Monday, November 30, 2015

Random Thoughts. Yes, More.

1.)  On sunny days, I stare at our dining area and kitchen and watch all the sparkles. (Real-life is sparklier than the photo.)

2.)  Tom took last week off from work and basically, I accomplished nothing. That husband God gave me and his diabolical distractions!  heh.

3.)  Remember our last 6,000 mile train trip across the United States? Not once did I have to show my driver's licence nor did anyone frisk me. Can you believe it? Same thing happened back in 2010. One of the best things about train travel, imo.

4.)  Sometimes I'll spy a photo-worthy scene from my kitchen sink so I grab my camera and race outside to snap a picture. I've not asked my neighbors what they think about this odd behavior (for obvious reasons). Here's what I most recently snapped:

... I loved the orange of the tree and the pumpkins, but oh my! There's a ghost in the window. Can you see him?  :)

5.) Remember Jiffy Mixes? Did you know you can order them online at around $1 a box? You get to choose any 12 mixes you wish (cake, pizza dough, muffins, brownies etc.) and the whole process feels very old-fashioned. Choose 24, though, to make them $1 each, the shipping cost being what it is.

And yes, I realize these are not health food. They're just fun to keep on my emergency shelves and use o-c-c-a-s-i-o-n-a-l-l-y, ok?

6.) Tom and I, via Netflix, watched the documentary about Glen Campbell called, I'll Be Me. Loved it much, even though we watched most of it through teary eyes. Wow. All those final concerts while struggling with Alzhiemer's! Miraculous. Highly recommended.

7.) Oh, and on a cloudy morning I discovered EarthCam. Amazing! You can visit all these places in America and around the world via a live feed. Felt like I'd gone around the world in 80 minutes rather than 80 days. Check it out here.

8.) Tom and I celebrated our 37th anniversary last Wednesday. It was a quiet affair and predictable--just the way we like it. Chinese food, delivered, and we caught up on our favorite tv shows. The previous Saturday, though, we did go see the new James Bond movie as an early anniversary event. Both days were super-enjoyed by us.

9.) Had to call the ol' refrigerator repair guy again this morning due to the top freezer leaking. This time he tried a trick with a copper wire and advised turning both freezer and fridge down lower. I asked if we should buy a new fridge but he exclaimed, "Oh no! Don't do that. This should last you much longer."

I thought, "How sweet of him to save us from spending a bunch of money." But then something occurred to me: If we did buy a new fridge, we'd not have to call him to come fix it--so no extra $$ for him. Ha! He's a really nice guy so I'll not assume that was his intention.

Go trying to read other peoples' intentions and you usually end up feeling ashamed/wrong/foolish later.

10.)  Naomi leaves for her West Coast band tour on Wednesday morning. Any prayers for her safety (and the band's) would be appreciated. Thanks so much!

       "The thoughts we choose to think are the tools we use to paint the canvas of our lives." - Louise Hays


Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Every Day? Really?

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!" ...Psalm 107:1


For 330 days I've procrastinated telling you something(!)

(Is that a record or something? Good grief.)

Anyway, on January 1st, I named 2015 my personal Year of Thanksgiving. I wanted to major in grateful thoughts and minor in (like, almost never) complaining.

And what a life-changing year it's been! Mostly I'm surprised at the 'little' things I can, in 10 seconds flat, become all wildly-loopy-thankful for, appearing rather like this on the inside:

Things like: 

Sunshine pouring through my south-facing windows.
Twigs falling from our trees on windy days. Gathering them for future campfires.
Feeling excited to get out of bed, even at 4:30 a.m., anticipating learning new living off-grid ideas and listening to Christians talk about how God is moving on Earth today.
A crockpot meal which makes Tom or I exclaim, "Oh, this is soo good!"
A gleaming fire-orange sunset that stops me at the kitchen window.
A new episode of a favorite tv show.
A comment at my blog. Or Facebook. Just knowing anyone reads what I write(!)
When Tom and Naomi arrive home safely from work or wherever.

