Tuesday, August 31, 2010

When Change Comes With No Warning

Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear.

Tom called me from his cell phone at 3:30 and said he was in the driveway and could I help him carry some things inside the house?

Three-thirty?! What was he doing home so early, I asked. "Is anything wrong?"

"Well, there's something not too right."

So I ran out to the car, reached for the bags inside the opened window and jokingly asked, "Well, you weren't fired were you?"

Tom replied, "Actually, I was laid off."

Oh dear. My stomach dropped. "Tom, you're not joking, are you? You wouldn't joke about this would you?"

No, turns out he wasn't kidding. He was in a group of 4 guys laid off today. The company is downsizing to just a tiny skeleton crew.

My first thought? "Breathe. Breathe. Stay calm. Save the tears for later."

And then, "This doesn't happen to us! Not after what amounts to 22 years with the same company." (Technically it's not the same company, but as close as it gets.) "This happens to other people!"

But it has happened. And if it's happened to you, I now know how you feel. In the nearly 32 years of our marriage, Tom has never been laid off. Never been without a job.


So right now we are all about scribbling numbers on backs of envelopes and what can we cut back on and --?? Well, you know.

And remember how I was complaining about this farm? Well, forget all that, ok? Just ignore those posts because, right now, at this moment, I am so grateful for this roof over our heads. This home place. This place we, hopefully, can pay off somehow so it will be ours (fortunately, we don't owe too much on it).

Wow. Change. It can happen in a moment.... in as long as it takes for someone you've worked with for 17 years to call you into his office and to, shakily, tell you he's sorry, but ..........

Everything will be all right (I keep telling myself). Please pray that we will make all the right decisions, ok? And that we won't become all negative and say a bunch of doubtful stuff. Tom and I so believe in the power of life and death being in the tongue... and we so want to honor God with our words. Even now.


Proverbs 3:5
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Just Taking The Leap and Doing It

During our lovely weekend excursions, Tom and I bought four boxes of peel and stick tile at a yard sale for only $10. Truly, this was a 'God thing' because He knew that, last week, the final drop of my patience with our horrid, 1970's kitchen floor had leaked out. Drip. Plop. Gone.

So yesterday afternoon I began laying the tile. Now, have I ever done this before? Uh, no. Is it coming out perfectly, as though a professional is doing the job? No way on Earth. There are small gaps, I've cut way too many tiny, sticky pieces and most likely, when I'm finished, I'll be grabbing the ol' caulking gun to try to minimize the edge spaces.

My knee is sore and scraped-up, too.

But you know? Already I've succeeded. Why? Because I'm doing it. I'm doing what no one else has been brave enough to attempt since 1975. So no matter how it turns out, it will be a success and a million times nicer than it was before. Because the tile looks better, simpler, yes, but because I tried. I opened the boxes and began the job.

I've said here before that I have little patience with wimpy women. You know, women who, in their 40's, still must call a man to help them hang a picture on the wall. Women who whine, complain rather than tackle, even in baby steps, what they're complaining about.

And you know? I believe that's partly why I've had such a hard time on this farm: I have too often been A Wimpy Woman. I've let all the unfinished projects overwhelm and downright paralyze me. Gah! But hey, at least God used that to give me more patience, more understanding and compassion for my fellow Wimpy Women. After all, it's never right to criticize anyone for not having the gifts God has given you.

It's also dreadful not to use those gifts, yourself.

Some lessons must be learned over and over until they stick. I'm thankful that I'm learning them now rather than arriving in Heaven all clueless as to what I could have learned and experienced down here.


P.S. And no, I'm not speaking here of elderly or physically crippled women. This is more a matter of not seeking to' un-cripple' ones mind and choosing, instead, to remain the same, never seeking creative alternatives to things which make us nuts.

If broken-down things don't bother you? Then, hey. Live happily with them.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Recognizing The Lessons

Life becomes easier (more beautiful, too) when we learn to enjoy the lessons it teaches us. When we realize nearly every moment brings new lessons, some pleasant, others messy and uncomfortable, but all necessary.

