Thursday, March 30, 2017

Visiting Myself Back In 2007

One of the best things about a blog?

You can time-travel back ten years to where you lived and, like a (friendly) silent intruder, watch yourself. What you were feeling, doing and thinking--and decide whether you've changed or not.

According to this post from March 28th, 2007, I've barely changed, though technically, I'm living in a different house and town and have new cats. But I work the same way, no, even more leisurely. Believe it or not.  ๐Ÿ˜ƒ


"The time of the singing of birds is ..... here!"   ... Song of Solomon 2:12

For four days we've had gorgeous, Spring-like noons and Lennon The Cat and I have lounged on our front porch and watched our neighbors burst from their doors to celebrate these 50 and 60 degree temperatures. 

Remember how I told you someone in our supermarket whistled the themes from old tv series one morning? Well, two days ago, our neighbor began whistling the song from Gilligan's Island. Honest. 

Must be something in our water.

Most early Springtimes from our wicker chair, I spy on our neighbors while they clear the winter debris while sweating in their yards, like, 4 to 8 hours in a single day. I go inside, occasionally peek out the windows and, hour after hour, yep! They're still out there. Raking, bagging leaves, digging. 

Working hard.

Me? Nah. I'm an "inch-by-inch-anything's-a-cinch" worker. In my yard, I work a little, rest a little, read a little, drink a little lemonade. Work a little, rest a little, read a little, drink a little lemonade...

Take Sunday evening. I wiped down our front porch and vacuumed the rug. Took less than a half hour. Then yesterday, with my tiny hand-rake, I sat and began clearing our yard's brown autumn leaves and twigs from the flower beds--in two 20-minute shifts. And even though our front yard is the size of an average pick-up truck--still--it will probably take me a week to finish the clearing away. 

Next I'll move on to the side yards, then the back. Ol' Debra's favorite saying is, "Slow and steady wins the race." Emphasis on slow. And steady.

And you know? While I peer across the street and think my neighbors do their yard work the difficult way, they're most likely peeking over here and thinking I do everything the lazy way.

And yet, both ways, it all gets done. Year after year and Springtime after Springtime.

And isn't that what matters most? That, and not forming critical opinions when people do things differently?

I believe so, anyway.

Seldom do I miss a specific thing from my Past, but occasionally I miss this pretty yard. It's the first one I designed myself--and the place where I fell in love with forget-me-nots.

“In the Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

     ― Margaret AtwoodBluebeard's Egg

“She turned to the sunlight
    And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
    "Winter is dead.” 

       ― A.A. MilneWhen We Were Very Young

                                                    “Don't criticize what you can't understand.” 

                                                                  (Wise words from Bob Dylan)


Don't you love it when your new book arrives and has an old-fashioned end paper like this one?  --

The book is this one --

-- and it's perfect. Just perfect!


You might enjoy the 'whistling post' I mentioned above --- Magic Everywhere.


Monday, March 27, 2017

The Case of the Delinquent Blogger

"And (Grace) is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."   ... Ephesians 2:9


By today's title, can anyone tell I spent yesterday watching my old Perry Mason dvd's?  ๐Ÿ˜† 

It's wild that I used to write here almost daily. Back then I could, finally, spill all that I'd bottled-up for decades lest folks haul me to The Home for Religious Weirdos. Oh, the wonder of instantly sharing lessons God taught me!

And how marvelous that blogging led me to 'my tribe'--those of you who don't find me too delusional, but rather, just crazy enough to hold your interest for five, ten or even the entire twelve years. 

What a joy to discover my voice and (you) people who'll listen.

Anyway, 3,300 blog posts later, I'm not quitting. No, it just seems like God and Grace aren't nudging me to write as often lately, even though, as usual, I keep my ear tilted their way. 

Am I worried? Nah. I know that seasons work like ocean tides--in now, out later, bringing in something new, carrying out something old. If there's one thing you don't want, it's standing water. (Can you say, 'stagnation'?)

