Thursday, January 28, 2016

Who's Living In *Your* Guest Room?

Whew. I'm feeling better. Still coughing and needing to rest after, say, rinsing out a couple coffee mugs, but Life looks sunnier again. 

Appears I'll survive.  

And for those of you who wished me well and told me you were praying? May God bless you. Richly.


A friend recently asked how I deal with difficult relatives. She knows I have a couple, ones who recall me as that silly young thing in the 1970's who made a few mistakes and is therefore, albeit 40 years later, still the Clueless, Moody, Mouthy One. Folks with whom about all we have in common is our eye color and DNA. 

What do I personally do regarding these people? Well, I picture my heart containing actual rooms, rather like this:

... and I put the unreasonable, could-easily-ruin-my-head folks into the tiniest guest rooms.


Hey, they're still in there. Still loved. But they're not given a heck of a lot of space in which to do damage. Any harm is minimal.

When it comes to this stuff, here's an extremely important verse:

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."  ... Proverbs 4:23 

God designed a marvelous, unique plan for each of us! But what a disaster if we reach Heaven never completing that plan because we let certain people make us nuts. And feeling too exasperated, insecure, frustrated and just plain no good, so that we floundered and got knocked-off God's path for us.

Never allow anyone to tear down what God spent years building inside you. Only let God within the largest, most important room within your heart.

And only allow His words to affect you, Him to lead you, even if others don't understand.


"Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home."   ... Mark 6:4

Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." ...Matthew 22:37,38


Tom and I thought the first two new episodes of The X-Files positively flew by. We've so enjoyed the return of Mulder and Scully.


Here are some free (as of today) Kindle books.

Monday, January 25, 2016

So This Weekend Wasn't *All* Bad...

"But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment."  ...Matthew 12:36


Poor ol' Debra.

Forget what I said about having a minor cold. It turned into Horrible Nightmare Flu.


Not since the chicken pox finally caught me at age 33 have I felt so will-this-fever-never-break? bad.

By Saturday I told Tom that, since talking gives me coughing fits, I'd not be able to speak nearly as much as usual. 

I think his eyes lit up. 

And truthfully? I did skip lots of useless words I'd normally speak. You know, complaints, nagging reminding and stupid attempts at sarcasm, especially. Lately God majorly convicts me about sarcasm, how it's not an honest language (think about it) or grace-filled and usually puts someone down.

He reminds me we're no more spiritual than we are in our own homes. It's an impossibility, a lowest-common-denominator type of thing. We can act spiritual elsewhere (church, anyone?), but who we truly are will always be made clearest at home. 


Now it's Monday and things appear hopeful again. Tom returned to work and sunshine is trying to pierce grey clouds, teasing us with a springtime 40 degrees. I aired-out the house during a rare spurt of energy which I used toward housecleaning, for it's much more pleasant to stare at a clean house when one is ill, rather than a dirty one.

But now, after writing this, I'll return to wilting and sputtering on the red couch. 

Any prayers for poor ol' Debra would be greatly appreciated. Thank-you.  Much.

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."   ... Ephesians 4:29


Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."  ... Hebrews 12:14


Friday, January 22, 2016

Sending You Back to 2012 While I Recuperate


Just 6 weeks shy of not having had a cold or flu for 5 years, it looks like I caught a mild version of Tom's cold. I'm trying not to be disappointed. Gah. And at least I feel my beefed-up immune system fighting like good soldiers to fend off the worst symptoms.

But still. It's sad to remember what feeling bad feels like.

Anyway, today while Tom and I sit around drinking tea (yick) and feeling sorry for ourselves, I'll send you to this post (from 2012)which I recall often. Many times I consider Heaven and its delights, especially as more and more friends travel there.

