Monday, March 30, 2015

Links That Will Whisk You Away

Often in my email draft folder I keep links I believe you will enjoy and wow! So many had stacked up lately.

So here you go. Let me know the one(s) you enjoyed most!

Calling a Girlfriend -- Many of you will adore the old-fashioned whimsy and artwork of this.

Wonderland Photos --gorgeous photography!

Confessions of a Fed Up B & B Owner  --- What an eye-opener! Made me doubly glad Tom and I never followed up on those dreams of owning a Bed And Breakfast Inn. (Oh dear.)

The Truth About The Sound of Music Family -- find out what the movie got right and what they fudged on.

Grandma's Funny Obituary --- just for fun...

Goodwill Shopper/ Vince Lombardi's Jacket --- Tom and I have shopped thrift shops for decades and we're still waiting for this sort of thing to happen to us.  :)

Thunder Snow and the Meteorologist -- I may have already shared this, but it's worth another go around. I so enjoy watching people who love their job!

English Country Gardens-- be still my heart! Especially during this brown time of year.  (A very special thanks to my friend, Wilma, for this one.)


Free Kindle Books:

Out of the Storm

You Are a Writer

Frugal and Delicious

How to Keep a Journal


Sunday, March 29, 2015

When Others Feel Differently

"... and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,"   ... 1 Thessalonians 4:11


From August of 2013. 
(The Flat is still available instantly through Netflix. Did anyone watch it after my recommendation way back in 2013?)

I just finished watching The Flat through Netflix, a documentary made by the grandson of a Jewish woman who lived in Israel, in the same flat, for 70 years. So many decades to spend inside the same rooms, especially to do so contentedly. When the family pulled out drawers of her possessions from the past century, it felt rather like standing at another estate sale. Loved that.

Anyway, if you're interested in genealogy, old Germany and the way Jews were told to get out, family relationships and the ways people react differently to grief, war and The Past, well, you'll like this, especially if you watch it while in just the right contemplative mood.

There's a mystery involved. Travel. Meetings with people still alive who knew the film maker's grandparents. Old photographs, history and family angst. There's more, also.

But what I took away? We need to not expect everyone to feel as we do about the big things like Life, Death and War. In many ways we are all alike--yes! Yet God, Himself, placed unique, varying differences within our minds and hearts.

One way we differ? We each do what we must in order to process what happens to us (or our families or ancestors) so to pass through this life peacefully, sanely:

Some people don't like to ask questions; they prefer to keep a childlike trust in the goodness of God foremost, no matter what evil things have touched them.

Others keep asking questions until they find answers which finally give them a sense of peace.

Some people choose forgiveness. Some seek to forget, compartmentalize. Others learn to live with resentment and anger.

You can probably add a hundred more variations of all of the above.

But The Flat reminded me to respect peoples' feelings rather than believe they should feel as I do. For the first three decades of my life I didn't even realize how prideful it all was, you know, to believe my feelings about Life were all the correct ones, especially when they appeared to be 'biblical.'

(In this documentary, the film maker questions his mother about her way of leaving The Past alone, asking, "Don't you care that you don't care?" To me, that sounded too much like, "Don't you care that there's something wrong with you?")

Only God knows best and gets it right 100% of the time. After all, He's the one who created us as one-of-a-kind individuals and only He can make us more like Him. And He's the one who created freedom to be who we are, to dislike what some people enjoy (or vice versa), to choose Him or deny Him...

A scary freedom, that last one, especially. To me, anyway. But one I must always remember to respect while living as I believe He's asking me, personally, to live.


"Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."   ... Jeremiah 1:5

Around twenty years ago I began trying out this 'minding my own business' thing. 

I've been much, much happier ever since. 

Ranting when people make choices I'd never make, is a most exhausting, unfulfilling way to live and frankly, isn't pleasing to God who gives everyone freedom of choice.


Free Kindle books:

The Lanvin Murders


Sara in Montana


"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."   ... Galations 5:1

Often, much of our own misery is homemade.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Patience, Mercy and Not Throwing Stones

"For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment." ... James 2:13


Saturday! My biggest day off of them all.

So via Netflix I watched a couple episodes of Property Brothers and Fixer Upper and--again--became wild while imagination-less couples stood in fixer-upper rooms, whining, "We just can't see it! We can't picture this house ever being open-concept and what we want. We're not sure you can do it."

