Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lessons and Mercy and God's Goodness, Oh My!

Hopefully no one reading this blog spends their days in a low-key panic that you and/or your spouse will be laid-off from your job. Yet if you are one of those people, please let this post encourage you, ok?

On that fateful day last August when Tom was laid-off from his job (along with 3 others), we had only $3,500 in savings. Now, for tons of years we'd heard that we should have at least 8 months' worth of expenses saved-up. Yet did we ever attempt to reach that 8-months of expenses mark? Did we believe Tom would ever be laid-off?

Uh, no. (Ding-bats, I know.)

So when Tom first told me he'd been laid-off, I was like, "Oh no! We've only got enough money to live on for maybe two months!" (Followed by additional, "Ack! Ack! Ack's!")

But then we came inside the house, sat at the dining room table (along with Naomi) and Tom said his company had given him a nice severance check, along with a couple others he was owed. Being a list-maker, I grabbed an old envelope and began totaling this extra money, breathed sighs of relief, even though Tom said we'd only see around half the severance check because taxes would eat it up.

They did. Eat it up, that is.

But still? Here we are seven months later and we haven't yet touched those savings accounts. And how fun--yes actually fun--it's been to watch God take care of us. To watch Him s-t-r-e-t-c-h our finances and make them travel doubly far. 

In little ways like, just before Naomi's birthday I'd decided to give her a $20 gift card from, but before I did that, wow! Living Social had a deal where you could buy a $20 gift card at for just $10. And to me--that is fun. That is like watching God, with my very own eyes, help us undeserving ding-bats.

And all those free groceries He's enabled me to buy just by waiting for sales and using a coupon! And---well, you get it. God's made Himself so obvious lately, shall we say.

But Tom and I have had to make God work harder than He would have if only we'd had a decent savings account before Tom lost his job. And yes, we put the majority of our extra money into this house and barn and that, in itself, is a type of savings. I realize that. 

But you can't eat a new garage or barn siding or replacement vinyl windows, now can you?  シ

And as I said, for lots of years I kept hearing everywhere that we should save money for a possible lay-off. And, well, I never did take that as seriously as I should have--and trust me, I've done a bit of head-hanging these past seven months. 

But that's where learning from our mistakes comes in. Believe me, I've learned some awesome lessons these past seven months! And here's what keeps returning to me--do your part and God will do His

But sometimes? God will do His part even if we mess-up ours. But as for me and my house, we desire to no longer be flakes. And may we no longer make God work harder than He should--and become become better listeners, instead. 

And learn all our lessons well. Very well, indeed.


Of course, God provides for us and blesses us in other ways besides with money (I'm keeping a list of those ways, even). But this post, as you can tell by the photo at the top, is about, well, money matters. So there you go.


"Trust in the Lord with all your heart.... lean not unto your own understanding.... in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."


Monday, March 28, 2011

In Case, Like Me, You Failed Winter 101

So! Winter is losing its grasp around here, albeit s-l-o-w-l-y (a mere 13 degrees this morning). Yet we've had four days of bright sunshine and I've basked in it upon our enclosed front porch while otherwise surrounded by snow. As long as there's sun, though, I'm fine.

Which concerns me.

This winter showed me I wasn't the Miss Strong Christian I supposed myself to be. And yes, I faced many challenges and often felt like the heads in that carnival game which rise whoosh! out of various holes. Raise my head here, get pounded. Raise my head there, get pounded.

But even so, oh the mistakes I made this winter! Gah. I stayed home too much. In fact, last week I told Tom that our house was feelin' like Purgatory. Like we're stuck here, unable to get out, unlikely to ever move on.

Heh. Yes, I said that.

I complained way too much. Nagged poor ol' Tom (oh, all those times I freaked-out when he'd buy $10 worth of salsa, chilis and tortillas). And I got too obsessed about becoming a Coupon Queen and making money online, also. In fact, after Tom's former co-worker did our taxes for us last week, we discovered our return will be three times greater than what we'd assumed! So oh dear, I had to apologize to God--again--for acting like--if He didn't have my help--well, He'd have a hard time providing for us.

Good grief.

Yet most of all? I failed Winter 101 this year because I forgot to have fun. Yes, I really do believe that's what sunk me the most. Oh, how we need fun in our daily lives! Of course, hearing that unnerves super-ultra-religious folks, but let them be unnerved. I believe in fun and that God wants us to have enough of it. That fun should spring out of the joy He gives.

So there you go. I may have failed Winter, but rather than hang my head about it all condemned-wise (slowing down any further growth), I'm aiming to pass Springtime with bright, flying colors and lots of fun thrown in, too. I have whole months' worth of fun to make up for!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Yearning For An Egg Separator

Yesterday I began feeling so much better! Reminded me of one of those "suddenly verses" from the Bible, though tweaked. Like, "And suddenly there was with Debra, a host of happy thoughts and sunny skies inside her head." Suddenly things felt different than they felt the day before. (Let that bring you hope, ok?) 

