Friday, September 30, 2016

Yes, You Can. Somehow.

"For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."   ...Isaiah 43:19


Note: you're probably not redecorating now, but perhaps this will help in other areas where you've given-up.


Man. What was I thinking?

I'd wanted wall sconces over our fireplace for eons, but--because of my inability to install them or call an electrician (rarely do workers show up when I call)--I put it off, whined a lot in my head, then gave-up.

Then recently I considered candle wall sconces, so I looked around on Ebay, but eh. I needed something dark, with straight lines, so they wouldn't compete with all my myriad curly-cue and colorful trinkets, below, or the curtains, beside. 

Finally I thought, wait! Perhaps they make battery-operated sconces these days. Turns out, they do. You just hang them on the wall as you would a picture. 

I can do this.

So being what Internet retailers call 'a bottom feeder', I searched online till I found the lowest price for two of these:

Whew. Feels great to have made that decision. Finally.

Then there's our light-grey bathroom. Do I love light-grey? Uh, no. But I've tolerated it because 1.) I don't feel like repainting it and 2.) I've tried for 5 years to think of a better color and can't.

No, really.

So in rather an 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' move, I decided to wallpaper the small-ish two-wall corner, leaving the rest of the room, grey.

I can do this.

Two weeks ago I found this wallpaper, below, couldn't shake how much I loved it, then ordered it yesterday:

Can't wait till it's done! It'll totally change the mood in there.

Something else? I've longed to replace all the chrome hardware in the bathroom, but me switch-out the faucet and lights over the sink? No, I can't do that. Nor has it worked to call someone who can and who could also replace our too-small vanity (which I've dreamed of for 5 years, also).

So instead, I'm going to spray-paint all our towel-holders, antique white, and for extra storage, I ordered this today (which I may spray-paint a blue to match what's in the wallpaper)--

I can do this.

Seeing today's lesson? Don't be like ol' Debra who sat around for 5 years moaning about what she couldn't do and waiting on others to magically appear and make things all better. 

No, please open your mind to new possibilities. Be decisive, clear-minded and hopeful. Dust off your imagination, do all that you can and then trust God to do the rest.

You can do this, also.

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


“Know what you want, work to get it, then value it once you have it.” 
― Nora Roberts

"In all the busyness of life, we’ve got to learn to not let the stress and frustration get on the inside. It may be very hectic on the outside, but deep down in your spirit there needs to be a calmness, a rest where you know God has you in the palm of His hand."   ...   Joel Osteen

“We have within us the power to choose how we respond to a hurtful situation. We cannot control the actions of others, but we can control how we will respond. As we understand our power to choose, we see that we are in control. Our life is not a result of our environment or upbringing, but a result of our choices. We have the ability to determine the kind of life we want to live and the type of person we wish to be.” 
― Cameron C. Taylor8 Attributes of Great Achievers


Free Kindle Books:

Jane Eyre

Ocean Alley Adventures

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

A Fair Murder

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

After The Disappointment

Sigh. Don't you hate it when something/someone majorly disappoints and unfairly hurts you? Well, that happened to me this weekend.

*&!$#@. But please don't ask. I so don't want to talk about it. 

Instead, I'd like to report that Jesus is awesome in the Cheering Up Department. Following a rough night, I came down here to the computer and He made certain I saw this photo (from an upcoming tv show)--

... and He reminded me that, always, He is there for me that way. Close, concerned, and focused upon healing any new tear in my heart.

That photo encouraged me for hours.

He sent other I'm-thinking-of-you notes, also. Like these sentences from this week's Chicago Med (anyone else love this show?). 

Near the end, Dr. Will said to Nurse April, "You've got to learn to deal with things, April. This world isn't perfect."

Oh my goodness.

Now, hadn't I heard words like those before? Of course. But their timing helped soothe, then seal the last rip of my recent wound. You know, rather like this: 

"Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances."   ... Proverbs 25:11

(So if God nudges you to speak encouraging words you think someone's already heard? Just. Say. Them.) 

And now, for me, (and for your sake), it's time to move on. Time to consistently choose brighter, more grateful thoughts and a few new projects, as well.

Don't you love the way God can customize our healing because, after all, He's our Maker? How important, then, does it become to learn to receive that healing.

Receive, receive, receive.


Speaking of new projects:

To the left of our front door I want to hang pencil sketches (by artists, not by me, for hey, who wants to look at stick figures?) in small black frames.

I spent much of yesterday wading through postcard-sized sketches on Ebay, saw all sorts of stuff, then discovered perfection. Notice the original price: I'm thinking these may be from the 1950's:

Stay tuned for the final result.  :)


Oh! And thanks so much to you who prayed for Naomi and Justin's trip down South. They had a wonderful time and made it home safely. God bless you for praying!


