Friday, September 28, 2018

Of Mind Vacations


"And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”"   ... Exodus 33:14


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Sheesh! Sit down on your red couch to watch a few X-Files reruns and suddenly it's 9 days and no blog posts later.

Heh.

No, really, probably twice (thrice?) a year my mind needs a true vacation--this was one of those times. You know, what with --

the car accident,
the paperwork from said accident (Tom and I regularly lose paperwork for breakfast),
our dreadful, humid summer that I barely survived (I've sat here basking--recovering--in glorious, cool Autumn with deepest gratitude),
and-- to (mis)quote Michel from Gilmore Girls-- the way "people are acting especially stupid these days."  πŸ˜‰

And more I'd rather not mention now.  Perhaps later.

Anyway, this homemaking gig! You'll never hear ol' Debra begging for personal days off. No, she just takes 'em.

Oh, of course housework never ends (and if you think about it, I'll never be able to retire), but I can tweak the work, move it around and play lots of the clean-the-house-during-tv-commercials game--and still get much done while feeling vacation-y (how good this feels). Or I postpone some of it.

I like that, too. 

Technically, though, I'm aiming to live with my mind on vacation. You know, with my brain consistently at rest (on an imagined beach, maybe?), whole flights away from --


worry
dread
frustration
complaining
discontentment
and wanting what God does not want for me.


Yep, I believe God enables us to disentangle our minds from worrisome junk and stuff which is, frankly, none of our business. That's why I keep this verse on my blog's sidebar, 24/7:


"...and make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands..." ...1 Thessalonians 4:11


It's like a map to peace, especially these days, what with people 'leaping in where angels fear to tread' and then gasping, "Oh no! Where did all this stress come from, anyway?"

Messing in others' business = the stress of being over ones head in No Grace Land. Scaaaaary!










Instead, I pray to become an expert at deciphering what is my business and stay far from what certainly is not. (Gee, there's millions of not-Debra's-business stuff out there!)

And may I remember there's peace and grace only when I get the differentiation right.










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Oh, and when voices in my head said stuff like, "Your so-called Mind Vacation is just an excuse for laziness and isolating yourself," I shut it up with truths like this --


"Every season is not a growing season. Every season is not harvest. There are seasons of watering, seasons of planting, seasons of pulling up the weeds, and fertilizing the ground. These are important seasons. They are times of testing where God is seeing what you’re made of. Are you going to keep a good attitude when you’re not making progress? Are you going to do the right thing when you’re not seeing growth? Have faith and patience."  .... Joel Osteen


(And I would add: 'there are seasons of resting the soil' which yes, is A Thing.)  πŸ˜‰




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My friend, Ann, shared this cool quote at Facebook. 







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Oh, and could you please pray for a friend of mine? She's a 'charter reader' of this blog--has faithfully read here all these 14 years--and the doctors told her she has cancer. Oh dear.

But we can all pray for her and believe, truly believe, for the very, very best.

Thanks so much!


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"Walk ... with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love." ... Ephesians 4:2

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Something's Weird? Maybe God's Timing Is Involved.


"People were overwhelmed with amazement. "He has done everything well," they said."  ... Mark 7:37


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Off and on for 30+ years I'd think, "Gee, I'd like some scented drawer liners. I could place them in my bedroom dressers and whoosh! A lovely scent would waft upward each time I open them."

"Yes, I'd love to have some scented drawer liners."
"But hey, they're kinda expensive."
"And yet? Scented drawer liners would be awesome."
"I really should splurge and buy me some scented drawer liners."

This went on for, like I said, 30+ years. (Please, someone tell me you've done stuff like that before.)  πŸ˜ƒ

Why didn't I--at least--ask for them at Christmas or my birthday? Or use my 'allowance' to buy them instead of the books, dvd's, books, clothes, books, decor and did I mention books which I normally buy?

I would say I don't know--except that maybe I do. Now.

See, last Wednesday I finally clicked over to Amazon.com and ordered lavender-scented drawer liners. Oh, but they looked so pretty...