So here's another lighter side post, one I originally shared years ago here.


Okay, so while I was in high school, my mom had one of those Tupperware egg separators like the one in the photo above. By the time I was married at the ripe old age of 19, that's all I knew. I mean, how else did one separate eggs other than to use the Tupperware thing?

Fast-forward two years and there I was at a Tupperware party at our pastor's house, surrounded by ten, or so, giggling women, dressed in their red-and-yellow-plaid best. Immediately we played one of those famous Tupperware games--if you did something correctly, you could take a little Tupperware prize from the coffee table. But then if someone else did whatever-it-was correctly, they could snatch away your little Tupperware prize from your hand. 

This went on and on for some time.

Well, what I took from the coffee table was an egg separator. Weeks before this party, I'd moaned in my little yellow kitchen because separating eggs without a handy-dandy Tupperware egg separator was becoming too, too complex (I'll spare you the details as to how I was attempting to separate eggs at that time).

So (back to the party), there I sat with the egg separator, only everyone kept walking over to me and grabbing it away! That separator appeared to be THE hot item at that party. They'd snatch it from me, and then I'd snatch it from them. And so forth, amid much laughter.

Then the game ended. 

But there was to be no egg separator for me, for we'd run out of time before I could win it back. But honest, even though those were the days when my feelings could get hurt over anything, I felt just a tad bummed-out, but by the next morning, I'd completely forgotten that little yellow thing which would have made my life complete.  ジ

Yet that following morning--that's when it began! 

One by one, a couple hours apart, three women from the party knocked on my front door, each one holding an egg separator. The first woman handed me the one she'd won at the party and told me she just liked to separate eggs the old-fashioned way, after all (and I, being too prideful to look stupid, avoided asking her just what the old-fashioned way was). But I accepted the separator and thanked her for being so sweet.

Each of the other two ladies (appearing rather sheepishly repentant) brought me their own separators from their homes, and each woman and I laughed after I explained all this giving-of-the-separators which was going on!

What a fun day, a memorable one, and I enjoyed telling Tom about it when he later arrived home from work.

The lesson? Sometimes if we can simply keep a good attitude and trust God for the things we need (not clawing, impulsively purchasing or whining), we might just be surprised by one of His delightful little miracles--and observe that He can speak to others' hearts better than we can.

Oh, and now, 26 years later, every time I use my Tupperware egg separator (or separate an egg the old-fashioned way), I always remember this story and smile with the memory. 

And I'd rather have it no other way.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Today I Wished I Was Eighty-Years-Old

Really, I did. Wished I was 80, that is.

Why in the world?? Since you'd never, ever guess, I will tell you.

You know how, when folks reach 80 or 85 and especially 90 or 95, younger people say, "Oh, if he wants to eat salami sandwiches and soda pop every single day (or eat pizza or Frito's or smoke cigars), why, just let him! He's gotten himself to a ripe old age and he deserves to eat whatever he wants."?

Well, I wished I was 80-years-old so that I could eat a hamburger basket every single day of the week.

I love hamburger baskets. Tom and I get take-out from a local 'hole in the wall' place around every 8 or 9 days, or so, and always (always!) I tell Tom, "Order me a hamburger basket." (Though most times, he doesn't even ask me what I want anymore.)

A hamburger basket comes with a simple little hamburger and everything on it (no cheese though. Cheese makes my head explode--not a pleasant sight.) It also comes with French fries, bottled water (well, that's what I choose though I'm always tempted by the soda instead!), two tiny envelopes of salt and three small packages of ketchup. And this delightful meal costs only around $2.50. (Note: No! It went up to $3.25. Alas.)

Tom brings home my hamburger basket and his always-something-different food and we sit in the living room and watch something mindless from Netflix. Lately it's been the old tv series, Hunter, though recently we switched to the niftier Rockford Files.

Brain-sucking tv and a hamburger basket! If I was 80-years-old I could get away with that every day of the week. And I'd be deliriously happy.

Oh, if only I was 80! :)


Friday, March 25, 2011

Giving Myself Time to Adjust

"Whenever they measure themselves by their own standards or compare themselves among themselves, they show how foolish they are." 1 Corinthians 10:12


I've been reading more of my old posts from our suburb house and the apartment where we lived for 6 months after that.

Good grief! I sounded like Pollyanna On Speed. Seriously.

And I have been concerned. "Where did all that daily happiness go?" I ask myself. "I'm just not feelin' that. No, lately it's more like I spend my days aiming to pass tests and searching in corners for happy thoughts." And I'm, also lately, trying to keep conviction from straying into condemnation. Blech."

