Tuesday, July 30, 2019

July This and That



1.) Wow! So when did Yahoo add the 'photo feature' in our email boxes? Ooo, it's incredible. Just click on 'Photos' and up pops every picture currently in your email box, ones you've sent or have received. They're organized by year, even, and some of mine go back 15 years!

(Tell me they've always had it and I'll feel even more like Clara Clueless.) 

Check it out, all my fellow Yahoo users. You'll never clean out your email box again.  ツ


2.) My favorite oh-I'd-forgotten-this-one! photo there? This: 




That's me and my cool friend from high school, Linda, that lovely autumn day in 2012 when she, Guy and their friends visited us here at Hobbit Cottage. (Hi, Linda!)

Photos, wow. Suddenly they can whisk you back into a whole other year/decade and make you smile with remembering.

3.) So years ago I discovered these 'room sprays'  in the organic section marked waaay down in price--



Our last bottle was nearly empty so I checked-out the price of new ones online-- $5 to $7! And well, uh, no. Just no way. γ‚·

So I searched for a recipe online, discovered one, and refilled my bottle for pennies(!) And loving to share these hints with you, here you go:


3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol
10 drops orange essential oil


And you know? I prefer my homemade kind. Want more recipes using other scents? Go here.


4.) Now, Tom and I aren't even what you'd call Frank Sinatra fans, but oh my, we truly did enjoy the documentary, Sinatra in Palm Springs (all those mid-century-modern homes!).  Check out the trailer here. We watched via Amazon.




5.) Oh! And here's what I shared at Facebook--

So I was paying our bills, placed a stamp on one and thought, "Hmm! What's that nice watermelon scent?" Turns out these cute summer popsicle stamps are scratch-and-sniff. Did not know that! It's the little things in Life, right? (Especially when it involves paying bills. heh.)

I read later that this is the first time, ever, that the USPS has issued scratch-and-sniff stamps. I may order a sheet to keep since the first of anything tends to be collectible.


6.)  Want to listen to a song which represents Debra's favorite music by which she does her housework? Go here.


(Here's a clue. heh.)



7.)  Over at Facebook you can go ahead and share screaming rants about political morons and people-behaving-badly, but the posts I read, instead? Ones like this which my neighbor, Sue, shared from her friend----

"I always think my dogs are probably annoying to all my neighbors and we try to be considerate as possible...this one car stops in front of our house every single day and honks to call the dogs outside into the front yard. Today I went over to introduce myself and they had their paralyzed senior dachshund in the front seat. They told me that this is the highlight of his day to take a ride around the block and come see my dogs. He was sitting on his daddy’s lap so happy and barking back at them...made my day." ❤️



Awww...


8.) Oh! Naomi recommended a tv series which makes us laugh each night before bed. It's called The Carbonaro Effect and is on Netflix. 

Have you seen it? Michael Carbonaro is a magician and he goes all Candid Camera, catching people being so gullible in what he does and says and -- Well, you've got to check it out to believe it. What a hoot!

Every episode zooms by, for they're only 20 minutes and super family-friendly, at least the 7 we've watched so far.  γ‚·






9.) And do you always carry mints or candy (containing sugar) with you? I hope you will after reading what my friend, Ann, shared at Facebook. 

This is another simple way to be kind in Today's world--

"Keep some mints or hard candy in your pocket. Your purse. Your car. Even if you haven’t a health care in the world. You just never know when the person next to you who might be a complete stranger or a loved may be having a low blood sugar. A mint. Just one mint will help them feel better in about 5 seconds. This happened to me back in April. Circumstances partly from being in the sun to not having my bag with me resulted in me having a low blood sugar. Outside. In public. And not one person around whom I asked had a mint or piece of candy."





10.) And lastly, if we're ever tooling around Facebook (or Blogland), hurriedly skipping past everybody's wedding, new home or grandbaby announcements/photos or prayer requests--yet almost never leaving congratulations or offers of prayer/sympathy/concern? Then may this verse suddenly zap us into behaving in a godly fashion--


"Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin."   ... James 4:17


I'm thinking we'll be eternally grateful in Heaven someday that we did leave our comments of love and concern. 

I just really do.




******


And a special thanks to those of you who congratulated me about 15 years of blogging! I appreciate that you took the time and effort to do so.  πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ


*****






"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, July 24, 2019

My June Cleaver Summer. Well, Sorta. (And 15 Years Blogging!)


