Tuesday, March 30, 2010

For Those Who Would Burn Down Farmville

"Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment."   ... 1 Timothy 6:17


(You may have to mull this one over awhile.)

Some people at Facebook criticize their Farmville, Cafeville and survey-loving friends. You can even join "I Don't Care About your Farm, or Your Fish, or Your Park, or Your Mafia!!!" groups. When you sign-up, they appear on your friends' home pages and well, I'm sure some feelings have been hurt.

Myself? I don't generally do surveys or games at Facebook because I lack the desire. Yet I have Facebook friends who are into them, especially Farmville. Big time. You go to their wall and see little pictures of animals, candy or poker cards with hardly a photo of themselves or anyone else.

And that's the sort of thing which makes my other friends wild. You know, the way game photos can clutter up the home pages of non-gamers. Who cares that we can click "Hide" so we can make it all vanish? Many people just believe if they think games waste time, then no one should play games. Period.

And there is the problem. There is the rub.

I heard one woman say that anyone who likes any  tv reality show is being duped. Others quip that all cell phone users are rude and today's movies are all garbage.

But here is what Debra sayswe all need downtime, especially in Today's stressful world. And we all relax in different ways. My idea of fun is different (probably) than yours and what relaxes me might stress you out. 

And who am I--who is anyone--to say, "My way of relaxing is a wiser, better way than yours?"

Which of us was chosen by God to declare that reading, hiking and sewing are fine hobbies, but Farmville, reality shows and computer games are pathetic? Golf yes, but Facebook no way?

Does anyone else hear the pride in those statements?

Of course, any activity can be overdone. Anything in Life can become an obsession and whisk us away from our responsibilities. Yet even there-- it's not the hobby that's wrong, it's us. Our lack of self-control and not coming away when convicted.

De-stressing types of hobbies-- may ours allow us to relax and recharge. And may we extend grace to others whose hobbies are nothing like our own.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Straightening, Cleaning and Peepers

Actually, I don't believe in Spring Cleaning.  ツ

No, I am a Straightener. I straighten rooms. Everyday. When you have straightened rooms, you can think clearly. You are ready for company. You can find things.

As for cleaning? I clean when the dirt gets my attention, when it bugs or nags me. For some tasks that's everyday (as in dishes), for other things it's once or twice a week (vacuuming), some things I clean once a month (the refrigerator).

So if you surprise me with a visit, you'll probably find me straightening or you might discover me cleaning, be it Spring or Summer or Winter or Fall. Sometimes I get a wild, overwhelming urge to pull the junk from my kitchen cabinets, so I go with it. But again, it could easily happen in Winter when Spring is only an anticipatory gleam in my eye.

I prefer year-around, low-key, no-big-deal cleaning. It's the peaceful way. At least, that's what I've found (but then, I've always been somewhat of a rebel so I realize you may consider my cleaning habits downright controversial).


My favorite cleaning products? Old-fashioned vinegar, water and baking soda. Oh, and the latest issue of Mary Jane's Farm recommended hydrogen peroxide for carpet spots--works great!

Cleaning should not be complicated, expensive or dangerous to your health.


Until I was 50-years-old, I'd only read about spring peepers in my favorite old books, never hearing them for myself. Yet lately, I've so wanted to share our backyard LOUD peeper concerts with you, but it wasn't until today that I discovered a way. So here you go. This is what our backyard sounds like during the nightly invasion of the peepers. Turn your sound way up for the right 'and-you-are-there' effect. Some nights I open our kitchen window wide and just stand there, enchanted. Grateful, too. Peepers, night after night, reassure us Springtime is soon coming.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I bought another spiffy farm-type book, one called Made From Scratch, by Jenna Woginrich. 

A young woman in her twenties, Jenna wrote from her rented farmhouse in Idaho where she kept two huskies, chickens and angora rabbits and where she learned to do much from scratch. You know, like baking bread, sewing, gardening, knitting, canning fruits and vegetables, bee-keeping, using 'antique' appliances rather than new and using candles instead of electricity to both save money and to live like folks did eons ago.

At the end of each chapter she gives easy, detailed instructions of the 'hows' of such activities with knowledge gleaned from trial and error. And wow, any book which creates urges within this old dog to learn some new skills is quite the book. Trust me.