And personally, I believe God designed this constantly-changing Life so that, always, we'd rely on Him rather than an oldy-moldy, way-we've-always-done-it-ness. You know, where, heck, we'll still accomplish things even if God doesn't show up at all.

Heaven forbid.

Seriously, I'd rather do just one important thing with God before I die than hundreds of supposed-great-things without Him. I mean that.

So, really, please don't panic if--for you--things just don't feel the same. If what used to work, isn't working now. If you used to love some activities, but now can't stand them. If you've lost people you relied upon, if you're restless and searching when, years ago, you were Mrs. SureAbout Everything.

God likes to keep it interesting. He loves to shake things up. Why? So that, always, we'll keep a firm grip on His arm, an ear close to His mouth so that we'll spend our entire journey relying upon Him and doing things His way, not ours.

Life is way more exciting, full and rut-free His way, after all. 


       Saw my first robin of the season yesterday!  Always, such a promise of Springtime to my winter-weary heart.


Please don't worry about me, ok? I promise to tell you if something's really wrong around here.

And oh, I'm considering at least posting some 're-run' posts' so that the stretches between my current posts won't be so long.


So daily I still check-out local real estate online (humor me), but rarely do I see rooms decorated to my liking. But this was an exception, below, though yes! There's an awful lot of wood in there--

                                              (Click to enlarge.)

That house is much like ours--

-- except that the floor plan is opposite, they have an enclosed porch and many extra features which I'm trying not to drool over.

Speaking of which, I am still working my way through acceptance of dear ol' Hobbit Cottage. That we're still here. That we may still be here when we're more old and more decrepit than we currently are. Er hem. These things take time.



Want to watch some old Perry Mason episodes free online?  Go here. Not all there are free, but some are. I especially like seasons 1 and 2 because of the lovely vintage clothes, cars and houses.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Meanwhile, Back At The Dentist's ...

"And surely I am with you always (even at the dentist's office), to the very end of the age."   ... Matthew 28:20 (tweaked a little)


Part Two of my special tooth-cleaning was today, so in and out amongst the little snowbanks I walked to the dentist's office in my old faithful long black wool coat this grey morning. 

Toward the end of the cleaning, the young 'dental woman' (as I call her to keep things simple) said, "Don't you have a couple fillings scheduled today, too?"

I told her, "Not that I remember--and it seems like I would recall that."

Turns out, they had planned to fill those teeth as well. 

Oh, the temptation to go all six-years-old and start whining, "I don't wanna have my teeth filled today! Not gonna, not gonna." I mean, a person must brace herself weeks ahead for fillings, right? Too, the waiting room time had been long, the cleaning was painful at points (unlike last time) and I just wanted to go home where all good introverts should be.

But then she had me at, "If you get the fillings done today, you won't have to come back for six months."

Well, ok then.

Fortunately, I love my dentist and his staff. As I told you before, it's a little like going to the circus. A little. And I do carry around my Happy Place with me inside my head and Jesus inside my heart, thank-goodness. 

And oh, the possibility of no dental work for six whole months! Practically the only places I got out to this winter were a variety of dentist's offices for tooth-pullings. Yes, that's about it.

Buddy, I've paid my dues.

And now, oh my. Springtime's officially here and I'll get to go other places, instead.  Wow, the possibilities!   

It's Springtime! Doesn't even matter that there's still snow on the ground. What matters is that Winter is weaker and soon we'll be warm and able to putter and be creative in our yards. And we'll have a whole, lovely string of beautiful months and weeks and picnics and estate sales and --- to anticipate. And imagine and dream about. 

Now, there's something else to celebrate!

"Neither will they say, 'Here it is' or 'There it is' for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."   ... Luke 17:21


Now, I loved I Love Lucy (who didn't?). In fact, I own two dvd seasons so to satisfy my occasional I Love Lucy cravings.

But The Lucy Show? Hmm. Didn't like that one so much. Seemed a bit hit and miss to me.