But then it comes to me: All these changes! 

All these changes I've experienced since August 31st when Tom lost his job. It takes time to adapt to changes like those, to learn how to live a whole other way, confidently depending upon God, not a paycheck. Especially when Mrs. Happy Loner now has two other people in her house almost constantly and she can't play her happy music loudly or run the vacuum whenever she wants or rearrange furniture on a whim or spend hours alone in blessed, sweet silence.

It requires much more time with Grace to adapt to all that.

What also doesn't help is that, in one month, my favorite kindred spirit cat died, I got sick, broke a tooth, two ribs slipped out of place, my one good ear is still clogged-up, the earthquake in Japan happened (on top of all the others) and it's Springtime yet there's snow all around, 20 degree days and long winters have always made me nuts.

But then that verse at the top of this comes to me and you know what? I'm comparing my past self to my present self (and being foolish.) I'm comparing the Debra who so often had her own way, got to do her own thing, with this new Debra who hasn't yet found the imagination to get what she needs in this new life. She's still too often giving-in and giving-up easily. Going with the flow instead of fighting, swimming upstream against the current.

Being the old happy Debra was, in reality, pretty easy. Walking in happiness for this new Debra is more challenging, so when satan is hissing that I'm growing weaker, how good of God to remind me that--in reality--I'll actually come out of this a stronger person who can find happiness anywhere--whether she gets her own way--or not. 

It takes Time and Grace (oh Grace!) to adjust to new Life Situations when they are thrust upon us. And I realized this morning I've been in a hurry to get it all right, to receive all A +'s--and then when I've gotten it wrong--I've been too hard on myself. And slipped from God's conviction into satan's (and my own) condemnation.

So. Rather than aiming for the old Pollyanna on Speed, instead, my goal is to become Debra on Grace. That sounds saner, with extra space for patience with myself, even. And much more do-able, for Grace is one awesome helper, indeed.


Often we expect way more from ourselves than even God, Himself, does!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

For Your Listening Pleasure

Years ago I shared these Patty Griffin songs with you, and well, here they are again. I am listening to them these past two days while I wait, wait for Spring, wait to burst out of my back door to play in my yard and feel ten-years-old all over again.

So if you are also waiting, here are three songs to wait by...

Kite Song

Making Pies



Good news! For two days my wayward ribs have been wandering back home. Oh, how amazing to have them back in place!


Last week I made a little window garden. Brought a little Springtime to our dining room and to my heart.


My new friend, Judy, recommended the kids' novel, Tophill Road by Helen Garrett. What a delight I'm finding it to be! If you, too, enjoy old-fashioned kids' lit. from the 1950's, you may enjoy this book.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Looking Back--Sometimes It's a Good Thing

Oh, for three afternoons I sat upon our sunny patio at a bistro table with my books and looked all around, with warm sunshine upon my back, at the clear blue skies and lawn and bare trees and listened to the echo-y creak-cur-eak of the frogs in the winter lake piercing the country springtime silence. Glorious. Purely glorious.

This morning we are back to this:

Blech. Just blech.

But you know? During those glory days, Springtime swooped into my head--and heart. And now, like the old Ragu commercials said, "It's in there!" And it cannot be taken away. Okay, so it's a frozen, cold world out there again, but inside me, Spring's promise still burns like a golden lantern.

And that reminds me. I have a cool new friend! Her name is Judy, and well, she's spiffy because she's just like me. ツ She tells me about herself in emails and I think, "Hmm, haven't I read this before? Nah, I lived it!"

Well, Judy has been reading, since last week, my whole blog from the beginning. I can't even imagine such a thing, but that's what she's doing, bless her heart. She's back in 2006, so sometimes I go there to see what I was doing back then.

And at first, I noticed something. Namely, back in 2006 I seemed to be more creative, took way more walks (even in winter), re-decorated lots more often, had cuter vignettes around my house, had more fun and appeared, well, happier.


And at first that concerned me because it appeared like I'd lost some ground, growth and teachings. But wonderful God reminded me of a few things, namely, I'm just now coming out of one of the hardest months of my life and these dark times have tended to (sadly) make me forget that until the middle of February, I felt pretty chipper. Dark, sad times can tend to do that--erase the lovely stuff.

And just as I thought, "Well, ok but my vignettes around this house are BOR-ing," God told me to walk around these rooms and look at what I'd created here. And you know? My corners and displays here at this farmhouse are kinda cute, after all. They're just different than they were in our last house. But different isn't bad--it's just, well, different. 