Free Kindle Books:

Friday, September 23, 2016

To Him It Is What?!

"If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do, but doesn't do it, to him it is sin."   ... James 4:17


Did you see that verse? Man oh man. That must be one of the most haunting Bible verses, ever.

Especially when you apply it to being online.

I mean, Facebook tells me when it's a friend's birthday, but hey, sometimes I'm pretty busy there, so I consider sending good wishes later.

Then it comes to me-- "Riiiiight. Like the time you procrastinated _____'s birthday wishes and then forgot entirely till two days later?"

Gulp. If I know that wishing others a happy birthday (and adding a few extra encouraging words, also) is good, but I don't do it? For any wobbly ol' reason? To me it is sin.

Same goes when a Facebook/email/blogging friend asks for prayer and I can't pause long enough to assure her I'm praying (if God so nudges me). Or at the very least, if I don't just simply pray, then to me it is--ouch--sin.

If I read that someone has lost a spouse/friend/pet and I can blithely move on to the next post without commenting, "I'm sorry you lost someone you loved"? Then to me it is sin.

If a friend is promoted and I can't offer congratulations? Or if I read an article/post so confirming, life-changing for me, yet can't say, "Thank-you!" (especially after God's nudging)? Then to me (moi!) it is, yes, sin. 

And ok, some of you might be thinking, "Debra can be kinda hard on herself." And yes, sometimes I can (blogging has shown me that occasionally). 

And yet, the examples, above, gosh, they're such basic common courtesy. Really, if I'm not even doing those, then how radical, how bright of a light am I in Today's super-dark world? 

May busyness, indifference and blindness be flung away far from me. May I stop settling for boring mediocrity.

Even if I see other Christians skipping these good things. Even if I'm called old-fashioned. Even if, at first, I don't seem to reap much good. Even so, may my choices be the ones God's taught me to make. 

Time after time after time.

"Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep."... Romans 12:15


Maya Angelou said, "When we know better, we do better," and that's been a comfort to me about mistakes from my past. ("When I didn't know better, I often messed up." --Debra)

But oh the responsibility when we do know better!

Yes, even when we're online.


Interested in watching a little bit of Buffalo history and present-day good stuff around town? Go here:

Buffalo:  America's Best Designed City

It surprises Tom and me how many good changes have taken place in Buffalo since we moved here in 1993.


(Especially this year after our dreadfully long, hot summer. Oh dear.)

Happy Autumn to you!


Free Kindle Books:

The Miracle Man

Maggie's Mondays

Song of the Meadowlark

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Making Changes. Living With Purpose.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."   Galations 6:9


So the new ottoman is here and I nearly felt like Laura Ingalls helping Ma fit everything puzzle-like inside their tiny cabin. Such is life with a small living room which can, basically, only be arranged one way.

But I did it. And like it.

Then this morning I hung our winter lap blankets outside to dry so they can be placed inside the ottoman rather than Tom's room which already has too much stuff (another blog post for another day. Maybe.).

Oh, and yesterday after my daily perusing of Daisy Cottage's home tours, I brought in this iron curly-cue thing from the Prayer Garden and hung it up. (The previous day, I brought over the clock my parents' made which does not rest on top of Daniel's fling-on-the-floor green mat.)

Doesn't it feel wonderful to be creative? Even if you made just one pleasant change a day in your home, not counting weekends, that would mean 261 improvements in a year(!). And all because of one simple change per day.

No matter what shape any of us is in, I think we can all do that much. If we're determined.

Did you read that verse, above? I don't believe it means to never rest when we're tired. But rather, to use wisdom, resting as needed, so that we won't become bone-weary in the first place. 

Giving ourselves permission to rest is part of the moving forward process. Go running yourself into the ground (or your couch or a hospital bed) and moving ahead suddenly becomes harder.

Work. Rest. Stop the excuses and forgive yourself if your rest somehow lasted years. Then move forward toward the light. 

What matters is that we climb out of any ditches and return to God's unique path for us so we end up where He's planned to meet us, pick us up, and carry us Home at the very end.


The creative process is not like a situation where you get struck by a single lightning bolt. You have ongoing discoveries, and there's ongoing creative revelations. Yes, it's really helpful to be marching toward a specific destination, but, along the way, you must allow yourself room for your ideas to blossom, take root, and grow. 

---- Carlton Cuse


Years ago I told you I'd nearly worn out my taped-from-tv video of Bon Voyage Charlie Brown. I watched it with a young Naomi. I watched it after she grew up. I watched it when she moved away and beyond. It became my comfort film.

Er hem.

Anyway, imagine my delight when I discovered this week that finally this movie has come to DVD! 

