Saturday, February 25, 2012

The New Guy At Hobbit Cottage

So. Meet Daniel, the new baby. And what a baby, indeed. It's like having a toddler around the house again, one who jumps up on countertops and tables (though I may have cured that when I began flicking water drops at him). He loves to talk to us, (little mrrts-mrrts?) and you know? In temperment he resembles our dear cat, Lennon, and the best cat Naomi ever had, Oreo.
All rolled into one.

What a character. Follows me around like a puppy and is never far from either of us. Claimed Tom's recliner already and the spot on my bed where I sit during these winter months to watch tv or read. Pretty smart for a 14-month-old baby.

So the first cat has arrived. 

Sammy (Samson) comes to stay on Wednesday after we take Daniel to his free doctor check-up to see if all's well with him. Thankfully, 8-year-old Sammy is easy-going and just wants to play with anything with a pulse. Whether he or Daniel is the alpha male won't matter to him--he met Daniel yesterday and just kinda looked at him as if to say, "Hey kid. I think we'll get along. I'll let you know later."

Tom chose the name, Daniel, because then we'd have two Bible names for cats. シ (I'm thinking we should have named Daniel, Major Distraction, instead. heh.)

And so the cat adventure at Hobbit Cottage begins.


Daniel is fixed, has all his shots and was half-off at the shelter. Nice. 

Tom and Naomi went to buy tires for Naomi's car yesterday (she leaves for Tennessee in days), and came back not only with the tires, but with Daniel. 

I didn't mind. For some reason, just thinking about the trip to the shelter and picking out a cat was almost stressing me out. I'm grateful they went ahead and did the choosing, themselves.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday This and That

"But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  ... Luke 21:36


Whew. For three days God had me reading those online testimonies about people who'd seen hell either by visions or having visited in their spirit with an angel or Jesus or by near death experiences and oh my, it was rough.

But oh so necessary.

And through all the reading, God showed me I'd become drowsy to the realness of hell--that I needed to stay awake to the severity of the fact that millions are rejecting Jesus (and/or what He calls sin thus making their other judgements, murky) and landing in this horrid place forever after they die. 

He also showed me that my love and mercy toward people often was out-of-balance to where I sometimes no longer even saw (nor really cared about) the sins they committed which the Bible says will keep them from Heaven. He reminded me, yes, He is love and He loves to show mercy, but He is also a righteous judge

And His judgements are perfect, no matter how harsh they may appear.

The reading of those hell-visiting testimonies was awful--but Grace read along with me. Then I'd walk around the house afterward with questions, but immediately God would answer them. He was so there in all of this for those three days. He is so good.

And now it's time to move on in my reading, but may I never become drowsy in this area again.


So finally I've come to a true acceptance and peace with Tom's 'retirement'. Only took 18 months. 

Yet when you've lived a Suzy Homemaker lifestyle for 33 years--and adored and splashed around in those days--time is required to learn how to appreciate a whole other way of living. But I'll not feel guilty about the length it took for acceptance, for it came in stages, through many trial-and-error lessons and that's how we learn much in this Life, anyway. So I'll not hang my head that the total acceptance required a whole year-and-a-half.

But. I did apologize to Tom for all the times I'd been a pathetic, cranky goon during those adjustment months.  ツ


Some of you have asked how to become closer to God and how to be aware of His manifest presence. Well, good news! I found a beautifully written chapter from F.B. Meyer's book, The Secret of Guidance, which just may answer your questions. Here's the chapter:  In The Secret of His Presence.

Wonderful, lovely, truthful writing there... the kind of things which will set us all free to live closer to God's heart, in great peace, while still upon this Earth full of hard times.


"One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.... Psalm 27:4,5


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The View From The Supermarket ... And Beyond

Well, let's see... In my last comment box, Becky asked what the book, It's Bright In My Valley was about since no one at had reviewed it (people seldom review my favorite books cuz they're too quirky, old and forgotten. The books, not the people. heh.)

Anyway, this is how I described that book:

"It's rather like Gulley's, Front Porch Tales, except that it was written around 1961.

