Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pets, Flowers, Shopping Seasons

Silly Daniel taking a nap inside a paper bag.

Don't you just love that God created the whole pets thing? Oh, the comfort, companionship and unconditional love they bring us. What a delight they are. True blessings.


And don't you love buying outdoor plants at WalMart this time of year? Those miles of empty shelves and the few straggly, droopy, dried-up plants left which are half-off. They peer up at you like, "Take me! Rescue me from this place. I promise if you give me some rich soil, water and individual care I'll someday look beautiful for you."

Well, that's what I heard this weekend from about 10 plants. Already they're looking happier. Grateful, too.


Of course, Shopping Seasons don't last forever. No season lasts forever. Not our seasons with our kids, our spouse, our home, our body, our face, our town, our church, our parents, our jobs, our friends. All seasons change, all seasons, eventually, end. Perhaps God designed it that way to keep us from ever feeling too at home here. To remind us of where our true Forever Home really is.

So why do we try so hard to cling to the temporary? To hold onto what is gone?

But thank-goodness Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He does not change, He does not end during our short stay upon this planet. Whew.



Remember when I mentioned the Scholastic book, Blue Treasure by Helen Girvan? Well, yesterday the Insulation Guys were here all day (and are here again now) and whenever we have workmen around, I always feel restless, as though I want to accomplish things, but I can't, because I'll just get in someone's way or will be interrupted repeatedly.

 So. I chose to read Blue Treasure and rather than feeling restless, I went to Bermuda, instead. Well, kinda! What a fun, exotic, adventurous book, one which teaches some interesting art history about this artist's works, as well.  

Highly recommended if you can find it.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Old-Fashioned Shut-Ins With New-Fangled Computers

"For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body."  ... James 3:2


I remember being twelve-years-old at church and making a cute little tissue holder out of the felt and sequins for those mysterious shut-ins we were always hearing about. 

You know, people who never stepped out the door of their homes or their convalescent hospital. Hard to imagine such a thing as never leaving your house, especially for a child, but I'd think about these shut-ins and though I'd feel sorry for them, I'd also try to imagine what sorts of things they could do at home so to keep themselves occupied and happy.

I've always been a sort of glass-half-full kind of gal.

Anyway, lately I've begun thinking about Today's shut-ins and how wonderful computers must be for those who have them. Computers can zoom a whole world inside your house! 

Whereas the shut-ins I heard about as a child probably suffered much loneliness from lack of communication with people, the home-bound of 2012 can chat with anybody with a computer, anywhere. You can be crippled, unable to go anywhere, doesn't matter for, poof! Anyone can find friends online and talk with them daily.

Also, groceries can be ordered online. 
Clothing, trinkets, and well, just about anything can be bought if a shut-in has the funds. 
How convenient that must be for anyone who must stay inside! 

And the Kindle thing! Any shut-in who loves to read, but can't get to a library, now has the option of bringing hundreds of books into their homes by way of Kindle. 

And for tv fans there's Netflix, Blockbuster, Hulu and --. There are clubs and groups for anyone interested in anything from grandchildren to knitting to sightseeing. 

And tons more.

Why bring all this up? And why did I place that verse about the tongue at the top of this post?

I guess I just wanted to remind myself to watch our words when we're tempted to speak of Internet Life as being "second rate" or "not as good as." Because I know I would hate to make anyone-- especially shut-ins--feel like they're living a second-rate life by way of their much-treasured computer. 

How horrible to make anyone feel computer friends aren't as good as my 'real-life' friends. That they're just imitations, not as vital or warm-blooded as someone sitting beside you.

I would so hate to steal anyone's hope by way of my words. Any of them. And may I remember all this. May I watch my words carefully.


The top photo: Two-thirds of my front flower bed is now finished and I decided to make it partially an herb garden. It's amazing how little space is required to grow food and flowers. Oh, and remember those upside-down candle-holders from the farm? Instead of birdseed, I place water in them for tiny birds and insects.

