Thursday, August 29, 2019

It's Not a Loss, Silly. It's a Gain!

"Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save."  ...Isaiah 46:4


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"Turn 60!", they said. "It'll be fun," they said. 

Riiight. 

So far, for me, 60 has meant, "Better come up with a new plan, Honey! The old ones just got 10 times harder."







ツ


What is it this time? It's all those hedges surrounding our house. 

They are defeating me. I carry the big hedger thingy out there and suddenly Chopin's Funeral March plays in my head. Every week I swing away at those green monsters. Each weekend they're still out of control, snickering at me.

(And let's not mention what happens when Tom makes even a tiny, innocent remark about them.) 😲

Think I'm exaggerating about a few tiny-nothing hedges?

Look past Sue's adorable grandbaby (who's the most photogenic child, ever, even now a year later) to see just 1 of our side hedges (we have 2), then below, to see the front one) --









Can you say, "Ridiculous-and-what's-taken-you-so-long-to-chop-them-down"?

Well, this morning after my coffee shop visit I glared looked at those hedges and thought, "I can't. I just can't anymore. For 8 years I've trimmed those things, but they've defeated me. They've won."

Yet later? I thought, "Maybe the hedges didn't defeat me, exactly. Perhaps they're just another reminder to--


Expect changes.
Recognize that God's not taking things from me: He's trying to do me a favor.  
Grow smarter/wiser through each transition.
Anticipate the good which adjustments bring.
Don't complain.
Keep a sweet attitude. 
Daily list your blessings.



One step, one day at a time, I can do that.

So the hedges are coming down. I emailed Tom, he agrees it's time (and that paying folks for years to trim them isn't the wisest choice) and I've contacted the wife of a friend with a tree trimming business to see if he'll tackle these.

Oh, and we'll most likely have a white vinyl fence installed just along the side of the house, itself.

Months ago I considered chopping down the hedges. Running a fence along all or part of that area. Or keeping them, then paying someone for their care for years.

But oh, the peace when--rather than toying with a merry-go-round of 3 or 4 choices--you choose just one. The one you believe God wants you to.

Whew.








We should hesitate to resent change, lest it's one which came from God, Himself.


"A double-minded (wo)man is unstable in all her ways."   ... James 1:8, tweaked  








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Need a good movie to watch at home this weekend (like, via Amazon or your favorite streaming places)? Here are most which I've recommended so far in 2019, but oh! Let's add Tolkien. Tom and I super-enjoyed that one recently.







 Mary Poppins Returns 

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







 First Man







 Dog Days.




 Unbroken: Path to Redemption. Loved it as we knew we would, having seen the first Unbroken film in the theater in 2014.




 
A Tuba to Cuba








 Sinatra in Palm Springs. View the trailer here














Oh! I've not even ever read an Agatha Christie book (!), but I really enjoyed this documentary about her at Amazon. Free with Prime.






 The Great Buster. We both loved it. A perfect documentary, indeed.






Truly, I recommend the Mr. Rogers documentary. I watched it at Amazon. View the trailer here.







And this film is now in theaters. I heard it was wonderful. Check out the trailer here.



Oh, and I'll recommend They Shall Not Grow Old, although it's not for everyone. Almost never do I watch war films, but this was different. Check it out for yourself here.





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"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, August 27, 2019

Where, Tsk! Tsk! She Quit Too Soon.


"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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(Please substitute my mentions of 'decorating' for what you've run from, ok?)  ツ


Since 2017? Oh my. I barely decorated anything 'round Hobbit Cottage. This was (I believed) The End of  ol' Debra's 50 Decorating Years. 

Oh, I'd spy marvelous ideas at Pinterest, but man! For every inspiration, 3 (legit) reasons popped into my head why it could never work here.

Such as--

This house is too small for a ______ (fill in the blank).
My abilities are so limited in what I can build/create/do.
We have money to hire help, but seldom are Tom and I on the same remodeling page. So we agree to disagree--then do nothing.
We never get to Home Depot anymore and --


And perhaps your head (and others) have consistently told you in areas, "No, that can't work!"  Maybe you, like me, have discovered sometimes it hurts too much to dream. So you quit for your sanity's sake, you know, hoping a dream's death will bring peace.

