Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Oh boy, oh boy! Today is the final day of January and we are due for 50 sunny, luscious degrees. Wow.

And you know what? Maybe, just maybe, God will ask me someday in Heaven, "Debra, do you remember that glorious January 31st I sent you in 2012?"

And well, I want so much to be able to say, "I certainly do! I got outside, fed the birds, picked up downed branches and drove to the supermarket with a fistful of coupons for nearly-free stuff and I pushed my cart to the 1940's music, smiling at everyone who looked at me. 

And I kept remembering the gorgeous northern harrier you sent me the day before (along with the free dozen Cafe Escapes K-cups I got in the mail) and the way Naomi came to open birthday gifts and eat lemon meringue pie that evening."

That surely sounds so much better than replying, "No, don't recall that day. That was when I worried because Tom's unemployment insurance would run out at the end of February which would be the same weekend Naomi would move to Tennessee so far away. And I was concerned about all the water seeping into our garage and wondering how we could pay to improve that whole situation in the Spring and I also remember fearing we'd get majorly socked by the snow in February which we did not get in January.

Uh, no. I so don't want to stand there and tell Him thatNo, at nearly 53 I'm learning I can choose my thoughts. 

My emotions only have the power I give them and for too many years they dragged me around by the neck. Well, no more. Instead, when I worry, I now get very firm with myself and tell myself to knock it off. To choose faith, instead. To ask God what I should do, if anything.

Then continue thinking about honorable things of a good report.

And if there's anything I know for certain it's that today God will watch to see just how I'll use this sunny, 50 degree day gift He's giving me. I can barely wait to see that, too!


My very favorite Andy Williams song ever.  I remember being 17 and falling upon my bed to stare at the ceiling through dreamy eyes whenever this song came on the radio. Ahh... happy sigh.

"And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?" ... Luke 12:26


Monday, January 30, 2012

A Broad-Winged Hawk In My Own Backyard

Ooooo! Just a half hour ago I think I saw a broad-winged hawk in our backyard. Wow. It was the largest bird I've ever seen in the wild this close up. Now, these pictures are awful (taken through a window screen, etc.), but he'd/she'd moved to the tree by the time I got my camera. 

At first, he calmly sunned himself on the fence, facing me, where I tried to memorize him while I wished so much that Tom was home, he being the major bird lover of the family.

Anyway, when the bird flew into the tree I heard a "kree, kree, kree" shriek as they're known to make. I'd just fed the sparrows, but the many excited little guys at our feeders had vanished at the sight of the hawk (or whatever it was).

So cool! And you can bet I was thanking God for such a special moment. 


Here's what a broad-winged hawk looks like when someone knows how to use a camera.   ツ


Sunday, January 29, 2012

You Probably Didn't Know...

In case you've wondered.....

No, I am not paying any attention to the current Republican shenanigans, presidential hopeful clownery, presidential election hopefuls race. I just don't care anymore. No single person will ever pull us up out of our present debauchery, for only God can do that and I don't believe He'll do it through politics. Ever.

Which reminds me, I didn't tell you, but after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot--and Sarah Palin and her gang refused to admit their gun-toting campaign slogans were a mistake--I stopped calling myself a Republican. I want nothing to do with that group. I've been an Independent ever since.

What are my current favorite tv shows? NCIS, American Pickers, Person of Interest, Hoarders. In that order. I only watch them online.

And no, I'm not watching American Idol this year. Not for any negative reasons, really, I just can't stay up that late anymore and after all these years I've gotten bored with it. I know how it works. Been there, done that.  ZZZzzzz.

Who are we having over to lunch next? Cher, our realtor friend who helped us buy sweet Hobbit Cottage. She is a delight.

Is it snowing at our house? Yes, it is. Majorly at this moment. But I'm feeling very grateful Naomi had two clear, snowless birthday days in which to celebrate. Since she was born, her birthday has often fallen on the snowiest, messiest day of the year, making her childhood birthday parties a bust. 

But this year and last she had snow-free birthdays. Love that.


