Thursday, August 30, 2018

So After Seven Years --

                                                           Ooooooo.... dreamy.  ๐Ÿ˜‰


"Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool."   ... Proverbs 19:1

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In 2 days Tom and I will celebrate 7 years at Hobbit Cottage. (Can you, my long-time readers, believe that?)

This morning I read those early blog posts, the ones declaring never again would I collect a bunch of stuff--and had to call myself a Big Fat Liar.

Hey, can we get real? 

I've become my own collecting-enabler. I bought back books I'd sold in 2011 then placed them upon 9 new sets of shelves to accommodate my Still Love My Stuff Habit. I've squeezed in more furniture, the kind that stores more things.

Fortunately I'm a 'daily straightener.' Organizer. There's that. Yet I'm also a pro at discovering hiding places for tons of books, clothes, dvd's, stock-up groceries and retro tchotchkes. Man, I've squirreled away in 860 square feet probably more than you have in 2,000. It's a wonder, really. 

On Facebook I see meme's like this one--






... and yeah, I click 'like'. And then go organize one of many book shelves, toss a few pieces of my fireplace's white dish collection into the dishwasher, then look-up this week's yard sales.

Er hem. But hey! Some folks love to collect both moments and things, Tom and I being two of those people. And if that's wrong, well, we don't wanna be right. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Whew. Confession truly is good for the soul. I do try to stay pretty honest here, keeping in mind liars always get found out by God and super often by blog readers. Yikes.

Anyway if you ever reread posts about my early decluttering-is-awesome! days here, now you'll know I changed my mind. That's allowed, right?

But so is reaping (and dusting, organizing, moving around) what one sows--and facing possible consequences thereof.

And there is that, also.

Hmm.





Be still my book-loving heart!




But is it really clutter if it doesn't bother you and you still enjoy it? Yep, ol' Debra still likes her stuff. Even so.
And you may quote me.


 "Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices."  ... Colossians 3:9


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Seven years at Hobbit Cottage! Oh, the acceptance I'm learning here in this meant-to-be-temporary place. And oh, the freedom which comes after each victory.

But oh, how slowly this all takes place. heh.





                      Wow, six years after painting it, I still love my red door! It may take me longer to come up with ideas at this house, but at least I've found I re-do very, very little that way. 


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Daniel The Cat's new favorite sleeping place? Way up on top of our kitchen cabinets amongst my Fiestaware and other collections.






He knew there's no way I'd crawl up there again and again to bring him back down. 

He's consistently up there now, day and night. Darn ol' too-smart cat. 


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A favorite housework hack of mine 'round Hobbit Cottage? This-- 





After I clean our cheapo plastic bathroom door, there's still dark spots on it, so I 'paint over them' with this shoe polish.

I also use it in the same way on the bathroom door frame (and others), also our window sills. Such a quick fix when you don't wish to lug out a paint can and brush!

Really, I've wondered how I ever got along without this stuff.


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Monday, August 27, 2018

It's Still a Wonderful Life (No, Really)


‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’   ...  Jeremiah 7:23


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So I'm sitting here in my pretty aqua summer nightgown, my wet hair dripping after a shower and with no make-up. (Feel free to fervently thank God you can't see me.)  ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

You (I) can't get any more comfortable than this and how good of Him to, through people, invent this Internet so I, we, can fling encouragement over zillions of miles.

Most times when I encourage folks, especially via writing, there's an ease, an unexplainable 'boost' which--when I'm just being oh-hum-me--is missing. Those ol' regular hours I'm quite vanilla and do not speak as I do in this blog (just ask those who best know me).

But I hope you've experienced for yourself the other-- that godly ease, that boost. Gee, it makes serving God, easier, and how good of Him to provide that grace, that anointing.

Yet sometimes, like last night! God purposely tweaks things, nudges us right out of our awfully-pleasant Comfort Zones--and down the road.

See, around 5:00 pm (in heat, humidity), we drove (through New York state thruways where, nervously, I grip the door's arm rest) to that (loud) restaurant where Naomi and Justin play (and I must scream in Tom's ear and strain hard, lip-read even, so to listen to folks beside me).