Philip Jerome Cleveland wrote essays about his days as a young pastor and the memorable characters he met in the New England towns where he pastored in the 1930's and 40's. He was able to lead some of them to Jesus, not all, but each person was interesting and many were quirky and what others would label as People Least Likely To Step Inside a Church.

He learned to deal with people with respect, patience and to find common outside-interest denominators which would help him form friendships with them, first.

These were true stories and I never tire of reading them!"

I'm glad Becky asked about It's Bright In My Valley because it always reminds me how we can tell we're maturing in God: our own community starts looking different to us.

Want your town to instantly change? Ask God to change you, to grow you up in love. Trust me, I know about this one because when we change, the mom in the supermarket will, instead, appear like a tired woman who truly needs an encouraging word or a helping hand.

And all those people with cell phones suddenly look like sad people afraid to be alone for even a few minutes or perhaps young husbands who just want to bring home the right things for their wives at home all day with toddlers.

And those tons of folks in check-stand lines become our fellow brothers and sisters for whom Jesus died (and for whom we can pray) and the coupon users become people struggling financially, just trying to save some money for their families and the slow clerk becomes someone who's grateful for her new job and doing the best she can lest she lose it.

God sent Jesus to this planet because of love, not condemnation, and when we get on that same page we, too, get sent out into our world because of love, not condemnation. And the whole world changes with our going.


"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."  ... John 3:16,17


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Living and Loving It

I confess. I've been absent from here just enjoying Life again. 

Friday morning before the sun even rose, Tom and I slipped away to his appointment for another twice-yearly back injection. In darkness we crossed the bridge outside my bedroom window and over busy roads (which I do not like, so I sit silently and pray). The wait was less than usual, under three hours this time and I nibbled on (bad-for-me) food from the vending machine, bought decaf from the nice man who owns the on-site deli and reread It's Bright In My Valley for the umpteenth time. Also read my free issue of The Good Old Days and considered contributing to the card showers requested by relatives in the magazine's back section. So old-fashioned and sweet, those card showers.

After Tom's injections he's supposed to rest the remainder of the day so, when home, we had another Numb3rs mini-marathon and I began cleaning the house in between episodes for our company the following day.


On Saturday, Tom's tractor buddy, Al, and his wife, Shannon came over to lunch. We gave them a tour of our sweet little house then sat 'round the old pine table eating Fideo, Spanish rice and homemade applesauce and chatted about where our lives have taken us since we last saw Al at our farm (this was the first time we'd visited with Shannon). And before waving good-bye we stepped out on the patio and showed them our river view, grey on this very grey day.

The visit was lovely as Hobbit Cottage visits are. And then, since I'd worked like a proverbial horse cleaning and cooking earlier in the day, I left the dirty dishes in the sink (where I'd wash them the next day while recalling the good time) and Tom and I watched more Numb3rs. Eventually I came up here and you know? The loveliness continued upstairs in Debra's World, this place where God and I hang out for hours and hours each day, listening to vintage music, reading and watching dvd's, clipping coupons and answering emails.

It's all good. Truly.

And although He reminds me to always savor, memorize every good time with Tom, Naomi and our friends--and I do try so hard--still, it is God who enchants me. He is the best thing that ever, ever happened to me. And even if all things change for me someday--as long as I have Him--everything will be all right.

And better than that, for He will make it so--as long as I desire Him now, hold Him closer than all others before the changes occur.



Uh-oh! I've created a Little House Monster. Tom finished reading The First Four Years in just one night (!) 

Thought I still owned a copy of the next book, On The Way Home, but instead, I had to order it (cheaply, with leftover gift card $$). In the meantime, Tom's reading Little House On The Prairie for the first time and is already half-finished.   My, my, my.  ツ


"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."   ... Psalm 16:11


Thursday, February 16, 2012

This and That. Majorly.

Oy! Y'all must be some mighty prayer warriors (and God must be quite big) because Tom's dad was given only three days to live, but here's what our brother-in-law emailed about him five days after that diagnosis:

"Mike has bounced back.  He is eating and laughing and living!"

My, my,my.... Even in the best of times that would be an overly-zealous description of Tom's dad. heh. So we really do thank you for praying. Perhaps Tom's dad just needed to know he was still loved--and with the way the family rallied around him--he saw that for himself.

Again, thanks. Any continued prayer would be great, also.


