Thursday, November 19, 2020

Dark Winter? Only If You're A Giver-Upper.


 "I will have a militantly warm and loving Thanksgiving. My family traditions trump your ugly advice. I will feel the warm glow of this time of year. I will share my love and time with friends and family."   --- Mario Murillo (the remainder of his quote from above photo).


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Don't know how these past 8 covid months, these what's-wrong-with-people? months have affected you, but around Hobbit Cottage? We've felt rather Thornton Wilder-ish. You know, like this (but without the good-bye's)--


“Let's really look at one another!...It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed... Wait! One more look... Good-bye, Grover's Corners....Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking....and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths....and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth,you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every,every minute? "  ---From the play, Our Town


We've burrowed deeper into appreciation of each other, our home, our town and our God. There's waves of a dark chaos out there? Well, here at our house, all is well. All that Emily noticed, above, plus so much more.

Tiny white and red lights in our windows.
A cat upon our laps.
Birds at the feeders.
Visits from Naomi.
Hot lunches at noon. Soup, casseroles, stacked tacos, chili.
Enough good books to read over a lifetime.
Neighbors who wave and pause to chat.
Candle light in the fireplace.
Favorite movies and tv shows.
Lamps lit on dark, windy nights.
A river down the street.
Music. Tom's working from home. A whole Internet world.
Warm clothes, blankets.
And so much more---

God's richly blessed us all; you, me and millions of others, but do we each realize that?

Like, near every year's end I create a list of improvements we've made both to our home and our lives. And upon sitting down to make this year's list--I confess--my thought was, "Considering this insane 2020, probably this year's list will be much shorter."

Big mistake, Debra! The list stretched longer

I'd forgotten that hard times can yank out our best actions, words, kind deeds. The deep-down miracles God's worked into us through our trials, errors and obedience and His remarkable patience. 

Actions, words, which rise, then flow outward toward others, shining with hope and a surprising strength.

Anyway. 

Around Youtube and elsewhere I've heard chatter about an upcoming dark winter. And well, no. Just no. Here at Hobbit Cottage we won't be partaking of that and hopefully you won't, either.

We've all had far too many months to prepare for winter! Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, we've had to rise up higher and live upon a different plain than normal. And oh, what millions overcame and learned!

To carry deep gratitude for all we have.
To concentrate upon what's still ours, rather than what we've lost.
To hold onto our creativity and sense of wonder.
To hug the truth of God's word. 
To push away lies, even when huge crowds shout them.
To believe without doubting, stand without fainting. 

 
For months we've become far too strong to just silently sink into a supposed dark winter now.

If you've read here long you know I aim for a higher life plain. And this upcoming winter? I'll focus upon this, instead--


 "The Lord will make you the head (leader) and not the tail (follower); and you will be above only, and you will not be beneath, if you listen and pay attention to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today, to observe them carefully."   --- Deuteronomy 28:13


And may I catch many glimpses of you frolicking in all that gleaming godly light, as well, bright winter's day after bright winter's day.




                       God helps us to rise above the clouds of winter!


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"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."   --- John 10:10

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." ---John 8:12


Don't let anyone take away your God-given rights, or ok, at least without a fight!



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Speaking of light... Here's a wonderful video where Homestead Tessie tells us all about oil lamps for the home. They add not only light, but warmth, as well.

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Oh, and I really enjoyed touring this tiny house. The surrounding deck would make it feel so much larger, especially if you lived in a place with tons of lovely weather.











"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, November 17, 2020

November This And That


"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."   --- Joshua 24:15


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1.) So. 

Often I mention my love of vintage kids' lit. books and you know? Sometimes I wonder how many of you believe I'm referring to books with sentences resembling these:

"Dianne's family has a new house! See Dianne step inside her new house then run upstairs to her bedroom. See Dianne smile at her new room."