... and my heart, with its slight-Francophile tendencies, beat harder. I even bought sachets so to tuck inside the drawers, as well.





Anyway, since no shipping cost was involved, I didn't use Tom's Amazon Prime, so they arrived not in 2 days, but 4--which meant on Sunday afternoon, poof! There they sat upon our front porch.

Sunday--the day after our car accident. The day when I, emotionally and mentally, needed this most perfect project. You know, the emptying and sorting of two dressers in my rooms upstairs and the placing of the drawer liners and sachets so to create something beautiful and sweet-smelling. Oh, and calming, also. I've used lavender essential oil in my closet bedroom as a sleep aid.

A project to help me heal from the trauma of the day before, something to whisk my mind to a more positive place, a creative one where (some of you will get this) I always feel especially close to God.

Oh, to be led by God's timing in all things! Even the ordering of something I'd wanted for decades which couldn't have arrived at a more perfect time.

Truly, God does all things well and that's why I'm always writing here that I long to carry out His ideas, rather than my limited, the-future?-what's-that? clueless ones.

So there you go.








The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
    to those who search for him.
 So it is good to wait quietly
    for salvation from the Lord.   ... Lamentations 3:25,26



"Take nothing for granted."



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Well, ever since the Hecks (from The Middle, s. 6 ep. 12) went to Leilani's Motor Lodge after they buried Aunt Edie, Tom and I have dreamed of owning a basement (ours couldn't work) where we'd create our own Leilani's. We could host parties where everybody would lounge at tables listening to Hawaiian music (like this) and drink fruit concoctions with tiny umbrellas.

Except Tom and I don't even like parties. We'd probably be sitting down there, alone. But hey, details, details.  😐

Anyway, if you've read here even a month, you know I, daily, peek at local real estate online and oh! Yesterday I spied just about the coolest basement of them all.

Don't you wish you knew the quirky people who put all this time and creativity into their basement, probably long ago?  (For fun, click on this song before looking at the photos.)













And in case you're wondering, this is just the basement of a small, 1951 ranch house.

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"Walk ... with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love." ... Ephesians 4:2

Monday, September 17, 2018

So A Little Thing Happened On The Way to Breakfast --




"He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand."  ... Psalm 40:2

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So. There we were on our way to breakfast Saturday morning, but first, Tom wanted to pull over in front of a car lot for, on Friday, he'd spied what he believed was our old faithful car of 14 years.

He began slowing down from 50 mph so we could drive into the car lot's official pull-off lane, turned on his blinker, then a car from a side street pulled out in front of us.

Oh my. As if in slow motion, Tom pressed down hard on the brake and as the car crossed before us, I thought (seriously),"No! It's a nightmare to deal with car insurance claims! We can't hit him!"

But we did. 

Or rather, his car went scraaaaaape against our front, mostly the driver's side hood half, and kept going. He crossed the four lanes of traffic, then eventually circled back to us. We simply drove into the pull-out lane as we'd intended and stopped--

--thoroughly feeling bummed-out and well, mad

While Tom gathered the insurance card, I got out and surveyed the damage which--ok--wasn't horrible, but still, sickening. Our 'new' car! The one we've still got a year to pay on.

Tom and I walked back to the young (30-ish) guy and I stared at him and shouted over the traffic, "Thanks a lot!" Then left it at that. Hey, I read the stories about these things escalating. I'm no fool. (Tom later kidded me about acting so irate in public. heh.)

He tried to convince us it was our fault, that we'd had the blinker on so he thought (assumed) that we were going to turn rather than just drive beyond the turn and into the pull-off lane. I said, "Ha! He (Tom) was going too fast for that. You should have waited."

Then I said nothing else to him. 

I let Tom and him hash it out, then the guy called the police. (Tom had forgotten his phone at work and declared he'll never do that again.) We both waited, staring at our poor, dinged-up car.

Anyway. A cop came and later, after handing us the accident report, told us we shouldn't have any problems. Said the other driver, though, probably would. Meaning, the cop, too, knew it hadn't been Tom's fault.

