Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Last Week of February. Bleh.


Is it March yet?

Only if you've lived in snow country for 36 years (as I have) do you understand.

If ever a vote is taken to do away with February, I'll be first in line.



In other news....

Tom and I found two more fascinating programs to watch in Netflix's instant section.

Encounters At the End of the World. If you love South Pole documentaries, you'll love this.

Perilous Journeys. Tom and I wish they'd made more than just four adventurous episodes of this harrowing series.

These are the types of programs which help us keep our sanity during our long, long, and did I mention long? Buffalo winters. They carry us away from this tiny house surrounded by sad, grey skies with falling ice and temperatures too cold to enjoy stepping outside for this new thing they call 'exercise'. heh.

I'm grateful for any show which can take me away from all this.


Oh! And did you see the story of these 2 young brothers at the end of Tuesday's NBC Nightly News? Made me smile... made my whole night.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why I Write About What I Write About

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Meaning: The rash or inexperienced will attempt things that wiser people are more cautious of.


So.  In a couple comments from yesterday, birth control was mentioned, as in, wondering about the okay-ness with God.

And you know? That reminded me of something: For eight years in this blog, I've tried to only address subjects/Bible verses which I feel God has given me some insight/wisdom/failed-and-sometimes-passed test experience.

And I leave the rest alone.

Why? Because oh my... I've seen some Christian bloggers (often women) try to tie-up huge, controversial subjects in a neat little bow called a blog post and it's like watching the proverbial train wreck. Some readers come away feeling smug and others feel only devastation and deeper despair. I've shuddered (and seen red!) as I've watched Christian bloggers--usually without mercy-- venture into areas where not only angels, but seasoned, wise, compassionate pastors and theologians fear to tread.

And I refuse to do that, especially considering that teachers are held to a stricter, scarier standard.

So I will continue to write about only the lessons God's taught me through my own stupidity experiences, even if it means my blog posts often sound boringly the same. But I dare not knowingly venture out upon ground where I, myself, have not walked. I will not risk the disaster to others which that can bring.


"There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you."   ... James 2:13

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."   ... 1 Corinthians 13:1,2


Monday, February 25, 2013

Today You Are Complete

"For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority."   ... Colossians 2:9,10


Back in my good old days(ha), relatives (mostly) tossed out hints like parade candy to Tom and me that we should have more than just one child. We needed to have another one (or two) they insisted, lest Naomi grow-up all wonky. You know, without a sibling.

"Our branch of the Great Family Tree will die out!" they proclaimed, (obviously signaling the end of civilization as we know it). A couple relatives even took Tom aside and suggested he try, well, things which were absolutely none of their business and--had I been there--I'd have told them such. Loudly.

And of course, all our friends were having babies as easily as falling out of the proverbial bed. Oh, the many baby showers I attended in my 20's.

But the fact was, God enabled Tom and me to have only one child the old-fashioned way. We were not one of those couples who could just quip, "Hey! Let's have another baby!" then nine months later drive to the hospital to pick one up. 

It's funny, though, how other people get ideas about personal things meant only for a husband, his wife and God to decide. In fact, another relative even told someone (who told me), "If Debra wanted another baby, she would give birth to one." Gah. How hurtful and clueless. Off and on, some months here and there, I did want another baby, but all I got was a permanent case of secondary infertility, instead.

But what I've seen from hindsight? Half of my desire for another child was hormonal, the  other half was because I wanted what other people had instead of what God wanted for me. And that, my friends, is called lust. Anytime we want something more than we want God--or His specific plan for us--we've wandered over to lust. 

And that is so not good.

So anyway, when Naomi was 11, Tom and I looked into adoption, but you know? God used that appointment to make us both realize adoption wasn't in His plan for us. He'd given us only one (incredible, amazing) child because that was His perfect, individualized desire for us.

And oh, when we finally got that! We never, ever looked back and have, always since, reveled in our contentment and in God's knowing what truly, is best. Long ago, after acceptance, we moved-on to all the other paths and ministries and gifts God's given us. 

And that has made all the difference.

So today I would say rejoice! Because of your union with Jesus, you are complete. In Him, alone. Not complete only if you have at least 2.4 children--or any number of grandchildren, either. Not because you are married or have much godly wisdom. Nor because you worked hard for a masters degree or a just-right body. Not because you've cultivated a beautiful voice, family or home or have visited that Country you dreamed about as a child. 