But it doesn't. Not always, anyway. 

Yet when God is finished with a season? There comes a comfort for our loss, for what we've released. And a grace for the new thing He's sent as a (lovely) replacement.

And I had none of that. No, just pools of self-pity while I sat upon the red couch not decorating. Waiting for a new thing which never came and just eating snacks, reading and growing fat and sassy. (Oh-so-sassy. Just ask Tom.)  ツ

I'd forgotten, ignored, this--


"When the going gets tough, the tough get going."  ... copied


--- and I chose the 'easy way', the quitter's route, which only appears easy, but oh Honey, it's actually harder. Emotionally.


Then eventually, the weirdest thing happened! 

We watched NCIS LA while Sam Hanna spoke with his wife. He said her undercover assignment was dangerous, it worried him. Then she said (something like), "When I go undercover, I feel most alive. As though I'm doing what I was meant to."

Oh my goodness. My throat felt all achy-teary and I thought, "That's how I feel about decorating! Yes, and about blogging and encouraging others, but those don't require all my time. I need decorating, too! That season is not over for me. I know that now."

Oooo. Another 'suddenly' like I've spoken of before. You know, how your life is one (sad) way for ages, then poof! Suddenly it's different. Hopeful with joy.

The biggest change? My attitude. Now because I'm willing to take risks with my heart (believing God will fortify it), I've got, like, 20 new ideas! My head welcomes ideas again, swirls with them.

I've rearranged furniture, bought some items online as upgrades, discovered you can order paint and spray paint online (who knew? I'd assumed you couldn't. Tsk, tsk.). I've got plans for wallpapering, crafting, painting and --

Well, you get it. 

Today's lesson? What makes you feel most alive? Do you know? Did you leave it behind because of fear/inability/others' criticisms? If so, if it's from God, well, get back to it, ok?

Perhaps nothing will feel right (and joy-filled) again until you do. Oh dear.








"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."  ... Galations 6:9  (And oh my! Did I ever allow myself to become weary. Sigh. But no more!)


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Some changes I've made since that NCIS LA episode  γ‚·











                                                    ******


Are you at Facebook? If you enjoy the color yellow, you might like these cottage photos from this link which my friend, Dolores, sent me. (Thanks again, Dolores!)


Go here for more like this---











"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




Thursday, August 22, 2019

Indiana Jones or Willa Whiner?



"Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”   ... Joshua 1:9


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Turning 40 (or so), I contracted that thing called, 'your body is now falling apart'.

ツ

And that's around when I began approaching annoyances/big-time problems, differently. You know, choosing to view challenges this way:





---rather than this:





At least, I've tried.

I mean, who wants to stand before God someday in Heaven and be all, "It was just too hard, Lord, and not my fault, either, that I kept messing-up and whining whenever things got tough,"?

So yeah, back around 40 when my body freaked-out, I went online to discover why and how to fix it by natural means, not 'there's-a-pill-for-that' ways. Months later, Naomi gave us the book, Eat Right For Your Blood Type and wow, there was my research! 

All inside one book. Well, mostly. 

And you know? After making adjustments, fixing things, I continued to feel better--and still do all these, gulp, 20 years later.

Fixing what's wrong: it's addictive! Especially when we keep an Indiana Jones frame of mind instead of a Willa Whiner one. Why spend decades acting like her? Why live with broken things when--with some effort--we could fix them? Or for non-fixable things, why not choose an alternative, instead, something just as nice, though different?

Why keep letting disappointment crush us? (Good ol' Debra is roll-her-eyes-familiar with this one.)

This is on my mind because oh Honey, since giving-up on moving away from Hobbit Cottage, I've been fixing what bugs me about her. And now, we're becoming closer friends.

