Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Empty Nest = Whole New World

"He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength."  ...Isaiah 40:29


So a friend on Facebook is becoming an empty nester. She asked for (and received) some terrific advice, yet several of the comments--oh my! They bummed me out. 

Some women still were mentally reeling around the ol' empty nest even years later. Yikes!

Hey, I'm not without empathy. I still say releasing Naomi was, emotionally, the hardest thing I've ever done. Ever. Done. Go living one way for 20 years, then lose that? Oh, it can feel like a death.

And in a way, it was a death to what I'd known, loved and poured my creative energy and decades of a cozy type of nurturing into.

But yet all seeds of potential green productive plants must 'die,' first. Seeds only cowering in darkness beneath the soil, not opening with their potential to warmth and water, eventually mold into nothingness.

And who wants that?

But oh, after the death, the grieving? If we choose to embrace this new life, we can awaken to a surprising one with freedom to:

Learn to fly, figuratively or in actuality.

Travel where we'd complained for decades we couldn't and/or learn every detail about those faraway places. Or visit (finally) all those local places of interest we've procrastinated seeing.

Study subjects which fascinate us: Art/history/architecture/zoology/psychology/writing/decorating/nutrition/ landscaping/ fashion/communication/nature/ calligraphy, etc., maybe becoming adept enough to classroom-teach others.

Become friends with that neighbor who's always interested us from our windows. Perhaps start a neighborhood book club, morning coffee group, kindness-gift-outings or form yearly block parties.

Learn how to organize, declutter our homes, making our new life more comfortable, efficient. We can clean what we've meant to clean for years.  ツ

Regularly visit that coffee shop, craft store, hobby club, etc., creating new friendships with like-minded souls. 

Become that expert baker, chef, counselor, seamstress, pianist, teacher, singer, author, scrapbooker, movie critic, volunteer, etc. we'd toyed with becoming for years.

Start a whole new career, one sparking from our gifts this time, the ones we actually enjoy doing. Return to college and also, create a fun wardrobe we'll look terrific in and enjoy wearing in this new life.

Read all those books or magazines we'd longed to and/or study 'prepping' in myriad ways, preparing for anything with which this crazy world may, in the future, try 'slime-ing us'.

Take Overcoming Sorry Habits courses steering us away from that which traps us within our own heads. Perhaps meet, in-person, that favorite author/teacher/musician/You-Tuber who has helped us in myriad ways.

Oh! And now we can start that collection of books or bells or unicorns or cast iron decor or vintage phones or ? that we've always meant to.

Or if we can't shake our love for caring for children? We can become caretakers for other families, creating remarkable days tiny ones will recall into adulthood.

Seriously, in hundreds of ways we can stretch, grow, but what to realize? We must step out to find out. Blaming, making excuses or waiting for rescuers won't lead us to our customized second-half of Life.

No, we must reach. Up or out or in or down--whatever--we must seek until we find, not waiting for someone else do it all for us. How can another person create our personalized, meant-to-live second half of our God-designed life?

And yes, it takes courage-- and God. 

Yet both, always, are there, standing, waiting, for the reachers. Both long to lead us to bright places we'd thought didn't exist this side of Heaven.

Our greatest limitation? Our fear-framed, excuse-finding imagination. 


Always looking backward cannot take us future-forward to places God meant to lead us.


So cute, right?


Friday, March 22, 2019

You Know Grocery Prices Will Rise, Right?

"Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."   ... Psalm 139:16


Every weekday morning I read The Economic Collapse Blog. Every. Weekday. Morning.

I just do, okay? 

Michael Snyder covers mega more than just financial stuff, though. He'll touch on Israel's updates, our wild weather, government shenanigans, etc., most from a biblical perspective.

And ok, he can go all, "The Sky Is Falling! The Sky Is Falling!" Yet those times I just mentally snip the commotion in half--and then proceed from there with my calm little head. 

And through the years? Michael has helped me (enormously) in my great quest to Be Prepared For Anything. He keeps me motivated, inspired. Picture me tipping my hat to him.

Anyway, his post today was one I saw coming since news regarding the Nebraska floods:

Government Warns Of Historic, Widespread Flooding “Through May"--Food Prices To Skyrocket As 1000s Of Farms Are Destroyed.

Yikes, right? (And an exquisite example of one where I'll do that 'cutting in half' thing. heh.)  