Well, uh, no. I don't read those. The kids' lit. I love best? Those with paragraphs like this--


"The hazy, golden sunlight of a warm Indian summer morning lay on the single little main street of Herbertstown. Lois felt that it resembled very closely some of the tiny South Carolina towns she had once visited with her father. The same brooding air of serenity and quiet, not a soul in sight, the old houses dreaming peacefully behind the tall trees, halfway down the street the white church spire pointing aloft, the general store and post office opposite it, with only a single ancient horse and buggy hitched outside. From the general appearance of Herbertstown, one still might be living in the middle of the last century."

From The Mystery of the Empty Room by Augusta Huiell Seaman

So now you know. heh.

2.) Remember how I carried a table upstairs so I could pretend I'm reading on our front porch, below? This is part of my view from there, though yes, all the leaves are gone now--


And from the actual porch was this with a peek at the river, also--




Don't you just love Autumn? Kinda goes along with what a friend posted at Facebook--





3.) Now, this was certainly encouraging. Well, for us conservatives, that is. シ Though yes, how this could've happened in the first place is wild and disconcerting. Oh dear.


4.) While in high school my favorite band was Bread (remember them?). Their songs would play on my clock radio and I'd turn them way up (when I could) and swoon. Not until recently, though, did I learn that 'Everything I Own' was written by David Gates in memory of his dad. Wow, that changes everything!

Here's how Jamal reacted to that song. He understood the reference right away whereas many of us older folks in the comments required 40 or more years.  シ





5.) How do I feel about a second strict lockdown? Here you go--



"The only thing we have to fear is fear, itself."   ---FDR



6.) Gee, I love the sign this guy made:




7.) Remember how I made candles from used wax melts? Well, last week I created 4 new candles from the leftover wax from those candles. All I did was break up the leftover candle wax into an empty metal can, sat it in a pan of water on the stove, then poured the melted wax into (oiled) custard cups. Then I added wicks as the bottoms hardened a tad.

Always remember to recycle and reuse!
And also, the best preppers always have tons of candles (or other alternative light sources) available at home.



8.) Here's a wonderful verse to remember constantly these days--


 "She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come."   --- Proverbs 31:25


What satan wants instead? For us to sit around all bug-eyed at the news, worried, freaked-out and abusing our imaginations by meditating about what might go wrong. And well, no. I'm not doing that, thank-you very much.

Why spoil hours of a God-given life with worry or dread?


9.) Have you wondered how people these days can be sooo blind? This Bible verse explains it really well.




10.) Ha! I smiled when a friend with 4 children posted this at Facebook--



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"We ought to have BIG ideas, dreams, and visions because we serve a BIG God!"    ---Joyce Meyer
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And remember--rejoice! God wins.

 

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

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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, November 13, 2020

Why Do I Believe 2020 Is A Remarkable Year?


"Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go."   --- Isaiah 48:17


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August 31st 2010:

 Tom arrived home from work, poof! In the middle of a gorgeous summer afternoon, boxes crammed into the back of the Toyota he drove down our farm's driveway. Through the car window I jokingly asked, "You weren't fired were you?"

He smiled and replied, "Actually, I was. Four of us were downsized." 

Oh my goodness, gut-punch city! 

Now, long ago you heard that story, but I want to tell you what happened a year (more?) before that day.

Occasionally I'd 'hear' in my conscience/spirit, "Get your house in order. Prepare in case Tom loses his job." But hey, we'd been married over 30 years and never had Tom been fired! Yeah, since 2008 people galore were losing jobs, but Tom? Nah. Probably wouldn't happen. (Can you say 'prideful ignorance'?)

So again and again, I dismissed that "prepare now" thought. Like a moron (that's allowed when one's speaking of herself). ッ

Also, sometimes I'd switch upon a tv show where the guest, all bug-eyed, stressed, "Always Have 6 Months' Worth of Paychecks Saved For Emergencies. Begin immediately! You never know in Today's world how secure your job is."

But the warnings came sporadically and none arrived with angel appearances or men shouting warnings upon white horses. (Er hem.) So I didn't consider them seriously. Instead I just sat aside one month's worth of paychecks, kept our credit cards at a zero balance and paid our bills on time (mostly. Hey, nobody's perfect. heh.). 