But what I've seen? Many people grow to dread Life, to see it as what-bad-thing-is-gonna-happen-to-me-next?

And that is a sad way to live. 

I think Christians who live that way will arrive in Heaven and God will ask (with tinges of sadness in His voice), "Why didn't you recognize the lessons I tried to teach you? Why didn't you ask Me to change you rather than always asking that I only change your negative circumstances?"

When we change how we see things, then the whole world looks different, including those negative situations which just will not budge no matter how many times we pray they will.

Somewhere in Time I learned to stop fighting and to start flowing with the Spirit, instead. To go through rather than always trying to go around. To just get the lessons over with--to learn from them and allow God to make the appropriate changes within my heart. And then to come out on the other side healed and hopeful and with brand new eyes.

What a way to go.


Learn your lessons well.


1 John 2:27

"As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in Him."


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Magic Pills

Shhhh! Don't tell anyone, but Tom and I are taking magic pills.

Ooooooooo. They are niiiiice. They make me feel calm. Cool. LaDeeDa, all's right with the world-ish.

What are these magic pills called? Krill oil. They're supposed to unstiffen joints and lower your blood pressure and wow. They make mine so low that I don't nag Tom nearly as much. And since I began taking a second pill before he arrives home from work in the evenings, not only am I more patient with him, ("Hey Sweetie.....hmmm.....la...la...la... how was work?"), but I sleep better, also.  ツ

Oh, blessed, blessed sleep. How I've appreciated your glad return this past week.

I highly recommend krill oil.

Dr. Mercola says it's better than fish oil because fish oil can go rancid not only in your cupboard, but inside your stomach, also. (Eww.) So, although krill oil is more expensive (I searched till I found a decent price online), to me, it's oh so worth it. With krill oil I feel gooood. I can feel the difference. The cool, man, cool difference.

Again, shhh.... Don't tell anyone that Tom and I are taking magic pills. Everybody else just may want to take them, too. heh.


Lori asked where I bought the krill oil pills. I bought them at VitaCost

(Update 2019: These can be found at Walmart and Amazon for around the same price. VitaCost tends to be out of Krill oil nearly all the time.)

Again, they're not cheap, but they're cheaper than med's and not harmful to your body. I'll continue to look for good deals on krill oil, both online and in neighborhood stores, since I plan on taking these things for, like, forever.  ツ

Oh! And please give these some real time to work, ok? A couple of you said they didn't do much for you, but it was only after a few days. Think long term use, ok?



Friday, August 27, 2010

Along The Way

Tom and I took another lovely country drive today. We thought we'd share a bit of it with you.

This is the kind of house (above) we're thinking of for our next place. Isn't it cute? (But the yard would be much, much smaller.)

I love these old 1800's brick buildings. You're driving along cornfields and apple orchards and poof! Here's another tiny town looking pretty much as it did one hundred and thirty years ago. Okay, minus the cars and paved road. :)

When Bigger Is Not Better

Do you know Peter Walsh? The guy who helps people get rid of the junk in their homes? Well, he's written a book I've not even read, but I adore the title:

It's All Too Much.

Boy, that's become my mantra around here lately. It's all too much--the four acres with sprawling lawns, the barn and garage dumping grounds, the wild gardens, the orchard with its tree worries, the house with all its painting and repair projects. The dead frogs, birds, baby bunnies. The mosquitos, the disagreements with Tom's farm ideas and worrying about his polio'ed body. The weeds, the weeds, the weeds. Etc.)

Then there's the 1940's and 50's ranch houses on small lots which Tom and I walk through during estate sales. Oh my. Those have become my latest dream. My grandparents always had tiny houses like those and, as a teen, I felt sorry for them. But not now. Oh no, I'm envious, for I so understand the downsizing seasons of Life, especially as one passes fifty. I get it now. I know the secret.

