Friday, January 18, 2019

The Necessity of a Life Of Your Own

Yearly I share this post. That's how important I believe it to be.

(But you'll find some new 'Debra Advertisements' at the end.) ツ


Ages ago, I chatted with a widow at church, probably 65-years-old, and sweet. We spoke of mornings and I told her, "Usually I'm out of bed before 6:00 a.m.." When I asked if she, too, was an early riser, she nearly gasped, "Oh my, no. That would make my days feel eternal. I try to stay in bed as long as I can."

Oh wow. 

I could only suck in my breath then change the subject for I felt surprised and sad for her. Her words haunted me while I drove home that afternoon and they haunt me still.

Since then I have watched women lose their husbands either by death or divorce and here's what I've seen: The women who'd created another life separate from their husbands, those are the women who survive. Thrive, even. After the initial shock, they do well, smile real smiles and discover other worlds and the people who people them.

But then there are the others. You know, those who clung to their husbands for all their support, encouragement and companionship. Oh, they had outside acquaintances and activities, yes, but no close friendships or passionate interests. Mostly, their spouse was their whole world.

No need to draw you pictures of what happened to those women after their losses. 

You can imagine how they fell down hard, splattered, crumbled, and then needed whole truckloads of Christians to help peel them off the floor of despair.

So today? Today I would tell those of you who are married: Get A Life. You know, a life apart from your spouse, separate from him/her. A nice life, certainly--I mean, hey, I'm not hinting at a secret, tip-toeing-down-alleys-behind-his-back kind of life. Uh, of course not.

But I mean please search-out something you are passionate about. If you're still not sure of God's unique calling made especially for you, now is a marvelous time to discover it.  How can we use and refine those gifts/skills to help people if we don't know what they are? 

Even something simple like learning to love your daily rituals is big. Teach yourself to find the joy and peace in drinking your morning coffee, washing your dishes or folding your laundry. Develop good habits like taking walks (staying in shape--it's vital for your new life), deadheading your flowers, reading inspiring books and learning new hobbies and skills each year. 

Find and keep and tend to good, solid friendships.

Oh, and learn to pay bills and where to go for help with your investments, insurance, home repairs and all that annoying stuff. Do it now while you still have someone to show you how.

And above all, discover who you are in God and who He is in you. With all your heart, seek to love Him best. Better than anyone else, for He's the only one who, if everyone else fades away, will still be with you. 

Discover and learn and do and be you today--the you apart from your spouse. Learn what you like (and what you don't) and what you do best. And step away from any fear of the new or the future. 

But don't wait for your spouse to join you. No, this has nothing to do with him/her. This is for you, this is for now and this is for later, also.

Not sure what you can do for others?  Go here.

My friend, Susan, shared this link to Volunteer Match with me. Looks like a perfect match to this post!

"You are significant. Even alone."        ... Jan Kiemel Ream


The first time I posted this, Kristi (a widow, herself) left this very insightful comment which I appreciated much:

"One little postscript: When you still have the gift of life on earth, you can always use it to think about and help other people. I think the poor woman in your first paragraph would not have found her days so long if she had involved herself in helping others. I hope she has discovered this by now."


"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong."  ... 1 Corinthians 16:13


A favorite surprise for me this past Christmas Day? 

Tom and I sat talking about my much-loved tv series, Early Edition, and I told him, "But seriously, I've given up believing the final two seasons will ever come to DVD. I'm just resigned to owning the first two seasons. Forever."

Then Tom said, "Have you checked lately? I'll bet the last seasons are out by now." To which I pretty much said no-way-I've-checked-every-year-for-like-15-and-they're-never-there."

Tom then said, "You never know." 

I said, "I know."

But then I got my sorry self off the couch, stepped here to the computer then clicked my way to Amazon where, oh! I spied this--

Oh wow. All four seasons! Something I'd dreamed of for at least 18 years. And by Christmas Day's end, I had Amazon gift cards with which to buy this new set.

Happiest of happy sighs.

So again--never, ever give up! Well, unless you're hoping for something that God's pretty much told you isn't right for you.

If that's so, you can then begin believing for what He does want you to have (or do)--and never give up on that.


The very best book I read in 2018? This one--

Fixing-up-a-house-dreamy and vintage wonderful. Read about it here.