"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."   ... Philippians 4:7


*****



Back in 2017 our carpet was cleaned by a motley crew that left us a flea infestation.

Gah.

An annoying summer followed. Weekly baths for the cats (yes, as fun as it sounds), also Tom (who hates all tiny insects to my annoyance) and I searched madly online for natural flea remedies, our favorite being these flea lights--




Bless you, the person who invented these! You've enabled us to do battle while avoiding dangerous chemicals.

This summer? More battles, though, plus extra babying for our poor old long-haired cat, Sammy-- I'll spare you the details. (We've decided no more cats with long hair for us, like, ever.)

Basically since mid-June this has been my part time job: systematically cleaning my house (and cat), hoping to swish away every last flea. You know, dusting/washing all those areas one tends to let slide forget.

And this is my test: to keep my mind in a good place, rather than in a these-stupid-fleas-are-spoiling-my-summer one.

Disciplining ones mind--never easy (is anything worthwhile, easy?). Yet with God's help, ideas and Grace we can keep our head space pleasant, anticipatory. Yes, even in 2019. 

Even while fighting what we, personally, must fight.

So as an aid, I'm titling this another June Cleaver Season. Rather than cursing the fleas' effect upon my summer, I'm--


picturing June, her peacefulness and her pretty home. And aiming for that.
I'm playing the Singers and Swing tv radio, 
wearing aprons, (no pearls or dresses, though), γ‚·
relying upon my master task list (which keeps me balanced at this no-longer-a-spring-chicken time of my life).


Oh, and happily collapsing upon the red couch, smiling, beholding my (albeit slow) progress. And rejoicing when I feel my house is no longer bossing me around, rather, fancying myself in charge.

Always tell your head to appreciate how far you've come, ok? Life's sweeter, more encouraging that way.

And now (thankfully) it's time to move on to the next part --- 



****





Oh wow. Having fresh food delivered from Aldi's? It's changing my life. 

Now, Tom didn't mind picking up groceries, but now we must start saving his back however we can (not a great last visit at the doctor). 

So there's that.

And when he'd bring groceries home after 5:00 pm, ol' Debra would whine while pulling them from the trunk, "Why'd you buy so much? You know by this time of day my back is sooo tired and now I've got to put these away?" (Then she'd moan while crossing the lawn all bent over, the big baby).

But those days are gone. 

My Aldi groceries arrive mornings, right to my door when my back feels absolutely fine. And oh! The last lady knocked on the red door, handed groceries to me, then we chatted about how we'd have loved this service when our kids were young.

And later inside a bag? I found a thank-you card from her, my name on the envelope and 2 pieces of candy included (cinnamon, even. A favorite!). Now, that is excellence, which you know I love

Made my day. Made me smile. And reminded me that old-fashioned kindness is still here these crazy days.






*******








And hey! Tomorrow marks my 15th year of blogging. Can you believe that? (Even I can't.) 

What a wild ride! A huge learning experience. A way of friend-making (and ok, friend-losing in some cases, but let's not go there). 

Always I'll thank God for this custom-made opportunity, a responsibility I try never to take lightly.

And yes, in honor of the 15 years I'm going to do a giveaway, but uhm, some of you may not like it. (Though you will if you're big on feeling happy for others when they are blessed. Which I hope you are. heh.)  ツ

What am I doing?

I'm giving away two $35 Amazon gift cards, one each to Betsy and Pam who've commented after at least 95% of my posts for years. Years! I almost know the hour each will comment and I believe in rewarding such faithfulness. So there you go. What I wish to do this time.

Betsy and Pam! Your faithful comments encourage me more than you realize. You discuss my ideas, note when they're timely and you share them. You always make me feel that what I'm doing, matters. Thank-you so much. (And I'll email each of you.)

And for those of you who sometimes comment here (and at Facebook), please know I appreciate your words, also. God made us to need each other and words of response can be so beautiful and timely, you know, like this ---


"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver."   ... Proverbs 25:11



So for each of you who read here year after year, I extend my gratitude today--and always. Truly.






*****


"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, July 23, 2019

Patience. Don't You Love It?