A cute, efficient little place would enable me to do what God has called me to do, namely, spend much quiet time with Him so I can know Him better (and write in this blog to you), travel places with Tom, visit people, read lovely books, write letters to the discouraged and celebrate my life's remainder in other ways than keeping house and sweating, grumbling while mowing endless lawns. And uh, to keep my sanity, also. (When we're in the center of God's perfect, personalized will that's much simpler to do than when we're not.)

You know? God is so good. He allowed me to play farmer girl, to get this long-held dream out of my system. To work it out on a smallish plot of land, not plunge too deep. To revel around in its joys--and come smack-dab with its realities. 

But God gave me other, different gifts. 

Oh, I still enjoy flowers, vegetable gardening and painting indoors, but on a small scalesmall scale! Please-oh-please. That's when Grace is a huge help to me--when I'm working on Debra-sized tasks,not Mary Jane Butters'-sized ones. Uh, no. Those are for Mary Jane. That's where Grace has been--over there in Idaho helping Mary Jane.  ツ

Debra, know thyself, lest you get thineself into a whole peck of trouble without Grace hanging around to help you out.

So what remains is for me to anticipate a smaller everything while still enjoying the remainder of this farm season, too. Or at least holding onto a good, grateful attitude about it. To not totally move away from here inside my head, but to hang on, to ask Grace for much help and to take one remaining day here at a time.

There is a price to be paid for answered prayers and dreams-come-true, you know.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Early Autumn Feeling In My Backyard

Though everything is still quite green, autumn is in the air on this August morning. I really wish you were here to enjoy it with me! I wish you could smell the banana bread baking in the oven. Yes, any of you, my readers. Well, any of you who are not axe murderers, that is. Heh. (Forgive my funky mood. It's that autumnal slant of light and cool temps. We're due for a high of 70 today and--according to me--that's perfection.)

I moved these things to the Bunny Pasture behind the barn since keeping the back meadow mowed was way too much work. (The chair sits beside a young tree--you must look closely to see it.) The fairy lost a wing out in the meadow and her pool became cracked last winter so now I refer to her as The One-Winged Fairy and Her Mysterious Empty Pool.

Alas. Making lemons from lemonade and using my rusty imagination.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Bookcase, Phase 1

Today I began painting our oh-so-brown-oh-so-dark bookcase.

It only took me two years to start.

I can't even explain how much better I feel about it now, even though I'm not finished yet. (Tom's not-so-pretty things are hidden behind the pictures on the bottom shelf.)

Pro-activity is so great.

Now, if I can only get up the gumption to paint the entire wall.


Here's the 'before pic.' The way, way before pic from two years ago:

"Somebody Should Do Something About That..."

Last night I couldn't sleep (long, many-detailed story. I'll spare you.) So I wearily dragged my pillow out to the couch and turned on the tv.

I decided to try to watch David Letterman. His guest was Brian Williams, the newscaster, who I happen to like, as a newscaster, anyway.

Well, good grief. Mr. Letterman turned toward Brian and went ballistic.

 He blamed the government for not putting enough emphasis on the hopeless state of our physical world (oil in the Gulf, global warming, the whole messed-up state of nature, etc.). Poor Brian could barely get a word in while Letterman ranted about all the cooking shows on cable tv, especially cake-baking shows which hold all their silly cake contests while children in our Country go to bed, starving, and babies around the world die every six seconds.

Brian tried to give some balanced defenses, but Letterman was on an angry roll, blaming the government, cable tv, newscasters and all the rest of us for these huge issues.

But did I lay there on the couch getting all upset about the cooking shows on cable tv? Or about the government's part in ignoring the state of the planet--even though I am no big fan of our government and am rather a tree-hugger, myself?

Uh, no. I got upset with David Letterman. At his cluelessness, mostly. 

Why? Because here is something I know to be true--usually, the people who are the loudest complainers, the ones crying, "Somebody should do something!," they are the ones who are called to do that something. 