So there was that. But still. 

Even more warnings came. Online I'd read, "Stock up on food. It's important!", and ok, I made a wimpy stab at that, storing two weeks' worth of food in our pantry. (Just two weeks? Tom was laid off for 22 months!)

Also, deep down I 'heard,' --

"Replace your worn-out dishtowels with new ones. And bath towels, pillowcases and under garments. Buy new ones now."
"Also, increase your giving to other people. Up the amounts."

Yet did I obey those nudgings? Well, in just a kinda sorta lackadaisically hit and miss way.

Gah.

The Holy Spirit tried, He truly did. But never did I assign enormous importance to His 'whispers'. And trust me, even ten years later--though I've forgiven myself--I still cringe.

Anyway. Now? Millions of folks, maybe you, even, are experiencing my 2010 year plus. Plus complication and hardships America hasn't beheld since the Great Depression--and more besides.

And so why would I insist that 2020 is a remarkable year? Because for zillions it resembles my 2010 and oh, that Learning Year! That's when I truly awoke to the practicality of paying attention to the Holy Spirit.

I began listening, noticing, the help God sent me early and stopped procrastinating the things which matter. And it all matters.

Early help. God so often sends early help.

Because of the Holy Spirit, never again have Tom and I been caught unprepared. Because 2010 zoomed us to the scary places where procrastination leads, we now long to listen to the Holy Spirit, not our flawed heads. 

Obedience leads to being taught, prepared and growing up. 

And now when we sometimes mess up? We know it's only because we strayed. Nothing, no one else gets blamed. Nothing but our disobedience can limit God's provision and wisdom. 

Since 2010 we've never lived the same way and Life's never appeared more wonderful.

And that, my friends, is why I believe 2020, a similar year for millions, can be just as remarkable for everyone. The year they all, we all, learned to pause, to listen.





"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." --- Jeremiah 29:11


We must become so sensitive to the Holy Spirit that He need not shout nor send angels, signs or wonders before we'll obey.


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One very specific way God sent me 'early help' for 2020:

Remember when, beginning in October of 2019, I'd get out of bed around 2 a.m. then climb down the stairs to the red couch and watch Youtube videos? Well, just being able to do that was proof this was a 'God thing,' but besides that? He introduced me to 10+ encouragers. Kindred spirits. People who love to discuss the same subjects I do.

Friends who don't even know me, but who I appreciate so much, along with how they've led me to 10 other such friends! 

So all along this wildly-crazy 2020, I've hung out with those new encourager friends, my gifts from God. And you know? Having Him and them all these months, never have I felt alone in what I believe is really happening these days. Often they put into words what I could only feel in my mind and heart.

What a blessing from God, that early help. What an enormous blessing, indeed.


(You can find my list of those folks here. Scroll down.)







"Learn your lessons well."   ---copied


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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

Monday, November 09, 2020

Sorry, But I'm Gonna Be All Joshua-and-Caleb-ish About This.



"Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it."   ---Numbers 14:24 


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So who from the Bible do you wish to meet after arriving in Heaven? 

Ask me and I'd reply, "Take me to Joshua and Caleb!" Why? Because 10 of the spies Moses sent to scope out the Promised Land returned as big babies. Whiners.

"It's like the Land of the Giants over there!
If we go, they'll chew us up.
We felt like puny grasshoppers.
We'll never live in such a rich, fertile land.
The cities' walls are too thick to break through.
We cannot do this. We just can't."

But Caleb! He declared, "Knock it off! Hush. Let's go and take possession for we can certainly do this." Then that night Joshua joined him and together they tore their clothes and shouted to their thousands of fellow travelers--

“The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”   ---Numbers 14:7-9.


Yet even so, still, the power of God meant nothing to the 10 whiner spies. And the huge crowd? They believed the spies' bad report. Repeated it aloud.

Yet to Joshua and Caleb, God's power was everything. Real, huge and so capable that they knew this, they believed God's perspective:

Impossible situations appeared like tiny grasshoppers to God.