Oh my. When your every day spills over with gratitude? You don't need vacations or new shoes or to lose weight or collect more money or find a new hairstyle, friend or appreciation from the masses. Or a bigger house, car or shopping mall.

You just need God. And for him to open your eyes to see how incredibly He blesses you, so that every day feels like Thanksgiving.

But happy Thanksgiving to those who faithfully pause to read here on this day we set aside to super-celebrate it!   


To my fellow-preppers-- here's a new website for you:  Survivopedia.

And here is a list of 50 Prepper Blogs.

So many cool ideas! So little time.   :) 


"Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day". ~Robert Caspar Lintner


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Free Tea Kettle and A Book For a Penny (Sorta)

“Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”   ... John 6:12


So for years, every single morning, I'd heat water in a saucepan for my customized-by-me hot chocolate. 

Now, it's not like we couldn't afford a (more convenient) tea kettle, but I kept forgetting to search for one at yard sales or simply order one online. But living with myself for so long, I've noticed I 'make do' with what I already have. A lot

It's enabled me the extra pennies to faithfully feed my book addiction. Er hem.

Anyway, finally I own a tea kettle--and I got it free. In fact, I even made money purchasing it.

What? I simply ordered cat food for Sammy through Target online (rather than WalMart as has become my habit) and they sent me two $5 gift cards. I then, in my next order, used those cards for the $8.99 tea kettle. Plus, just 'buying' that kettle and more cat food netted me two more gift cards(!)

Technically, I earned $2.90 just by purchasing the tea kettle. ***

What's sad? People whine about Today's high prices, but perhaps they're actually moaning over their lack of imagination or not having a happy spirit of believing, trusting and seeking until they find.


But of course, using what one already has is marvelous, also. In fact, whole decades ago I discovered this book on a dusty library shelf in California:

Oh! As a young bride, I came away from Re-Uses feeling rich because I had spare tuna and soup cans. Cereal boxes, an old garden hose, milk jugs and newspaper. I took notes and felt clever while using Carolyn Jabs' money-saving ideas for many years. 

You can read some of her creative ideas here (be sure to check out page two), but the book has a couple thousand more.

Don't ask me why I didn't order Re-Uses (for a penny, not counting shipping) until this morning. Must be a case of 'making do' again, you know, with the notes I took which then became ideas I now just use naturally. 

But I can't wait until Re-Uses arrives and I rediscover all the forgotten turn-nothing-into-something ideas. Actually, it's a perfect prepper book for a possible future day when we'll all really, really need this stuff.

And as you already know, I so plan to be ready for that day.


"She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness."

      ...   From Proverbs 31

Successful people are simply those with successful habits.
- Brian Tracy


*** I think these specific cat food and tea kettle $5 gift card deals are over. But other similar deals are now valid. Target always has such sales each week.

Oh, and my free tea kettle, alas, has a dribble at the edge of the spout cover. But in this case, I'll not quibble about a dribble.  :) 


Monday, November 23, 2015

Here Now? You Can Handle Now.

Hey Everyone--- here's a post tweaked from August of 2012. It's been on my mind lately...


"And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”  ... Esther 4:14

Something surreal happened yesterday. 

See those 1937 yearbook pages above? Well, a young woman outside my window looked like she'd stepped right off of one. She strolled the sidewalk along our hedge and as she reached the center, a hundred sparrows from our feeders wooshed and swirled over her head, making her smile while she continued down the street.

Oh, what I glimpse from my kitchen window!

With some work and a bit of money I can create a magical addition to our neighborhood-- a quiet, but colorful place, a pleasing yard for the eyes of people tired of this shooting-of-the-week world in which we live. I can make the fluttering of sparrows' wings available to lift their hearts on an ordinary afternoon.

My goal? To leave this house and yard better for my having lived here.

And that simple happening yesterday also reminded me of this: Since God's got me in this world now, He will equip me to handle what's happening now.

He will strengthen me emotionally, spiritually, to bear all the rampant violence out there and give me Grace to hold me up. Together.
No need for, "If just one more thing goes wrong, I will lose my mind!"
He will enable me to find the good in Life. Keep me from wishing days away or that I'd lived in an earlier decade.

