Friday, July 29, 2022

When You Must Forgive Yourself For _______

"As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust."   ---Psalm 103:13, 14


Some years our two huge sycamore trees shed nearly all their bark, making our lawn resemble an ugly battle zone (and like we're slobs who don't even care about our yard).

This, my friends, is one of those years.

Worse, the lawn guys only mowed once this July because, ok, the lawn barely grew, but still! If they'd mowed one more time the bark would appear more under control (it disintegrates easily via lawn mowers).

Years past I'd get out there weekly and obliterate those piles of bark with our lawn mower. But then, years past I was younger, stronger and not as after-40-years-I've-paid-my-dues-ish. 

So what to do? Forgive myself. 

Forgive myself for what? For no longer being young, nor strong. Nor as apt to care about a pretty yard. For lowering my standards, my ideas of what a cute yard (or house, even) looks like. You know, if only for my mental health's sake.

These days I often forgive myself for being 63 and just in oh-hum shape. For now reaping what I earlier sowed. For taking years to think up wonderful (obvious) ideas. For no longer being as imaginative or the Super Woman I once fancied myself to be. 

I hope some of you can relate.

Why live this forgiveness lifestyle? Because forgiveness beats the weariness of guilt. Guilt only places upon us an ungodly, bad burden of stress and makes us believe God's mad at us (He isn't). 

No, I choose to respond to conviction, instead; a Holy Spirit conviction which not only forgives my mistakes, my weaknesses, but which reminds me of what I still can do.

I can still do much, but at earlier times of day, 
or less often,
with new tools, using new methods,
or with asked-for help,
or released to someone else altogether.

A forgiveness lifestyle! It's a valuable thing. Forgiving ourselves releases burdens and helps us more quickly forgive other folks. How important to recall that others, also, are trying to figure out this whole aging thing.

After all, none of us have ever been this age before, we've only watched how others handled it, with excellence or much whining or some middle place. 

What I want is to handle growing older with every single ounce of help and life-altering wisdom (oh wisdom!) the Holy Spirit can spare.  ツ 

To start well and finish well because of cooperating with Him.

'You have not because you ask not.' Sometimes we're struggling because we've complained rather than actually asking for help. 

There's a difference.

If we don't get the help we asked for? It may be time to seek the Holy Spirit's wonderful ideas. He has tons!


Oh and in my defense (do I need one?) I did get outside these past two mornings and raked some bark to the gutter (it's allowed here) for five minutes each time. That's about all I could handle and hey, it did look a tad better, but only those outer edges. Alas.


I began keeping a weekly list of improvements Tom and I made to our lives. What an encouraging thing! Always surprises me the length of each week's list, well, when we focus on making changes.

Speaking of that, this week I finally made an incredibly comfortable reading place for myself here upstairs. Only took me 11 years! (And yep, this was a classic case of having to forgive myself. Oh my.)


Often just overcoming our inertia is the key!

And I shared this at Facebook:

This is from a FB group of folks who live in our former town. Not too surprising, because our 15 years there felt celebratory and old-fashioned like this all the time. ❤
"A group of about 100 bicyclists just rode down my street and boy were they fun! One lady yelled, “Happy Wednesday!” Some greeted us, some waved, some honked their bike horn. What a great group of people! Does anyone know the name of this cycling bunch?"
---Lori Anne

Forgive! Our relationship with Jesus will be so much closer without walls of unforgiveness.


Please remember: My posts are always about more than they appear to be. 


 "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, July 27, 2022

Is It September Yet???

"The joy of the Lord is my strength..."   Nehemiah 8:10  (Certainly in July!)


Good. Gracious. Blame it on July, you know, my absence from here this time. 

The heat, the humidity, even with air conditioning they turn my head to fluff. I can't focus, can barely do more than sit beneath the living room ceiling fan and read or watch Youtube.

Every July I dream of September.  

Yesterday morning, though, had a rare, delicious cold bite in the air and oh, the hope, the normalcy I felt and the tasks I accomplished! What an encouragement, yesterday.

Anyway, July, too, shall pass and meantime? I list gratitudes, crawl forward (it seems) and tackle my To Do Lists when I can, even in slow motion.

Really, July turns me into a 99 year old zombie. 

