Thursday, December 31, 2015

Looking For Peace in 2016?

"Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." ... and...  "Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  ... Hebrews 12:14, James 1:4


This New Year's Eve finds me feeling contemplative. How about you?

I'm thinking that--although Hobbit Cottage is smaller than our old farmhouse--Naomi's moving in with us works better here. In this tinier house, we each get fairer privacy space. Rooms are smaller, but arranged more wisely.

Don't you love it when God pulls an Opposite World thing on you? Something that makes no clear sense, but works wonderfully anyway?

And the peace here! I mean, ok, the majority of our days, our years, with Naomi have been peaceful, yes. But uh-oh! We did experience some Doozie Days, also. Times where--to God--we must have looked suspiciously like this: 

And this:

Er hem.  :) 

Yet finally, we are growing-up. The three of us are letting God strip away the stubbornness, the having to have things A. Certain. Way. We're becoming less insecure, quicker to forgive and slower to become offended, so there's far less nagging, whiny justifications and wounded feelings. 

People think God only tells folks, "Just zip your lip! Don't say how you really feel. Don't speak at all, lest your words cause an argument." 

But no. He's far greater than that. More thorough, cleansing. A renewed, God-changed-everything mind doesn't fume, clamping shut its mouth from fear of disappointing God.

No, when we release 'our rights' to Him, God implodes our wrong motives, mind-sets, and control issues. Boom! 

And the wild, frustration words lie in pieces.

Calm is left. Trust. A renewed, God-changed-everything mind has let go of what used to make it wild. 

It's a process, yes, and still is taking time. But what I like? The bad times become fewer and the good times shine brighter until, looking back, they're all you can remember.

"If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."   ... Romans 12:18

"The closer to Me you grow, the more fully you become your true self.”

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

"I die daily."   ... 1 Corinthians 15:21


So appreciated what my buddy, Judy, shared yesterday at Facebook:

Humble folks, I believe, get off the wrong road before they convince themselves it's the right one, becoming hopelessly lost.


Fifty Ways to Homestead No Matter Where You Live


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My World On an Icy Tuesday

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad."   ...Proverbs 12:25


Daniel and his squirrel friend, The Big Tease.

The birds just outside our dining room windows...

... where I'm drinking hot chocolate and reading this book for the 20th time:

And remember that green onion idea I shared with you last week? The one where you place them in a jar of water in your kitchen window?

Already mine are growing. If only I'd heard of this idea decades ago!

It's a terrific Tuesday. Candles are glowing, easy-listening music is wafting and Neighbor Mike shoveled ice for me before I even got out of bed. Tom made it to our garage (and then to work) safely.

And Naomi is home, although she's heading out the door again to drive through messy streets. One thing God reminds me quite often: He did not bring Naomi home so I could start worrying about her again. 

Many people say, "You can't help worrying about your kids. It's just what parents do." So far, I've not heard God say that. And I'm thinking He probably won't anytime soon.   :)

What matters is that I believe the way He does.

  "Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."   ... John 14:27


That Target pet food/gift card deal is back! This week, buy two of their selected pet items and get a free $5 gift card. Check it out here, then do a search for whatever pet items you may need.

Is this snow girl adorable or what?

Find more incredibly clever snowmen ideas here.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Can It Be? Yes! A Real-Live Normal Day.

"Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!"   ... Psalm 34:8


Sometimes a good old-fashioned December reminds me just how passionately I love my Normal Days.

This first Monday after Christmas! 

Even though my windows are showing dark grey (for the 4th day) and an ice storm is driving here for tonight and my knee went all tweaky on the stairs (again) and Neighbor Mike accidentally backed into our garage:

... even so! Here I am this morning on the inside:

Every day is the day the Lord has made so I will rejoice in all of them. He was so good to give me this life. After all, He could have created me as a zebra.  :)

But oh, a Normal Day just comes with its own special songs (including my return to vintage Christmas-free radio music). Anticipation. And joy in both tiny things (my crockpot meal, decorating tv shows, calming kids' lit., and will I brave a cold, cold walk?) and a huge God who makes me smile from whispered encouragement all the cascading hours.