If you've read here long, you know that home is where ol' Debra's heart prefers to be. 

But oh, the afterward time! After I got there and saw how happy it made Naomi and Justin, after I heard their wonderful music with their violinist friend this time, after I (at God's nudging)encouraged, individually, 3 of Naomi's friends and after the more peaceful route home via our former old-timey town with 25 years of memories I'd never trade?

Oh, afterward comes Joy. 

Yes, that joy unspeakable and only known after obedience and helping and being kind. And after letting God use you, even if, first, you had to march through what you feared and didn't prefer in order to reach what you love--

--that which you are called to do during your short time here. With godly ease to help you.








It's still a wonderful life--with God--you know. Even these days with trouble all around. Even so.


But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit [the spiritual illumination and the enabling of the Holy Spirit] for the common good."  ... 1 Corinthians 12:7 


"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them...  if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching ... the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness."   ... Romans 12:6-8




             (A special thanks to Danielle R. for the photo from last night.)


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Wow. There I was at our dining room table reading a new-to-me Janet Lambert book and this passage, below, stopped my breath. 

(To a young actor, Christy said), 

"I guess you like acting... I suppose it's fun if you know how."

(To which he replied --)

"It's wonderful. It's like flying or fighting dragons or running up a high hill or riding on a roller coaster."



Yippee! That's it. 

For decades, often, I've felt similarly--

--when I've sensed that God used me
--gave me words I'd never have thought of, myself,
--and nudged me out of 'that boat'
--to walk out on that scary water
--to encourage all those people
--when my natural inclination was to, instead, just hide.

But oh, Just Hiders and the Just Fearful leave this Earth unfinished, unfulfilled, unhappy: 


The bakers, sew-ers or singers who did not bake, sew or sing!
The repairers, helpers, designers who did not repair, help or design!
The painters, writers, teachers who did not paint, write or teach!


These (and many others) end their days in a sad discomfort--and who wants that?

Choose more, my friends. Step out of the boat and always, always choose more.







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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Gossip, Gossip Everywhere


"Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered." ...Proverbs 11:13


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So for awhile I freely read articles written by/about folks all angry-wild regarding President Trump's election. 

I felt uncomfortable doing this but, truthfully, all the spinning-eyed screaming fascinated me. I've been around a long time, but had never seen this before. (Please tell me you get that.)

Then one afternoon in my discomfort it's as though my conscience quipped, "You know you're reading gossip, right?"

Huh? Goody-two-shoes me?

So I looked up the definition of gossip--



1. Rumor or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature.
2. person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or 
facts.
3. a conversation involving malicious chatter or rumors about 
other people.
4. Gossiper: someone who enjoys talking idly, especially about the affairs of others; to go 
about tattling.


Oh my.

Now (I felt) it's not like I was spreading what I read. Sheesh, I kept most of it to myself or, ok, discussed it with Tom only (that doesn't count, does it? heh). 

No, but I was more-hungrily-than-I'll-confess reading what others were spreading. Like one who dines, who partakes in what gossipers had cooked up, sitting there at the table beside them, nibbling away, silently--but listening with both ears.

Gulp.

Now, this is what I experienced, how I felt and I'm sure some of you are thinking up sometimes-it's-fine exceptions. That's ok--you do as you feel led.

Anyway, since then I've cut waaay back on similar 'news articles' and have, sadly, stepped away from friends (unfollowed, like at Facebook) 'involved with malicious chatter.' Well, occasionally I check on them because, hey! 1.) I still care about them and 2.) I hope they've moved on to better, more vital Life things. I peek to see if they're at least praying for our President (and others) rather than wishing the whole kit and caboodle, ill will.

And some, whew, have ceased their hysteria and switched to a calmer mode of discontent where strong walls fold down and God can speak more clearly.

And that's what I long for us all--God's point of view honored and gossip abandoned for a finer truth, even one whose dead-center appears hard to grasp, but where peace abides inside--anyway--no matter the upheaval 'round us.







