Sunday, November 30, 2014

Prefer Stagnation? But Why?

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"... Isaiah 43:19


While in my 20's, 30's and 40's if you peeked into my windows, you'd see me:

painting rooms
reading decorating magazines or 'we bought a farm' type books
cooking, baking
watching Hallmark movies
doing cross stitch
making crafts
rearranging furniture

Or if you followed me around town I'd take you shopping or to the city library.

But now? In my 50's? Yick. Most of those give me the eebie-jeebies and I only do them if I must.

And that's ok.

I've moved on, shed old skin and am continuing to grow and change and form into a new person as God persists in doing new things within me. 

Perhaps this explains why my core group of friends is different--along the years we split, discovered new interests and now travel upon separate veins. Occasionally we meet back up if the veins intertwine, but sometimes they never cross again.

Why do so many folks worry when they no longer enjoy the same hobbies/people/books/tasks/movies? Why does stagnation appear like The Better Way? Why is change so dreaded?

Yeah, probably fear of the unknown explains much. Of venturing from the safe ruts in which one has become accustomed, risking falling, failing, disappointment or being viewed as a klutz or a talentless dud.

Do you know why I still view my 40's as my most magical decade? I tried a ton of new, scary-to-me adventures. I stepped out of many boats (figuratively) and walked upon water, keeping my eyes upon Jesus lest I sink. Some endeavors didn't work out, but most did. Basically, I 'stepped out and found out' what God meant me to do and be--and what He didn't.

Yep, it was one exciting decade, one whose ripples still nudge me farther and farther out into the unknown. An unknown where, always, I meet God standing upon each unexplored shore waiting to show me a new adventure so that--when I reach Heaven--I'll have missed nothing He planned ahead for me to know and do and become.


He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery. ~Harold Wilson

When you are through changing, you are through. ~Bruce Barton


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Gah. Bitter Christians.

" ... choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell." ... Joshua 24:15


Bitter Christians make me bonkers. 

You know, how they choose to concentrate upon what went wrong, what's going wrong, what will always be wrong. How they don't even realize they're not ok.

The way they soak for hours in bathtubs filled with Self Pity Water. You know about Self Pity Water, right? It pulls you under, closes your eyes, then hypnotizes you into believing you have a right to feel sad. How can you help it? There is no other way to feel, at least, not until you hit Heaven. Only in Heaven will things get better. All God expects here? That you do your best to survive one miserable day after another.

Good grief.

If you are a Christian, today you are not helpless. 

You are not destined to stay on the defensive side, the mad or sad sides, either. Nor drowning, hypnotized, beneath Self Pity Water. 

"It is for freedom that Christ has set you free."

Freedom! Not hopeless-like-everybody else. Not feeling like the unsaved, clueless, angry world. But real, never-ends freedom.

Yet of course, that also means we have these freedoms:

To not seek help.
To not make attitude changes. Or health/vitamin/exercise changes.
To believe the Bible's power promises are no longer valid. At least for us.
To believe other Christians 'get it', but we never will.

Yesterday Tom and I rewatched the first two original Lord of the Rings movies and they reminded me that we are in a war. A daily battle! But the good news? "It is not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord."

And His great Spirit of Love changes everything. Love, not bitterness, envy or self-pity. Love is spiritual warfare. Love is the greatest thing and if only we'd seek to become lovers of God!

Oh, what His Living Water will change. Day by day, from glory to glory, from strength to strength.

Making us not limpers, but rather, leapers.



"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."   ... Ephesians 6:13

“Self-pity. Certainly the most destructive vice if you like, that a person can have. More than pride, which is supposedly the number one of the cardinal sins - is self pity. Self pity is the worst possible emotion anyone can have. And the most destructive. It is, to slightly paraphrase what Wilde said about hatred, and I think actually hatred's a subset of self pity and not the other way around - ' It destroys everything around it, except itself '. 

Self pity will destroy relationships, it'll destroy anything that's good, it will fulfill all the prophecies it makes and leave only itself."... 

