Monday, February 26, 2018

Perhaps You're Wasting Time--Or Maybe You're Not

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; put on your new nature, created to be like God--truly righteous and holy."   ... Ephesians 4:23,24


Goodreads! Perfect for lovers-of-list-making (like me) and you know what I've noticed? Almost never do I read/finish books I don't like.

And yet? I've known women who actually feel guilty if they don't slog through a book (especially if they paid for it) even if it proves to be dull/wordy/risque. (Unfortunately, I know women who feel guilty about nearly everything.)

Come on, Folks. Life is far too short and Earth is crammed with better, change-your-life books! 

So please, set the not-for-you book down and either 1.) try again when you're in a different mood or 2.) return it to the library or donate it to a shop where someone can celebrate her wonderful find (sow the money you spent 'upon the water and it will come back to you'. I know this.). Or--as I've done thrice--if a book surprised you with what this verse hints at:

"For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret."   ... Ephesians 5:12

-- just toss it into your recycling bin so you'll not spread its words.

Seriously-- there comes a time, a decade, for each of us to finally become bold. Decisive, knowing what God wants us to do--then taking steps to do it. And to stop being wishy-washy-silly. You know, like this:

"... one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."   ... James 1:8

To me? Reading books which don't hold my attention is an example of wasting time.


Speaking of wasting time, oooooo... I know (and know of) many people who would accuse me of wasting away my whole life. Why? Because most of my days/weeks you'll see me--

straightening my house
reading at our dining area table
commenting/sharing posts at Facebook
relaxing at the coffee shop, drinking coffee or chocolate
writing in this blog
taking walks (started back up only lately)
sitting on our front porch, reading, staring at the river (in good weather)
watching tv

But hey, go peeking hurriedly on just the surface of anything and we come away, clueless.

We can straighten our house 'as unto the Lord' and who wants to make Him cringe by our living in filth/not being a good example, anyway? And reading books can help us become better people, even in tiny ways, and sitting at a sunny table can keep winter blues far distant.

Facebook is a dream-come-true for encouragers. I mean, have you wanted to be a minister, yet thought if you weren't like Billy Graham, it didn't count? Think again. Facebook is a hotbed of hurting, think-God's-mad-at-them, lonely souls. (So stay eagle-eyed.)

Of course, we can walk into a coffee shop like a zombie and drink and think nothing, zzzzzzz. Or we can sit and pray that this business will prosper, always be there and that all who step inside will suddenly feel a deep yearning for God, Himself. (And hey, we can buy someone's coffee for them.)

We can share God and our heart in a blog. We can prayer-walk our neighborhood--

--or invite others to sit on our front porch with us or pray for neighborhood revival. And we can watch tv, good shows, while feeling the very presence of God beside us, healing and teaching us, with gratitude circling, swirling.

With our limited eyes only, we view so little. Longing to see the way God's eyes do, keeps us humble and more compassionate. Patient.

The real time wasters, imo? Those hours, months of guilt, fear, timidity, arguing, not forgiving and regret. And trying to grasp what has gone away forever, killing the growth God imagined for us.

May we seek to know God better so that we waste time, less.


"How much time are you spending thinking about what that person said about you at the office, stressed out over that thing you read on social media, trying to straighten out that friend that made you look bad? You don’t have time to waste on all that pettiness. It’s not between you and your destiny. It’s a distraction. You have a defender. God said He will protect your reputation. Let that go in one ear and out the other and use that energy to move toward your God-given dreams."   ---Joel Osteen

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."   ... Galations 5:1

"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."     ....  2 Corinthians 9:6


Oh! Did you see this Billy Graham tribute? Purely awesome. Wow.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Where She Goes On A 'Just Do Better Diet' (And Other Stories)

While Tom and I waited for Naomi's gig to begin last Sunday, I shouted into his ear (music was playing), "Hey. Since we both look pretty decent, maybe you could take a selfie of us." 

So he whipped out his phone and spent the next five minutes figuring out how to attempt this great feat. (Heh. He's not a picture-taking kind of guy.)