Sigh. There was no breakfast out--who could eat? I wanted simply to go home, but Tom stopped at a couple yard sales where we bought nothing, not feeling like that, either. 

We got home, I facebook'd what had happened, Tom called our insurance agent, then later we ordered out for Chinese and watched a couple movies.

We tried to keep it all in perspective. We did, but hey, being human and having been in an accident, well, it's those emotions which go pecking at your head for a couple days which you have to watch out for--and tell to go away in Jesus' name. You know, seeing the accident happen over and over and hearing these --

"What if (this horrible thing) had happened instead?"
"What a headache it'll be dealing with the insurance company."
"If only you'd gone someplace else for breakfast." (Woulda, coulda, shoulda...)
"That's a too-fast, scary world out there. From now on, you need to stay home more."
"The good times are, like, over."


If you've ever experienced an accident or other trauma, well, you know.

But instead of soaking in all that stuff, welcoming it, sinking beneath it--Tom and I know better. We've experienced this before, learned from it--

You acknowledge the emotions, but don't take a bath in them. Instead, you ask God to help you move forward.
You remind yourself God is greater than heavy, annoying emotions.
And that soon--while relying on God for help--Life will feel good again.
And you'll come away more sensitive to others when they experience rough times. You'll more likely know what to say--or what not to.
And that's a valuable thing.


But, yes. Patience is required. And keeping one's head, one's faith and always believing--


"All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well."   .... Julian of Norwich


---in time, because of this huge God who has us--and this whole world--in His hands.






Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you're doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you. ............Joel Osteen


A special thanks to all who expressed their concern over our accident this weekend at Facebook. We super appreciated your kind words and that you took the time to share them. Many people never realize the power of offering comforting words--but really, words do much to help the healing process.


Oh and everyone here and anywhere--please be assured that Tom and I realize our accident could have been a million times worse! We do. And seriously, we're grateful it wasn't.


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Oh, and was that actually our old car in the lot? Yes, yes it was. We recognized it from all the tiny scratches we'd put on it over 14 years.  😊 I wonder what the odds are that we'd have an accident in front of our former car which we'd not seen in 2 years?

Weird.


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And after experiencing my weekend bout(s) with anger (and just living in Today's world), this stood out to me at Twitter this morning---




The haters want to turn you into a hater. But your heart was designed for love. Radical, extravagant, makes-no-sense-in-this-day-and-age kinda love. So go ahead, brave warrior... Resist the temptation to hate. Love the haters. Love the good one. Love yourself.
Love.


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In another local real estate listing, I spied this room. Isn't it cozy (and don't you love those built-ins)?



And I also liked this updated kitchen in a different house (Tom did, also)--





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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Where Are You Living?


"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." ... Philippians 4:11


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My favorite participant sport? Wandering through old houses via estate sales. 

No, really. I'm a pro at that one.  πŸ˜‰

But oh, some of the kitchens these women put up with for 40+ years! Wow, they shock both Tom and me. Kitchens like this one (from a current local listing), for example--




See that bit of orange countertop? That's all of it. There is no more, unless you want to count the table and that whatever-it-is beside the stove--




Ever stood over a low table chopping and mixing? Makes my back hurt just considering it.

Me? Whole decades ago I'd have added skinny cupboards beneath the two windows and banked the stove, above and below, with cupboards, drawers and more counter space.

Eegads. Obviously this 1954 house is a one-family-owned one and oh, the poor woman who cooked thousands of meals there. Maybe with her coffee, she sat at the table facing her backyard windows, dreaming of a kitchen which made sense or heck, a whole other house, one with a real dining room, a finished 2nd story and a den in the basement, all of which she never had (she could've, the last two, anyway).

Or maybe, like Apostle Paul, she learned to be content.

Perhaps she read 'How To Make Your Small House Feel Larger' type books and became super-efficient so that she didn't even need extra space. Maybe, personally, she preferred smaller rooms.

Or perhaps she had just the right amount of stuff to clean and owning more made her nervous. She might have worked an outside job or appreciated the extra non-cleaning time for her hobbies and craft-making. 