And of course, God had already been nag--, uh, telling me that if I exercised more I wouldn't be so darn snippy to Tom out of general stress within me. So yes, because I did walk all the time back in 2006, I was less stressed-out and generally happier. But rather than just gaze back longingly, hopelessly, I'll simply tweak some things, as in, actually start exercising again instead of adopting this slug-like lifestyle. 

And I can always be more creative--only I can stop myself from living creatively (and only I can rev it back up again).

So what am I saying? Sometimes I need to look back--to return to happier times-- and then discover where I took the wrong turn that led me to sadder days. And today, with all this new snow, I'll let my mind wander backward to those glorious sunny days last week on our patio and stay there, maybe--drifting, sitting in the quiet sunlight at a bistro table in my head until the real thing, Real Spring, returns to stay.


Need some humor on this day? Check out my post, below.


Sometimes You Just Need To Laugh...

I reread this post from 2006 and just had to share my laughter with you....


These are from a local newspaper's Police Blotter section, a sort of collection of the lighter side of crime in our area. We had to laugh, and yet we both wished this was the only side of crime around here...

A _____ Blvd. resident complained that there were 10 teenagers hanging from tree branches near the playground and wanted them removed before the trees were damaged.

Suspicious people with a vehicle were reported on ____ Road. A man and a woman were in the vehicle taking videos of passing cars with a video recorder. They then removed items from the trunk and went into the park, the complainant sad. Police learned they were aspiring artists making a home video.

A ____Lane resident was suspicious of a man wearing a hard hat and walking around in the backyard with a ladder. Police reported that he was a Time Warner Cable repairman.

A _____ Drive resident complained that his son's ex-girlfriend took out a lot of library books under his daughter's name and was refusing to take them back.

A person reported missing from a facility on ____ Road was never missing but in a different bed.

A _____ Ct. resident reported an unknown man was on the side of the house. It was her neighbor who was inspecting his siding.

Four adults on bikes collided on _____ Road. Minor injuries to all were reported.

On _____ Drive, a resident reported someone took the hose from his pool and replaced it with another one that wasn't as long.

Monday, March 21, 2011

When My Faith Looks Different Than Yours

Like I mentioned in my last (whiny) post, our dear old friends from Nevada, Galen and Donna, will arrive here in middle May. (Years ago I wrote a post about them here.)

The strange thing? Just weeks ago I thought, "Hmm... Galen and Donna have never visited us here in all our 18 New York years, so probably I should just give-up believing they'll come." So I officially gave-up and felt at peace. Really.

Then just weeks later what happens? I get an email from Donna saying they'd love to come see us and our farm. Wow. After 18 years they're coming! And right after I gave-up believing they would.

I can't even count how often that sort of thing has happened.

People have poof! Traveled across Country to visit Tom and me right after I laid down my faith that they would. And just days after I concluded that I'd never get to visit Washington D.C. before I died (and felt fine with that), shwoop! Tom and I found ourselves on a tour bus having the best vacation, ever, in D.C., having traveled over from Gettysburg, our true destination.

I gave-up having a farm in my lifetime--and then got one. I assumed many friends were gone forever through distance and Time--and then found them (yay!) over at Facebook. I set aside the dream of writing a book--then 'magically' wrote one, post by post, by way of this blog.

But what about faith? Doesn't faith mean always believing, always standing, never giving-up?

Actually, I believe we make a mistake when we assume that faith always looks and feels just one way. That it strictly resembles other peoples' form of it, that it always comes out of a factory-sealed box, identical to what our neighbor got.

Sometimes? Sometimes I think the greatest faith on Earth is when we quietly lay our dreams down into the palm of God's big hand. When we just leave them there and let Him set them on a shelf, or roll them around into a whole other thing or just crumple them up and toss them away, even, we display enormous trust.

I, frankly, find that kind of faith to be pretty awesome. In fact, I'm planning to give-up more often, especially considering God's ways are much better, more creative and way more mind-blowing than mine.


I've discovered that wanting God, Himself, more than anything else, simplifies, enlarges and enchants my life.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this." Psalm 37:4-5


"Not my will, but yours be done..."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

On The Couch--Again

----No, not the psychiatrist's couch. heh. But, if things don't shape up around here soon, maybe.  シ

Nah, it's this pulled rib muscle that I got from two weeks' worth of coughing. I tried to ignore it, rearranged some furniture, picked up downed branches outside, pruned the rose bush, but the pain is not going away.

So. Today I gave in. All annoyed, I went to the cabinet and yanked out our back brace, wrapped it around me, grabbed my warm red blanket, plopped down (gingerly) on the couch and told Tom I give-up. Although I've so anticipated Springtime and even though Galen and Donna from Fallon are coming to visit (after all these 18 years--woo hoo!) in the middle of May, I just must take this week off. On the couch, doing very, very little.

Blech. Of all the advice I read online, one word popped up on each website--rest. Rest, rest, rest.