Unfortunately it's not at Open Library. Darn. Maybe it's available elsewhere to read online? Or your town library may have it?

But you can purchase it here or here.  (Costs more than books I usually recommend, but trust me, this one--if it's a genre you love--is worth it.)

It's a keeper.


And is this an adorable idea or what?

                     (Thanks to my buddy, Dolores, for sharing this at Facebook.)


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Where She Was Shocked (But Shouldn't Have Been)

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."  ... Isaiah 5:20


So. Did you see that new Gillette ad, the one which speaks about toxic masculinity? (You might want to check it out now. I'll wait for you.)  シ

Anyway, via Twitter on Monday (having not seen the ad), I read negative comments, ones saying yet again Today's men are being sissified. Men and women declared never again would another Gillette product appear in their homes. Ever.


On Tuesday I thought, "Ok, I'm feeling brave. I'm gonna watch and see what Gillette's done now." So I watched--and waited for the huge controversial part to come around. 

It never did. I loved the ad. All of it.

Later Tom arrived home and I waited a whole 2 minutes before I asked, "Did you see that Gillette ad everyone is freaking-out about?" He hadn't, so he watched it while I cooked dinner.

Tom, (my non-toxic masculinity man) said, "That was awesome."

I knew he'd say that.

The commercial addressed (and condemned) bullying and sexual harassment and assault at the workplace, as well as viewing women like objects to be ogled and joked about on tv. Also, while boys fought each other, the saying, "boys will be boys" was said while men stood there, only smirking (and you knew Gillette's stance on that).

Toward the end, the phrase, "Men need to hold other men accountable," was stated. Afterward, men were shown respectfully stopping their friends from, well, acting like jerks.

Again, we appreciated this ad, but oh dear! Zoom over to that Gillette ad Youtube page and as of this moment, there are 229 thousand likes, but 598 thousand dislikes.

Wow. Shaking my head, I read irate, cruel comments (from both women and men) and my jaw dropped down to my desk.  Basically, I'll sum them up--

"Don't tell us what to do."
"Just sell us your product, period. You stay in your little box while I speak wherever and whatever I wish."
"Gillette is far from perfect--why should we listen to them?"
"What about toxic femininity? Where's your ad for that?" (Personally, I, Debra, would love to see one of those.)
"Why attack all men that way?"
"Why strip away men's masculinity?"
"I'll never again buy another product from Gillette."

My thoughts (besides people these days often are set on autopilot to disagree with everything)? ----

"... fools despise wisdom and instruction." ...Proverbs 1:7

" Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you."   ... Proverbs 9:8

"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions."   ... 2 Timothy 4:3

And the thing about Gillette not always being an upright, ethical company? That only perfect people should be listened to and respected? 

It's an excuse. 

An excuse to live accountable to no one, with only our own made-up 'morals', needing to listen to no one who might bring conviction. 

Yet this is true--

"Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins."   Ecclesiastes 7:20

--and thank-goodness, God still speaks through imperfect people. He'll even use a donkey should the situation require that. (See Numbers 22:21-39)

Truth is truth, no matter who shares it. 

The problem comes when, by being offended, we can't hear the truth, we don't want it, we'd rather make up our own. Personally, I wonder, why be offended when you're corrected about something you're not even doing? (Unless, of course, you are doing it?) Or well, yes, pride explains it, too. Pride explains tons of this.

And did the ad say that all masculinity is toxic?

Not even. It was just stated that it's time to leave behind toxicity and treat all people with respect.

There's more, but I'll spare you.

Anyway, the good part? This, again, reminded me of this verse--

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."   ... Ephesians 6:12

It's time to stop being mad at people. Time to stop being blown away and shocked by human behavior these days from folks who don't even understand why they do what they do, nor the scary places it will lead them.

Instead? It's time to pray and believe that--all of us, actually--will have our eyes opened and will stay awake when we'd rather, some days, sleep it all away. 

"Jesus wasn’t just a nice guy who did good in the world. You don’t crucify nice guys. You crucify threats."

---Tim Keller

"If you're not upsetting someone, you're not changing the status quo."

--- Seth Godin

"People love darkness rather than light." ... John 3:19

I crave hearing tough sermons which challenge me to change. Always since a little girl, those have been my favorites. (And God, Himself, knows that to be true of me.)


Shared this at Facebook---

May we each sow many wonderful seeds and expect to reap good things this new year!


