Monday, November 30, 2020

You're Not One Of Those Zombies, Are You?


"A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich."   --- Proverbs 10:4


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The folks who I feel sorry for? Those who've, since March, camped out upon their recliners watching the news. And turned into zombies.

So. Sad.

Now, I've watched the news, of course, but, 1.) I refuse to watch mainstream media news ('a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,' shall we say. Er hem.), so I searched for alternative news sources.

Whew. What a relief to find these (technically I don't watch each; I'm just presenting these for variety and your consideration)--

One America News Network (OANN)
Blaze TV, via Youtube here
The Epoch Times here and via Youtube here
And Twitter. Daily I love me some Twitter. (Deal with it.) シ


And 2.) I've sought to stay busy, productive, proactive because hey, 'idle hands are the devil's playthings'. It's a thing. Gulp.

Lists! I've made lists. Lived by lists, but that's what you've gotta do sometimes, especially when a year like 2020 happens.

Want a peek at a few of my lists' headings?


Meals to Make From Practically Nothing

Bible Verses Which Explain This Crazy 2020

Broken, Annoying Things to Fix Around the House

People Who God Speaks Through Relevantly

Ways to Beef-Up Your Immune System

Local Restaurants to Help Support

Foods/Emergency Supplies We're Stocked Up On (Or Not) For Eight Months

Skills to Learn And Relearn (candle making, food dehydrating, long-term food storage, etc.)

Items To Share With Neighbors

Helpful, Inspiring Email Alerts To Sign Up For

Clothes To Buy To Complete My Wardrobe

Local Food Pantries and Go Fund Me's to Contribute To

Warnings God Gives Me to Pass Along to Others

Ways to Get Back Into Shape

Cast-Offs to Carry Down to the Salvation Army Drop-Off

Ways to Relax And Have Fun

Subjects to Research (like, just how much power does the gov't have, anyway?)

People To Encourage

Ways to Live On Less Money

How to Prepare Mentally and Spiritually for Battle


Ok, of course not all of these are written upon paper or a draft folder. Some exist only inside my head.  

But as I've sought to complete these goals (no, I've not arrived, but I believe in aiming at targets rather than the air), they've kept my mind and body active, miles from passivity, fear and confusion--

--and far from feeling a loss of control (which, disagree if you will, is exactly where the government wants us so they can control us, instead). 

Ol' Debra's never gonna turn into a Well, What Are Ya Gonna Do? Zombie.

Not ever.



"You, however, are controlled not by the flesh, but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you."   ---Romans 8:9




"You can be pitiful or powerful, but you can't be both."   --- Joyce Meyer


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Okay, 'Hunt For The Wilderpeople' was one of the best movies Tom and I watched all year. Poignant, funny, adventurous, sentimental--it had it all.

We found it at Hulu.


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Here's a dry mix we like for Ranch Salad Dressing. 

Instead of the dry buttermilk, I use powdered milk because I'm stocked up on it. Turns out fine and tasty when you dredge raw chicken in the dry mix. I store this mix in a glass jar:



Dry Ranch Mix (Makes 1+ cup mix)



1 c. dry butter milk powder (or powdered milk)
4 tbl. parsley
2 tbl. garlic powder
2 tbl. onion powder
4 tsp. dried chives
2 tsp. dill
3 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper


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"Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys."   --Proverbs 18:9


"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

Saturday, November 28, 2020

What I Loved Best About 2020



The short version? In 2020, each of my good experiences felt 20 times better, more appreciated, than in normal years.


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We're nearing 2020's end and, no, I'm not saying, "Good riddance!".

I mean, yes, many happenings annoyed and often angered me. There was much death. Plus the cluelessness of people and the displaying of 'doctrines of demons'? They flabbergasted me at times. 

There's that.

But hey, when you truly appreciate challenges, you seek to discover what God's doing backstage and then watching Him move around back there is exciting.

In fact, on October 1st, He and I celebrated 50 years together and oh, all the work He's poured into me! The correction, the lessons, tweakings and changes in direction. The strengthening, encouragement and pulling me up from failing again and again. (Yikes.)