Uh-oh! I've turned Tom into a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan.  

Nine years ago after one of his surgeries, he read Farmer Boy and The Long Winter and now in the past week he's read By The Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter and he's almost finished with These Happy Golden Years. This afternoon we even visited together where we viewed the Ingalls' and Wilders' houses, plus, we looked through a magazine I've kept since 1999 which showed the inside of the Surveyors' House and the house that Pa built in the town of DeSmet.

Happy sigh.

And it's pretty wild to see Tom reading a Laura Ingalls Wilder book at the same time he's also watching some blood-and-guts cop show on tv. Alas.  Makes me chuckle.


And that's about all that's new from 'round these parts, except that today I received two more Valentines in the mail and was totally thrilled about that!


Evening sunlight. Love it. Makes the roosters almost come to life.


Some favorite sites for grocery coupons (The Krazy Coupon Lady has the very best printable coupon data base, imo). It's easy to subscribe to the ones which are coupon blogs:

Red Plum

Smart Source

Saving Naturally

Living Rich With Coupons

Coupon Dad

Money Saving Mom

The Krazy Coupon Lady


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Of Cats

So! Tom and I had this great plan.

The very same week that our new financial plan becomes all settled, we would adopt two cats from the shelter. That way we'd be assured to have enough money for their food, litter, veterinarian and other kitty expenses. Yes, that's what we'd do--and we'd bring home only young cats (1 - 2 years old) so they'd live a long time.

Well. Sunday night Naomi came over as she's done a lot lately because her computer's on the fritz and to slip in some extra visiting time with us before she moves to Tennessee in March.

At one point, she paused and said she needed to ask us something, but we would be free to say no if we wanted. (Hmmm hmmm.) Then she asked if, when she moved, we'd take her huge black pony cat, Sammy, to live with us.

Oh dear. Naomi's reasons and proposals were as follows:

Naomi will be just renting a room at first and Sammy is too big of a pony cat to be (fairly) kept inside one room.
Sammy needs a house in which to live comfortably.
Naomi's finding it impossible to find a place to rent which will allow 3 cats.
And ok, Sammy is 8, but still, he just wants to play 24/7, yet his sisters, Ginger and Farah, can barely stand him. They would fight all the time inside one room.
Sammy needs a playtime-buddy and if we got another, younger male cat at the same time, then Sammy would be new here, too, and not as territorial and the two cats could play together and live happily ever after.

And then Naomi hurriedly promised she'd buy all sorts of food and litter and whatever else we needed and she'd even send monthly checks and -- she was getting teary-eyed by this time and Tom was the first one to give-in and say, "Sure, Sweetheart, we'll take him."

And I was close behind, because hey... If you, too, are a parent you know this was one of those things where--if we said no-- Life as we know it would end. :)

So we'll be getting two cats at the end of February and everything money-wise will be fine. How do I know? Because this is one of those things where the only choice was choosing to do the right thing and God honors those kinds of choices with all the provision we'll ever need.

So stay tuned! The next Cat Chapter of our lives will begin in a couple of weeks. And all will be well and good.

Besides, Hobbit Cottage badly needs a couple cats, anyway.


Valentine's Day around Hobbit Cottage was so special. I hope it was the same at your house.


Did anyone check-out those PioneerGirl and FrontierGirl websites yesterday?


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

Proverbs 16:9  "Man's mind plans his way, but God directs his steps."


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Of Valentine's Day and Compassion Toward the Unlovely

Happy Valentine's Day to you, my Readers!

Woo hoo! Ring the bells and sing a song and smile and know that you are loved by God, your family, your friends and me, too.

Celebrate love all day long today, ok? Let this simple day in February be the start of looking at things a whole new way. You won't be sorry.

(I absolutely loved your Valentine ideas in my last comment box! Thanks so much for sharing those with us. Really.)

Oh! And I almost forgot to share this delightful blog post with you. My buddy, Elizabeth, shared photos from the Valentine Tea Party she held for her grandkids and friends... you will love the sweet photos!

And good gracious, one more thing--Susan Branch has a cute bookmark for us. I printed two out on cardstock--fun!


So! I've been hanging-out at a new place lately. Where?