No, we are complete only because of--and in--Jesus. He who is the head over every ruler and authority, especially those so-called 'authorities' who tell us we're not complete until they say we are. Yes, thank-goodness, He's especially the head over them.  :)


God is the God of more than enough! 

"And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus."   ... Philippains 4:19

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands..."   ... 1 Thessalonians 4:11


Oh! I'm enjoying this free kindle book so much. My world has gone all complicated lately, so a Nancy Drew-type of book is feeling perfect at the moment. (Other Penny Nichols books are available there for free, also.)


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Needing To Be More Brave?

Did you read that? 

That is for any of you who have ever been told, "I've never understood you and I give-up trying."

And for those of you who've ever felt like A Voice Crying In The Wilderness.

You are not alone as long as you're following Jesus. And well, He's been known to ask us to do some pretty crazy things to see if we would do them for Him. Alone.

So keep on walking beside Him wherever He takes you and someday it will all make sense. I guarantee it.


Did you see 92-year-old Dorothy's dream happen? I think you'll be encouraged to be more courageous--I know I was. The song, alone, always makes me cry, but then add Dorothy!... oh my. 

Here's the full version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow--what a voice!


And wow. This morning I watched, over at Netflix, One Nation Under God. Loved it and oddly found tears in my eyes while feeling sorry it ended. I wondered at the beginning if I'd like it, but quickly it grew on me. 

To watch this, you must be able to enjoy (and understand) 20-year-olds or you won't get it--and--have compassion for confused people who have not yet met God. 

I'm already thinking of watching this again tonight with Tom when he arrives home from work. Yes, I enjoyed it that much.

A road trip, beautiful scenery, humor, creativity and conversations about God. I loved it all.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Just Thinking... Again.

You know how some people, for their daily Bible reading, open it, then tap! Place their finger at a verse and read there? Well, that's what I did today (kinda anyway) here at my blog. And wow, given what's gone on around here since yesterday (don't ask), this is such a perfect, calming post to re-give you--and myself--today. Happy sigh... God is good.


My grandparents were my favorite down-home folks.

Down-home folks are amazing.

They don't spend hours complaining about the government or high prices. Oh, they may get a little feisty sometimes, but never bitter. Mostly they are content and talk about the good things in life.

They are thankful for the few possessions they do have and barely notice that others have much more. If you give them a small gift, they go on and on about how marvelous both you and the gift are.

Down-home folks prefer going to cozy family-owned diners, ones with bottomless cups of coffee. Given a choice between an expensive, fancy-named restaurant and a picnic, they'd choose the picnic.

For entertainment, they like to gather in homes or backyards and sing songs like You Are My Sunshine until the moon stands overhead.

Down-home folks use appliances and linens until they are worn-out. They would consider it a great waste to dispose of something which could be repaired, instead.

They usually have a dog or two. Ones they feed scraps to beneath the kitchen table. They usually plant a garden and grow a few flowers in coffee cans.

Down-home folks go to country auctions mostly to visit with old friends. While waiting in long lines at old-fashioned fairs and amusement parks, they never complain. Instead, they turn around and talk with strangers who walk away as new friends. And down-home folks go to church nearly every Sunday.

They have screen doors that creeeeeak and a TV with an old rabbit-ear antenna.

I like to imagine rows and rows of front porches in Heaven filled with rocking chairs and happy down-home folks continuing the great times they had here in this world.

I love down-home folks. To me, they are the salt of the Earth.

I wish I knew more of them.


Quote of the Day
'I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.' - Bill Cosby


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

No Happy Place? Uh-Oh.

"Peace I leave with you... Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]"   ... John 14:27 amplified


I know a ton of Christians, but I know very few peaceful ones. Very few.

Now is the time to pursue peace... Now, before a difficult Last Days future releases the seriously crazy times. Now's the time to build a place for Jesus and ourselves, alone, a happy place, if you will, where none of the bad Internet news can break down the door. Where peace still permeates the walls, pulsates the air, even when the world outside spins from one disaster to another.

A place like that is vital.

But the problem? No one, no real estate agent or dear friend can find it for us. We each must seek it alone, and then go there, repeatedly, coming away with peace, grace, patience and kindness--all good things-- so to calm our hearts and to spill over to others. So to spread a type of hunger so others will finally set-off on their own journeys, having spied the light in our faces and heard the peace in our voice.

I hope you've found that place. I discovered mine back in 1994 and visited so often that I hated to leave, so I learned how to carry it with me. Wherever I am, it is there, He is there, always on my mind, always soaking me in reminders of what's delightful and pure and holy rather than everything gone wrong in our sick, old world.