Well, the first three photos were disappointing. Mr. CamerasLoveHimEspeciallySinceHeLostFortyPounds looked fantastic, but the woman next to him appeared old, grey, heavy and tired (and here she'd imagined she glowed). He snapped one more photo and yes! Perfect. His face looked angelic and just one-eighth of my face showed.


And that was the night I decided it was time. Time to go on a Just Do Better Diet.

That's where you do not--

count calories,
weigh yourself daily,
drink powders and potions,
take a ton of vitamins,
exercise yourself into an early death,
starve and despise yourself.

No, instead, on The Just Do Better Diet you--

actually do your exercises (rather than think about them),
you eat less bad stuff and more good,
you take walks,
you don't sit at the computer all day, 
you don't stress-out if you messed-up,
you skip your favorite sport if that sport is Snacking While Reading
and you love yourself through it all.

Yep, that's the diet for me. It's much better than doing nothing constructive at all and just maybe it'll help me lose a little weight, say, seven or so pounds from my face.


Yes, I can do this. Grace is here to help me with this now and I know better than to tell her, "Come back again next Spring when I'm 
thinkin' it'll be more convenient." 
With Christ and Grace I can do anything, especially this Just Do Better Diet.

Stay tuned.


And here is my 'before photo' which I re-sized at this free site here.
Oh! Tiny, tiny photos. Now, there's the way to go.

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me."... 1 Corinthians 15:10


re: Commenters--some of you will be happy to see that I changed "Eating While Reading" to "Snacking While Reading." There's a difference between eating a meal you need to anyway while reading and mindlessly snacking for hours--and I'd forgotten it.  :)

Oh and nothing like a few special effects, plus, my buddy, Judy, suggested taking selfies from weird angles and hey! It works. I actually didn't hate four out of the five photos I took this morning. Thanks again, Judy---


"Well, that's an improvement. It's better--and better is better."  What Debra has often been heard to say around her house.


Finally I joined Goodreads and wow, color me addicted. 

I'd used this site for years to read synopsis of books, but I'd never signed-up to create my own lists of books I've read and what I've thought of them. You can compare your book lists with your friends', find books you'd love to someday read, take reading challenges, write reviews and even add books which Goodreads has no record of (I've done that once already and need to do so again. Really, I read such funky books which not even huge enterprises like Goodreads has heard of).

If you're there and would like to be my Goodreads friend, email me at and I'll send you my link,ok?

Oh, and speaking of books, here's the latest one I'm loving so much--

So funny, yet detailed, deeply felt and with some tragedy, as well. It pulls you into the Chicago of 1911 and reminds you that unkindness existed, yes, even back in the good old days and measures being taken Today against bullying, especially in schools, is good

Ol' Debra gives it 5 just-what-she'd-needed stars.


And here's what I shared yesterday at Facebook--

Part of me feels sad, but the other part is so excited for Rev. Billy Graham and all the wonder and joy He's experiencing now with Jesus and millions in Heaven, our real home. Mr. Graham fulfilled the special calling God gave him here and now's a wonderful time for us to ask ourselves if we're faithfully fulfilling our own God-given calling. All callings, huge or small,
matter because each comes specially-designed and given from God, Himself. 

 “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."   ... Revelation 14:13


Monday, February 19, 2018

A Bad Day? What's That?

"For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure". "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."   ... Philippians 2:13, Luke 6:38


On Sunday, Naomi and Justin had an early gig for their duo band. Five o'clock pm at a nice Buffalo restaurant. 

They invited Tom and me, their aging ol' folks who usually collapse into bed by 7:30. Tom invited two co-workers and Naomi's bff from high school, Kellee--

-- came as did a friend of hers.

We all sat around a table while Naomi and Justin sang and played vintage tunes, like, wow! So awesome. Made us super proud, indeed.

Now, (it seemed like) everyone at the bar and in our large room was drinking, well, not the adorable toddler at the next table nor ol' teetotalers Debra and Tom, but we're used to that. Rather than drink, I always sit there, feel love for everybody and I, shhh, become Secret Prayer Lady. 