Perhaps The Mr. (he with the terrific garage) never understood the need (or had the money) for a sensible kitchen or a finished 2nd story, so The Mrs. decided to do what she could. You know, like wallpapering the dining area and guest room, adding scented drawer liners, sewing curtains. She may have spent tax refunds on new bedspreads, bathroom towels or an occasional framed painting, sofa or carpet in hopes of making this small house, her only one, its very best.

Maybe when the dining area chandelier was replaced, she felt such gratitude, that her too-tiny kitchen no longer mattered. She finally had her pretty light. 

Or hey, perhaps her lovely future home in Heaven kept her dreamy-eyed within this limited one upon Earth.

One thing I've seen around my area? Women married in the 50's through 70's tended to find within themselves a gratitude for whatever home they'd been given, no matter how lacking. Oh, not all women, of course! It just seems like 'a thing' more prevalent than Today.

And oh, it's not all bad how Nowadays Ladies tend to want more. Hey, I find myself there, often(!) But where I'd rather be? 

In the delicate balance, the reaching for more with hands already grateful.

You know, wanting more, but with a contented heart which says."I'd like something else, but if I don't get it? That's ok. Knowing God is what keeps me satisfied, even if outward circumstances never change."

Yep, sometimes I'm there, but I'm aiming to live there 24/7.




If you think about it, this kitchen is another cramped one, but the ladies 'round the table look perfectly happy anyway. Imagine that.




"... abound in thanksgiving."   ... Colossians 2:7

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."   ... 1 Thessalonians 5:18


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More from The Mrs.' house--









In a safe neighborhood, one near ours, with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 800 sq. ft., not including the unfinished 2nd story or basement and a needs-help kitchen with no dishwasher(!)----- $69,900.



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A friend shared this photo at Facebook. Cool, right?





And another friend shared this--






---which I've found to be so true.



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"Walk ... with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love." ... Ephesians 4:2


Monday, September 10, 2018

What If We Saw Both Sides (And Could Be Quiet A Few Minutes)?


"But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."   ...Luke 2:19


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Disclaimer: I'm using a huge topic in a simple blog post to make one tiny (yet important) point. That's probably unwise, but you'll forgive me, right?  πŸ˜‰



If you visited our local Denny's on Saturday morning, maybe you spied Tom and me. We'd not dined there in oh, perhaps 10 years and I told Tom, "Now surely, Denny's coffee can't be horrible. They've got to compete with Tim's, Dunkin's and Starbucks."

Yet the coffee? Blech. Phooey. Not disgusting (like here), but disappointing. Our breakfast, though, tasted awesome.

Anyway, had we not visited Denny's in a decade in protest? To prove our singular allegiance to local establishments? Nah. We just hadn't gone, that's all. Also, the parking lot's always packed and we prefer not to wait in lines.

But hey, I have some friends (and others) who'd rather chew couch pillows than even step into a Denny's. 

Why? Denny's (and Walmart, Amazon, etc.), to them represents Corporate America. You know, the devil. And fat wealthy guys 'at the top' smoking cigars while smirking, counting stacks of money on gold-trimmed desks. And this--



"Corporate--

---of, relating to, or being the large corporations of a country or region,
  • the latest trend in corporate America,

 having qualities (such as commercialism or lack of originality) associated with large corporations or attributed to their influence or control.


And hey! If all things corporate make you ill, that's cool. I get it. Really I do.

But what I also get? My neighbors work at Dennys. Their kids sit at dining room tables, dressed in clothing and eating food Denny's provided via Mom's paycheck.

And nearby grandparents who can never retire work at Walgreens or Walmart. And their middle-aged kids are employed by Amazon. United Health. CVS.

And their 20-something kids will attend college in September because of money earned at Burger King. Kroger. Barnes and Noble. Costco.


My point? Even in today's wild, stressed-out world, most things still have 2 sides. All people have a story and a need to use one (or more) ways to survive.