But Christmas was nice, yes! And how lovely to have Naomi home with us on that day for the first time since 2011. She gives such thoughtful gifts--she is our favorite gift of our 37-year marriage.

We three opened presents then watched--a Christmas movie? The new Star Wars film? Nah. The 2008 X-Files movie, I Want to Believe.



And this is from me to you, whoever you may be:  Move forward. Look ahead. When you leave the past behind, even the very good past (if it hurts to recall it), your present journey will grow brighter, lighter, freer.


Doesn't this song just make you smile and feel wonderful? You'll Be In My Heart.

An incredible thing about Normal Days? We're given so very many of them!


" ...whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."   ...Philippians 4:8

Does what's on your mind today fit into these parameters? 


A fun holiday candle you can make from shortening.  (Thanks for sharing this at Facebook, Dolores!)

And this candle idea is also a good one to note for later emergency purposes.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Presents For Preppers

Merry Christmas to my readers! A huge thank-you to those of you who read here year after year. Bless you for your time. Encouragement. And your patience.  :)

My gift to you this year? A post you can bookmark, a sort of one-stop-shop for all the prepper links I've given you lately. No more slogging through pages of my prepper posts for the helpful links (yay!) They're all here, below.


But first? This article:  Prepping When You're Poor. And ok, I never suggest this, but please read through the comments, as well(!) You'll come away feeling playfully challenged by a lack of money--not depressed by it. 

And get this: a commenter suggested becoming a master gardener so you could grow your own food, after which someone immediately replied:

Maybe you don’t understand “poor.” I do. The Master Gardener course is $175 now and not on payments.

Oh, for Pete's sake! Classic response from Today's imagination-less, brain-washed, hopeless, sorry crowd. Eegads.

Please don't let this happen to you.

Fortunately, many others chimed-in and spoke the truth: you do not have to have a pricey, official certificate to become a master gardener! You just need a brain. A town library. A computer(optional). Some seeds. A little plot of land. Stick-to-it-tiveness.

My fervent wish for all my readers (besides coming to know God, personally, for themselves)? That you wouldn't 'shoot yourself in the foot' by instantly listing why new ideas won't work. 

But rather, may you always learn new things, work steadily (inch by inch does count) and move ahead with much grace and goodwill toward others.

"The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied."  ...Proverbs 13:4


Links to help you prepare for anything:

How to Make A Faraday Cage to Protect Your Electronics

How to Make a Sterno Stove

How to Bake Inside a Dutch Oven

How To Make Your Own Solar Oven

How to Extend The Life of Eggs

How to Store Food (Click on embedded links, also) (And here.)

How to Make a Milk Jug Lamp

Ways to Purify Water

Foods to Store  (And here.)

How Much Food Should You Store?

Prepping In Small Spaces

Popular Bartering Items   And here.

How to Make Your Own First Aid Kit

A First Aid Book to Order  (I have this one.)

Prepper Mistakes to Avoid

Alternative Ways to Stay Warm  (And here.)

Alternative Ways to Cook Food (And here.)

Items For Your Car or 'Office Get Home Bag'

Prepper Inspiration (if you're growing weary)

Becoming Physically Fit For Hard Times

Two Oil Lamps You Can Make


Clara's Great Depression Era Cooking Videos

Debra's Prepper Ideas page at Pinterest

And my Re-Uses For Throwaways Page  (And many more here.)


Here's what I shared at Facebook yesterday:

Already I've received the only Christmas gift I want. A remarkable one! For the first time in our 22 New York years, I've, for weeks, puttered in our yard in December. Raked leaves. Spread dirt from the compost pile to my flower beds. Tucked kitchen clippings straight into my vegetable garden. Sat on the front porch and read. All in 50 to 60 degree comfort.
In *December*! Best Christmas present, ever. Happy sigh.
(Only in my head--and this photo--is my yard still this green.)