They're the ones trying to ease the discomfort of disobedience and neglect inside their souls, the ones God has called to go out and help hurting people. Yet they, over time, believe that to sit behind a big megaphone (or blog), yell at other people who also fix nothing and point their fingers in blame is their calling. They believe blaming is accomplishment. Or even obedience.

Good grief.

But what else I've noticed? The people who are happily in the center of God's will for their lives, the ones who are busy (but balanced) in helping and healing people, the ones who are out there with dirt on their faces, but smiling big--they are not loudly complaining.

They're not moaning about the people doing nothing, no, for they're too busy finding joy and satisfaction in obeying God's call on their life. They're accomplishing things and seeing people being changed and lives made better because of God using their own hands, their words, their hearts to help other human beings.

And they are grateful that God has called them to such a huge task.


It's a cinch to point fingers and blame others. Any fool can do it.


I loved this post by Annie at The View From 256. I think you'll enjoy it, too.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Letting Go For Real. Forever.

There's good news and bad news.

First, the good news. This will be the final time I will speak of this for months, so at least you can now come here and not dread reading about it again.

Some of you will understand. Others will think me crazy or ungrateful. But, oh well...

Okay, now the bad news... See that photo, above? Yesterday morning, Tom dragged home that huge, heavy, ugly, heavy, rusty and did I mention heavy trailer-mounted lawn vacuum. A man gave it to Tom for free and he told me he couldn't pass up that kind of a deal.

I stared at that heavy/ugly piece of machinery and then I looked over at my husband who has seven herniated discs in his back and neck and this is what I said:

"This is the last straw. This broke the camel's back and I refuse to let it break yours. Next Spring we are sticking a For Sale sign on the front lawn. I cannot handle this pressure. I can no longer watch you self-destruct. I see now that you can't help yourself when it comes to tractor stuff so--to save your life--we are going to sell this house."

Yes, that's what I told him. I wasn't even overly-emotional this time, but just matter-of-fact and, well, defeated. And tired. Tired of watching Tom not use wisdom and tired of my own pretending this farm thing is working. It's not.

Almost immediately Tom realized he should never have lugged that clunky thing home and so he contacted his partner in crime, Al, to see if he'd like it. Al will take just about anything. (Yes, rather like, "Give it to Mikey--he'll eat anything.") heh.

And then we drove down country roads to an estate sale inside a barn (I bought three perfect books), ate lunch at an incredibly old-fashioned hamburger stand beside a scenic part of The Erie Canal, grocery-shopped in a tiny place I call Grover's Corners and had a wonderful day.

In September we'll invite our favorite real estate lady, Cher, over to dinner (as we promised two years ago) and we'll ply her with questions, many, some which I already asked in a letter I mailed to her Friday when I was still vacillating about selling.

I am vacillating no more. And already there is peace inside my head, the struggle is gone and dreams of a cottage-y place and clutter-given-away and a tiny, manageable yard are being birthed. There's a new, lighter, freer phase ahead for us and I'm almost giddy about it.

New dreams for a new day. And always there will be gratitude that we made this bold move, did the farm thing and for the rest of our lives we will never have to wonder, "What if we had ...?"

We moved, we made discoveries, we lived memorably... and we learned this was a short, but necessary, season in our lives. And hey...it was never meant to last forever, anyway. We knew that going in. We knew that on moving day.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Time For More Color

Hallelujah and pass the potatoes. heh.

Our most unwelcomed heat and humidity packed their bags and sauntered down the street this week and Debra is back to her normal, cheerful self.

Humidity makes her downright crabby. (Why do I always forget just how much it changes me?)

But summer is waning around here, we're back in the 70's, low humidity and Life is again good. Very good.

As soon as the temperature became sane, I got creative. I rearranged furniture, spray-painted a basket. And I've been haunting the houses on Kim's Home Tours, positively camping out there in the midst of all that bright, glorious color and imaginative decor.

And I've made a decision. 

