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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                                                               My Prayer Garden.





"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




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. 


******






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


*****


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



*****

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.

*****


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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ツ  ツ



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Sunday, June 02, 2019

The Danger of My Brain :)


"To everything there is a season ..."


***

If I'm disliking a current task, somewhere I messed up.

My attitude is wrong or I'm working in the wrong season, for in God's timing? I'll find strength, ideas, inspiration and joy (He reminds me).

But mix up the seasons, like, try doing summer activities during our snowy winters? Uh-oh. Ain't gonna end well.




Anyway, when we moved to Hobbit Cottage in 2011, our yard was desolate. Four plants, maybe.

But those early years were my Yard Season, times when God helped me haul in 150+ bricks, many bags of soil and plants and seeds I purchased nearby and online. I researched perennials which thrive on neglect, relied on trusty ones from past experience, then put the yard together. Over some summers.


And now? Those flowers return yearly all by themselves. Well, after I remove thousands of brown over-winter leaves smothering them (which I remove Sit Down Farmer style).

But otherwise, my flower beds barely need me and oh Honey, that's a good thing, because ol' Debra ain't what she used to be.


Uh, no. She gets up around 4:30-ish and by 2 p.m.? She's floundering, especially if she's worked steady-ish. Walkin' around like she's 97 and no, not like those 97-year-old marathon runner ladies, either. Nope, I'm just barely exaggerating and yes, I have my excuses. But let's not go there, ok?







Let's go here instead: God did me a huge favor when He urged me to put in those 5 flower beds from 2012 to 2015. When He made those my Yard Season years, not these 2016 - 2019 ones. 

Because now? No way could I create those beds. No way. Today I'd be settling for a barren yard had I not cooperated with Yard Season.

Well, unless I'd hired that dreamy 'Silent Gardener' I wrote about here. But hey, I'm not certain I've got the faith to find him (or the money to pay him, either).  ツ

(Someday though, I will need to hire a Lawn Mower Man and Hedge Trimmer Guy. My faith is increasing for them. heh.)

Today's lesson?

Cooperate with God's seasons! He knows what's down the road and how much money/ability/sprightliness we'll have when we get there.

The Creating a Wardrobe Season
The Stocking Up On Food/Supplies Season
The Redecorating/Remodeling Season
The Sowing Seeds of Friendship/Help Seasons
The Saving/Giving Money Seasons
The Personal Health Education Season
The Clean Your Bad Secret of a Basement Season
The Rewriting of 3,000 Blog Posts Season(!), etc.


Yet many of God's seasons, uh-oh. They have time limits. 

Always they arrive with provision ($$ included), wisdom and energy, but are we paying attention? Do we, instead, choose seasons that 'makes sense' to our brain (and to our relatives)? Does our timing appear more logical? 

Will we miss out on Grace's aid, struggling instead? Heaven forbid.

Instead, may I choose God's ways. I'll miss out on nothing good, for He knows me best, knows my future, provides whatever is needed and He never, ever makes mistakes. 

Whew.





"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come."   ... John 16:13







"Just do it. Don't talk yourself out of it. Just obey God."

The aforementioned rewrite of my blog? It gets me out of bed in the mornings with joy. Now, there's a sign I'm cooperating with a specific season. There's no other explanation, trust me. None.



What is your current season?


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Oh! Tom and I watched two wildly interesting films lately, both totally unrelated. We recommend each.


Stan and Ollie . Began slowly--give it a few minutes. (I watched the last half hour with an apricot-sized lump in my throat. Oh my.)





Also--

Chernobyl's Cafe. Tom and I love Chernobyl documentaries and this was one of the best.





You'll find both these films via Amazon.


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