Monday, November 28, 2011

The New Hobby

So I've reached a rather odd period of my life. 

Namely, I've achieved all of my realistic, true dreams and desires (as opposed to childish, whim-like ones) and now what is left but to choose new goals?

Yet, uh-oh, I wasn't hearing what to do next! And just as I began to worry about that ("what's wrong with me, anyway?"), God said simply, "Stand still. Wait. Be excellent in what I've already given you to do. And enjoy Life in the meantime."

So I tried that, attempted not to worry that I felt no new passion about anything. But I wondered at this new, clueless woman I'd become. Toyed with the idea of just grabbing at a hobby or volunteer work, carelessly risking the future outcomes. 

But I know better than to do that. 

So instead, I just told myself, "Enjoy. Simply enjoy, even if this new place feels like Clueless Land where I must believe all answers will come later."

And then yesterday I cleaned-out my dollhouse.

It's the one Naomi and I built together when she was 14 and although it felt like cleaning-out a haunted house (oh the dust and debris!), wow! My dollhouse passion was reborn. Sort-of.

I looked at the cast-off furniture and wondered, "Where did all the good stuff go? The vintage furniture from that box at the estate sale and the gold-framed paintings from JoAnne's Fabrics kinda like that painting discovered in that secret apartment in France? Where are they, anyway?"

Then I remembered, oh. I let Naomi sell it on Ebay. Alas.

After some internal whining, a tiny voice asked, "Well, why not finally (after 17 years) finish this dollhouse? Why not make a few things for it, buy a few things and do it up right, with lights, even? Why not turn it into your new hobby?"

Why not, indeed?

So yesterday, November 27th, 2011, a new hobby for Debra was born.  I love most all things whimsical and a dollhouse is as whimsical as whimsical gets.

And you know? I'm glad I waited for this hobby, that I didn't run out and commit myself to something less, something which would take away from the time to do what I really want.

And of course--in time-- there will be other hobbies and some volunteer work, also. But this lesson reminded me of the importance of waiting until God taps on your shoulder and tells you, "Go for it, kid." 

His ideas are best, they come with inspiration and all the strength, finances and help we'll need to see them completed.

May I never settle for anything less.


Please consider all these pictures to be "before photos."

Oh, and at least I took pictures of a former dollhouse I'd given Naomi to sell with the vintage stuff. Find them here (scroll down).


If you're not liking your own today, remember suddenlies! One day everything may be the same ol' same ol', yet suddenly! Tomorrow may feel oh so different.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Accepting, Pausing, Loving

So on Thanksgiving Day in our area, at least three radio stations begin playing Christmas carols 24/7 till around December 27th. I used to complain about that, but now? I love it. I even created a yearly tradition of cooking my Thanksgiving dinner while listening to radio Christmas songs in my kitchen.

What changed? My attitude. 

I used to become flustered because people didn't adhere to my personal time schedule ("they" shouldn't play Christmas songs anywhere until after Thanksgiving!), but then I figured how foolish! Why complain and get all cranky because everyone else doesn't adhere to my ideas?

In fact, I remember cranky people while I grew-up who always complained when other people made different choices than they would have. Sadly, I watched these complaining people repel others away, they became riddled with arthritis and never learned to just enjoy and deeply love people, warts and all. They believed there was only one way to live (their way, which they equated with God's) and became bitter because they could not make the whole world behave.

Well, for some years I headed down that (scary) road, also, but one day I realized, hey! Making my own self behave is one full-time job, indeed. Who has leftover time to boss others around? Besides, God's endless creativity made us all too different and gave us way more freedom than that.

So as I noted here last year, this has become my Verse Of The Month every December when I'm tempted to complain about how others are 'doing Christmas':

"When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”' ... from John 21

What does it matter to me that stores play Christmas music in October? I need to mind my own business and just follow Jesus. What if tons of people spend lots of money for Christmas or totally plaster their house and yard with enough Christmas lights to be viewed from outer space? Why complain about that? I must just follow Jesus.

There are myriad more examples, but you get the idea, right?
Let's just each do Christmas our way and let the world do it, theirs. And then let's all know peace.

Ah, blessed peace.