Oh for goodness' sake.

You should hear me lecturing the tv screen. "People! Open your eyes and your mind. Stop complaining and just imagine the walls gone. Imagine a new kitchen, pretty furniture, wide expanses and that the experts are capable, not novices. Is that so hard?"

Apparently, for some people, it is. (If I were the Property Brothers, I'd have slapped a few clients by now. heh.)

Of course, you know what always happens next, right? God reminds me that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Maybe those folks are weak in their imaginations where I am strong, but then, they're strong in areas where I am weak.

On purpose, He leaves a few weaknesses inside us so to keep us humble, needing each other, rather than all proud because we're terrific at all things and need no one.

Also, some weaknesses are temporary, more like signs of yet unlearned lessons. Like, recently I watched the Netflix movie, God's Not Dead. I enjoyed it and afterward, came to IMDB to read about some of its stars. A few actors profess to be Christians, but oh, the commenters in the message boards! They love (seriously) to shred to pieces anyone who calls himself Christian yet still makes mistakes with his mouth. 

You'd think the ripper-aparters easily live this Bible verse 24/7:

"...  if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way."   ... James 3:2

We all grow at different speeds. God changes us how He sees fit, in His timing, and we all 'know only in part.'  Nobody is strong or perfect all the time and only God understands our hearts.

But God does call all of us to be merciful. It's only the merciful who will receive mercy the next time they mess up. And if that doesn't humble us, I'm not sure if anything can.


"We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves."  ... Romans 15:1

"Let him who is without sin throw the first stone."   ...  John 8:7


And yeah, I probably shouldn't still be reading message boards/comments. I don't peruse nearly as many as I once did and--mostly--I use them to remind me how not to be and how badly this world needed a Saviour.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Snow What ? :)

"I am the Light of the world."   ... John 8:12


When your March 26th begins this way:

... this truly needs to be reality within your heart:

And I'm almost there. Yesterday, though, the clouds got to me and I drooped awhile (when our frequent sunshine disappears, how I miss it!). But I yanked open our warm-mustard curtains, switched on the lamps and retro, easy-listening music, lighted candles, gazed upon our yellow walls then recalled the Spring fever that oozed into my soul two weeks ago. And felt better.

Sometimes you must create your own Springtime. Inside, outside, upside down, not waiting for Prince Charming, someone else or the weather to do it for you.

Anyone can complain. The butcher, the baker, the candle stick maker. But I believe as Christians we're called to higher, tougher things like excellence and living with hearts flooded with a hopeful anticipation of what God will do next---and never complain about what He's done so far.

And oh, the difference living this way has been. Hasn't made me popular (the opposite, actually), but it's certainly created a brighter daily life. Even grey, snowy March days like this one can never darken the Light of the world. The Light of my very soul.


I forgot to tell you that I signed up at Pinterest. The first day I went bonkers and set a record for burning out.  :) I've returned a couple times since then and puttered, but there's no fear of any Pinterest addictions (now Facebook ... That's different.).

I do enjoy the organizational 'cubby-holing' thing of Pinterest. In some areas I've taught my brain to think differently: rather than swimming around in a jumble of info and emotions, I try to move from one-subject cubby to one-subject cubby. You know, the way that men supposedly think. :) 

In some ways, becoming many-closet-brained is cool and simplifying, especially when one reaches her mid-50's in a complicated, fast-spinning world.

Anyway, if you'd like to visit me at Pinterest, go here. (I believe that's the link, anyway.)


----- Lydia M Child quotes

  Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.


Free Kindle books:

Cruising Panama's Canal

How to Write Poetry

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Humor and Preppers and More, Oh My :)

(Come here most afternoons and you'll find Daniel and me soaking in the sunshine.)


The older I get (and the more insane this world becomes) the more I appreciate been-there-done-that-laugh-aloud writing. You know, like this.

I hope you'll go there and see what tickled me yesterday.


Veering in a whole other direction, via Netflix I've been watching Doomsday Preppers (though some of those people do make me laugh, so there is that). So far, I've most appreciated 'Doris Day Prepper' for her and her husband's sense of balance (and oh, what a pretty yard they own!).

