Wednesday, June 30, 2010

From My Life Around Here

I did some rearranging on our porch yesterday, painted the loveseat and the chair near the curtain, also.

I sit at this table on mornings and cool afternoons reading books and taking long pauses to watch the birds at the feeders. Lennon and McCartney lounge out here in the mornings after their breakfast.

I love this angle of my garden in the afternoons.

Yesterday the temperature was so perfect that I accomplished all sorts of things. Sixty-eight degrees! My idea of summer perfection.

At our last house, the songs of Glenn Miller were current faire. His songs fit our walls perfectly and spun on my record player like they were created for our home's theme music. 

Yet here at this old farmhouse? Oh, it's Andy Williams all the way. His songs waft all echo-ey from upstairs as though they were written for this time, this place.

Which singer(s) best supplies the theme music for your home?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Of Setting Personal Boundaries

So lately, Tom picked up a bad habit. I call it the 'We Need To' habit."

I mean, we'll be driving along country roads or else walking up people's driveways to their yard sales and he'll look at all the lovely landscaping and that's when it starts:

"We need to plant more trees on our farm."

"We need to make a brick patio."

"We need to spread mulch on all our flowerbeds."

"We need to put up some picket fencing, plant some brighter flowers, make a flower bed around our mailbox post, clear the weeds around the septic well and prune our grapevines and our meadow trees."

The problem? His "we" means me. Debra. Those are the tasks I've volunteered to do around this farm. Tom's tasks are to mow certain parts of the yard on his tractor and organize the garage and barn.

So anyway, I noticed how tight my stomach would feel after a few hundred We Need To's. And how often those We Need To's led to my telling Tom, "I know, I know already! I've got to get my gardens in first, ok? I keep telling you that." (Add to that additional whining.)

And then finally one day I put up a necessary, mind-saving boundary. 

After driving alongside Tom and listening to more We Need To's, I told him, "Look. I need you to stop with the We Need To's because your 'we' means 'me'! You realize that, don't you? All the things you're suggesting are things for which I'm responsible. And I'm feeling so pressured to do more, more, more, that I can't even look around our yard and enjoy it any longer. I just look and see all the extra things you wish I would do."

He got the point. Thankfully, I can't recall hearing one We Need To since then. Boundaries. They're vital. We all need to set them if we wish to keep our sanity.

And I hope you've already put up a few boundaries of your own--without feeling guilty about them, either.


Friday, June 25, 2010

A Victorian Cottage

Oh! You simply must see this tiny Victorian cottage. Read the article and click on the slideshow, the one for the cottage (there are other good ones though, too).

That cottage made my day. Gave me ideas for our downstairs bedroom, the one I've done nothing with so far. Placed dreams and plans inside my head for other rooms and our yard, as well.

It just might encourage you that bigger, truly, is not always better.

Of Spinach Posts And The People Who Read Them

Very occasionally I've received emails sounding rather like this:

"Hey Debra, you might not remember me but I used to read your blog all the time and I left you a few comments. But then I stopped reading your blog because, well, I hated you. And hated what you wrote. Of course, that was because I knew your words were right, but I just didn't want to hear them anymore because I wanted to do what I wanted to do. But that hasn't worked out too well so now I'm back. Just wanted you to know."

Honestly? I love those emails. They bless my socks off and make me laugh.

Why? Because I serve up a whole lot of spinach around here. Liver, peas and carrots, too. You know, grow-up-and-stop-complaining stuff. Stuff which God has to drill into my head and heart, like, a zillion times, until I finally get it, accept it.

And for those of you who have stayed with me all these years (or gone and then returned again) I want to thank-you and sayif you've hung around this place very long, well, you must be wanting to die to self and grow to deeper places in God, too. For as I said, I serve lots of spinach and liver in between my cake and pie posts. And trust me, not everybody likes those spinach posts, but I'm always blessed when they--when you--read and ponder them anyway, year after year.