...Stephen Fry

“Self pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.” 
― John Gardner


Savingstar's weekend freebie is a good one for you crazy tea drinkers.  :)


Free Kindle books:

The Teacup Novellas

Finding Dolores

Blue Like Elvis

Blue Christmas

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Thoughts

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord ..." ...Psalm 92:1


It's quiet here at Hobbit Cottage this early Thanksgiving morning, no snow outside (in case you're keeping track), just warmth and anticipation of a day spent with Tom and a Skype call from Naomi.

I'll make a lemon meringue pie and some banana pudding from scratch along with traditional Thanksgiving dinner fare (each item prepared the simplest of ways, natch) and after I feed the birds and light candles in the fireplace, Tom and I will watch favorite shows and chat during commercials, calling it all good because it is. Different-sounding for some, but still, good.

How wonderful to relax and give thanks, to remind ourselves just how good we've got it. And to remember more intently the One from whom these blessings flow; how He always takes care of us, outside-job included or not. Never has He walked away. Never will He.

Wishing all my faithful readers the happiest of Thanksgivings!



Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

Melody Beattie


Have time for a blessing? Here's an amazing acapella rendition of Silent Night. (Don't miss the ending!)

Wow. Just wow.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Transition. Ugh.

"Transition: the period of time during which something changes from 
one state or stage to another."


So for two days I've sat at our table rereading my Bailey White books beneath a lamp. Usually the light from the big windows is enough, but the afternoons have appeared more like evening and well, I don't like that. Who does? So I remain beneath a lamp. And beside a tiny heater.

Oh how I enjoy Bailey White's first two books, so much so that I must tell that jealous voice inside me to hush up. Gee, I wish I could write like Bailey. I also wish I had as many odd relatives as she does or--at the very least--that my brain could make up hilarious stories about mine without them disowning me. Alas.

Of course, wishing won't get any of that; wishing wastes the time one could have spent reading books about writing humor and practicing writing, itself. Oh, and searching for other people's relatives to write funny stories about.


My least favorite time of year? This one. This uncomfortable time of transitioning from Autumn to Winter, from having had 6 months of pretty weather when I could stroll around the yard whenever the craving came to, instead, having snow and a cruel type of cold which splices through ones heavy black wool coat if she dares steps out the back door. 

It's a transition time which involves acceptance that Life has changed. At least for the next 6 months.

Of course, my far west friends might not understand this, those to whom Winter means just grabbing a hooded jacket on their way to the gym or work or the town library. Here, Winter means so much more, the 'more' being mostly unpleasant where outdoors is concerned, so unpleasant that one will, 99% of the time, choose to stay indoors if at all possible.

Yet lest the entire Winter remain uncomfortable, lest I complain through the whole thing, I must work through this transition time. I must face it, accept it, in order to find the door to that blessed slower, golden pace which belongs only to these months, only in these snowy states.

When I quit kicking against what's gonna happen, when I accept rather than avoid--I find peace and Winter's unique cadence. And then I discover more doors to the alive, growing things inside rather than out, things like joy and grace, both which come only after acceptance has completed her perfect work.

Tom brought home the flowers for me yesterday for our anniversary.

Every mile is two in winter. ~from Witts Recreations

To shorten winter, borrow some money due in spring. ~W.J. Vogel


Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wow. Doesn't Seem Possible.

In a time when nothing is more certain than change, the commitment of two people to one another has become difficult and rare. Yet, by its scarcity, the beauty and value of this exchange have only been enhanced. ~Robert Sexton


As of today, Tom and I have been married 36 years. 

What an impossible thing.

When Tom proposed to me one month after we met, I wondered what had taken him so long. Three months later we clueless-about-Life kids had the wedding and oh, the arguing those first five years.

Mostly, it was oh, the long process of dying to self. Neither of us went down easy, being certifiably stubborn and determined to be the last man/woman standing.

