Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Shock When You Realize 'This Dream Ain't Comin' True'



"And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”   ... James 4:6


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I didn't tell you something.

Twice this year I sent Tom links to local (nearly perfect)houses for sale and both times he wrote, "We should go for it! Want me to set up an appointment for when I get off work today?"

But in each case I emailed back, "Nah. When you get home I'll show you my Why We Cannot Move list. But thanks, anyway, for considering it."

Sigh. And both houses cost about what we'd get for ours. Cheap.  シ

For the nearly 8 years we've lived at Hobbit Cottage, 4 of those I've imagined moving to a blank canvas house (with storage!) so I could start all over decorating-wise. 

Remember those scenes in It's A Wonderful Life where Mary's up on a ladder painting, wallpapering, having a marvelous time? Well, for 37 years (or so) that was me. And as I've visited the earliest pages of my blog so to tweak them, I've watched from doorways that younger Debra up on her trusty aluminum step-stool ladder and felt, well, awe (she did what in just one day?).

And sadness, also. That Debra? She's not here anymore. Today she's unable to decorate her little heart out. She just can't.

And Tom needs another shoulder surgery (plus, his scoliosis and herniated discs aren't exactly better) and if we moved, even with professional movers, he'd help too much. Like last time, back in 2011 when for two weeks afterward, he was ill.

There's more, but you know, it's that part about staying here for Tom's sake which finally set me down at acceptance. I told God, "If it's for Tom that we stay here, at least for now? Why, I can do that. Grace cushions those sacrifices I make for him. Love makes them not hard for me." 

Also, God reminded me of those days I work a bit harder and by 5:00 pm I'm stiff, bent in half, complaining. And suddenly I felt extremely grateful for our Hobbit Cottage. That we are here, already. Safe. Entrenched, yeah, but over time, we can 'unentrench' ourselves. Slowly, at our back-saving convenience. 

And so finally--finally--the new house dream, died. And I mean died-died. Took 4 long years (and yeah, often painful ones as they are whenever we want what God doesn't want for us), but it stopped breathing.

Oh, perhaps some year we'll make one more move, like, into an assisted living apartment. Yet at that time ol' Debra won't be up on any ladders slapping paint onto walls there, either. 

And this is what I'm still learning in layers: 

Some Life seasons are easy to release, yet others are hard, especially when they lasted decades, were huge parts of who God made us and kept us happily going even during stormy times.

But when we truly release them at God's request? He replaces them with sweet new dreams, ones which even now, yes! We can still do, and with a joy only Grace provides. 

Grace. She splashes color, happiness and contentment over everything God calls us to do. Yes, even now during these later autumn years.

And oh, to follow her so closely we can reach for her strong fingers at anytime we need her help.







Respect your seasons! Pay attention to their details, do what you have the energy, grace and promptings to do while you still can.

Or as Ann Kiemel Anderson said--
"I would have missed out on so many things in Life if I had not simply done them." 


"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he."   ... Proverbs 29:18





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My dear friend, Wilma, said this Garfield cartoon reminded her of me--





--and I feel incredibly honored, not to mention, understood. 

Brighten the corner where you are, Everyone! And this, oh yes, remember this--


"You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you." ...Isaiah 26:3


(Thank-you much, Wilma!)


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Okay, now this new tv ad was just too cute!

(Did you know you can be Jerry Mathers' and Tony Dow's friend at Facebook? They're pretty cool.)  ツ



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"Master," said John, "we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us." "Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you." ... Luke 9:49,50

Monday, June 24, 2019

Where She Begins a New Adventure




"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for 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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All these books?





Ol' Debra will lug them down the street today to the Salvation Army donation box. They'll join others she carried there earlier.

See, on Friday I read online that I may have early CVI, what with these tired, heavy legs of mine which whine, moan after I'm on my feet (or sit) too long. (Mornings, I can leap tall buildings in a single bound! And no, I don't have spider veins. Don't worry.). Sixty-four percent of older women, I read, have CVI--yikes. That's a lot.

So I'm gonna try avoiding traveling anywhere inside the outer edges of that place.





Anyway, for 2 weeks I've made good changes diet/exercise-wise, but I'm making this switch, also: I'm flinging away any possessions which I don't love or truly neeed.  You know, so I'll not expend precious energy dusting, laundering or wiping down stuff I don't even like.

And oh Honey, this will take some time. Although living in a small house, I own lots of stuff, especially books.

But whatever, this feels, (I mused over the weekend), related to what I've told you for years: 

Caring for the things (and people) I love should not feel burdensome. If it does, I'm making a mistake somewhere, most likely in my attitude or by ignoring wisdom.


What I'm finding already? Grace, so much grace. This new phase feels like an adventure to a sweeter Life and how delightful to imagine sitting on the red couch beholding only dearly-loved items. What a joy, not a burden, to care for pretty, laced-with-a-memory things.