At my house, I try always to keep 2 months' worth of groceries. Am I an example of those wacky prepper ladies you see on tv with their home-style haircuts, squeezing between their basement aisles of groceries?

Nah. But I aim for that.  ツ

And really, today's post is just one of my occasional pragmatic warnings. (I do love to be practical you, my readers, know.)

So here you are:

Grocery prices will be going up. Possibly a lot. So you may want to save money now by buying--what you can--ahead.

Will it save you a ton of money? Maybe not. But call me Old School if you wish-- I believe I can (and should) do my part as a homemaker to keep our costs, low. To spend what Tom carries home, wisely--and in this case--possibly avoid actual future food shortages.

Oodles of times God whispers ahead to folks,"Something is coming, so prepare early." He gives us much time, usually, for 'He knows we are but (stubborn) dust."

Does He always give futuristic details? All the 'whys'? Nope, just sometimes. (God's pretty big about this walking by faith stuff. People who must know all the details before taking a step, generally, bog down in the road.)

But if we're truly listening, He will give us 'promptings'.  Unexplainable kinds of  'knowing' to perhaps--

Read this (specific information). Study that. 
Learn that new skill. 
Watch that Youtube video your friend recommended.
Look into prepping/canning/knitting. Collect certain how-to books.
Make that financial investment (or get out of one).
Collect recipes for meatless/5 ingredient/pantry (etc.) meals.
Get back into shape.
Do research on building, bartering, gardening, camping, etc.

I've discovered God's far more specific than we believe Him to be. And that His warnings often come years before the difficult times arrived so---

We can spend money wisely and have food/cash/gas/energy supplies before a shortage.
We can become emotionally/mentally strong before facing an extremely emotional time.
We can move to just the right house/town and meet just the right neighbors.
...and so much more.

When we listen to-- rather than ignore--God? We spend our years feeling calmer. Leaning against His shoulder we hear His whispers and allow Him to hold us and cheer us up through it all.

Really, through everything.

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."  ... Isaiah 43:19

What I love about God? He gives us whatever we need to do whatever He asks.

Oh, and wanted to add: As I've learned the trials and errors of prepping, we've eaten quite a few cans of 'expired' food. And lived to tell the tale. And have felt fine.

The thing to watch for? Any cans with rust, bulges or leaks. Those are the ones to toss.


Speaking of food, here's a so-encouraging article you may want to read:

82-Year-Old Woman With Dementia Gets Her Memory Back After Changing Her Diet

And as I said at Facebook, the article had me racing into my kitchen for walnuts, blueberries and sweet potatoes.   ツ


"God put in you what you need for this day. This is your time to shine. Get rid of those limiting excuses. Stay open to new ideas and new ways of doing things." ... Joel Osteen


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

March This and That

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."   ... Romans 8:28


1.) Naomi shared this at Facebook--

--so true and it reminded me of self-spoken words around my house: "Well, that's a little better. And better is, well, better."  

Anyone can improve their lives a tiny bit each day. Anyone.

2.) Had to chuckle at this --

Yes, real Springtime won't arrive here for weeks yet--but still! We can watch for the tips of bulbs poking up from the soil, robins, purple crocus and occasional warmer temperatures for encouragement. Plus, we can do many indoor Spring cleaning chores so we'll be freer for the outdoor ones when they finally arrive.

(And did you recognize a tiny Shaun from The Good Doctor?  Freddie Highmore--wow. Excellence every single week.) 

3.) Yikes! Last week I felt myself feeling so bored that I thought, "Maybe I'll check my email Spam Folder. Might be something interesting in there."

(Yep, that's mighty bored, right?)  シ

4.) Okay, now I enjoy Norah Jones', Don't Know Why, as much as the next gal, but oh my! Did you listen to Ashley Hess sing that song on American Idol? 

Ooooo. Tom and I were, like, "Wow. Forget the silliness of the upcoming Idol competition--just give Ashley her album contract. Now

I'd buy her cd tomorrow. Truly. (Perhaps another reason I like her? She reminds me of many of my friends' older sisters from the 1960's and 70's.)

Listen to her audition here. Short on time? Forward to where she sits at the piano. (You may need to unmute the video.)