Oh happy, happy day. My copy will arrive soon.

(I can guarantee one thing: if you are a Francophile and you love Charlie Brown, you will adore this film. Get. It. You will not be sorry.)   :)


"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 4:7 


Oh! And I'd love it if you could pray for Naomi and her boyfriend who will travel to Nashville tomorrow (Thursday) and Atlanta on Friday. Naomi will be bringing back the last of her belongings from there on Sunday. Thanks so much!


Monday, September 19, 2016

My Hoarder Weekend

"When Jesus went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd."   ... Mark 6:34


Well, that was an exciting weekend!

Just kidding.  

Not counting a quick trip to Dollar Tree (me), Tom and I stayed home, watched the rain and two movies we'd seen before and oh! A fascinating (seriously) Netflix documentary about an old secret town in Russia (do I understand why I love that stuff? Nope.). 

Aaaand, I sat at this computer and watched bleary-eyed hours of Hoarders until my mind began doing weird things. It told me, "Hey! You've had some disappointments and tragedies like some of these folks have. Maybe you should go out and buy stuff like crazy."

Really, I considered it. Cue the Twilight Zone theme music here. Heh.

But then I told myself to knock it off. That God had poured so much effort and work into me since 1994 (especially) and it would be an affront to Him and hurt His feelings for me to knowingly walk backwards into bondage after He'd spent thousands of hours setting me free.

Still, I certainly do like that Hoarders show. :) 

For one thing, those psychologists and cleaning experts are graced with enormous patience! (Had I been there? I'd have slapped quite a few hoarders by now. Oh dear.) People doing what God called them to, fascinates me.

But yes, of course, the mounds of garbage are repulsive (how important to not view hoarders as their hoard). Yet as each hoarder's tragic past gets revealed, I recall there are reasons why people become hoarders or terrorists or your mean neighbor next door.

I watch Hoarders and remind myself that folks don't leave the womb furious at Life. Rather, they leave so vulnerably, unprepared for tragedies designed to make us all want to quit earlier than God ever intended.

Sometimes I wish we could all appear on a tv show where our own what-happened-to-us Past is revealed. Maybe then our foibles, bad attitudes and weaknesses would be more clearly understood. Yet oh, to be so exposed and honest, to risk opening wounds we'd imagined closed and offending our still-alive offenders--how many of us could actually do that?

But since that tv-show-for-all won't happen soon, I recommend the best healer, re-creator, heart purifier, head fixer and Friend, ever: Jesus.

Yes, Jesus and all the hope, strength, love and wisdom He carries with Him everywhere He goes, even into the human heart.


"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."   ... 1 Corinthians 13:1



Oh! And I forgot to tell you something funny and kinda amazing. See, I always share a link to my blog posts at Twitter and after posting that one about how perhaps you do, after all, have estate sales in your area, Dorothy Breininger from Hoarders followed me(!) 

I had to smile when I zipped over to her own Twitter links and saw many for folks needing help with accumulating too much stuff. 

Perhaps Dorothy was worried that my estate-sale-finding-help will zoom us all down a bad, bad road.  :)

Anyway, how thrilling to realize Dorothy had followed me. Dorothy's one of my very favorite sunny-disposition, patient folks on Hoarders. She inspires me no end, especially when she diffuses situations just by being herself. It's like magic (the good kind).


Being hurt can make people do unimaginable things.


Free Kindle Books:

Wuthering Heights

A Brother's Bond


Friday, September 16, 2016

Don't Like Vintage Things? You Can Skip This Post. :)

"But He gives us more and more grace..."   ... James 4:6


I wish you'd been here Tuesday afternoon.

There I sat at our table with that old waffle iron and 4 books written in the 1950's by sisters, Betty MacDonald and Mary Bard. On our retro radio, vintage music played while a breeze fluttered through the open window, outside of which were birds at the feeders and blue skies with puffy white clouds like one remembers from childhood. 

Glancing up from my book, I gazed upon houses all built before 1935 and then oh! A car like this, below, drove slowly by, turning down the quiet street to the river:

Oh. My. Goodness. Almost a Somewhere in Time moment, right?

And that's a major reason I love living in New York. Times like these are not all that rare--and always treasured by me and lots of other folks, I'm sure.


Oh, and Betty and Mary's books? Two of them I'd wondered if I'd ever read: Nancy and Plum and Best Friends. For years I checked online and couldn't find them for less than $100 each (and up to $500--good gracious!). 

Then finally, kind souls reprinted them and I bought them for pennies. Oh, how blessed I've felt this week! (I've been thanking God, believe me.) Best Friends, especially, was remarkable and now I'm praying additional kind souls will reprint the next two in that long ago series.