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands..."   ...  I Thessalonians 4:11


"I'm not gonna let commercialism ruin my Christmas!"  ... Charlie Brown


Friday, November 25, 2011

Thirty-Three Years!

My, my, my. As of today, Tom and I have been married 33 years. How can this be? Seems like only a couple years ago--

And you know? The real miracle is that both Tom and I still prefer to spend time with each other over anyone else. Wow. Blows my mind.

Life with God is oh so good.


The picture? When Tom went with me to Auburn, California to meet my parents for the first time, he proposed to me beside the gravesite of Rattlesnake Dick. (At 16 and 17 I used to walk through this cemetery every week on my way to the library or just while hanging out.) 

So that makes this one of our engagement photos. My sister took two and I usually share the other one with you. Oh, how I adored those boots, for they made me feel so 1800's-ish. I'd love to find another pair.

This is my favorite photo of the two of us--and inside my head--we still look just like this.  :)


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Feeling Grateful

This year, oh! I'm so thankful for my new little home. 

Tiny, sweet and low-maintenance. Close to shops of all kinds, even a supermarket that plays my favorite kind of retro music. Surrounded by happy, busy sparrows and huge trees, sidewalks to walk upon and a river at the end of the street. A sane-sized yard, a bright basement laundry and a huge room upstairs of my very own.  More, even.

And tomorrow amongst all my gratitude, I'll thank God for each of you who have moved along with me, from house to house, those of you who read here and encourage me year after good year filled with so many lessons and learning.

My very best to each of you on Thanksgiving and always.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Appreciating The Books I Own

Still here!

Just in one of my moods to live my life without feeling I must write about all the details. And working on the 'being excellent thing' with the daily stuff. And too, sometimes we all need breaks from our blogs or voicing details with Real Life friends. Sometimes we just desire to do some major pondering, to keep things to ourselves. For awhile, anyway.

But I will share this: I discovered room for at least 30 more books here at Hobbit Cottage so while considering my new hobby search I thought, "Perhaps I could go on an intensive book search before winter so to find those 30 books. That would make for a spiffy hobby, indeed."

And yet? After counting the books I already own (around 300), I wondered, "Just how many books do I really neeeed? Considering I gave away/sold 6 boxes of books before we moved, these remaining ones must be special to have survived The Great Book Culling of 2011. Shouldn't I just be content with my 300 wonderful books? Shouldn't I just feel grateful for them, especially the ones I desired for many years before I got to buy them?"

I'm thinking I should

And I'm also remembering how often I've bought books simply because my online friends had large collections of our favorite author(s) and I wanted to keep-up, even if I didn't necessarily enjoy those extra books. (Oh, those subtle motives!)

So no, there won't be a Rabid Book Search Hobby.

Of course, yes, I'll still casually search through stacks of yard sale books (or ones online). Yet I'll keep it all low-key, sane and balanced. Snatch up a book once in awhile, take it home, hold it, page through it, read it, treasure it--or give it away.

I like the sound of that. And I'm thinking God might, too.


It's a cool, but sparkling, bright day here, the sun is shining through the windows on the sunny side of the house and all is well.

I hope you are experiencing the same.


"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you."  ... Hebrews 13:5


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Productivity List

So you know about Bucket Lists, right? Well, a few weeks ago Tom and I began making daily Productivity Lists.

What are those? They're a list of productive things we accomplished each day. Oh, not huge, world-altering deeds, but rather, tasks each of us sees as daily obediences to God, things which will also affect our future.

Tom aims for five daily productive activities, I aim for seven. I began writing these tasks in my diary for it's an encouragement to see I did not waste my day while waiting for my 'normal ones' to reappear.

Again, Tom's and my Productivity Lists are not filled with rock-the-world stuff, but rather, anything aside from the normal washing of dishes, laundry and cooking of meals, etc.


Answered emails (1 point no matter how many emails I answered)
Writing in my blog (again, 1 point even if I write more than one post)
Finding something around the house which was lost
Feeding the birds, raking the yard
Mailing a snail mail letter or card
Buying something which made our lives easier
Grocery shopping or if I printed-out coupons from online
Taking a walk
Paying bills
Having friends over
Organizing or decorating something around the house
Making an important phone call
Doing anything which I'd procrastinated for a long time

You know, those sorts of things.