The bottom photo: My little fenced-in area got a make-over this weekend. That cute rooster is the one I found at Salvation Army.


"I said, I will take heed to my ways, That I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle..."  ~ Psalms 39:1


Friday, July 27, 2012

Before. After. And Your Opinion Needed.

So here's a Before Photo of my Prayer Garden, taken probably in October of last year:

Kinda bare, huh?

Well, here's the After Photo, taken this morning:

I'm thinkin' that's nicer. What do you think?

I took a couple more photos while I was out there:

The bees like that bowl of water the best. I actually like to see them getting a drink.

Someday this special little fence will house a special little garden. Someday.

And now here's where I need your opinion. The front of Hobbit Cottage, from the street, looks, well, kinda sad. A major improvement would be to paint the front door, even though Tom's not keen on the idea, being a typical man who prefers natural/stained wood. Here's an old photo, one taken before we even moved here:

Now, we have a new storm door--it's just solid glass--so the light-stained oak(?) door shows more prominently. And like I said--to me (and probably every other person on the block)--it makes no statement, other than just a rather sad one.

So! What color should I paint the door, do you think? I'm leaning toward white, actually (we have white patio furniture) or maybe a dark sort of colonial red or a dark medium blue.

Let me know what you think! Maybe whichever color gets the most votes (or do you have a different one in mind?) could be the one I end up choosing.

But now I must run.... I get to go visit with my friend, Donna, today at her house! I can't wait to see how her 'new' half of the house has turned out. She's even making lunch for us.

More later..... Be sure to cast your vote, ok? Don't be shy about it!  :)


A very special thanks to God and Grace for helping me with this new yard, especially during this hot, steamy summer!


I'm loving your ideas! Keep them coming.

But what I forgot to add, something important, is that lately I really, really, really want to have the whole front of the house faced with brick. Brick with lots of white in the red brick. (Kind-of important that I mention that, huh?) So that's probably why I'm mostly leaning toward a white door--I think it would look crisp with brick. Anyone else like brick the way I do?

But truthfully? I love red doors the best. Oh well, I can save that for another house.... If you've been reading here long, you know I'm gonna have one someday cuz we do tend to move often! :)


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Uh-Oh. August.

There's a reason I've been perturbed about all this humidity causing me to lose days working out in my yard.

August is coming.

And uh-oh, if you've read here long, you may remember what that means, namely, when August arrives I always peer at whatever garden or flower beds I've created and say, "Eh. You can rot for all I care. You make me tired. I'm so over you."

Yes, really--I do that. By August, I'll have moved on to reading or coupons or stocking-up groceries for Winter. Something, anything other than working in the soil out in additional weeks of heat. And I've shared at least one post which proves I'm not alone.


This past week, especially, I've felt the need to hurry, to out-run the coming tide, to work out there with Grace before she walks away. To lug in more bags of garden soil and peat moss and more flowers, worms and bricks. To get this adventure finished, otherwise August's gonna get here, I won't care anymore, and the yard will look weirdly unfinished till next Spring.

And we wouldn't want that now, would we? :)

So I'd better get back out there and do something even though it's soo humid, for August is coming ... and soon will be here. I hear it calling, even now.


Thank-you so much for your kind responses to my 8th anniversary post!


Oh, and last night I felt rather nostalgic, so here's what I posted at Facebook:

Although not a huge fan of summer, there *is* one thing I love about this time of year: the ice cream truck. Oh, not that I ever race out into the street and buy anything, but rather, I enjoy the memories of being a child and becoming excited whenever the musical truck made its way down our street. Ice cream trucks--they make me feel 10-years-old all over again. Gotta love that.


"Know thyself."   ... copied


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Eight Years

Eight years writing in this thing! Eight years today. 

I can't wrap my mind around that, for rarely do I stick with one thing for eight whole years.

But there you go.

No special words today--I'm feeling like, in eight years, I've already told you everything I know. :)

Instead, let's celebrate with a few photos of my Prayer Garden. Oh, how s-l-o-w-l-y it's coming along, due mostly to all this turn-me-into-a-zombie humidity. But today is lovely so I made two (two!) trips to Home Depot after even shopping at the supermarket and Dollar Tree.