But only if--rather than relying upon myself or others-- I rely upon Him. Use His strength for uplifting others and proclaiming good news, not spreading more bad, increasing fear or anger. 

Even in 2015, He still makes beauty from ashes. 
Creates ways where there were none. 
Makes things beautiful in His time. 

And because we're here now? We can handle now. We can! Because He can through us. For such a time as this, He sent us here and as you know, He does all things well. 

Always has, always will.


"...but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,"  ... Romans 5:20

"And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  ... Matthew 28:20


Something which also helps me keep my sanity in this crazy world? Having the occasional Old-fashioned Day. I might put on an apron, play my 1940's and 50's radio station and get out my 1940's magazines and yearbooks. Make coffee, bake a cake. Sweep the sidewalk, watch Leave It To Beaver, stay off the computer. Write a letter, clean out a drawer, iron some tea towels and take a walk around an old neighborhood. Anything a homemaker of the 1940's might do.

After a day like that, all feels well. Sane. Normal.


A dear lady from two favorite years of my teenage days, passed away recently and I wanted to share the 'life film' her sister created for her. It's so beautiful. My vintage-loving friends will appreciate Darlene's fun, retro photos and everyone will glimpse her awesome sense of humor, her photogenic-ness and how much she loved her husband, family and God. Her wonderful attitude enabled her, I believe, to live on in joy even through her cancer years. 

Tom spent time with Darlene only once, but he really appreciated this awesome, touching film. I think you might, also.

Good-bye for now, Darlene. I'm so glad I knew you and I'll visit you soon in your new glorious home. In my mind, already I see you there healed, beautiful, and infused with overflowing joy.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Oh-So Random Thoughts

 And be ye thankful...


1.) Something I'll forever remember from our train trip? Sitting outside with Tom beside the canal in downtown Chicago, skyscrapers looming over us, on a windy early Monday evening while hurrying crowds crossed the bridge beside the train station. The energy felt electric and invigorating, brushing away my train weariness.

2.) Often the Sears Tower appears in scenes from Chicago Fire and now, while they rescue people, I sit here and ponder, "Hmm. They must be behind the tower and to the right, around 6 blocks from where we sat." (See? Travel does broaden your horizons.)  :)

3.) Our refrigerator's freezer is leaking again. Repair Guy just cleared the drain a few weeks ago and I have a feeling if we have him back out, he'll suggest we get a new fridge. Me? I'm asking, "What would Mike and Frankie Heck do?" and am keeping a bowl inside to catch the freezing water.  (I know. I know.)

4.) This week I walked around the block twice and then once down to the Salvation Army bin where I dropped off 2 bags of books (so to make room for more food storage). I actually survived all this activity. 

5.) Before Naomi moved back home, our house often smelled questionable (darn that basement and canned cat food scent). But now? Naomi's incessant coffee-making and incense-burning have our rooms smelling divine. 

6.) It is a joy having Naomi back home.

7.) Our city's once-yearly leaf sweepers actually came along after the vast majority of leaves fell down rather than before. This is cheer-worthy progress.

8.) Since October, we've experienced the most gloriously-golden autumn I ever recall since moving to New York in 1993. A few times I've stepped out the red door and swooned. No, really. It nearly feels like swimming within a clear glass of warm apple cider. 

9.) Tom and I love our weekends. Much. We eat dinner on Friday evenings while watching tv and one of us will smile and say, "Woo hoo! It's the weekend." Then the other repeats, "Woo hoo!" Every Friday night feels like the happiest party you could ever attend.

10.) No matter what happens in the future upon this Earth, I'll always thank God for the retro-feeling, day-to-day, ordinary-but-incredibly-lovely life He gave me. I wouldn't trade away a single hour of it.


As for the river outside our 'new' picture window? A church group came along and, across the street from it, planted a vegetable garden over much of what had just been a gravel parking lot. You know, so to give vegetables and grapes away to the nearby needy. It looks more like a park there now.