Always encouraging me to change what I can, to pray about what I can't, not stepping even close to bitterness about the ugly. Man's anger does not move God, but rather, love, faith, hope, prayer and a sweet, calm peace--they can move mountains.


Psalm 91:1  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

1 Chronicles 16:11  Seek the Lord and his strength;  seek his presence continually!

Isaiah 55:6  Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

This secret place is like a vacation cabin, but not the kind you only visit once a year! Oh my, no. Even once a day doesn't feel like enough once you've tasted of the joy there.


Depressed? Still consuming aspartame/Nutrasweet? You may want to check-out these articles and here. Personally, you couldn't pay me to ingest that  &*%$#( stuff.


Ooooooo.... Love that! :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

We Do It To Ourselves

So here's a rerun from my enchanted 40's. :)


I'm still thinking about the movie, Little Manhattan (see my post below).

In one scene, Gabe  wonders, just by looking across the karate classroom at Rosemary's face, if Rosemary is mad at him for something he did. Her lips smile a little, and Gabe happily thinks, "She loves me!" But then she turns, frowns just a tad and he fears, "Darn. She loves me not." Gabe's anxious, worried mind goes back and forth and back and forth--she loves me, she loves me not--just by trying to read Rosemary's teensiest facial movements.

Good gracious. Did that ever bring back memories of a few decades' worth of torturing myself by trying to second-guess people, instead of just applying good ol' communication.

We do it to ourselves. Way too often we torture ourselves.

We wonder if people are mad at us, yet we're afraid to simply ask. Or we go ahead and ask, and then doubt or analyze the answer if it was, "No, I'm not mad at you."

...or we base how we feel about ourselves upon how others treat us, when it would have been much better to just ask God, "How do you feel about me today?"

... or we allow fear to make us sick or even paralyzed instead of holding onto childlike faith that God is still God and He's still big enough to take care of us and our children, family and friends.

... or we stop loving ourselves if someone else stops loving us instead of remembering, always, we have a friend in God--the lover of our souls. 

Probably most often we believe other people are tormenting us, when sadly, most of the time we, ourselves, are allowing anxious, torturing thoughts to spin and spin inside our aching heads.

Perhaps this is partly why I am loving my 40's. On most days, I no longer torture myself, no longer analyze people and things to death or give myself headaches by trying to run my own life or--even worse-- the whole world.

I've learned that in wanting God more than anything else, I can have what I want most, for God always answers that prayer. So I need not throw another hissy fit, ever.

There was a better way all along, but it wasn't until this late decade that I discovered it... and oh, how good Life feels now.


"'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


Just a reminder... There are free Grace Livingston Hill books for your Kindle here.


Please pray for Tom... He hurt his back badly enough this morning that he won't be able to return to work tonight. Thanks.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Here, There, Nowhere, Really

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."   ... Psalm 28:7


So! Mostly I'm ok with my current life being all Up In The Air, who-knows-where-we'll-be-next-year?-ish. Tom and I got used to living this way after his first lay-off, you know, resting in God, trusting that all will be well and doing little tasks while believing they'll lead to bigger things.

You have to be patient when your life goes all Up In The Air. You can't just grab things and opportunities because--if you do--you'll probably grab soon-to-be-disasters and feel sorry about it for years.

And oh... Have we ever been tempted to grab some houses this week! In three different states, even--cute, sweet, cheap places we could buy outright after we sell Hobbit Cottage. My, my... Especially now when our low temps are 8 degrees and highs are 23 and when--if we took a deep breath and just snatched something--we could soon be basking in lovely 62 degrees, instead.

Is there really such a thing as 62 degrees outside? Every Buffalo February I have my doubts.

But instead, we wait. Listen. Even though I feel the grace to handle these long winters seeping away as a sign that  this year is truly the time to move away from this state we have loved for 20 years--even so--I try not to complain. But nearly every day now, even though we're trying to keep a good attitude, one or both of us will groan, "We've got to get out of here."

Tom sends out resumes, we both consider other plans, other options and sort and declutter and drive loads of stuff down to the Salvation Army bin located conveniently down the street. I clip more coupons, pay more bills, do the laundry and feed the cats. You know, keep up with the normal stuff while we're here, all Up In The Air.

And we're fine up here--honest. Fine amongst the new lessons and the old ones to be recalled, like the one about keeping our hearts calm so that they'll not beat too loudly within our ears, keeping us from hearing God's whispers. Right now, all we want is His will, His way, in His timing. So we'll be doing much listening in the days and weeks to come.