What a difference low humidity makes. What. A. Difference.

But anyway, here you are... a few peeks at what I have going so far, everything in a state of being unfinished, but oh well.

Okay, one of my longest-time readers, (Hi Betty!) asked me to label the plants in these photos. So, around the flagpole I've got marigolds which are just barely hanging in there--I'm thinking the concrete bakes the poor things. To the left are mostly tomato plants (four of them), with a few green onions which I, like every year, transplant from a few I buy at the supermarket (I just clip the tops as they grow.)

Petunias and an empty pot. :) Oh, and peonies down below.

More petunias... (I move these babies around to sunny spots each day, because that corner gets barely any.)

And lets' see... Daylilies in the left-hand corner, hot peppers on both sides, forget-me-nots in front, a miniature rosebush in the back right and there are tiny flowers which I've been digging from the lawn and transplanting. I've been meaning to ask you what they are--I'll take a close-up of them later.

The aforementioned green onions.

Miniature roses in the pot, daisies to the left, some of which I also dug up from the lawn (man, all sorts of stuff grows in our lawn, everything, really, except for grass! :)


Today I finished reading my cloud reader book, Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise by Joyce Magnin. Loved it! Must. Find. Other. Books. By. This. Author.

Then I began Texas Roads by Cathy Bryant and the first few pages have been delightful, indeed. Shows promise.


A very special thank-you to all of you who have encouraged me by reading here for years!


"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." ... Colossians 3:15

Monday, July 23, 2012

Just Grateful

I'm grateful that we had a huge rain storm yesterday afternoon. 

Boy, were we inching toward drought-conditions, something rare for our area. Though oh well, part of my Prayer Garden got washed away, but just part, and I lost only some forget-me-nots (I can always find more around the lawn) and hopefully my tomato plants will pull through. But I'll survive if they don't.

I'm grateful that Tom will receive a new bed after his new one was damaged in transit--and how the company gave him a temporary one.

But most of all I am super, incredibly thankful that our amazing God protected Naomi on Saturday night down there in Tennessee. Here is her Facebook post about what happened:

"Last night, while waiting at a stop light, the combination of hearing distant fire trucks along with noticing a cop car behind me caused me to *very* cautiously proceed into the intersection when the light turned green. This slight hesitation SAVED me from being T-boned by a car running through the red light from the left. DIVINE INTERVENTION??! I absolutely think so. SO THANKFUL today! And that cop NAILED that driver!! :)"

Oh wow. How can I thank God enough for that one? Thank-you to infinity, dear Lord!!


Something else for which I'm grateful.... Charlotte Fig Takes Over Paradise. Truly, I'll always feel delighted that I got it free for my kindle cloud reader. What a good book! I'm reading it slowly, for I don't want it to end, I don't want the characters to go away. Highly recommended.


One of the mattress delivery guys was delighted by this thing beside our front door:

(That's an old photo of it from out at the farm.) 

I told him my grandparents had one while I was growing-up so I'd wanted one, too. Anyway, he seemed like a kindred spirit, both Tom and I thought he'd be a pleasant person to know.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Books. Games. Book Games.

When Tom and I were first married, we loved to play card games with his sisters' families. 

We'd all sit around a table and play spades or Uno or Pit, sometimes till midnight because, usually, one of our brothers-in-law would plead, "Just one more game! Just one more."

Those long ago nights were fun and I recall them fondly. I also remember playing about a thousand hours' worth of board games with Naomi. I recall those with a smile, too. (Except for Candy Land. Good grief. I became one of those parents who eventually hid that endless, mindless game way up in a closet.) heh.

But for the past decade, I've had no desire to play card or board games. 

Some of our oldest friends (who live very far away) still enjoy such games, but they (the games) are no longer my idea of a good time. I'd rather talk and laugh with our friends and share good meals.

And I'd also rather play my own solitary game, one I call Playing With Books.

