Tuesday, October 15, 2019

In a Battle? Perhaps You Did Something Very Right.



"But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”   ... 2 Chronicles 15:7


******


When I started this blog in 2004? Oh, what a battle! 

Our computer began acting wonky. Freezing, blacking-out. 
Heck, my brain did the same! Meaningful sentences came to me, yet while typing, I'd forget their second halves. 
Perfect words appeared--then phhhht. They faded into my brain's white space where I could not retrieve them.

And remember how I (recently) felt horrified that my oldest posts screamed, "Debra forgot every writing lesson from high school and college"?

And let's not mention my own self-doubting thoughts nor that a couple folks told me sharing my personal life online was foolish, dangerous and prideful (why would strangers even care to read what I wrote?). 

Wow, right?  Battle-like, indeed, and ok, sometimes I did get all --







But mostly? I'd remind myself of Bible verses like this one:


"For a wide door of opportunity for effectual service has opened to me --along with many adversaries."   ... 1 Corinthians 16:9


So today if you are facing a battle, with voices chiding you to quit? May you remember that satan does not want us to bless anyone. Only after he sees our consistent determination will he step away and bug some likely-to-slink-away-whimpering, soul.

Whether you're starting a --

women's home Bible study or
a way to help your neighbors or
prepping your home/family for all emergencies or
obeying God by getting out of debt or eating right or
beginning a cooking ministry, writing a book or volunteering, etc.--



--stay upon the battlefield where God placed you. Someday He'll say, "You've finished! Well done. Now let's move on to this new thing I've planned for you." 

And because 'greater is He who's within us', we can win those upcoming early battles, as well.








"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."   ... Isaiah 43:19

******


Ooooo! I discovered a beautiful thing. A window, via our big screen tv, will sail me happily through winter by going here.





(P.S. Youtube can take you just about anyplace you wish to go. Seek, then find.)  ッ










"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

October This and That




Another Tuesday with Debra.  ツ


1.) Am I still happy that we ripped out our 100 feet of hedges? Well, you decide. Every time I step outside our red front door, this is me on the inside--








2.) Speaking of that, walking back from the Salvation Army drop-off last week, our neighbor 6-doors-down practically burst out his front door and said, "Your yard looks great now that the hedges are gone." 

We chatted all friendly-like, I thanked him, then nearing home I thought, "Hmm. I've never noticed that guy before in my life, but he certainly knew who I was."

So note to self! Always remember: God is watching that I behave--and so are the neighbors.


3.)  Gee, I hope you're using Rakuten (formerly Ebates). It's truly like getting paid to shop. After Rakuten paid me last time, I bought two pairs of new leggings from Ebay for just $5.50, total. Gotta love that price in our 2019 world.


4.) Ok, I've mentioned this before, but is anyone else enjoying A Very Brady Renovation from HGTV? Each episode feels like a sweet, customized gift from God just for me. (No, truly. Happy sigh. My quirky vintage longings, satisfied. ) 

The end credits flash and always, my mouth feels stiff, crooked, after holding a huge smile the entire hour.






5.) Remember how I have Aldi deliver fresh groceries to my front porch each week? Well, if you're unfamiliar with Aldi, Kathryn will show you the thrill she gets from shopping there. Here you go!


6.)  Woo hoo! Tom and I, (appreciators of Life's simple pleasures), are elated that our tv shows are back. Here are our Top 9 favorites:


1.) Chicago Fire
2.) Blue Bloods
3.) FBI
4.) The Rookie
5.) The Good Doctor
6.) Chicago Med
7.) Hawaii 5-0
8.) Chicago PD
9.) Magnum P.I.



7.) I'd not had an adventure for some months so last Friday, via a taxi, I took Sam The Cat to a nearby vet. (My exciting life, right?) But hey, the cab driver drove like a maniac, so there was that. 

Anyway, Naomi usually drives Sam to a farther-away vet, but she's moved, has a new job and now's unable to. So here's to more regularly scheduled adventures for good ol' Debra.


8.)  Is this adorable, or what?





9.) Gee, we've had many grey, cloudy days lately and, whoa Nellie! All the times I've needed to remind myself that "greater is He who is in me..." and of powerful quotes like this--




That, and all the lamps I've kept burning bright.  ツ (P.S. Each of us must, personally, find what works--and we can! We're not helpless, you know.)


10.)  Saturday morning felt a bit like Christmas! I emptied my closet of Spring and Summer clothing, then opened my drawers and had a reunion with my much-planned-out Autumn and Winter clothes. I gave each an appreciative little pat while I hung them on hangers. 