And please.... I won't lecture you about your political convictions if you won't lecture me about mine.   ツ


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Debra and Tom's Night Out

So. Yesterday was Naomi's 32nd birthday. Oh wow--every January 27th I get that Methuselah feeling.  シ

And like last year, Naomi's band played at the restaurant where she works and Tom and I slipped in our ear plugs while the music played (making the decibels just right) and clapped and woo-hooed for our daughter with all the other parents, grandparents and patrons. We sat at a table with our nachos and sodas and with Naomi's buddy of 19 years, Kellee, and her sister. Here's Kellee--is she cute or what?:

We gave Naomi's server friend the size of tip God nudged us to and she thanked us genuinely. And while the guitars squealed and the drums thumped loudly, (music my favorite retro radio station almost never plays), I whispered prayers over this crowded room of people. That they'd all come to know Jesus. That they'd be protected, safe and that the ones who came only out of a fear of being alone at home would realize that --to God--we are all important, 24/7. 

I bathed that dark place in prayer which is ever so much more profitable than murmuring criticisms of the drinking and the loudness of rock music shaking the very walls ( and forcing us to shout into each others ears. Literally.). Prayer will always accomplish things far more valuable and eternal than criticism. Always.

It was a good, blessed time--and for me-- kinda like being at church. Kinda. For it was a place to put godly compassion and my prayer muscles into action. A place to test my heart and bring forth what's really down in there.


Has anyone else seen the animated movie, Bon Voyage Charlie Brown?

 Of all of Charles Shultz' masterpieces, this one is my favorite. Unfortunately, it's not on dvd and if you can find a vhs copy, it costs a fortune,** but we taped it from tv eons ago while Naomi was young and she and I watched it together probably a dozen times. 

Last week I got it out and watched it and again adored the 1940's music in the bar where Snoopy goes and the French classroom scene where Peppermint Patty heckles poor Charlie Brown, still making me laugh till tears come. And the two funny car wrecks, the way Violet serves breakfast outside and the whole French feeling of the piece. Perhaps this is partly way Naomi took 5 years of French. Perhaps.

So anyway, I just wondered.... Does anyone else remember this seemingly-unappreciated film? I'm curious to know. For me, it's comfort tv at its very best.


** Update February 2018-- Bon Voyage Charlie Brown is now available on DVD! I bought mine last year and have already watched it twice. I feel blessed to own it.



Yay! Cozy Little House has worried lately about Blogger someday accidentally eating her blog (as some blogs have been eaten) and by reading the comments she received I figured-out how to back-up and save mine to my computer in a file. Though of course, if someday my computer bites the dust (heaven forbid, but hey...), so will the back-upped blog. But at least it's safe for now. (And yes, I really should put it on a disc, something I'll have to ask Tom about.)

Anyway, interested in saving your own blog? Through your dashboard click on Settings, then click on Export Blog. Then click on Download and follow the directions. Easy. I thought mine would take ages to download (2,500+ posts), but it didn't take long. No problems, either.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lessons From Hoarders

So. I just watched the latest Hoarders, the Carrie/James episode.

Oh dear. I realize Hoarders isn't for everyone (especially those with a weak stomach), but every week, I'm grateful for it.

Why? It s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s my compassion. Helps me more seriously consider "the why behind the what," chips away at my judgemental tendencies and builds a stronger sense of patience within me for people who express their pain in ugly ways. It reminds me that people will do just about anything to fill that God-shaped hole within their hearts--and also-- when hoarders were harmed in their childhoods (as Carrie was), I always recall this Bible verse:

"It would be more profitable for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were hurled into the sea than that he should cause to sin or be a snare to one of these little ones." ... Luke 17:2

Oh, with each story of abused children I almost hear the rolling thunder of God's anger--like earthquakes! Just below the surface of the ground, a rumbling, a simmering. And when the seriousness of it all shows up in a physical form as it did with Carrie, harming her own daughter's life also, well, it only reaffirms God's serious stance on this all, when He who condemns both murder and suicide, even, to encourage the millstone thing!

And then with James in this episode, well, he made me cry. The therapist asked James what was the likelihood of him actually using the punching bag, even if he did repair it, and he replied, "Don't take my hope away." Then he began to cry, for he is no longer a boxer or a policeman, but an elderly man who can barely walk and whose life became all about the rusted, broken junk in his yard. His stuff was his purpose for living, his reason to get out of bed, and now the team would haul it all away.

(The therapist--one of my favorites-- went on to say, "We all need hope," but I kept wishing she would apologize for the chiding way she addressed his inability to ever use the punching bag again. Oh our voice tone! How familiar I am with that--often I get busted about using the wrong one. Anyway, perhaps she apologized off-camera.)

