Thursday, February 28, 2019

Got Peace?

"And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]." ...Philippians 4:7


So! I mentioned on Facebook that Tom's on a business trip in Illinois and afterward I received a few meme's about not feeling sad, but trusting in God.


I'd had that fun, vacation-y feeling so, oy! The meme's felt odd. As in, sent from other folks' frame of reference, not mine.

Though, yes! I appreciate it when friends look out for me, of course.

But really, such palpable peace has blanketed me these days and I even--

Walked to the coffee shop
Organized more stuff
Put together my Ebay'd cupboard, though backwards in spots so the back can't be attached. heh. But it looks sweet.

I've eaten dinner for lunch (and slept terrific), 
Played with the cats
Read books and watched scandalous amounts of tv
I've shoveled snow, hung-out online, wiped down the kitchen (when the sun shone bright upon all the crumbs, grease and dirt) and done as little laundry as possible.

It's been awesome.

Though yes, clearly, I probably don't understand the concept of vacations. ッ

But something I do understand? Even in 2019 we don't have to be down when the rest of the world is. With God we can be resilient! He can give us a new attitude, a creative one and joy-filled while completing the specific plan He has for us here.

We do not have to become just another bitter old Facebook spouter:

Oh no,no,no. 

Please, Life's too short to spend hours complaining about those who're doing it wrong. Oh, if we'd just, before it's too late, do rather than moan. Show, not just tell. If we'd obey God, letting the joy of that move us on to the next thing--what a life that would be.

Spending time with God, obeying, moving on and --

Making people thirsty for the God they see in us.
Staying awake to daily miracles.
Overflowing with gratitude--

--and living these final still-precious years with God's peace which doesn't make sense. 

It's a strong peace, even in the bad times. A peace which grips us tight, even while the world tries to unravel our minds.

Yes, that peace.

He has made everything beautiful in its time."  ... Ecclesiastes 3:11

Even if tons of people mire down in their bitterness, I want to move on ahead, to complete what God created me to do down here-- in joy. 

Yelling at the world about how wrong they've got everything will not make them hunger for the God who loves them with all His heart.


So I'm binge watching old NCIS reruns (Netflix) and at the end of one (s. 10, ep. 17), this song pulled me in. Oh, so soothing, like what could easily lull you to a peaceful sleep.

I shared it with Tom via email and he found it awesome, also. (Not only is it wonderful to have God if your spouse travels for business, but the Internet, as well.)  ツ


Oh! And remember when I said my local barista got married? Here's a favorite photo she shared at Facebook. (Happy sigh.)


Saturday, February 23, 2019

Please Say Good-Bye

"Do not be selfish ... Rather, in humility value others above yourselves..."   ... Philippians 2:3


In Blogland I have seen this. It bothers me, much.

Women set-up a blog, begin writing about themselves, their unique life and husbands and kids. We, their followers, know their children's names as well as our own, we leave comments, even making new friends of not just the blogger, but fellow commenters (whose blogs we zip over and visit, also.) The original blogger writes for years. She shares tons of photos, stories, personal problems, even, answers comments, does the occasional give-away and even says she appreciates (dare I say loves) us, her readers.

And then it all stops. 
Just goes silent. 
Becomes another 'house' in the ghost town section of Blogland.

People leave increasingly frantic comments asking, "What's wrong? Where are you?" But questions go unanswered and eventually, not allowed. Comment sections becomes closed.

And now? We have only memories of earlier fun times, though sadly, sullied now by disappointed, even morbid thoughts which creep in. "What happened to her? Was there a family tragedy? Did she become ill? Was there violence? Heavens, has she died?"

She's gone now, as is the anticipation for her posts. For her. That's all we know for certain.

It's just unsettling-ly, over. We have special memories, but now? We've also a wariness crawling into our hearts regarding the present blogs we read. "Will the hurt happen again with this blog?", we wonder. 


And to be fair? I've watched this also happen on Facebook, Twitter and via emails I used to receive from friends I met online.

So today my message is simple. 

Please--if you decide to take a break from blogging? Leave a post with at least one simple sentence telling us so. 

Do we require a long, detailed, difficult-for-you explanation? No. Not even. Just please tell us you need time away. That you'll return if you can, but in the meantime, you wish us well.

And yes, our curious brains will likely spark deductions as to why you're leaving, but you know? That's better than our later guessing whether you're ill, grieving, lonely--or even dead.

And for the rest? Facebook, Twitter, emails--or even Real Life? There, too, please don't just drop out. Okay, if suddenly you're swept into the Witness Protection Program or something similar--yeah.