Don't you love it when you put extra effort into a project and then, later, reap rewards, making your life simpler, more enjoyable?










******


And I'll leave you with this which convicted me to the moon and back. (Yikes!) 😶







******


"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Monday, September 30, 2019

When God Sends Miracles In a Common Sense Way


"The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health."   ... Psalm 41:3


******

One pleasant March day I turned 60 and the next? Man, I got up off the red couch and could barely walk. My legs felt like sitting had morphed them into tree trunks. Stiff-with-some-pain.

So I'd grimace until I 'got going' and walked it off. And don't tell anyone, but sometimes I'd also mutter, "Gah. I do not want to be 60 anymore!"



Well, tiring of my new ancient lady walk (and not being one to grab for medication), I read about inflammatory foods. In a hit-and-miss way, I cut some from my diet and felt a tad better. Only a tad.

Eventually, though, I recalled how, 12 years ago, Naomi gave us a list of alkaline foods, ones meant to keep the acidity inside us, balanced. My head began kinda whispering, "Find an alkaline food list online, use it, and you'll feel better."

Oh my goodness. I did and I do! Feel better, that is. 

I discovered a terrific list, then hobbled to the kitchen, drank lemon juice in water, ate some almonds and prepared a sweet potato using a tiny bit of avocado oil. 

And you'll not believe this, but within an hour the stiffness began to disappear! And 5 days later, it's still not returned to what it was before.

Wow. Say what you will, but I believe God sends us healing miracles via a variety of avenues. And this time? He sent me mine via an online list of alkaline foods which I now take like medicine. 

So of course, my dear blog friends, I must share this 'miracle avenue' with you just in case God's waiting to whoosh you to feeling better in this same way. 

Again, just in case.  ツ






P.S. Oh, and next time I'll give you my new and improved recipe for my daily cup(s) of hot chocolate. While needing to make changes over the years I've tweaked it, again this past week, even.




******


How do I truly feel about our 100 feet of hedges being gone?

Marvelous. 

Ten years younger, in fact, due to relief of not needing to care for them. And also, I feel friendlier. Why? Because last week while sitting upon the porch (or watering new lawn seeds), a few neighbors (and even the UPS guy) stopped and spoke with me. 

That never used to happen before, what with those tall, foreboding hedges all fortress-wall-like. I sit outside now and feel so much more approachable. Part of me even asks, "Why didn't we pull down those hedges years ago?" 

Yet I know why. To everything there is a season, even one which means--after 40+ years--this is the first time that I no longer care about privacy outside in our yard.

Never say never (and all that). Just roll with the seasons, learn their lessons, and all will be well. In time.




                     My flower beds are springtime ones so they'll look nifty around next May, like this--







---especially since the lawn will have grown in by then, also.








******



                        Shared by Brea Rose Soap Garden over at Facebook. Don't you love Autumn?



                                                                   


                                                                       ******

"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

This One Thing Makes All Things Easier


"Have a place for everything and everything in its place."   ... copied


******


My favorite Youtuber? Kathryn at Do It On a Dime. (And here.)

She's adorable. Energetic.
Inspiring.
Full of cool housekeeping hacks and hints.
And I never have to fast-forward her due to bunny trail talk.  シ

But in her latest video? Oh dear. She shared 5 house cleaning Power Tips, yet she forgot the most important one! This --

Immediately clean up after yourself. Teach your children to do the same.

I mean, hey. On her bathroom vanity was toothpaste and a toothbrush, a hair dryer, comb, hair products, etc. Her kids' vanity was similar (tho' neater, actually), along with scattered tiny paper cups. Kathryn has a cool dressing table, but her make-up laid all over the top. Toys were strewn across the family room upstairs.

The video showed Kathryn walking upstairs and down, picking up everyone's stuff, putting it away, before she could wipe things down.

The easiest way to keep from feeling overwhelmed at home? Put things where they belong immediately after using them

It takes only a couple minutes, but oh, the hours and sanity saved when chaos piles no longer taunt us. When we can quickly find (or clean) what we need to.

Done fixing your hair? Place hair products inside that basket you bought for them. 
Finished using the kitchen mixing bowl? Rinse it off, place it in the dishwasher. Don't have a dishwasher? Fill your sink with sudsy water before you create a meal. Add dishes, utensils as you go.
The kids' toys are scattered in the family room? Have them put things away before bedtime. Make a game of it.


Putting Away only appears to require extra time. But it's deceptive because hey, it saves hours on the weekends, hours freeing us to do more enjoyable, adventurous activities.