I really want to go for it, to take the plunge. I want to totally Daisy Cottage-ize my house. Seriously. I mean, it hit me that I'm always taking those house tours when I need a little extra comfort or a tidbit treat to sweeten my day, so well, wouldn't it be better if I could walk around my own house for a treat? If I strolled through my own rooms for instant comfort, cheer and to be ushered into my own heartland happy place?

I believe it would.

So look-out paint cans and brushes, here I come. I'm tired of vacillating, of bring afraid of color and of what others will whisper behind my back. Who cares? Halfway commitments never feel right and Life is too short to not make the changes your heart is begging you to make.


Thanks so very, very much for the book titles you gave me yesterday! I appreciate them so much and I had such a great time reading reviews of the books over at Amazon. I'll reveal my reason for asking in September, but in the meantime, please know you were a huge help!

(I'll gladly take more book recommendations if you have them!)


Friday, August 20, 2010

Mercy Grapes And Your Favorite Books

I brought these in from our yard this week. 

Why do I call them Mercy Grapes? Because God certainly was merciful in allowing those grapes to grow, since I never did make it back there to weed around the vines or fertilize them or train them along twine at the top of the stakes. I did nothing to them because I've spent this long, formerly hot and humid summer (we're much cooler now) feeling overwhelmed.

And well, I've already whined about all that, but I did want to share these amazing grapes with you. 

The concord grapes are so incredible that they make supermarket grapes taste fake, like processed grape substitute, or something. I taste our (organic) concord grapes and feel as though I'm eating grapes for the very first time in my 51 years.

I highly recommend growing grapes.

Moving on--

 I really (seriously) would love to hear the titles of the best books you've read the past year or two. There's a certain reason I'm asking, one which I can't reveal until September (I'm being mysterious here), but I would so appreciate your leaving one or more titles of lovely books you've recently discovered. 

Or, of course, older books you've reread myriad times. Fiction or non-fiction, domestic, homey-style mysteries or non-mysteries-with-a-bit-of-morally-nice-romance-thrown-in would be great. Or anything else you loved reading. Thanks so much!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day By Day By Day By Day

So remember how Julie and Julia inspired many of us to cook again? And remember how Julie took on the enormous task of cooking something from Julia Child's cookbook every single day for a whole year?

Well, I was going to write about how, back around 1984, I determined to do something kind for someone outside my immediate family all 365 days of the year. And I did. And it turned into one remarkable, rewarding year, indeed.

But then yesterday I found this article about a young woman who, also, was inspired and challenged by Julie and Julia, so she's been spending this year remaking ugly thrift shop dresses into stylish, oh-so-cool clothing. Every single day she makes a new creation and for only $1, according to the article.

Wow. You'll see some of her recreations in the article, but you can find more inspiring before-and-after photos at her blog, also.

Why are we so inspired and encouraged by these sorts of projects?

I believe it's because they challenge us to always live consciously, with a concise, daily purpose. You know, to live awake.

Life races by, gets complicated and we become so overwhelmed, that we end up zoning-out, hiding, or just trying to survive rather than thrive. How much better to enjoy great adventures of discipline and purpose rather than allow our minds to become lazy on auto-pilot.

Always there's something more marvelous than just trying to survive or do the least we can.

So anyway, I hope you'll zip over to this latest article and perhaps be inspired to find what it is God would like you to do daily for a month, a year or maybe for forever. Something which will keep you excited about Life and able to inspire tons of other folks, as well.