"Deep calleth unto deep... " ... Psalm 42:7


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Around The Ol' Farm This Morning

I wish you could hear all the bird song and smell the sweet woods behind us...

And here, below, is a cottage-style cape we passed last weekend. The pictures do it no justice, though. It's for sale and I had to talk Tom out of falling in love with that place. Hmm.. But I know how it is. I'm all the time seeing places I think I'd trade for ours in a second. (So disloyal and fickle. I know.)

(Click to enlarge.)

Acceptance Vs. Settling

Some people hate the thought of accepting problems and negative situations. They believe acceptance is the same as settling, giving-up.

Uh, wrong.

Acceptance is an important beginning. It's vital, actually.

An example? Arthritis runs in my dad's side of the family and in 2000 I began having some real problems with stiffness in nearly all my joints. I couldn't reach behind me to zip up dresses and Tom even had to button small cuff buttons for me. It was bad. Scary.

So, at first, I had to accept that the ol' family arthritis curse had caught up with me. My time had come--to lay down and give into arthritis? No way! But rather, to deal with it. To fight it. I'd watched far too many relatives lie down with it or park themselves beside medicine cabinets.

But acceptance had to come first. Otherwise? Otherwise I'd have continued on in denial or ignorance, even. And people in denial do not make changes, but rather, they continue along their not-so-merry way living as they always have and eventually standing in the center of their consequences, paying awful prices.

So I began doing research--I went online and read and searched for possible causes and I found one. I found a study of 500,000 women who drank two or more cups of decaf coffee a day and huge amounts of them were coming down with early cases of rheumatoid arthritis. And most of those women came from families with arthritis in their bloodlines. But when they gave up the decaf, they were fine again!

Wow. Guess who was also drinking 2 cups of decaf a day? So immediately I gave it up and within 8 days I was back to normal. I felt wonderful and oh so relieved. And I still continue to make other dietary changes in this area--I've discovered, also, that the more dairy and sugar I eliminate, the freer my joints feel. And staying peaceful and forgiving and calm. Oh, the value of those.

Acceptance has been vital. Denial would have been tragic. But did I settle for the problem? Did I lie back and let it wash over me? Did I make allowances for it and give it a place in my home? No. I fought it.

And not with medications, may I add. And all these years and websites like Dr. Mercola's and Dr. Colbert's later, I'm more determined that medication for any of my aging problems will always be a final resort. First, I'll exhaust every natural remedy I can discover. 

And so far, I've successfully discovered natural ways to deal with each problem with aging that has popped up. Again, so far.

No to denial. Yes to acceptance. No to settling. And yes to discovery, to doing whatever I can, whatever God leads me to do.


Here is one of the studies linking decaf with rheumatoid arthritis. It is not the study I saw ten years ago--I have since searched and searched for it but it appears to have been pulled as so many similar articles have been over the years. Naomi and I have watched this sort of thing happen over and over--the pulling, the hiding away of information which will affect sales of big companies--and have been shocked that such things take place in our Country all the time.


"We don't know what we don't know." ... copied

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Woman I Hate

Really, I try not to hate anyone. I remind myself that satan is the one to hate and he is, in some way, always behind every snide remark, every unfair assumption and all things evil.

But, even so, there is still one woman I do hate. She is our GPS lady.

Oh how Miss GPS bugs me! Tom and I will be tooling along lovely country roads and I'll be telling him something ever so meaningful and deep (heh) and suddenly there she squawks! Miss GPS drowns me out with her annoying, "RIGHT TURN IN FIVE MILES."

Due to some deep-rooted psychological childhood issues, I detest being interrupted and so I must pause until she finishes speaking, for Tom can't hear me otherwise (I can barely hear myself). And because I must stop, and because she irks me no end, I sometimes forget what I was saying.

Ack! I do hate that woman.

So I try again. "And when I see these things happening, I feel..."