Stretching beyond one's apathetic temptations to quit--it counts. Using God's strength instead of hiding, complaining, probably means more to Him than we can fathom. He equips us so we need not quit.

All that we do and become upon Earth matters! God has specific plans for us, ways He meant for us to help the world go 'round.

"Fix what can be fixed and do it joyfully even in July!" I tell myself when I'm tempted to be like this-- 

"You can do all things with Christ, after all."


"And Debra encouraged herself in the Lord Her God..."  (Tweaked from 1 Samuel 30:6) 

"If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!"   (Proverbs 24:10)     .....................yikes!

Since God 'makes a way where there is none', He is wholly capable of keeping me from dreading July (or August) and instead, enjoying the days because of--foremost--enjoying Him.


In other news ...

Six weeks ago Naomi found a job she loves and I'll mention it here in case it interests my job-searching readers.

She works for our local supermarket chain, part-time (Monday through Thursday), weekly visiting different stores. Daily she and her team are assigned a supermarket aisle (or two) then they cull the discontinued items and any others past their 'best before' dates.

They remove the remaining items, wipe down the shelves, dust the items and either return them to their original place or rearrange everything. 

Because she's like her mom, Naomi enjoys removing dust, rearranging things, turning the labels forward just so and in straight lines, etc.  ツ

Besides making new friends, she's able to purchase lots of items on huge markdowns throughout the stores. She shares these with us and her co-workers who also love great deals.

Spiffy, right? 


Oh, and guess what? Monday marked my 18th year of blogging. Wow. What an adventure, this means of communication and teaching. 

As always, I do thank each of you for so faithfully reading what (I hope, anyway) God shares through me.



With all that July does to me, I surely did need to read (and apply) these!


Have you watched Homestead Tessie's Product Reviews channel yet? I'm really enjoying these, especially since she inspires me to make updates around my house.


Also, I appreciate many styles of decorating, including this one which was fun to watch---


Please remember: My posts are always about more than they appear to be. 


 "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, July 14, 2022

(Part Of) What I Did On My Summer Vacation

"And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”    ---Mark 6:31


So ol' Debra took a staycation of her own, heavy on the 'stay' part.  

This included two weeks of not blogging (did anyone notice?) and racing to beat the morning sun on the front porch so I could read and get that vacation feeling before broiling. (Seriously, I need one of those roll up/down screens out there, but we've only lived here nearly 11 years and these things take time.)  ッ

I complained much about the humidity, but let's pretend I didn't.

Also I reread my three favorite Betty MacDonald books:

Onions In The Stew

(and Who, Me? is here, a compilation of her books)

... and last night dreamed I visited Betty and her family on Vashon Island where we laughed a lot. Don't you love it when you dream about folks who aren't even here anymore? 

How kind of God to make that possible.

As usual, I made myself a tad crazy by checking local real estate online. Even recalling my back hurts when I do one extra job 'round here, (and would I even survive a move?) still I search.

Yet I look and dream and instead of crosswords and Sudoko, attempt to sharpen my mind by answering questions like, "Could we live in that house comfortably?" "Where would we put the _____ ?" (fill in the blank). "Could we fix the deal breaker?" (always, there's a deal breaker and always tons more questions).

Oh and yes, people insist it's a horrid time to actually buy a home, but that's a generalization and untrue for Tom and myself, given we're in the land of cheap houses and our own current circumstances.

So there.  ツ

So still I search, then berate myself if in creeps disatisfaction for Hobbit Cottage. But oh my, how difficult at times to remain content, especially when houses like this one pop up:

This Suzy Homemaker would love playing house within all those Leave It To Beaver vibes.

Yet what I must remind myself, at least for now? 

It's possible to live a new way within your same old house. Or body. Or circumstances. It's just a matter of welcoming challenges, enjoying them, and stretching the imagination God gave you.

So there you go. 

There's more to What I Did On My Summer Vacation, but I wanted to check-in and let you know I'm still here--

--and still happy, even while watching what this world's become. Why? Because with all my heart, I believe God has tremendous good changes soaring our way--and they'll arrive soon.

Just you watch. And prepare. And in the meantime, live in much wisdom and joy.

(Coming soon to a Country near you!)

" ... for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content."   --- Ephesians 4:11


Speaking of living a new way in an old house ... After Tom, for the 50th time, placed his dirty dishes in the clean dishwasher, I ordered one of these magnets:

Anything to make one's life easier is a lovely thing!