But for anything else? Please tell us, those you love--good-bye. 

Yes, sometimes that requires boldness, but God would call it kindness. Respect. Real love, even. A love which thinks of others more highly than ourselves. A love which would hate to blanket upon others any form of mental uneasiness or fear.

Please, be brave enough to speak your good-byes. Remember, they matter--to all of us.

“Remember me and smile, for it's better to forget than to remember me and cry.” 
― Dr. Seuss

"So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith."   ... Galations 6:10


Ooooo.... I've a feeling my fellow lovers of vintage kitchens will enjoy this one (read about it here). (Thanks again, Judy, for sharing this at Facebook!)

The cool thing? For many folks, this photo, above, would be their Before photo. But for Lauryn and Dennis--it's their After.


"Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive."

--Stephan Labossiere via Twitter


Wednesday, February 20, 2019


"Gratitude. It's like a renewable energy source."



Sunday morning Tom and I both awoke with a mysterious not-horrible-but-still-tiresome sickness and finally this morning I'm feeling like good ol' Debra again.

Or nearly so. I'd hoped to return to the coffee shop today, but nah. Sloshing through the snow is still a bit beyond me. Darn.

But otherwise? Oh my. How wonderful when your strength returns and you can get back to work!

Yes, you read that correctly. 

Sometimes we forget that work is a blessing God gave us. It means something to Him. It matters. Hey, even the Bible says--

"... If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat."   ... 2 Thessalonians 3:10

And although I appreciated my time-off upon the guest bed and the red couch with God while watching favorite tv shows and being lazy, oh! How marvelous to return to--

paying bills,
organizing, etc.

No, seriously. 

Caring for, appreciating and washing the presents, the home, God lovingly gives me is a blessing. (Try viewing your possessions as presents unwrapped from God. Beneath the Gratitude Lamp, they glow.)

Some folks resent their housework(!), their jobs, but not me, especially now that my strength has returned. No, on this Wednesday I'll celebrate my return to Normal, the normal which God--over years of learning and changing--helped me create. 

A Normal I wouldn't trade with anyone. (No offense.)

And thank Heaven I love that normal, for whew! My life sure has a ton of it.

"You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you."   ... Psalm 128:2

Everything matters to God. Everything. We should beware if we begin believing only 'the big things' do. 

Oh, and while I was sick? I kept reminding myself to stay far from self-pity (lest I speak stupid predictions) and kept repeating, "This, too, shall pass." A lot.

And for those like my friend, Carolyn, who may worry lest I take on too much too soon? Fear not. Always, at times like these, I recall what happened to Almanzo Wilder in The First Four Years. Weird, but true. Alas.


What I'll also return to today? Organizing around my home before Spring (and her outside chores) returns.

Here's an example-- and even though the Before photo is downright embarrassing--here you go:



(With a grateful nod to Kathryn at Do It On a Dime.)


Oooo. I found this mesmerizing (enlarge for the 'wow results')--

                            (Photo taken by PJ Parkhurst during one of our ice storms.)


And oh my! I shared this Kindle book with you earlier--

--but that was before I knew it was the best .55 cents I ever spent.

Some of the included books are absolutely marvelous, whisking me far away to adventure in the 1930's on these dark winter days of 2019.

My favorites so far?

                (Felt like I'd gone on vacation after this one. Had a touch of Gone-Away Lake to it, that is, how it was originally as a resort.)

(Gee, I was right there staying in the old-fashioned hotel with Mary Louise. So cool.)

                    (This was so much fun, well, I can't even explain it.)  ツ


It's the passionately thankful people who most enjoy the life God gave them.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

And a Happy Kinda Dauncey Valentines Day to You

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."   ... Jeremiah 29:11


Remember when Lucy Ricardo, before discovering she's pregnant, tells Ethel she's been feeling 'dauncey', her grandmother's word 'for when you're not really sick, but just feel lousy'?

Well, my Valentine's Day morning began that way. 

Man. I'd waited nearly 2 weeks for my coffee shop to open again after Amy's honeymoon--and then? Today I just didn't feel like going. (And according to Facebook they're serving my favorite muffin--brown sugar and cinnamon! Sigh.) 

Perhaps part of it is that yesterday our sump-pump died, flooding a corner of our basement, so I called our go-to plumbers, but only after I waded through the water and lugged stuff around to clear space for the guys. 

(Fortunately nothing was ruined since I'm a big believer in "Expect the best, but prepare for the worst," and long ago I'd placed everything upon plastic bins.) 