How do you play that one? Well you--

get some bookshelves, 
discard the books you don't wish to read a second time,
arrange your books first by categories: 

Then you--

arrange them alphabetically by author,
sit back and smile at your lovely books, 
choose one to begin reading.

Yep, at this stage of my life, that's my favorite game. 

Some people might get all worried and wonder, "Why don't I love playing games with other people like I used to?" But not me. 

We all change, morph into who God designed us to be--that is--if we're cooperating with Him, not just allowing ourselves to get stuck in muddy places like 

bitterness, etc. 

Get stuck in those dark places and they'll suck The Good Life right out of us!

Instead, I'd recommend celebrating changes rather than dreading or worrying about them. That's my advice for this day.


Speaking of books, here are more recommendations for your kindle:

Here's a fun book I found at an estate sale yesterday:  The Sweet Life by Lynn York. 

And oh my. At that estate sale home, there were more than 300 gardening books. Can you imagine? I never see that many at libraries or bookstores, even. Wow!


"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."  ... Ephesians 2:10

"Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord..."  ... Acts 3:19


Friday, July 20, 2012


So. I might be the only person you know who doesn't love cell phones. Personally, I believe their best use is for emergencies and we should just leave it at that and move on with our lives already.

Heh. But that's not a "thus sayeth the Lord thing" by any means. It's just a personal preference.

And yet there are types of phones that I do love: old-fashioned black phones. 

Perhaps you remember this phone which I bought from ebay probably 10 years ago:

I look at that and think pleasant, nostalgic thoughts. The ringer doesn't work, but it is possible to speak through it to someone in the outside world.

Then there's the phone we've used regularly for probably 6 years, one I bought at a yard sale for a mere $1:

A great deal, but it's not behaved well with our Magic Jack service. Occasionally we've considered throwing it out the window because hey, when you need to make a call, well, you need to make a call. And when a phone won't allow you to do that, it's frustrating. Too, since February the ringer on this phone has made the wimpiest, weariest, sputter-sputter noise you ever heard. You can sit right beside it with the tv and the fan going and not even hear it. Hasn't bugged me too much (not being a phone person), but it's made Tom wild-eyed at times.

Well. Both Tom and I feel that his current job was provided by God mainly so that we could afford much-needed repairs to this house and so that we could replace our possessions which have just plain ol' worn out. 

So look what arrived yesterday:

A brand new phone. Is that cute, or what? And the ringer is even strong and healthy, too. :) Tom bought it online, though I can't recall from which company. All I know is that it's here, I'm so grateful for it and now we can move on and replace some other broken-down thing.

God is so good.


Today my prayers are going out to all those involved with the Aurora, CO shootings. And for all of us, too, actually, who must live during a time when more people than ever are opening themselves up to evil and obeying its call.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

To Answer a Question

"Neglect not the gift which is within you."  1 Timothy 4:14


Sarah asked a couple important questions after my last posts:

"I can't say I am even sure of my special calling or talents. I know one. Would there be more? How do I know or learn about them?"

To which good ol' Debra would say, "Oh yes! Most people have more than one."

Still not sure of your gifts/talents/callings? 

I would say, ask yourself what you enjoy doing. I mean, God knows how we are--how, if we hate doing something, we'll try super-hard to avoid doing it. シ

Next--what are you naturally good at doing? Is there something which tends to be difficult for your friends, but for you, it's not hard at all? 

And I guess I just want to keep it that simple today.

 What do you enjoy doing? 
What do you lose track of time, doing? 
What are you good at? Chances are, God placed that joy and that talent within you, but not just for your benefit! No, but so that--while you're helping others--you will find yourself in the right place at the right time--and you'll behold miracles of change.

I think the biggest mistake people make when trying to discover their gifts/talents/callings is to go all oooooooo-spooky-spiritual about it. Don't do that! Actually, if we belong to God, it's all spiritual. Whenever we obey Him in seemingly small areas, that's as spiritual as it gets.

