Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Of Mental Health and Fix-My-Foot Days

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."  ... James 1:17


No blog posts in 8 days? Probably because I'm taking 'mental health days' (avoiding much of the world) and the most exciting thing I've done is sit upon the red couch and aim my camera at Autumn light while it glides through our windows and circles my room.

My poor ol' foot is healing since I determined to keep it inside a shoe ("Help me! I'm claustrophobic!" it cries, but I must ignore it), so we rest and read, my foot and I, and watch dearly appreciated Castle dvd's and Autumn's shadows.

Like Emily said, there's just something about that 'autumn slant of light.'

'Round here, Autumn finally feels right. This year she broke heat records (since the 1880's!) and wow, that certainly felt wrong. But now? She's back to normal--cold, windy and sunny.

And when I'm not on the red couch, I'm at this computer ordering food and supplies not already upon our shelves. I'm hoping to give the delivery guys a Winter break so they'll not so often climb our snowy steps.

Oh, and after one full year of mentally swirling this around (and skipping 20 blog posts about it), I've nearly accepted that our small, meant-to-be-temporary house just may turn into a rest-of-our-lives one. Yep, almost there contentment-wise and oh dear. It's not been a picnic, certainly. Yet God and Grace have majorly encouraged this never-ending-decorator-at-heart that all will be well.

So I'm choosing to believe that. Choosing contentment rather than wishing, also.

 Anyway, that's where I've been. Soaking in contentment and that golden, mysterious Autumn light sent down from the Father of the best Light of all.


A very, very cool thing? For months I'd wanted a pen and ink drawing just the size of the one above and guess what? This one appeared--surprise!--as a bookmark in a book I ordered. Wow, gave me goosebumps. Can you say, "God loves to make us smile?"

Oh, and see these?

Sally and Sue from across the street said I could take whatever cookbooks I wanted from boxes they were giving away. Of course, I snatched the older cookbooks, those being my favorites.

More presents! 


Oh! Nearly forgot to share this old timey photo in remembrance of Halloween --

Can't you just imagine the smiles behind the masks?


Monday, October 23, 2017

Everywhere, Teachers.

So I'd wanted to read a book by a celebrity from a favorite tv series. Being a cheapskate I, for months, watched the price go down then aha! Finally thought, "Why not listen to this book for free via Audible's invitation for a trial membership?" 

That 'free' word. Sends good shivers down my spine.  😉

Now, I enjoyed listening to Miss Celebrity's thoughts about her years on the tv series, yes! But the remainder felt, well, empty. Depth-less. So I stopped listening, but began praying for her again (I've often prayed for this entire series' cast).

Well, Audible said I had one more free credit so I asked at Facebook for friends' recommendations and received good ones I'll definitely read someday. But then I went on my own search and found something I so neeeeded. This --

Wow. In A Million Little Ways: Uncover The Art You Were Made to Live, Emily Freeman's reminding me of the need to stay inspired, creative, rather than all at-this-advanced-age-I've-been-there-done-that-already-oh-hum-ish.

Which, yes, the closer 60 looms, the more I've felt. ("Danger, Will Robinson!") 

Promise me you'll stay far from Oh Hum, ok?

Anyway, on yesterday's gorgeous autumnal afternoon, I listened to Emily's words like these--

“I don't believe there is one great thing I was made to do in this world. I believe there is one great God I was made to glorify. And there will be many ways, even a million little ways, I will declare his glory with my life.” 

-- and came away uplifted, grateful and reminded of why I mustn't let creativity slide into the What/How I Used To Be Column.

Here's Emily's blog. And you'll enjoy her podcasts here.


Then this morning--oh! I discovered that Audible lets you trade-in audio books you didn't enjoy. Very cool. So I sent back the celebrity book, my free credit was restored, and I used it for this --

My, my, my. Another gift from God, one with similar threads as Emily's book, but told in Chrystal's unique style. Unique: aren't you thankful that God created uniqueness so not all writers/artists/musicians (etc.) write/paint/sound the same?