Valentine's Day is less than one month away, and well, are you ready?  😲

Yesterday I bought the most adorable Valentines at Amazon. They're so cute, in fact, that I might want to keep them all for myself. Ha!


Welcome the lessons. Learn from them.
Welcome the tests. Let them humble you.
Grow and grow.
Welcome the new way of seeing and being.
Grow some more.


Friday, January 11, 2019

January This and That

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


1.) Mostly? December/Christmas leave me missing only one thing: the bright lights on houses outside our dining room windows reminiscent of a carnival boardwalk. 

This year, especially, I nightly anticipated Sue and Sally's tiny lights splashed across their huge outside wall like a green and red Milky Way of stars. Glorious.

Eventually, though, it all went away. 

But this year? Marsha, our new neighbor, hung a red and white lighted heart in her front window. Wow. That heart shines like a life-saving beacon during the swirling, blowing snow--and I smile. 

"Must. Have. One." I thought. So I searched online (and meant to ask Marsha about hers, but that kept not working out) and finally yesterday I found one that's close enough. I ordered it at Ebay--

-- and now can't wait to display my own shining beacon which I hope will gladden the hearts of our neighbors as Marsha's has mine.

(Oh, and I also bought an electric candle for our top story window, another light of welcome and comfort for our black, icy nights.)

2.) Speaking of Christmas, my favorite gift from Tom was a lovely old copy of The Edge of Time by Louella Grace Erdman.

Barely could I put this down and if you, too, love stories of young couples eking out a life on the 1800's prairies, you'll also enjoy this. The good news? You can read it at Open Library for free (via the waiting list).

If you'd like to purchase a copy, check here, first. Read reviews about it here.

3.) Tom's and my current favorite shows to watch together--

1.) Chicago Fire
2.) FBI
3.) The Rookie
4.) Blue Bloods
5.) Chicago Med
6.) New Amsterdam
7.) The Good Doctor
8.) Chicago PD
9.) Hawaii 5-0
10.) Magnum P.I.
11.) NCIS New Orleans
12.) NCIS
13.) Last Man Standing

We're glad these are (mostly) back from their winter vacation and oh! Did you see the series finale of Timeless? Some folks are devastated bummed-out at its demise, but Tom and I have learned to just feel grateful that a good show appeared a year or two, rather like viewing it as a movie which lasted a very, very long time.  ツ

4.)  So does ol' Debra still believe in staying stocked-up and in all ways ready for anything?

Yes. Yes, Honey, she does. May sound a bit crazy but hey, in our wild world, not living prepared for any type of disaster sounds goofier.

Here's one of my posts with a ton of links to help you prepare for anything.

5.) Don't know about you, but I found this photo from The White House, gorgeous --

6.) Am I still loving the new treadmill? Oh yes! Especially since I'm not keeping track of improvements to my body (weight, inches lost, etc.), but rather, I'm daily recording the improvements to my discipline and stamina.

So much more encouraging, those.

7.) Oh! Remember those bath towels I recommended from Walmart back in August of 2017? Well oh my, they're practically giving them away now. Only $12.58 for a 6-piece set of good-enough-quality towels, hand towels and wash cloths. Check them out here.

Yes, even in 2019 there are great deals on items we need. All we must do is ask God to lead us to them--and then go there with Him.

8.) Once again I've been watching Youtube stories about people who died, went to Heaven, and came back. I find these shared glimpses/stories so encouraging! How wonderful (and comforting) to imagine what our loved ones there are experiencing.

Here are some videos to start you out (I tend to just stick with the CBN ones since they're 'safer' and won't go all new-age weird.)

9.) Found a creative, hands-on decorating show at Netflix yesterday, the type reminiscent of the old days at HGTV. 

It's called The Great Interior Design Challenge and is British. We also get to see such heart-stopping old areas of England so two thumbs up, except that the designer judges can go all picky, picky sometimes.

10.) And to end this, here is something to remember --

--and two things to make you smile--

Sue and Sally's dogs. Until I saw this photo I didn't even know you could have a picture taken with Santa and your pets. ツ



Oh! What is that bright light out in the sky this morning?  シ

We've lived in the Buffalo area nearly 26 years and never do I recall so many mostly-grey weeks. Trust me, I celebrate like crazy inside my heart whenever the sun shines, even a little bit.


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