Saturday, April 28, 2012

Messes Happen

Now, don't laugh, but I meditate upon this verse a lot:

"Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox."   ... Proverbs 14:4

Ha! Have you ever thought about what that verse is really saying? To me, it says, "If you want to have an abundant, full-as-can-be life, you must accept that your helpers will sometimes dump messes on you along the way."


I mean, with our new cats, Sammy and Daniel the first six weeks felt eternal, complicated, tiring and we wondered what we'd gotten ourselves into. But now? These cats fill our lives with companionship, laughter and a coziness discovered no other way.

Yet we had to slog through those first six weeks--and still now--we must put up with a few knocked-over items, tufts of black hair on the carpet (I vacuum daily now) and of course, the litter boxes must be changed. But Sammy and Daniel are worth it all.

And how about the friends we all have in Life? Sometimes they criticize what we love, have a headache and take out their pain on us or pass over lightly something we valued incredibly high. But what happens if we can't accept their humanity? If, after 'three strikes, we throw them out'? 

We will eventually end up, alone. And God, Himself, said, "It is not good for (wo)man to be alone."

So if we want friends, we must accept that friends come with potential pain. At times their truth-about-us will hurt us, too! And yes, sometimes we must confront others if their behavior, over and over, is unacceptable. There is that, of course.

And yet mostly? If we want help getting through this thing called Life, we must accept that our aid will come, flawed. Because oh, we are--all of us--so very flawed, being human and all.

And that is where God's bright, unconditional love comes in--a love that sees past imperfections and peers much deeper into the heart's intentions. For most friends mean well, but somewhere between our heart and the doing of a thing, we can all sometimes blow it.

But yet, again, no abundant crops will grow if the stall is always clean. Life is messy, but God can help us through anything not to our liking.


Speaking of stalls and oxen,  I was tooling around my blog and found this old, original picture of our former barn:

And then I compared it with the 'after picture':

Wow. Kinda reminds you of the changes God makes inside us when we finally let Him work on us, doesn't it? 

Want to see some really gorgeous old barns? Go here.


Friday, April 27, 2012

The Necessity of Your Own Life

I first posted this in 2010 and decided today to post it once each year from now on. That's how vital I believe this to be. So here you go. Again:


Ages ago, I chatted with a widow (for some years) at church, probably 65-years-old, and sweet. We were speaking of mornings and I told her I usually am up before 6:00 a.m.. When I asked if she, too, was an early riser, she nearly gasped, "Oh my, no. That would make my days feel eternal. I try to stay in bed as long as I can."

Oh wow. I could only suck in my breath then change the subject for I felt surprised and sad for her. Her words haunted me while I drove home that afternoon and they haunt me still.

Since then I have watched women lose their husbands either by death or divorce and here's what I've seen: The women who had created another life separate from their husbands, those are the women who survive. Thrive, even. After the initial shock, they do well, smile real smiles and discover other worlds and the people who people them.

But then there are the others. You know, those who clung to their husbands for all their support and encouragement and companionship. The ones who had outside acquaintances and activities, yes, but no close friendships or passionate interests. Mostly, their spouse was not just the center of their world, but their whole world, period.

No need to draw you pictures of what happened to those women after their losses. You can imagine how they fell down hard, splattered, crumbled, and then needed whole truckloads of Christians to help peel them off the floor of despair.

So today? Today I would tell those of you who are married: Get A Life. You know, a life apart from your spouse, separate from him/her. A nice life, certainly--I mean, hey, I'm not hinting at a secret, tip-toeing-down-alleys-behind-his-back kind of life. Uh, of course not.

But I mean please search-out something you are passionate about. If you're still not sure of God's unique calling made especially for you, now is a marvelous time to discover what He designed you to do. It amazes me how many women don't know what their special talents are! How can we use and refine those gifts/skills to help people if we don't know what they are? 

Even something simple like learning to love your daily rituals is big. Teach yourself to find the joy and peace in drinking your morning coffee, washing your dishes or folding your laundry. Develop good habits like taking walks, deadheading your flowers, reading inspiring books and learning new hobbies and skills each year. Find and keep and tend to good, solid friendships.

