Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Something I've Never Told You

"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace--"   ... 1 Peter 4:10


So at age 13 I felt writing was my super power. 

No, really. Even if my history teacher assigned an essay about some boring, complicated Country, I'd think, "Hmm. At least I can make it sound like I know what I'm speaking of." (Visions of Samantha Stevens twitching her nose often came to mind.)

Then at 15 God nudged me to encourage church friends and their parents. They'd look discouraged so later I'd hand (or mail) them cards with Bible verses or poems I'd written. 

Once, a friend asked me to write a poem about her grandfather. All she said was he used to build things in a backyard workshop so I hesitated (that's not a whole lot to go on), but then said, "Ok. I'll try." I went home and with rhymes described a 'filmstrip' in my mind. 

Weeks later my friend's mom picked up the poem in her room, read it, then said, "That's my daddy! That's how he was. How did she know?"

Lots of moving with my family followed that, then my one year in college (Debra: the college dropout), then marriage and baby Naomi. And still I wrote letters and poems to encourage folks.

But when I was 22, my pastor told me, "Don't write encouraging notes to people. Speak them out loud. It's a bolder thing for you and will help you break through your shyness."

Oh dear. Yes, I was shy, so I understood his reasoning and agreed I should be able to speak encouragement aloud. But never again write? For 3 days I felt sad and blown away. I mean, hey! He was our pastor and he knew best didn't he? And God speaks through pastors, right?

But soon (thank-goodness) the blessed balance of wisdom came. I sensed God saying, "Do both. Speak encouragement aloud and write it. Just be led by Me each time."

So I chose that--although--being young and silly, at first I felt guilty writing notes/poems again and sent them only to folks who our pastor did not know. ツ

Two lessons today--

1.) As I wrote on Monday, always satan comes along to crush God's work through us. See that for what it is and don't blame the people through which it comes.

2.) God sent each of us to Earth to bless others in specific ways. Never, ever were those ways meant to be secret/confusing. Most likely whatever we love and are good at, THAT'S the gift God sent with us down here.

(Yes, it's usually that simple--and that's why we miss it!)

And when we faithfully do that thing? We'll reach our life's end having completed God special idea, His plan, and we'll have left smiling folks behind who were grateful we did.


"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart--"   ...Jeremiah 1:5

Listen to others' advice, but always let God tweak what came across imperfectly. 

" Oh, and to clarify after Betsy's comment: back when I was shy, still, I could easily speak in front of a classroom or church service. Why? Because I was always (mysteriously, kinda) able to believe that God would speak through me. So I never relied upon myself, only Him. And that, Folks, is just one reason why people have often told me they don't understand me. heh."


Speaking of using gifts, have you heard Fred Klett? What a hoot, especially when he shares about his family while growing up. You'll find many other of his videos there at Youtube.

Need more humor? Here was a favorite Christmas gift from Tom--


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“Those who die with their music still on their tongues unsung are trying to say “God had made a deal with the wrong customer like me”
― Israelmore Ayivor, Daily Drive 365


"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Monday, February 24, 2020

Of Too Many Legacies Left Undone

"Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? (We have)
gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: let us use them... and let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds-- " ... From 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and Hebrews 10


Personally I'm so tired of people believing if they can't do this--

Or this--

Or be like her--

--then they must not have a gift/calling/purpose from God at all. Or perhaps their calling appears too complicated/useless/yucky. 

Then sadly, they reach their 50's or 60's without having known the utter joy of giving away one's life to others. One's years. You know, doing what God designed only them to do so to make this Life sweeter for the weary and uninspired.

Instead of preaching, delivering, healing in the usual (or wildly-brave) ways, what if God Himself chose, instead, to have someone create this?

Or these miniatures?

Or even this?

What if He meant creations like these to lift hearts and whisk dreams of the discouraged to light from the cobwebby places? 

I'm thinking along these lines because of my fun travels with The Daily Woo.