And my oh my, this is one Little House groupie who's having a grand ol' time peeking at the behind-the-scenes stuff about the Ingalls and Wilder families. That website has something for all of us Laura Heads. :)

Like yesterday. I began rereading These Happy Golden Years and I got to thinking about that awful, awful woman, Mrs. Brewster, who Laura stayed with during her first weeks as a teacher. All these years I've dismissed that terrible Mrs. Brewster as a totally unreasonable woman who was cruel to Laura (and everybody else) without a cause.


I've judged her without even considering her own back story, her behind-the-scenes life. You know, the way each of us has behind-the-scenes stuff from our Past which at least partially explains why we behave as we do. 

Well, I discovered a message board about the real-life Mrs. Brewster, (Olive Bouchie) and was so convicted! Women there reported what they'd read other articles about Mrs. Bouchie and oh wow, take a look at this list:

She may have been recently widowed--perhaps divorced-- because her son, John, was from another marriage and he was 3 years old when Laura came to teach.

When Laura arrived, Mrs. Bouchie had given birth to another boy only three months earlier. So she actually had a toddler and a tiny baby and who knows? She could have had postpartum depression--and that, alone, could explain lots of things.

But there was even more-- Mrs. Brewster had only recently moved to this middle-of-nowhere place, this field in unsettled South Dakota,  having come from Iowa. So she probably left family and friends behind, not to mention a more civilized town all for what? A lonely place with only a smattering of families-- in-laws, mainly (oh dear).

Plus, the Bouchies had only been married one year, exactly, so they were still relatively newlyweds (speaks for itself, as well).

 And all four in the family lived in a crude, dark, two-room drafty log cabin with only a blanket separating the two rooms, which meant basically no privacy for this poor woman, especially during the winter when her husband and boys would be inside the house constantly.

Then throw into the mix a young, pretty, free-and-single woman (Laura) who comes to stay with the family for weeks in an already-too-crowded dump of a place.

Oh wow. Move over Mrs. Bouchie--I'd have probably been walking around at night, swinging a knife, also.  ツ

My, my, my. How many times do I have to relearn that all people have behind-the-scenes stuff which I cannot see and which would explain a lot if only I'd take the time to discover it? 

Or at the very least, to never judge or write-off anyone as just being a scary, hopeless, creepy freak of nature? You know, like all those violent people we see on CNN or in the newspaper?

Oh to be more compassionate and willing to take the time to understand others! Where they came from and how I can help them find the God who understands and loves them best.


To read about the people in Laura's life and books, click on the People button there at

Want to visit Laura's little houses online? Go here



 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  ... John 13:34,35


Monday, February 13, 2012

Tomorrow, Being Valentine's Day...

So I read a post from one of my favorite bloggers and she mentioned not looking forward to Valentine's Day, and well, it wasn't her post that bothered me, but rather, comments she received, ones like these:

"Personally, I think Valentine's Day is for children and the companies who sell cards and candy."

"Valentine's Day is a  &*^%$#  made to make single people feel badly."

"I rarely got valentines from "peers" in school, so I've always hated the holiday."

"If it helps, I think Valentine's day is totally lame, and I'm happily married."

"It's the only holiday that is built around our collective societal insecurities."

Good grief. 

The vast majority of these came from a younger generation than mine, people who (I've noticed) tend to find it cool to criticize happy stuff.

In fact, yes, I'm probably going overboard on this, but their whiny, we-hate-Valentine's-Day comments reminded me of these Bible verses:

"They will ... hate what is good."  ... 2 Timothy 3:3

"What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter."  ... Isaiah 5:20

And I'll even add this: people who hate Valentine's Day lack imagination.

Why? Because they can't think or create past their it's-all-about-commercialism prejudices. They insist the holiday is designed to makes singles feel like losers and to make lovers feel pressured--and then are blocked from venturing out any farther than that.

Personally? I believe God rather likes holidays, especially ones designed to show love toward others. All over the Old Testament, especially, He called for feasts and celebrations, some lasting whole weeks. New Testament weddings were lavish, long affairs. And dancing was present at just about any kind of joyous victory celebration (yes, dancing.).

Can we please just think outside the box? And think for ourselves, rather than allow a sad, pessimistic crowd of people do our thinking for us?