But mostly? These preppers challenge me to--at the very least--aim to prepare for future adversity of all types, you know, like either the end of the world (as we now recognize it) or the end of Tom's job. Hey. Once you've experienced a lay-off, you tend not to shrug off this staying prepared stuff like you did when you were young and silly.

My favorite way of prepping is to lug home free or cheap groceries by way of sales and coupons. Yesterday I brought these groceries, below, home to add to my stockpile cupboards (of which Tom and I will be seeking more via Craig's List and yard sales when he arrives home in a couple weeks):

The 5 bags of pineapple were free as well as the Pom juice and two packages of guacamole.

The cake mixes (enough for a year or more for us) were 6 cents each.

The taco mixes were .25 cents each and the butter was $1.49.

Oh, and I got two cans of Goya pinto beans for .24 cents each.

In this way, 'prepping' has already paid off grandly: grocery prices continue to rise sharply, but still, I'm more often paying 1970's prices or even better. High grocery and gas prices (gas, due to store promos) haven't affected our budget in years.

One thing I've seen? When God asks us to do something, anything, He always provides the way to do it. The money. The courage. The time, ideas and instructions.

No, really! The main reason we don't always see/get/hear all that is because we're more tuned into our own heads rather than His. We're still more about me, me, me rather than Him, Him, Him.

But oh, things turn exciting when we die to self and awaken to a suddenly-different life.  One where God leads and we humbly follow along on pre-ordained adventures only we, ourselves, probably find interesting, dare I say thrilling? But it's enough--more than, actually.

Yes, seriously. There are, of course, many other ways to live, but I prefer that one.


"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."   ... 2 Corinthians 5:17

"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong."   ... 1 Corinthians 16:13

Here's a pretty balanced article about prepping for anything.


Oh, and speaking of Daniel the Cat-- last night I had another of my rare nightmares and was calling out a name. Daniel, sleeping beside my legs, got up, walked along my arm and awoke me. After seeing I was awake, he stepped back down the bed, curled up and went to sleep. 

His doing that always feels like a gift, a rescuer, from God. Happy sigh...


Free Kindle books:

Monday, March 23, 2015

How's Your Own Personal Real Estate?

“Image and appearance tell you little. The inside is bigger than the outside when you have the eyes to see.” 
― Wm. Paul YoungCross Roads


When I drive down the street to Dollar Tree, always I expect to find one good book there. Or two, even, on days when I have great faith. 

Now, do I skip away with a just-what-I-wanted book every single visit? No, it's more like only 60 percent of the time (perhaps less). But still, the expecting is what matters, the having faith that God--somehow--placed a book upon those usually-messy shelves singularly for me. 

So this past Friday at Dollar Tree? I unburied this:

I'd not even heard of that book, but you should have seen my eyes widen when I realized the author of The Shack had written it. Wow. All mine! And all for only $1.

For the next two days at our glass-topped table (which I shove closer to the windows during winter so to feel the sun) I read this book and went all sorts of places in my mind.

I think I'd enjoy an in-person Mr. Young. He hears things like Jesus said we'd hear things if we'd listen:

"My sheep hear my voice..."

Mr. Young doesn't just write from his imagination (though it's a pleasant thing when other authors do that). No, he writes what he hears while plugged into Jesus. You can tell. All those words arranged in ways you'd never heard of, splattered over all those pages, spinning your brain around. My, my, my.

I turned the final page there in the sunshine and tried not to cry. I hadn't understood every sentence, but I do know what shook me most: it's the idea that all we do (good or bad), all we think/speak/give/keep/ponder/complain about/forgive/not forgive/hate/love, etc., creates real estate within our hearts. We are building an abiding place, a house, growing gardens, creating landscapes (and on and on) by the way we live our thousands of days. It's a place, a land we share with Jesus, acres where we converse, growing to know each other more deeply.

Or it can also be an echo-ey, thirst-like-crazy desert place, barren because of our ignorance and ignoring what matters most. It's our call. It's a result of our millions of choices, not what happened to us along the way, but rather, our reactions.

What a book, the kind that haunts you the week after you finish it. Many of you, I'm thinking, would be shaken by it, also.


"What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him."

    Author: A.W. Tozer

"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty."   ... Psalm 91:1

'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me."   ... Revelation 3:20


Interested in reading Cross Roads? Amazon's kindle store has it for just $2.99. A terrific deal for such a book.