And well frankly, if 2020 had flattened then pushed me overboard, I'd be one embarrassed puppy right now. Always, God prepares us for future journeys: it's not His fault if we didn't pay attention. Er hem.

Anyway.

By way of a simple list, here's what I loved about my 2020:


Tom's dream came true of being able to work from home. This is a blessing, especially because of the post-polio stuff. (The big savings in gas money is pretty cool, also.)

Our local cafe? It closed. Then opened for pre-order take-out. Then closed for ages. And now it's opened regular hours, so guess who's giddy with appreciation?!  And what an honor to support them with both money and prayer.

Two new neighbors moved in and God nudged me to welcome them with gifts. This 2020 year? It just felt uncomplicated (partly), more necessary, to do that and I so appreciated the easy boldness this time. 

(Oh, and our new next-door neighbors are the most adorable young couple, ever.)

I flung away my edited, politically correct Nancy Drew collection, thus creating room for original copies. (Often we don't have what we want because no void exists.) What a delight, these books I bought with my birthday money.

(Oh, and I collected more Judy Bolton books. I can't even describe how much I enjoy these.)

Music reaction videos at Youtube! Oh my, these young folks' reactions to 70's tunes provided hours of a sweet sense of comfort. (According to comments there from others age 60+ , I'm not alone in this feeling.)

Hours spent on increasing my prepper supplies and added knowledge for emergencies kept me proactive, busy, and never venturing near helplessness.

Oh, and I rid our house of over 500 items, learned how to dehydrate foods for storage, returned to candle making, located wonderful kindred spirits at Youtube and Twitter (discovered, also, who my real friends are) and ---------


There's more, but you get it. What a year, one loaded with opportunities to dive deeper into gratitude pools because of all we still so richly have.

Go deeper in God, rise higher in Him as well--and nothing will ever appear the same again.





"When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." ---Luke 5:4


"The path of life leads upward for the wise..."   --- Proverbs 15:24


2020: The year we stopped taking things for granted. The year which showed us what truly matters--and what does not.




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Speaking of music reaction videos, here's my favorite one for Yesterday Once More by The Carpenters. 

Since age 15 or so, this has been my favorite of all Karen Carpenter's songs. (I'm not certain I've ever listened without tears in my eyes, though.)


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Have questions about the Holy Spirit's role in our lives? This may help.



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Ok, you won't believe this. You just won't. But--all year long--I kept last year's Christmas cards and last February's Valentines up on our dining room wall.

I know, I know. But hey, it was 2020, after all.  シ



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"Count your blessings, name them one by one..."   ---copied


Have you made your own list yet of what you loved about 2020?


"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

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

There's No Becoming An Overcomer If We Have Nothing To Overcome




"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."   ---Romans 8:35, 37


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So last week at Facebook, a pastor (I can't recall which one) was threatening to leave because one of his posts had been shared 10,000 times, then Facebook censored it. He'd grown weary of this happening.

My thoughts? (Do you really want to know?) ツ

I read that and thought, "Man oh man! Your post was shared 10,000 times?? Just think! That means 10,000 folks read it, shared it, and if just 2 of their friends saw it, then that means it reached 30,000! If that many people read my Facebook post, I'd have been thrilled. Then fainted (no, really)."

Did you read the verse at the top? Well, twenty-five years ago Joyce Meyer shared it, then stated something like: "Everybody wants to be a mighty conqueror, but nobody wants to actually have to conquer anything."

Ain't that the truth. We Christians these days! Sheesh. 

Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are censoring our posts? Gasp! Let's run to quiet lands where folks are frolicking (comparatively). People are burning down our cities? Let's hide, cower. Local government is dictating what we can do in our own homes? Let's just wish it all goes away soon."

For decades we've had it too easy. We don't even recognize a fight when the battleground is our own front yard.

This 2020, we're in a battle; why does a fight shock us? Every real soldier expects hardships on the battleground--they'd be flabbergasted if there weren't any, if it was all good times.