Oh, and for the record, no, we're not in the path of that huge forthcoming snowstorm. Yet since we've been prepping for the end of the world, we'd be already prepared for it, certainly! :)


As I've mentioned before, I keep up with the obituaries from the town where Tom and I met and first lived together (in matrimony, but of course!). And here's the first paragraph of an obit which I found sweet:

Marilyn Adams Torchio passed from this life on Nov. 19, 2015, followed by her adoring husband, Martin F. Torchio on Dec. 14, 2015. Marilyn, born on Oct. 24, 1932, had just celebrated her 83rd birthday with family and friends. Marty, born Feb. 18, 1928, was 87 years young. Throughout their marriage, Marilyn referred to Marty as her knight in shining armor and Marty always called her his darling beautiful bride. They would have celebrated 61 years of their beautifully written love story on Nov. 27, 2015.


I'm currently rereading (for the 7th or so time) The Moffats series of books. Oh, how that family makes me both laugh and cry. I never tire of the way the author wrote about her WW1 era childhood.

(Your town library most likely has these.)



Thursday, January 21, 2016

Our Every Day Choices

"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time..." ... Ephesians 5:15,16


Poor ol' Tom has a sore throat and cough so there I was at 3:30 this dark, snowy morning making him tea with honey and handing out Vitamin D3 and C pills, water, cough drops and kleenex. 

Like a typical man, he becomes positively helpless when ill. Er hem.

But by 4:00 a.m. I'd discovered this:

Photographer Captures How Differently People Live In Identical Apartments

... and became fully, delightfully awake. 

A Romanian photographer took pictures of nine identically-built apartments below his own, as well as the occupants. Everyone had begun with the same four walls and window, yet how differently their dwellings appear!

Daily we choose to make the most of what we have and are, to use our imagination--or--we make excuses or blame things like Fate, the economy, our past or Great Aunt Bertha.

May we choose wisely on this Thursday.


My five favorites of those rooms, above? In this order: The 5th floor then the 9th, 2nd, 8th, 1st.


Here's another place for you to go:

114 Money-Saving Ideas

Having been determined to afford to stay home all these decades, lots of these ideas felt like dear old friends.


Forgot to tell you that a few weeks ago Tom and I watched the movie, InterstellarWow. One of the quirkiest, oddest movies, ever. 

Loved it.

Yet at the beginning I did wonder. Thought, "Hmmm...." a few times. Then it pulled me in.  :)


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wanting More Light, Not Distractions

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden."  ...Matthew 5:14


Wondering where I've been? God's Opposite World. Again.

You know--that place where the first come in last and servants are great and where you must give before you receive. And where PeaceThatPassesUnderstanding never seeps away, even if Times appear bad/sad/ridiculous.

The darkness of this Temporary 2016 World stuff isn't getting me down.

No, I'm here reading vintage books in our sunny dining room windows, warm next to our tiny heater, snow on the lawns outside. And listening to good Bible-in-these-Last-Days teaching online, learning new survival skills from YouTube, scribbling notes. Ordering prepper supplies.

Dusting our ceiling fan, wiping icy boot prints from the kitchen floor. Thinking about cleaning our basement. Doing laundry, exercising, feeding the poor, shivering birds outside. Visiting Neighbor Sally, trying new recipes with Clara, ironing Tom's endless shirts. Rearranging shelf-stable foods, making grocery lists, dishing up cat food, listening to Naomi play her electric piano, upstairs.

And praying for our crumbling world.

Feeling so surrounded by contentment, gratitude and peace, that my daytimes feel only 3 hours long. They whoosh by, even as I savor them and attempt to slow them down.

I love what Lori Bakker slowly said one day:

 "As these Last Days grow darker and darker and darker, we must shine brighter and brighter and brighter." 

I've found as I draw nearer to God, His bright light keeps the world's end-time darkness from creeping anywhere near my heart. New purpose pushes the distractions aside, allowing Joy to swim to the surface, then overflow upon those who're floundering, confused, blindfolded.

There becomes less trying to shine and more just reflecting what, Who, my eyes behold the most during these fleeting hours.