Even after these nearly 15 months of Tom's being out of work, he and I are still making adjustments to this new life. This being together almost 24/7, oh my!  But well, we've found these Productivity Lists helpful in keeping us disciplined because oh, how easy it is to become lazy during the meantime.

There's such a thing as waiting on God (yes!), but there's also such a thing as His waiting upon us to step out of boats--

--and and walk in obedience across the water into His waiting arms.


"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."  ... Will Rogers


Oh, and technically this is different than a To Do List. These lists are made after we've completed the tasks. They're more like a Was Done List.  ッ


Friday, November 11, 2011

Just Around The House

Ran back over to Dollar Tree and bought more of those peel and stick stencils. I love how this one looks with the painting below it (it says "Dwell in Possibilities"). As Goldilocks would say, "It's just right."

And this one:

... I put above our dining room table:

For me, those stencils add instant personality and encouragement. I have one more that will probably go in Tom's office. Some decorators say putting words on your walls is sooo yesterday, but I say if something makes you happy, it's so today.

One of the few things I miss about the ol' farm is our compost pile, the one with the corral-like frame. But alas, I've made my own compost heap right beside our front porch. So close now! And no trudging through snow to drop things over. Whew.

With God, Life is fun. Even at home. Even in 2011.


And while I'm being creative today I'm remembering all those who have given their life for our Country. May your Veterans' Day, your 11-11-11 be blessed.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tom The Milkman and Tom The Nascar Nut

So hooray! Tom The Milkman finally got things right yesterday. Whew. I was close to canceling the service but, at least over winter, looks like we'll still have a real live milkman.

As for my own Tom The Nascar Nut--on Monday he began a sentence with, "I know you won't like this, but I want to do it anyway..." so of course, I knew that couldn't be good. 

What he wanted was to--for one month-- go from our "baby cable" to "regular people's cable" so that he can watch the final three Nascar races. He'd been able to watch the first of the season on our limited channels, but none since they switched the races to ESPN (or whatever).

Well, he was right. I didn't like it. Penny Pincher Me threw a mini-fit (why spend money when we don't have to?) and because we already watch scandalous amounts of tv. Yada, yada. You know.

But then I remembered the ol' submission thing and how God honors that a whole heck of a lot (and how fear can masquerade itself as wisdom sometimes), so I ended my tirade with a simple, "Fine. Go ahead. If we're going down, let's go down in flames."

Heh. And here you thought I was sweet. シ

Anyway. The cable lady came yesterday and we've now got all these new temptations, uh, channels to watch and ok, although I'm enjoying my reunion with HG (If Walls Could Talk, Design On a Dime, etc.) and we both found it cool that we saw two new episodes of I Shouldn't Be Alive, well, I'm still finding that regular peoples' cable is not the be all, end all of our entertainment as Time Warner would have us think.

Oh well. So for one or two months (at the most) we'll need to exercise major discipline. After all, if Tom and I don't manage our hours, our lives, who will? It's not like some angel on a white horse will ride in and knock some self-control into our heads.

No, that kind of discipline is our own responsibility. Always has been, always will be.


So what are your favorite "regular peoples' cable tv shows?  

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control..."  ... Galations 5:22,23


Oh, and we'll pay for part of this temporary cable upgrade with the money Tom got from selling our old storm doors through Craig's List. I'm proud of him for thinking of that when it would have been easy to have the installers of the new doors just place them on the curb, instead.


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Extreme This And That

So I've not even told you that in the same shopping center as our supermarket, there's a Target store. And yet? In the ten weeks we've lived here I've not been there even once. No, I've way more often visited the Dollar Tree between these stores and guess what I found there today? It's in this photo, above.

Give up? It's this:

Oh wow.  Since I'm always preaching that concept, I thought I'd better buy it. If I could find that kind of thing at Target I'd probably not find it for just $1. Hmm. I think I'll continue haunting Dollar Tree where I also bought some Christmas cards today. Tom and I are on a strict, strict budget, but you know? God still always manages to scatter just-what-we'd-hoped-for trinkets in our path at fair prices (so it behooves us to follow where He leads).