And actually, it's a matter of respect. Personal respect cares that we live in a straightened, stress-free home. And parental respect never just thinks, "Oh, the cleaning lady Mom will clean it up later. She doesn't mind."

And no, I'm not talking perfection here. Heaven forbid. I'm speaking of a new calmness which is available for anyone willing to Put Things Away into practice.

Two-year-olds can be taught to clean up after themselves(!) and oh, what a Life change when, early, children learn to respect themselves, their parents, their home. Habits like those become treasures for a lifetime.








"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere."   ... James 3:17



******


Ways I'm making my house at least look like it's cleaning itself--


Our back entryway has a dark brown rug, for our bathroom I bought dark blue bath towels and we have a dark red couch. (See the theme there?)  ツ

We have a glass top over our dining room tablecloth. Rather then laundering the tablecloth often, I simply wipe the glass each day.

If something spills over on the stovetop, I immediately clean it rather than wait till it hardens when I must scrub, instead.

Each week I get rid of ten things which I "do not find to be beautiful or useful."

I spend a couple weeks tossing knick-knacks into the dishwasher with regular loads until they're all clean.

I keep a bottle of white shoe polish in the bathroom to touch up the white woodwork.

Our micro-fiber couch is easily cleaned using rubbing alcohol on a white cloth.

We use those desk chair hard plastic floor mats over our carpet in high traffic areas.

My Daily Master Task List reminds me of what needs to be done and keeps me from having huge messes resulting from neglect.



And since this is only a blog post, I'll stop here and leave you with this link, in case you'd like additional ideas. I love the way she says customizing your housecleaning to fit your family is the key.



******




"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Friday, September 20, 2019

Self-Discipline--or--You Can Do This!


"But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."   ... 1 Corinthians 9:27


******


Man, my 'never assume anything lessons' just never stop. (Well, if I'd remember them, they might. sigh.) 

I didn't actually measure my gardening shoes before pacing-off our hedges so now it turns out I'd been conquering 100 feet of hedges(!) these 8 years, not 60. 

And now the hedge guys are here to rip them out at a more expensive cost.(What a huge, messy, time-consuming job.) 

Oh well. 

But still, next time I pace something? I'll measure my shoes, first. Live and learn: the story of my life.



*****


Tom arrived home from a new doctor, reeling. He must change his eating and lifestyle, that is, if he wishes to feel well. 

I had to calm him down, saying, "Hey. First, you'll need to accept this. I've become an expert in acceptance over the past 3 years, especially, so welcome to my world! It's a process, it can be painful and it takes time. But it makes Life brighter on its other side."

And did you know that slippery elm is one of the more natural remedies for GERD?  ツ


******

My last 3 years of acceptance brought with them a new appreciation of what happens when you finally use self-discipline.

Self-discipline: 

The ability to control one's feelings and overcome one's weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.


(Oooo, that's good.)

If we can just stick with a thing long enough to finish it! To make it a habit, a lifestyle. Wow, Life becomes less frenzied, disorganized and our heads (and others) stop nagging us so much.

I know this now, firsthand. 

When I practice discipline--

My house stays cleaner (with consistency, one need not scrub stuff or rent dumpsters. Think about it.).
My important daily tasks (online and otherwise) get completed (this still shocks me).
My pieced-together wardrobe pleases me; it's a joy to dress (ditto).
I remember to exercise (big-time ditto).
I have much leftover time to relax, read and play.

And more.

Many people try new helpful things for 1 week, perhaps 2, and if huge changes don't happen? They quit. Accept defeat. Take a miracle-promising pill, a super drink or spend tons of money where a tiny bit would've sufficed had they searched longer or --- .

Self-discipline doesn't look like that. 

Instead-- 

It searches for answers, even if it requires months. 
It reads, learns about new ideas, methods, then practices them. 
It keeps what works, discards what doesn't.
It hops out of the Status Quo Box so to view things differently.
It uses wisdom.
It moves forward, even in inches because they count. All inches matter.


And then? Self-discipline walks us to the perfect place in the road where God will find us, prepared, having lived a wonderful life--

--to then keep on walking home with Him.






"In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty."  ... Proverbs 14:23

"Wisdom is doing today what you'll be satisfied with later on." --- Joyce Meyer


******





Oh wow! Did you know vinyl record sales are poised to outsell CD's for the first time since 1986?

My vintage-stuff-loving-heart found that very cool.


******

Remember when, last December, I walked over and spoke with our new neighbor, Marsha

Well, she's moving already! Sold her house in just 4 or 5 days. When I visited Neighbor Sally she told me Marsha had received a job transfer. sigh.