Censorship? Mistreatment? Lies? Unfairness? Well, there you go. We've got it all. Things to fight against; there's our clue. You're being censored? Keep speaking, posting. Reword things, tweak them, until they 'stick.' Do what you must--but don't give up.

So can we please stop being all shocked at what's happening and, instead, stand strong, leaving our armor on like we're supposed to? 

After all, we can do this. With Christ we can do anything.





 "There's a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace."   ---from Ecclesiastes 3


"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." ---Ephesians 6:13




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And as I said at Facebook this morning:

See these two crazy kids? As of today they've been married 42 years(!)
Yeah, they can't believe it, either. 🙂 But they're awfully glad about it and have loved all these good years God's given them together.


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And happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! If anything, 2020 has reminded us how our simple gifts are many and have so enriched our lives.

And also, color me so thankful for each of my faithful readers!



Need someplace to go?


How about to this lovely home all decorated for Christmas?

Go here to watch the comedian, Tim Hawkins. I hadn't laughed liked this in all of 2020! (Tom and I both laughed so hard that we cried at the gas station and side effect stories.)

And okay, go here to see my favorite Christmas commercial of 2020 (so far).









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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

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Dark Winter? Only If You're A Giver-Upper.


 "I will have a militantly warm and loving Thanksgiving. My family traditions trump your ugly advice. I will feel the warm glow of this time of year. I will share my love and time with friends and family."   --- Mario Murillo (the remainder of his quote from above photo).


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Don't know how these past 8 covid months, these what's-wrong-with-people? months have affected you, but around Hobbit Cottage? We've felt rather Thornton Wilder-ish. You know, like this (but without the good-bye's)--


“Let's really look at one another!...It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed... Wait! One more look... Good-bye, Grover's Corners....Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking....and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths....and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth,you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every,every minute? "  ---From the play, Our Town


We've burrowed deeper into appreciation of each other, our home, our town and our God. There's waves of a dark chaos out there? Well, here at our house, all is well. All that Emily noticed, above, plus so much more.

Tiny white and red lights in our windows.
A cat upon our laps.
Birds at the feeders.
Visits from Naomi.
Hot lunches at noon. Soup, casseroles, stacked tacos, chili.
Enough good books to read over a lifetime.
Neighbors who wave and pause to chat.
Candle light in the fireplace.
Favorite movies and tv shows.
Lamps lit on dark, windy nights.
A river down the street.
Music. Tom's working from home. A whole Internet world.
Warm clothes, blankets.
And so much more---

God's richly blessed us all; you, me and millions of others, but do we each realize that?

Like, near every year's end I create a list of improvements we've made both to our home and our lives. And upon sitting down to make this year's list--I confess--my thought was, "Considering this insane 2020, probably this year's list will be much shorter."

Big mistake, Debra! The list stretched longer

I'd forgotten that hard times can yank out our best actions, words, kind deeds. The deep-down miracles God's worked into us through our trials, errors and obedience and His remarkable patience. 

Actions, words, which rise, then flow outward toward others, shining with hope and a surprising strength.

Anyway. 

Around Youtube and elsewhere I've heard chatter about an upcoming dark winter. And well, no. Just no. Here at Hobbit Cottage we won't be partaking of that and hopefully you won't, either.

We've all had far too many months to prepare for winter! Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, we've had to rise up higher and live upon a different plain than normal. And oh, what millions overcame and learned!

To carry deep gratitude for all we have.
To concentrate upon what's still ours, rather than what we've lost.
To hold onto our creativity and sense of wonder.
To hug the truth of God's word. 
To push away lies, even when huge crowds shout them.
To believe without doubting, stand without fainting. 

 
For months we've become far too strong to just silently sink into a supposed dark winter now.

If you've read here long you know I aim for a higher life plain. And this upcoming winter? I'll focus upon this, instead--


 "The Lord will make you the head (leader) and not the tail (follower); and you will be above only, and you will not be beneath, if you listen and pay attention to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today, to observe them carefully."   --- Deuteronomy 28:13


And may I catch many glimpses of you frolicking in all that gleaming godly light, as well, bright winter's day after bright winter's day.