Let's see.... oh yes! We discovered last week that tiny, baby mice were eating out of the birdfeeder we'd set on our front porch and even though they were adorable to watch, we thought it time to finally hang the birdfeeder from our old blue flagpole. So here's how I hung it:

Of course, the birds love it. (We'll probably paint the pole next year.)

Oh, and can you believe that the following day Tom said, "Maybe we could still scatter a bit of birdseed on the porch for the mice." Good grief! Clearly, when a man starts missing watching (disease-carrying, dirty) mice eat birdseed, he needs to get a life. :)

Let's see.... Oh! Wilma asked me to show a picture of our new storm doors, so for her, here's the back one which looks just like the front one:

And here's the little ivy bed beside the door. Give yourself ten points if you spot the old-fashioned squirrel, one of the few things I grabbed from the flower beds at the farm before we left:

And here are a couple houses around here which I found adorable:

And to end this extreme this and that, Tom and I just last week discovered the Discovery Channel show, I Shouldn't Be Alive  ***. We were able to stream the third season from Netflix and uh-oh! Instant addiction. But oh dear, we're terrible. You should hear the names we call the really foolish people on those episodes. No, you probably shouldn't. But it's just so easy to sit here in the safety of our home, two big-time couch potatoes, and criticize those outdoor adventurous types who are willing to risk everything to pursue their passions.

We just wish they'd always use wisdom while doing so. :)

*** I Shouldn't Be Alive is not a show for the faint of heart. Uh, no.


In the top kitchen photo, you can also see the other bit of stenciling (above the window) which I painted last week.


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Being Reminded of The Differences

Amazing! Hours after writing that post yesterday God swooped by with a clear instruction: "A great 'stepping out of the boat idea' would be to become more excellent in those things you're certain I've already given you to do."

Well, that was an "ouch" but a good ouch and yes! He's so right. I'm certain He wants me to stay married (yessss!) so it would be quite nice if I'd stop nagging Tom and come up with ways to love and encourage him better. Trying harder to keep us healthy (and not be such a slacker at it) would be keen, also.

It's obvious that I'm supposed to be a homemaker so how about taking better care of my home?
And how about becoming more attuned to people's needs when I visit the supermarket? 
And how about nailing down some dinner or lunch dates for those friends we've discussed inviting over?
And what about all those emails I owe? 
And how about improving this blog?

Hmmm. Sometimes God doesn't make sense to my limited mind, but oh my! Other times He makes so much sense that my brain nearly explodes.  ツ


"To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams."  I Samuel 15:22


Monday, November 07, 2011

So Little To Do, So Much Time

I'll address the goofiness of that title, but first, some of you asked if any houses near me are for sale and yes! 

You can have this one for just $49, 900. Honest, that's what they're asking (all 3 bedrooms and the 1 bath are upstairs). It's on the street behind Nostalgia Avenue (as I've named it) with this across the street:

And this at the end, on the other side of the cross street:

(They're constructing a park right now.)

Kinda nifty, huh?

Anyway, I'm finding here at Hobbit Cottage that I've way too much time on my hands, for hey! Our house and yard are tiny, I'm no longer on Facebook, I'm nearly finished with stocking-up on food for the winter, Tom and I no longer need to haunt yard sales for we (pretty much) have everything we need and it's not like I can go shopping since we can't exactly spend extra money.

So! Tom and I, both, find ourselves in a huge transitional time and those are uncomfortable and can be confusing and frustrating, too. But you know? Rather than simply sit around watching tv until some bright light shines down upon me and a voice from Heaven tells me what to do next, I need to just get quiet. And listen. 

And then do what I've heard to do, even if it's just the ironing.

For after all, even that's better than, instead, panicking and wondering what-am-I-gonna-do-the-rest-of-my-life-and-why-haven't-I-got-a-clue-now-in-my-50's? You know, feeling all condemned because of these big gaps of understanding myself. Especially since condemnation comes from both satan and my perfectionistic tendencies and conviction, instead, comes from God who's so patient.

Instead, I'm going to choose (a proactive thing) to get excited. I'll discipline my head and emotions to stay calm so that I can hear better what God is actually trying to say. 

So hey. I'm Unfinished and today I'm ok with that. And I'm also anticipating much newness in my days and the years to come inside the parameters of this new life God has given me here in Hobbit Cottage.

(And I pray that you excited about your own future, as well!)