Jenna is very down-to-earth and reminds me of my own 20-something self from decades ago when I read back-to-the-land books and mostly just played at being a pioneer woman in the suburbs. But Jenna takes all this more seriously in her book, even with her real job, an office one. 

Her return home each day is when her best life really happens.

And I love her 'just do it, just start small' attitude. Oh, how often I need those pushes off my own couch!

But also I'm thankful for this book because it reminded me that no way should I even think about keeping farm animals. She writes of two tragedies on her homemade suburban farm and I've still not recovered. And I didn't even know those animals personally.

Truly, if only I could handle all the risks you take with animals! The potential injuries (and doctoring one must do), sicknesses and inevitable death, but well, I'm just too darn hypersensitive. At times I believe I've accepted this, other times, I temptationally (my own word) toy with lofty ideas of keeping a few chickens and maybe a couple tiny goats. 

But then, alas! A book like Made From Scratch shakes me to teary-eyes--and shakes some sense into me, also.

Anyway. Jenna has a blog, Cold Antler Farm, and isn't that cool? I mean, how many books have I read where, upon reaching the end, I asked, "And then what happened?", and longed to follow the characters on and on forever. 

Well, in this instance, I can. And how satisfying to discover that Jenna is in the process of buying a farm of her own, 6.5 acres, in nearby (to me) Vermont.

Now, her language is occasionally a tad dicey (nothing too shocking, though), so, the more sensitive amongst you, be warned. But after reading her book, I've come to respect, appreciate and care about Jenna so I, anyway, am not bothered by those sorts of slips. 

Also, I appreciate her simple writing style, but more? I'm thankful that I can follow her fun adventures with farm animals vicariously without risking total heartbreak if the worst should happen to them. Just partial heartbreak--and I can handle that.

"Know thyself."   ... copied


Ever considered homesteading? Ever wondered how to do it on a small scale? If so, you'll enjoy Made From Scratch and Jenna's way cool YouTube video, too.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tom and I went on vacation yesterday!

Well, sorta.

Sitting in the sun upon our front porch, we both looked over my newly-arrived Mary Jane's Outpost (bought with my birthday-gifted amazon card) and exclaimed over the gorgeous photography. To all fans of Mary's Jane's--you'll adore her new book.

After some minutes Tom said, "Wow. You can hear the frogs out here much louder than inside the house."

I told him, "Oh, I know. Hey! How about if we go out back and sit on the patio? You can really hear the frogs out there."

So Tom put on his shoes, grabbed his cane and I took our straw hats from their pegs and found Tom's sunglasses. We stepped across the wet back lawn to the patio where the sun glared off the cement and our bistro table and all else, then we sat and stared out across the expanse of our lawn to our winter lake and the marsh it borders, complete with tall reeds standing in shining, glinting waters. With each breeze blowing across the lake, more frogs, three different kinds, joined in with the chorus of, "Ba-roke, ba-roke, wa-wreeeek, wa-wreeeeek!" And a haunting, "cluck-cluck-clickity-click-cluck-cluck-clickety-cluck," almost echoing during the occasional silences.

We gazed across the lawn to the bare silver trees of our woods and tall grasses of the back meadows while the frogs sang and occasional birds, too, and we felt like such tourists! 

As though we'd traveled far to this natural outdoor vista, this place where a hush overhung everything, too, the quiet of Nature. As though we should have color photo pamphlets in our hands while doing this touristy thing, sitting, then standing, taking in all the sights and animal sounds with the rest of the crowd, and yet there was no crowd. Only Tom and myself, the woods, meadow, our lake and some birds and the frogs, some with the sun gleaming off their backs.

All in our own backyard on a gift of a sunny March day, all while Tom recuperates from his surgery.

All a blessing on a Wednesday afternoon at our country home while I realize again that one need not travel far to find ones true self or adventure or joy.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oh wow. If you enjoyed the 1906 film of the cable car on Market St. in San Francisco, you'll also like this 1908 film from Barcelona, Spain.

 Incredible. Enlarge the video and turn up your sound. Feel like going back in Time today? This will certainly satisfy that urge.

And if you'd like to see a comparison tour of Today's Market St., here's one from 2005. Such a huge difference from 100 years ago, yet a couple things remain the same. 