5.) So are you searching for a cheaper cell phone/plan? You might want to check Google Phone. Tom bought their phone (and the plan/whatever) two years ago and was paying $59 monthly. Now that the phone's paid off, monthly it's just $29 (or so). He said the 'downside' (if there must be one) is that Google doesn't have its own cell towers so must just ping off of whatever random towers are nearby, but that's never caused a problem for him/us (that I'm aware of).

(But do not quote me on any of this above info., okay? Look-up Google Phones yourself if you want actual a-c-c-u-r-a-c-y. heh.)

6.) Oh, and see this 'doily' beneath the bunnies? 

A birthday gift from my sweet blogging friend, Betsy, she said it was a dishcloth. But oh my--just a dishcloth? I think not. It's far, far too lovely. 

So here it will remain for all to see.

7.) And I keep forgetting to mention this--pineapple juice! That's been a lifesaver these past three winters, starting in 2016, when I had bronchitis. 

On these dry air mornings (though I do steam water, also), I still have occasional leftover chest phlegm problems. But pineapple juice breaks it all apart, enabling me to breathe easily-peasily. 

You're welcome.  ツ

8.) And yesterday while tooling around Pinterest I spied this kitchen and actually gasped --

Yes! That's it. My idea of kitchen perfection. Happy sigh.

9.) Attention fellow bird lovers! You'll find this fascinating. No, really--you will. Trust me.

10.) And last? I shared this, below, at Facebook this morning because yesterday--good grief! My head got majorly bogged-down with concentrating upon changes I cannot make to my house rather than ones I can --

So after reading (and applying) that, today, I'm assured, will feel 50 times better.

It will, for I'll be letting go in order to make room for fresh ideas not yet imagined, ones which actually will work here. And be a delight.

Enjoy your Wednesday--and happy Springtime!

    (Spied my first robin of the season this year on my birthday--what a gift!)


Regarding setting new Springtime goals? In the immortal words of Nike... Just do it.   ツ

Monday, March 18, 2019

Well, She Made It

"Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days."   ... Job 12:12


Good news! Ol' Debra survived turning the huge 6-0. She didn't even freak-out once.

Was there a wild surprise party? No, 'my village' knows one of those would've horrified me. 

(But hey, if you'd love one, I admire you--truly!)

No, early morning, Tom and I drove through the car wash, then pulling into Denny's what did we see? A sign declaring 'your birthday breakfast is free'. Wow! Did. Not. Expect. That.

Their coffee? Pour in 3 creams and it eventually tasted good. Enough. Everything else was perfection.

We dropped by Goodwill where I discovered two awesome winter tops. Look at the cool colors and texture of this one--

                          (Forgive the flash for washing out the blue.)

Nifty, right?

Back at home Facebook was like one merry, day-long it's-all-about-Debra (sane) party which, hey! Feels foreign, but lovely one day out of the year.

We'd considered visiting our local theater so I could, for the first time, use the senior discount, but instead, we chose to watch Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald. And although our aging brains barely kept up, we enjoyed the rampant creativity as much as that of the first one.

And oh, this quote! It shook me:

"Do you know why I admire you (Newt)? You do not seek power nor popularity. You simply ask, is a thing right, in itself. If it is, you do it, no matter the cost."

Lounging there upon the red couch, I determined to aim for that.

On Sunday, Naomi and Justin brought gifts and we shared pizza, wings and fun stories. Lovely, memorable hours, those.

The only mar? That morning, a house behind ours (down 7 or so) caught fire. How disconcerting it felt to watch smoke swirl past our windows and to smell it in our rooms, as well.

Thankfully, no injuries were reported, but sadly, the house is scheduled, I read, for emergency demolition. Alas. (I'm sure the family would appreciate your prayers.)

But other than that, turning 60 proved calmer for me than I'd imagined and because of feeling loved by friends and God (and my year-long pre-journey), it didn't hurt or discourage me, but felt fine. And good. And just right.

Warm-hearted perfection of a birthday. Whew.

"Who said you're sixty? You are just a 20-year-old with 40 years of experience."    ---unknown

Oh! And Donny Osmond fans-- be sure to check out this wildly delightful ecard  Naomi sent me. My, my, my... be still my heart.  ツ   (And btw, Donny's the only person who said 60 looks good on me, so hey. He's my new bff, but of course!)  

And just one more huge thank-you to those of you who contributed to making this huge birthday sweet and easier to accept! 


Much time had elapsed since a local house on Realtor.com captured my heart yet this one, below, did and has become my new measuring stick against all others.