Phooey. Rest, schmest. But it's necessary. Wise. And besides, I'm tired of walking around here all bent over like an old lady, inching along, hand over my rib.

We all have hard times in our lives and this past month has been one of the hardest for me that I ever remember. One thing after another---blow, blow, blow after blow. 

But with each blow, God has been faithful, here at my side, never stepping out of the room even for a bite of lunch. No, here, always encouraging--and trust me, He's had to do overtime encouraging this month. Rarely have I been so tempted to just sink beneath it all, to chuck all I've learned and complain my tired head off.

But! This, too, shall pass and all will be well--in time. But only if I slow down, breathe and remember that the world will still spin without my help.


The good news is that 98% of my coughing is gone. Thank God. Literally.


P.S. In my comments, Tracy said I may have knocked my rib out of place--and she may be right! After a few hours in the back brace, I've felt the majority of the pain now moving to my back, instead, and hey! I'm actually quite happy about that. I can handle back pain. I'm familiar with back pain. Back pain goes away once I get my ol' bones in line again. Whew. So now I'm seeing some lovely light at the end of the tunnel.... hallelujah!

Compassion? Or a Savior Complex?

In light of all that's happening in Japan, I'm going to run this post again. After reading certain blog posts by mega-compassionate people, I needed this reminder for myself.


I knew a Christian blogger who said he had so much compassion for the poor, hopeless people of this world that it made him sad, like, all the time. 

He cried for poor, lonely people, prayed for them, of course, too. And over time I watched him become, well, paralyzed. He felt so sad, so much 'compassion,' that he became overwhelmed and could think of little else besides how vast numbers of people are being mistreated and having hard lives. He became mad at Christians who didn't do enough and at his own limitations, he stopped blogging and ended up helping no one.

Another Christian, a woman author, says she feels great compassion for single mothers having rough times and teens, too, who are wandering so far from God. She often meets these people, and unlike the man above, at least she gives to them what God nudges her to give, be it money, gifts or just the right words. So that's wonderful, but she always feels it's never enough. And the majority of her years she's spent in sadness--if she's not grieving emotionally for herself, she's grieving for/with others in trouble. Usually both simultaneously.

If you've read here very long you know I'm a big proponent of balance. 

And in everything there is balance. There are seasons for everything--a time to weep with those who weep--yes! But that season is not 24/7 all the days of our lives, for the Bible also adds there's a time to rejoice, dance and praise God with joyful songs and to see good days. 

The Bible also says His joy is our strength.

True, godly hope--I think that's what may be missing in the hearts of those sad, 24/7 weepy Christians who say they're just extra compassionate. I mean, godly hope is full of anticipation! Pray some prayers with godly hope and you'll anticipate their being answered. To you, it will only be a matter of time. And in the meantime?  That anticipation of what God will do can give you much hope.

And that is what matters most--that I believe God will save the day, heal the hurt, become the friend who sticks closer than a brother. Not that I rush around, by myself, trying to save everybody and be the all in all for the whole silly Planet. Uh, no. (That may sound funny, but I've known people who believe they are called to do that.)

If God's asking us to help three people, then He'll equip us to help three people. But we're being foolish if we allow ourselves to throw up our hands, to become paralyzed because we're unable to help three million souls, instead. Or the whole neighborhood, the entire town or neighborhood.

If we obey God's requests, He'll give us the joy of obedience which then becomes additional strength to do and complete His will. He'll also give us as much hope and anticipation as we need while we wait.

No really, He will!


"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." ... Matthew 11:29

The goal is never that we become anyone's everything. That goal is God's, alone.

"The joy of the Lord is your strength." ... Neh. 8:10

Friday, March 18, 2011

My Mother's Adventures

Forgot to tell you something.

Namely, my mom has a boyfriend.

No, really.

Now, don't get all wild-eyed--if you've not been reading here long you may not realize that my dad passed away in 2007. So, well, it's ok. I mean, about my mother having a boyfriend.

Even though she's practically a cradle robber. She's 72 and he's something like 64. heh.

She says he's totally different than my dad, but then, she didn't need to tell me that. I guessed it from her previous stories of how, each week, they walk miles together and lately they've been going out target shooting--with real live guns, even. And well, I don't recall my dad ever walking for exercise nor shooting a gun. Alas.

I'm happy for my mom, as are my sister and brother. We're not the type to discourage our mother from a new relationship--I've never understood all those movies and tv shows which center around selfish adult children who absolutely refuse to accept a parent's new love. How many times have I grumbled at those kinds of shows, murmuring, "Aw, just grow up! Sheesh."


My mom was always dependent upon my dad (never even had a driver's licence), you know, one of those women who say, "Phooey to independence! I just want to be an old-fashioned wife who centers her life around keeping her man happy."