Some possible ideas of what we could do 365 days in a row:

Send an encouraging email daily to different people.
Call a different person to share encouragement.
Write in a blog.
Share a photo in a blog.
Write a poem.
Write one page of a new book.
Take a walk.
Make a different dessert (or main dish, side dish, etc.)
Read a short book or a certain numbers of chapters of various books.
Go to the gym.
Speak with someone you don't know (as in, around your town).
Make one simple or creative change in your home.
Learn a new word. Learn a new hobby (or about a new hobby).
Record one new thing you learned that you didn't know the day before.
Toss or give away ten items in your home you no longer find useful or beautiful.
Paint something in or around your home.
Take a bike ride.
Sew fabric squares into a quilt.
Crochet squares into a quilt.
Work a crossword puzzle.
Send a cute, encouraging snail mail card. Or an ecard.
Make one conscious, healthy change to your diet.
Do one creative thing today which you didn't do the day before.
Feed wild birds.
Work on a piece of art--a painting, a collage, a tapestry, etc. Sell or give away what you've made at year's end.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Restore Unto Me The Joy of (Fill in the Blank)

I'm going to repost this because I've been putting it into practice all day today ("Restore unto me the joy of cooking and decorating and homemaking") and always--always--I'm amazed at how quickly this one works!


Eons ago, Tom wrote a song which contained this Bible verse:

"Restore unto me the joy of my salvation and renew a right spirit within me."

Well, lately I've been humming that song, but with lyrics I tweaked a bit:

"Restore unto me the joy of cooking (and renew a right cooking spirit within me)."

Good gracious.

The first early years I was married, I loved to cook and I became good at it. But lately? Ugh... I often push myself into the kitchen and force myself to open a cupboard. And that's right about when I start praying that I'll enjoy cooking again. Amazingly, that prayer usually works--eventually a joy of cooking returns to me.

Of course, it helps to surround myself with cooking inspiration, so I watch a few episodes of Rachel Ray or Martha Stewart and I peruse cooking magazines--or better--my collection of 1920's and 30's cookbooks. Sometimes it's just enough to see old photos of cakes or roasts placed upon old Fiestaware in front of a hoosier cabinet.

What I do not do after praying my 'cooking prayer' is watch shows where the homemaking arts are ridiculed and women who stay home are told they are wasting their lives. Nor do I pick up books, magazines or peek at blogs which preach "any idiot can care for a home--your time and effort are more wisely spent outside in the real world."

Uh, no. That would only guarantee my prolonged boredom with cooking. Sometimes the cause of my defeat is simply the place where I've been spending my time.

I've had other prayers, as I'm sure you have, too:

Restore unto me the joy of cleaning my house...
Restore unto me the desire to go grocery shopping...
Restore unto me good thoughts toward my next door neighbor...
REstore unto me the joy of writing in my blog...
Restore unto me patience with my husband and my daughter...

But whatever the prayer, I've found believing with much faith is only a start to its being answered. The other step is to drench myself in good inspiration and avoid anything which will keep me in the same ol', same ol' pathetic place.


"It's the little foxes that spoil the vine..."


Monday, August 16, 2010

Staying On The Same Page With God

Oh, we get so silly at times.

When God wanted to free me from shyness (which I believed simply was what it was), I, instead, wanted Him to help me write such great letters to my friends that they'd write me right back.

When He wanted to deal with me about complaining, I prayed that I'd be able to read the Bible through in a year to keep up with my friends (though I pretended He didn't know that last part).

When He corrected me about being overly sensitive and getting offended over every unkind word spoken to me at church, I wanted Him to make me the best Bible teacher on the planet (so that the planet would sit up, listen and throw flowers).

Good grief. No wonder we grow so slowly in faith, in love, in God. 

We're too often not even on the same page with Him in His personal notebook with our name on the front. Many is the time I've tried to skip ahead to the more fun pages, the easier pages, when all along God was saying, "Hey Debra. You're not even past page 3 yet. You're still back here in the Basic Chapters."

Bleh. The Basics aren't fun, are they?

Wrong. In God, The Basics are amazing because they're so darn freeing and life changing--and healing.

And they're the most necessary. Page One is the same for all of us: Love God With All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength. But you know? Tons of Christians are 'out there' trying so hard to birth baby Christians without having a moment-by-moment love affair happening with Jesus.

We cannot share what we don't even have.

