with kindness, matters.
Always proving you're right, does not.

Doing your best-as-God-leads, matters.
Stressing and comparing yourself to others, does not.


I'm accepting, dare I say, liking this year-long journey. Maybe (just maybe) I'll be able to turn 60 without nary a spiral downward. heh.








"My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever."   ...Psalm 73:26



Loved this:

“Why did so many grown-ups want to be young, she wondered, when it took so long to grow old? It was like going on a million-mile road trip then wanting to turn around without getting out of the car.” 
― Pseudonymous BoschThe Name of This Book Is Secret




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Last month while seated in the dentist's chair, the assistant told me she couldn't believe how quickly her children had grown. For fun, (and to see if this shocked her at all) I mentioned that my daughter had just turned 38(!)

Not one of her eyebrows raised. Not one timbre of surprise infused her voice. She just said, "Oh, I know. I can't believe my oldest son is 6."

I give up. Those days of, "Oh! I can't believe you have a daughter that age! You look so young," are officially over. Alas.  😊





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While Tom was away, I visited our coffee shop three times instead of the regular two and oh dear. Business was very slow again. I pray daily for these young local business owners (and back-up my prayers with some money-spending action), but I'd love it if some of you could join me in praying, also. Thanks so much!



So true! --





(Shared by my buddy, Dolores, at Facebook)

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Monday, April 09, 2018

Silencing Those Who Nag



"The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied."  ... Proverbs 13:4

"Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task."    ~William James


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Well. Tom flew away for his business trip on Friday and I needed a plan, something to keep me busy.

Aha! I snatched my reading table's small yellow notepad and wrote a list beneath this title--

Things I Have Procrastinated

--then listed tasks I'd put off anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years (good grief). 

The items came hot and fast--you know why, right? Because the things I procrastinate nag me constantly. I've got them all memorized--


The light bulbs over our bathroom sink. I look up, again and again, and think, "Man! Those are caked with dust, right?"

I sit, watching tv, and frown at both the open seam in a couch pillow and the cobwebs, above, looking like lace where the walls meet the ceiling.

I step down into the basement and grumble, "Gee, it's darker than ever down here. Haven't I replaced those two light bulbs yet?"

The vacuum kinda chokes along and I know darn well it's because the canister is full.

Daily I wipe down the two dresser tops in our kitchen and think, "Man, I need to repaint these things."

Then there's the once-a-month sink drain degreaser I've not even used this year. The overflowing ironing basket. The tiny bit of wallpaper the bathroom still needs.

Yada, yada, yada. Perhaps you know how it is.


So. Because Grace is here to help me with these (she always is, I'm thinking. It's just that I'm not always open to receiving her help.), I'm tackling at least three Procrastinated Things daily while Tom's away.

And oh, already my head feels lighter. Rather than the heavy, nagging thoughts when I step into the bathroom with dusty lights, now it's, "Whew! Don't they look bright and clean up there?"

And venturing into the basement isn't nearly as creepy, the couch pillow doesn't need to sit a certain way to hide its flaw and the vacuum's actually picking up stuff. 

So today I say--just do it. Just do that thing you're procrastinating so you can finally feel free again. So you can live un-nagged and move on to a brighter way of being.

Just--

Complete that task you began ages ago (or decide, instead, if it's better to release it because it wasn't meant to be).

Forgive your own passivity. (Don't get stuck, unable to grow, in guilt.) 

Forgive, also, that person who wronged you. God longs to forgive us so we can walk with Him in joy again.

Ask God to make old things, new. Even if our life appears same ol' to others--it can feel like fresh, undiscovered land on the inside.

Just do it or just begin it, anyway. Today. Life over on the Went Ahead and Did It Side feels ever so much lighter. Like joy. 

Trust me.









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So inspiring! This 90-year-old woman knits small blankets for cats in shelters. It always refreshes me to read about people who used their decades helping rather than only whining, "But I have no idea what God created me to do" (believing that will clear them of the responsibility. Yikes!).