                       God helps us to rise above the clouds of winter!


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"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."   --- John 10:10

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." ---John 8:12


Don't let anyone take away your God-given rights, or ok, at least without a fight!



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Speaking of light... Here's a wonderful video where Homestead Tessie tells us all about oil lamps for the home. They add not only light, but warmth, as well.

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Oh, and I really enjoyed touring this tiny house. The surrounding deck would make it feel so much larger, especially if you lived in a place with tons of lovely weather.











"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, November 17, 2020

November This And That


"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."   --- Joshua 24:15


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1.) So. 

Often I mention my love of vintage kids' lit. books and you know? Sometimes I wonder how many of you believe I'm referring to books with sentences resembling these:

"Dianne's family has a new house! See Dianne step inside her new house then run upstairs to her bedroom. See Dianne smile at her new room."

ツ

Well, uh, no. I don't read those. The kids' lit. I love best? Those with paragraphs like this--


"The hazy, golden sunlight of a warm Indian summer morning lay on the single little main street of Herbertstown. Lois felt that it resembled very closely some of the tiny South Carolina towns she had once visited with her father. The same brooding air of serenity and quiet, not a soul in sight, the old houses dreaming peacefully behind the tall trees, halfway down the street the white church spire pointing aloft, the general store and post office opposite it, with only a single ancient horse and buggy hitched outside. From the general appearance of Herbertstown, one still might be living in the middle of the last century."

From The Mystery of the Empty Room by Augusta Huiell Seaman

So now you know. heh.

2.) Remember how I carried a table upstairs so I could pretend I'm reading on our front porch, below? This is part of my view from there, though yes, all the leaves are gone now--


And from the actual porch was this with a peek at the river, also--




Don't you just love Autumn? Kinda goes along with what a friend posted at Facebook--





3.) Now, this was certainly encouraging. Well, for us conservatives, that is. シ Though yes, how this could've happened in the first place is wild and disconcerting. Oh dear.


4.) While in high school my favorite band was Bread (remember them?). Their songs would play on my clock radio and I'd turn them way up (when I could) and swoon. Not until recently, though, did I learn that 'Everything I Own' was written by David Gates in memory of his dad. Wow, that changes everything!

Here's how Jamal reacted to that song. He understood the reference right away whereas many of us older folks in the comments required 40 or more years.  シ





5.) How do I feel about a second strict lockdown? Here you go--



"The only thing we have to fear is fear, itself."   ---FDR



6.) Gee, I love the sign this guy made:




7.) Remember how I made candles from used wax melts? Well, last week I created 4 new candles from the leftover wax from those candles. All I did was break up the leftover candle wax into an empty metal can, sat it in a pan of water on the stove, then poured the melted wax into (oiled) custard cups. Then I added wicks as the bottoms hardened a tad.

Always remember to recycle and reuse!
And also, the best preppers always have tons of candles (or other alternative light sources) available at home.



8.) Here's a wonderful verse to remember constantly these days--


 "She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come."   --- Proverbs 31:25


What satan wants instead? For us to sit around all bug-eyed at the news, worried, freaked-out and abusing our imaginations by meditating about what might go wrong. And well, no. I'm not doing that, thank-you very much.

Why spoil hours of a God-given life with worry or dread?


9.) Have you wondered how people these days can be sooo blind? This Bible verse explains it really well.




10.) Ha! I smiled when a friend with 4 children posted this at Facebook--



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"We ought to have BIG ideas, dreams, and visions because we serve a BIG God!"    ---Joyce Meyer
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And remember--rejoice! God wins.

 

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 7

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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, November 13, 2020

Why Do I Believe 2020 Is A Remarkable Year?


"Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go."   --- Isaiah 48:17


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August 31st 2010:

 Tom arrived home from work, poof! In the middle of a gorgeous summer afternoon, boxes crammed into the back of the Toyota he drove down our farm's driveway. Through the car window I jokingly asked, "You weren't fired were you?"