Oh, and learn to pay bills and where to go for help with your investments, insurance, home repairs and all that annoying stuff.

And above all, discover who you are in God and who He is in you. With all your heart, seek to love Him best. Better than anyone else, for He's the only one who, if everyone else fades away, will still be with you. 

Discover and learn and do and be you today--the you apart from your spouse. Learn what you like (and what you don't) and what you do best. And step away from any fear of the new or the future. 

But don't wait for your spouse to join you. No, this has nothing to do with him/her. This is for you, this is for now and this is for later, also.


Not sure what God wants you to do for others?  Go here.

You are significant. Even alone.        ... Jan Kiemel Ream


The first time I posted this, Kristi (a widow, herself) left this very insightful comment which I appreciated much:

"One little postscript: When you still have the gift of life on earth, you can always use it to think about and help other people. I think the poor woman in your first paragraph would not have found her days so long if she had involved herself in helping others. I hope she has discovered this by now."


Backbone, Not Wishbone

So yesterday was Tom's birthday. 

I asked him, "Would you like us to go anyplace today?" But he said, "No, I'd like to just stay home." So we looked at his birthday greetings, together, at Facebook and played with the cats and chatted with Naomi and Tom's mom on the phone. The Chinese food delivery guy came then we ate our meal while watching the first Lord of the Rings movie.

Didn't we do that same exact thing just last month on my birthday?! Yes, ok, we did, we did!  But we began with the second movie and watched part of the third. So, hey. シ

I know. Probably you're shaking your head, thinking, "That Tom and Debra. My, but they are birthday duds! Haven't they ever heard of birthday parties or shopping trips or vacations?"

Well, yes, we have. 

But you know? I find it kind-of amazing that--of all the adventures we could have on our birthdays--we prefer to stay home, together, and watch inspiring movies. I mean, our daily home life must be special if we choose just another simple day here to celebrate our births. 

Besides. Oh, those Lord of the Rings films! How can you not have a whole portion of your brain rewired when you hear words like these?:

Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened. 
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

Oh wow. I've tried the sit-around-wishing-my-problems-would-go-away thing, but it only leads to a whiny, depressing sort of helplessness. To just yet one more all-night pity party.

But what beats wishing? What will carry us beyond our tears and keep us out of our beds with the covers thrown over our heads? 

Doing what God tells us to do. 

Taking Him with us everywhere we go, fighting that good fight of faith as the strong soldiers we're called to be and sharing what God's shown us, with others (who are probably out there wishing none of their problems had happened).

And letting it all begin in our homes by living the way, together, that pleases God.

In the strength of harmony.


"Finallybe strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might Put on the full armor of Godso that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devilFor our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulersagainst the powersagainst the world forces of this 
darknessagainst the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the full armor of Godso that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm"  ... From Ephesians 6


Thursday, April 26, 2012

My History Lesson

"Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He whose gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith;
    [He whose gift is] practical service, let him give himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching;
    He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness.
    [Let your] love be sincere (a real thing)... Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord." ... from Romans 12


Way back at age 11, I became born again. It was cool and very real. In fact, while walking down the church aisle so to 'get saved', I beheld my first 'vision.' Suddenly, I saw myself inside a dark, dusty cabin and to the right was a door opened wide to sunshine and green trees. In my heart, I knew the brightness and greenery outside the door represented the new life I was now stepping into.

Over the next two years I noticed that, at school, I could write essays easily. Even in subjects I barely comprehended (not being very bright, actually), I could 'fake it' and make it appear as though I understood just by wording things certain ways. 

Beginning around age 13, teachers sometimes read my essays to the class or made me stand and read them. They'd chuckle because my words sounded passionate, but that never offended me--it just increased the feeling that writing was my 'super power,' something appearing as my own ability, but which actually (I knew) came from God.