And I must say, I prefer the laws of the road stuff of Today, even though the 1905/06 film was far more fun to watch.  ツ


As I watch the people in these videos from 100 years ago, I notice the spring in their steps, the way they run, their smiles, laughter and mostly-fit bodies. In my mind I compare them with crowds from Today and oh my... this verse comes to mind:

"... but the worries of Life, the deceitful pleasures of wealth, and the desires for other things come in..." Such burdens we carry nowadays! Burdens which illustrate themselves in a myriad of ways.

Addendum: I must add that for the nearly 17 years I've lived in Buffalo, I've almost always felt a sort of spirit of celebration whenever I am out and amongst the people here. 

Really, it's unlike anything I've experienced anyplace else I've visited, it's especially rampant here in our tiny countryside town and something I recognized in both those earlier videos, above. 

A certain happy energy is the way I would describe it. It's invigorating--and I love it.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The 'Well With My Soul People'

"When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul."*


I have friends on Facebook who are freaking-out about this new health care bill. 

They use their status updates to complain about it and threaten about the November election, making dire predictions about how we'll all suffer when the world comes to an end because of this (well...). 

Oh, the fear, frustration and anger in their words!

But I've other friends on Facebook, ones I call Well With My Soul People. They've not lost their peace, their status reports remain calm and a delight. They're not panicking or imagining dire scenarios nor cowering in corners, watching at windows for The Worst to creep up to their front doors. 

They are steady as ever, trusting, praying.

Now, do I believe we should be required by law to buy health insurance? Or do I believe the government should, once again, be so intricately involved in our daily lives? 

Uh, not even. (And don't even mention the FDA to me!) 

But neither do I confess to understanding this whole health care bill and I certainly don't believe in handing over to our government my whole peace of mind.

I am drawn to Well With My Soul People. They're my heroes. They remind me that God is still God and He is still a good provider. They illustrate to me what really matters in this Life and they help keep me balanced and my days, a joy. 

I admire them. And I need them, also.


"Fear brings torment..." 1 John 4:18


* Words of It Is Well With My Soul written by Horatio Spafford

Monday, March 22, 2010

Our daughter had another drummer photo shoot, and really, for thirty years I've been astounded at how photogenic she is. 

As for her mother? Oh dear. Because of an abundance of photo disasters, she runs from cameras. Alas, Naomi's photogenic genes all came from her dad who also never took a bad picture in his life. (Proving the point that some things in Life just are not fair.)  ッ

All photos were taken by John Dutkiewicz.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

You may be wondering how Tom is doing nearly three weeks following his shoulder surgery.He's doing much better, we both are. His shoulder still feels achy, though. 

During the first week I almost wrote a blog post about post-surgery life around here, but I would've sounded like a pathetic, wimpy crybaby. So Instead, I just hobbled along as a caretaker as best as I could. But really, that first week was hard on us both, though we caretakers hesitate to complain lest someone say, "Hey! You weren't the one who had surgery."

Er hem.

But as you other caretakers know, caring for a post-op. person is very trying on ones nerves, even when love is behind all you do. All that interrupted sleep! All that doing for the other person those myriad things like bringing glasses of water, pills and propping pillows just right and tucking blankets just so and lifting the footrest of the recliner (and getting a backache) and keeping that %^&*$ polar unit full of ice and helping with showering and walking behind so he'll not fall, all while still cooking meals, cleaning house, feeding cats, doing laundry and running errands.

And that's just the part I've decided to mention. There's more, there's the interrupted everything, but again, that's all I'll share.

But alas! We survived, as we have before and my back aches only in the early mornings now. I've returned to my own sweet bed upstairs where I run the fan which I so need to sleep without waking at things which go meow in the night (Tom can get up by himself now, even rigged the recliner so he can recline alone). And the best gift of all has been that out of these 19 post-op. days, 14 of them were sunny, bright and warmish. 

Trust me, we both needed every one of those glory days--and we are grateful. And we're both recuperating nicely.


Last Saturday my dear friend, Laura, drove out here to our Little Town In The Middle of Nowhere to bring us some homemade Italian Wedding Meatball soup and some muffins because she could tell I needed some TLC. Oh my. Her gifts were so very appreciated and the soup, both Tom and I agreed, was the best ever!


Oh! Some of you will love this. It's film taken from a cable car in San Francisco in 1906. Awesome!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oh Well. You'll Still Have God.