“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”
― John Piper

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - they just shine.

 "Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power."  ... Ephesians 6:10


Something else I did while away from here? I read bits of history of a street near our former Autumn Cottage. To me--fascinating stuff. (Click on the addresses to view the large old homes.)

I even discovered that Eunice (on the right) who I see everyday in my kitchen with her sisters:

... married a young man who grew up on that street. And the girls' father was a florist. It took me 20 years to discover this. 

To read more about Eunice, Esther and Ella, go here.


Find free (as of today) homesteading kindle books here.  Always check that these books are still free before clicking 'buy', ok?


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Odd Random Thoughts

                       It's another sunny morning at Hobbit Cottage!

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."   ....Psalm 37:4


1.) Two weeks before leaving on our train vacation, I began unsubscribing to various emails so that I'd not return to The Dreaded Flooded Inbox. 

Best thing ever. I've remained unsubbed to nearly all those coupon/recipe/vitamin/whatever companies and it's like I decluttered my head(!) A great New Year's idea, as well.

2.) Please tell me you never throw out hardened brown sugar. For decades I've just added an apple slice to my brown sugar canister and almost instantly (well...) the sugar softens. One of the best handy dandy hints, ever.

3.) I wanted to set aside emergency food and forget it rather than eat it up. :) I also needed to create some space on shelves.

Sooo I packed four storage bins/totes with food, set them in a safe-from-insects-and-humidity-area and now feel like Mrs. Prepper, herself. Things like rice, dried beans and flour I froze for a week first (to kill possible insects), then placed them in seal-able bags (with a desiccant or two) before dropping them into the bins.

And I leave these bins alone. For now.

Oh, and one tote I labeled 'Bug Out' in case we (heaven forbid) ever have to drive to an emergency shelter. In that one I placed ready-to-eat foods only, plastic silverware (unopened from Chinese take-out), first-aid items and a can opener.

4.) Having problems with mold in your dishwasher? Just occasionally add a quarter cup of bleach before running a load. Works great. I found that idea in my (had it for ages)copy of this book:

5.) Feeling unappreciated lately? People, being the often-clueless creatures that they are, will sometimes take us for granted. The best thing (I've found) is to learn to receive appreciation from God. Expect Him to meet your emotional needs and He will do it. He is that good. That faithful.

6.)  Eegads! Our local 2:00 a.m. snowplow driver does love to drop that huge front shovel of his with a Bang! Often. Oh dear.

7.) Searching for a terrific easy-listening music station online, one with gorgeous photography (super vintage, some) as well? Here's my favorite. If you see someone wandering around there with headphones while her husband's watching tv in the next room and her daughter's playing a keyboard upstairs, well, that'll be me.  heh.

8.) Now, no one go all wild-eyed-ballistic, but, well, I am all loopy happy that the holidays are over(!)

9.) The credit card that I use online expired and I was here all twiddling my thumbs waiting for a new one to appear in my mailbox. Hmm. 

Finally I went to the website, looked around for something other than a phone number to call about this (I am so not a phone person. You just don't know.) Next day I looked again and aha! Discovered all I needed to do was make a simple click if I needed a new card.

Good gracious. Go assuming credit card companies will automatically send you a new card like they used to, and well, you just might be sitting in front of your computer without a card for a long, long time.

So often we must change with The Times and just cooperate and deal with that like the good, patient soldiers God wants us to be.

And sometimes, not. But what matters is having the ability to recognize when to change our way of thinking, when to speak up or when to keep silent. And then move on in meekness in whatever way it may be.


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


I'd love to hear your thoughts about any of these random thoughts!


Yes! Oh yesssss.........


Monday, January 11, 2016

New Friends and Ideas For a New Year

Of course, a walk around Blogland also does a body (and soul) good (a reference to my last post). This morning I ventured past Cherry Hill Cottage for the first time and oh my! Tina graciously invited me into her to-die-for sweet kitchen. (And here.)