And well, I'm all for having a happy husband, but give me my independence, too. And give me some things which are just mine. A separate life on the outside and on the inside, too, places where I can be busy and happy and vital apart from my marriage. Me and God, together, passionate, changing this big old world type of stuff. And contented, peaceful, whether I've got a man in the next room--or not. Just always finding my greatest joy in Jesus.

Aw heck, you certainly know by now how I feel about that.

But again, I'm very happy for my mom as she's out discovering a whole new life. She's found a man who enjoys thinking up new adventures for her, and at this stage in the game, that's a pretty special thing, indeed. It sounds like she's discovered exactly what she needed--and because I love her--I am thrilled for her.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Back--And Thinking

Thank-you so much for welcoming me back and for the lovely birthday wishes, too! They, you, are so very appreciated. My birthday was sweet, peaceful. Happy sigh.

And now I'll throw a kinda controversial post at you just to liven things up around here, ok? :)

I have known widows who, after losing their husbands, just wanted to lay down and die. To just 'give up the ghost' (as they say) and zoom off to Heaven right this very minute because the pain of living alone was too huge. Too much loneliness, too much quiet, too much picturing a bleak, black string of future years.

Personally? I've already told Tom that I refuse to hand over that kind of power to any person on Earth--even to him. I will not, cannot, present to any human-being my whole will to live. For me, that's way, way too much power to give to anyone but God.

And yes, it is natural to feel a dire-ness when a spouse dies, especially at first. But! Each day I wish to aim for something beyond just natural. I want something higher, something more. I want to be more, especially.

And truthfully? I believe God's been building this whole other life inside me for decades, a sort of other universe where He and I take walks 'in the cool of the evening' and where it's nearly always springtime and kinda Garden of Eden-ish. You know, rather like this:

"But let it be the hidden (wo)man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." 1 Peter 3:4

I believe there's a type of Quiet Land inside me which God and I (but mostly God) are building together, a place I can slip over to when things turn all impossible in the outside world. A quiet park-like setting to escape to when everyone else is losing his or her respective head. And what matters is that I, now, allow God to build whatever He wants in that lovely green place and that I form the habit of meeting Him there whenever He calls. 

Before the really hairy times of my own future arrive.

It's like Jesus' story of the ten virgins who waited hours and hours into the night for the bridegroom, so long that five of them ran out of oil for their lamps. Then while those five ran to the store for more oil, the bridegroom arrived and they missed out. Majorly.

Five prepared ahead of time, thought ahead, learned from experience, brought extra oil. The other five didn't.

So what I'm saying here today is simply that I want to prepare now for the journey which is ahead. Transitions are up the road for each of us (Life is always changing!) and I just want my transitions to be less painful if there's any way to make them so.


Here was another similar post of mine with some added practicality.



"He leads me beside the still waters..." ...from Psalm 23

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wandering Back In On Her Birthday

I'm back! And on my birthday, of all days.

I majorly missed you, especially after your kind comments and the sweetest emails, ever. Really, I kept writing blog posts to you inside my head, so well, after getting God's ok, I came back.

Know what my problem was? I'd stepped over my own personal boundaries, just casually allowed myself to barrel through Grace's lovely, keep-you-out-of-trouble voice, in fact.

Tsk. Tsk. Rather than just appreciating coupons and my online surveys, it became more like Must. Find. More. Coupons. And. Surveys. Rather than trusting God, I stepped over into worry. Rather than staying on this side of balance, joy and saying no to distractions, I crossed over into a land ripe with so-so, average places for my head. And it all led to an oh-hum, average, fretful sort of life.

Not good. Don't ever blast right through your personal boundaries, ok?

And the remarkable thing? Just realizing my mistake with boundaries was enough to restore some joy, hope and gladness. Just the thinking about it! Wow. God is neat that way.

So with my boundaries back in place (most of them), I've returned to Blogland and with you. And I do thank you--your notes reminded me that there is a purpose to all this and I should stay here until God moves me to another land.

Know what I did yesterday? I, alone, drove back to our hometown and went to the dentist and finally got that chipped tooth problem filled (four weeks later). Then I bought groceries (coupons in my hot little hands), then drove to the DMV to get my licence renewed--needed an eye test this time. Good gracious, they got me in and out of there in three minutes--yes, at the DMV

And gah, they took my picture, me all totally unprepared and with a crooked smile from the Novocaine. Oh well.

And as I drove through the sunny streets of that town where we lived 15 years I recalled all my nearly-enchanted years there. Oh the good times! I told myself I'm ready to return to those giddy times of the heart, for that's where the best times happen--on the inside. It's in the head and heartland where we decide to be happy and keep calm. Nothing can take that joy away. Nothing.

