Friday, April 29, 2016

Disappointments. Bleh.

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. "  ... from Isaiah 40



So there I was Wednesday on the edge of my Prayer Garden, sitting upon our wicker chair, reading in the sunshine after two grey, cold days. Ahh. Finally, what I wait for all winter.

Then a dog began barking. And barking. Now, when you have a drummer daughter, you develop great blocking-out skills, so those worked awhile. But soon the trash sanitation workers drove up and it's a rare week where you can throw extra junk away, so it was roar-bang-rumble-crash! roar-bang-rumble-crash! for a long time. Cars idled behind them (cough, cough), a neighbor started up his lawn mower and of course, the dog barked more wildly at the parade out there.

Good grief. Probably downtown New York City was quieter.

So I grabbed my book and stepped back into the house where, oh dear, the kitchen looked like the cupboards had thrown up. Naomi's wet laundry sat in bags waiting to be taken to the laundromat, mixing bowls dripped beside the sink and Naomi stood at the blender whirling coffee (whriiiiing) while the electric ice cream maker was going screech-pop! screech-pop! And when I told her what's making it pop, she said,"I already know that now." (Later she apologized for snapping.)

You remember how Kevin in Home Alone giddily jumped on his parents' bed squealing, "I'm free! I'm free!"? Usually that's me during Tom's business trips. You know, in a playful, don't-have-to-make-dinner-or-get-up-early way.

Well, lately it's not been like that. 

And it's not really that Naomi's here--she's in and out or away most of each day/night. But the weather? Yeah, the April grey and cold are bad. And remember how Tom and I could barely communicate while he was in Toronto due to technical problems? Well, shockingly--even though my computer's fixed and he's in the same Country--it's been worse. 

I'll spare you the details, but really, I don't think it's too ridiculous of me to expect a 3 or 4 minute phone call each day, no matter how busy Tom may be. (You may want to pray for ol' Tom, that I don't snap at him when he arrives late tomorrow night). :)

The Disappointment Test! Gah. That's my least favorite one of all. You expect one not-even-unrealistic thing and get a bunch of rotten stuff, instead. And then you're expected to rise above it, calmly, because God is greater than all disappointments and He is in you.

Yet if you remember it's a test? And you do your best to be all, like, 'water off a duck's back'? And you ask God to help you remain calm and not smack anyone? Or hurt their feelings because yours are hurt? Then you grow. You die to self a little more and become stronger. And respond better the next time.

But only if we desire God's ways more than our own. Only if we want to become more like Him rather than doing our own thing.

 Early morning sunshine. How sweet it is.


"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”'   ...Psalm 91:2


The wild thing?  Wednesday night's episode of The Middle was about neighborhood noise in ones own backyard. It was almost like God saying, "See? You're not the only one. Lighten up."

An earlier episode, called Survey Says, was awesome, as well. Tom and I watched it twice and both times I cried. I totally got the parental angst and deep sentimentality of Mike and Frankie while they were reminiscing in Axl's RV.

 Both episodes were terrific.


I so enjoyed this book!

Highly recommended.


Were you able to watch (on DIY) Nicole's new episodes of Rehab Addict where she totally, lovingly overhauled her grandparents' old home? My, my, my. Each episode was a delight. My favorites of all previous seasons.

And speaking of Nicole, there's a local house for sale, just the type she would restore, and for just $85,000. If only Tom and I were 20 years younger!


Monday, April 25, 2016

Since He Went Away

      "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age'."   ... Matthew 28:20


So. Yesterday Tom and I got up all bleary-eyed at 3:45 a.m.. The taxi would soon be outside to whisk him away in the dark to the airport, for yes, another business trip came along, this one to California.

But guess what happened at the airport while waiting for his plane? Here's how I reported it at Facebook:

A bit of fun: Minutes ago, Tom called me all excited from Detroit to say while waiting in the Buffalo Airport this morning, he met Cedric The Entertainer and D.L. Hughley. They'd been in town on tour. Tom told Cedric we'd loved the show he was on with Steve Harvey years ago, but he couldn't remember the name. Cedric said, "Oh! The Steve Harvey Show. I was on that show for 7 years and loved it." They talked probably 15 minutes and Tom considered having a picture taken with Cedric, but felt weird about it. I thought later that I'm not even sure Tom knows how to take selfies with his phone--which is one of the many reasons I love him. heh.

 smile emoticon

He sounded especially-blessed and that helped, my still being in the I-miss-Tom timespan.