As I said, I watch this show so it'll help me become a more compassionate person, for after all, God said without love we are nothing--just noise. 

And how tragic to live upon this planet for 70 or 80 years, yet be remembered as only a lot of irritating, condemning, mind-numbing noise.


"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing."   ... 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick."  ... Proverbs 13:12


Monday, January 23, 2012

Remembering ... With Balance

This weekend I glanced over at my blogroll list and saw Coffee, Tea and Me's blog post title, Come Saturday Morning. 

I thought, oh! I remember that song from eons ago. So I zipped over to Youtube and listened to the song, one with some perfectly-chosen nature photos, also.

And wow. Suddenly it was 1975 and I stood behind the 16-year-old me gazing out the large window of my bedroom in the town of Morgan Hill, CA, feeling happy, hopeful and so, so young. 

Magical, really, how those old songs can take you places, isn't it?

And you know? While the Sandpipers sang their pretty lyrics, I watched that teenage me and--at first-- I spied only the terrific stuff about that time. The church friends she loved with all her heart and the fun times at her high school and the instances her family was all on the same page. And the Saturday adventures of her own when she'd get up early, dress, make some toast then wrap it up, grab a sweater and take off for a walk in the Saturday morning silence.

But you realize, don't you, that you can fly backward like that and it can all appear way too good. Immensely out-of-balance, for no time in our lives was ever that perfect, not for long, extended years. Only, our minds can tell us it was sublime. Our memory can lie to us like that(whispering times were worse than they were, as well.)

So you know what I did? I played the song again and waited until Reality arrived in that bedroom with us. As in, I recalled the times my friends disappointed me and my feelings got hurt and the awkward, difficult times at school and the instances my family made me, well, downright so angry I considered running away.

And then I smiled. 

As always, I remembered my present life actually is pretty darn great. I listened to the song some more, with the right perspective, as in, I'm grateful for the special memories I have from my childhood-- and just as thankful for the memories I'm making now.  And for the wisdom and maturity gained--the stronger, more lasting peace and contentment than I ever had at 16. Or 26 or 30, even.

Then later, I switched-off the song and, still smiling, slipped into bed where I had dreams mixing the good and fun from yesteryear with the delights from today. 

And later awoke with gratitude for it all--past, present and future.


Come Saturday Morning... by The Sandpipers. Be forewarned--this recording just may whisk you away someplace, too.  ッ


Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Book of Inspiration

As you may remember, each time we move I do a major, ruthless culling of my books. Of course, there are some which I (now, anyway) plan never, ever to give away.

One of those books is The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio  (How My Mother Raised Ten Kids on 25 Words Or Less). I discovered it the week it came out (2001), ordered it and have read it maybe 15 times. 

I own the movie, even.

Truly, Evelyn Ryan was inspirational and no other book can rocket me off the couch and into doing something useful faster than her daughter's book about her. After only a short perusal of pages I jump up, unfold my ironing board and catch-up on ironing or step over to the computer to print coupons, write in this blog or send emails. Or I may wash the (procrastinated) sink-full of dirty dishes. Just anything productive, doesn't even matter what.

If you've never read about this woman who supported her large family by entering slogan contests back in the 50's, please check it out here.

Evelyn's husband was, well, a flake,(a mean, alcoholic one) and this was the 50's so she was unable to go out and work--so she worked from home. I so admire Evelyn for not being a whiner nor a quitter, though if anyone had excuses for whining and quitting, she certainly did.

I've got it much easier than Evelyn ever did, but still, during this season of my life I need to do what I can money-wise lest I be forced to go out and get a job I'd rather not have. Evelyn's life inspires me to keep up with my couponing, refunding and little opportunities online (I have soo neglected surveys lately). 

Also? Evelyn's communications with her co-contesting friends always reminds me of the value of friendships through emails and snail mail, also.

Well, stop me before I go on all day--I need to get back to reading this book about a woman who's example still lives strong for us all. Or perhaps I'll iron while watching the movie. 

As I said, it's just so hard to sit still while reading the book.


Would you like a free issue of the magazine, The Good Old Days? Go here. No credit card required.

Interested in more free magazines? Go here.