So happy birthday to me on a day when I can absolutely smell Springtime and Hope on the air. And even though Tom is still without a job and Lennon is forever gone and I injured a rib with all my coughing from that dreadful virus, yet God is still God, He is still good.

Our robin pair arrived last week, even, to tell me that all will be well. And I believed them.


John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]

Amplified version

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Farewell--For Awhile

Now, nobody panic, but--for awhile--I'm bailing out of blogging.

Out of all of Computer Land, actually. Facebook, email, etc.

The reasons? Mostly, I just need to visit with the woman I used to be pre-2000, the year I first went online. I need to reconnect with her, make sure she's ok and well, become reaquainted.

Frankly, I've missed her, this loner lady who was simply happy amongst her books, magazines, cats, music, aprons, home and her yard.

It's time to go back, yet in going back, I feel I'm moving forward. Obviously, this is hard to explain.

But alas, it is what it is and so is the fact that I'll miss blogging. And I will miss you.

So for now--but not forever--I am stepping away from my computer and stepping into the rest of my life. And oh, how I do wish you well in all your endeavors! And I thank each of you who have encouraged me with your kind comments and emails. I'll leave this blog up, of course, so feel free to read my 2,000 old posts. After a couple days, I'll close the comments, though.

Again, someday I'll return, but I have no idea when that day will be. In the meantime, be well and keep ever so close to God, our only hope.

Blessings, Debra


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Recognizing When A Thing Isn't Working

Gah. Time to make changes in my world--again. Though these changes feel more like slipping backward, yet backward to a place where things were good.

Things have not been good 'round these parts lately. No, too often I've succumbed and watched tv all day with Tom, and ok, we've been sick and the weather's been lousy (my excuses). But even before all that, tv--even nice, interesting tv--snatched many of my hours and too much of, well, me. Sucked me out of, well, myself.

I began to forget who I am--again. 

I kept losing me in all the noise of the living room and having Tom constantly here and trying to, well, micro-manage him into exercising (even just moving around, for heaven's sake), eating decently, taking his vitamins and discovering just who he is outside of the power plant and what and who he should be now.

It. Just. Hasn't. Worked. I've only become a sorry, pathetic nag (I confess).

So I'm giving-up. Yes, giving-up because sometimes that's exactly what God wants. I mean, people become so hypnotized by the ol' "never, ever give-up!" thing that they (we) forget to consider if you never give-up the wrong thing, you'll only dig yourself a much, much deeper pit. Alas.

So there arrives a day to put away foolishness, and well, this morning I told Tom, "Please don't take it personally, but for my own sanity, I'll just have to pretend you're not here during the day. I'll have to imagine you've driven away to your job because I need my life back. My real life--my real me, the loner me who needs silence to think."

Tom--being so understanding of me (and quite weary of my nagging) smiled and said he totally gets that. (He's probably anticipating being left alone to some blessed silence of his own.)

Truly, we can't force another person into finding themselves, we can only lead by following our own path of inspiration. We can give others the space, the freedom in which to discover who they are,but we can't push or shove, for they must stumble into their real selves, well, all by themselves. Alone--with God.


So hooray for Blessed Normal (if only in my head)! I'm nearly happy out of my head--no more being untrue to who God's made me just because various, weighty circumstances got tweaked six months ago. 

I'm stronger than that He reminded me, but only when I paused from nagging and complaining long enough to hear Him.


Had a great idea yesterday. I'm using our crockpot to humidify our house rather than steaming water in a small stainless steel pan on the stove. The crockpot way is a million times easier and more efficient--only took me 30 years to think of it.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Good Times Make Us Grow, Too

Always at times like these, when I'm ever so close to recuperating from an illness, I remember Almanzo Wilder. You know, how he ignored the doctor's warning, got up too soon (and worked too hard) after his bout with diptheria, then suffered a stroke, losing partial use of his leg in the prime of his life.

Well, today I'm feeling tons better than I did on Saturday, but will I race feverishly around the house so to catch up? Uh, no. I'll do a tiny bit of housework then rest. Rest some more, then do a little housework, then --

Oh. My. Goodness. This sickness may not have been "as unto death." but it's been rough. Thought I was gonna die a few times there, anyway.

Of course, you think some odd thoughts while you're sick, and here was one of mine: I recalled this line I read last week in a popular blog:

"These hard places give us the gift of intimately knowing God in ways that would never be possible in our comfort zones.”

And I thought, "Well, yeah, I've heard that for most of my life and ok, well, I suppose it's true. For some folks."

I mean, I felt so miserable that I just wanted to sleep to make the misery disappear awhile. I coughed so much that I didn't want Tom or Naomi to ask me any questions so I'd not have to answer (then cough some more). Mostly I wanted them to leave me alone--yet at the same time--read my mind and just bring me what I needed. I wanted Tom to stop coughing and watching a bazillion hours of tv so I could get some sleep.