Later I rented a movie On Demand, one called Brooklyn---what an old-fashioned film! And oh, the 1950's fashions and hairstyles as well as the wild gamut of emotions it yanked me through. Wow. It stuck with me, even awoke me this morning. 

I'm thinking you'd enjoy it--here's a review to help you decide.

Only one scene did I fast-forward--and you'll easily guess which one. :) Half of this movie I watched with teary-eyes, a few times I burst out laughing (oh, those two giddy girls at the dinner table!).

And now? It's Monday--grey, cold, misty, and rather than be all pokey (like I was during Tom's Toronto trip) I forced myself to go out. I drove to our local library and remembered why I almost never go there--they barely have any books! (It's a tiny suburb library, though the building is huge and beautiful. At least I come away feeling grateful for Amazon and Abebooks.) 

But I did find two good books:

I began with Absolutely Truly (with my 7-11 coffee and cookies) upstairs inside my brightly-lit closet room where even on grey days it's glowing springtime. A perfect selection for my day.

Years past, I sought-out coffee shops, an empty church sanctuary or riverside parks in which to sit, drink coffee, read and feel especially close to God. But something silently changed and now nearly always I feel contemplative and contented at home, as though my simple life has become one long hour with Jesus at a coffee shop.

The need to seek outside what I've discovered within is disappearing. Which, whew, is a relief since I seldom have access to our car and no longer can I walk like I once could.

But it's all so very ok. A delight of completeness. With Him.


"You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."  ...Jeremiah 29:13

"And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority..."   ... Colossians 2:10



Friday, April 22, 2016

Calvin and Hobbes and Me

Anytime we're doing what God asks of us, some people just are not going to understand. Count on it. But others will and they're the ones we're meant to help.


During the 5 days Tom was in Toronto, we couldn't talk on the phone because my computer was down and we have Magic Jack (which is hardly ever magic) and Tom said don't plug that thing into his computer lest it mess it up. As it was, Tom's cell phone didn't work in Canada (nobody told him that would happen, but now he knows), then his work email (on his work laptop) stopped working on Tuesday (I'd been emailing him there). Then he called via the motel phone on Wednesday, but my computer still wasn't fixed (though I did hear his message Thursday by way of my Yahoo box on his computer here, which surprised me since I didn't know Magic Jack could record a message while not being plugged in). 

Basically? For 5 days Tom and I couldn't talk to each other and it felt like the 1800's around here communication-wise. 

So I watched a Calvin and Hobbes documentary on Netflix.

Put together by rabid fans of the mysterious, only-3-known-photos-in-existence-Sam-Watterson (the strip's creator), the documentary interviewed folks who own all the Calvin and Hobbes collection books and still read and glean lessons from them everyday.

It got kinda long and my brain slipped into la-la-la mode until one fan said something like, "And there was Calvin with his stuffed tiger experiencing all these terrific, hairy adventures stemming from his imagination while the world still just looked oh-hum-normal to his family and friends."

And this is where you must forgive me, for then I thought, "Wait a minute! I'm kind-of like Calvin in this blog." I have adventures which Real Life folks near me never see, but you do when I write about them. You know, like how:

... I still experience tons of 1950's days here in Buffalo. The old houses and values, people holding doors open for me in town, etc. And when Spring arrives, this tired world feels glorious and new and promising.

... Tom and I tour all these decorated-in-the-1950's estate sale houses and it's no longer the 21st century. And how God places trinkets on tables in those old rooms just for me.

... here in my own home I'm June Cleaver, Donna Reed and other retro-wives, combined. I almost see a nostalgic mist over my rooms, my front porch, yard and neighborhood.

... and how I still believe God is always walking beside me and huge! Big enough to do anything, heal anybody and change people's hearts and the way they view this precious life He gave them, even in 2016.

And well, you know if you've read here long--more. More everyday magic, more wonder, more awe.