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


*****



Still here!  Anyone else notice this is becoming a 'Tuesdays with Debra' sort of thing?  γ‚·

Anyway, I reread an old post, The Saving Money Game, written after Tom was laid off, listing 30+ fun (to me, anyway) money-saving ideas. Some I'd returned to because of our then-reduced income, others I'd always done since my penny pinching newlywed days.

An informative post, I thought. Practical. All hope-filled and we-can-do-this! ish.

Then I clicked on the comments and spied this one--

"For some of us, this is not a game. This is our life. The bottom line however is this. God provides. He owns it all and gives graciously to His children. It is easier to think this way when there is plenty of money and a job, nonetheless, the true test of our faith is in the lean times."

Man, let me confess here that it bugs me when I spend hours on a post, then someone misses my whole point (and in the comment section, rewrites my post their way). And when they add generalized 'religious' answers in the same words we've heard since we were babies and due to overuse, they zoom right past our heads.

Personally? This, below, is the goal of my blog and even what I share at Facebook:


To--with fun and pragmatic ideas-- share with folks different ways to approach their life and God, encouraging them to grow in love and joy.(Hopefully with my using unique stories and words.) 

Yep. In two sentences, that about sums up my entire 'ministry'.

And of course, sometimes after people leave those 'churchy comments' or understand differently what I've shared, God reminds me, "Hey! That's where she is right now. And that's all right. Let it alone."

And so I do, although with itching fingers, ok? Oh, how tempting to type an involved answer justifying myself, bringing my words back 'up' after being dragged 'down'. (Anyone else?) 

But I'm learning to be slow to speak.

Want to simplify your life? Become slow to answer what irks you. When we wait for God's permission to go ahead, usually (I've noticed) He'll say, "Just skip it," and oh, the long, conflicting conversations (and offenses) we avoid when we obey.

Yet the times He does say speak? Wow, the great, often-eternal results afterward because of His anointing, His ideas. Even though, yes, they can take their sweet time arriving.

Oh to be patient with people! To allot them the growing years God has given us, to recall, always, His thousands of work hours in changing us. 

But oh, the joy which comes from consistency in doing Life God's way.







" ...  his burden shall be taken away from off your shoulder, and his yoke from off your neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing."  ... Isaiah 10:27


“Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitudes toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.” ~ Chuck Swindoll



"Love is patient..."  ... from 1 Corinthians 13



******








"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, July 16, 2019

'Burning of Bridges' Not Spoken Here




******

"But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.""The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire.."   ... Titus 3:9, James 3:6

***



Sunday afternoon I sat here at my computer when Tom stepped in and said, "Someone's knocking at the door. Can you get it? I'd rather not," (being in his most-casual-of-clothes, shall we say).

So I groaned, got up and upon opening the red door, saw that Mormons stood on our porch. Before unlatching the glass storm door, I whispered, "Thomas, you're gonna owe me big time."  ツ

But, hey, all was well. The 3 young men looked like Mormon poster boys: dressed-up, clean-shaven, 20-ish and adorable. The type to which you'd say, "Could you watch my purse for me, please?" in an emergency.

The chosen speaker said, "Hello Ma'am! And let me say first that I really like your blouse. Purple is my favorite color." (His two friends shifted a bit nervously, like the guy had gone off-script.) 

But I didn't mind. I smiled and said, "Thank-you." 

He got back on script and eventually said, "I'm not sure how much you know about Jesus....", to which I replied, "Oh! He's everything to me. I couldn't get by a day without Him." Then quickly added, "And I'm not just saying that so you'll leave, either." They all chuckled and seemed glad (and surprised) at my original statement.

"That's great!", he said. A couple sentences later he asked, "Is there anything you'd like to know about the Mormon faith?" and I said, "Uhm, no, that's ok. Actually we learned a lot from your wonderful Mormon movies around 10 years ago. We watched at least 5 and enjoyed them so much!"

He asked if I could recall any of the titles, but of course I couldn't (put me on the spot like that and are you kidding?). I just stated that each film made us laugh and we'd shared them with friends. All 3 guys seemed happy and curious as to which movies we'd viewed.

Then he handed me a card with their website where I could look up the films, find more information and by the end of our conversation? All felt well, positive and good on our pretty Sunday afternoon.

And after closing the door I didn't even nag Tom too much about having me open the door to Mormons. Just a tad. heh.

But mostly? I felt thankful that I hadn't 'burned any bridges.' Not at any time had I told those cute young men, "Boy, do you and I have some different beliefs! Don't get me started."

