Thursday, December 29, 2016

So Here's What I Thought About 2016

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."   ... James 4:8


What a year, right? Ask many people about 2016 and they'll use naughty language to describe it.

Er hem.

But seriously? All those chances, choices we had to grow closer to God! To move over, sit nearer to Him rather than running, wandering. To watch Him suddenly become more real and a sweeter comfort, walker-with-us than all friends or relatives or pet companions, combined.

Awesome, those opportunities. 

Plus, in 2016, we could treasure-hunt positive, uplifting people, books, biographies, social media, inspiring quotes and thoughts, tv series. We could travel or hike down trails or simply around our neighborhood.

We had chances to love, give, change, grow, be bold, be patient (and be s-q-u-e-e-z-e-d, oh dear, what comes out!) and to eat, drink and be merry.

Remember what Frank P. Church alluded to in his famous letter to Virginia?

"The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.  Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world."

Or what 1 Peter 3 says?

" ...let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious."

No span of days can snatch away Life's most precious, hidden things. God plainly sees those, we mostly just sense and feel them through His goodness. Ah, His goodness! It can paint the darkest, shadowy day over in brilliant strokes of gold, instead. Anytime.

And no one, no 2016 type of year, either, can rip away what's real from any of us who keep looking upward to receive it.


" ... while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."   ... 2 Corinthians 4:18

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."   ... 2 Corinthians 5:17


Anyone struggling today? Oh my, may this fix you right up!  Wow. What a life's-axis-straightener. 


                                      Snow Day. Trash Day, too.   :)


Stress is not what happens to us. It's our response to what happens and response is something we can choose.

 Maureen Killoran quotes 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My, My, My.

"And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."   ...   Philippians 4:7


Good gracious. You take a few days off from blogging and the whole world changes!

But fortunately, God hasn't changed at all. Whew.

Anyway, Tom returned to work this morning after what felt like Too Much Vacation. We'd both meandered past Reasonable Rest Acres over to Pathetic Laziness Valley. You know, the place you mire down, then spend days pulling your way out to Blessed Normal (where your kitchen radio stops the Christmas tunes and returns to oldies--hooray!).

Tsk. Tsk. You should see our zombie eyes after days and days of tv, popcorn, chocolate, turkey, stuffing and rolls.

Christmas Day here? Wonderful. A morning spent with Naomi, then for awhile, her polite and sweet boyfriend, Justin. Then they drove away to visit the homes of Justin's relatives and Tom and I remained, happy, even holding hands sometimes since I've moved the couch so much closer to the ol' recliner from which Tom seldom budged. 

And can you believe all the actors and singers who've died lately?

I think it's this hour-by-hour reporting within our Internet Life that makes us feel like, "Good grief! Who's next? Everybody's dying lately."

But no. Always, Life's held this ebb and flow. But only (relatively) recently have our fingertips taken us all around a previously enormous, hidden world, one which tells us what we'd rather not know, one which hurts us the moments it, too, hurts.

Living and dying cannot be pulled apart, separated. To everything there is a season, no season is meant to be permanent: Life, death, grieving, healing. And after each season, there's a moving forward in a godly peace which makes no sense, except to those who've learned to receive it.

And I hope you've become one of those receivers, for only they can then, in turn, become givers of help in this crazy Last Days world in which we presently find ourselves.

"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty."   ... 2 Timothy 3:1

 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."  ...   Romans 8:35-37


And to what was I referring in my second sentence? 



And this.

As I've stated before, mine is not a news blog, but this story's so world-changing-huge. My conscience won't let me not share it.

Let's just say this subject has renewed my focus toward prepping for anything, in all waysphysically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.  And actually? Focusing feels fantastic, far better than being a little here, a little there, a little nowhere.  :)


Over our long weekend we watched--and enjoyed--two Tom Hanks movies--- Sully and Captain Phillips. Wow, what a gifted actor. 

Both movies were suspenseful, harrowing and terrific. Our favorite kind.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas to My Readers!

Merry Christmas to all my much-appreciated readers! Thank-you for reading here, for your kind words, friendship and love. This may sound odd, but I always feel you're with me, especially here at Hobbit Cottage, and I feel grateful. And smile a lot.


May your Christmas be filled with the warmest love and hugs and hope for wonderful things ahead. Never lose your holy anticipation, even when it seems others have, but rather, share yours with this big, needy world, instead!


Enjoy reading Christmas stories? You'll find tons of them (with old-fashioned illustrations, even), here.

Oh, and does anyone like old Christmas movies? :)  You'll find quite a few here. There's even Ebbie, (with Susan Lucci), a personal favorite of mine. Scroll way down to find it.

And because it always feels like Christmas when you visit Clara--here you go.


Free Kindle Books:

Footprints in the Frosting

Christmas Bizarre


And lastly, here I am (as I still look only inside my own head),

...  hoping you and I will always be the very best doers of this ---

--- And wishing you all sorts of contentment, peace and joy today and each week to follow. May you always remember you're never alone!