Oh, sometimes I read beautiful thought-provoking blogs dreamily, hauntingly written and I wish God would let me write that way here. Some people have dismissed my blog as drivel, piffel--they weren't able to read the important how-God's-setting-me-free amongst my simplistic writing style. I could try to write differently (and have), yet God would no longer be here to help me. And that's too disastrous to think about.

Each of us must decide to obey God rather than men--and--ones own fleeting desires.

So I'll write as He nudges me to (of course, I can always improve upon that) and will remain a type of weird, creative Calvin in a world which pressures its inhabitants to be like everyone else. To which I say no thanks, for always, God has something more fulfilling, more exciting in store.


"Neglect not the gift that is within you..."   ... 1 Timothy 4:14

Use your imagination. Be a grown-up, creative, balanced Calvin.   :) 


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

My Top Ten Crank-It-Up Songs. And More.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you [and approved of you as My chosen instrument]..."   Jeremiah 1:5  (Amplified)


So since I'm still all springtime giddy out in the yard lately, I'll just give you lists today.

This first one, My (Current) Top Ten Crank-It-Up Songs, might make you smile. I still love these songs, turn them up louder, just as I did while a teenager in my bedroom listening to my clock radio. 

Which sounds rather odd, except that I read somewhere it's kinda typical that the style of music we loved while young is the style many of us prefer for, like, till we die.

And that's ok. 

So hear you go. Try not to laugh while you recall that Teenager Debra adored these mostly-so-mellow songs (my friends used to tease me). And today, Decades Older Debra had a hard time pausing these songs after listing each link here because she just kept wanting to listen and listen and---


Once Upon a Time

Yesterday Once More

What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life?

Annie's Song

Come Saturday Morning

At Seventeen

Send In The Clowns

Starry, Starry Night

Moonlight Serenade

.... yikes! And I must add this one.

Oh! Oh! How could I forget this?

(And throw in some Simon and Garfunkel, lots more Bread and The Carpenters and some Seals and Crofts.)

And here, below, are the books I've read this past month. The gift of my 'reading room' returned me to The Land of Reading Like Crazy. It's awesome to be back.

Another odd thing? I read some of these books as a teenager, also.

Decades ago I learned that it's okay to love books (and music) that my friends (on the most part) do not. That it's possible to learn vital lessons from fiction as another person might glean only from non-fiction and how-to's. Just think of all the possible combinations of likes/dislikes God had to work with when He uniquely created each of us! It's endless, really.

Remember, God did not take the easy way out and, factory-like, just stamp a bunch of cookie cutter humans. Uh, no. So live your uniqueness and become a truer reflection of your incredibly creative Maker.

Anyway. Books I finished reading this month:

Lasso Your Heart

Spring Comes Riding

Spurs for Suzanna

A Year On Ladybug Farm

At Home On Ladybug Farm

Love Letters From Ladybug Farm

The Scarlet Sail

The Mystery of the Gulls

Linda's Homecoming

The Black Spaniel Mystery

The Secret of Mirror Bay

The Clue In The Old Album

And I'm currently reading these:

Writing Home

Mystery of the Missing Stamps

The Best of Bombeck

Nothing to Do But Stay

Donna Parker on Her Own

Dying To Read

If you don't feel you must follow the crowd, you're much freer to follow God upward through His unique path for you.


Oh, and I'd appreciate prayer for my friend (and a special encourager), Pam, who had to have emergency cancer surgery (scary!) and will begin chemotherapy soon. Thanks so much!


Oh, and I still love Barbie. So there.  :)


Monday, April 18, 2016

So What If Your Life Doesn't Look Like Everyone Else's?

What an awesome weekend!

Did Tom and I--

... sail away on a cruise?

... fly to Hawaii or Paris?

... attend a barbeque party at a park with friends?

Well, no, but after Tom dropped-off the rental car from his business trip, he and I drove around a Leave It To Beaver area of our town and pointed at awesome, takes-you-back-in-Time houses. And dreamed a bit.

We returned home, ordered-out for Chinese food and watched the previous night's Blue Bloods and Hawaii 5-0. Then I changed clothes and puttered like a woman released from Winter's grasp out in our sunny 65 degree yard. I re-potted forget-me-nots and mint, raked leaves (it never ends here) then rested upon our wicker chair with a book. My dead-white arms even turned a bit brown. 