Over cornbread, she told me about Danielle's dollhouse friends, The Littletons and how they discovered their new house, then decorated it for Christmas. Enchanting, all of it. 

Those Littletons. They stole my heart.

Tina said she has dozens of home-loving friends I can visit. (Though sadly, many have ceased telling their stories.) And you know? I wasn't even trying, but I quickly found a kindred spirit. Wow. Brin's writing snatches my breath away (and the quotes she shares!) and I would be jealous except that God won't let me.  :)

Here's a peek into Brin's homemaking heart:

With the exception of a lunchtime meeting, it's a quiet, laundry and day-in-the-kitchen sort of day today. The sort of day when you just keep feeding clothes into the washer and food into the oven: a cake, some rolls, a quiche. (Into the oven. Not the washer. I'm not putting quiche into the washer, obviously. Ugh. I could go back and revise that sentence, but I'm not.) Anyway. Lately I've been all about making meals ahead and doubling recipes so I don't have to cook as often. I'm extraordinarily grateful for this leisure time to get things done today!

And almost hast Brin persuaded me to bake yeast bread. Almost.

Many afternoons I take off searching for new friends in Blogland yet so often I return, alone. (And grumpy, if you want to know.) But not today. My, my, my... not today.

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


Never give up on what God wants you to do!


So I'm nearly finished underlining my favorite repurposing ideas in the book, Re-Uses. Afterward, I'll put the best ones into use around our house.

I even created a 'treasure chest' in our basement so I'll be prepared to put together new ideas/projects. Inside a bin (tote) I've tossed:

Canning jars and clean empty food jars of all sizes
Metal soup cans and others of all sizes
Thin cardboard
Plastic jars with lids, pill bottles and yogurt cups
Plastic bowls with lids from Chinese take-out, etc.

Already my new treasure chest has come in handy.

Oh, and did you see all the utterly clever ideas online for reusing K cups?


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Walking. Or Trying To, Anyway...

"I can do all this through him who gives me strength."   ... Philippians 4:13


So until age 54,  I could walk as far as I wished.

Well, as long as the ground was flat. And the air temperature wasn't too hot. Or too cold. And if I felt energetic enough.

Then one day it occurred to me, "Hmmm. I've not taken a walk in a really long time." So I grabbed a light jacket and my keys, locked the back door and took off 'round the corner past Neighbor Mike's house.

Oh dear. My lower back began to ache. Bad. 

I cursed myself and walked back home. Practically crawled to a chair then sat there remembering the hundreds of lovely long walks I'd taken past dreamy old houses, imagining women in aprons and head scarves shaking rugs or vacuuming or reading 1940's magazines beside the radio. And cursed myself again. Those days appeared to be over.

But not one to give up, I did some back-strengthening exercises then tried again the following day. Walked past Mike's house--so far so good--made it past a few others, then drats. Back pain. Hobbled home again, but encouraged that, this time, I'd made it farther.

Then the next day I made it all around the entire block! Of course, by the time our hedges came along, I longed to crawl on my knees (oh, my poor aching back). Yet I kept it together and waited to collapse upon the living room carpet.

Over time and in spite of lots of lazy (or ice-covered) missed days, it became easier to walk what amounted to 3 blocks. Now I no longer fought the temptation, when reaching our hedges, to crawl.

Then hooray! A few weeks ago I varied my usual route and walked 4 blocks, instead. I smiled all the way home even though now my hips hurt when I walk. But at least my back feels fine.

Of course, that's when a couple friends on Facebook said they began walking again and within three days they're now clearing 2 miles.

Two miles.

Talk about temptation to quit! But no. Never. In fact, I think God whispered, "Just keep doing the best you can and do it for Me." And not only that but, "Congratulate your friends, the walkers. Wish them well--and mean it. That's the higher route. The route of Love."