Oh, wanted to add this-- not till the end of the first chapter did I feel I'd even like this book. Then I got pulled in and couldn't put it down. So to my kindred spirits--don't quit reading before the second chapter, ok? :)

And here is a link to The Shack.


Free Kindle books:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Springtime--Can It Be?

“Despite the forecast, live like it's Spring.” 
― Lilly Pulitzer


You know it's Springtime when you see ol' Debra washing windows, dusting upstairs, scrubbing the bathtub and ironing shirts in the living room while watching decorating shows and becoming so inspired that she flung away all the books on her mantle and placed old white dishes, books and seashells there instead:

(I'd like to find a white oval mirror and hang it sideways.)

Oh, the sunshine we get at Hobbit Cottage! I spend hours sitting here, staring while white light spreads and shifts, warming the carpet and twinkling upon the glass table.

I hope you're excited today about Springtime, even if you, like me, still see snow outside your windows. There's the energy of anticipation and upcoming months of beautiful weather to celebrate, even if you're husband-less, childless, money-less or whatever-less (temporarily or otherwise). Yet if we have God and Grace on this first day of Springtime? We shall be content in an invisible richness.

Spring has come and Winter has loosened his icy grip. He may sputter awhile longer, but his roar will not be what it once was. And so we rejoice.


"But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."   ... 1 Timothy 6:8

“It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want—oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” 
― Mark Twain

“I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now. One does, I think, as one gets older.” 
― Virginia WoolfJacob's Room


Free Kindle books:

Raspberries and Vinegar

The Fiverr Business Plan

31 Days to Coming Alive

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Full-Time Vacation-- A Good Thing?

I thought about this post (two posts, really) yesterday. Tom's been gone 5 weeks, there are 3 more to go, and my, my, my... Ol' Debra needs to return to balance before she can't even lift herself from the couch anymore.  :)


"A good vacation is over when you begin to yearn for your work."    ~Morris Fishbein

There is a Berenstain Bear book called, Too Much Vacation, and a young Naomi adored that book. We all did, actually, and we'd even return home from vacation, drop our suitcases, collapse into chairs and collectively moan, "Too much vacation!", each recalling the tired ol' Berenstain family.

Too much driving/riding/staying up late. Too much living inside a tent, too much swimming, museums, fast food and hiking and getting lost and folding maps and--

Basically, too much thinking only of ourselves.

And then yesterday, once again, I had that Too Much Vacation feeling. Oh, I hadn't been in a tent these last 10 days nor traveled or visited any museums. No, but I'd been thinking mostly about Myself On Vacation. "How little can I get away with doing today? And what else can I do for myself that will make me more comfortable/happy/entertained?"

Then yesterday I got sick of it. Enough is enough and I'd had enough.

Why do we think full-time vacation would be a good thing? Because we are naive. Because we've not yet fully learned to love our average days. Our life. Our work.

There's something that begins to creep in when you always get to do whatever you want. It's a bit like selfishness, spoiledness and unappreciation  and you begin taking things for granted because, suddenly, there's nothing contrary going on. No stretching oneself beyond what's easy, no responding to discipline's healthy voice.

It's like Spring arrived, yet you didn't notice or care because, this year, Winter was just strings of warm, sunny days and why celebrate now that you have more of the same ol' same ol'?

Vacation, getting everything you want, when you want, tastes so good--at first. But then, those days eventually turn bubble-less. Flat. Giving only to oneself always tastes stale when stretched beyond grace, for real joy is found in giving to you, you, you--not to me, me, me. At least not in wild, long strings of unbalance.

But this Back to Normal Day? Already it tastes better, wholesome, yet more delightful than a million vacation days. There's a lot to be said for a balanced diet. There's a lot to be said for giving of oneself rather than to oneself.


"Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks."   ... Ecclesiastes 10:18

"To everything there is a season, a time for every activity under the heavens ... a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them."   ... Ecclesiastes 3:1,5

Sometimes I think I don't need a vacation because I do what I like to do. I am very fortunate!


Free Kindle books:

Balanced: Finding Center as a Work at Home Mom

A Trip to the Hardware Store and Other Calamities

Is It God or Am I Crazy?