And isn't God so good? He sends Grace, more balance and wisdom so to make these later years just as special as earlier ones--even while they appear oh so different. 

It's incredible how He even does that, really, and with such compassion.










May I keep accepting this as a challenge rather than something else to moan about in self-pity.




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One of my readers years ago asked for great book storage ideas and well, this post contains the best hint, ever. Release the books you don't love, won't be reading again, and the reference ones which, most likely, won't help you do good things in the future.

That should give you much extra shelf space.

Also, I'm finally reading the books I've meant to read forever, deciding afterward whether I'll want to read them again (and again). If not, phhht. They're outta here.

And of course, there's always Kindle! Even there, though, I declutter what I have. Mind clutter--knowing I've hundreds of books there I'll likely never read (and must click through)--also, can use up energy.


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Oh, and you're asking, "What about Tom's stuff which you do not love?" Right? ツ

I ask God for grace to look at that and wisdom to know which of his things he should be caring for, not me. heh.



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Oh! And speaking of Tom, awhile ago he and I watched The Great Buster. We both loved it. A perfect documentary, indeed.


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"Master," said John, "we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.""Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you."   ... Luke 9:49,50




Thursday, June 20, 2019

Oh, To Be An Example, Not a Hater.




"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you ... for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  ... Matthew 5:44, Ephesians 6:12



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A friend recommended a Christian blog post. So I read it and then ack! Flew out the backdoor and pulled weeds with oh-that-irked-me vigor. 

Days later my stomach still feels queasy.






The (again, Christian) post--


Lumped the majority of today's Christians together.
Trivialized them. Mocked them. Over-exaggerated their responses to victim/bad guy situations.
Gave no hope of change for Christians who're messing up. 
Encouraged no one to pray for cruel or misguided Christians. 
Pretty much said Jesus (nearly) lived angry so it's godly if we do. 


Man. Where do I begin? 

How about here--


"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? ... But love your enemies, do good to them ... Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked."   ... From Luke 6



Actually? We're still in God's Love kindergarten when we don't have the basics down, like compassion. You know, when we-- 

refuse to forgive,
look-up Bible verses to excuse our hate,
only pray for deserving people we like or pity.
gossip consistently speak about folks who've got it all wrong (never praying they'll get it right).


But God says--
  
For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
   ... 1 John 4:20, James 5:20


There's a day to enter kindergarten, yes! Days to learn and apply its lessons. But then a time arrives to graduate. To move up to God's Love School of Higher Learning where we behold and participate in--

examples of love in action. 
softening of bullies' hearts. 
walking in unity, even when all don't agree 100%. 
putting others first and longing for the salvation of even the 'bad guys'. 

It's an unforgettable, exciting place of miracles, that God's Love School. How life-changing to leave kindergarten and attend there, instead.








"I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."    ... 1 Corinthians 13:1, 13


Does there ever come a time to confront Christians about their behavior? Of course. And here's where God shows us how.


We're growing-up when we seek to understand why people do what they do and when we have God's love for both the victim and the perp.


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Striving to actually live in the Light, be an example, will accomplish tons more than just hating those who don't.


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"Master," said John, "we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.""Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you."   ... Luke 9:49,50

Monday, June 17, 2019

Aging Gracefully, Yes? No? Maybe?

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"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day."   ... 2 Corinthians 4:16


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Look back over my semi-recent posts and you'll see I've spoken much about how ol' Debra feels herself aging.

Yet, my favorite teacher seldom speaks of that, even though she's 16 years older than me. But then, she's done this wild thing for years. It's called 'taking better care of herself'.



But last Friday, wow. She did address aging and oh Honey, I've felt marvelous ever since, especially after she said this--


"Only a fool thinks he can always do what he's always done. We're always in the process of aging."   --- Joyce Meyer


Oh! Other people kept telling me to ignore getting older, it's all a state of mind, just a number, etc., but something felt wrong with that, for hey. I, now, cannot do some of what I've always done.

And that means something to me. It affects, in some ways, all my days.

Joyce even said it's exciting to go through these changes and I understand that, also. For me, it's thrilling to figure out new ways to solve old problems, to make changes so that folks think I'm still 'with it'. Capable. You know, still 'all there'. heh.

Remember that Master Daily List which God hinted I should write up? Oh wow.


No more am I-- 

--standing at the kitchen counter with tablet paper and a pen, asking myself, "Uhm. What must I do today?"

-- or worrying that this house and yard are gonna take me down. Soon.

-- or entering weekends with an aching back because I worked too hard on Fridays.


As George Peppard used to quip, "I love it when a plan comes together," and this Master Daily List makes me feel perhaps I can still 'get it all done' the next few years, after all.

Really, I'd wondered lately.