He shows us places like these and man, I'm inspired by not just the creativity, but the fact that people completed the dreams inside their heads. I mean, always negative thoughts (and folks) attack dreamers--

"You can't physically/mentally/financially do that!"
"Who will even care if you create something?"
"What if you can't finish once you begin?"
"What if this isn't God's idea for you?"
"What if it only makes you look like a failure?"

Always satan tries to stop God's original creations from being birthed. 

Anyway. I'll keep this short and just say, Hey! I'm getting older and so are you, Honey, and may we both make certain that before we die, we complete every single legacy for which God sent us.

Yes, even the ones which appear like nothing anyone else is doing. Actually? Especially those.

 “See, I have called by name xBezalel the son of Uri, son of yHur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have zfilled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft."   ... From Exodus 31

“... an artist should paint from the heart, and not always what people expect. Predictability often leads to the dullest work, in my opinion, and we have been bored stiff long enough I think.”
― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

And speaking of Harriet Tubman, Tom and I watched the new movie, Harriet, this weekend. Loved it, just as we knew we would! 


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And isn't this so inspiring?  ---

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While watching those Daily Woo videos I've often asked myself, "I know my current gifts/callings, but is there something else I should be creating? Another legacy God wants me to leave? If so, I'm open, Lord! Just let me know."  シ


If we have just one mental picture of a legacy, we've placed a limit on the limitless creativity of God. Or we've unknowingly tried, anyway.

"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Friday, February 21, 2020

Broken Things

"... God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power--He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him."  ... Acts 10:38


So while ol' Debra was on vacation from blogging (did you notice?), some drunk guy kicked in the window of my dearly-loved local coffee shop. At 4:15 a.m..  While Amy was there. Alone.

Fortunately he didn't try to enter and the police did find him (followed the blood trail maybe? Good grief.).

Sheesh. Often I've sat at that very table, praying for Amy's safety those wee dark morning hours and that there'd be no burglaries. I don't recall praying those big windows would never be broken, though guess what I've added to my prayer list? 

Amy reopened this morning and what a joy to return and hand her a tip 8 times my order to help make up for, a little, some lost business revenue (one way of shoving back darkness). I could tell she appreciated it.

There are basically two ways to live in this world. 

1.) We can hate and complain about drunken idiots and others who do Life all wrong --or-- 2.) We can, like Jesus did, go about doing good, sowing beauty and joy into this limping world.

And this will be an odd note to end on, but while walking home from the cafe this chilly morning I thought, "How interesting of God to give us actual permission to avoid our friends who are angry/haters, lest we become like them."

 No, really. Interesting.

"I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right; but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation may be on the Lord's side." - Abraham Lincoln

 Oh wow! Loved this update from Amy on her Facebook cafe page (she had to close early!)--- 

" Today has been such an amazing day, I️ can’t thank you all enough for all of the love and support!
We are SOLD OUT!
Can’t wait to see you all tomorrow! -Amy"


What did I do on my winter vacation? I traveled all over the United States with Adam the Woo. Gee, we had fun.  シ

Adam Visits His Hometown

Wall Drug Store

Tombstone, Arizona

Mount Rushmore

Route 66 (Series)

And what I picked up as a souvenir because of something I spied? This below, 14 inches tall, to add to my lighted heart in the dining room window. Love it (lit up it's actually all bright white) --

My blurry version--

If we're not enjoying our daily life it's most often because somewhere we lost our sense of adventure, creativity, and the excitement of knowing Jesus.

Just sayin'. ツ

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"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Friday, February 14, 2020

Tough Talk On Valentine's Day

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."   ... Psalm 51:10


(Edgy titles. They get my posts more views.)  シ

Last week as I climbed our stairs, I thought, "I'm kinda tired. Have much on my mind. Maybe I won't mail out Valentine's this year." And you know? The 30-year-old me probably would've skipped it.

But I don't want to be at 60 what I was at 30. That would reflect poorly upon my Life-changing God.

So instead, I asked myself "Are you insane? You love mailing Valentines to friends! You anticipate it all year. Besides, later on you'll feel sad and regretful if you don't."