Drats. I just now read that the author of this book, Terry Ryan, passed away back in 2007 of cancer. Read more about her here.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Of A Reunion with Contentment

"That was such a happy supper that Laura wanted it never to end. When she was in bed with Mary and Carrie, she stayed awake to keep on being happy... A splash of water on her face dimly surprised her. She was sure it could not be rain, for the roof was overhead. She snuggled closer to Mary and everything slid away into dark, warm sleep."  ... Laura Ingalls Wilder


Ah, it's back to that consistent kind of happiness again for me.

I reread my blog posts written at our other suburb house and I had it then, that daily contentment. And at the apartment we had for six months afterward--it was there, too.

But at the farmhouse? That stay-awake-to-keep-on-being-happy feeling came and went. Was here again, gone again. 

In fact, one month after moving there, I remember standing with a rake out in one of our meadows and facing toward the adorable mobile home park three miles away. I thought, "Oh, how cozy it would be to have one of those tiny yards with bits of picket fencing and a corner sunflower patch and country decor and bird feeders and a compact house with rooms all on one level."

Shaking myself, I thought, "Debra! What are you doing?! You've dreamed about this farm for 30 years and your farm fantasies are all coming true!" And truthfully? I never forgot that day. It haunted me often, especially on the days contentment was 'gone again', days when I'd try to earn it back by reminding myself of all I've learned and all I've taught you here. 

Lessons about obedience, sowing and reaping, behaving, not doubting, worrying or being selfish.

At the farm? It felt like one long college course after another. A hard, difficult, never-ending course--and trying to get back to where I'd once been.

Today I am back, but even better. Whew. 



This woman will inspire the proverbial socks right off your feet! If you can't seem to get moving today, this will do it for you... and will keep you moving on into next week. ;) (A special thanks to my buddy, Wilma, for this link.)


"Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls."  ... Matthew 11:29

"Trust requires un-answered questions."      ... Joyce Meyer


Friday, January 20, 2012

Broad, Sweeping Generalizations... Fine and Dandy?

"There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community."  Proverbs 6:16-19


Probably 20 years ago God convicted me to knock-off making broad, sweeping generalizations. 

They tend to be negative, so I'd assumed all these years that He just didn't want me running around saying negative things about the people He created. And there is that.

But this week I believe He showed me another reason. I'm thinking it's because broad generalizations tend to be, well, lies.

Examples of common ones we often hear?

"Parents nowadays let their children run wild. Every time you go to a store, kids are running around, screaming."

 So.......... all parents let their children run wild? Every store everywhere has screaming children inside, 24/7?

Or, "People nowadays are all selfish. They think only of themselves."

So.......... all people are selfish? No one does kind things for anybody besides themselves?

Or, "People who live in cities don't even know their neighbors anymore."

So.......... no one who lives in a city is acquainted with his neighbor? No one?


God takes a strong stance toward lying. Basically, He hates it.

So today, this is what I'm thinking: God works on changing me so to yank out "those little foxes that spoil the vine." He doesn't want me wandering around, cluelessly, doing the things He hates. You know, then asking the air, "Why don't I feel right anymore?  Why can't I feel free like I used to?" (Well, duh.)

At times like those, it could be that I'm walking around telling lies(!) Making those untrue, broad, sweeping generalizations, grieving the Holy Spirit and feeling "off" inside because hey, I know better. 

And when God gives more, He expects more.

And oh, I love this, neeed this:

"Stop being critical and you may be blessed with more creativity and quicker understanding." ... Catherine Marshall (as recalled by Joyce Meyer)

That, also, why I let God show me what's all wrong inside: so that I'll become free. More creative and way more compassionate. 

So that I'll have something valuable to give a clueless, hurting world who needs a huge, loving God. 


"Then you will know the truth and the truth will make you free."  ... John 8:32

"For unto whom much is given, of him shall be much required..."  ... Luke 12:48



Tracy shared her Valentines' decorating around her house and got me so inspired! I hunted around for some old Valentines and hope to put them in my window today.

More examples of lies, uh, broad generalizations:

No one plays good music on the radio anymore.
No one writes good music anymore.
There's never anything worth watching on tv nowadays.
They don't make good movies anymore.
Teen-agers today are all thugs.
No one delivers milk in glass bottles anymore.
Mega-churches are nothing more than Christian entertainment.
All tv evangelists are schiesters.
Prices today are too high on everything.


Ack! I received a second kind comment early this morning, one from anonymous, but Blogger ate it! Or perhaps the person changed their mind and deleted it (even though it was nice). Either way, just wanted you to know I saw it and appreciated it. Thanks.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Penny-Pinching--Good Stewardship?