But the crowd. Because they'd beheld God's wild(!) miracles, yet chose not to believe for this next one, they bore a heavy responsibility. They worried instead of believed, cried, spoke fear over their children and wished they could die before any new battle.

Well, they got their wish. Pretty much they all died. 

That is, except for Joshua and Caleb and a bunch of little kids, who, 40 years later--with God--marched into the Promised Land and took over.


They believed God, not the bad news. Not the whiners, dreaders.
They walked by faith, not by sight. Didn't base faith upon appearances.
They reminded themselves of God's miracles.

With Him, they knew they were mighty warriors on the side of truth.

Now, lately what I'm hearing? Too many Israelite echoes:

"Boo hoo. I can't do this anymore.
2020 is too hard. It's just too hard.
Sniff, sniff. The powers that be are too powerful. They'll always win.
I just want to die and go to Heaven. Now.
Jesus, come rescue your poor, tired people with the Rapture."


People, people! Jesus is returning for a glorious bride without spot or wrinkle, remember? 

Glorious:  glorious objects or persons have the quality which is described by the word "glory," that is, they are honorable, dignified, powerful, distinguished, splendid, beautiful or radiant.

Where's the glory in whining, doubting and fearing? Hmmm? And where's the excitement that we're alive during these historic times?

Anway, one last thing. 

I also refuse to just quietly accept any election that's now appearing more crooked than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

No, I'll not just go quietly into the night. No, I'll not accept what the media declares when it's not even their job to decide an election's outcome. And no, I'll not even post a single "If Biden wins" meme, either!

I'll not agree with--in any form--what appears to be mega cheating. It will have to be proven to me that this election was fair and above board, for already much scandal is being leaked. And it's only started.

So in the meantime? I'll choose a Joshua and Caleb attitude, one that insists God is huge and certainly well able to make things right. And this, always I'll remind myself of this--




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This, below, is also from that portion with Joshua and Caleb-- 

"The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it."   --- Numbers 14:20-23


Looking back from the other side of eternity may we not be embarrassed by crybaby behavior when God hoped we'd be bold as lions. With God we are well able to live boldly in 2020!


"Delay doesn't mean defeat."   ---copied


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If you've mostly just listened to the main stream news then it's likely you've not heard about the tons of terrific things President Trump has done for our Country.

Well, never fear! I've been keeping a sort of scrapbook. ツ

You've read the first portion, but I've added updates and if you'll also scroll down there? My, my, my... that long list will blow your socks off.






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Any other enjoyers out there of vintage game show tv? I'm having a great time watching these--


Truth Or Consenquences (I loved this one at age 6!)









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Nothing is impossible with God!   ---Matthew 19:26



“The more that a broken system tells you that you’re wrong, the more certain you must be that you must keep pushing ahead, you must keep pushing forward.. Nothing worth doing ever came easy. Treat the word impossible as nothing more than motivation.” - President Donald J. Trump



"At first, I was deeply concerned that the initial shock of the fraud night might drain the fight out of the millions who support Trump. Now I am seeing a giant with a terrible resolve rising. The masses are not going to let this go away no matter how arrogantly Biden is paraded as president by the fake news outlets.That is why there is hope and excitement in this situation."   ---Mario Murillo




"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

Sunday, November 08, 2020

The Winner? He Who Has The Fewest Regrets.



"If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!"   ... Proverbs 24:10



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An old (our age) musician came to check out an electric guitar Tom's got for sale. 

We three sat upon the porch in autumnal perfection while he played through a Fender amp. Oh, the soulful, echoey, mysterious bits of songs! Lovely stuff which swept me away to vintage jazz clubs of long ago and very far away from Today.

No one could've made that guitar sound sweeter, moodier. 

Yet although Tom came way down in price, they couldn't agree upon just the right one. But all was still friendly. 

The man unplugged the guitar while we reminisced about California towns he'd recently visited. Then I carried the guitar inside the house, considered staying there as Tom and he spoke, but no, the Holy Spirit nudged, "Don't let him go without thanking him for the music." 