I really would.

So I snatched my bag of Valentines and carried them downstairs to our dining room table where I began signing them. Only greyness came through our big windows, but inside of me? The bright light stemming from obedience.

You know how the Apostle Paul said this?

"No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."   ... 1 Corinthians 9:17

Well, I'm not quite there yet. ツ 

But. I am at the "I refuse to settle" place. I refuse to accept (and make excuses for) the old attitudes/weaknesses/sins I knew at 30, 40 or 50. Sad, weak-kneed, whiny places of--


And if you ever hear me say, "I can't help being _____" (or, That's just the way I am"), well, I call me out on it! Those are like building an I-dare-you-to-change-me wall, one even God can't bust through.

No, I'll keep asking Him to change in me what reflects poorly upon Him. The pain of humility, the embarrassment, the handing over of some pretty-good-sounding excuses be darned. 

Why? Because what if a 30-year-old Debra suddenly appeared, watched me for a day, then said, "Well, you sure look older, but otherwise, yeah, you pretty much act the same."?

That would be horrifying.

"Wisdom is doing today what you'll be satisfied with later on."   --- Joyce Meyer

"Sociologists have a theory of the looking-glass self: you become what the most important person in your life (wife, father, boss, etc.) thinks you are. How would my life change if I truly believed the Bible's astounding words about God's love for me, if I looked in the mirror and saw what God sees?"   

--- Phillips Brooks


Happy Valentine's Day to you!

Enjoy French Country style decor? You may love these rooms.


"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Why You'll Not Hear Me Bashing Celebrities

"For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit..."  ...  1 Peter 3:10


Debra. Age 9: 

You should have seen me: I'd sit in our tiny farm-town church and pray for Lucille Ball. I liked imagining her walking into our sanctuary, sitting beside me(!) then, at the service's end, stepping down the aisle to accept Jesus into her heart.

Seriously, yeah, I did that. Over a few weeks I felt such a divine compassion for her. I wanted her to 'be saved' when technically, I hadn't officially made that decision for myself yet.

Age 15: I felt that same divine compassion for Michael Learned, you know, the mother from The Waltons. Wanted her to know Jesus, also, and I prayed for her over some weeks.

Age 24: One day while cleaning house I felt an urgency to pray for Ken Osmond, a.k.a. Eddie Haskell from Leave It To Beaver. Prayers went up for him approximately a week.

Age 43 through the Present: I've had weeks of divine compassion for these celebrities so I interceded for them:

Dennis Quaid (and his wife. Yes, I know what's happened, but I'm called to pray, God's called to know all the reasons why.)
Jim Caviezel (Wow, some awesome growth there!)
Lindsay Lohan
Tom Cruise
Simon Cowell
Gordon Ramsay
President Donald Trump 

I'm remembering this today because I watched a video, God Loves Hollywood, by someone who gets it, who's been there and knows what (kinda intense) divine compassion for celebrities feels like. 

Only sometimes online have I found fellow pray-ers for celebrities. And do you know what else we have in common? --

We refuse to ruin, negate, our prayers by speaking negatively about these folks. Instead, we take verses like this one, seriously:

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]."  ...Proverbs 18:21

And if you sit beside us with your list of what's wrong with these people? Or you tell us all of Hollywood is hopelessly evil? Well, we might just ask you to knock it off. Then we'll explain why:

We believe God loved everyone, even radical left-wing celebrities, so much that He sent Jesus to die for them as well as the rest of us sinners. We believe God changes hearts, minds, and some future day Hollywood will reflect that.

So in the meantime? We'll pray for celebrities (and anyone else God asks us to) and our divine compassion for them will continue growing strong so that we'll not be all faint-hearted at the behavior our eyes see today. 

So if we don't join you in bad-mouthing actors, politicians and others? Now you'll know why: Our God-breathed love and concern for their very souls is God-sent and too huge to allow us--and--we just don't want to.