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love."  ... 1 John 4:18


Of course, many different types of Bad News Stories (as I call them) sadden me. The murders, the sinking ships, the deadly earthquakes or tornadoes, etc.

But what ranks high in my personal Top 5 of bad news? When I hear that an elderly couple (or single person) died inside their home of a heat-related illness because they thought they couldn't afford air-conditioning.

Oh, that makes me both sad and a little angry, too.

Months ago while we chatted with our friends, John and Donna, about the 'old days', John brought up how, when he was young, he had an air-conditioner that was enormous, heavy and cost a ton of money to use. Then he said he was thankful for Today's air-conditioners because they were smaller and cost only a fraction to use daily.

That's when I spoke up and said, "Oh! I'll bet that's why you hear of elderly people dying in their homes during the summer. Perhaps they refused to buy an air-conditioner because they believed they still cost a ton of money to run."

Everyone nodded their heads and said, "Could be."

(Now, hang in there with me while I try to make a point.)

Always, even since being a teenager, I've adored reading How To Save Money books. I find it fun to discover ways to create something from nothing, to use more imagination than cash and to try to get the most you can from a simple dollar. But some of those books take it too far (imo) and I have to watch myself that I don't go there, too.

Some authors have the cost of everything figured-out down to the bare penny. Like, how much it'll cost you to cook a bowl of oatmeal on a gas stove versus an electric one. Or how long you can leave a room to make it worth turning off the light so to offset the 'surge price' of turning it back on (the answer is at least five minutes, in case you wondered). Or how much you'll save making sun tea as opposed to heating water on a stove (instead of just finding the fun in setting your tea jar out on your driveway on a sunny, summer day). 

And much more pinch-the-penny-till-it-cries stuff.

The problem I find with that type of penny-pinching?  They've totally factored out the God part of the equation.

What about God's provision for His children who He dearly loves? Where is the figure which says if we do what we can do, God will do what we can't? And how is this kind of fear-based, one-wrong-move-and-it's-living-on-the-streets-for-us lifestyle showing anything positive about God's supernatural provisional abilities as a Father?

Fear is a thief. Fear is the exact opposite of faith, so it will repel blessings rather than attract them.

Just something to think about today. Rather like the way I think about those elderly people who've died in their homes in our area on summer days and how it saddens me that they didn't believe  that--because God wanted them to stay sufficiently cool--He would help pay their cooling bill if only they had a perfect love, a perfect trust in Him who loves us so perfectly.

And how, because of a fear of lack, they died unnecessarily much to the horror of their neighbors, like me, who can never quite shake the haunting memory.


Okay, disclaimers:

Yes, some people just hate air-conditioning. If they hate it and don't need it, ok. But is that a good enough reason to die for lack of it?

And yes, sometimes air-conditioners break down. But God can arrange it so that we can afford to have them repaired or replaced. They need not sit in windows for 30 years, broken.

Yes, some people enjoy figuring down to the last pinched penny. If so, then--most likely (she reasons)--they're not living with a fear of lack so there's no real problem. More power to them!

And yes, we're to be good stewards of the money we're given. Good, faithful stewards, not fearful ones. God had some pretty strong words for the fearful steward who buried his money in the ground so not to lose it.  (See Matthew 25)


"I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread." ...  Psalm 37:25

"But the Lord's kindness is forever with those who fear him; so is his justice, for their children's children, for those who keep his covenant and remember his commands, for those who put them into practice." ... Psalms103:17-18

"With God nothing is impossible." ... Luke 1:37


There are other videos with this one, below. I find them enjoyable and inspiring to watch.
How To Feed A Family of 4 on $15 A Day  (Use the arrow below the videos to find this specific one.)


Oh! Remember those old-fashioned, bad-for-you-but-they're-adorable Jiffy mixes? You can order "Hospitality in a Jiffy Recipe Book" from them by way of snail mail. So fun! Just be sure to send back the confirmation email.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Taking Anti-Nagging 101 Again

Oh! Since moving to Hobbit Cottage my passions have all happily resurrected themselves.