That's the good news.

But there's something else. They also planted quite a few trees and where are three small evergreen trees now growing? Exactly across the opening where we have our best view of the river. They will get bushier and taller and will block our personal best-river-view-on-the-block.

Bad, Bad Debra wants to storm down there and yank those trees up. Godly Debra says, "Shame on you for even thinking of doing that, you naughty ol' thing, you."  :)

This is only a test. (But oh, sometimes don't you just want to be oh-so-bad?)


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Shaken Anyone Out Of Bed Lately?

"And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”  ... Luke 21:25-28


I remember the 1970's and early 80's.

You could switch on your radio and hear Larry Norman singing I Wish We'd All Been Ready or Amy Grant and her In A Little While song.

You'd drive to church and the pastor would remind you that Jesus was coming soon. I was young then and often felt tempted to peek at the back door expecting Jesus to burst through any second.

I still have books from those days. And while a young mom, I recall walking around the neighborhood with a friend, both of us agreeing that, yes, it can't be long now before Jesus comes back, for the world had gone crazy. We not only expected Jesus' return, but wanted it. Wanted Him.

Do you recall those happy times?

But these days feel different. Rarely do I hear Christians excited about Jesus' return, well, except when someone longs to bail out of a world-gone-mean-and-ugly. Yet, to me, that's not the same. There's a difference in growing weary of our fleshly struggles and exploding with joy over finally touching the lover of our souls.

And churches today? How many center their life upon becoming a clean, not-agreeing-with-the-world bride for a soon-coming King? Mostly I hear that the book of Revelation is banned and I believe that, for I have friends who say it was tacked onto the end of the Bible by some moron who grabbed the wrong scrolls. Or that Revelation already happened(!)

Oh dear. It all reminds me of a cold, creeping darkness. Of this:

"Where is the promise of His coming?" they will ask. "Ever since our fathers fell asleep, everything continues as it has from the beginning of creation."  ...   2 Peter 3:4

Anyway. I just want to publicly say this: I believe Jesus' return is close. I'm so anticipating meeting Him face to face! Yet in the meantime I'll keep enjoying who He has become to me here and spreading the good news that Jesus changes absolutely everything, even now, even here on this troubled ol' planet.

And as sin increases (beware, it will!), so will His grace. Oh, not to just drag us, limping, scared through the hard, wild in-between time. No! But rather, through Grace we can shine as lights, beacons, to all the floundering, fearful ones who haven't a clue--- or a hope. 

After all, that's why we're still here.


"Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape." ... 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

"Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." ...Matthew 24:44

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."...1 John 2:15


“There’s a great deal to say in the Bible about the signs we’re to watch for and when these signs all converge at one place we can be sure that we’re close to the end of the age,” Billy Graham wrote. “And those signs, in my judgment, are converging now for the first time since Jesus made those predictions.”
In his new book, “The Reason for My Hope: Salvation,” the famed preacher who has delivered the gospel message to more people face-to-face than anyone in history wrote the great hope of the Christian faith rests in the promised return of Christ.
Graham said he now has a burden for “sounding the alarm for humanity to repent and turn from their sin … just as Noah did in ancient days.”

... copied from here


I was horrified yesterday to discover that lots of churches performed Michael Jackson's Thriller during their worship services on Halloween weekend. 

Don't believe me?  Go here.

So Thriller is ok, but Revelation is not? Oh, the darkness which quietly, subtly takes root and grows deception in the ground of peoples' hearts. And oh, what will come to pastors who sow those seeds...

Wake up!


"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come." ... 2 Timmothy 3:1

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Kinda Sorry, But Not Really. Now.

 "But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another." ... Galations 5:15


I hated to do this, but at Facebook I made some of my friends, uh, go away.

Oh, I didn't unfriend anyone (feels too mean). But rather, I majorly unclicked stuff so that their endless political name calling, strife-inducing, what's-wrong-with-our-world details would vanish. 