What a kindred spirit to me was the David Grayson side of Ray Stannard Baker. I think of that always when I read his passages such as this one:

"But if once a man have a taste of true and happy retirement, though it be but a short hour, or day, now and then, he has found... a sure place of refuge, of blessed renewal, toward which in the busiest hours he will find his thoughts wistfully stealing. How stoutly will he meet the buffets of the world if he knows he has such a place of retirement where all is well-ordered and full of beauty, and right counsels prevail and true things are noted. As a man grows older, if he cultivates the art of retirement not indeed as an end in itself, but as a means of developing a richer and freer life, he will find his reward growing surer and greater until in time none of the storms or shocks of life any longer disturb him."

That's exactly what I have come to experience these past ten years.

I mean, at times Tom and I visit people who disapprove of our choices or who are so negative about Life, in general, they make me gasp for fresh, positive air as I sit there. 

And rather than feel threatened, insecure or dragged over to the dark, depressing side? I reassure myself. My heart tells my head, "Oh well. If these people don't like you, if you lose these people as friends, you can still go home, where peace reigns and you're happy, even alone. You'll still have your husband, your garden, your cats, all your blessings, and this new life of contentment you've discovered. You'll still have God."

What a difference that makes! Great amounts of fear evaporate when one believes and lives that way. Gone are the pressured temptations to agree with friends/relatives (misrepresenting yourself) when you certainly don't just so they'll like you.

Instead, freedom takes fear's place and one can be her true self because she can go home and live her life in joy.

At least, that's what I've found.


The David Grayson passage came from his book, Great Possessions. Overall, not my favorite of his books, yet there are many passages in it which I do love.


"Be what you is 'cos if you be what you ain't, then you ain't what you is." 

...... Joseph Campbell (as copied from a gravestone he passed one day).


I have a new addiction (just what I need, right?).Yesterday I discovered films of abandoned houses at YouTube. They make me imagine the early families who built those homes and they make me very sad, too. But still, I watch. Here are a few (be sure to check the list at the right), but there are many more.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

So Where's This Suffering Coming From?

The Bible says there's such a thing as persecution for the godly. I believe that. I've been there and done that. But then there's also 'persecution' because I was just plain stupid.

Fifteen years ago there's no way God would have let me have a blog. Well, ok, so there weren't blogs back then and I wasn't online yet, either. That's beside the point.

No, back then He couldn't have trusted me with the huge responsibility which is Blogging. Constantly I would have stated my beliefs in such an obnoxious way that long disgruntled lines of people would have crowded into my comment box, daily, just itching to to criticize me and what I had said.

And then I would have gone around in my real life whining and sighing, "I'm being persecuted in my blog. Poor, mistreated, misjudged me." I'd have fought back, created Swiss Alps out of molehills and poor ol' God would have been embarrassed to pieces to even know me.

No, really.

Back then I'd have stated my beliefs too harshly and been critical of anyone who didn't agree with me. I would have been too legalistic, too insulting and too condescending, and I would have ignored timing which is always huge with God. My posts could all have been summed up with, "It's Debra's way or the highway (to hell)." Yikes!

How we say a thing is equally as important as what we say. We need more than just the right message--we need the right tone which comes only from a right heart. Not to mention a whole bucket of humility, wisdom and compassion, too.

What a frightening thing it is to be held responsible for the part we play if we make anyone run from God in disgust/fear/anger because of our own foolishness. What a heavy responsibility to represent our Father--an impossible one when we're led by our heads and our emotions instead of by His heart. What a wise, longsuffering, compassionate heart is His.

How important, then, it becomes for me to die daily so that any persecution which comes my way will be because I was like Jesus--not because I was, like, stupid.


"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted..." ... II Timothy 3:12

"...be therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." ... Matthew 10:16

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. ... Love is patient and kind." ... From 1 Corinthians 1

Ladybugs At My Windows

I forgot to tell you that way back in August we had an invasion of ladybugs. 

Oh my. They climbed up and inside of our window screens and everyday (it seemed) I'd lift the screen in our kitchen and give gentle nudges to the ladybugs, sliding them back outside. I'd sit in our guest room and suddenly notice one on the glass inside, so I'd lower the top window, tap the ladybug into my hand, reach out and fling the ladybug into the air.