Here is Chrystal's blog.

You remember these verses, right? --

"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live ... to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."   ... Titus 2:3-5

But you know? Both Emily and Chrystal are younger than me. Yet sometimes it's equally important that we older women listen to the younger ones because--if we'll hear with our hearts--we might remember forgotten things:

-- how it felt to face a brand new decade full of possibilities.
-- the anticipation of unknown adventures and dreams ahead.
-- bright possibilities for change, joy and answered prayer.
-- the fresh newness, the realness, of a God who passionately loves us.
-- and more. 

It's also like this --

The humble anticipate their days ahead with God rather than let an old-age cynicism creep in. They widen their narrow worlds. And if it takes women younger than us to shake away the cobwebs of a wandered-into drabness? So be it. 

God gives you and me stories to tell--and--may we welcome all storytellers He sends our way, no matter what their age or where their stories took them.


At Amazon it's easy to sign up for the free one-month Audiobook/Audible trial. Just find a book you want, then click on the Audiobook box below the title. They'll take you from there.


Yesterday at dusk, with Emily's words still floating inside my head, I walked upstairs, sat at the window and soaked in the Autumn evening --


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Finding a Way. Again.

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content."  ... Philippians 4:11


Even as a little girl I loved marble. Eons later I still do.

Now, do I have marble counter tops or even ones which look like marble? Uh, no. Certain things just don't seem to be able to happen 'round here--and that is one of them.

Remember that post where I suggested rather than complaining about what you can't do, just do what you can? Well, once again I heeded my own advice. From Ebay for a good price, I (finally) bought a marble pastry board--

Ooooo. I loved it so much that, immediately, I stepped here to the computer and ordered another one. It arrived yesterday afternoon --

Now of course, they're not the same as whole new counter tops and yet? They still delight my eyes and senses: the sound of Fiestware as it's placed upon the marble. The juxtaposition of ceramic or glass upon it. The warm glow of a lamp upon a cool stone surface.

You know. 

And I'm not even planning on actually using them for pastry or slicing vegetables. Nah, I just enjoy staring at them. And feeling happy.

At this moment, I don't need a whole, long hunk of marble to make me any happier than I am already.

(And somewhere, there's a lesson mixed up in all that.)


Tom, being male and all, enjoys describing his aches and pains. Me? Not so much. 

Like, I've not even told you that for two months I've had a bit of plantar fasciitis. For the blissfully ignorant of such things, that's where the bottom of your heel hurts when you walk upon it.

Now, it's not been a bad case (and oh, people out there have much worse problems). I've read about what helps and given my foot lots of rest and become adept at walking on tip-toe with barely a limp. Yet twice I took walks when I thought it had healed, but alas, no, it hadn't. Ouch.

But hey, it's not been a big deal and not too painful--just mostly annoying.

So why even mention it? Because of this, I've still not visited that new coffee shop around the corner. The one I declared I'd walk to the minute they opened, the one which God granted me as a reprieve for never stepping into the one which closed.

And uh-oh. I've been nervous that--after 6 weeks of being opened--they'll shut-down before I get there. (Tsk. Tsk. Oh Debra of Little Faith.)

Maybe I'll do Plan B. Instead of walking there, perhaps I'll have Tom drive me and we'll go inside together. He did sweetly volunteer earlier for that, but I told him he'd had his chance with the last place--twice I'd hinted I'd like us to go, but he just nodded and kept on driving. So this time I said, "No, I'll go by myself so I can be sure I get there."

Hmmm. Ol' Debra might just have to eat some crow with her donut while she and Tom sit at a table in that shop. If they do actually make it this time.

Stay tuned.

(The lesson here is pretty clear--always keep your options open and don't go burning any bridges you may want to someday cross.)  😉



Friday, October 13, 2017

Just a New Wardrobe? Maybe Not.

"...and make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands..." ...1 Thessalonians 4:11


Some women meditate lots about their own clothing, shoes, and they notice what everyone else wears--whether folks' clothes are up-to-date, coordinated, flattering.

I am not one of those women.