I had to protect my sanity, partly so that I can continue: 

1.) Writing to you in a spirit of peace. 
2.) Doing the other tasks God's given me.
3.) Prepping, quietly minding my own business.
4.) Living within a spirit of gratitude for Life.

But still, I felt guilty. 

I wanted to be stronger than that, able to just roll my eyes and move on to kinder posts. But no, too often I'd scroll down the comments (what was I thinking?) and be shocked(!) at the arguments over everything.

Comments after posts/news articles: they are my personal kryptonite.

Never before have I seen our Country so divided. It's ghastly. And what does the Bible say about division? 

"If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand."   ... Mark 3:24

God will allow no one to rewrite or rework that kind of truth. Not even America. Nor Christians.(How can anyone not see we're in major, going-down trouble? Unless we repent, that is.)


Feeling that twinge of aforementioned guilt, I did a Google search: "What Does The Bible Say About Strife?"  (Check it out, ok?)

Oh mama, how far we have fallen. I'd forgotten some of those verses. Wow.

It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,   
    but every fool is quick to quarrel."   ...Proverbs 20:3

"Remind them to ...  speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people."   ... Titus 3:1,2

"I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them."   ... Romans 16:17

Avoid them? Yes, some verses stated that--if we're wise--we'll avoid the strife-spreaders.

My guilt vanished. 

Oh, I'll still pray for my Christian friends who soak more in anger than in peace and Presence, but I'll no longer feel bad about not listening to their reports of sin-gone-rampant.

For my sake and yours as my readers, I can't risk it. I just can't.

"If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."   "Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness."  ... Romans 12:18, James 3:18


"For you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?"   ... 1 Corinthians 3:3

(I love that verse, for it hints that Jesus set us free to live a whole other new way. We are not stuck, forced to live weakly in regular ol' humanity.)

"As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions."   ... Romans 14:1


Monday, November 16, 2015

You Think I Need to What?!

"She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks."   ...Proverbs 31:17


Lately I've been all Mrs-Prepper-because-Times-are-worsening. 

Maybe you noticed.

Got my canned goods. My packaged foods. Water. Even a huge ol' bucket of hard white wheat and a smaller one of pretend beef that's supposed to taste ah-mazing.

I use my flower pot heater most days--and the emergency isn't even here yet. It's just a cozy thing to do.

I have my solar oven and cooker can supplies. Candles and tea lights. Started on my third storage bin of twigs to burn someday in a rocket stove (have my bricks for that).  Etc.

You know. 

But. I've majorly procrastinated the one thing  which all serious preppers say you must do--or else you're a goner.

What's that, you ask?

Get into shape. You must exercise now, they say, because when Life changes? You'll need to do increased physical labor. (Physical what?!) They tell me, if you can barely pull yourself together enough to load the washing machine, heaven help you if you must, someday, wash clothes by hand. Or gather wood. Nail boards to window frames. Bike instead of drive. Run for help or to safety.

Oh dear. Bleh. Why is that one so hard? That eating right and getting into shape thing?

Yeah, yeah, don't tell me. The answers include words like discipline, commitment, sacrifice, determination, no-longer-being-a-lazy-bones and ___________ (fill in the blank).

I know this one is true. Already while simply preparing for the end of the world, I've felt the stretch. The burn. The back-aching, Debra-how-did-it-come-to-this?-ness of it all.


But s-l-o-w-l-y I'm getting there. Stretching exercises 4 days a week (I'm aiming for 6). Running up stairs. Not always taking the easy way out around here (like not procrastinating until I permanently forget what needed to be done). Walking faster through supermarket aisles and pushing the lawn mower with more determination.

But it's time for more walking. More cardio. Actually getting my heart beating faster than just thump. Thump. Thump. 

I know this.

Anyway. Do with this post whatever you wish. Some of you have asked me to share all that I'm learning about prepping, and well, here you go. Something else to add to your list. Something I'd not yet mentioned--for obvious reasons.   :)


"She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come."  ... Proverbs 31:25

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."   ... Philippians 4:13

Times will not be getting better--so we must, instead.