Here are just a few of the types of gifts I'm talking about today:

Are you a good seamstress? Or a knitter? Do you crochet?
Do you love to create gardens? Are you a good landscaper? A creative decorator?
Do you enjoy baking? Cooking meals for others?
Are you good at writing stories or emails or letters or blog posts? Encouraging people at Facebook or other places online or in Real Life?
Have you always wanted to be an actor? Are you interested in community theater?
Do you love all things having to do with make-up? Are you good at making-up your face?
Do you love keeping-up with clothing styles? Have you designed clothes before?
Do you shop yard sales? Enjoy getting awesome deals?
Are you great at financial planning? Stocks? Bonds? Budgets?
What types of things do you enjoy collecting? Do you love music? Do you sing well or play an instrument or collect certain types of music cd's?
Do you love to read? Attend book clubs? Do you like to throw parties? Do you enjoy making people laugh?
Are you good at organization? Does the thought of helping people clean-out their attics or declutter their homes, excite you? Do you enjoy keeping a tidy home?
Have people told you you're a good listener? Do you excel at sports?
Do you collect stationery? Do you enjoy sending snail mail cards and letters? Are you good at writing letters to people in your local government or others when you wish to see changes made?
Do you like giving directions? Instructions?
Do you love caring for children? Are you creative? Do you enjoy crafting with kids or adults or both? Are you an artist?
Are you a nature lover? Enjoy hiking and camping? Eating healthy? Organic?
 Do you enjoy teaching others what God has taught you?

Stop me before I go on all day. 

Oh, to know exactly what God has gifted you to do for others. There's nothing like obeying Him in ways we so enjoy!


"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work."  1 Corinthians 12:4-6

"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."  ... Philippians 2:4


Monday, July 16, 2012

The One Thing

"One thing have I desired of the Lord, one thing will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to seek Him in his temple."  ... Psalm 27:4


If you've spent much time around here, you know that after Tom and I moved to Hobbit Cottage, I was thrilled to discover a retro radio station which plays songs from the 40's, 50's and 60's. And I'm still thrilled with it--come to my house and, most likely, you'll hear it playing in our kitchen.


I've noticed that some of those old songs have some pretty wild, extreme lyrics. Ones which come across like this:

"I worship and adore the one I love."

"There's only one person for me in this world. I've lost him. I'll never love again."

"My friend stole my boyfriend away and now my heart is forever broken." (Note from me: Good grief. Just how devoted and trustworthy was this guy, anyway, if he left you for your friend?)

"My true love died and now I want to die, too."

Come on, people.

God never, ever meant for our love of another human being--spouse, child or otherwise-- to be that all-consuming, that I'm-just-a-pathetic-shell-without-you-ish.

No, God created us to love Him, most. To love Him first and to keep Him in that top spot. And in today's crazy-mixed-up world? Well, I'm going to be bold today and say I'm thinking--in this 2012 mess-- our mental health just might depend upon loving God the most, with our whole hearts.... and everybody else coming second or third or --. 

God has known all along that only He could be with us 24/7, only He could give us what we truly need and only He would never die on us and leave us alone.

Times are getting rough, folks, but then, you've probably already noticed that. And what I'm believing lately is that--as long as we keep God in His top spot--we'll be ok. It just might help us (as they say) 'keep our heads while everyone else is losing theirs.'

Just something to consider on this very hot and humid Monday...


This type of message is what changed my life forever back in 1994. The hearing and the doing of it.... and nothing has been the same, since.


"There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her."  Luke 10:42

 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’" ...  Luke 10:27


Fawn, my dear friend from high school, wrote this wonderful post about finding Mr. Right. With each re-read, I'm amazed by its wisdom.

"You are significant, even alone."  ... Jan Kiemel Ream


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gifts and Books

So did you read this article about the guy who asked his Facebook friends what he should do for his 65th birthday and someone suggested doing random acts of kindness? 

Well, he found that a terrific idea and, on his 65th birthday, went out into his community and did 65 random acts of kindness.

Totally, totally inspiring stuff.