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Giving. Now. Later.

Let's run this one again. From December 2011, our first Christmas at Hobbit Cottage.


Well, my twin-separated-at-birth, Sara, beat me to it and wrote about Christmas cards today. So though it appears like plagiarism, I'll do the same.

How many of you still send snail mail Christmas cards? I do. Sending Christmas cards, to me, is like being 10 again and slipping Valentines into handmade heart-shaped envelopes taped to your desk. It's a giggly, rejuvenating sort of thing to do.

Isn't it expensive? Nah, it's only as expensive as you wish to make it. This year I bought my cards at Dollar Tree--only $2 for hours of good, old-fashioned fun. "Aren't Dollar Tree cards kinda Plain Jane?" Well, not really. Not if you snatch yours early. I like my cards, anyway:

A confession? Each year I choose at least one 'churchy type' card for my ultra-Christian friends who would gasp and swallow their gum if they received anything even resembling a Santa. heh.

The older I get? The more relaxed I become. You won't find me sending mad-at-the-world email forwards or stuffing the Gospel down people's throats or crying "foul!" when lost people mess-up. Instead I've become quite busy with allowing God to make changes within me, first, which by the way, He considers a full-time job. Poor God.

So anyway, I'll choose to enjoy mailing Christmas cards this year along with a family letter I typed-up yesterday and checks or gifts for our parents.

As for the extra money this all requires, Tom and I have noticed something for lots of years--always there's money for giving to others, be it gifts or taking friends out to eat or giving generous tips to service personnel, etc. And when we stay in that flow of giving, God makes certain our needs are met in the flow that returns back to us.

Always. Only a lack of giving-out seems to stop the flow from coming back in. So give, give, give. That's what Tom and I tell each other--and not only at Christmas.


When I get to Heaven I so don't want God to shake His head and say, "Oh, Debra... you were such a cranky worrier and missed out on lots of fun I intended you to have." No! I desire to notice and savor every single moment that God gave me to enjoy... and to experience the incredible joy of giving to others.


Here, below, is a present for my prepper friends, especially. 

Grow green onions in your kitchen.

A few other edible plants can be grown indoors. I'll share more in the days to come.


Darn. Looks like Doomsday Preppers is no longer on Netflix. Bummer.

I did find a few full length episodes on youtube here, though.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Practical Christmas

Every year I order Christmas postage stamps online, even during my (in comparison with everybody else) Scrooge Years. Er hem.

There's just something about Christmas stamps.

Yet this year? I had enough stamps on hand-- red heart ones left over from Valentine's Day, actually. Good enough, red being Christmassy and all. Besides, this December, I'm only sending a handful of cards. It's a Scrooge Year. 

But oh no! In my mailbox, the corners of two cards from old friends caught my eye. What?! The most adorable Christmas stamps, ever:

Charlie Brown and the gang!?! 

This year I'd missed ordering Charlie Brown stamps. Good grief.

Well, I soon fixed that. Ran to my computer and ordered 4 books of those things and who cares if I'm still using Charlie Brown Christmas stamps to mail our bills in sweltering June? Not me.

I love these tiny things-- and love never fails. Never fades away. Never psssh! vanishes.  Those stamps will still charm my heart in the good ol' summertime, guaranteed. Indeed.


Attention, my fellow preppers or those who just like to burn candles, especially this time of year amongst your Christmas decor:

Dollar Tree has white (tall!) pillar candles in a jar. Wow. Tom saw a Youtube video which said they burn for 80 hours (if it's on Youtube it must be true, right?). 

Actually though, reviewers say the candles burn anywhere from 40 to 80 hours--but whichever--that's still a terrific deal for only a measly dollar. Although........ I'm not sure about the wicks, whether they're simple cotton ones (which I prefer for our health). Oh well, for a dollar, I'll risk it.



P.S. Other versions of dollar stores are rumored to carry these candles, also.They can be ordered at Dollar Tree online, as well--there's a shipping fee, though, if shipping to your home.