I find I'm passionate about:

Spending time with God
Encouraging others through writing in this blog
Searching for online coupons, supermarket shopping for great deals
Emailing friends and those who need encouragement
Reading for pleasure
Learning new things, especially how to live cheaply, though well.
Decorating, keeping a neat house
Finding favorite tv shows/movies/documentaries online
Cooking while listening to my new favorite retro radio music station

But Tom? What's he passionate about here at Hobbit Cottage?

Watching tv

Gah. That's it.

Oh my, do you know how frustrating it is when I (me, me, me), the Great Inspiration Spreader, can't inspire her own husband to get up off his recliner?

I've heard people say, "Oh, it was so humbling when my students nominated me for Teacher of the Year." But do you know what's a whole lot more humbling than that? It's when you spend months nagging your own husband, sending him inspiring email links, lecturing, psycho-analyzing, and sharing all sorts of pep talks only to have God tell you, "Uh, Debra... Have you noticed none of this is working?"

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Lord. I noticed. I know, I know.

So once again, God's telling me to back-off. To lose the constant low-grade frustration. To remember that I'm not to be my husband's teacher and to put Tom in God's hands, trust God with him there, then just continue along my merry way with my own passions. 

Because hey, living what you preach is the most powerful thing on Earth, especially if there's love involved. And it is love that's, ultimately, making me want to see Tom reach his full potential. But nagging him into that full potential? Nah, that will not work.  God will see to that.

"Just live the life, yourself. Live it, live it, live it. Inspire by doing... and trust. Trust much."

Yeah, Lord, I know. But, like, please help me remember that for more than just two days in a row, ok?  ツ


In case you're wondering, Tom seems perfectly happy and contented to watch tv for a living, yet he also agrees with me whenever I try to coach him to do other things (the man knows how to avoid an argument). I tell him if I could just see him trying to find a passion, I'd feel better.


"The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations (and well-meaning housewives...heh...) and thwarts all their schemes."   ... Psalm 33:10


Friday, January 13, 2012

Of Joy In The Blizzard

Oh! Earlier this week, Spring arrived for a short visit. 

I swept the front porch (where squirrels snack from the compost boxes) before John and Donna arrived Wednesday for lunch and I just wanted to remain out there in the sunshine, blue skies and cool-but-not-cold fresh air and sweep, sweep, sweep forever. The sun shone through all the windows during our visit and we chatted and laughed and everyone forgot it was early January.

But then there's this morning. There's a bbbbblizzard out there!

Oh well, this is Buffalo in early January, after all.

Time to gather all my coziest books and blankets, time to sit in bed and read and drink hot chocolate and watch movies and favorite old tv series. Time to remember there's still a big ol' active, hurting world still spinning out there, too--and do something about that.

And shovel snow, of course.


Here's something which has haunted me in the very best way since I read it in my dearly-loved daily devotional, God Calling. You know how you can read the Bible or a devotional or well, any book a hundred times and something different will leap out, shake you, then follow you around? Well, that's what this is doing to me:

     "You are to help save others. Never let one day pass when you have not reached out an arm of Love to someone outside your home--a note, a letter, a visit, help in some way.
     Be full of joy. Joy saves. Joy cures. Joy in Me. In every ray of sunlight, every smile, every act of kindness, or love, every trifling service--joy."

Ah, I love that---am still chewing on it and allowing its truth to change me.


Oh! Yesterday I watched one of the best documentaries (imo) ever. It's called "Hey, Boo: Harper Lee And To Kill a Mockingbird." Loved it for many different reasons, mostly the writing/Harper Lee one.

I saw this via instant view at Netflix and I just may watch parts of it again today(!)

"You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  ... John 8:32


Oooh! These two-minute videos were so inspiring. I've watched the first ten (or so) and thought I'd share them with you. Second Act Videos.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Major Wednesday This and That

Oh happy day! We are back to 'Baby Cable'. Twenty-two stations is more than enough for me (Tom might answer differently), especially since we also have the Internet and Netflix and dvd's galore around the house.

More. Than. Enough.


Did you know that Pauley Perrette, "Abby" on NCIS is 42-years-old? Eegads! I thought more like 30. NCIS is my current favorite show, the only one I knew I'd miss from Regular Peoples' Cable (USA plays it a lot), so with my amazon.com gift card I bought a season for NCIS fixes when I need them.


Forgot to tell you Tom bought me a nifty crock pot for Christmas to replace the yard sale one which broke. Is this cool-looking, or what?:

Ack, it's a dark photo, but trust me, it looks perfect in our kitchen.