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Why Rudolph's World Scares Me

For old time's sake (I wrote this in 2006). Because, ten years later, many people still don't get it.


Does anyone else see this?

The movie, Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer bothers me. My kitchen radio plays this song and I roll my eyes and frown.

I mean, think about it. Here's this adorably-cute reindeer who was born with a bright, red nose. As if he could help it! And suddenly he grows up, goes to reindeer school and gets ridiculed (dare I say bullied?) by his intolerant, bratty little schoolmates just because his bright, cherry-red nose isn't small, dark and boring like everyone else's.

And because of that one (tiny) difference, he's scorned. The majority don't take the time to discover that, really, Rudolph is a darn nice kid, uh, reindeer. He loves his parents, he's sweet and just wants to be accepted like the other deer at reindeer school. 

But no, that's asking too much. Even his teachers laugh at him (shame on them!).

But then, poof! Suddenly, Christmas Eve rolls in all foggy-like and since Santa can't see to drive his sleigh, Christmas is nearly cancelled. But then someone remembers that goofy little kid, Rudolph, the one with the red lantern nose, and Rudolph is whisked to the head of the reindeer pack. Christmas is saved, thanks to that odd reindeer who, just the previous week, was considered a royal loser.

Oh but now--now!--Rudolph is a hero. And then how the reindeer 'loved him' (if that's love, I'll take spaghetti). They even shouted-out with glee, because of course, now, Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer is going down in history.

But only after he proved himself a useful member of society. Only after his 'disability' saved Christmas for all of mankind. Only after Rudolph became a valuable asset, a famous reindeer and a credit to his family and the entire world at large.

Give me a break.

Right there is the kind of stuff which is stressing us out and making us appreciation-hungry nuts. The fact is, Rudolph was valuable before that foggy Christmas Eve. He was a creation of God, a son, a friend, a member of woodland society and just a sweet little deer. And here is the truth:

Today God would have sent Jesus to die for you, to redeem you, even if you were the only person on Earth.

Today God loves you just as you are, famous or unknown. For you are not unknown to Him.

Today, even if you overcame all your weaknesses, God wouldn't love you any better than He does right this minute.

Today, if Jesus dwells in your heart, God is thrilled that you are His child. He'd never trade you for all the perfect, got-it-all together, famous, Christmas-saving people in the whole World.


And I hope you'll remember that.


"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."   ... Romans 5:8

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive, 
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve, 
Because Thy promise I believe, 
O Lamb of God, I come, I come! 

Just as I am, Thy love unknown, 
Hath broken every barrier down; 
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone, 
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

... Charlotte Elliott


While perusing local houses online, I found yet another which looked as though folks had lived there all their married lives.

Here are a few photos. Check out the iced-over driveway--that was our Sunday and Monday 'round here!

Click to enlarge-----

(The basement.)

Don't know about you, but I think it's all adorable.   :)


Free Kindle Book:

Rocky Mountain Angels


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Rolled Down Any Hills Lately?


This morning I put up that old header photo and thought, "I miss that living room arrangement! But we bought our fireplace later so, oh well, it can no longer be done."

But then I sat in the living room until I figured a way it could be done. 

Also, I'd been wanting a coffee table like the big kids at Pinterest, so well, two-and-a-half hours (and a couple game shows) later, I'm now wearily resting and enjoying the new arrangement with the squeezed-in coffee table I'd previously stuck in a corner.

(But I must warn you minimalists that this might make you dizzy)---

And why our fireplace always photographs like we bought it at a fire sale, I've no clue!

Here's the other side--

Sometimes you thirst for change. You neeeed to rearrange your living room, even if, at first, it feels impossible. For me, this was so one of those times. 

For too many months I told myself, "There's only one way to arrange this room," and allowed my frustration to make me crave a house with a decent-sized living room.

But what I finally remembered? When your creativity feels tied-up, challenged, nearly always there's a higher creative plan/place if only you'll brush off the rampant negativity which so easily clings to us in today's world.

And it's a wonderful day when we climb to that new place, also pulling others up with us. 

“Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it.” 
― Robert A. HeinleinTime Enough for Love

"I respect my limitations, but I don't use them as an excuse."  --- Stephen R. Donaldson

When we learn to view hard times as doable challenges rather than impossible problems, we begin to grow exponentially. 


Another great thing about rearranging? It's the perfect opportunity to vacuum-up all the secret fallen things like paper, cough drop wrappers and dust in hidden places.  :)


Free Kindle Book:

Chicken Scratch

Beauty Within


Monday, December 19, 2016

Oh Well!

Saturday? Too snowy for me, especially, to travel to Tom's company's Christmas party and freezing rain was forecast for the trip home Sunday morning. Tom contacted a couple friends, choosing to play-up the Debra Fell on Monday card rather than the weather, which was fine by me.

So we stayed within the safety of home and had a calm, relaxing time.