Anyway, I liked the photos online of her house, especially of her couch which makes me think, next time? Perhaps we'll buy a turquoise couch, though a darker shade. (I do love blue lately, especially anything close to Prussian blue.)





And just for fun, here is part of Marsha's pretty kitchen--







******
P.S. Woo hoo! The hedges are completely gone. And though it's a little sad, still, my life became easier today and--at 60 now--I needed that. I macheted-through cared for 100 feet of hedges for 8 years and I feel good about that. I'm at peace with the whole thing.

******



"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Polka-Dot House (And What It Taught Me)


" ... 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


******


Way back in the 80's, Tom, Naomi and I lived in Chester, CA, a tiny-ish mountain town.

One day while driving to the post office, I pointed then told Tom, "Look! Why are there polka dots all over that house? Well, paper plates anyway."

Tom glanced over, then smiled and said, "Oh, that's the ______'s house. They repainted it last week and I heard some of their neighbors complained about the color. Told them they should paint it over. So, ha! Looks like the _____'s are showing them."

Oh my. How I admired their spunk! And personally, I adored the new paint color. (Can't you just hear the owners' line of thinking? "So they don't like our color choice? Maybe they'd prefer it with polka-dots.") ツ

Recently their son posted an old photo of the house at a Chester Facebook page, so here you go--




Hey. It's one thing to form an opinion, but to wait till your neighbors finished painting then feel it's acceptable to walk over and say you hate the color? That they should pay more money to paint over it?

Wow. (And no, there wasn't any official homeowners association involved.)

Lesson #1: Like the Bible says, we should mind our own business. Do what God gives us the freedom to do and allow others the same privilege. 


Also?

As we rode down the street, I recalled the times people tried talking me out of what I truly wanted to do. Of the decor, books, music, art, etc.,  I personally preferred.


Lesson #2: Don't let outsiders make you feel your tastes are wrong or trivial. Personal taste is so very subjective and God designs each of us with a unique combination of desires, dreams and callings. You know, for this reason--

" ...for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose."   ... Philippians 2:13


Something else? All these decades later many folks on that Facebook page said they recalled that polka-dot house. They'd even repeated this story to friends in various states. 

So today I'll leave you with this--

Lesson #3: People often remember boldness and uniqueness. Bravery to stand alone for what you believe is like a bright light in this darkening world and oh Honey, how we need more Light.

Much more Light so to help others find the godly way they were created to travel.







True, it's not a simple thing to stand alone, but oh my, the afterward of obedience is always worth it.



******



"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

September This and That


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."   ... Philippians 4:6


*****

1.) So guess who this morning, after 12 days, was a good little soldier and taught herself how to use the new big tv? The one with new-to-her Roku and Youtube TV?

Yep. Good ol' Debra and sheesh! Only took me around 14 minutes to learn what I deem necessary(!) Man, I think Tom only made things appear complicated so I'd stay away from his new baby. 

Husbands. heh. ツ

2.) And guess which program I chose to watch first? 



The opening episode of A Very Brady Renovation

Oooo, I'd anticipated this for a year and truly (don't laugh. I grew up a huge Brady fan.) every moment felt like a gift. A long-awaited present, indeed.

(I recall at age 10 running to find my mom, describing to her the first tv commercial for The Brady Bunch. This was, like, August of 1969 and I couldn't wait for September to arrive that year!)

3.) And in celebration? I'll post once again, the photo I took when Barry Williams came to town back in 1997. Here he is with Naomi--




--but it was her mom (and other ladies her age) who acted like total, silly teeny boppers. (Hey. Some things just are what they are.)  シ


4.) Wow. Will I ever stop assuming things? For eons I assumed we couldn't buy spray-paint online lest the aerosol cans, Kaboom! Exploded inside steamy-hot UPS trucks.

Good grief.

Well, I'm making up for it. Quickly. My spray-paint from Target arrived and I re-painted all our back patio furniture in 3 days--







And our umbrella stand went from this--


--to this--

(Much better, right? Had meant to paint this for only 9 years or so.) 



5.) Our made-me-a-slave-to-them hedges go away on Monday!


                                (Yes, those 60 feet of hedges are nice, but really, they are exhausting me. If we were considering moving soon, we'd have kept them, but we aren't. Alas.)


6.) Oh! Calling all Big Band era music fans. Via a random ad on Facebook (because hey, they stalk know me so well), I discovered WKHR. Perfection. Simply perfection.

7.) I called our go-to carpet cleaning guy, Kevin, and he returned my call the next morning--and was here in 40 minutes! The timing was perfect (he was coming to our town anyway) so this truly felt like another 'God thing.' Color me grateful to Him for His goodness.