Of course, much hurrying up and down stairs, answering the phone, checking in with Tom, cleaning bits of the house and later mopping-up that basement corner (on my hands and knees; long story) was also involved. 

By nightfall I could barely move.

Oh and one of the plumbers didn't latch the storm door and one of many crazy wind gusts (it was this type of morning) --

---whipped the storm door open and snapped the spring-thingy at the bottom, busting it. Alas. But he was nice and I didn't throw a fit. 

Besides, at least I could tell Tom it wasn't my fault. (Tom gets kinda weird-panicky about only 3 things in Life: walking on ice, water damage in the house and broken storm doors. So oh boy, what a red letter day for him, too. heh. Actually, he handled it all really well.)

Anyway, this morning I played cafe at home (again) and slowly I'm--whew-- feeling better. The Luna bar and half-caff coffee (and bits of prayer) have helped--and the sun! The sun's gleaming for the first time in days.

And it's Valentine's Day! A day (as I see it) to appreciate friendships and also, my reminder that Winter cannot much longer sling his chilled darkness, snow and ice around.

Whew. Even with the disappointments of the past 24 hours (did I mention the sump pump had to be replaced to the tune of a few hundred dollars?)--

Life with God is still very good.
These 'glitches' could've been much worse.
I'm feeling more like my healthy self as the moments go by.

And this, too, shall pass. Want to make disasters out of small things?
 Forget that nothing on Earth lasts forever and then make permanent (disastrous) decisions about temporary problems.

Please never do that, ok?

Instead, ask God for His encouragement (best not to wait around for people to speak it), then believe for a future day which will mega-make-up for a rough present one.

God is especially good at creating marvelous future days--and giving us Himself and a strong hope in the meantime. 

You know, to sweeten all our days, good, bad or kinda dauncey.

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. 
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you.” 

― A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner


Oh! Now this movie-- The Bookshop-- certainly appears to have possibilities, right?


       Happy Valentine's Day to all you wonderful friends out there!

... and for those who mailed me Valentines, I do thank you with all my heart! Totally made my Valentines Day an extra special one (and helped make up for my not getting to the coffee shop).

Again, thanks so much!


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

When An Old Thing Feels Like a New Thing

“Behold, I am making all things new.”   ... Revelation 21:5


So finally I'm back and here simply to answer the eternal question: "Does the math they teach you in school even help later in Real Life?"

Yes. Yes, it does. ツ

See, for two weeks I've used more math (and had more near-headaches) than I'd had in, oh, three years. And mostly it's all Kathryn from Do It On a Dime's fault.

Due to her inspiration, I'm still reorganizing drawers and cupboards and suddenly half my life (it feels like) became one long math word problem.


You've got 22-inch shelves with a depth of 12 inches so how many baskets can you fit across them and what dimensions of the baskets do you need to buy? (And where can you purchase them and not explode your household budget?)


You want to add a cutlery tray to your desk drawer, but the height is less than 2 inches and they don't make those. So then you must search your house for boxes you can (measure and) cut down to size (boxes you'd love to spray-paint, but hey, it's snowing outside, Silly.)

So many notes! Scribbling! Numbers! 

Or that space in our bathroom where I'd love to place a cabinet/anything storage-related, but hours later, I discover just one thing in all of Internet Land that fits. 

Though yikes, the cost was nutso. But then God had mercy-- and led me to one that was $50 less(!) (And I'm not even mentioning Tom's portable living room table broke, so that means more specific dimensions I must search-out online.)

Yet oh, it becomes a wonderful mind-stretching adventure when I stop veering off Grace's track/schedule. It all works out somehow--when I move when she does and park it when Grace says, "Rest."

Also? God has this mysterious way of making old tasks feel new.Things we've done for 40 years can feel--if not exciting--then enough to make us all anticipatory of what can happen today on our specific, for-such-a-time-as-this journey. 

If we don't force things and keep working past Grace's cut off, thus becoming wild with frustration, especially when treating it all like a race we must win--or else.

How easy to go there, right? (And yeah, I visited there a couple times lately. er hem.)

Oh, but when we follow Grace--how sweet it is. The hours, days of our listening close to the One who knows us--and our future--best--

--that's how we'll enjoy the journey. On Grace's track, not our cattywampus Reasoning Track.

Today are you loving your life even before all your personal pesky ducks are swimming in a row? And even if maybe your head, too, is spinning with your own version of never-ending math problems?

I hope so. I pray so, for God has made ways for us to enjoy whatever needs to be done. And He can make it all feel new again--and us as well. 