But eventually we let God iron-out the craziest wrinkles and Life felt smoother, especially when we told some well-meaning-folks to knock-off the advice. We needed to discover what worked for us rather than what worked for pushers of one size fits all.

We're both agreed that we've never exactly worked at our marriage. Probably the word 'work' sounds too wearily intense for us who seek the easy way to do anything. If we have any secret to our long-lasting relationship it is this:

Let God change you, each of you, however He wishes.

You go doing that and the pieces almost magically fit into their proper places.

So there you go.

It's a lovely thing to have been married so near Thanksgiving. Always, there's at least one day-off around there which we can choose to spend together. This year we are choosing Friday and this year, as with them all, we'll celebrate with a simplicity that rings true for us and never grows stale.


In the opinion of the world, marriage ends all, as it does in a comedy. The truth is precisely the opposite: it begins all. ~Anne Sophie Swetchine


Free Kindle books:

Mrs. Mike

Strong, Happy Family

Monday, November 24, 2014


Trust me, folks. We're fine. 

Here's what we awoke to yesterday:

Please notice--no snow. (Our snow in my header photo? We call that a heavy frost.) We're in a suburb north of Buffalo, well away from those huge snowfalls. We had high temps yesterday and I even happily raked leaves in the afternoon.

The river outside our window is two blocks away and has never flooded (not much, anyway) its wide banks, even with its annual end-of-winter ice flows.

We're due for high winds this afternoon, but if we lose power, we'll be okay. I stay prepared for this stuff, remember? We've lived in this town for over three years and have never lost power for more than one minute at a time.

So repeat after me: "Tom and Debra are fine. They do not live near the trouble spots."


But really, I do appreciate your concern for us! Right now, though, our South Town neighbors would appreciate your prayers. It's gonna be a hairy next 24 hours for many of them.



I wish you all could hear the 20-second videos our local tv station is sharing. People are giving thanks for their neighbors and others who've helped in extraordinary ways this past scary week.

I love this state where I live, always have, even from Moment One. Yeah, even with the snow.


Free Kindle book:


"Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.” 
― Mary Oliver

“Is it snowing where you are? All the world that I see from my tower is draped in white and the flakes are coming down as big as pop-corns. It's late afternoon - the sun is just setting (a cold yellow colour) behind some colder violet hills, and I am up in my window seat using the last light to write to you.” 
― Jean WebsterDaddy-Long-Legs

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Your Talent. It's More Vital Than You Realize.

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young (or have a seemingly small talent), but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."   ... 1 Timothy 4:12


If you've ever felt that God forgot to give you a helpful-to-others talent/gift/calling, read on...

You know how I've given you peeks of my grocery stockpiles like these here at Hobbit Cottage?

Well, unless you went news-less last week, you heard that our local Buffalo South Towns got socked with so much snow that they weren't allowed out on the roads for any reason for 5 or 6 days, lest they be ticketed. I even heard of 'walking bans' for the very first time. Imagine not being able to legally walk down your own street or to the corner market! (Not that many markets were even able to stay open.)

Well, at the Facebook page of my favorite local coupon blogger, she received lovely thank-you's like this one:

" I just want you to know that this isn't "mouth service". Without all the help from your page, I don't know if we would have had enough food in this house for 6 people for this long. I still have tons of soup, spaghettios, beefaroni, ramen get the idea. I've made 2 loaves of bread in my breadmaker today. I told hubby I have about 4 boxes of pancake mix...that might be his bread after today LOL. I just want and need to tell you how important your page has been to me! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!"

And that was only one of the notes.

Now, is our local coupon blogger famous? Would you recognize her name? Is she a big time preacher/teacher/politician/musician/singer/crusader who's reshaping the lives of millions of people? 

No, but she's still a hero. 

Daily she shows the rest of us how to afford to feed our families in today's expensive world. She helps us create a bounty of provision for 'such a time as this'--last week's record breaking snowstorm. Because of her coupon and sale match-ups, hundreds of Buffalo's South Towns families had food inside their homes. And more? This may have saved lives, even, for some deaths occurred when people ventured out in their cars into the dangerous, life-threatening conditions.