"Gah. Now, what was I saying before she interrupted me?" (I pause to remember because my brain is over-50-defective now.) "Oh yes, when I see these things happening, I feel..."


"Argh! I can't stand that woman. Tom, can't you turn her off for the next three miles?"

Tom chuckles (he thinks this is all hilarious) and says, "If I do, I'll forget to turn her back on and we'll miss our turn."

Oh well. At least our early days when Tom still held out hope that I'd learn to read a map are gone. Miss GPS gets us to where we wanna go without arguments about a certain someone who is a map moron. So I guess chalk one up for a bit of electronic progress.

Although, sometimes Miss GPS is the new map moron (how fun for me to hear Tom blame her). She'll take us three blocks out of our way, run us around in a circle then decide on a different route. Or she'll tell us, "YOU HAVE ARRIVED," after we've already bought our yard sale treasures and are a block down the road. 

She instructs us to turn when it's too late or too early, sends us off in the wrong direction or speaks of roads which do not exist. (Tom does not chuckle at these times for he pictures all the dollars we might have to spend to replace Miss GPS.)

Of course--to me, but not to Tom-- that's what makes Miss GPS loads of fun. Serves her right, anyway. And besides, it's always interesting to listen to someone who appears to have lost her mind.  ツ


Monday, June 21, 2010

Camping In The Desert (I Don't Recommend It)

"... but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God..." Romans 12:2


Tom, Naomi and I camped in Death Valley eons ago on the longest, most miserably-steaming summer night of our lives. Good grief. Not our favorite camping trip, though later-- after we escaped--we laughed about our adventure.

But actually? I returned home from that trip to a desert as well. Not only did we live in a dry, sandy land an hour outside of Reno, NV, but the very inside of my home, my heart, was a desert, also. Oh, the wandering around in the desert of depression!

So why the desert inside my soul? Whew. Lots of reasons. I was arguing with God about something and determining that happiness in Nevada was impossible. I complained constantly and I refused to release something God had finished with years before.

And (a big one) I'd listen to sermons with my head filter on. You know, the filter which tells you, "Yes, I believe that part, but oh! Not that other thing. Don't believe that. Hmm, but yes, now I believe this later part, but nope! I don't believe that final point."

Good grief. Want to stop growing in God? Listen to teachings, read books and respond to life that same way. It's that head filter that keeps us stuck where we've always been.  It's that head filter which traps us in clueless disobedience to God, as well.

We did move away from the desert, the Nevada one, but sadly, I also packed my stubborn head filter, the one guaranteed to keep me in the wilderness and carried it to New York.

But then, one year later, oh! God tore that filter off my head (long story) and wow. The light! The light was so bright. And everything changed.

That binding, blinding head filter was cast away and oh, the unlearning I had to do. Whole decades of it. But the walk out of the desert was immediate and over the following years, Joy replaced the desert atmosphere inside my head--Joy,Grace, Gratitude--and Growth.

So much growth.

Oh, how much a person can grow when she humbly begins again, when she starts all over and leaves her church lady creation lying fried back there in the desert. 


It is fear which keeps us from welcoming new ideas and new ways of living and thinking. Fear brings torment and who wants that?


Friday, June 18, 2010

Helping. That's What It's All About.

Did you used to watch the tv drama, Early Edition?

I loved that show, still do, still often watch my dvd's and ancient, thinning videos taped from the tv.

In case you've not seen it, Gary would get tomorrow's newspaper today and so he'd have to go racing around Chicago trying to keep people from accidents/decisions which would hurt or even kill them. In his daily newspaper were all the details he needed to know in order to arrive in time to 'save the day.'

Doesn't sound too difficult does it? Just show up and warn people that they're making unwise mistakes, they're in danger, they're headed for a big fall.

Huh. But you know how people/we are, don't you? We don't want to be told what to do. We distrust strangers who come along with warnings, wanting us to change what we think best. And we must know all the whys. Why do you think I'm making a mistake? Why should I change? Why do you think you have a right to tell me what to do?