"Surely! Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my Life."

(Whenever tiny, fearful doubts come slithering into my head, pecking it, that is the verse I whisper, wherever I may be. And  then wonder of wonders, those doubts usually fly away. Try it, mean it and see if it works for you, too.)


Friday, November 04, 2011

More Illustrated Autumn

Autumn in New York. Lovely, lovely thing, even in my neighborhood.

Even with a thruway at the top of that hill.

Even outside my own kitchen window. I lie upon our couch and stare at the window glass filled with dancing gold leaves. Gold with tiny flecks of blue sky.

Love this multi-colored confetti look, too, at the end of my street.

And I love awaking each morning feeling as though it's Christmas. Again!

Do you know when Life gets really, really good? It's when we do what we were created by God to do, in the place He meant us to do it, in the way He wants it to be done, even when no one appears to be doing it in the same way or they barely even notice what we're doing. And we're ok, even thrilled with all that just as it is, no complaints.

At least, that's what I'm discovering.

My new friend, Judy F., discovered my blog this year and read through the whole thing in just some weeks (my oh my!) and well, I read along with her a few posts from years ago and oh dear, I wondered, "Who is this giddy woman and where did she go?" I missed her, even.

Well, she's back. And she thanks God everyday for her return. So please remember that a sadness you're feeling today may be totally gone tomorrow. Vanished.  For as the verse says, "Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning."  Psalm 30:5



Was delighted to find a new-to-me blog this morning. Some of you may enjoy A Day In The Life--Walking With God, also.

Oh! And just minutes ago I discovered Rosie's Ramblings. Such lovely photos of a family living in the countryside. Page after page, it was like viewing the exact life I thought I craved 25 years ago. Uncanny, really. But now? Now, I'm just plain happy that Rosie and her sweet family are truly living the good life. I'm also living the good life, just in the suburbs, just at a later stage in the game. And very, very thankfully.


Thursday, November 03, 2011

Just Another Walk

Took you with me on my walk today and this is what you saw. :)

I see these post-War houses and think of all the young 1940's couples who were thrilled and grateful to own them. And I try not to think of couples who I'd see on House Hunters (when I used to watch it) who'd step into gigantic master bedrooms and sigh, "I'm afraid it's just waaay too small for us." (Don't get me started....) 

Hope you enjoyed today's walk.


This is my second post of the day. Scroll down for my first. :)


What's On Your Refrigerator?

You know that commercial where we're asked, "What's in your wallet?" Well, I prefer to play, "What's on your refrigerator?"

On ours is a sort of collage and, truthfully, my favorite part is that old photo of Eunice, Esther and Ella, all sisters out for a special day back in the early 1900's. I also enjoy the button next to it given to me by Wilma, my buddy. It says, "The men of Mayberry" and I smile to see their faces. Naomi's graduation photo cheers me, she in her tie-dye, purposely holding her guitar backward. The camera caught her as she was and still is, our daughter who was voted that year, Most Unique Girl.

But as I stand there mixing a cake or waiting for toast, I also appreciate  notes Tom and I have scribbled, reminders to keep us on the straight and narrow. On one card I wrote, "Never assume anything! Make clear requests and give precise directions always." (remember my post about that test?). Another card says, "Tom, Pay attention!" 

And no, I didn't write that one-- Tom did. Honest.

There's also a card which Dolores sent me that declares the British, "Keep calm and carry on." That one greatly helped me during my final, overwhelming months on the farm while Grace finally convinced me it was time to leave.

Below that is a magnet from Joyce Meyer reminding me to be a risk taker and I wrote another card due to her influence which says, "Remember, excellence matters." Because it does, you know. Aiming for perfection makes me insane, but aiming for excellence in daily tasks is do-able. Less stressful, surely.

I also wrote "Pro-activity!" upon a card to remind us both not to be so lazy, which is tempting in this phase of our lives, what with living in a home with easy upkeep and Tom's not going out to work a 'real job' and our both being in our fifties and slowing down. (Waaaaay down on many days.)

To me, this refrigerator collage is like always keeping godly things before us so we'll be careful to do them. Tom and I need reminders like these and placing them upon our refrigerator is helpful, especially since our memories aren't exactly what they used to be.  シ


So what's on your refrigerator?