And all will be well.


"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."   ... Isaiah 40:31


Color me extremely grateful for those of you who left me sweet notes in my comment box on Valentine's Day. Thank-you! Our day was quiet, but special and sweet. Just about perfect, really.


Go here to get two very rare coupons for $1 off fresh pork.


Wow... Saw these people on the news tonight and what a blessing! How encouraging and uplifting.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day!

One of my favorite days of the year!

Why? It's such a terrific time to show appreciation toward friends and to recall the importance of friendship.

I truly hope you didn't think, after my last post, that I no longer value friendship! No, friends still mean so much to me, but I no longer place extreme pressure upon them to keep me 'fixed' and happy. (And boy, are they relieved about that!)

From these verses, below, it's simple to see God places friends in our lives for special, specific purposes. After reading them this morning, I felt grateful (more than usual) for the friends God's given me.

So here you go... May these words and the lessons they teach bring you smiles and thankfulness for your own friends as you celebrate this wonderful Valentine's Day!

"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."   ... Proverbs 27:17

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"   ... Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."   ... John 15:12-15

"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harms."   ... Proverbs 13:20

"One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray."   ... Proverbs 12:26


Happy Valentine's Day to each of you, my friends, who have encouraged me so very often!



Aww... I enjoyed this story about a super-delayed post card!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Friendship Thing

 "And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God."   ... Deuteronomy 28:2


So! The subject of friendship came up in yesterday's comment box, spurring ol' Debra to share her many and varied thoughts.

Before age 35, I collected friends like some ladies collect state spoons. I wrote letters by the hundreds to folks I'd left behind in Nevada and California and--as for my new friends here in New York--when they had out-of-town company, I'd become bummed-out because that meant zero chance of going out for coffee until their (annoying) visitors returned home. 

(Yikes! I know.)

The days the mailbox didn't hold letters for me were sad days. The fact that I could never seem to form a Lucy and Ethel type of friendship bugged me. Majorly. Probably? Probably God foiled some friendships, told some folks not to write or visit, because He wanted me to wake-up and see I needed more of Him.

"Hi. My name is Debra." (Hi Debra.) "I was a friendship addict." :)

And oh dear. For two decades I saw the addiction, felt it, but didn't want to admit it. Didn't know how to kick it.

Then came 1994 and wow! During the world-wide Christian renewal years, Jesus gave me (and a few million other people) such an enormous love for Him. And over time, the chains of Friendship Addiction fell off, I felt free (indeed!) and just having Jesus for a friend felt like enough. More than, actually.

And for awhile--a season--Jesus kept me to Himself. 

I spent oodles of hours hanging-out with Him in my room or on walks, sometimes reading the Bible, sometimes watching/listening to great teaching. He had a ton of things to rebuild inside me, 'Christian structures' which I'd built dreadfully wrong by myself. Some time was involved, some pain and humility, also, but I didn't mind. Finally I'd formed a friendship with Jesus, something I'd assumed was impossible for me.

And after that alone-with-Jesus season? Not only did I come away with the best new, most-satisfying friendship ever, but my Real people friends had waited for me and the Unreal ones had impatiently walked away. 

And suddenly everything, everyone, felt like enough. I had enough friends, they had enough time for me. Why? Because Jesus was now everything to me and when you have everything? All else feels like leftovers, all else feels like extra blessings.  

And what I found is that blessings are nice, but not vital. I'm not to seek them, but rather, I'm to seek after knowing God better. To becoming closer.

But the wild thing? That's when blessings start dropping like rain--after we place God in the number 1 spot. He so enjoys releasing presents into the lives of His kids, the ones who will keep them in perspective. The ones who will keep Jesus first no matter how many blessings (or friends) He hands down to them simply out of love.

God is the God of more than enough. More than enough friends, even. I've found that to be very true.


"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."   ... Matthew 6:33

"A friend loves at all times..."   ...Proverbs 17:17


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How To Prepare For a Mystery Future

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."    ... Matthew 6:33


I've heard people say lately, "It's not even possible to prepare for a Last Days type of world."

I, like, disagree.

How to prepare for a world we'll barely recognize, one stuffed with changes, even scary ones?

Today fall in love with Jesus. And stay there. (This will change and strengthen you more than anything else.)

Today remember perfect love dissolves all fear.

Today, during your current hard times, practice living with faith, with peace, without complaining. Increase your trust muscle. Pass your tests.

Today determine in your heart you'll never accuse God of wrongdoing, no matter what happens in the future.