Really, I sat munching a Basic Burger, covertly praying everybody would drive home safely. That they'd all come to know Jesus, to grow in Him, even the scary-looking dude at the bar who, as I nudged Tom and told him, kept staring at me. Without blinking. 😊

Ha! Even Tom agrees there's a resemblance there.

Yep, the music plays and I pray all sorts of things for the hard-laughers and shouters. For me, that's the fun part. That, and to show support for Naomi and Justin is why this introvert makes the effort for these gigs so not her cup of coffee.

Because of love. Because of obedience to what God asked.

Sometimes, like last night, God clears a path and lets me scream shout encouraging words. He was terrific at parting the Red Sea, so it's certainly not hard for Him to provide chances to tell a guy we'd been praying for him. Or to be kind to someone who needed that. Or to thank two strangers on the outside steps who'd attended school with Naomi and had no idea she'd be playing that night--yet had remained much, much longer than they'd planned.

Anyway. Often online I'll read comments from Christians who say they're sick of giving and being taken advantage of. Of not being thanked. Of being done with mean relatives/folks who only use them to get what they want.

Really, People?

I love to obey God and give. To give as lavishly as I can simply because that's how God gives. To give and not expect thanks from people because I know full-well the sweetest blessings, 'thanks' if you will, come from God, Himself. No person on this Earth can ever thank me the way He can.

(And also I realize sometimes saying 'no' to others is saying 'yes' to God. Sometimes being obedient to God means allowing others to do for themselves.)

Life changes when you become an obey-er and a giver. When we sign-up at places like Facebook so we can give like crazy to others rather than seeking what's in it for me, me, me. Rather than bailing-out when people show their hurt via crazy-to-us political posts. Truthfully? I stay at Facebook so to help. To allow God to heal and encourage through me if He can. To keep myself available.

If we want to minister in Today's world? We must let God make us strong lest our hurts and offenses make us hide.

And frankly, that's why I've not had a bad day in years. Oh, bad moments, certainly, but an entire bad day, no. How is that even possible when always, especially now with our connections to hundreds of friends via this Net, we can obey God and give, give, give?

How can we have bad days when, after giving freely and without strings, we experience the joy unspeakable which He sends afterward? The joy and love which, God, Himself, is?


The problem is--many bad days adds up to an eventual bad life. A life which could have felt awesome--but didn't.

The unhappiest people I know are those who think and speak, over and over, about what they've lost rather than receiving the comfort only God, Himself, can give--and then spreading that lavishly so to help others.


"Keep singing the song I have placed within your heart. Keep dancing the dance I have placed within your feet. Keep gazing upon the vision I have given you. Keep remembering the words I have spoken to your heart. Continue with these things, for they are not small. They will strengthen, guide, encourage and empower you. For what I have given you is spirit, and it is life, so do not discard it..." ---as shared by Neil Vermillion


On Friday night Tom and I watched the movie, Wonder. Wow. Cried through half of it--it was terrific.  😊  Highly recommended for anyone with a heart.


Friday, February 16, 2018

When Your Mailbox Only Echoes--or--Our Life In 2018

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (I will ease, relieve and refresh your soul)."   ... Matthew 11:28


So I awoke on Valentine's Day morning and thought, "Yay! My favorite day of the year and later I'll find some Valentines in our mailbox since I've only received one so far."

The sun shone bright! 
Naomi came for a surprise 5 minute visit bearing gifts of flowers and (healthy, dark) chocolate!
Friends here and at Facebook wished me a happy Valentine's Day after reading my blog post!

Talk about your Valentine's Day high.

Then around 1:00 I saw the mailman in our front window, waited as he stood at the mailbox, then waited some more after he left (lest I appear like a needy-mail-loving nut). Then I opened the door, reached for the mailbox lid and oh. my. goodness.

Inside sat only a lonely bill.

A bill? Just a bill? I looked again at the black depths, spied nothing else and asked, "But where are my Valentines?"

To which my mailbox echoed, "But where are my Valentines? Valentines? Valentines?"

Oooooo. Disappointment--how you irk me .

What happened to the other 4 or 5 Valentines I always receive? Hmm?