There's so much to love about this home, below (partly it's the traditional decor  with shades of Daisy Cottage, though in brown, not red, yellow and green), though it's also that extra living room upstairs and the awesome staircase, as well.

And yes, the kitchen would be perfect as an encyclopedia photo beneath the heading, Inefficiency in a Kitchen, but hey! I like the coziness of it. Its tone. And that too-cool 1960-ish table.

Anyway, some of you may also enjoy these photos. Oh, and the house is an awesome price ($59,900), but not in the safest neighborhood 'round these parts. Alas. Always something. 

But the dreaming goes on, as well as the taking of notes as to what I like best--and figuring-out how to get at least a portion of that wherever I may live. 

(And may I prove capable, patient and creative enough to build upon that.)


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Where The Journey to 60 Ends

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day."  ... 2 Corinthians 4:16


Out at the farm on March 16, 2009, I stared into the bathroom mirror and thought, "Ugh. You're 50 today. In the 4th grade you wrote about Grandma being in her 50's--and she was old!"

Oh dear. It took me exactly one year to recover from turning 50. (Seriously.)

Then on my 51st birthday? I stared into the same mirror and told myself, "Get a grip!" I'd moved even deeper into my 50's and no way could I step backwards into my 40's, the decade I'd adored.

So I did. Get a grip, that is.

And slowly, my 5th decade got better. Oh, there were bumps, but God picked me up and really, He kept reminding me about 'guarding my heart', watching my attitude. And when I did? I healed faster.


On my 59th birthday, I determined 60 would not shove me around like 50 did. Instead, I'd spend the upcoming year preparing my mind for entering a whole new ancient decade.

I would arrive prepared for 60.

Oh, some friends told me, "Ignore the whole thing! It's just a number!" But eh. That felt all wrong for me.

No, I felt the need to emotionally get ready. Hey, I even chose a theme verse--

"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."   ... Psalm 90:12

Cool verse, right? And although some days I said, "Man, I don't want to turn 60," (and yes, I'd be reminded of the alternative), still, I noted what God was showing me about growing older--and those truths helped support me, like a cushion.

Also, they made this year feel more like an adventure, rather than a dreaded thing.

If there's something you wish to do, a legacy you want to leave? Better start now. 

And what you begin--finish. Refuse to bog down in discouragement.

Don't resent having to make changes. You won't be able to do forever what you did your first 50 years. Tweak the way you do things to fit the version of you you are now.

Ask for help, but never feel helpless. Much is still in your power to change, especially your attitude. 

Be ok with slowing down. With not rushing in mind or body. With not changing direction in a hurry, only to become dizzy. Work smarter, not harder.

Life goes by so fast. Extreme daily gratitude will slow it down a bit in a wonderful way.

Complaining is a waste, especially if it doesn't challenge you to make changes. Bitter old ladies started out as simple, average complainers.

Visit your memories--but don't camp there too long. 'Do not say the former days were better than these.'  (Ecclesiastes 7:10).

Appreciate that the wisdom you've gained through these long years is helping you make better choices. And now let it keep your attitude right, positive while moving forward.

Wonderful times are ahead.

Well, you get it.

And you know? When I turn 60 on Saturday, I'll thank God for slowing me down during my 59th year and teaching, helping me to face a whole new decade. This one will not blow me away because He helped prepare my mind for it--

---and as with any decade, He will be the best part of this new one, as well. I can't imagine walking into any decade (or day) without Him.

"Take control of the second half of your life. Dream about it, wonder about it, and think boldly about what you want. And take the first step, which is usually the hardest."     -------- Charles R. Schwab


Also, as part of my Journey to 60 I finally replaced one of my high school yearbooks which I'd given away decades ago (long story). It's from my sophomore year and I bought it cheaply via Ebay.

The wild thing? It had belonged to my freshman (and partly sophomore) year boyfriend(!) 

Gulp. Now, that just felt plain weird. (Oh, and as far as I know, he's still living, so don't panic or anything.)

Anyway, it gets weirder

The 16 year-old me had signed that yearbook. And it was after aforementioned boyfriend and I had broken-up. And what I wrote was, oh my goodness--so passive-aggressive. Man, I nearly fainted.


Now, every once in awhile God shows me that yeah, that old passive-aggressive thing can still slip out of me in areas where He and I haven't quite worked on.