I had such fun this year mailing out my Valentines. 

Sent some to four dear widow ladies, to single women and to married friends. I mailed out my simple Valentines to create smiles, to let others know they're in my thoughts not only on February 14th, but the rest of the year. And that they are loved by me and God.

Am I saying you must send Valentines? Nope, not unless God asks you to (then it's still your choice).

No, what I'm saying is that bitter negativity douses our ability to think clearly. How foolish to fight against something which is ultimately good! And how sad that we could have spent that same energy blessing others rather than thinking of ourselves (and our pathetic past experiences), and that we could have made it a joyous day for everyone.

Anything will always be what we make of it. Always.


"But the greatest of these is love."  ... from I Corinthians 13


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Life Around Here

Lovely weather we're having, huh?

Last night I had a sudden surge of creativity so I put on The Dick van Dyke Show (Netflix) and ran down to the basement and got this shelf, below, which I finally hung up here at Hobbit Cottage. I saw those photos of our old suburb house the other day and missed having these types of surfaces on which to display my junk collections:

I placed some old brooches upon the shelf, some of which I'd not seen in years and had recently wondered about, ("Do I still have that ____?"):

So I puttered and laughed at the Dick van Dyke episodes and stayed up past my bedtime (8:30!) and had such a good, just-like-the-old-days time.

Then this morning I checked my email and found one from a friend I've known since we were both 14 and went to school and church together and oh! She, her husband and their two best friends are planning an autumnal leaf-peeping trip and they're considering starting with our area! Now, that's exciting stuff because we've not seen Linda since 1983 and Tom has never met Guy, her husband, who I also went to church and school with, but he was two years older.

I  enjoyed answering her travel questions and sent links and photos of our area and how lovely to dream about and plan for something like that, especially on a snowy day, one in which, too, Tom's dad is never far from our thoughts (see my last post).

I even did more creating this morning, moved the items around on my dresser again:

And there's even more--- Our neighbor across the street, Carrie, shoveled our driveway for us and our sidewalk to the door (!) She's probably ten years younger than I am, in good shape, and I was wracking my brain as to why she would do such a nice thing for us since we've only spoken once (besides waving hi a few times), and that was the time I had to ask her to move her van (parked on the street in front of her driveway) so I could back out of ours. (But I did ask sweetly and made it sound like I'm such a bad driver that I'd hate to risk wrecking her

Well, God finally told me to stop trying to figure it out (I think my brain was smoking by this time) and He said maybe she did it because He asked her to, as a divine favor sort of thing. Or maybe as an answer to the prayers I prayed before moving here, ones asking that neighbors would once again help us (the neighbor behind us shovels the sidewalk in front of our garage). So I just smiled and recalled how, in all four places we've lived in WNY, our various neighbors have helped us shovel snow--what a blessing!  And what a challenge for me to keep shoveling for others, too.


Thank-you so much for your kind comments and mentions of praying after my last post. I appreciate each thought and comment more than you realize.

Oh! And please keep praying. Tom called his parents again today and his mom said his dad is doing better . Tom could hear some strength in his dad's voice, even though he couldn't understand his words (Tom's mom says when his dad does say things, no one can really understand him). But again, he began eating again and seems to be feeling stronger.... so thanks, again, for your prayers!


Stonyfield Organic coupons.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Oh dear.

February! Ack. Each year I try not to dread it, try only to concentrate upon its good; its Valentine's Day (my favorite) and the way it bridges Winter and Springtime, carrying us closer to green leaves, sunny skies and warm days. I lecture myself not to dread it, to expect only lovely things ("be it unto you even as you have believed")--but still--February seems determined to be the one month of the year doomed to bring bad things.

Sigh. Tom's dad has been given only days to live.

But he is 85, after all. He's lived a long life, lived it as he chose, made his own decisions and he's loved God for whole decades. Death is very much a part of Life, but oh, the finality, the walking away are such sad parts.

Tom spoke with his mom over the phone today and she's handling it well, all things considered, and she told us not to feel we must come out to California at this time. We are grateful she understands our financial predicament for oh! At this moment we are approaching Limbo Time, a time for 18 months we've known would come and emotionally we feel ready for the trusting God part as we make decisions and others make decisions in our behalf while we wait for an outcome. 