"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."   ... Ephesians 4:29



“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” 
― Henry Thomas Buckle




The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
    they go down into the inner parts of the body."   ... Proverbs 18:8  (And personally, I don't want those kinds of morsels down in my inner parts. Who knows what trouble they'll cause down there?)



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



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Tom and I so enjoyed Reverie, a show about people longing to escape their present lives into a virtual world they could create exactly as they wished.

Rather timely content, I'm thinking.

Yet week after week they showed us the flaws of that, why escapism isn't a good permanent choice and why some dreams just cannot be.

Really, such a perfect summer show, for me especially, when the humidity had me wishing, longing for somewhere else much cooler where I could actually spend time outside. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Check it out here or On Demand, Hulu,  Amazon, etc.


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Oh, and recently I wanted a piece of glass to top this 'book table' beneath the window--







-- and found such a great price for one at Store Supply Warehouse, a place I'd never heard of. But I saw, like, a bazillion positive ratings there, so took a chance.

Wow. The glass (I ordered a shelf in a nearly perfect size) arrived quickly, in one piece and I'll definitely use this company again in my quest to make this little house more of what I like.

Just thought I'd mention this store. Take a look at what they have, here.


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Monday, August 20, 2018

Summer. Ugh(?)


 "I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."   ...   Isaiah 41:10


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Usually I love God's inventions. I do! But summer? Eh. I wish He'd never thought up summer.

Okay, maybe it's not that bad, but truly, this constant humidity chases me back into the house, after it turns me all zombie-like  --










(Well, the blood is exaggerated, but the rest seems accurate. heh.)  ๐Ÿ˜‰


By now, mid-August? I'm staring out the window at my yard and garden, longing to pack it all up. I've had enough of planting, growing, clipping, raking, mowing, all while trying not to faint. Heck, now I look up at the sky and think, "Wow, a freak snowstorm would be awesome."

Okay, okay. You get the idea. Just wanted to check-in and let you know why I've not been here. 

But also? To say, while wilting 'round here, God's still teaching lessons, especially acceptance ones--


"You need to slow down. And be wise--don't complain these months away."
"Give yourself permission to rest. It's ok."
"If you'll rely on My strength, My schedule, the important tasks will get done."
"If you'll listen, I'll calm your heart, give you joy and Life will still be stuffed with wonder. Can you trust me to do this?"
"This summer heat and humidity, too, shall pass."


That God of ours! He can make my kinda-helpless hours remarkable, even when I'd rather be rushing around, finishing things undone. But He assures me, over and again, all will be well. Projects will be completed. In time.

He's so wonderful that way (even if He did create summertime).  ๐Ÿ˜‰










"All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well."      ----Julian of Norwich


"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."  ... Psalm 73:26


"This is a test. This is only a test."   ... copied





(A special thanks to Dolores for sharing the Victorian-ish paintings at Facebook.)




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And speaking of Facebook, if you're there---


Have you checked out Mike Rowe's mom's page yet? What a hoot is this woman! Rather like dear Erma Bombeck come-back-to-life.

Check out her delightful, much-needed-these-days humor here. I especially liked the post which begins, "My husband has never had an emotion he didn't share,"  and also the post describing museum trips with her husband "where no word goes unread."

(When the 2nd edition of her book comes out, I'm definitely buying one.)


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Oh and something which 'saved my summer'? Janet Lambert's books.

Now, I've read some of these since age 15 (back when covered wagons crossed the plains--ha!), but this summer I added never-read-before-ones to my collection. 

Oh, totally devoured these.

My favorites are the two series centering around the Parrish and Jordon families. What a treat that they intertwine, the early days (1940's) with both young families living on an army base and in later years, both becoming connected through various marriages. Check them out here, here and here. Also check them out individually at abebooks.com and ebay.com.

Oh, and I enjoyed Janet's daughter's obituary (oh my, she was 96, which blows my mind because her mom's books--though ok, a bit dated--still feel so relevant and not all that old to me.).