It's March now and I am still flinging ladybugs out my windows.

Wild! All winter we had ladybugs in our bathroom, our stairway and especially in our guest room. Some dead, but most still alive, though appearing a faded, sickly-orange. And when I'd wave them into the frosty air, most just landed in the snow upon our porch roof with a tiny silent thud. Later I'd peek back out the window and they'd be gone.

It's an odd feeling to share your home with ladybugs.

I wonder how it looks from our neighbors' houses to see a hand, an arm, reaching out from windows, tossing invisible things into the snow. Hmm.


Our ladybug invasion was part of the reason I so enjoyed the books, A Year on Ladybug Farm and At Home on Ladybug Farm. If you've read other books similar to these, please give me their titles, ok? I am so in the mood for more.


Also, if you've ever read a book or watched a movie because of my recommendation I would love to hear your feelings about it. Even if you hated it, please let me know (though be kind in your wording, ok?). ...smile...


Oh! Here's an interesting website for book lovers. It's called What Should I Read Next?. You plug in a favorite book title and it will give you a list of similar books. Well, ideally. so far it's been no help regarding books like the Ladybug Farm ones.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My birthday yesterday was great fun and filled with much grace.

Did Tom and I go out to eat? Did we go see a movie? Did we take a country drive? Did we have a huge, wild, noisy party?

Uh, no.

No, the sun shone bright all day and I lounged on our porch until lunchtime when I drove down to our tiny country town to pick up lunch (and cookies) which Tom and I ate while watching Perry Mason (we are so addicted to that show). 

Then I did yard work in the fresh, soft air for the first time this year--raked some leaves, swept some gravel off the concrete, picked up probably 100 pine cones (you think I'm exaggerating?). 

I received lovely birthday wishes here and on Facebook all day long. Naomi called. So did my mom. And when I got on the scale, I'd even lost two whole pounds (which is right up there with any modern day miracle) and it was a great hair day, too!

Every moment felt enchanted. And how lovely to reach an age where better does not mean bigger, grander, wilder.

I forgot to tell you what happened to me last week at our little corner market. I'd just paid for a loaf of bread when from behind me, poof! The bread delivery guy appeared with a new loaf in his hand. He asked me, "Would you like this fresh loaf of bread, instead?" Oh wow. I smiled at him and said, "Yes. Thank-you!" Then he took back the old loaf and left me with the fresh one.

I came home and told Tom about that and I smiled all the rest of the day. That was so a God Thing. A whisper from Him that I'm in His thoughts, that He notices things and He cares about me.

Loved that. Appreciated that.


I so appreciated your birthday wishes! They are God Things, too, and made me smile and feel appreciated all day yesterday.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Another Year, Another Birthday

Another birthday! Well, I'm getting used to the idea.

I'm thinking my 40's must have been too enchanted, or something. I loved my 40's,  adored that enchanted decade, indeed.

Lately though, things haven't felt all that magical. heh. 

But alas, at times like these, I've learned to gaze around, to peek inside my heart, to discover where, perhaps, I took a misstep on the path of Life. Or to ask God to show me the new path He wants to lead me down (up?), since I'm just not finding it on my own.

Something else--my birthday arrives at the end of long snowy winters. Every year. And nearly my whole body on this day, this March 16th, is always longing to skip outside to play in my garden and feel the sun upon my face. Yes, like an excited horse waiting behind a gate for the race to begin!  But usually the weather is still swirling snow, then laying like a frozen crust upon my garden. 

Oh, but not today! 

No, all snow is gone, the sun will shine all day, making it the prettiest day of the week, the weather woman said. The sun will be a gift to all my neighbors, ok, yet I can't help but feel God meant it especially for me. 

So beware, my sunny front porch, here I come! And look-out un-flooded portions of our yard, for I'll be tiptoeing around you, too, maybe even Sound of Music dancing 'round and 'round. For I have much to celebrate.


Isaiah 43:19
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.


Our winter lake this morning from an upstairs window. Oh, and I saw my first two robins yesterday! They may be the same couple who returns each year and stays in the yard almost constantly.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Uh-oh. I have another birthday coming tomorrow. Sheesh, I've still not recovered from turning 50 last year! (I know, I know. You thought I had, right?)