Oh wow, did you read Susan Branch's latest Willard?  Her beliefs about Valentine's Day mirror mine exactly! (Felt kinda eerie, actually.) I was so blessed and inspired, I can't even tell you. You can read her letter here.


Oh, and at Dollar Tree yesterday I found a third book of essays! It's called Dirt Is Good For You, from the editors of babble.com. and is stuffed with essays recalling the joys and trials and lessons learned when raising children. Pure delight.

I adore essays. Yet back around 15 years ago I remember moaning to God that almost never could I find books of morally-decent essays at the library or anyplace else. But since then, He's helped me find some delightful, thought-provoking, morally-nice collections and though I've mentioned these to you in past posts, here are my favorites listed in one place:

Thoughts of Home edited by Elaine Greene
If These Walls Could Talk edited by Elaine Greene
Mama Makes Up Her Mind by Bailey White
Sleeping At The Starlite Motel by Bailey White
A Matter of Choice edited by Joan Chatfield-Taylor
It's Bright in my Valley by Philip Jerome Cleveland
Domestic Affairs by Joyce Maynard
How To Fit a Car Seat on a Camel edited by Sarah Franklin
Dirt Is Good For You from the editors of babble.com
Oh, and the Front Porch Tales books by Phillip Gulley

I'd love to make those all links for you, but today is special, in that, we're having our friends, John and Donna, over to lunch. So now I must dash and clean and straighten and cook and prepare for a lovely time.

May your day be lovely, also.



Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Of Sleeping Well

All over the Internet I spy articles about the vital importance of sleep.

So how've you been sleeping lately?  シ

I must say, one of the many reasons I'm happy at Hobbit Cottage is that I sleep so well here. And as Internet articles (here's a short one) tell us, we all need our 7 or 8 hours of sleep. 

Rather than just complain about the changes in my body, I'm researching why I'm feeling cranky or stiff or tired or-- 

--and I'm making changes. Many. 

In fact, I've written here before about how to sleep well, but I've tweaked that list. After all, growing older is much about tweaking, making changes, so that we'll age well and stay healthy. 

So here's my new and improved list. 

1.) I eat one main meal around noon, then something small around 5 p.m. like a bowl of cereal, slice of toast, small bowl of vegetables, spoon of peanut butter or other protein, etc. After 2:00 pm I avoid foods with sugar, including fruits, pasta and rice (even brown). I also don't drink much water after that time.

2.) Shortly before bedtime I take these vitamins:

1 Melatonin (300 mcg)
1 Krill Oil  (1,000 mg)
1 Magnesium pill

After that powerful 'bedtime potion' I'm usually asleep less than ten minutes after my head hits the pillow.

3.) Tom and I sleep in separate bedrooms. Now, giggle all you want, but we both sleep sooo much better this way and I believe we're healthier and happier together as a couple for it. (When you're married, it's perfectly acceptable for couples to do anything which works for both of them, critics be darned.)

4.) I go to bed the same time (pretty much) each night. Lately, that's been between 8:00 and 8:30 which--ok--sounds ridiculous. But I love to awaken between 5:00 am and 6:00 because I'm in love with mornings.

How do I still have a social life? When Tom and I get together with friends, it's for lunch, around noonish. Has worked for us for years.

5.) Other contributing factors:

I gave up caffeine (real coffee) years ago. The littlest bit now, even early in the morning, would keep me awake all night. (Update: I occasionally have it, then double my dose of melatonin.)

Comfortable pillows (vital).
A small fan to block out things that go bump in the night.
A pitch-black room (or close). 
A window opened just a half-inch for moistened outdoor air (for sinus help). 
A comfortable bed.
I take no sleeping medications and don't plan on taking any, ever. I'll just keep tweaking this list if necessary.

If you're not sleeping well, I hope you'll keep seeking until you find what works. Is it a bit of a bother to do all this? Yes, a little. But the bigger bother is to not sleep morph into something we do not wish to be. 

Sleep. I have a feeling it's more important than any of us realize.


Oh, and I always buy the vitamins when they're BuyOneGetOneFree (often using a coupon for an additional $1 or $2 off) unless they're cheaper at, say, Vitacost.com. I wrote out best prices for each on an index card and carry it with me inside my coupon wallet for quick reference.

Krill oil can be found for a sane price at Amazon and Walmart.