We moved to the Bay Area of California and at age 15 God put it upon the heart of my English teacher to help fine-tune my writing (even though this teacher denies God has anything to do with it. He's agnostic, though I still pray for him and we're still in touch all these decades later.). He even spent some lunch hours working with me, critiquing assignments he'd given me outside of my regular homework.

And that's when God added another dimension to my writing--He began using my words to encourage the people in my life, my church, especially. He'd tell me when to mail or hand them notes and what to say on those slips of paper or cards. God began working with me to become brave enough to speak encouragement out loud.

Now, that's where God really had to work hard. For a lot of years, brick by brick, He had to tear down huge, towering walls built by shyness. Walls designed to keep me trapped inside myself, rather than allow me to become close to other people so to love them. 

But God, being extremely long-suffering, did eventually knock down those bricks, the vast majority, and now, as long as I lean on Him, I can speak encouragement as easily as I can write it and the desire to 'share all good things with all men' is strong.

Anyway, I am so very grateful that God made my gifts plain to me at such a young age. 

And what I love best about the Bible verses, above? It's the ways we're told to use our gifts. You know the "let him give himself to ..." parts. The "... let him do it in simplicity and liberality..", "with zeal and singleness of mind..", "with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness" and the "be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord" parts.

For, wow! When we use our God-given gifts/talents in His strength and in those passionate ways, they do amount to something eternally important here and in Heaven. How could they not?


"Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins." ... I Peter 4:8

Something I've noticed? The happiest times of my life are when I'm most fervently loving others.


Oh! I found this delightful sermon /testimony this morning thanks to Bear Grylls of Man vs. Wild. His friend, Charlie Mackesy shared the message that day at church. Loved it. It's 23 minutes long, yet sails by much faster because the stories were so interesting/anointed/humorous.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Net--Making Us Lonely?

So did you read that article entitled, Is Facebook Making Us Lonely? 

I didn't read the entire thing because was that baby ever wordy! And now in my later years? Just give it to me in a few clear, precise sentences, please.

Anyway, I found the article, well, silly because throughout all of Time anything becomes what we, ourselves, make of it. Anything. And the easiest thing, ever, is to blame other people, their choices and differing methods, traditions, ways of life--and now--social media for our own lack of common sense.

Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Where did balance go, for heaven's sake? 

Good gracious. For myself? In the 12 years since I first went online, I've found the Internet to be a whole other (delightful) world where new friends stand along every sidewalk, waiting to reach for my hand and pull me into their homes. Oh, the fellowship of kindred spirits I've found in these 'hoods! The deep conversations and the playful ones, too. The reunions. The parties. The peeks into homes and the inspiration for all things decor and friendship and spirituality-related.

Oh, what I get back from all that interaction!

And mostly? It blows my mind how much giving of myself I can do within the realms of this Net world. In just one day I can send lots of ecards or emails to tons of friends so to encourage them, lift them higher, or to just express my gratitude that they stepped into my life. I can comment at blogs, letting others know their valid, important thoughts have touched and inspired me. I can congratulate friends at Facebook  and respond to prayer requests and --

Let's face it--sometimes we're lonely simply because we're not giving. Not enough, anyway.

Oh, the seeds I can wildly spread all over the Internet! Good, healthy ones which will reap good, healthy blessings in this Internet Land for others and myself, as well. Seeds which will grow and leave a huge part of my eternal legacy. 

Facebook or any part of the Net is making me lonelier? Ha! Not even. Not as long as I behave myself here as God would have me behave anywhere else in the so-called Real World.


"Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ."  ... Galations 6:2

"He who willfully separates and estranges himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire and pretext to break out against all wise and sound judgment."  ... Proverbs 18:1

"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."  ... Philippians 2:4


 "Store up in your hearts these parting words, be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." - Horace Mann, Educator


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wandering Around My House This Evening

See the Little White House In The Sky? 

Well, that's what I call it, a house very much like ours, but theirs sits up on top of a single-story house, blue even, like a summer sky. Just outside my window for my dreaming pleasure.