He smiled and replied, "Actually, I was. Four of us were downsized." 

Oh my goodness, gut-punch city! 

Now, long ago you heard that story, but I want to tell you what happened a year (more?) before that day.

Occasionally I'd 'hear' in my conscience/spirit, "Get your house in order. Prepare in case Tom loses his job." But hey, we'd been married over 30 years and never had Tom been fired! Yeah, since 2008 people galore were losing jobs, but Tom? Nah. Probably wouldn't happen. (Can you say 'prideful ignorance'?)

So again and again, I dismissed that "prepare now" thought. Like a moron (that's allowed when one's speaking of herself). ッ

Also, sometimes I'd switch upon a tv show where the guest, all bug-eyed, stressed, "Always Have 6 Months' Worth of Paychecks Saved For Emergencies. Begin immediately! You never know in Today's world how secure your job is."

But the warnings came sporadically and none arrived with angel appearances or men shouting warnings upon white horses. (Er hem.) So I didn't consider them seriously. Instead I just sat aside one month's worth of paychecks, kept our credit cards at a zero balance and paid our bills on time (mostly. Hey, nobody's perfect. heh.). 

So there was that. But still. 

Even more warnings came. Online I'd read, "Stock up on food. It's important!", and ok, I made a wimpy stab at that, storing two weeks' worth of food in our pantry. (Just two weeks? Tom was laid off for 22 months!)

Also, deep down I 'heard,' --

"Replace your worn-out dishtowels with new ones. And bath towels, pillowcases and under garments. Buy new ones now."
"Also, increase your giving to other people. Up the amounts."

Yet did I obey those nudgings? Well, in just a kinda sorta lackadaisically hit and miss way.

Gah.

The Holy Spirit tried, He truly did. But never did I assign enormous importance to His 'whispers'. And trust me, even ten years later--though I've forgiven myself--I still cringe.

Anyway. Now? Millions of folks, maybe you, even, are experiencing my 2010 year plus. Plus complication and hardships America hasn't beheld since the Great Depression--and more besides.

And so why would I insist that 2020 is a remarkable year? Because for zillions it resembles my 2010 and oh, that Learning Year! That's when I truly awoke to the practicality of paying attention to the Holy Spirit.

I began listening, noticing, the help God sent me early and stopped procrastinating the things which matter. And it all matters.

Early help. God so often sends early help.

Because of the Holy Spirit, never again have Tom and I been caught unprepared. Because 2010 zoomed us to the scary places where procrastination leads, we now long to listen to the Holy Spirit, not our flawed heads. 

Obedience leads to being taught, prepared and growing up. 

And now when we sometimes mess up? We know it's only because we strayed. Nothing, no one else gets blamed. Nothing but our disobedience can limit God's provision and wisdom. 

Since 2010 we've never lived the same way and Life's never appeared more wonderful.

And that, my friends, is why I believe 2020, a similar year for millions, can be just as remarkable for everyone. The year they all, we all, learned to pause, to listen.





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


We must become so sensitive to the Holy Spirit that He need not shout nor send angels, signs or wonders before we'll obey.


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One very specific way God sent me 'early help' for 2020:

Remember when, beginning in October of 2019, I'd get out of bed around 2 a.m. then climb down the stairs to the red couch and watch Youtube videos? Well, just being able to do that was proof this was a 'God thing,' but besides that? He introduced me to 10+ encouragers. Kindred spirits. People who love to discuss the same subjects I do.

Friends who don't even know me, but who I appreciate so much, along with how they've led me to 10 other such friends! 

So all along this wildly-crazy 2020, I've hung out with those new encourager friends, my gifts from God. And you know? Having Him and them all these months, never have I felt alone in what I believe is really happening these days. Often they put into words what I could only feel in my mind and heart.

What a blessing from God, that early help. What an enormous blessing, indeed.


(You can find my list of those folks here. Scroll down.)







"Learn your lessons well."   ---copied


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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