But only God knows those sorts of numbers. 

Perhaps you have saved lives without knowing it! No deed is small or goes unnoticed by the God who knows exactly what's going on. What remains is that we daily obey and trust that what we do matters. And may we remember that someday we'll see what happened behind the scenes--not through a clouded glass--but clearly. And it will all be important.


Volunteer Snow Shovelers Hit Buffalo Streets...


"'Forward, the Light Brigade!' 
Was there a man dismay'd? 
Not tho' the soldiers knew 
Some one had blunder'd: 
Theirs not to make reply, 
Theirs not to reason why, 
Theirs but to do and die..."   ... Tennyson

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Of Burt, His Bees and Conventional Books Never Written

"Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content."   ... 1 Timothy 6:6-8


Wow. Tom and I just finished watching the most interesting (dare I say fascinating?) documentary at Netflix; Burt's Buzz, a film about the quirky, eccentric co-founder of Burt's Bees products.

Except that Burt doesn't seem quirky and eccentric to me. Each word he spoke made perfect sense, especially since he's a classic introvert, albeit an outdoorsy one. I totally get him. Totally.

And truthfully? This was yet another film/life on a screen which illustrates why I don't want to write a book. At least, not the type attached with an agent/publicist who could legally whisk me away from this life I've chosen to write about. You know, so he/she could sell more copies.

Uh, no. I desire nothing that would change 'what God hath wrought' and what He's wrought is a happy homemaker who's in love with Him and the simple life He led her to find at one Hobbit Cottage.

May I never be dragged away from here unwillingly as Burt sometimes is from the simple life he prefers.


“Writing is something you do alone. Its a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don't want to make eye contact while doing it."

[Thoughts from Places: The Tour, Nerdfighteria Wiki, January 17, 2012]” 
― John Green

“It's not that introverts aren't good team players. We just don't need to be in the same room as the rest of the team at all times. We would much prefer to have part of the project carved out for us to squirrel away with it in our offices, consulting as necessary but working independently.” 
― Sophia DemblingThe Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World


Weather Report: We've still had just 3 or 4 inches of snow here north of Buffalo. But now the problem for the South Towners is that our temps are rising, it's raining, and flooding is on everyone's minds. Your prayers would be appreciated by all, I'm sure!


Don't have time to watch the documentary about Burt? Here's an article about it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Those Annoying Cowards

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." ... James 1:19


So for lots of years I allowed anonymous comments here in my blog, but a couple weeks ago I decided, uhm, no. No more.

Why? Because occasionally catty, read-between-the-lines-and-you'll-see-I-hate-you comments would appear and I finally realized something. Namely, I'd become a Coward Enabler.

Cowards leave mean, I'm-gonna-spoil-your-day-then-hide-in-my-room-and-watch-you-react comments. Cowards half-read what you write, are quick to speak and make accusations, often because you represent something they are lacking. Online cowards (especially) are usually controllers and passive/aggressive bullies deathly afraid of appearing weak, hence, one reason they won't leave their names after a cruel comment: they fear you'll call them out, personally, and they'll be shown for what they are: fragile. Powerless.

There's more, but you get the idea.

So rather than remain a Coward Enabler, I switched my settings. But relax! Anyone can still say catty things or disagree with me. They'll just need to leave their name and/or a link to do so.  :)

Just view it this way: I'm doing my duty to entice people to become braver in Life and perhaps choose their words more wisely or say nothing at all, extending mercy, instead. Or to cause them to consider all that, anyway.

You're welcome.  


"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."   ...Proverbs 18:21


Now, of course I'm not referring to those of you who've left normal comments but simply forgot to leave your name. I understand that. Truly.


This may be 'just' a commercial for Glade candles, but it does my heart a heap of good each time I play it. Oh, the gifts God gives people!


The new Friday Freebie from SavingStar? A personal Celeste pizza. Check it out here.