No really, He can. He's just waiting for us to ask, to seek and to find Him in the quiet places. And to admit His ways are much higher (and better) than our own.

As we grow older God doesn't want us to become all been-there-done-that bored. Perhaps that's one reason He keeps making things feel new for us.

The birth of new knowledge begins with an admission of old ignorance." --- Orrin Woodward


A movie I can recommend? Dog Days. Not the type of film I'd normally watch, but on a Saturday, none of our tv shows had updated On Demand and we were desperate.  ツ

We both enjoyed it much.


Today I finished reading Scraps of Paper and these were two of my favorite lines--

"The asphalt road before her car was shimmering in the summer's heat and the steering wheel under her hands felt good. She was in search of a new life because the past was unchangeable, but the future wasn't."

From Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith (via Kindle, where you'll still find it free, at least as of today.)


God, Himself, wants to lead us. Only He knows where we need to be.


Tuesday, February 05, 2019

But What Did You Do With Your Disappointment?

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."... Philippians 4:6-7

"We can fight disappointment with gratitude."


Every Tuesday I walk over to the coffee shop.  Every. Single. Tuesday. 

All weekend I anticipate sitting at the formica table with real coffee, a muffin and (often) Michael Buble singing while I read or stare out the tall front windows at the river, sprawling hotel and houses.

The other two days I go, vary, but always you'll spy me in the window on Tuesdays.

Yet can I go today? Noooooo. Why not? Because Amy The Barista is on her honeymoon and the cafe will remain closed till Valentine's Day. By then, it will have been dark 10 whole business days(!)

Of course, hey. I'm thrilled for Amy down there in warm Florida (must be nice) with her new hubby, but what about meeeee?

Heh.  I'll tell you what about me. I'll play cafe here at home. 

Like this morning--I made pancakes (with leftover weekend batter) and coffee and sat at our dining room table before my own tall windows. It's crazy-grey outside, but the weak light pours in and I used my small table lamp. Vintage music played from my kitchen radio.

These crazy times in which we all live? I think we forget we still have choices.

We can choose to be bummed-out because the Times, they have changed (like, not for the better). Or we can use our imaginations and reliance upon God to create a darn nice life for ourselves.

Whiners miss out. Wimp out. Settle.
But creative types?  They tweak things, make versions of what they want--and have fun. 

Lately I've had to remind myself of this. For instance, Tom and I had planned (for years) to have a 'closet' built onto his room at the front of the house, so that--after he retires--his room could become more of a Man Cave. But then he spoke over the phone to a contractor who pretty much said, "It's gonna be way more complicated and expensive than you thought, Buddy."

(Unfortunately, Tom chose to tell me that bit of news while I had a sinus headache. We'll draw a curtain across how that went. Er hem.)

So. The plan has changed. Instead of adding on a closet we're considering making Tom's entire room a closet, rather like this--

He's even begun drawing-up plans, getting rid of things and considering who to call for professional help. (Ha, ha---no, not for his head.)  シ

And me? Besides the playing-cafe-at-home thing, I'm continuing to watch Do It On a Dime for more creative solution ideas, reorganizing drawers and cupboards using what I already have and also ordering some storage containers, as well--

--and reminding myself to be thankful for this sweet little house which God provided for us, the one in a perfect location but oh, if only it were a tad larger and had actual storage.....   ツ

Yes, it's a messy world out there, but oh Honey! That doesn't mean our own little worlds (or families or our heads) must also be a mess. No way.

After all, 'greater is He who is within us than he who is within this world of strife'.

We can still, even in 2019, create our own world, you know. Customize it. Make it the best it can be. Paint and build and fix what's broken or annoying. Use the gifts, courage and imagination God gave us to make the majority of it, well, wonderful. Not just for us, either, but for others who people our world.

Some friends tell me it's all impossible, but I shake my head and step away. Instead, I'm choosing to listen to Someone whose words I believe so much more.

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ."  ... Colossians 3:23

"When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in."

 --Kristin Armstrong


Seriously, Kathryn from Do It on a Dime amazes me. She's the only You-tuber who I've never fast-forwarded because she spoke too slowly or rambled down bunny trails. Nope. She's just right.  😏

And are my newly-organized drawers as adorable/neat/clever as Kathryn's?

Nah. But they make Tom and me happy--and that's what counts.

Oh, and while organizing, I've been listening to I Love Lucy and you know? Hours afterward, it feels like Lucy, Ethel, Ricky and Fred had actually been here at my house, if not helping, then keeping me company.

Weird, right?


Oh! And have you seen this new way of hanging curtains? Wow. Why didn't someone think of this sooner??