Well, I'll tell ya. I stepped inside the Disappointment Train and rode along a couple minutes. Then do you know what came to me? That blog post I wrote, the one where Jesus told Peter, "What is that to you? You just follow me."

And I giggled. Yeah, I needed that. What is this to me? I mailed the Valentines I was supposed to this year. I obeyed the nudge. Did my part.

And then? It was like Jesus urged me to do even more. As though He said, "How about if you email Valentine images and greetings to friends? Maybe even order Valentines for next year?"

Well, shopping always sounds good (heh) and I thought, "I suppose I'll swallow this tiny lump in my throat and send a couple cheery emails." So I did both. And truly, felt better.

That is, until the Florida school shooting happened.

Oh no. More. More of the Last Days evil which the Bible warned us would happen. So I prayed. Read bits of the details, but mostly prayed for all involved, including us, all of us whose hearts are more emotionally affected than we realize. 

And this latest horrible happening placed the correct perspective over my previous empty-mailbox-echo thing. The reason for my earlier disappointment appeared tiny now.

What highs, what lows this week, right?

And let me add: during these ultra-troubled days, please do whatever (biblically-permissible) thing needed to keep your mind and heart whole. At rest.

If you can't handle hours of bad news--skip it, even if your friends laugh/accuse you of the ostrich-in-the-sand thing.

If it comforts you to read old-fashioned books totally unrelated to our 2018 life? Read them.

If you must say no to some gatherings and say yes to coming away with God, instead? Say no to the first, yes to the second.

Keep things simple: listen to what God's saying. Then do what He's asking with the Grace He sends along. 

Even if no one else is.
Even if people tease you.
Even if what you're doing is 'so ten minutes ago' or odd.

Just do it. Just obey God. Let Him make you strong and heal your wounded heart in whichever ways He customizes just for you.

This way, you'll make it. You'll be ok.

"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you..."  ... Matthew 7:12


Speaking of doing what one must-- I even walked to the coffee shop twice this week(!) And what a treat this morning to step inside and see four other people there, creating more of a 'Luke's Diner vibe' than ever before.

Often I pray this shop will do well and last much longer than the previous one.

Oh, and I've stopped wondering why I never did visit the first one, the one I'd prayed would appear. It's a strange, I-can't-figure-it-out thing so perhaps God was involved in my not going for reasons I may never know.

Sometimes God asks that we become comfortable with not knowing, with not understanding. It's called trust.

Or maybe I simply 'missed it'. But whatever, I've chosen to move on and just enjoy, enjoy, enjoy that I've a coffee shop so close by.


"I follow three rules: Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care."  --- Lou Holtz


The Valentines I bought for next year? I found them here (though they were 50% off at the time rather than at their present 25%). 

So vintage. So pretty.


Does anyone else find this kitchen beautiful?

My, my, my. Be still my heart.


A friend who I've known since we were both 8-years-old, became a great-grandmother this week.

Oh dear. I read that bit of news at Facebook and immediately I felt like this--

Yikes!  😏


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day Wishes For You

Valentine's Day! Here's a peek at how this day looks at Hobbit Cottage, beginning with the roses, above, from Tom, then favorite old Valentines, below, with a new one, a lovely card from my buddy, Wilma--

Valentine's Day for me is also Friendship Day so please celebrate--if you wish--along with me.

Be creative.
Be generous.
Be happy.
Be ten-years-old.
Be colorful.
Be forgiving.
Be free.

And let's toss in some Charlie Brown, ok?

Happy Valentine's Day to you!

And may you also celebrate that Jesus loves you incredibly-much all the time.
All. The. Time.

No really, He is your Valentine for all days.
Think about that today rather than this old world-gone-wrong. Meditate upon what God's done so right for you and let the arguers argue amongst themselves.

Choose celebration today, instead. 
Then choose more tomorrow.
Then more the following day--for truly--God has done great things worthy of our daily thank-you's.


"Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing for me! Thou hast put off my sackcloth.
Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing for me! And girded me with gladness."   ... Psalm 30:11

 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.   ... Colossians 3:15