Yet Here's Lucy, oh, I find that one hilarious, the episodes with Lucie and Desi Jr., that is. (I just do, ok? It's a mom thing, maybe.) Check it out if you need cheering-up or a better sense of humor if you have teenagers.

Anyway, did you know that you can watch Here's Lucy online for free? Just go here

In fact, the episode that will pop up first is probably my favorite. Oh my, with all my heart I wished I could go to Jack Benny's house for a Palm Spring's vacation. I wished that life really was like that here. 

Maybe in Heaven someday? Yes. Something even better than that, of course--and how cool will that be?


Thanks so much for your birthday wishes! Both here and at Facebook--each wish meant so much to me. I had a marvelous day soaking in all the sunshine pouring through our windows the day after our 16-inch-snowstorm. 

I felt especially blessed and loved all day long. It was awesome. And Tom brought home dinner for us, too. Yay!


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Where She Has Another Birthday

"This is the day the Lord has brought about. We will be happy and rejoice in it."   ...Psalm 118:24 


So last night at 1:00 a.m. when Daniel The Cat woke me by accidentally(?) knocking everything down from this dresser ---

--with a crash, I lectured myself not to get mad while I restored order (and tried to fix the lamp) for, after all, this was now March 16th. My birthday.

My next thought as I sleepily stepped down the creaking stairs to feed the cats? "Gee. These birthdays sure are adding up.

Wow. Wasn't I eighteen just three or four years ago? 

Anyway. Remember when yesterday we had this? --

What a difference a day makes! Today our storms (the earlier 70 mph wind one, then the 16 inches of snow one) are gone. Instead, we have blessed silence, gleaming-blue skies and blazing sunshine --

Never listen seriously to voices which say your future is bleak, ok? A simple, new day can bring brightness and the beginnings of glad, remarkable changes. We just never know for sure when it'll arrive, so we must hang in there till it does.

In fact, don't laugh, but I feel as though all this sunshine pouring through my windows is my birthday gift from God. He knows how absolutely giddy it makes me--and how young it makes me feel. 

(Are we positive I wasn't eighteen just three or four years ago??)    :)


                        My favorite photo, ever, of Naomi's grey babies.

Oh, and remember how Naomi had to put down one of her 15-year-old cats on January 1st? 

Well, soon after, her other grey girl began struggling. And then lots of vet visits later, Naomi had to, this week, let go of her dearest, best-loved sister-cat. 

And now the Ginger and Farrah years are over.

Naomi's been pretty devastated, so any prayers for her would be so appreciated. Thank-you much.


And one  more thing. For you Netflix fans, this morning I watched The Great Gilly Hopkins and--although I usually don't like these 'family-feel-good movies' (Naomi's words)-- I did really enjoy this one.

But then, it had Kathy Bates, Glenn Close and Octavia Spencer, so how could I not?


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It's Snowing, But Are We Still Glowing?

                      “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."      ... Matthew 5:14, John 1:5


Great. Winter finally arrived here--the week before Spring!

Choice time. Will I ruin some days (my birthday, tomorrow, included) by complaining, muttering, "Seriously, we need to move to an always-warm place. &^%$#@"? Or will I accept this present "it just is" and receive grace to shovel snow rather than whine while ice pelts my face, "I'm pushing 60, for Pete's sake! I've paid my dues."?

Stay tuned. I'm not sure yet. heh.

As I wrote at Facebook:  Yikes! Our second-story window this morning and guess who felt like Laura Ingalls in The Long Winter?! Though, relax. The snow isn't actually that high--it just feels like it is. We have a travel advisory (no unnecessary travel) till 10:00 a.m., so Tom's working from home for awhile. Alas.


Have you read An Enemy Called Average? I'm rereading it now because, Honey, it's so easy to sink into Average during a Buffalo winter. To get all, "Who cares if the house and I look bad today? No one's gonna drop by in all this snow." Or all, "So what if I just read and watch tv the whole, entire winter away? Who'll notice?"