"She (my mother) became a warrior far superior to any epic hero. She became a giant on her knees. With a sword in one hand she battled the enemies of death and disease, and with her other hand stretched toward heaven she kept beseeching God’s help and His mercy." - Bishop T.D. Jakes 
"There are parts of our calling, works of the Holy Spirit, and defeats of the darkness that will come no other way than through furious, fervent, faith-filled, unceasing prayer." - Beth Moore

Whole decades ago God told me, "Stop expecting non-Christians to act like Christians. Right now I'm expecting you to pray for them--yours is the greater responsibility at this moment."


Shared this at Facebook yesterday:

Was watching the News about our President this morning and this verse came to mind. (And not for the first time, either.) 


(Me at age 9, praying for Lucille Ball.................ha!) ツ


"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel ..."   2 Corinthians 4:4   (So let's pray against this blindness!)

"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Friday, February 07, 2020

Sitting In The Cheap Seats While The Battle Rages?

How tragic to arrive in Heaven without blood spots upon ones face from having fought godly battles, never wielding the sword of the Spirit at lying demons of deception.


Tom and I enjoy shows like SWAT. Why? Because the team fights against darkness (crime), stands honorably together, even to the death, and never wimps-out regarding criminal activity. They search for the root and squash it.

But oh dear. 

Last year the team's one woman entered into a permanent 3-way relationship with an engaged couple. (If I'd just alluded to something vague, you'd have imagined a variety of sins, so I'm sparing you, actually. Er hem.)  シ

Now, this was before our cable provider enabled us to fast-forward CBS shows, so Tom and I would mute the conversations between these 3. The SWAT team? They were divided in their feelings.

Anyway. On SWAT's Facebook page over 3 posts, around 15 (less?) of us complained about this relationship, citing the sin/foolishness of it and that we'd cease to let our families watch SWAT if this storyline continued. I don't recall any name-calling or arguing, only a calm-but-firm calling-out of the writers. (Probably Twitter fans spoke similarly.)

A couple weeks later? The storyline faded, then was dropped. It ended with the team member's hurt feelings (as it would in Real Life).

Wow.  Only a few of us spoke up for truth! But it made a difference.

Many fans had made no reference to the sin in their comments, others defended the situation, some told us simply, "Then just don't watch SWAT." (Avoidance. It's lowered us into many current disasters.)

But you know? Always I'll feel grateful that, while the chance was there, I didn't just watch the battle, but I stood with others, shifting this show back onto a more honorable track.

Today's lesson? Bravely speak the truth while you still can, even if it costs you something dear. 

You don't have to argue--just speak truth from God's word. No opinion is more powerful. Let the Word simmer in others' hearts.
You don't have to call names. In fact, I'd suggest you don't. Sarcastic name-calling instantly builds a wall through which people can't hear truth. We'll be held accountable for that.

And yes, Jesus 'told it like it was' to Pharisees and teachers--

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean."  ... Matthew 23:27

-- but only after He'd shared truth far and wide. His timing was perfect, His name-labeling was perfect, but personally, I'm not going to chance it because I'm still too much me. Too imperfect.

But I will--

wear the belt of truth,
the breastplate of righteousness,
the shoes of peace,
the shield of faith,
the helmet of salvation and
the sword of the Spirit.

And I will fight using those, thus creating my history upon this Earth, a history I can only write here, not in Heaven, one I'll have to live satisfied with for all eternity.

"Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might."   ... Ephesians 6:10

In Heaven? May I look back with gratitude that I chose to fight for truth upon Earth rather than, in some dark corner, cowering in silence.

Lance Wallnau. Man, he's cool and I hope you'll watch his videos at Youtube. Often he'll speak of our 'sphere of influence'--how many folks in our life do we have who will listen to us? Ten, twenty, hundreds? Are we speaking to them about truth?

Other times he'll ask things like, "Would we have stood with President Lincoln against slavery at that time in history or just had 'church as usual'? Would we have marched with Martin Luther King Jr. during those specific years in Time or just chatted about everything unrelated to civil rights at home or church?"


"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15