What do I see as the two greatest secrets to finding true happiness in this life?

1. Daily soaking in the presence of God.
2. Then getting up and giving away what you have received from Him.

Really. But leave one of those out and any happiness will come and go. Will be whispier than regularly doing both.

One reason the Bible says, "Neglect not the gift that is in you"? So that we --and the people we help--won't miss out on any happiness we could have experienced here. 

Truly, it is in giving that we receive, not in hoarding stuff or Life lessons or blessings or waiting at home for others to bless us, first.

I hope you've discovered your very special gifts to this world and are flinging them around, everywhere.

Just mentioning again that I've found my 200 free ebooks of all kinds (novels, cookbooks, how-to, etc.) through this website:

DailyFreeBooks.com  You can even customize their emails so you see books only from the categories you enjoy.

And speaking of books (a hold-in-your-hand one in this instance)-- I'm so enjoying Death of a Garage Sale Newbie. Wow. One of the best cozy mysteries I've ever read and an extra bonus are the Christian insights.

Oh, and please do continue sharing with me books you love! How wonderful when your loved books become mine.


Tom took all four of his days off, well, off

And oh, what marvelous times we had. Yard sales, fast food, Bones (tv series) and lots of relaxing on these hot, humid days. We even accomplished a few things around the house and yard, too. 

And when this morning arrives? We both felt refreshed and ready to return to our respective jobs. 

Now, that's more like it! シ


"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
Hebrews 13:2

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." 
Ralph Waldo Emerson


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Just A Few More Books

So! Tom had planned to go back into work on yet another of his days off (today), but he decided not to. Hooray! So we drove to Salvation Army where, oh happy day, I hit the mother lode, book-wise. After all those 20 months of unemployment and barely buying any books, I'm certainly making up for it lately. 

Here's what I bought today for just pennies:

Bloomability by Sharon Creech  ( a really great hardcover, former library book)
A Batch of the Best: Stories for Girls edited by N. Gretchen Greiner
A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
Make Room For the Hollyhocks by Lorraine Hunter Hare (signed by the author)

I also found a lovely diary, all pages unused, one called Our Old-Fashioned Country Diary for 1996 published by Michel Publishing, LTD. Just take my word for it--it's gorgeous. Has some Victoriana-type paintings and some pen drawings and quotes and little stories and--- well, a treasure, really.

And then when Tom and I later dropped by Dollar Tree, I found another lovely book of essays(!). My fourth such book from there:

Love Matters: Remarkable Love Stories That Touch the Heart and Nourish the Soul by Delilah, America's #1 Nighttime Radio Host.  (Have you ever heard Delilah on the radio? I have, occasionally through the years, and her compassion for people always blesses me.) Her website is here.

I told Tom that as far as things go, you know, stuff you can hold in your hands or touch with your fingers, I love basically just one thing on this planet: Books. 

Oh well, as Tom said--it could be worse. At least books don't take up much space, well, unless you own a ton of them. (But they can be hidden pretty easily. Trust me, I know.) They're relatively cheap.  And they're easily hauled to thrift shops when you discard those which aren't keepers, bringing extra smiles when you realize you're sharing such delightful things with strangers.

Books--how I do love books.


Thanks for all your kind comments to my last post regarding the sidewalk episode! Boy, did these verses from Deuteronomy 8 ever come to my mind yesterday:

 "Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.  He humbled you......  Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you."

The "in order to know what was in your heart" thing nagged convicted me all day, in a good, lasting way.... Oh, how far I have left to go. It's certainly a good thing God is so patient (and merciful)!

Again, thanks... (Oh, and to answer Robin's question, no, our street is not busy at all. It's very quiet.)


Oooo! And guess what arrived in the mail just moments ago. Yes, a book. It's a cozy mystery which I mentioned to you earlier: Death of a Garage Sale Newbie by Sharon Dunn. Can't wait to peruse it!


I found this hilarious! It's film of the fireworks show in San Diego on the 4th of July. (Turn down your speakers nearly all the way, first!)!!