And it's not like Gary could tell everyone, "Hey. I get tomorrow's newspaper today so you'll just have to trust me." (Like that would work.) No, mostly? Folks had to humble themselves and trust that Gary knew something they didn't. They had to act in a type of faith and rethink their decisions.

Not everyone did that, though. And mostly, Gary was misunderstood, always in a hurry, always sacrificing his own life, his wants and he received oh-so-few thanks.

Anyway, Early Edition confirmed what God was teaching me about ministry to others at that time. Even now it reminds me to not give up on others as I try to help them, especially at this blog.

Ministry to others can get messy, you know.

And I'll just end this with a quote from the show. Gary's counterpart, a man who received tomorrow's newspaper in New York City, traveled to Chicago to find Gary after he (NYC guy) had not received the NYC paper for a couple weeks.

Joey Clams appeared to want to help Gary not lose his own newspaper, but in reality, he hoped that, by helping Gary save other people, he'd start receiving his own New York City newspaper again. He missed the fringe benefits (betting on sure-bet horse races to win tons of money, being one), but beneath all that, he also missed the looks of gratitude he received from the people whose lives he saved. He missed making a difference.

Well, Joey never did get the NYC newspaper back and near the episode's end this is what he told Gary:

"But you know? I got to thinking. I've been making too much of this paper thing. See, Joey Clams is not a passive spectator on the stage of History. No, my friend. He's a man of action. And if I want to help people, who's gonna stop me? No one, that's who. I don't need the paper to do that."

Wow. Anytime, we can help people. No great, super, behind-the-pulpit callings or gifts needed! No, just a longing to lift people up who are down, a wanting for them to know our amazing Saviour. 


Update 2019: Finally the complete 4-seasons of Early Edition have been released on dvd! 


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Daughter's Childhood

Today is our neighbors' tiny daughter's second birthday. She was born four days after we moved into this old farmhouse so that's how I know.

I remember when my own daughter turned two. That day Tom and I kept telling her, "You're two now, Sweetie!" But she'd shake her head and say, "No! I'm three. I wanna be three now."

Ha! All that year she pretended she was three.

Oh, we had fun raising Naomi. Of course, when she was really tiny, I recall feeling tired an awful lot, but mostly? Mostly I remember the adventure of having my very own young child, how my goal was to give Naomi a dreamy, creative childhood she would remember fondly.

We put one of those baby seats on the back of my bicycle and Naomi and I often rode through old neighborhoods to the supermarket in our tiny country town. I'd place her back on the seat then plop a sack of groceries on her lap and we'd ride home, sometimes singing. Of course, the day came when she refused to hold that bag on her lap and I said good-bye to that grocery-getting convenience (I had no driver's licence at that time). But with a child, you're always saying good-bye to something.

Other times we walked to the town library inside a 1920's log cabin by the river where we'd skip rocks, then amble over to the post office to pick up the mail. We'd return home for lunch, a story and a nap, then afterward we'd play Candy Land for hours until Tom got home and I'd plead with him to play a few rounds.

We'd have company over to dinner, relatives, friends, for those were my favorite memories while growing-up and I wanted Naomi to keep similar ones. The three of us went tent camping most summers, I'd reach my hand to the car's backseat and she'd hold it (we later all laughed about that, though teen Naomi's laugh was more of a grunt) and we'd eat bad food and swim a lot and play in the sand. I'd lie in the tent at night in between my little family and feel inexplicably happy.

I grew Shasta daisies, cosmos and marigolds so Naomi would look back and remember there were flowers. We had birdbaths so she'd remember birds, strawberries and raspberries so she'd recall picking fruit in the backyard on clear, summer mornings.