I think it's a control issue thing. Seriously. I can't go back in Time, nor make myself physically younger. Well, to an extent, yes, I can-- you know the actual vs. real age test/thing you can do online. But still, my chronological age will always be older than 50 now and only to an extent can I control my body's aging. Not to mention, I have fewer years left here than the ones I've already lived. (Though, yes! Heaven will be amazing.)

Trust me, I know all of the platitudes: it's just a number, you're only as old as you feel, etc. But I still haven't accepted the big 5-0 as being real, or well, fair, either. Not yet. I need more time, I guess.

Control issues--ack! Isn't it wild how, just when you believe you've conquered something, God zooms in and shows you that, Nope! You've still got a ways to go. You still have more dying to self left to do.

Oh well. There are many things in Life which I can still control. Myself, for one thing. My attitude about Life--and aging-- and people, my Country. God has made self-control available, after all.

I can control what I eat and how much, well, when I let God be in charge. That's also true when it comes to how I spend my time.

And I can control how my house looks, keep my possessions straightened, cleaned and arranged in a calming order. If I want to change the outside of my house and keep my clothesline up, I can (no HOA yard for me). Someday, maybe, but not yet.

Tons of feelings I can control, though some people might disagree. But just because a certain negative thing happens doesn't mean certain feelings must push me around. The real me is in charge of how I feel--not other people's actions, words, a bad economy or who happens to be President or even what the weather happens to be doing. 

I can choose my feelings about Life. I am not helpless.

Yes, I have one great Helper, indeed. Thank-goodness. And He is the one who will help me accept this being 50 thing as only He can.

I've a feeling it will take place shortly after I choose to cooperate with God's plans and ideas about aging. Most of my personal changes happen quite fast when I break down and just cooperate with God.

Imagine that.


"To everything, there is a season and a time and a purpose under Heaven. A time to be born and a time to die..." From Ecclesiastes 3

Saturday, March 13, 2010

After my recent post about loving your normal days and tasks, I remembered a post about this book, one which always inspires me to enjoy cleaning my house. It's been nearly 4 years since I first posted this so some of you may have missed it:

Inside an ancient thrift shop 24 years ago, I found a dusty, amazing book called The Art of Homemaking by Daryl V. Hoole, a mom of 6. I still remember how excited I was to find such a funky old (1962) book--my very favorite kind at that time.

I mean, how can anyone not love a book with drawings like these?

This book is stuffed full of hints about 'getting it all done' around the house and keeping a sweet, happy attitude through it all. (And no, it's not fiction. Heh.) But it is fun. And it's from the days when women at home were still respected and valued (a.k.a The Good Old Days). I never tire of reading Hoole's hints about cooking, washing dishes, decorating and doing the laundry, and too, looking at the Goofus and Gallant-type pen drawings. What a hoot! And it's one of those books which can, in a minute, inspire me right off the couch and over to my vacuum cleaner.

Sometimes we all need help and inspiration, something which should cause us no embarrassment.

You can find copies of The Art of Homemaking cheaply at Amazon.com and abebooks.com ($4 and up) as well as probably any of your favorite online used book places. If you're a vintage-hearted homemaker who's unafraid of becoming the best little wife and mother around, well, you'll love this book. Guaranteed.


A very special thanks to Debbie V. for sharing the link to Daryl Hoole's website!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is this a cool photo, or what? That's me, a ton of years ago, third one from the left.

And that's me with Christy The Dog on my lap. I was 15. My sister is on my left, my brother on my right and David, Carolyn's son, is behind him.

Who is Carolyn? Last week through Facebook, after whole decades, I contacted Carolyn, a friend of my parents, and she's the one who shared these photos of the camping trip both our families took to Donner State Park in 1974.

I told you Facebook is incredible! How amazing to be in-touch with people who, eons ago, we left behind. Back then, when you moved, you moved. Phone calls were expensive, the Internet wasn't even a gleam in anybody's eye, and trips back to the old home place were hit and miss. Mostly miss, in our case. With every move (and there were many) I wrote letters by the dozens. When we left the place where we met Carolyn's family, well, I nearly lost my mind. (Long, sad story.)

Anyway. Can it really be that long ago that I was a dreamy-eyed teenager who walked to school humming songs from musicals, all encompassed in her own special world? Oh, the dreams she had, dreams not of fortune, but of fame and travel.