No complete list for you today, just one fix, but first? Why did none of you tell me about scented wax melts?  ツ

Heh. Perhaps because it was too embarrassing for me to mention Hobbit Cottage has a mysterious, musty smell. I mean, hey, maybe I don't keep things June Cleaver clean--but I've tried, especially lately, and I spray those homemade scented concoctions, keep our vents closed over summer and-- . 

And yet? I can't find the exact culprit, though leaving the bi-fold door to the basement open 3 inches for the cats (with a curtain over it) doesn't help, I'm sure.

Anyway, last weekend I spent hours online searching for cheap scented candles with cotton (important) wicks, but that was a bust except it led me to scented wax melts. Oh my! They arrived yesterday and 90% of our problem is solved.

Here's the electric melter I ordered from Walmart--





And here's an example of the 3 flavors of scented wax melts I bought, brownie pecan pie--


(In case any of you, like me, had never heard of these.)


And gracious! This whole set-up is ever so much cheaper (and safer) than candles. Whew.

So yeah, the solution to combat that weird musty smell took years, but oh! Color me so grateful I didn't give up and just lay back on the red couch like a tired lump of defeat.

Quitters? They never know how glorious a fought-for victory feels. How it spurs us on to tackle even more problems which threaten to knock us down.

Never, ever give-up on the things God expects you to do. Why live with regret if we don't need to?





... but don't let that stop you from growing and growing and ---


(Thanks for sharing that at Facebook, Tracy!)





"And we urge you, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all."   ... 1 Thessalonians 5:4


10 Reasons to Choose Wax Melts Over Candles


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Oh wow. Did you listen to this 10-year-old girl sing opera on America's Got Talent? My, my, my. Beautiful.













"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, August 19, 2019

So If You're In a Nostalgic Sort of Mood.....


Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ."  ... Colossians 3:23,24


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Well, last time I ended with the sad story of our nostalgic theater's demise, so let's do some What's Still Here, ok?


See this photo?




Think it was taken in the 1920's? Wrong. That picture was snapped only last week! 

Yep, just another meeting of that car cruise gang over in our former town and I'll tell ya-- my heart goes all pitter-patter simply knowing some folks in 2019 still enjoy this stuff. 

I've never even attended those weekly vintage car shows, but I'm thrilled with the thought that they take place in my lifetime.







Vintage car cruises. They're not just about cars--no! 

They whisk us back in Time, reminding us when things were built beautifully and to last. They tickle our artistic brains with pleasing colors, textures, and imagined street pictures of when these cars were everywhere. You know, with people upon sidewalks dressed in well-made, classic-styled suits, dresses and hairstyles showing effort and care. 

They remind us that slowing-down, placing discipline, excellence, into Life's daily details, matter. Why race through Life without paying attention until it's all over--and too late?

Well, don't get me started.  ツ


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And yes, we've lost that small vintage theater, but also in our former town, there's still this huge, 1920's gorgeous one.




Shortly after we moved to New York in 1993, restoration began by volunteers using donations. To this day the theater is used for community events, concerts (elegant and otherwise), silent movies while the old Wurlitzer organ plays, children's summer movies, well-known comedians and stars and more.


Oh, the details!





Even the lobby is special, reminiscent of those days when folks meant what they created to outlast them, so they took their time and did not just rush to reach a wild quota.





Usually in this blog I teach that we should look forward in joy to what God will do and yes! I still believe that, of course.

But every once in awhile? It's good to glance behind at the Past and carry back and put into practice any of the rich lessons (graciousness, patience, contentment, forgiveness, love) we can from back in the days when the Bible seemed, at least to many, a little closer to the heart.

May we often remind ourselves of what God says truly matters.





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We each leave behind a legacy--that's unavoidable. What is avoidable, though, is leaving a sloppy, oh-hum one.



Be the person who brings graciousness back--please!  ツ


The older I become, the more I'm learning to appreciate what I have while I still have it.


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Made a few tiny changes around my house--



                          Brought down the rooster from the top of our cabinets.