As Naomi grew we let her have parties for any occasion, birthdays or Just Because days and weekend slumber parties, too. One year she had an invitation-only birthday party for our cats and I still remember standing at the door and thinking of Little Women while watching the five girls in the shady front yard reclining upon blankets on the lawn, relaxed, singing happy birthday to our cats, eating sweets and giving our cats their own treats. Watching that scene, I felt enchanted.

And grateful. I remember feeling so grateful for Naomi.

She and I had craft nights and I'd watch her tape and staple new clothes and make creations from the project box. While watching her I reminded myself that someday she'd be grown and gone away so I needed to memorize that little girl, age six, upon the living room carpet. I tried so hard to slow down time, to will it to stop for just one moment, but it sped by even faster at those times, as if laughing at my attempts. I thought it wasn't fair.

But it was fair and it was Life. And I would say that those years are gone, but you know? They're still here. Anytime I wish I can pull out a memory, shine it till it gleams, then put it back again. Because even in the midst of my tiredness during those early years, oh, I reminded myself to stay awake, to not turn my head, to not miss one single moment of my daughter's childhood.

Naomi at thirty...


Want another young Naomi story? Here's one.

And another with mentions of feeding seagulls.


Monday, June 14, 2010

My Attempt at Random Thoughts

Judy always posts delightful random thoughts lists. They inspire me, make me smile.

But don't expect my random thought list to do that for you. I just thought I'd try it and see what transpires.  ツ

My Current Random Thoughts:

1. The morning birds in our yard sound like those lovely bird song recordings you hear with titles like, "Bird Songs For People Who Don't Get Out Much."

2. I'm tired of June rain and June clouds. Shouldn't June be so sunny, humid and hot that we're complaining about that?

3. It bothers me a lot that we've all been taught that--when we don't feel well-- treat the symptoms rather than the cause.

4. I found two great books at our country fair's book sale. The Christmas Mouse by Miss Read (am loving it). And In The Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith, one of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Both are hc and cost only $1 each.

5. Folks who think outside of the moldy ol' traditional box are my favorites. Oh, the creative ideas they come up with!

6. Tom and I have twice spied a bird in our yard which we've never, ever seen before and are making ourselves crazy trying to identify it. It's almost a solid deep blue-grey charcoal shade, about the size of a cardinal. Hmm.

7. I ordered twenty strawberry plants online and miraculously, each one survived the transit, my procrastination in planting them and my actual planting of them. They look pretty now (remember, when they arrive by mail, they look like stretched-out green worms. No leaves.).

8. Jimmy Dean died yesterday, but I would have sworn that he died two years ago. Weird.

9. This weekend Tom and I visited a new coffee shop in Lewiston. I ordered a warm cheese danish--and fell in love. "This is one of the best things I've ever eaten in my entire life!" I told Tom. "Give me one of these every single day of my life and I'll never complain about anything again." Of course, my life would then likely be shortened (all that cheese and sugar!), thus giving me fewer opportunities to complain.

10. Last week I finally hooked up my record player upstairs and the first song I listened to? Karen Carpenter's Rainy Days and Mondays. Oh my. Her songs always make me melancholy, but mostly because of how her life turned out. But still I listen. 

11. Wonder of wonders!  Tom and I are actually organized enough this year to be flying a flag on Flag Day.

Happy Flag Day to my readers!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Our Day At The Country Fair

You might not believe me, but yesterday Tom and I finally did a fun non-yard-sale-related activity(!) We went to our Little Town In The Middle of Nowhere's annual country fair.

You would have loved it.

The fair was tiny, held behind the town library in the parking lot and surrounding lawns. No rides, no fireworks, no big, exciting shebangs.

Nah, just a classic car show, line dancers, food, a book sale and plant sale, raffles,pony rides and an Idol contest with adorable little farmgirls all under 12 or so. And tractors! Probably 100 tractors were lined up, some participating in the tractor games, which, when announced, I leaned over and asked Tom, "Is that anything like reindeer games?" heh.