But since this past Spring? Grace has hung around my house and head, encouraging me that, hey, "After around a decade, it's time to  pull together a new wardrobe. Something with less black, more color. A casual clothes collection with variety and accessories so you can do what you need to with a bit of added confidence."

And what I love about Grace is that--when she tells you to do something--she declares it a season and then gives you the 'want to'.

The stamina.
The inspiration.
The best leads to sales. 
The right books, teachers and tv shows (like, I've been watching What Not To Wear reruns at 6:00 a.m. on TLC)

Oh and I've studied my wardrobe books, taken lots of notes--

And frankly, I'd be loopy to procrastinate Grace's nudgings. She won't wait forever--Grace tends to move on to the next thing after a reasonable time and if you dawdled or chose to, say, hone your writing skills when Grace wanted to update your wardrobe? 

Oh honey--look out. Struggle Time is coming. 

Yep, push away Grace and replace her with Just You and you won't have much fun, energy or success, either.

So well, I updated my wardrobe.

  (Both were from Salvation Army. Online I bought black tights and shoes to wear with this. Scarves, too.)

And you know? Mostly, I'm shocked at how smoothly it went. Systematically, calmly, detail-oriented-like.

Oh ok, there were times while shopping online that I felt steam coming from my ears. I'd discover the perfect top at a clearance price, but they'd be out of my size. Or something with potential had 0 comments--or--half the comments said 'buy a size up!' and the other half said 'it's true to size.' Or pieces I loved were expensive or totally out-of-stock (over and over) or else, just had a couple ugly colors left.

But then I'd remember Grace. How, with her, you've gone too far when you're considering taking a hammer to your computer. 😉 So I'd step away, read or watch tv and cool down. Then try again another time or day, even. Then often, I'd find something much better.

I also asked Grace to show me the best weekends to shop at our local Salvation Army and wow. The terrific deals I found there.

Oh, and even though Stacie and Clinton say not to wear capri's if you're short, I saw my buddy, Judy, wearing them in a photo, noted she looked adorable, and then bought two. And now love them to pieces.

Anyway. Although this post appears mostly feminine, lightweight and not exactly important, let me add this --

This isn't just about the clothes. 

Follow Grace. Her timing. Her ideas, even if they run counter-clockwise to The News and how the world's currently spinning. With Grace, all is relevant and vital regarding a personal future we're unsure of. Grace comes from God who always knows exactly why He's doing what He's doing--

--and we can safely, calmly rely upon them both.

"To obey is better than sacrifice..."  ...  1 Samuel 15:22

"Throughout our lives, God's grace bestows temporal blessings and spiritual gifts that magnify our abilities and enrich our lives. His grace refines us. His grace helps us become our best selves."
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Today what is Grace leading you to do?



And for those whose current season of Grace revolves around decorating your home, check out this helpful article ---


Today would've been my dear grandmother's 104th birthday. There aren't many people who I miss-- but these are two of the few.


For days I've been praying for all involved with the California fires. While growing-up, I lived near some of those areas and have friends there. It's so devastating--one of those things only a total reliance upon God can get a person through sanely.


Thursday, October 05, 2017

Come Heal With Me. Or Not. That's Ok.

"But even the hairs of your head are all numbered."   ... Matthew 10:30


Tom and I were cute, young, but so clueless when we ministered each Saturday night at our (tiny) town's senior hospital wing. Back then, I wondered why the women's heads told them it was the 1950's rather than the 80's,  but oh Honey--I get it now.

Thinking backward feels so comforting, especially when you don't like what Life's dolling out to you now.

And after this latest tragedy in Las Vegas, it's like my sanity has encouraged me to take a couple backward journeys, myself. Oh, some Christians insist God heals us only in specific holy-holy-holy ways (piffle!), but long ago I lifted Him out of that box.

Why? He created us all uniquely and it only makes sense that He comforts us uniquely, as well.

Selah. (Or, pause and calmly think about that.)