No. Instead, I concentrated upon our commonalities. We laughed together and parted--if not friends--then respecters of one another as people who see some things differently, other things the same. 

And that is how I'm choosing to live my life.

Yes, especially online and at Facebook. Hopefully nowhere will you ever see me write--


"That ____ (person in a political party) is an idiot. All of her/his followers are deceived morons."

"All mega churches and tv evangelists are getting it wrong."

"I can't stand those actors' politics and heck, they can't even act, anyway."


Go ahead and phrase things that way if you wish (I've spied each at Facebook), but please remember we potentially burn a bridge to further possibilities of understanding, compassion and maybe even bringing others to Jesus if we do.

If good ol' Debra unfollows you (for a time) when you speak this way, I know others do, as well (maybe forever, instead, out of unnecessary offense).

I just can't allow those flames inside my mind/heart, ones which venture near bridges I want to keep outstretched. Strong bridges, that's what I long for, ones reaching to people who sometimes wander back over them to me saying, "Debra, there's something different about you. I thought at first I didn't like it, but now I think I do. What is it?"

That actually happens to me. It does. And may I do all I can to never burn a bridge I could've kept standing bright, tall and welcoming.





"In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us."   ... Titus 2:7,8

"Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness."   ... James 3:18






Someone isn't believing the important stuff from the Bible? Praying, with love, that God will soften and enlighten their hearts, works wonders.


*****

I wrote years ago about the cute Mormon movies we watched. Go here. And perhaps our favorite was The R.M. --



Oh wow. Here's a bit about it--


The R.M. is fun! When the R.M. (which I am assuming means Returning Missionary) returns home after his two-year mission in Wyoming, he finds nothing as he'd envisioned. His parents gave away his bedroom so he must stay in the laundry room (if I recall correctly). And oh my, the scene showing him as a tele-marketer for the 'Filthy Filter" (like the TV Guardian), had me laughing to tears. And like The Home Teachers, this movie also ended with a fine moral lesson without being preachy.


*****



Oh my goodness! Naomi gave us some of these Buffalo Wing Almonds and they make the best snack, ever--





*****



"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, July 08, 2019

Where She Created Her Own Fun




So Tom's assignment at work was to be mostly-in-charge of their special 3rd of July lunch last Wednesday. This required days of list-making, shopping, errands, setting-up and --

Whew. Late Wednesday afternoon, I had to almost pull him up our 3 little steps. (Already he's worded his reply of decline should he be asked again. Er hem.)

So good ol' Debra spent four days of a 4th of July weekend at home with Tom. 

Or did I?

Actually, I not only traveled to New Orleans, but I did so via 1955. In fact, I'm not even officially home yet(!)

See, over at Open Library I'm reading this fun travel book by a favorite author, Emily Kimbrough--




-- and she may believe 5 friends surround her, but it's actually 6. I'm the quiet one in the corner of their hotel rooms and in the station wagon's backseat. And I'm the lady giggling at their exchanges, sometimes nagging ones, ("Emily, why on earth didn't you say so in the first place?"), but more often comical.

So when they walked to Court of The Two Sisters, so did I. You know, by way of 'images' online--





Oh, the food! And because we had a group photo taken, we lingered over coffee while they developed (Emily paid for these).

Soon after, a New Orleans' friend loaned us her chauffeur who knew all about this city and proceeded to drive us slowly down the wide Esplanade. Oh, all the photos we snapped!





Two days later we drove away from the city then, arriving just before they closed, took the Oak Alley Plantation tour due to their kindness:

Be sure to enlarge this!


And then we--- Well, you get it. 

These days at home but-not-at-home? They reminded me of what I posted at Facebook:





I believe (firmly) we make our own good times and need only a creative spirit and gumption. And my goal? To make these my Good Old Days. To gaze backward only long enough for vintage ideas to incorporate into my current days, my own way.

Like, did you know Aldi now delivers?! At least some of them do and oh, what a blast from the past to have young folks deliver fresh food right to my front porch within an hour (or so) just like in my old-fashioned books and those black-and-white movies.

Each time I wave to the Aldi guys as they near their car and shout, "Thank-you!" and they smile and wave back (looking a tad relieved that I'm not complaining).  γ‚·

Tom and I had a milkman out at the farm, our shelf-stable food gets delivered via online orders and now Aldi brings me milk, eggs, nectarines and oh, anything else like that. 