In my last post I mentioned falling in love with another house (I also said I'd no longer write about new houses--uh-oh!). But I'll simply share these pictures of the 1925 butler's pantry for you who also love vintage things. 

Does this place dreams inside your head or what? 

(I'll bet you can easily see yourself playing in there with bobbed hair, Glenn Miller on the stereo and while wearing an apron, right?)  :)


Look what's coming to Hobbit Cottage in the mail soon:

Be still my happy, redecorating-in-fun-flippy-1970's heart! 

(There's storage space inside. When you live in a small house like we do, everything must perform 2 or 3 tricks or else---phhht! It's outta here.)  


And you know? When I gave up on seeking a new house, suddenly all sorts of redecorating ideas came to me. I knew this would happen once I stopped stubbornly wishing for something outside of God's timing. 

Start thinking the way God wants you to and suddenly Grace swoops in and helps you like crazy.

'More and more grace'. What better way is there to live?


Oh, and I tweaked the area at the end of our couch. I like it much better, but the rooster won't always stay. It's not my favorite thing, yet I needed something tall and unbreakable there since Daniel The Cat always flies to that table, flinging the mat to the floor. 


" for I am learning in whatever situation I am to be content."   .... 

... tweaked from Philippians 4:11 by Debra who is still learning. (er hem.)

Need an awesome kick-in-the-pants-jump-start to your day? Go here. 
Oh my.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Choosing Creativity Over Complaining. Again.

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


Well, I fell in love with another house, it's much closer to Tom's job, is in our former town and has no risk-your-life-in-winter entry, but alas, Tom wasn't too impressed. 

Finally, I am accepting that he doesn't want to move this year. 

He's very involved with his job and also, with reading about cars so he can purchase a new one in October when he'll be 59 1/2 and will have access to certain savings. We've had our present car 14 years, a record for us, so I can't begrudge that.

Anyway, I asked him how much I can spend on fixing-up Hobbit Cottage so that I'll love it better (and stop my roving eye). The amount was higher than I'd intended to ask for, so now I'm making creative plans, though my poor ol' imagination ain't what it used to be. 

I'm thinking this will be a slow process.

So there will be no more blogging about new houses (you're welcome). At least not until next Spring.  :) (I refuse to move in snow.) Instead of hanging out at, you'll find me at Pinterest and the Daisy Cottage home tours searching for new ideas from people who still have them. heh.

This challenge will stretch me and do me good (you realize, don't you, that I'm believing that by faith?). Stay tuned.


"You can make a choice to rejoice! Regardless of how messed up your past has been, begin to thank God for all of His great benefits (Psalm 103:1-5). Instead of poisoning the atmosphere by whining about where you are, you can rejoice about where God wants to bring you."  ... Jesse Duplantis


My dear friend, Anne, sent me this lovely thrifted curtain which looks amazing and all Daisy-Cottage-ish on our table:

Love, love it.  Thank-you again, Anne.


My kitchen garden survived our ridiculous heat wave(s). Naomi and I enjoy slipping out there for fresh onions, cherry tomatoes, basil, rosemary, oregano and dill. I also have strawberries and blueberries, but we must always hurry to snatch them before the robins do.

Be encouraged---this is a small space, one to which I add a few inches each year. You don't need a huge field to grow stuff. As it is, the onions, rosemary and dill are in pots which I sank into the ground and chili peppers are growing in a pot beside our garage. Parsley, sage and chives grow in pots in my Prayer Garden.

Oh, and once as we pulled into our driveway, I spied a squirrel as he snatched a cherry tomato, then scurried to a low part of our crab apple tree. He took one bite then, with both paws, flung it to the ground, as if saying, "Phooey! Squirrels don't like tomatoes."


So Tom bought this old waffle iron ($2) at an estate sale, even without a cord, bugging me, of course, for we have no room and did I mention it had no cord?

But he said it was for him and his co-workers and their 'waffle project'. Well, ok then. 

Can you believe he bought a brand new cord and it actually fits? Only problem is, the waffle iron keeps heating up and up and up! 

He went ahead and bought a new one.

Anyway, doesn't it look like something Nick and Nora from The Thin Man movies would have had on their table?


Have you been watching Running Wild with Bear Grylls? Tom and I love how Bear takes us on adventures we'd never otherwise have experienced. I think we've seen every episode from each season. 

We so enjoy this, well, except for the times Bear dangles celebrities on a rope over huge chasms. Shiver. (I wonder if Bear realizes one dropped celebrity and it's all over for him?)


Free Kindle Books:

God, Me and Sweet Iced Tea

A Fine Mess

Getaway Mountain

How I Became Productive (Ol' Debra needs this one!)