What's also encouraging me? That anti-inflammatory diet I mentioned to you (Gee, I'm feeling better), and this thought:

For years I'd assumed that I'll never be able to officially retire like people who had 'real jobs'. After all, someone has to still take care of the place. The house. The yard.

But last week? I told Tom, "Since many folks retire at age 62, maybe that's when I'll retire from doing yard work. Perhaps that can be the year we start hiring folks to mow and trim hedges for us."

Tom seemed ok with that idea! But I'm gonna wait awhile before hinting about my dreams to have a house cleaner drop by at least once a month.  ツ (Already I'm praying my pride won't have me washing stuff before Cleaning Lady arrives each time.)

Anyway, what am I really saying? Know thyself. Accept thyself, even if your older friends still have their 'litheness', but yours fell off years ago. And whether it's your family genes, a mishap or neglecting your body which is messing things all up--

Do what you still can. Gratefully.
Make wise changes so to keep going, longer.
Work smarter, not harder.
Ask God for His best ideas.
Keep a gratitude diary.
Find funny folks to hang out with--

--and never, ever lose your sense of humor, no matter what age, what shape you may find yourself in today or your many tomorrows ahead.








“So this is what you do when it all slows down and the minutes that tick by feels a little longer than before. You open your eyes a little wider, and look at everything. Take it all in. Rehash stories of old, remember people, times and occasions gone by. Allow everything you see to remind you of something. Talk about those things. Stop and take your time to notice things and make those things you notice matter. Find out the answers you didn't know to yesterday's crosswords. Slow down. Stop trying to do everything now, now, now.” 

― Cecelia Ahern, Thanks for the Memories



(Debra here) -- Would you like a copy of my personal Master Daily List? You know, out of curiosity or for potential ideas for your own? Feel free to email me at Gladone4@yahoo.com for a copy.

Maybe I'll do less these next years, but my aim will remain to do it with excellence, not an ordinary mediocrity. 


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Oh! And this upcoming film looks wonderful. Check out the movie trailer here.



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"It is not easy when you have to let go of things that you've done all your life and then sit back and watch somebody else do them."   

---Joyce Meyer


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Thursday, June 13, 2019

A Fixer, Not a Wisher



"Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth."  ... 2 Timothy 2:15


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Do you ever watch those 'my-restaurant-needs-fixing shows'?

If so, are you ever blown away by how many restaurant owners, years before, thought simply, "I'm goin' into the restaurant business. I like to cook. How hard can running an eating place, be?"

Oh wow. To me? That's nearly like saying, "Hey. That first-aid book I read was interesting. I'll go be a surgeon now."



I mean, really. Why do people these days (and ol' Debra at times) believe success can come without real work, first? Generally speaking, nothing wonderful/lasting/profitable comes without study, planning, making mistakes and years of energy and practice. Shortcuts to true, satisfying success? Oh, they are very few.

And just wishing for change? Forget it.

I believe God likes to view our work, our faithfulness to 1.) Him and 2.) whatever He asks that we do. Nowhere in the Bible did He say 'work' is a bummer. A waste.

Just the opposite.

I thought along these lines recently when I considered my current wardrobe. Man, I spent years on that thing. 

I read wardrobe books (paper ones and online), 
penned notes on paper, learned about capsule wardrobes,
watched all the What Not to Wear episodes (so conceptual, that show. Learn the body-type theories, even if the clothes appear dated now.). 
I gathered adorable outfit photos at Pinterest, 
memorized the color shades in which I look best, 
dressed body-models online (that was eons ago. Do they still have those anywhere?), 
compared prices of clothing online, bought a few items there, also found similar stuff at thrift shops, budgeted for all and
learned how to build a wardrobe which I'd love for years.


Simply put--I didn't just traipse out and grab stuff off the racks (like I  used to).

And today, even though I weigh too much for my height (that's sweet phrasing) I forget about it while out in public places. Why? I feel cute in my clothes! Comfortable, also, and people at the dentist's office, coffee shop, Naomi's gigs and even our tax preparer lady have complimented me.

But again, oh Honey. It took work. Effort. Hours of concentration.

And now what has ol' Debra moved on to studying?


1.) Inflammatory foods to avoid so she can rise up from the couch without looking like this--



(Here's a good place to begin if you're feeling rather inflamed, yourself.)

2.) Ways to simplify my home life at 60. (As mentioned in my last post. This is far more extensive than that 7-word sentence.)

3.)  Oh, and how to write in 10 words what used to take me 100.  ッ

And more, but you get it, right?

Today's lesson? Hard work, study, practice--all are good. G-o-o-d. Especially when they're directed toward God's specially-designed plans for us.

And oh, the special rewards they'll bring in the days, years to come.