We sat beneath a tent eating hamburgers and chips, watching people, and Tom smiled and said, "This is our town." And that seemed to say it all.


If I were Queen, all sheriffs' cars would look like this:

(Do check out the cherry light on top.)

And most cars would still resemble these:

And most tractors would look like this:

And half the dogs people bring with them to country fairs would be as sweet and beautiful as this one:

As I said, you would have loved it and in a way, you all were there beside me. I do tend to take you along wherever I go and oh, the old-fashioned places we see together!


Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Lamp and An Anniversary

Okay. I know we're not supposed to loooove stuff and things. I know that, ok? But oh my, I do so love my new yard sale lamp.

Does that look like ol' Debra, or what? And only $2! 

Another weekend present from God--that's how I like to view it. Just this week I wished for a different, 'warmer' lamp for that spot. Gee, imagine what would happen if I'd remember more often to pray and not just wish! (Sara wrote a fun post about that here.)

And perhaps it's an anniversary present for alas! Two years ago on this day, Tom and I moved into our old 1880's farmhouse. Wow. And what an adventure it has been... and continues to be.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Facebook, Friendship and Fun

I must be a rare soul, for (it seems) I'm one of the few people not complaining about Facebook. But I just can't think of a reason to complain about something which makes me so darn happy.

Like yesterday. My Facebook friend, Pat, mentioned the song, You've Got a Friend, performed by James Taylor so I went to YouTube and listened to it. And listened again. And cried for no reason. And thought of how I've only had one friend who would come whenever I needed him. Only one. Jesus.

Ah. "Ain't it good to know that you've got a Friend?" Yes, it is. Indeed (as Spock would say. ...ha.)

Then another FB friend yesterday, an old pal from high school, sent me a link to his favorite version of On The Street Where You Live. (The day before, we'd been both listening to that song. A wild coincidence!) And wow. I needed that, too, for all day I'd been drippy with rare allergy problems (achoo! achoo!) and the skies were cloudy again and I felt, well, bleh, until though the sun broke free at 3:00. Then that zippy song came along and pushed me into dancing around the house and yard and sunshine.

Oh, I have stories of other kind Facebook friends! But I'll just share how one dear old friend from childhood (I was 8, she was 5 when we first met) inspires me. Every weekend she and her family go out and do things. Fun things! Things which do my Old Homebody Heart great good to read.

What do they do? Here's just a partial list from the last few months:

She and her husband ride motorcycles with groups and friends.

They attend themed festivals. They picked peaches at a farm during one of them.

She attends the roller derby with friends.

They go to fun themed restaurants. (She shares photos of all these things.)

They went to a golf tournament then to a dinner afterward at their friends' home.

They attended a classical music concert.

They had a luau at their home 'because there was a great sale on pineapple, mangoes and chicken.' Everyone dressed Hawaiian. She often creates the most exotic dishes and invites friends over to share them.

On weeknights she goes to dance class and learns different dances weekly.

Wow! Now there is someone who will not grow old before her time. (She does all this even while holding a real job, too.) And someone who reminds me, not only in words but in deeds, that I need to get out and have more fun, too.

So thank-you, Facebook, for reuniting me with friends I'd believed I lost many years ago. Friends who bless my heart every day.

I found this adorable tiny bench at a yard sale for just $1.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Of Being Very Slow to Speak

Some things cannot be explained.

Like when a wife can miraculously lift a car off of her husband. Or the way God can be with me and a zillion other people simultaneously. Or why some people like sushi.

And why I so enjoy the show, The Office.


I'm speaking of the Steve Carell version. Naomi had always enjoyed The Office--she shared an episode with us years ago-- but I told Tom later, "Eh. It was ok, but rather foolish. Kinda Dullsville. And I've never worked in an office so I can't identify with that whole concept."

But then I gave the show a chance

I watched it more than once (imagine that) and found myself giggling, yes giggling, and loving the whole Pam and Jim romance, especially. (Are they adorable or what?) We become closer acquainted with the characters each week,it's character-centered and I confess--I've come to care what happens to these people. Perhaps that's why I like this show.