God will notice, that's who. And me and others in my life, as well, if I allow myself to drift backward to Old Cranky Debra of Yesteryear.

Letting ones self and house and mind 'go' is extremely simple--but is that the road we're called to always take? Easy Way?

No. The Bible never says, "Just spend Winter (or any season) fooling around thinking only of yourself and doing Easy." And since it doesn't, God provides strength to remain excellent and shine, busting through the Just Be Lazy tuggings. 

Yes, even if you're on bed rest like my friend, Betsy, who injured her back while shoveling snow. Even so, for Betsy has remained a light to me these months of recuperation. She has! And as I've experienced, myself, these helpless, 'down times' can be perfect for attending the best, most loving classroom, ever. The Receiving Grace Class.

No time spent in God's presence is wasted. Ever, even if lying upon one's back.

Always we can do and be better, stronger and a brighter light. Why? Because always God's standing beside us, waiting to turn up our heart's lamp to its brightest glow. Even in the Winters of our lives.

"Mediocrity is a region bounded on the north by compromise, on the south by indecision, on the east by past thinking, and on the west by a lack of vision."

---from An Enemy Called Average  by John L. Mason



Because the book, An Enemy Called Average, inspires me like crazy, I'm offering free copies for two of my readers.

We have our two winners..........! 
Thanks, Ladies, for playing along and requesting this inspiring book.


Thursday, March 09, 2017

Focusing. Really, It's a Gift You Give Yourself.

"Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer."     -----Denis Waitley


Still here!

It's just that these end-of-winter-weeks are always rough on me. It's the jumping ahead in my mind, the leaping outside my current season, I think. It's the anticipation of stepping outside the back door and gardening rather than freezing. The estate-saling and countryside-driving instead of sitting around the house, waiting for normalcy.

You know, the looking forward to getting out of the house.

The returning to Springtime's glorious-weather-months-awaiting is enough to pull anyone in snow country outside of contentment, I think. 

So anyway, I've done some battling. I've had to focus, focus, focus on fixing annoying home, Life and bad habit stuff, etc.. I'm completing things(!) and keeping my mind busy, rather than allowing it to wander to the dark, impatient side of winter's last days.

Though yes, some days still turn out like this --

But hey! Real, determined focus pulls you back up from your ditches and God encourages you to keep walking forward in forgiveness of your foibles --and in joy of whatever season He's got you in.

He's great that way.



Part of my Focus Adventure has involved learning how to dress this old fat lady body some evil person draped around me.


So I'm reading these books as a refresher course and so to learn new ways, as well--

(I highly recommend the one on the left. It's like all the What Not To Wear shows, though with more common sense, even. So helpful, with easy to grasp concepts.)

-- and have underlined and taken feverish notes at our usually-sunny dining room table.

Also, I emptied a hatbox of old letters I no longer reread and placed knitted gloves and caps inside, then placed it on that roll-around closet thing I showed you. Why use something to store what you no longer need when it can be useful, instead?

I've washed a few windows, gathered a hundred fallen twigs, especially after yesterday's never-seen-winds-this-strong (scary day!). Oh, and I've restocked some non-perishable food shelves whose items had dwindled.

And, well, I'd waited nine years for additional seasons of Perfect Strangers to be released on dvd, but finally I searched online and found some 'new' episodes(!) Some cost $1.99 at Amazon, but others are free. Here are those for you --

Pipe Dreams (if you have only five minutes, forward it to the 'shower scene'. Unforgettable and classic, truly.).

Tooth Or Consequences (you can forward to the dentist's office if you wish.)

Christmas  (this one's on my dvd's, but here it is for you. This is how Christmas used to always look on tv. Happy sigh.)

Better Shop Around

To see what's available at Amazon, go here (some of those episodes are available on the dvd's here).

How wonderful when we stop complaining and, instead, go searching for what we want. Just moaning about what's missing is a tragic way to use our few precious days.