Anyway, you might enjoy the obit, also. Jeanne sounded like quite an adventurous, upbeat person.  Go here.






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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Grace. Use It Or Lose It.


"But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”   ... James 4:6


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Every single day I peek into my town's houses.

Ok, calm down. I look via Realtor.com. ๐Ÿ˜Š I'm just an ol' house lover at heart. Can't help myself.

See the house at the top of this post? Yesterday I spied it. Sixty-three years old and it's being sold by the original owners(!) 

Tom and I attend estate sales at those and always know when a married couple lived there forever. How? The vintage furniture and knick knacks (especially those in the basement), the carpet, flooring, the bedroom paint colors--all obvious hints. 

We're like Original House Owners Detectives now.

Some kitchens make me gasp, "The poor woman! Imagine spending 6 decades in there." But oh, not this time. Call me nutso (you will), but I'd take this kitchen as it stands--






Ol' 'Vintage Is Better Debra' could have some major retro decorating fun in that kitchen.

And ok, I would replace this carpet in the living/dining room (50 year old carpet being, well, 50 year old carpet) --



But (hold onto something, ok?)--I'd replace it with the same shade of green.

No, really.

And some people would remove the wall to the entry area/room with the big coat closet, but not me--




Nope, I'd leave the wall and decorate that tiny area adorably.

Of course, there's the obligatory green bedroom--




But you simply must see this hiding in the basement--wildly, it's the second one I've seen this week(!) --







Oh my goodness. 

Can't you see the ladies with their hair in pastel perm curlers? Women wearing vintage aqua plastic covers, sitting beneath hair dryers, reading magazines or getting their nails done at the tiny table?

Man, oh man. Another room I'd not touch. No, I'd sneak down there often to escape this crazy world and probably play 'beauty parlor' like I used to as a little girl.

Ahh. Houses like that one are a major reason I love Western New York. Tons of folks here stay all their married lives in just one home. 

Now, could I have done that? No--Grace wasn't upon me that way, for I've craved more variety and housing adventures these nearly 40 years of married life.

But now, oh, move me into a house like that one and I'd play Retro Lady until I went all grey and pokey. I'd buy a few old style dresses, wear my aprons and curl my hair (down in that beauty parlor, but of course). My vintage radio music would waft 'round, retro magazines would lay, scattered, and not one iota would I care that we weren't updating the house for a future sale.

Nope, we'd just grow old together, Tom, the house and me. We'd play a 1950's through 1970's sort of Life Game and yes, probably slip happily into a Vintage Land of Senility.

But hey, there are worse places.

Anyway, stay tuned. That house costs more than we'd like to pay, but other very similar ones in a less expensive part of town often pop up.

But in the meantime? Gee, I need to receive more Grace and stop complaining about this meant-to-be-temporary house of mine. For hey, all houses on Earth are temporary (and I chew on that awhile).

May I remember to stop believing happiness comes by my trying so hard to get what I want.
No, may I, instead, receive Grace.
Grace's help and awesome creativity.
Her timing, stamina and imagination.

May I seek to receive from God rather than doing things on my own, without His strength, His 'ok'.

Receive and be joyful, at peace and contented on my way to the permanent home God's building for me just down the street from His.







" I worked hard, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me."   ... 1 Corinthians 15:10



(Oh, and I'm not just talkin' houses here--but you probably figured that out.)


Perhaps we didn't complete our goal because we tried doing it, ourselves. Alone.


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A special thanks to my friend, Betty, who let me know that these plates, below--





... are called Ma and Pa plates. I have four in my kitchen now, but where are those three in the photo? I couldn't have sold them before we moved--or could I? Perhaps they're still packed away (nearly 7 years later) down in the basement. Sigh.

But I'm grateful to finally know what they're called. I can now look them up online and occasionally find them.



(These are a sandwich plate size, found for just .25 cents each at a yard sale)


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Naomi shared this at Facebook and oh my, after nearly 40 years of married-life I still often feel this way. Guess I'd better ask for--and receive--more Grace!





(Anyone else?)   ๐Ÿ˜


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