Sunday afternoon I played again, for hours, in the yard and, bending over the oregano, shook my head over my earlier sorry, impatient complaints about winters here. This bright, warm weekend I, again, never wanted to move away from nostalgic, lovely Buffalo.

Hmm. Probably that's a descriptive letdown, right? Ol' Debra just puttering the weekend away in her yard, pulling weeds, spreading compost, blah, blah, blah.

But long ago I realized this: As a writer and as just myself, well, I had to accept that God designed something different for me. Something quieter, slower than my friends' hectic busyness (which I once believed I wanted), where I feel and hear Him step alongside me while I putter around the yard or house. And glean lessons to share with you.

Something reminiscent of what appeared on Facebook yesterday:

"Isn't it the most lovely thought that God might be waiting for there to be some silence in our lives in order to share some of His best secrets with us?
The enemy wants us to believe that times of silence are a curse of loneliness.
God wants us to know that times of silence are really pathways to closeness with Him."
Lysa TerKeurst

Oh wow. How freeing to no longer believe lies about aloneness which the world tells. To instead believe this: 

"Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength." ... Isaiah 30:15.

And perhaps that verse is even truer in our crazy 2016 world. 

Do you have a garden? You are never alone out there. Have a heart, a soul, a mind? If Jesus is your friend, aloneness isn't your portion, either. Never. Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall--He's there waiting to listen, to speak, to comfort.

An old photo. Our trees presently have only the tiniest of buds on them.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Has It Arrived At Your House Yet?

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever."  ...Psalm 136:1


We're back! My computer and I, that is.

Do you remember Carl, Naomi's boyfriend (who Tom and I hated to see leave more than she did)? Well, his younger brother repaired both Naomi's computer and mine in only an hour. 

Whew. Thank-you, Andrew, for sharing your computer genius-ness and returning to me the key to a world with friends I'd missed. 

Know what else is back? Yesterday early evening was warmish(!) and upon my yellow Prayer Garden chair in the setting sunlight I whispered, "Spring's officially returned. I know this." Then lifted my face to the sun in thankfulness.

We in Buffalo surely do appreciate our Springtimes.

Back are these days of stepping out to the front porch with a book and hot chocolate on glowy, warm mornings. And clipping the dead growth from my garden beds. Spreading compost, transplanting wandering strawberries and forget-me-nots, making trips to Home Depot. Straightening bricks, bringing the watering can and garden decor from the garage and ever so much more.

Oh, I do hope you've not let all the political shenanigans spoil these precious days or ruin your head. It's not worth it! Please choose your own thoughts, pray, for Spring has returned and God's as incredible as always with plans that haven't changed, no matter who on Life's Stage is hollering this year.

Me? I'll keep listening to the quieter, encouraging voice amongst our greening privet hedge and sycamores, wearing-down pathways on my way to our fifth Springtime here at Hobbit Cottage.

"Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."...Philippians 4:8


Tom returns from Toronto tomorrow--hooray! (But heaven help Debra who's been a big ol' lazy thing and needs to finish all the ironing, laundry and bill-paying she only thought about doing while lying upon the red couch and reading in that seaside-feeling closet I've got going upstairs.)


While I was away, I reread A Year On Ladybug Farm. I'd forgotten what a delight that book is and oh yeah! Within its pages I discovered a thank-you note from my friend, Marian, who I'd loaned this book to years ago. What a thoughtful idea, this note, one which reminded me of the ceramic ladybug she'd given to me, as well, as a cute memento of the story.

Now, that is thoughtfulness and if you wish to become a more thoughtful person? Just take an extra step of kindness, go beyond the oh-hum-status-quo of the crowds---and you'll get there.


And I really, really, really appreciated those of you who left me notes saying you'd miss me here. Thank-you from the bottom (and top and middle) of my heart!


It's rather sad to believe only big, official things should be celebrated.  


Free Kindle Books:

Murder Under The Mistletoe

Closing The Gap

How to Have Fun on a Shoestring Budget


Sunday, April 10, 2016

I Might Be Gone Awhile ... (!)


There I was innocently perusing a Yahoo News article about cheapo back-splashes when ack! Something did something bad to my Windows. Poor ol' Tom, himself, nearly shut-down to hear this news because it came while he was (kinda stressfully) packing for his week-long trip to Toronto ...