And oh my. I found another awesome kids' lit. novel which sweeps you away to another time, 1960 to be exact--

Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys vintage teen romances/mysteries/big old houses/ballet/horses. Perfect book for wintry afternoons.

And here's a Kirkus review for that book. That Kirkus site is a wonderful one for me because they review many of the old, quirky books no one else has ever heard of. Only, their search box isn't much good. It's simpler to find a review if you do a Google search with the book title, then type Kirkus.

So there you go. Where I've been, what I've been doing. Such as it is. And how've you been?

"The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear". ---Brian Tracy

If we learn to love all our Life's seasons, we'll always feel blessed.



Saturday, March 04, 2017

Those Mouths of Ours. Yikes.

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


From 2010 (and a bit tweaked). Because recently a friend shared an article criticizing  a movie he/she (not gonna say which) had not viewed, a movie taken from a book I loved.

And yes, I can be annoying at times.  I already know this.  :)


Naomi had always enjoyed The Office (the Steve Carell version) and she shared an episode with us years ago. But later I told Tom, "Eh. It was ok, but rather foolish. Kinda Dullsville. And I've never worked in an office so I couldn't identify with much."

But then I gave the show a chance

I watched it more than once (imagine!) and found myself giggling and loving the whole Pam and Jim romance, especially. (Are they adorable or what?) Weekly I became closer acquainted with the characters and wow, I began to care what happens to these people. 

Shocker! All that laughter from a simple homemaker who's never held one office job, night after night while Tom and I sit together, both tired after working all day. 

And once again, God reinforced this lesson: If I wish to be taken seriously--and respected-- online and in real life, I should:

Never criticize a tv show I haven't watched or seen only once (it may have been a bad episode). Viewing tv commercials about upcoming episodes does not count. Uh, no.

Never criticize a movie I haven't seen. Again, viewing previews or studying reviews, even, is not the same as watching and deciding for myself.

Never condemn a book I have not read, not even if my pastor or favorite mentor condemned it after--or even without--reading it, themselves.

Never judge or criticize a church I've not visited or a pastor I've never sat down beside and talked with heart to heart.

Why not? Because condemning what I do not understand (or take the time to view/read), drives non-Christians, especially, wild. Message boards (comment sections) all the time illustrate the terrible way that Christians are spoken about--deservedly--when they speak of things they've never even seen/read/experienced for themselves. And rather than learning from their ignorance/foolishness, these Christians more often recoil and whimper about being persecuted.

Come on, folks. People are watching us. 

They're hoping to glimpse a view of God, Himself, within our eyes, our words, our actions.

Wisdom says, "Hey! Be s-l-o-w to speak, remember? Be wise, speak about your biblical certainties, but only when God nudges."

After all, no where does God say "Let your opinions be made known."

There are differences between truth and opinion. Even the timing of sharing truth is pivotal. And even a lifetime isn't long enough to learn how to always get it perfectly correct.

It's rather like a dance, where--one disastrous move--and everyone drives home remembering that instead of the lovely moments.

And now I think I get why God often tells me, "This time, say nothing. Let it go." For, how tragic to be the one who ruins the dance for everyone else, who makes it harder to get people inside the theater next time.

"There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."   ... Proverbs 12:18


And yes! Sometimes Conviction will tell me, "Don't even think about checking out that new book/movie/tv show." So I (try to) avoid them.

But then I've noticed, later, Conviction never comes along and says, "Go ahead and talk/teach about those avoided things."

That would be foolishness.


Now, am I giving an all-clear recommendation of The Office? Uh, no. Occasionally Tom and I must turn the channel over to Wheel of Fortune when the characters are speaking of something, well, not-so-nice. 

In this post I just shared what has been a learning experience for me lately.


“But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”   ... Luke 2:19

(How much better to be a ponderer than a blabberer!)  :)

"Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”
... Benjamin Franklin

“He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked.” ...Voltaire