"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men..."   ... Colossians 3:23

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



Don't know about you, but sometimes I don't sleep well at night because I didn't work well during the day.  シ



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Two favorite outfits, ones part of a wardrobe where much works together and can be inter-changed? Here--





Seriously, I find it fascinating that I've created a wardrobe which makes me so happy, that I don't feel bad, at all, about the tubby body inside the clothes.  シ



And here's my Outfits I Love page at Pinterest. As always, I appreciate  when women share their ideas and talents for the rest of us clueless ones in those areas.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Life A Bit Too Hard Lately?



"Is anything too hard for the Lord?"   ... Genesis 18:14


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You should see me on Fridays. 

In order for Tom and me to play Lazy, Movie-Loving Slugs on Saturdays, I mow the lawn, dust, clean the bathroom, trim the hedges, sweep the kitchen, vacuum upstairs and down, run the dishwasher and unload it and --

You know. Earn one day off by tackling two (three?) days' worth of work.

Well, last Friday Tom arrived home to find a poor ol,' moaning, bent-in-half cranky lady. Oh, my aching lower back! 

Next morning I told Tom, "I'd better stay home today." Now, for months that's how he's preferred to spend Saturdays, but this time he kept reading online (aloud) about the car shows, yard sales, bbq's, etc., we'd be missing. 

I said, "Okay, go by yourself. I won't mind. I promise." He said, "Nah, I'd never hear the end of it."

Men. Sigh.  ッ

Anyway, by Sunday my back felt nearly normal (sorta) and since God gives me my best ideas? I'm thinking He gave me this:

Create a master list, a Monday through Friday one, where your work is more evenly-distributed. One where all the hard tasks do not fall on Friday. (And if the lawn's a bit taller and furniture a tad dustier over the weekend? Just deal with it.)

Hey! My lower back, especially, appreciated that sensible idea, above all how I wrote 'do back-strengthening exercises' under each day's heading. Er hem.

And so far, so good, though yeah, it's only Tuesday. シ

These later decades in Life! Oh my. But thank-goodness God provides wisdom to still get it all done, His idea of 'all', which often is kinder than ours. The work, the needing boldness, the changes, the loving people anyway, even in our grouchy world--we can do this.

God makes a way where there is no way. Rivers in the desert, rays of light in darkness, clear paths through wilderness. 

Whew.

And may each of us, daily, crave His ways so that 2019 will be one long year bathed in--not complaints--but gratitude.






Our excuses! Some are real, yes, but if we can stop clinging to them, it's wonderful how God, then, can show us ways to overcome. Anyway.


Life can be difficult, but nothing is too hard for the God inside us.







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Where I'm asking God to take me lately online? To places which will show me how to-- 

--spend less energy cooking, laundering, etc., while still doing enough

--keep the dirt out of my house (so I'll not have to clean it later)

--finish designing my yard to care for itself



Like this! This made cleaning look like fun (and simpler) and hey, can we ever read too much of that?--

How To Clean The Things You've Probably Never Cleaned Before


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And my friend, Dolores, even sent me a fun Youtube video with music to cook by in your kitchen. My vintage-loving cohorts will also enjoy the retro illustrations.






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Tuesday, June 04, 2019

One Way I'd Like To Go



Now, if you're someone who becomes all weirded-out by death spoken in not-dark-and-sad terms well, Honey, better move on to the next blog.  ツ

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Recently I mentioned that our 92-year-old neighbor, Al, passed away in 2001, but you know? Not ever in all these years have I told you how he died.

See, Al lived contentedly alone, never married, and now his nephew (a man in his 60's) drove him around on errands each week. So that Tuesday morning after Al got dressed, he sat at the kitchen table with his shaving mirror, then lathered his face. With trembling fingers, he picked up his razor and began shaving.

And that's when Al's heart stopped beating.

Silently, slowly, he leaned forward upon the table and that's how his nephew discovered him moments later.

Wow. Now, if you don't get all caught up in the thing of 'it's best to be surrounded by family when your time comes," well, I can hardly think of a more peaceful way to go.

Seriously. Sign me up.

I mean, you're not sick, you've lived over 9 decades, you have relatives, friends and a sweet little home of 50+ years. Then while preparing for a morning out, poof! Gently you're taken to the next world. Amazing.

Each morning I sit at our dining room table with my make-up bag and sometimes? Sometimes when I pull out my hand mirror, I think of Al and how we both prepared for the day thousands of times at our tables, but for Al, there came one final time. And hey! Perhaps that will happen for me.

Though, then I smile and in my heart I hope this: "Lord, please let me finish applying my make-up, ok? That way, when I'm found, I won't look quite so dreadful."



But what I also hope? When my final day arrives, may I have lived my best life and having left nothing God intended me to do, unfinished. May I have loved and laughed enough--

-- and finished with a heart full of treasures to carry to my next adventurous life with Him.






"We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord."   ... 2 Corinthians 5:8


"Let's start putting more of our time into things which will be eternal."   ...Joyce Meyer


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