So slipping through the door as the man neared his car, I called out, "And thank-you for the concert! That was such nice music." At first, he looked at my face, I think to make certain I was serious, not sarcastic. When he saw I was, he gave a smile of appreciation and thanked me.

Oh, People! I'm grateful I spoke those words. Regret feels so yucky.

Never allow regrets to pile up, you know, like a leaning stack of suitcases full and ready to topple. Nor let your emotions dictate your obedience level. Eternity is far too long a time to wish we'd have obeyed just as God asked us.



The smiles and waves we could've given.
The meals we could've bought so to support a restaurant (and our neighbors who work there).
The thank-you's we could've left at a blog's or video's end.
The pies we could've baked for new neighbors.
The money or food we could've handed to hungry families.
The congratulations we could've typed on social media.
The errands for others we could've run.
The encouraging phone call we could've made.
The invitations to cafes or concerts or fairgrounds we could've given.
The patience we could've extended rather than snapping.
The strength we could've shown brightly while others were panicking.


Everything matters, now and forever.

Why will I always remember 2020 as a remarkable year? (Yes, I said remarkable.)

This year-gone-wild showed me where I'd allowed God to make me strong--and where I'd ignored Him, remaining weak. Where I'd become bold--and where an annoying timidity still prevailes. Where I'd let Him remold me--and where I'd insisted upon staying just the same.

2020 was the year God passed out test papers to us all. 

You know, so we'd see how far we'd come and the miles we've left to go. What we'd learned and now practice, what we'd forgotten or closed our ears to, and where we still need much, much dying to self.

And whether we'd come to know God or mostly just about Him. (There's a difference. It's huge.)

Jesus' sheep hear His voice and will not follow another. And those who truly hear His voice do not panic and chuck their faith when Life turns their car into Ridiculous Lane and goes all wonky.

No, those who truly know God will welcome the challenges. Why? They know that--through wild, disappointing times--God will show Himself strong, mighty and very capable, indeed. In us and in this world who needs Him so badly.

And those who remain calm and most consistently obey Him will end this Life with only a miniscule stack of regrets.

May we remain brave and believing God has saved the best wine for last. And may our regret pile remain so insignificant that--from the other side of eternity--it'll only resemble a tiny spot amongst a long, long trail of awesome miracles.





"Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now." ---John 2:10



And yes, right about now the temptation to distance oneself from everyone and everything awful can be so strong. But remember, God says the most important thing is Love. Jesus died so to show that Love and He asked that we go into all the world to spread His Love to others.

Jesus also died so that He could now show Himself strong through us as we're faithful to go and give for the sake of others. Even in 2020.

And yes, God gives us vacations, time away from it all so we can regroup. But those isolation times were never meant to become our whole new alternative lifestyle.

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Remember how I'd watched all the old Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movies? I seriously felt sad to finish them and even insisted that never could there be another Sherlock and Dr. Watson to me. (Yes, yes. Never say never.) ツ

So, oh! An extremely grateful thanks to my friend, Susan, for mentioning at Facebook that her English hubby enjoyed both Basil's Sherlock as well as Benedict Cumberbatch's. 

"Really?" I thought. "Really?" Well, this modern Sherlock series would have to be pretty darn good.

Er hem. It was. 

My, my, my. Simply the perfect distraction I needed. Both Tom and I thoroughly enjoyed Sherlock via Netflix. 

Okay, though-- disclaimers: These episodes do contain occasional 'language', bits of violence and a third of the final episode became very dark (shiver). And all right, probably just half of you would love this series. It's not for everyone, but it was certainly for me.

Oh, and for those with memories like elephants, yes! Technically we've cancelled Netflix. Yet the moment I told them, they charged us for one more month, probably hoping we'd change our minds. 

We haven't. 

But color me eternally grateful we discovered Sherlock before our subscription expired. Yes, it truly was that good. To me. And Tom.  シ


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Oh, and almost forgot: It's over only when God says it's over.  ッ


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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