A couple of my very favorite book jackets and other assorted books and stuff.

Sammy jumps off the bed whenever I eject a dvd, for the whole process fascinates him. And when I place a video into the other side? He steps around to the back of the player, expecting to see the video come out there. He's one weird cat--but we love him.

Our dining room. Again. With fake springtime flowers.

Speaking of flowers, these are the lovely red carnations Vicki and Dale brought to us when they came to lunch on Saturday. These are much prettier in-person, especially with the light shining through the water.

So there you go. A peek at my world this evening.


(Wo)man vs. World

Here at Hobbit Cottage, yesterday was an all-day-pajama day. 

After weeks of sunny, gorgeous days, we had a dark-grey, frigid, snow-spitting one, so why not? Tom and I lounged around together watching episodes of Man vs. Wild, a survival show we do enjoy, after all, even though Bear Grylls is on camera, alone (normally, we prefer stressed-out couples lost out in the wild). But Bear's personality/gifts/talents are just right for such a crazy, wilderness series and once again, we're hooked. 

Tom and I prefer our scary, wild, dangerous adventures be experienced the tv way.

Something I find cool about Bear's survival shows? He repeats the same basic wilderness survival hints over and over. Like how to make fire. He wears a cool flint and steel necklace so he's always prepared to make a quick fire. Of course, now Tom and I want a necklace like that! (Who knows what might happen on the ride down to the supermarket?) ツ

Bear explains how to land in water when you must jump into it (legs straight, feet together), how to create a basic shelter, how to melt snow in a water bottle (keep it inside your shirt, next to your body) and lots of additional hints, as well.

Over and over.

And you know? Where many folks would find that boringly repetitive, I appreciate it, mostly because my poor ol' Over-50 brain, I'm finding, must hear things repeatedly before it can remember them. 

Lose me out on a wild mountaintop and only now would I stand a chance of walking out, alive.

Know what all that reminds me of? The way each of us needs to hear/read/listen to the Word of God repeatedly before we really get it. Before it becomes part of who we are-- before we can recall it in rough times, share it with others and use it to keep us at peace and walking in a daily kind of powerful joy.


"But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night."  Psalm 1:2

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."  ... Romans 8:1  (So I'm hoping none of you feels condemned if you can't memorize verses the way other people can.)

... for the joy of the Lord is my strength..."  ... Nehemiah 8:10


Ack! Just discovered our friend, Donna, had to have emergency colon surgery. Good gracious--we can't believe all she's been through this past month. Anyway, please keep praying for her, ok? She really would like to get home and allow God to help her build her new life there. Thanks.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Complete Healing

In the nearly 8 years since beginning this blog, I've lost my dad, my favorite aunt, 3 dear friends of 20 - 30 years, 4 dearly-loved cats and various elderly neighbors. Tom was laid-off from his job for the first time in more than 30 years of our marriage. We've had to adjust to early retirement (we thought). We've moved 3 times. I went through menopause. Tom had two surgeries. We've experienced growing pains with our daughter, she broke-up with a boyfriend who felt almost like a son to us and last month Naomi moved states away.

Whew. And I didn't even mention facing a ton of disappointments-- tiny, daily ones and larger ones, too.

Some of you have ridden along this entire journey with me and I'm sure most of you recall me saying, a few times, something like, "For the sake of my sanity/healing or just needing a rest, I'll be taking a blogging break, probably for a week or more." 

But you know? Only once (that I can remember) did I take a break for that long--ten days, to be exact-- but that was due to our train trip across the U.S.  I wished to wait until our return home before I shared the whole trip with you.

The other times? I always returned to my blog earlier than I'd planned. I'd slink back here and tell you, "Well, I'm back. Sooner than I'd supposed." And not until today did I figure out the why of that.

So why? It's because God knows that part of our healing involves helping other people. You know, taking our eyes off of ourselves--our own pain, our unfair times, our tears and the me-me-me-ness of it all--and putting them, instead, upon other people. Their pain, their unfair times, their tears.