So today I would say do not despise The Basics! Don't skip ahead to the pages in your own personal notebook which God is not even close to reading along with you.

If you haven't yet learned to daily receive God's unconditional, passionate love for you, warts and all, start there. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. (heh). 

Chuck all your plans for becoming the greatest Christian example in your neighborhood or the best singer in your church or the best darn little Christian, period, that God ever created ... and instead, start with Christianity 1A:

God is love.
He is not mad at you.
He is not punishing you.
He has never made a mistake in His whole life.
He wants to spend every moment of your day loving you, teaching you, helping you grow-up and to laugh with you, cry with you, to walk with you into the supermarket, steering your cart with you, even.

He wants to take the pressure off of you to change yourself and to, instead, let Him change you and set you free from yourself and heal you. Permanently.

Start there. It's a good, good place.


I've probably mentioned these books before, but I've been enjoying (again) the Grace Chapel Inn books. Check them out here. (They're numbered for you.) Very cozy stuff.

Oh! And finally (finally!) I read one of Deborah Raney's books. She's been a delightful blogging buddy of mine for years and I finally got it together and ordered Remember to Forget. Gracious. I read it in less than 24 hours, could not put it down and loved it! Check it out here.


Freely you have received, freely give. But notice, there is no giving without having first received.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yard Sale Thoughts

We survived our two-day yard sale.

Well, barely. Oh, the humidity!

But we met the sweetest people on the planet, some who even said it had been nice visiting with us. And everybody loved our hydrangea bush. They asked what I did to make it look so blue and gorgeous and I told them, "Nothing. Doing nothing is the key."

You could recognize the people who came because of Naomi's Buffalo's Craig's List ad (complete with pictures of all her vintage stuff). They were young, in sunglasses, they browsed wordlessly, seriously and were dressed simply, with great, classic style (I'm always jealous of people who have that knack). Then there was everyone else--the farm folk, most of them sweet, but a couple were a pain.

I so enjoyed the sweet people. As they walked down the driveway with their treasures I wanted to call out, "Come back soon, ok? I'm thinking you're a kindred spirit." But well, I didn't, of course. Some folks have that knack, too. You know, they can meet someone and become lifelong friends in five minutes. But alas, I am so lacking that gene, that grace. But at least God's made me less shy, more friendly than I used to be.

Yard sales. You can have great fun while you hold one, appreciating the chance to speak with all sorts of interesting people--or--you can sit there and feel embarrassed because so much of what you once bought still remains, unsold, and be annoyed by the whole troublesome task.

This weekend, Tom, Naomi and I chose the former view. And even in all the summer heat, we made memories. We had pleasurable family time.

But still, we each swore we'd never buy another trinket again in our lives. :)


Attitude, attitude, attitude......

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Are You Real? Or Unreal?

The best thing about first going online? For me, it was finding people just like myself.

And ok, that sounds rather self-serving and prideful, but let me explain.

You should have seen me as a teenager. I was shy. I listened to my friends speak and then be afraid to share my vastly-different feelings. I was so unlike my immediate family that, if my face didn't resemble my dad's, I'd have insisted I was adopted. 

I read different books than my friends read, loved old black and white movies, classical music and walked to school in my own dreamy-eyed world while humming 1950's show tunes.

I was one odd cookie.

But then I got married at 19 and perhaps because I was exhausted from trying to hold onto my uniqueness for years, I just gave-in. I became a lot like Tom and tried to be what our pastor and his wife told me I should be (at one point, they told me to stop writing kind notes to people and just speak those things aloud). I tried to imitate the other young wives in our church so that I would fit in and no longer lose friends because of my different preferences.

And then I wondered why, for the next 16 years, I was often unhappy.


But then God began a work of recreating me, of remaking the fake Debra I had invented. And He showed me that all along He'd never aimed to turn me into some generic form of everybody else, but rather, He'd wanted to create something very unique. He desired to shine through me in unusual, even odd and different ways. 