8.) Are you familiar with the website, What Should I Read Next? You can plug in your favorite author's name or book titles and a list will (hopefully) pop up with other of the author's books or ones similar to those you've read. Try it!

9.) Basically? My Master Task List changed everything. 

I tweaked it a bit: added easy, pleasant tasks on Saturdays and Sundays so to spread my work out more evenly (while keeping my weekends, yes, easy and pleasant), but wow. Daily tasks almost 'mysteriously' get completed, I have no weekend backaches and now I can read verses like this--


"Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys". Proverbs 18:9---


--and not feel like a lazy, guilty sluggard. Whew. ッ 

10.) The nearby town where we lived at Autumn Cottage? For at least 15 years every pleasant-weather Sunday, people have gathered to fly kites. Is that a lovely thing, or what?




We drive by year after year and say, "Someday we should stop and watch awhile." 

Gee, I love New York.




******










"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Meanwhile, Back At Hobbit Cottage (--Or-- Never Assume Anything)



"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace..."   ... 1 Peter 4:10

"A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion."   ...Proverbs 18:2


******


Tom's old (2008) leather recliner still appeared fine, that is, until you sat in it. Then it felt cattywampus and tilted your world a tad. 

So we window-shopped online and gracious! Now those cost anywhere from $450 to $2,000. Although we'd set money aside, still, this was one of those "it's the principle of the thing" things. 

So much money for only a chair!

Well, one Friday Tom stopped at an estate sale and guess what he bought? A cool vintage leather recliner. In beautiful shape. For just $80. Now, we paid a little more to Neighbor Mike and his son to carry it inside,but hey. What a deal, right?


         In Real Life my living room is not this blurry. heh.


Assumption lesson #1: Never assume you must pay crazy-high prices for anything. Even in 2019.


*****


I, personally, know folks who believe shopping garage/estate sales is for losers with Let's Just Buy Unnecessary Trash habits. But, gracious! What exactly are we losing if our bank accounts still hold the thousands of dollars we saved on necessary items? Hmm?

Assumption lesson #2: Never assume all garage sale shoppers are gullible, trinket-buying slobs.   ツ


*****

Here's what I wrote at Facebook on Monday:

Well, Tom got his new big tv with its ultra-complicated remotes and screen settings and choices and --- it looks like Debra won't be able to watch tv while he's away at work ever again. heh.  #itsallsocomplex




Assumption Lesson #3: Never assume you'll hate something before you even see it. I'd assumed I'd hate the modern appearance of the new tv, but after tweaking some furniture? I kinda prefer the new set-up(!)


The odd thing? Three (4?) of my friends pretty much said, "Now, Debra. You're an intelligent woman. You'll figure out how to use the new tv!" (And I appreciate that. I do.)

Yet, first of all, uhm, no. Not intelligent. Don't even wanna be. 

Rather, I'm a simple-minded trial-and-error-learner gal. Anything smart-ish leftover comes from listening to God's (hard-won) personally-designed-lessons for those with stubborn streaks. Like me.

And technologically-speaking? Oh dear. No, no, no. We're talking major weaknesses here. Gaping holes of understanding and techno-advancing desire.

Basically, my public use of technology is only to complete God's calling(s) on my life (so He enables me to do what I must).

Using this new tv of Tom's (aka Tom's new baby)? I'm not seeing any of God's using me in that. So far, I'm content giving the controls to Tom, and instead, watching Hulu and Netflix on this computer. Oh, and playing my dvd's upstairs in my Happy Place Room.

That's plenty. For now--and perhaps--forever. 



Assumption Lesson #4: Never assume anyone can do it all. Every person who's ever appeared upon Earth has weaknesses so to keep them (us) humble and reliant upon God and other folks who're strong where we are clueless.

We are, each of us, complex, uniquely-designed and dependent upon each other to walk us through our gaps. 

That's always been God's plan--and it's a good one. Indeed.







You may want to also check out my earlier post entitled, "Where She's As Techno As She Wants To Go".

"You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."   ... John 8:32







******








Still loving my new scented wax melts! (Turns out, everyone and his Aunt Pat discovered these years ago. Wish they would've told me!)  ッ

Know what I'm doing with them after their removal from the melter? I place them around the house in my decorative teacups (etc.) so to keep scenting the air.

Also, I decided not to use the French Lilac ones for melting (preferring to use only bakery-scented ones) so I placed those lilac cubes inside clothing drawers and our bathroom. Those places, in my mind, anyway, are fine for lilac scent.   シ


Ten Creative Uses for Candle Wax


*****




"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15