Because hey, God planned it that way. When He told Adam it wasn't good for man to be alone, He wasn't just talking marriage. No, He meant that men (people) needed each other and they needed to give to each other in order for they, themselves, to be fully healed.


"The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered."  ... Proverbs 11:25

"Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."  ... Luke 6:38

"Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to."  ... Deuteronomy 15:10

So what I realized is that, yes, I've needed times alone with God for Him to heal me and times of encouragement from friends, too. But the reason God won't let me stray too far away, for too long from this blog, this vehicle He's given me to help others? It's because He doesn't want me to go all hermit-like. Inside myself, unto myself, concerned only about myself. And not all, "Us four and no more" around my home, either, for even that looms way too small in His eyes.

As it should in my own eyes, as well.


2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.

"But the greatest of these is love."  ... 1 Corinthians 13:13


Window Cats

Naughty kitties on the table. :)

Life with cats is more complicated, yet more fun and comforting, too.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Who Comes First?

"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people."   ... Colossians 3:23


You know how some Bible verses, once they become part of who you are, can change the way you do things? Make everything appear brighter, better? Well, that's what happened with that verse, above.

I mean, instead of writing letters (or later, emails) to people so they'd write back to me (and think of me as Debra, The Faithful Friend), I began writing letters simply because God told me to. When He told me. And how.

And you know? I stopped getting upset if friends wrote just three sentences when I'd written a hundred--or if they didn't write back at all. Oh, I'd be a bit disappointed (being still human, after all), but gone was the, "Well, if they're going to act like that, then I'm not going to write back to them!" attitude. You know, the, "What's wrong with people nowadays, #$%^@& ?" attitude which sours how we perceive the rest of our world.

When I started truly doing things foremost for God, then I stopped keeping count of what people did for me, rather we were 'even' or not in our giving to each other. I stopped killing myself by working hard to impress people and keep-up with them. I could invite people over without redecorating the whole house and yard, first, for I was now inviting them because God says hospitality is godly and right. (Though I did have to remind myself of all that this past week while hurriedly planting daylilies. Er hem.

And like, last Sunday when we visited our friend, Donna, in the hospital--yes, we went because she's our dear friend, but the larger reason we'll go again tomorrow? It's because Jesus said if we visit those who are sick, it's as though we visited Him

Oh, the pressure I took off of my friendships when I began living this way! When I learned to receive and treasure most the blessings from God, first, from my obedience and love toward Him. Then behind that, secondly, the gifts from friends. 

How much easier it became to love and forgive them, as well.


I realize this will sound odd to some of you, perhaps like outer-space-la-la thinking, even. But for me? It's one of those concepts, one of those biblical instructions, which has released a ton of pressure from my head and has helped to sweeten and uncomplicate Life. Immeasurably. 


"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."   ... Galations 1:10


Friday, April 20, 2012

That Down On The Farm Feeling

So if you live in the suburbs yet long to live on a farm, instead, well, today I'll tell you exactly how to get that Down On The Farm Feeling.

Here's how: step outside into your suburban yard and rake a few too many leaves. Transplant a few too many flowers, plant a few too many seeds, carry a few too many gallons of water around so to water plants. Gather fallen twigs, mow the lawn, sweep the sidewalk.

Then when you step back inside your house your legs will whine, "For heaven's sake, lie down!," and you'll collapse upon the couch and wonder if you'll ever be able to move again.

That's the Down On The Farm Feeling. 

Really. I know because I had a farm and every Spring and Summer that's exactly the way I felt. All the time.  :)


Oh wow. Tom and I finished watching all ten episodes at Netflix of Dual Survival and we were so sad to see it end! Loved, loved that series to pieces. Every moment.

Anyone else have something similar to recommend? We've already seen the two Out of The Wild series and Man, Woman, Wild and I Shouldn't Be Alive and various shows about climbing Mt. Everest. There's one we haven't seen, something with ... hmmm.... is it Bear SomethingOrRather? But he goes out alone and what Tom and I love best is seeing the interaction between people when they're out in the wild. Their reactions, their dependence upon each other and needing to cooperate together in order to survive, etc.