From the red couch I'd glance out the big window framing all that cold white snow and treacherous ice, then return to our delivered Chinese food lunch, candles burning in the fireplace and movies. Oh, the contentment wafting in and around our hearts. Seriously. 

I'm all for taking some new risks as we age, but traveling over the icy New York thruway when you don't absolutely have to is not one of those risks, especially when you've recently fallen and have a husband who's often tripped in the best and brightest of times.

This weekend, Grace walked and spread her peace everywhere and all was well with our souls.


Here's a pretty place for you to rest awhile and breathe and dream. (I sent you there last year--do you remember?)

And look what Clarice has gone and created now!

Click here for more peeks from Clarice's sweet home.

And one more field trip today --- Judy's cozy, Christmassy living room---

Don't you want to climb through and sit there awhile?  For more of her makes-you-smile details, go here.


May everyone reading here today be filled with much hope for good things ahead from a good God!  

(In other words, don't let this mean ol' world bring you down, ok?)

Need some more good verses about hope? Go here.


Oh! Nearly forgot. The latest TCM Remembers is here.


Free Kindle Book:

Chapel Springs Survival


Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas Decor and A Sad Loss

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."... Romans 12:12


Regarding Christmas decorating? I went down to the basement, whipped the white trash bag off our little Christmas tree, brought it upstairs to our table, plugged it in and called it done --

Er hem. But isn't it wonderful that we have freedom to do Christmas-lite if we so choose? (Technically our little Charlie Brown tree isn't all. I do spread around Christmas cards and sometimes, glittery ball ornaments to disguise what a Scrooge I've become regarding Christmas-gone-insane.)

Want to see Christmas decor done beautifully? I'll send you back over to Clarice's house for new photos of her dreamy Copper Christmas. Always, I come away from Clarice's enchanted, eyes full of wonder.

And doesn't our sad, divided world need more wonder, fascination and awe? I'm thinking, yes. Yes, it does. It's become way too serious out there---oh dear! Lighten up, People.  Please.


My vintage thermometer arrived and I'm thinking it looks rather nifty between the plates--

Just right. Right?  :)


I didn't tell you on Wednesday that I was feeling sad. About what? The death of Alan Thicke

No, seriously. 

I spent many Autumn Cottage hours painting rooms while listening to our worn-thin video tapes of Growing Pains. I'd finish, clean up, then return to the painted room feeling like the Seavers had just vanished, poof! after having squeezed together within those walls to keep me company.

Tom and I had watched Mr. Thicke on This Is Us just days ago, it seemed, but it had been weeks. T'was delightful to see him again. And now, at only 69, he is gone. I prayed for his family, that they'd all come to know the God of all comfort, and later, watched his very recent appearance on Fuller House. He still had impeccable comedic timing and I burst out laughing, but later, wiped away tears--not just because of Alan's family's loss--but ours, as well.

Oh, these lives we lead and all the lives they touch! They sail by so fast and Heaven help us from wasting a single precious day, complaining. About anything.

"The most foolish way to spend a day is by not enjoying each moment."    --- Melody Minagar


"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, "  ... Ephesians 5:16


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Where Debra Takes a Spill

Oh for Pete's sake.

Late Monday afternoon, I stepped half-on, half-off the sidewalk outside our back door, couldn't right myself and splat! Felt every one of my ridiculous _____ pounds when I fell. Scraped (and bruised) both knees and my right palm. 

Of course, I immediately gazed all around in case anyone saw me. Heh.

Sheesh. I picked myself up, waited seconds to see if I'd broken anything (I hadn't) and felt grateful for my thick wool coat which kept my arms from being sidewalk-shredded. A few summer days (over the years) I'd stepped wrong like that, but had never actually gone down.

Not so fortunate this time, but hey! It could've been much worse.

So I took yesterday off. Well, I tried, anyway, because let's face it-- for women at home Life tends to be this way:

Amen, right? :)   But I must've gotten some rest because, from the red couch, I watched Sunset Boulevard and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, oh, and parts of For The Love of Spock, all via Netflix instant view. (Don't you love the convenience which is Netflix?)

And today I'm feeling better. Oh, I'm a little stiff and can't use my knees to get up off the floor, which yeah, is might tricky, especially at my age.

But mostly? Color me grateful. Grateful that nothing was broken, and the whole neighborhood wasn't watching and for the remarkable way God heals our bodies, seals-up our skin, erases our bruises, again and again.

Thankful, too, that if you've fallen, I now understand what an unpleasant shock that is--and--I'll (hopefully) be more empathetic in the future. And anything which brings extra understanding toward others is a good thing. Indeed.


"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."   ... Romans 8:28


Oh, and I can't blame the spill on the ice out there. It had been cleared, though I did step into snow before reaching the sidewalk, so perhaps... But more likely, it's the stepping half on, half off the long center of my shoe that threw me. And of course,  my you're-no-graceful-gymnast-anymore-ya-know-ness.  :)


Free Kindle Book:

Winter in Full Bloom