Today stay at peace with your spouse. 

Today keep strife out of all your relationships as much as it's up to you. Strife slows everything down and closes our ears to truth.

Today forgive. Everyone. Today learn how to heal.

Today be obedient. Listen. If God asks you to do research, do research. If He asks you to spend your money differently, spend your money differently. If He asks you to live a new way, live a new way. 

Today ask God for wisdom.

Today plug into God's strength, His peace, His courage. Then He will truly be increasing, we will be decreasing and the world will more clearly see Jesus shining through us. And we'll be better able to walk in the Light, able to see--and avoid--certain dangers on the pathway ahead.

Today be still and know He is God.


"He must increase, but I must decrease.”   ... John 3:30

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."   ... Romans 12:18

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."   ... James 1:5


Monday, February 11, 2013

Oh, That I Had Wings...

"Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest--"  ... Psalm 55:6

That's the current verse playing inside my head. For months.

Even before I bought the book, One Nation Under Attack.

Even before I found this blog (which has returned me to thinking America is Mystery Babylon).

For the record, I believe the financial bottom of America will drop out within in the next 2 or 3 years. 

For the record, Tom and I are asking God to help us prepare in all ways for that and all else which will happen in the meantime and afterward.

Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away next week to a state with policies less opposed to God's, even though I've loved Buffalo for 20 years. But oh, this worldly New York way of viewing life...

Ack. There's this darn urgency inside the deepest layers of my heart... And may Tom and I choose the right timing in which to obey what we--and thousands of others-- are hearing. In whatever varied ways God chooses to lead us all.

This is presently where my head and heart are and in the months to come I'll try to keep a balance here in my blog. A balance of differing subjects and stories and things upbeat. But today I'm just letting you know that..... if I had the wings of a dove I would fly away and be at rest... someplace else.

In the meantime though, I'll stay here, continue my many preparations and find my rest in Him.


Why mention any of this? And why not keep it to myself lest some of my readers find me, well, cuckoo? This is partly why:

 "... if you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths.
But if you warn them to repent and they don't repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself." Ezekiel 33:9

And I'm not even concentrating on the 'repent part'. I'm leaving that up to God mostly. 

Rather, if things truly do go all dicey someday, I would hate for God to tell me, "And you never even warned anybody of this in your blog." 

For me, that would be the highest form of disaster.

So there you go. Do with this what you will... as will I. 


These types of posts also keep me on my toes. I'm finding them in all sorts of places now, nearly always after I've already heard the same rumblings within my own head in the quiet places here at Hobbit Cottage. Pondering.... so much pondering within my heart lately.


Prepare... prepare... prepare...


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Thinking Small--Sometimes It's Huge

"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin..."  ... Zechariah 4:10

I began writing in this blog in 2004, just one sentence at a time, four or five days per week, average. And now if I were to print this all out? I'd have 4,500 pages, more or less. So, technically, I've written several books (length-wise) just by plugging along, one day at a time and the aforementioned one sentence at a time.

Last year, sale by sale, coupon by coupon, I saved $2,700 at the supermarket. That's saving/earning $1 here, $2.50 there, one sale, one coupon at a time with just a few hours' worth of effort each week. And through steadily plunking away at it, we have cupboards and freezers full of food, none of which we bought for full price.

Twenty-three years ago I began creating the library I'd dreamed of as a teenager and now one, two, three books at a time (weeding out the no-longer-loved), that library is mine.

Over a period of 22 (or so) years, buying the smaller houses we could afford, making house payment after house payment, and after selling three of those houses, Tom and I were able to buy this last one with cash. It's not a mansion, but its ours.

And a few years ago--after deciding to no longer carry debt on our credit cards-- we made extra payments (after payment, after payment) until our cards were paid-off. It didn't even take ages, just concentration mostly, and we've kept them paid-off ever since.

So often we're told to Think Big! Thinking small leads only to Nowheresville! 

But sometimes that advice overwhelms people--so much so--that they can smell the failure before even beginning their project/dream/plan. They feel defeated and hopeless while staring at the huge end of the dream rather than at the small steps it takes to arrive there. 

Baby steps can lead to big goal lines. Baby steps can often be a wiser way to go--we just might make fewer mistakes if we're not trying to run. But we can't give up. We must keep plugging away, one faithful baby step at a time in the joy of the doing and the anticipation of the win.


"But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."   ... James 1:4


Here's an article where a man used baby steps, a few larger ones and some good old-fashioned wisdom to accomplish his goals.