We were, each of us, created to help in specially-designed ways upon this planet. We'll be held responsible for doing those things.

May we each carry them out as best we can.



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Must give another shout out to this kindle book--






This year it's helped me, in a fun way, with tasks I'd have otherwise ignored. With my personality type, I enjoy highlighting the tasks I complete, then looking at all that yellow.  😊

I jump around, actually, completing the tasks on different days than those suggested, but then, I'm rebellious that way. heh.


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Friday, April 06, 2018

Keep The Gratitude, Lose The Complaints (She Tells Herself)



"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."  ... Proverbs 17:22


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Still here!

Yet Tom is, this moment, on a plane zooming over to San Francisco for business. I've spent this week laundering and ironing clothes for said trip and transitioning my head, also, for when it'll be just me and the cats and--thank-goodness--Jesus around here.

Unfortunately it's snowing again and we're due for another week of mid 30's so there go my dreams of gardening while Tom's away. 

But last Monday! Forty-four sunny degrees warmed my back and bounced off our yellow house while in my Prayer Garden I trimmed dead growth, gathered leaves and touched the soil reverently. 

A preview of delights to come, but oh my--the natives 'round here grow more restless. While sipping my coffee at the cafe this dark morning a woman stepped through the blowing snow and told the cashier, "I just can't take this anymore. Seriously, I can't. We just got back from vacation yesterday and this was supposed to be over."

Amen, sister. 😉 

Heh. No, I'll not complain, for Tom and I watched another wonderful Chernobyl documentary and, days later, it still shuts me up. Here's what I wrote about it at Facebook --


So Tom and I love documentaries about Chernobyl (we just do, ok?) and last night we watched the best one yet! It's called The Babushkas of Chernobyl and we saw it via Amazon Video. Wow, those women inspired us to appreciate all we have, to not be lazy and to, for heaven's sake, stop all our ridiculous complaining for, like, forever! Such a beautiful film because of their attitudes, their faith and the scenery, as well, was gorgeous except for the little matter of the radiation everywhere.  Highly, highly recommended for everyone, especially for all who've felt old, helpless and also distracted by our Country's turmoil.






Oh, those ladies!  The outside world treated them like disease-spreaders, so they sneaked back into their radioactive homes. And the wild thing? They've outlived many who remained in a safe area but who'd spent their years pining for the home and life they'd lost.

Even doctors admitted that the Chernobyl Ladies' gratitude and joy kept them healthy in the midst of decades of radioactive gardens, food, water, homes, clothing and all else. 

These women thanked God for their freedom, their gardens (though poisoned), and this constant gratitude boosted their immune systems. Not even an obvious-killer could wipe out these 70 and 80 year old ladies. 

Wow. An incredible lesson, especially for those of us complaining when Winter lies to us, saying he'll never let Springtime come again.









"A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh..."  ... Proverbs 14:30



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Aha!  A friend of a friend today at Facebook said of her yet-another snowstorm:  "Oh my gosh! Seems like you're stuck in Narnia."

Yes! Just this morning I was trying to figure out what this feels like and that's it. The Snow Queen's curse. heh.







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Y'all know I read vintage kids' novels. Now, some stand out as extra special, like this one--





"A birthday party set up but never attended, a box of rare jewels and an old well are mysteries surrounding a New England farmhouse."

I read this slowly so to make it last.


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Also, I so enjoy Emily Kimbrough's books, yet wasn't sure I'd be able to get into this one--




--- about her years employed (in the 1920's) by Chicago's Marshall Field Department Store, but oh my! For reasons I don't even understand, I found it fascinating. I kept setting it down then researching online the people, shops, books and so much more she mentioned.

Another winner by Emily, imo.


(Oh, and usually here I give Amazon.com links for books, but before I purchase any of my quirkier-sort-of-books I, the great penny-pincher, also compare prices at abebooks.com and Ebay.)


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