... and I'm so un-tech-savvy that I can barely use our toaster.

So. Because I'd hate to jinx Tom's computer, I'm not going to use it while he's away, other than to email him. And fortunately, Naomi has a computer-fix-it genius for a friend who I'm hoping can repair my computer before Friday, but who knows?

Which is all to say, if you don't see me here or at Facebook for awhile, now you'll know why.

And actually? A vacation from the Internet sounds terrific right about now. It's good to recall who I am apart from the Internet, and too, I'm so enjoying my new, bright closet bedroom which--don't laugh--feels like owning a private seaside beach upstairs. Well, reading un-break-down-able books up there in the light leaves me feeling day-at-the-beach relaxed. So now I have an excuse to spend more time up there at my private ocean side while awaiting true Springtime.

Please feel free to read posts from my archives or just take a break from this place, as well. :) Hopefully, I'll see you again soon ...

And while I'm at it--a special thanks to each of you who have been reading here forever!


Thursday, April 07, 2016

The Class Reunion I'm Not Attending

      “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much ..."  ... Luke 16:10


Okay. Today I will be cheating. Just copying and pasting stuff here.

Hey. It's yet another dark, dreary, frigid day outside  (*&^%!@) and I need to escape upstairs to my bright, warm closet so to trick my head into thinking "it's actually quite lovely outside" thoughts.

No, really.

Anyway, at Facebook I belong to an alumni group for my final (and favorite) high school (I attended three. Three! And yes, that's ridiculous.) Well, an earlier graduating class (lest my title confused you) is holding a reunion and you know how--usually--class reunion planners ask for huge checks to cover huge dinners in fancy restaurants and a wearying list of other activities?

Well, this one is different:

"How time flies. It's time for our REUNION.  .... (Debra here: she mentions a couple's home where the reunion will be.)

The Reunion will be like the last two. Bring your lawn chairs, meat and beverage. We'll plan for a
Saturday BBQ. Grills, garlic bread, salads, Chester Champagne (water) and dessert will be provided. Bring snacks to share if you like. We'll pass the hat to cover expenses rather than ask for a check ahead of time.

Tami says they have room for a few mobile homes and tent trailers. She also has 10+ beds indoors. You just need to reserve space.

Also, please RSVP so we know how much food to buy/prepare. Peggy's going to make those cool Senior picture name tags. If you cannot attend, it would be so nice if you could write a paragraph or novel to catch us up on your life a bit. Maybe a current picture, even with your family. Send hard copies for the news board or put on Facebook.

Proposed schedule:

August 5, Friday

Arrive in the afternoon/evening to register and leave messages.

August 6, Saturday

Arrive any time after noon. Come and go. Snack.

Hang out until dinner time - about 5 pm.

August 7, Sunday
Hang out more, eat leftovers, and say "until we meet again." Plan when.
All for now. We just wanted to remind you to save the date. Let us know if you'll be able to make it. We really hope to see the regulars and some more rarified faces. RSVP soon to save urgent reminders and questions. Feel free to make suggestions."

Now that's the kind of relaxing, low-key class reunion I would attend. If I didn't live a million miles away. If I had been in that class. If I attended reunions.


One more thing, then it's back to The Bright Happy Closet for me...

As I did my weekly check online of obituaries from that same town, above, I read that one woman was an accountant and enjoyed helping people with their taxes. Then it said this: 

"Jolene found great pleasure in gardening and feeding and watching the birds of the area. She was an avid cook, enjoyed traveling when the opportunity arose while also enjoying the art of photography."

Wonderful, right? Seems Jolene didn't buy into the "you've gotta be well-known, a missionary if possible, who did big stuff and had huge numbers of Facebook friends or your life didn't count" lie. 

No, she discovered that it's the 'small', everyday things in Life that are the Huge Things, things special, memorable and radical enough to be written in ones obituary.

Good for you, Jolene. Good for you.

"Have your heart right with Christ & He will visit you often & turn weekdays into Sundays, meals into sacraments..& earth into heaven." ~ C.S. Lewis


"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people."  ... Colossians 3:23

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself
 unstained from the world."   ...James 1:27