And how refreshing to just relax, be myself and stop apologizing for--or running from-- my creative self.

And then, five years later, God took me to the Land of Online and I was shocked to meet lots of other people so like my real self! Here online, at 40, I discovered people who I'd wished had attended high school with me. If only I'd known all of you way back when, then I'd not have felt like such an odd character on the Stage of Life! I'd have felt comfortable in my own skin,being surrounded by kindred spirits.

But you know? There's that 'all things work together for good' thing which God speaks of. If my many mistakes helped carry me to this better, more confident place? Well, that's not such a tragedy. Now I understand how other insecure people feel. I've felt their pain--and I can help guide them out of it. 

Or rather, God can, especially now that I am myself, no one else. He can more easily show His empathy through someone real, someone He recreated, from the basement upward, Himself.


Jeremiah 1:5

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart..."


Truth will set you free. God can easily do miracles when He finds Himself where truth is rampant.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Of Waiting. And Fixing What's Wrong.

So. Our moving plans are on hold.

Tom and I realized that what is bothering us--me, especially--is this huge expanse of lawn and my having to mow it four or five days a week in all this hot, sticky, humid, stifling weather. 

Tom hadn't mowed for some weeks because his favorite tractor is in the shop and his other tractor is a pain to use (long story) and playing farmer isn't the thrill it once was. 

But finally, he began mowing again and I'm feeling more hopeful.

So instead of putting the ol' farm up for sale, we're thinking perhaps next summer we can hire a lawn-mowing service once or twice a month. I've made up my mind that I refuse to mow the lawn more than three days a week next summer, for Life is plain bleak when I mow more often. And because we're paring down our stuff and won't be haunting as many estate sales, we should have some extra money for the lawn service.

And no, I do not want to just use a tractor, myself. Do not go there in my message box, ok?  ツ

Anyway, though we're still seriously considering downsizing and retiring in Oregon, we're just not thinking of doing it, like, tomorrow.

So that's where we are. For now, anyway.

Today's lesson? Learn to identify what it is that's actually bugging you (don't be vague or say, "Life in general."). 

Then ask yourself, "Is there a way I can fix this?" Then fix it. Or partially fix it. Tweak it. Or seek to happily live with it. Or find another way to deal with it. 

But do not make a rash decision because of stress, frustration, hormonal angst and long hot, sticky summer weather just to ease the pressure. 

Rash decisions usually lead to worse problems. And regret. And who wants those?


This article about downsizing totally inspired my socks off yesterday. It confirmed a ton of the ideas flying around my brain lately.


Frustration is trying to do something you can do nothing about. It's also doing nothing about something you could change.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

A Country Weekend

What a countryside weekend!

Tom and I visited Becker Farms and fed baby goats, patted a horse's head and ate ice cream at a picnic bench where I finished reading Just Shy of Harmony (adored that book).

We also drove to yard sales, but bought nothing which is wonderful since this next weekend will find us hosting our own yard sale along with Naomi. Oh, I am feeling ruthless! Especially after having watched the hoarding lady for the third time on Oprah. Wow. 

We picnicked again beside the cemetery where Tom's ggggg-grandfather is buried (how amazing to move to New York from Nevada and find him here!). We walked over to the grave and amongst others, many with people born in the 1700's, and thought our own thoughts and shared some, also.

We attended our local county fair and in the sunshine and breezes visited chickens, bunnies, cows, horses and pigs. We spoke with our neighbors, Rich and Bev, at the classic car show and picked our favorite car --a red and white 1957 Corvette. So very Paul Drake-ish (you know, from Perry Mason). 

Tom and I sat at an outdoor table with our hamburgers and cherry pie and listened to a mid-50's guy sing quite good country karaoke. I felt teary-eyed sitting there, surrounded by other people, and it was one of those times God whispered to me, "Know why you're feeling blessed? That person is doing exactly what I've called him to do. He's using the talent I gave him."

I love it when that happens. 

Another weekend to remember. We've had so very many.