I've been taken by surprise. All that giggling and laughter coming from me, a simple homemaker, who's never held one office job, night after night while Tom and I sit together, both tired after working all day. Wow.

And again the lesson is reinforced: If I wish to be taken seriously--and respected-- online and in real life I should:

Never criticize a tv show I haven't watched or seen only once (it may have been a bad episode). Viewing tv commercials about upcoming episodes does not count.

Never criticize a movie I haven't seen (again, viewing previews or even studying reviews isn't the same as watching and deciding for myself).

Never condemn a book I've not read, not even if my pastor or favorite mentor condemned it after, or even without, reading it, themselves.

Never judge or criticize a church I've not visited or a pastor I've never sat down beside and talked with, heart to heart.

Why not? Because condemning what I do not understand drives non-Christians, especially, wild with anger. Offends them, too. Message boards all the time illustrate the terrible way that Christians are spoken about--deservedly--when they speak of things they've never even seen/read/experienced for themselves. And instead of calling it ignorance on their part, these Christians then recoil and whimper about being persecuted.

Come on, people.

We are being watched, observed, even, and it's time that we be slow to speak--or even remain silent-- when we're inside unfamiliar territory. Even the Bible says that a silent man will be more likely to be thought wise if he keeps his mouth shut.

Wonderful advice when it comes to subjects of which we are not acquainted intimately. Things of which we are not familiar and certain.


Am I saying watch what you feel uncomfortable watching? Nah, I'm just suggesting we don't go on a tirade about things we've never even watched or read. That we should move on to things which God gives us the a.o.k. to speak about.

And am I giving an all-clear recommendation of The Office? Uh, no. Occasionally Tom and I must turn the channel over to Wheel of Fortune when the characters are speaking of something, well, not-so-nice. In this post I just shared what has been a learning experience for me lately.


"Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”
... Benjamin Franklin

“He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked.” ...Voltaire

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Every blue moon, or so, I share a very personal story. This is one of those blue moons.

Around 15 years ago, a relative of mine went to prison. I'll call him Relative A. This happened just before Relative B passed away which made Relative C very angry. He thought it horrible that Relative B left this earth knowing that Relative A had done something terrible, making her wonder if she, herself, had somehow failed Relative A. She questioned if she (the sweetest soul on Earth) was somehow, in part, to blame.

Relative C was also humiliated that Relative A would bring such a black mark upon our family name and for a couple years he became bitter, sick even. Then eventually Relative A got out of prison and he and Relative C did spend some time together and, I like to believe, made some peace between themselves.

Then Relative C passed away. Shortly after that, Relative A committed the same crime and was sent to prison again where he'll be until he dies. He's nearly 80 now.

All these people were Christians.

Back when this first happened I tried to calm Relative C, but he'd have none of it. He insisted upon holding a grudge and so he did. I wanted to tell him that Relative B certainly wasn't upset over all this now that she was in Heaven (!) so he should let that part of it go, anyway. But with Relative C and me it was like what Jesus said:

"A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house."

I was just a relative. Only a housewife. Why take my words seriously?

And so why dredge this up today? To share this: When I stand before God, He will not ask me, "What about Relative A? He royally messed up, didn't he? He sure put an ugly black mark on your family name, didn't he?"

No. He'll ask, "What about you, Debra? Let's review how you handled your days upon Earth. Let's talk about whether you loved people--or not. If you forgave them. How you reacted to hard times. How faithfully you showed Me to a hurting world."

Those are the things that matter. And it also matters that I keep my mind on the prize (as the Bible says), not on all the mistakes, grievances, sad and bad times I and my family have encountered along the way. 

But rather, on how God held us up and brought us out of each one.


Matthew 6:14
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you..."