And that's the route I'm aiming for in all things. The straighter, narrower one where we're to treat others as we'd have them treat us. Where we cheer for those who have what we wanted, but never did get. Where we step out in faith, then receive what we need. 

You know, God's Street. The one He walks along with you.


“If you seek creative ideas go walking.
Angels whisper to a man when he goes for
a walk.” 
― Raymond I. Myers

"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which lead unto life, and few there are that find it."  ... Matthew 7:14


I finished reading Stepsister Sally and couldn't believe how much the ending moved me. "Pull yourself together, Debra!" I said, wiping tears away while I shut this sentimentally beautiful book. There are acres of lovely kids' lit. out there. 


Here's A Lot of Cool Links:

15 Foods You Can Regrow From Scraps

And I added these late to my last post:

How To Grow Celery Indoors

How to Grow Lettuce Indoors

Grow An Indoor Herb Garden


Friday, January 08, 2016

So Offended? Or So At Peace?

Of course, it's not always apple pie and warm fuzzies around Hobbit Cottage.

While searching for a tv show On Demand, a commercial for the movie, The Walk, came on. I squealed and told Tom, "Yippee! Let's finally watch that movie this weekend, ok? I'm still so sorry we didn't see it at the theater."

Tom replied, "We'll have to buy it, you know."

Me: (Air beginning to seep from my Happiness Balloon), "Won't it be available to just rent?"

Tom: "That's what I meant. It won't be free."

Me: "Of course it won't be free! I know that. Nothing is free anymore."

Tom: "Some things still are. But not On Demand movies."

Good grief. I wished, more than ever, that I'd gone to see The Walk at the theater. Yes, even alone. I'd been excited about it since seeing the previews, whereas Tom had been indifferent.

Anyway, a half-hour later, I told Tom I'd found an easier way to light the Dollar Tree candles (now softly burning) on our fireplace. He said, "I thought we were going to save the candles for emergencies. Why are you using them now?"

He'd alluded to this weeks before, so I was ready. "I happen to love candles, ok? I bought tons with my own money--they make me feel warmer and they're one of those, "What are you saving them for?," things. I am worth the price of candles, Thomas, and Life is too short not to use them, especially if they make me happy. And warm."

Poor Tom. He meekly agreed with all that.

Next, Naomi came home saying the price of the vitamins she and Tom were going to buy, skyrocketed. I asked if she'd looked at VitaCost and her nose got all wrinkly and she pretty much said, "I'd rather die than buy their old synthetic junk." (I'd forgotten that to Naomi, synthetic vitamins are the devil.) 

We said more. Blah, blah, blah.

Well, then Tom and Naomi got out the Netflixed disc of Fargo, a tv series I'd rather munch on pottery than watch (and they know it), without asking me if I'd planned to watch anything else with Tom (it was only 6:30). So I got ready for bed. Went upstairs without kissing Tom good-night, even.

I'd had it with both of 'em.  Myself, too, frankly.  :)

And there in bed, I allowed myself to stay offended for 10 minutes (or so), then told myself, "Okay. Knock it off. Let it go." 

Go allowing yourself to stay offended too long and Major Offense attaches himself to you. Then you spend months trying to shake his ugly self off.

So I remained firm with my head and kept pushing offense away each time it returned. Watched an Odd Couple episode, and fell asleep.

This  morning I asked Tom if he'd noticed I went to bed without saying good-night. I watched him concentrating hard to remember, then he smiled and said,  "Yeah, yeah. I noticed."

The big fibber.

And when I told him that I'd had enough of him and Naomi, we both laughed.

How good is a morning after you've let something go.


"Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense."  ...Proverbs 19:11

“Offence is like muddy soil; when trapped underfoot, it resists rapid progress. Don't trap offences under your mind, else you resist change! Jesus said "Shake the soil off your sandals"! What are you waiting for? Shake it off!” 
― Israelmore AyivorThe Great Hand Book of Quotes