But over these next few months we cannot travel across the U.S., cannot spend extra dimes unless God tells us.

We are so grateful for our train trip back in September 2010 when we visited with Tom's family, back before everything changed for his parents and they moved to a different town to be nearer Tom's sister and daughter, to live where they could be cared for. The normalcy and sweetness of reunions during those soft September days when everyone was alive and well as could be--that's what we'll remember. The 'giving of flowers while the person was still here to receive them'. 

And we know Tom's dad remembers those days fondly, too.

Live well today, while it is still today. Appreciate everything you've ever been able to do in Life, every place you've ever visited-- let those be utmost thoughts, not the ones about what you may have missed. 

Be grateful for every sweet memory which you can claim as your very own.


Somewhere in this house we have a very cool photo of Tom's parents from the time they were first married, a kind-of Daniel Boone, out-in-the-woods picture, but I can't find it at the moment. If I do, I'll post it. You'd like it.


Thursday, February 09, 2012


Everything is better here at Hobbit Cottage, even winter!

In all our 19 years in Buffalo, this winter has been the easiest and sunniest. If winter was always like this? We could stay forever. And this shouldn't cause summer problems, either, for we've had frigid temperatures, too, and lots of rain. Our poor garage has been flooded twice, as proof.

Oh well! I'll take a sunny winter in Hobbit Cottage anytime. 

And now? I'm just enjoying Life here-- the living of it more than the writing, at this moment, anyway. Enjoying waking and sleeping. Printing coupons while listening to 1940's and 50's music and shopping down the street. Spending time with Naomi when she drops by during her last few weeks here in town. Mailing my Valentines, reading Little House books and watching Numb3rs on Netflix and NCIS on dvd. Cooking, cleaning and standing at the windows memorizing my new neighborhood. Making plans for Tom's job-and-tractor buddy, Al, and his wife to visit us here next week for the first time.

It's all good, but only because Grace and God make it so.


The top photo? Another one of the many you've seen from the two smallish windows up here in Debra's World. It's amazing all the photos one can take of different things from her own windows. This time I liked the way the old railing looked through our neighbors' dried shrubbery.



Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Remembering Laura

Just wanted to pop in here today to wish Laura Ingalls Wilder a happy birthday.

Nearly always this time of year I'm rereading Laura's remarkable books. Whenever I read The Long Winter (this will sound odd) I feel I must hurry through it so that the Ingalls can find themselves in Springtime and be rescued from that horrible winter. The longer it takes me to read it, the longer they must again suffer deprivation.

I warned you that would sound odd. :)

But oh my, I am always an emotional wreck by that book's finish. What a scary situation! Usually I'm quick with what I believe to be answers for hard times (knowing all things as I do....ha!), but for the Ingalls that winter? Even I can't think of any solutions. Well, except when they first move to town and Pa goes to the store I always whisper, "Buy what you can! Use Mary's college money to stock-up before everything is gone!" But alas, Pa never listens to me. heh.

Well, now I'm just getting silly.

Anyway, happiest of birthday wishes to Laura today. I do thank her for sharing her stories, her family, with all the rest of us. Though I still  complain too much, I am less of a complainer than I would have been due to these amazing people.


Here's a nice piece written about Laura's life.


Monday, February 06, 2012

Of Grocery Prices and Coupons. Yes, Again. :)

Life changes for the better when we learn to view challenges as good for us rather than bad. I know we all wish Life was easier, but is that what we'd really like? Would we actually be happier if nothing ever happened to challenge us? If we never had to use our brains, our talents, our experience or to be clever?

Hmmm. I'm thinking probably not.


Last week while shopping I heard an announcement over the sound system, something about a contest. I didn't really pay attention until it said the grand prize would be a three-minute free shopping spree there at the store. Oh! "How Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio," I thought. Fun, and so nice to know things like this still exist in 2012.


Oh and last month I kept track of what I spent for all groceries and supplies from our supermarket and Rite Aid and I ended up saving (with sales and coupons) $20 more than I spent! That was kinda cool, indeed.


Here's a great relevant blog which Sarah recommended:  Thanks, Sarah!