Basically, I just wanted the whole world to, well, go away.

And yet during this sickness (and Tom's job loss and the death of Lennon) what kept returning to me over and over? All of my lovely, normal days with God. My good times with Him. 

The sitting with Him out on our sunny front porch or the way we whisper together in between my garden rows. The times I've almost seen Him sitting beside my bed at night, watching me sleep. All those walks we took around 1910's neighborhoods in the burbs, the coffee we've shared at Tim Horton's and the movies we've sat in the darkness watching down at the 1950's theater.

My good times with God, our sweet days together--those are what kept me lying in bed (or upon the couch) with hope rather than despair. Those kept me sane and fighting to become whole and healed, with a mind filled with peace again.

I don't know. I've always felt opposite of just about everyone I've ever met so perhaps this is just one more example. But whatever, oh my! How glorious to almost feel good again!


Friday, March 04, 2011

Where Sick Days From The Past Revisit Me

Cough. Cough. Sputter, sputter, cough, cough.

Gah. I hate being sick.

But alas, today we have sun again, four days in a row(!) and what's more? I've got that I'm-six-years-old-and-home-sick-from-school feeling.

You know that feeling, don't you? You feel like you're cheating, sort-of, lying around in bed while the rest of your world sits in a classroom doing worksheets. And although I haven't been six for over four whole decades, I can still recall lying on the couch in front of the tv watching Truth or Consequences, The Dating Game and I Love Lucy while sipping Campbell's chicken noodle soup and munching Saltines (oh, the salt of soup and crackers!).

Maybe it's a certain slant of morning light or that quick ache from touching a cold glass, but I still feel my mom placing a cool washcloth, folded, over my forehead and that achy feeling, and yet that other feeling of, "You know? This is kind-of nice, this being home on a sunny weekday morning." The puffy clouds sailing outside the windows in bright blue skies and Puff, The Magic Dragon weaving through my groggy head from the morning's episode of Captain Kangaroo.

Those memories, those feelings, return on feverish mornings like this one.

Cough, cough, sputter, sputter, cough, cough. I'll get better, I tell myself, ("And Debra encouraged herself in the Lord..."), but in the meantime I'll just lie in bed awhile longer and enjoy remembering other sick days from so very long ago. Days which are never very far away, no matter how many decades sail past.


Thanks so very much those of you who paused to wish me well yesterday. Each wish meant so much here and at Facebook, too.


Anyone else haunted by those long ago feelings and memories while lying sick in bed?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Getting Sniffles Out Of The Way

Ack. I bypassed telling you yesterday that some of Tom's flu symptoms marched across the living room to me on Tuesday. 

They began then, anyway, but I was so grateful for Tom's haircut being planned for Tuesday, not Wednesday because 1.) We were nearly totally out of groceries so I needed to go with him and 2.) By Wednesday I knew I'd be a sniffling, coughing mess.

I was.

But Tuesday at the supermarket went extremely well, what with all those coupons I used and with our running into old former church friends we'd not seen in 11 years (!), catching up with them in the meat section (I did most of the talking since poor ol' Tom can barely speak without coughing). I told them about our farm, etc., for they'd not heard we moved in 2008--they still pictured us living squeezed between two houses in the burbs.

But I was ever so glad to get back home where, after putting groceries away and heating up lunch, I collapsed on the couch and let the feverishness wash over me. And since then, Tom and I have tried not to speak to each other due to the coughing. We've just kinda grunted and passed the tv remote back and forth.  ツ

But thank-goodness, I've had no sore throat! I hate those, don't you?

The other thing for which I'm grateful? That these symptoms attacked us now, not in the beautiful, early stages of Spring. That would have proven most annoying, what with our aching all winter to be outside. Alas.

So I'll return to my books which I read in bed yesterday while sometimes gazing out the sunny window to our sparkling winter lake and try to finish three I've begun:

Spiderweb For Two: A Melendy Maze by Elizabeth Enright

The Riddle of the Red Whale by Edward Fenton

Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish

The first two are comfort reads, wonderful young adult novels, and the last one was a surprise gift from my lovely online friend, Dolores. How sweet of her to think of me, especially since I've not been able to order books like I used to.

And a special thanks to the sweet woman at Lord, I Want to Be Whole who became my 100th blog follower. I'd been a tad Adrian Monk-ish about that 99 number being there for ever so long. heh.

Addendum: Uh-oh! One of my followers bailed out, so I'm back to 99 again. Oh well.

And to anyone else who's currently sick, hang in there! I feel your pain. Just remember that very soon we all will be outside basking in the wonder, the gift, that is Springtime.