If you can think of something similar to these shows, let me know, ok? Thanks.

Addendum:  oh! I found a list online of other survival shows here. If you personally can recommend any of these, I'd love to hear about it/them!


We are having more company over to lunch tomorrow. Dale and Vicki are on our list of People We Meant To Invite Over While Living On The Farm But Didn't Because We Were Too Tired And Other Sorry Excuses. Slowly we've been whittling away at that list and it certainly feels wonderful to do so.


Oh! And one more thing. This was so inspirational--it's a video of how one family created a 10 million dollar business from less than $100. It proves what I've said for years-- one terrific idea can prove to be more valuable than one very expensive education.


The top photo is of our only tulip which did anything this year. :)


Monday, April 16, 2012

Cured From Buying? Maybe?

So Tom and I have lived at Hobbit Cottage for nearly 8 whole months and do you know what I've bought for myself in all that time besides food (including strawberry plants for my garden), clothes (3 little things from a thrift shop), 2 coupon wallets and a few Christmas gifts?

Seven books. That's it. In 8 months.

Now, is that because of our meager financial situation? Well, partly, yes. But mostly? Mostly it's because of that awful, nightmarish weekend we had moving away from the farm.

Oh. My . Goodness. I only told you part of that story. Being a first-born (in the birth order thing), I didn't ask for any help that last take-what-the-movers-left day. We first-borns (as a general rule) hate to bother people. If we're out at a restaurant, we've been known to gnaw on a still-half-alive-cow steak rather than remind the (poor, over-worked, under-paid) server we asked for one medium-well

That's me to a T. A typical first-born, don't-want-to-bother-anybody person.

I've also heard not being able to ask for help is a sign of pride, but for heaven's sake, let's skip over that.  :)

Anyway, so there we were at the farm over two moving days, the second one just Tom and myself, on the hottest weekend of the whole year. Tom (still with heat-exhaustion) was outside cramming leftover stuff from the barn into the car while I worked inside the house gathering leftover stuff from all three floors, sweeping, taking down curtains and sweating like a proverbial pig. 

Also, I'd become so sick of stuff by then, (and our car was becoming impossibly full), that I began leaving a lamp here in a corner, a chair here in the attic, another chair over there in the other attic, a lovely, vintage inlaid walnut card table folded behind the front porch curtains, a new little heater on the shelf of the coat closet, a spiffy plate rack on the wall, a pair of pretty drapes still hanging in a sunny window, my favorite rug still lying on the dining room floor and ----- 

Well, you get the idea. With everything spread-out like that, the house still looked empty. Or mostly so. And let me assure you--I left no junk and I did sweep the floors and it all looked neat. We'd already told the new owners we'd be leaving things in the barn (and they sounded excited about that) so I thought, hey, they'll probably be happy, too, to come upon these few items.

 But, oh that last day, especially! I officially became Sick. Of. Stuff. Sick of it, sick of it, sick of it. I promised myself I'd never go through such a nightmare--I'd never again do this to myself.

And since then, as I told you, I've hardly bought a thing. In fact, remember how I loved the American Pickers tv show? Well, I still watch it, but it's no longer my favorite program. All those barns and sheds and houses full of rusty old junk! Now they make my stomach go all tight. I get a little dizzy, a bit panicky. And then the memory of that final day at the farm haunts me big-time.

But it's all Good. I mean, oh my! Do you know how great it is to be delivered from feeling like you must buy things? I hope you do. Really. For it feels like freedom and freedom feels mighty, mighty fine, indeed.


Yesterday Tom and I drove to the hospital in our former town to visit our friend, Donna. Please keep praying for her, ok? It looks like the stress of John's death gave her a major attack of rheumatoid arthritis, plus, a huge infection happened in her foot, plus, well, she truly needs all our prayers. She's been improving over the past two days so we're rejoicing, but she has a long way to go before she can return home--she can barely walk at this time. Thanks so much for remembering her.