The extent of my Christmas decorating this year--our tiny tree and a Christmassy-looking plate. Well, there are also candles in the fireplace and Christmas cards on the glass doors of the hutch. And my red cup o' snowmen butter knives which stay in my kitchen all year.

The tree shines through the windows like a beacon in the night, perhaps encouraging a weary heart or two.

I am content.  :)


Happy birthday to my sister, Corrine!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

December 20th. And All Is Well.

After seeing tons of tiny houses, this one (shared by Cottage Whimsy at Facebook), is my favorite. So far.

Hobbit Cottage so needs one of these in the backyard. 


Yesterday Tom and I braved the cold north wind so we could go watch 'In The Heart of the Sea'. Wow! Truly an old-fashioned epic film. We came away reeling with inspiration and awe and glad that we went to support Ron Howard for making such a huge film, one that's, so far, unappreciated by the masses. (I believe God blessed us with extra happiness for our additional 'support Ron motive' in going.)
We considered staying for another movie afterward, but agreed that anything else would feel like an episode of Tom and Jerry by comparison. smile emoticon
Highly recommended--although--if your idea of an awesome movie involves high tea, gentility and regal old houses, you probably won't like this one.  No, I'm pretty sure you won't.  :)

Some parts were downright frightening. 

But Tom and I appreciate films which give us gifts:

1.) taking us places we'd never have otherwise gone, ourselves.

2.) making history (though tweaked) come alive for us, revealing moments we'd never before heard about.

3.) inspiring us to tackle our own herculean tasks. Like cleaning out our horrid basement.  :) 


Deborah Rainey shared this other wonderful Christmas card. Yay! Another wintry place for you to go, a relaxing journey to take. Thanks, Deb!


What I want? It's for 'Christmas,' the real kind, to be on everyone's mind 365 days a year.

(Insert a longing sigh here).


"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." ... 2 Corinthians 9:7


Enjoy the show, Flip or Flop? Find 14 full episodes to watch online here. Free, but of course.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Disappointment! It's So Disappointing, Unless.....

'Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us..." ... Ephesians 33:20


Remember this peaceful place that I've shared with you each December since 2005? 

You could stand out there in the snow (in the warmth of your home), listen to carolers, dry your frustration tears and watch ice skaters until Christmas insanity fell from your shoulders and calm returned. Man, back when I used to do Christmas-like-everyone-else, I needed that place. Spent hours there.

But now that interactive card is gone. Vanished. Lost its domain whatever.

Oh, Ashland University did create a new card, but it's, well, a disappointment in comparison. (Shhh... I'd hate to discourage them.)

Of course, at first I felt rather crushed. To never visit that pretty gazebo again! Even though I no longer let December expectations abuse me, still, the peace out there was palpable--and who doesn't like that? 

And where would I send you this year?

Well, God being God (and good), led me here (click 'continue' and turn up your volume). In some ways, it's even lovelier(!) But, I've not--yet--felt the same calm in this new place. Perhaps it'll come in time. 

But the main lesson in all this is that, upon being confronted by disappointment--I remembered something. And it didn't even take days, but only seconds: When disappointment rears his head, take hold of your emotions and make yourself expect something even better than what you lost.

Yes, seriously. It's legal to do that and oh, how that one thing has colored my world brighter these past couple of years. After all, greater is He who is within me, than any ol' head-rearing disappointment in this world.

Anyway, here you go. Another peaceful place to stand and heal and recall Who Christmas is really about.


"But David encouraged himself in the Lord..."   ... 1 Samuel 30:6

"Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!"  ...Psalm 31:24


A Facebook friend shared this photo of her cough drop wrapper:

Isn't that cool? Encouragement in a small, unexpected place, especially there to help those weakened, dragging along with a cold. 

I believe God sends encouragement to us all the time, but only those who aren't wrapped tightly within their own self-pity cocoon ever see it.

Just something to consider on this cold December afternoon ....