But this yearbook signature thing! Oh my. It wasn't blatantly bad (I was never a mean girl), just subtly, but still. I felt mortified. Argh.  I had to forgive myself (that's important, you know) and remind myself I was only 16 at the time.  (Hey, there was that.) ッ

Well anyway, this next part was cool.

See this picture?

That's me under where I'd written 'Debbie.' (The next summer, I changed it to Debra.)  

And what would I tell that young girl? I'd say, "Love God with all your heart and just do what He asks. No matter if you do it alone or if no one else seems to understand. Keep it that simple--and you'll be fine."

Now, on many levels, I treasure that photo, but a favorite level? On my right is my friend, Linda, the same friend who, with her husband, Guy (who also attended school with us) visited Tom and me back in 2012.

And here we all are--

And how special is it that? Linda and I have kept in-touch with letters, Christmas cards, emails and Facebook starting when we were merely 16, the year my family moved away.

It is special. And much appreciated.

Happy sigh.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Helpless? Or Simply Needing An Imagination Upgrade?

"Fear not, for 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


Well, I'll tell ya ... I don't have many friends who often speak these sentences:

"I tried that once. It didn't work. Nothing ever works for me."
"Today's world is all bad. I'm mad at everyone. The best people are gone."
"There's absolutely nothing on tv worth watching anymore."
"I can't afford anything. Everything is too expensive."
"I don't know how to really do anything."

Why don't I have those kinds of friends? Ol' Pollyanna Debra makes them mad. (No, really.)

Ack! It's that darn I'm So Helpless Lie. The way people cling to it, abdicating their responsibility, believing that God, later in Heaven, will touch their shoulder and say, "Aww, it wasn't your fault you couldn't move forward. You poor, alone, helpless thing."


If we have God living inside us? Always we can improve our lives. Always. Even from a wheel chair or walker. Or a too small house or yard. Or if we've little money, time, stamina or education. 

We serve a God who makes a way where there appears to be none, you know.

The problem? We stop searching for solutions. We quit expecting, believing. Imagining. Hoping and seeking and finding.

Hey, trust me-- I know. I live in a little house.  ツ But oh Honey! I have such huge dreams. Well, big for me, anyway. (But then, shouldn't all dreams feel that way? Beyond our own present ability?)

So these words I'm telling you today are ones I repeatedly tell myself. These words and also this--

The journey should, mostly, be a pleasant challenge. And something memorable--not embarrassing or disappointing--from the later view of our new life in Heaven.

Life has tons of challenges so why spend our few, precious decades growling about them? Why not approach them with an I'm-gonna-run-this-race-with-God-and-joy attitude?

We can, you know. God equips us to do anything He asks or permits us to do. If we rely upon Him, His strength, His timing. If we don't bog down in a big discouragement puddle.

And if we keep asking, believing and doing while expecting to see changes even better than we imagined.

“I never said it would be easy. Giving up is easy.”      ― Maria V. Snyder, Inside Out

Oh, what quitters miss experiencing!


So after two years-ish, I finally made it back to Dollar Tree. I'd pictured myself having the kind of excited fun Katherine from Do It On a Dime does and looked forward to that, certainly. 

Hmm. Truly an example of attitude making all the difference. They had everything I wanted, yet it felt like the same ol' kinda-oh-hum Dollar Tree experience to me.  Not once did I giggle with joy. ジ

But anyway! I came home with new containers and finished organizing some cupboards and that proved fun.

Organizing in ways our drawers and cupboards stay organized--something my head, for years, tried to convince me was too hard, given our small house circumstances.

Tsk! Tsk!

No 'before photos' today, but please just picture utter chaos, the kind where you grab one thing and three more spill out. heh.


More areas where I've felt super-challenged while living at Hobbit Cottage (and upon which I'm still working)?

Creating a whimsical, nostalgic home and-- 
A fun wardrobe. 
An organized home library.
An imaginative yard. 
A prepper's paradise (making us ready for anything, necessitating adding storage--and learning--galore).
Buying storage solutions for just basic household stuff.
Getting back into shape.
Creating my own Happy Place Room (as I'm calling it).

And much more I can't currently think of.  😉


And oh my! Does this upcoming film look terrific, or what?(A special thanks to my friend, Ann, for sharing it. Can't wait to see it!)

Read more about this documentary here and oh! I just now saw it's already available through Amazon Prime. Cool.