Moved the plates here rather than beside the hutch where I had tons of plates (can you say, 'overkill'?). Had only meant to move this for 6 years or so!


Brought the framed photos here, instead, where the hanging dishes had been.






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"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, August 16, 2019

The Lady Behind The Curtain



“I am the Lord your God who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go."  ... Isaiah 48:17

"Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened."   ... Dr. Suess


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Last week a guy drove into an electric pole (he's ok) on our next (medium-busy)cross street. For 10 hours traffic was redirected just outside our windows and oh my goodness.

Good ol' Debra should've just closed the curtains that afternoon, but did she? No, she stared out the windows while cars nearly drove into each other. As some gunned their engines, speeding past. As folks ran our stop signs and acted like redirection totally ruined their lives.

In 8 years at Hobbit Cottage I'd never viewed anything like that wild street circus! Tom arrived home, my nerves felt frayed and my eyes were all, like, darting side to side.  γ‚·

Even though the traffic shenanigans only happened once, the next morning I ordered white curtains, you know, to use like sheers--



              These are Daniel-the-Cat-tougher than sheers


I ironed them on Tuesday, hung them up and oh! Now it's like the big, bad world went away. Things became simplified. And wow, the peace of minding my own business rather than the neighbors'.  ツ

Man, why did I wait so long? All those years yanking the curtains across the rod, pleating them just right with my fingers. All the times thinking, "I love when we step into estate sale houses and they've got sheers in between the curtains and why haven't I done that?"

Slowly I'm making my house easier to care for.
Discovering ways to make it clean itself. (I am! More about that later.)
Meticulously finding and fixing what irks me.
And ultra-appreciating how that Task List has brought me awesome hope and ease. (It must be a God Idea, because it's working.)


And no, we're not weak if we must tweak our lives so to give us peace of mind. If we can't (or don't wish to) keep up with our friends' pace or watch the world's madness on tv or online.

God enables us to finish our journeys, strong, in individualized ways.

What works for me, may appear silly to you, but what matters? That I follow God's plan for me so that I don't end up all flattened-out on Life's Road, just short of the finish line.

Heaven forbid.










God-tweaks keep us healthy and traveling in a custom-made harmony which limits weariness and burn-out. His ways are not ours, but yes, they can be when we pause long enough to listen to His plans.


"...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

   (How smart/kind of God to save us from the extra problems caused by not minding our own business!)




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Wow, I'm truly thankful for God's peace, especially during Disappointment Weeks like this one. 

Here's what I shared yesterday at Facebook about another local closing:


Gee, don't you hate it when losses keep coming? Our local nostalgic theater was in business 50 years and we often went there when we felt like traveling back in Time. When we moved to New York, movies were just $1.50 a seat, I often mentioned this theater in my blog and sometimes I drove there alone at night when things weren't going well--and I'd always come away happy (and feeling safe). Thank-you _____ Cinema for all the sweet memories--I'll miss you!






Way back in the 90's we always sat amongst crowds! In the 2000's, though, usually 3 or 4 people joined us. Once, I even watched a movie all alone in the large, dark room. A scary thing happened in the first film moments and I remember looking around for a comforting face. Didn't find one. Oh my.  


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It's been a very 'reading' sort of spring/summer for me via Open Library!



So Near and Yet So Far by Emily Kimbrough
And a Right Good Crew by Emily Kimbrough
Password to Larkspur Lane by Carolyn Keene
Floating Island by Emily Kimbrough
The Secret of Grandfather's Diary by Milton Lomask
Waverly by Amelia Elizabeth Walden
Mystery At Dead End Farm by Mary C. Jane


And currently I'm reading there--


The Mystery of the Hidden Pearls by Virginia Frances Voight
The Haunted Bridge by Carolyn Keene
The Making of a Writer by Joan Lowery Nixon
Water, Water Everywhere by Emily Kimbrough  (Emily and her friends have taken me marvelous places this summer! New Orleans, France, England, Italy, Greece. Oh, we've had terrific times. πŸ’™)












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"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