Anyway, maybe you'd like to journey backward with me today. If so, here we go --- 

We moved here to New York state in 1993. Even that late, our local plaza still had this decades-old diner--

                                                          Illustration by Paul Lachacz

Oh, by this time the vinyl seats had holes and a sort of grey pallor hung over everything, but I'd always stare while quickly walking past to the variety store. I'd think, "Wow! It's like that place is the 1940's held and kept within glass. Tom, Naomi and I need to go there."

Of course, we waited too long. Just months later, Your Host closed forever (which may help you understand better why I was so upset with myself for not visiting that coffee shop nearby before it shut down).

You snooze, you lose. You procrastinate, you create regrets.

Anyway, don't you love that illustration? I discovered it at a Facebook group I belong to, one which chats about our former town, reliving the old days. In fact, I belong to a similar group from the place where I graduated and also met Tom. They keep me up-to-date while also reminding me about what I loved there.

Say what you will about Facebook, but I appreciate it. Much.


Now, decades ago I'd have been too embarrassed to tell you this, but my Internet-found kindred spirits will understand and not label me wacko.

What is it? This morning while searching through local real estate online, I came upon another example of A Dream Kitchen For Debra --

Oh! Oh! Did you see the little refrigerator tucked into it's own cubby? And the old stove? And the retro table set?

(Insert a long happy sigh here.) This is my favorite type of house to discover at estate sales. Truly, I feel blessed to have walked through so many here in dear old Western New York where God brought me 24 years ago because He knew I'd love living where the Old Days are still so very Present.



As for the rest of today? I will wrap myself in an apron, take laundry downstairs, then bring it up again where I'll hang it outside on a clothes rack.

I'll look through some vintage magazines. I'll dust, vacuum. Fill the bird feeder.

I'll think June Cleaver thoughts and maybe even scrub the bathtub. I'll sit on the front porch, drink hot chocolate, read and glance down the street at the gleaming blue river.

And I'll thank God for Autumn. For family. And most of all for Him through whom all blessings flow and flow and flow. Even in 2017.


"For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust."   ... Psalm 103:14


Wednesday, October 04, 2017

First We Grieve. Then We Heal.

"But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days."  ... 2 Timothy 3:1


Monday evening after Tom arrived home, I stood before our front window closing our mustard-paisley curtains. Always I do that, but this time? I paused, feeling like my fingers had shut out the awful outside world. And it felt good to do so.

I'd had enough of that world and of the pain from the Las Vegas massacre news. As you know, I'd lived in Nevada--and that brings the tragedy closer to ones heart. We'd once visited Las Vegas, also. 

The Bible says 'grieve with those who grieve' and I've allowed my heart to do that.  People who ignore grief or shove it downward for later (or never) find they cannot heal at all. Watch the hoarder shows--you'll see.

"First we grieve, then we heal." My mind keeps repeating that, so I've been grieving with millions. 

And now God's healing my heart.

I'm so grateful that God didn't just float a warning down to us (via the Bible) that these horrible days were coming and then poof! Disappear. No, He promised He'd never leave us, then He provided the Holy Spirit, the best comforter of all.

And I'm grateful for the reminders at these times that my own frustrations, annoyances and so-called problems are--in reality--incredibly tiny. Seldom worth mentioning. Times like these I recall what and who really matters.

Yet back to our front curtains--that was a permissible day/time for me to shut out the world, but not a 'forever time'. No, with all the evil out in that world, I, we, need to double the love we show. Double our obedience to God when He says "give". 

And double our empathy, our compassion, especially now so to honor those who can no longer help loved ones left behind, hurting.

And as always, it's in giving that we, ourselves, continue to heal.

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another comforter, to be with you forever..."   ... John 14:16

"Encouragement for today: “This is a tough time to be alive.” But I want to encourage you today, if this is the time frame that God chose for you to be in, then you’ve got what it takes to be here." -----Joyce  Meyer

"Put on strength, put on hope, put on courage, and step into the place of activation. Be bold. Take action. Live by faith."     ----- Neil Vermillion



Oh wow. I just now saw this at Facebook.