Oh! One more thing. While stepping into my supermarket this weekend, I thought, "How fun that some kids in our area will grow-up and remember the lovely 1940's, 50's and 60's music while shopping with their mom." Big smile.  

Well, I got into the store and alas! The first two songs were a pop style from today. Now, the songs weren't bad or loud or awful or anything-- they just weren't the usual amazing retro stuff. Well, I began to get all flustered (Oh, bring the good stuff back. pul-ease!!), but took myself by the collar (figuratively) and said, "Debra, relax! Just appreciate all the times you heard that good stuff here. Besides, who says those days are over?"

And then, oh yes! Eventually, a lovely 1950's tune began to play and I smiled and sang along under my breath as I usually do. Oh happy day! 

And what a lesson: If we're pulling our hair out in frustration it's only because we're choosing to do so. We're choosing fear over faith, worry over trust.

Tsk. Tsk. シ


James 1:2–4

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

Saturday, February 04, 2012

"She's Better!" "No, He Is!, " Ad Nauseam....

So there I was today, Saturday, my day-off from normal fare, listening to Yesterday Once More by we-all-know-who at YouTube.

And while listening I read the comments and as usual, rolled my eyes at the ones which began, "Karen Carpenter was good, but __________ was better."  Then someone else would say, "No! _________ was better than both of them." And on and on.

Well, like I said, I always roll my eyes at the foolishness of it all because oh! Probably nothing in this world is more subjective than music.


"Existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought."

"Placing excessive emphasis on one's own moods, attitudes, opinions, etc.; unduly egocentric."

But oh well, I was a good sport and looked-up one of these singers who was supposed to be better than Karen Carpenter, for hey! I've done that before (checked-out others' recommendations) and discovered some terrific new-to-me talent. So I went here and listened to Judith Durham .

And oh! I did enjoy her voice, her song, so much! Yet I'm tempted to say, "But she's no Karen Carpenter," --but I won't. No, for I don't believe in comparing singers or actors, also--again--because of the subjectivity thing.

I mean, how could I say any actor was the best one ever

For one thing, I've not watched all actors. 
And too, some actors are amazing in movies, others are phenomenal on stage--and those styles require different technique. 
There are young actors, old ones, male actors and female ones, each one different, each one best-suited to certain, varied roles. 
An actor may have been amazing in the 1930's, but their style might appear affected and odd today. 
Some actors might be incredible, but they may appear in movies I would never feel comfortable watching--so my bias would affect what I think of them. 
A person may be an incredible comedic actor, but perhaps I would be critical of him because I prefer serious dramas more.

The same goes for music. Oh, how many types of music there are! And each of us are wired differently, appreciating whole different combinations of song types, singers and singing styles. So really--to me--it's the height of cluelessness to say:

"Barbara Streisand is a better singer than Karen Carpenter."  --or--
"Barbara Stanwyck could act much better than Meryl Streep," (or anything similar).

It's all sooo very subjective! 

What I like, you may hate and to get into an argument about our preferences? To be determined to prove our favorite singer/actor is the best? To even try to make those kinds of comparisons?

Well, to me, it's folly. Pure foolish folly.

Not to mention it can be cruel, too, for oh! How many singers and actors, themselves, not to mention their fans, have had their feelings hurt when these silly types of comparisons are flung around. For often, instead of , "My actor is better than yours," it comes out sounding like, "My taste trumps yours, big time. You know nothing about music/acting."

In other words, it's time to stop believing our opinions are Highest Truth. 

And if I were Queen? I'd do away with the flashy award shows. Instead? I'd paste these verses on buses and planes and taxi's:

"Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load."  ...  Galatians 6:4-5

I would just love to see everybody learn to recognize the value and worth in all people, to appreciate all talents--and especially-- the One who handed them all out in the first place, as He willed. Perfectly.


And before anyone asks this, let me say I see nothing wrong with a person saying, "For me, Joe Blow was the best singer ever." 

To me, that's different than this kind of know-it-all comment:

"BUT, please don't use words like "most beautiful voice on Earth" and "perfection". Those categories are reserved for the likes of Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O'Day-- Vocal giants from the jazz world. They did things with their voices that Carpenter couldn't dream of."

That's what makes me crazy.