Yet oh, Life moves so fast now, but when we're slow to speak and slow to become angry? I believe our minds and hearts can change. When we pause to hear what God's saying rather than the loudest voice (or crowd), we might gain a whole other, calmer perspective.

And if we're quick to listen, maybe we'll glimpse a new color-filled, different world out there, one we never even knew existed--

--you know, with tons of folks having more in common with us than we dreamed possible.









We may not agree with everyone, but at the very least, we can attempt to understand them. I believe it's a part of learning to love others as God commands us.


"If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."   ... Romans 12:18


Interested in seeing how many people are employed by the largest companies? Go here.



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In August, an issue of Victoria magazine arrived in my mailbox from my friend, Wilma. Right out of the blue! Such an awesome surprise on a summer day threatening to do me in.

I'd not seen Victoria magazine in probably 5 years and wow, like I said, it came at a perfect time. What a delight!

May we all, instead of complaining that folks nowadays no longer do these kindnesses--instead--send out surprises, ourselves, to others.

We might just start a who-knows-what-you'll-discover-inside-your-mailbox? movement, even in 2018... and wouldn't that be lovely?


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And just because it's beautiful and a wonderful way to be for others so we can then lead them to the best place to land--


A Soft Place to Land. Sung by Kathleen Edwards.


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Thursday, September 06, 2018

On The Other Side of Summer





"But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."  ...Phillippians 3:13,14


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Oh wow. Summer time was brutal. 

^%$#)(*>!!

Almost didn't survive it this year. Eegads. Nope, ol' Debra went from this in early June--





To this in July and August --




She stayed inside the house both those months and man, cabin fever came early this year. So did my darn ol' winter weight.













Too many tests, I say! Too many tests.  πŸ˜‰

Now, sometimes I hung onto God like crazy and passed with A's or B's. But other times, oh, I whined and let the who-cares?-I-just-can't-focus-anymore fog roll o'er me. And got D's. F's.

But hey, in Today's world we must learn to 'soldier on'. Ask God to yank us out of Pity Ruts, so He can set our feet upon that straight road again. 

Anyway, today it's cooler--and Summer's grasp has been broken--hopefully for 2018's remainder. (We've got a dreamy 10-day forecast.)

I'm celebrating! Already feeling strong again, like the Real Debra (I actually missed her) though yes, part of me is disgusted by my Summer weakness. "You big baby," I say.

But no--not going there. Instead, I'm choosing the 'soldiering-on thing,' not gazing backward, but marching 'round the block again, reviving my poor yard and more faithfully writing here.

Oh, Life zooms too quickly to sink beneath regret or resentment-of-things-lost! Or to bog down, asking unanswerable questions. People all around us need our help, you know?

So today, I say rise up with me. 

Yet, if you can't? If it's still too hot where you are or something else holds you down? Please draw God closer and ask that He lift you mightily in Spirit.

Throw aside that 'regret blanket' and learn or be or do something new for others. Always, God's available to help us, always, He's there to do a new thing. Never does He leave us to ourselves. 

Whew. Thank-goodness.








"... let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."   ... Hebrews 12:1,2







"... for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust."   ... Psalm 103:14


The good news? Summer causes me to super-rely upon God's strength and becomes a reminder to do this all year long, no matter how capable I feel within myself.


Forgive yourself, your weaknesses and everything that went wrong. Just do it, let it go--then move on.


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Tuesday while at my cafe, this song (but a different version) played and I thought, "Oh! Where do I know this song from? Where oh where?"

Finally while (nearly) crawling home over steamy sidewalks, I remembered: that French Canadian radio station out at the farm always played it!

Ooooo, you might enjoy this song, too. So fun, so French and it's not just a song, but one of those which is more like an experience. (And how wonderful when God uses certain things to cheer us. Tuesday and Wednesday here were ridiculous heat-wise, but this song made things better.)

Anyway, check out Dance Me To The End of Love here. So adorable, the old photos of couples and how we see them now, their love having survived, grown stronger.

And the French radio station--which zooms me back out to that sunny farm kitchen with the orange counter tops that I, oddly, miss--is here.






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