Don't you love that God shows us how to customize this life He's gifted us?  How He's incredibly creative and gives us wonderful ideas when we ask? 

And wow, all He asks in return is that we share our gratitude with Him and others. We can all do that, right?









"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever."  ...Psalm 136:1

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." ... James 1:17

If we ran out of lovely ideas perhaps it's because we stopped searching far too soon.


Oh! And when our weather finally cooled, I spent hours and hours on our front porch reading, waving to neighbors and gazing at the river and its boats while enjoying the cool breeze. 


******




Forgot to mention last month that Tom and I watched Mary Poppins Returns and really enjoyed the rampant creativity!

Update: This movie is now at Netflix! So there you go.  ツ





******










"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, July 02, 2019

Loving My Life In 2019? Yes.



You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" .... "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]."   ... Psalm 16:11, John 10:10



*****


Man, say what you will, but I love this life Jesus died to give me. 

Love. It. 

And hey, I'm not even pining away for Heaven(gasp!). I mean, I totally realize Earth-life is just a teeny peek at the Heavenly one, but oh Honey, this godly presence shakes joy over me like confetti. Mornings I bound out of bed feeling all anticipatory for more adventures with God.

More joy.
More learning.
More godly delight in the ordinary.

Like last week. This springtime I beat the birds in gathering my garden strawberries and took a tall plastic glass of them over to Neighbor Sally, then later, another glass to Sue. Both love strawberries, as do I, but my face (shall we say) only lets me eat very few. Er hem.

And I encouraged Amy at the coffee shop about a wild cake she'd been asked to bake, one of an old work-building soon-to-be demolished, complete with 2 porta-potties. Another regular, Jodi, made certain I also saw this unusual cake the week before and we marveled at Amy's intricate details created from a photo. (Men requested this cake and Amy said they especially loved the porta-potties. Of course.)  ツ

That master chore list God nudged me to make? Changed my life. I even sleep better now because gone are the dark-night nagging thoughts like, "Sheesh, you forgot to do _____  again," and "Your neglect of the  ____ is just sad!"

Whew. How remarkable that a small change can help me feel in-control while living in an out-of-control world.

I carried two bags of cast-off stuff down to the Salvation Army discard bin, further decluttering my life. Sat out on our front porch reading favorite books in sun-dappled shade, felt Jesus in the chair beside me. Shared favorite quotes, humor and my Prayer Garden photo at Facebook, encouraged a woman there who faced surgery and fun-chatted with a friend on Messenger.

Oh, what a remarkable life when God directs our steps, right?


"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart..."  ... Ecclesiastes 3:11


See? Previews of Heaven. It's biblical.

And color me too busy to use social media to complain about how Christians (and others) are getting things all wrong. No, I've got work to do! A job which God sent me here to complete so that His world will spin in a way it couldn't without me.

And so do you.




        (Thanks, Myrna, for sharing this at Facebook.It blessed my socks off.)



"The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring."   ... Isaiah 58:11  (Yes, while on this earthly journey. Yes, even in 2019. God is that huge!)





*****






Speaking of Facebook ... I didn't even know till 2 weeks ago that via Messenger you can call your Facebook friends for free(!) 

An old friend's son called me for some advice via Messenger, so that's how I discovered it (I'm not a just-shoot-the-breeze phone person at all, but to pray with someone over the air waves? Yeah, I'll do that.)

Anyway, in case you also didn't know about this service, well, there you go. Took un-techno-minded me a few minutes to figure it out on the Messenger page, but I eventually did. 

(But my oh my--nobody better ever contact me via the video chat option! You'll hear just ring after ring forever cuz I often sit here without my make-up--and that ain't pretty. heh.)   γ‚·


*****




The World Has Need of You

If it's ever so small the part you take,
The world has need of you.
Be it big or little the effort you make,
The world has need of you.
If it's only a thought you give by the way,
If it's only love's word you pause to say,
It's a part that nobody else can play,
So the world has need of you.

By your smile you can change another's life;
By a word you can bring peace out of strife;
Then lift your head and never say die;
Count every blessing, stop every sigh,
Get busy ... don't let a chance slip by,
For the world has need of you.



----Evelyn Whitell




*******




"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