"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." ... Philippians 4:8,9

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

There's Always a Way

For years in various places I've heard this saying:

"We do the things we really want to do."

Some people don't believe those words, but I do.

My favorite folks? Those who, if they can't have exactly what they dream of, they work to cleverly create something quite close.

If they dream of writing a book, they write. In between all their daily tasks and emergencies and imperfect snatches of time they jot down words. 

Those who want to paint, well, they paint. They ask for supplies or gift certificates to art stores for birthdays and Christmas. They fit in an occasional art class or collect books and learn from them. 

The people who dream of traveling, travel. They take day trips or vacations, they buy travel books or dvd's and travel that way, also. They make sacrifices, do without what others deem necessities to save their money for 'someday trips' to places they've always wanted to see. 

The people who dream of having a horse or a farm or an expensive hobby find creative ways to have those things. If a horse can't be had on their suburban lot, they save their money for riding lessons or learn where they can rent a horse for day rides. Farmers without farms volunteer to help at local farms or take their families to visit farms open to the public. They learn all about farming life and do what they can to create one in their own backyard. 

Have an expensive hobby? Creative folks find ways to bite off little pieces at a time.

People who desire friendship go out or go online and show themselves friendly. Those who want to have parties, have parties today instead of waiting to buy a bigger house to hold them tomorrow. Folks who want to lose weight by exercising, well, they exercise.People who want to change their career learn all they can about a new one, take classes when they can and volunteer to work, at first, for free with mentors who will guide them.

Complainers and blame-ers don't begin. They don't self-start. They never go far, but rather, drift backward, become old, miss out. It's the hopeful, the pro-active doers who move ahead and do what they really want to do.

At least, that is what I've seen.


The dreams God plants in our hearts, happen. That is, if we cooperate with Him. The dreams He gives always contain His purposes, they always spread His light.


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

"We need more backbone, not wishbone." ...Joyce Meyer

Excuses are the easiest things on the whole planet to make. Anyone can make them.


Monday, June 07, 2010

Since Tom and I didn't have quite enough unfinished projects around here, we bought 270 bricks at a yard sale this weekend. And guess who is now making a walkway, a sort-of cheater's type?

Yes, I am. And if you once created a walkway like this and it turned out disastrous, please do not tell me. I prefer my blissful ignorance. I plan to just add a few bricks each day and hope that eventually this walkway will lead out to the wicker chair and fairy pool which are not working out in the back meadow so will be moved to the Bunny Pasture. That is, when I don't have to swim out there. Sheesh, this weekend we had record rains and most of our lawns are like cold grass soup.

And here's the raised bed in the Bunny Pasture. I made it the way Jenna recommended in Made From Scratch, namely, after making the frame you just lay down newspaper and start loading in the dirt (rather than ruin your back digging up the sod). Much easier. Now I just have, oh, ten more raised beds left to make. Alas.

Oh, and don't ask about the tiny, flooded stone patio next to it. It's one of those live and learn things soon to be replaced by bricks. Well, someday to be replaced by bricks, anyway. I try not to promise that anything around here will be done soon, inadvertently making myself a liar.

And remember those mystery flowers out there? Well, I discovered some even higher up! (Click to enlarge and peer at the center of the middle tree.) Amazing. Soon they'll disappear, though, so in the meantime, I've often wandered back there to inhale the glorious scent.

When I reach Heaven I certainly don't want to be shocked that my life could have been so much more than it was. That I'd been surrounded by blessings but never even noticed them. So I'm attempting to always keep awake to Life now. Arriving in Heaven with few regrets is a goal of mine.


A special thanks to each of you who have helped me name flowers and given suggestions for our landscaping! I appreciate your thoughtfulness more than you realize. And more about what we've decided to do in the corner of our yard across from the (main) patio later..........


"Inch by inch, anything's a cinch." ... copied

Or as I tell Tom (who likes big projects done in a hurry): Mile by mile, everything's a trial. (I made that up all by myself.) :)