But now? Yick, fame would frighten me and well, travel? I choose day trips. I mean, really. I'm surrounded by gorgeous farmland dotted with 1800's farms and truly, I can think of nothing else I'd rather stare at from car windows. All those barns and gardens and picket fences! All those sunflowers, fruit stands and orchards. I see no need to fly around the globe to find beauty when I have all of that next door. At least, not at this phase of my life.

Maybe it's rather like something George A. Moore said: "A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."

Ahhh. There's nothing I can add to that.


In the top photo, Carolyn is on my left and my mom is on my right. I have always remembered that camping trip with joy.


Luke 17:21
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Of Loving That Pesky Ninety Percent

I awoke with this older post on my mind this morning. Here is one of those amazing, life-altering ideas which changed everything for me once it became a part of who I am.


The book, It's Incredible, told this story: Ann Kiemel went to interview a 72-year-old woman, an artist, and found her landscaping in her backyard. Lifting big rocks, to be exact. The woman told her that she loved to garden and when Ann asked her what was her favorite thing in Life, the woman replied, "Manure. Because everything grows so well in it."

And then Ann asked the woman what kinds of things she disliked, as in chores such as washing dishes or vacuuming or making beds.

The elderly woman frowned. "Dislike? Whatever there is to be done--I like it!"

Oh my. As a young mother in my 20's I read that and wham! That one sentence changed me. Back then, I disliked half my chores, most of my errands and all of my appointments.

But after that sentence, I wanted to be like that artist--not just when I reached my 70's, either--but starting right away.

Be careful what you desire.

In the 20 years since, that desire has taken me on one mighty long adventure of having to let God change my attitude about housework, errands and just about everything else. I've had to let go of dreading things and complaining, both which yank me backward. I've had to pull every speck of Good from simple things while also seeking to enjoy this long journey called Loving Every Day.

But it's been worth it.

They say 90% of our lives is made up of Everyday Stuff, so if we're hating our ordinary days? Well, we're hating 90% of our life(!) Oh my.

The other 10%, are the parties, vacations and days at the beach type of activities and you know? Almost I'm reaching the point--after 20 long years--where I, too, can say, "Whatever there is to to be done-- I like it!" 

I'm almost to the point where I enjoy 100% of my life. I'm aiming for that still, anyway, and inching closer--

--and discovering that, for me, there's no better, richer way to live.


"So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work..." ... Ecclesiastes 3:22

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

As they say, I grew-up in church. I even lived inside a church for a couple years, but that's a whole other post. I've lived in three different states and I've met many, many Christians.

Some of those Christians believed God means life to be one messy struggle following another. Some thought non-Christians were disgusting and to be avoided. Others believed anyone who didn't agree with their ideas, were, well, stupid. 

Some thought that if you didn't attend church every single Sunday, even if you were sick, God would be mad at you. He'd also be miffed if you weren't perfect, didn't read the Bible every single morning and if you weren't disappointed in yourself, at least part of the time. 

Many of those Christians from my Past have, through the years, died. And you know? I believe when they reached Heaven they were shocked.

Shocked to discover that Life lived with God could have been peaceful, beautiful even in the middle of storms. Surprised that God loved everybody, even non-Christians and that He'd made forgiveness available (through Jesus) so they could freely love anybody, including themselves.

Probably their minds were blown away to discover that they, themselves, were wrong about things which others had gotten right. Maybe their eyes became huge when they discovered the joy of the Lord really was their strength and God was so passionately in love with them. That He didn't even get mad when they made mistakes, instead, He just provided ways to do better next time (except they kicked themselves so hard they never glimpsed those ways).

And they might have been horrified when they discovered God was more interested in loving them and having them love others than in making them perform intricate daily duties everybody proclaimed were the most important things of all.

As for me? I don't want to be shocked when I reach Heaven. I don't want to stand there on Judgement Day with a thousand regrets regarding the life I could have lived. 

Instead, may I live with God's present joy, love and peace, celebrate His nearness and stay open to all He wants to teach me. I want to remain pliable so that when I rush into His arms in Heaven, there will be as few shocks as possible. 

And may that first hug to simply to be an extension, a continuation of the hugs He and I share here, upon Earth.


"The greatest of these is love..." From I Corinthians 13


"Learn your lessons well ..."

"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." ... copied