Another of my vacation projects? Having grown tired of grabbing any ol' cough drop wrapper, torn paper or piece of string handy, I'm placing a bookmark in each of my 400+ books. 

(You should've seen the little pile of trash I removed from the books on my shelves so far. heh.)

I've used all my current bookmarks so I found and bought these 100 prayer cards which will arrive soon. (Gee, I enjoy projects like this one!)--

(Just now discovered a different set of 200 here, although the comments aren't exactly positive on these.)


There's more, but that's enough for now. Remember, keep your joy and your strength will never leave you!

Please remember: My posts are always about more than they appear to be. 


 "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, July 02, 2022

Yikes! We Lost Power One Night And ---

 "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."   --- John 16:13


So around June 6th I watched Mornings With Granny. This episode.

Granny showed us her cute battery-operated fan collection for power outages, you know, the type designed to keep one person cool.

Also, she held up a large package of D batteries she'd bought for powering the fans.

"Wise woman," I thought, having just seen warnings about more blackouts (rolling and otherwise) than ever coming this summer, especially to the West and Midwest. But hey, we don't live there.

But the next day I showed Granny's video to Tom. A big gadget collector himself, I wanted him to see her cute fans.

"We should look into battery-operated fans," we both said. "And how are we doing on batteries?"

Yet in nearly 11 years here at Hobbit Cottage only twice had we lost power for more than 2 minutes. "Power is super-reliable here!", I've always quipped. "Only once did it go out for a whole half hour."

Well, guess what? Five days later, on Saturday evening of June 12th, 8,000 local homes lost power. Ours was one.

I awoke at the silence of the box fan outside my door. Being 8:45 and darkening outside, I grabbed the flashlight from the drawer beside my bed and made my way downstairs. The flashlight kept blinking, turning off. sigh.

Downstairs, already Tom was walking around with his head lamp. heh.

To shorten this story, we discovered-- 

Half our flashlights had dead batteries. 
Two of my three battery-operated wall sconce lights weren't working. 
We had only a few AA and D batteries.
We owned no personal fans (which we could've received from Amazon by then)
I'd not placed water jugs in our basement freezer to help keep items frozen longer since again, "Power is super-reliable here!"

We did have tons of votive candles and matches, oh, and food, of course. So. Much. Food. So hey...  シ

Now fortunately, the night was coolish and power was restored precisely at midnight (now that's not suspicious, right?). 

And Honey, you can bet that over the next days we-- 

sent for our own cute little fans ( here, in black)
and batteries 
and my 3 sconces all work now. Here's one:

... as well as our flashlights 
and there are frozen water jugs in the freezer downstairs.

"A wake-up call," I told Tom. "We had a wake-up call." We'll probably look into a generator, but not the kind people can walk off with since our backyard is open to the whole wide world. Not gonna work for us and probably too close to our neighbor's house sound-wise. A whole house generator would have to wait till next year since we're having our basement water-proofed and if I said how much that costs, you'd faint, so ....

Anyway. Believe it or don't, this post is not about prepping for an uncertain summer. Honest!

No, it's more about paying attention and acting upon the help, the wisdom, God sends us before we even need it (there's the test). 

If we desire His ways more than ours? Always He tries to warn us ahead so we can skip avoidable hard times.

Through books and teachers and others' stories (wise or foolish), etc., the Holy Spirit tries to spare us from trouble ahead. 

"Better start moving your body!" He warns. Or--
"You're spending all that money? Now?"
"Forgive. It'll set you free."
"Living on desserts probably isn't the best idea."
"How's the prepping for emergencies coming along?"
"How's creating your own good/wise/interesting life going?"
"Your words. You're much too quick with your words."
"You've not seen a dentist in how long?"

Most times? Wonderful things come to those who listen. Obey. Crave the wisdom of that still, small voice.

But those who wait only until warnings become blaringly loud and obvious, oh dear. Usually by then, a sad reaping occurs of what was sown.

And who wants to lose the beautiful life that might have been?

"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."   --- 2 Timothy 1:7

Oh, and 2 days after the blackout we watched a video where the young man recommended those gel things you keep in the freezer then place around your neck to keep cool. Tom said, "Well, that's something we already have, anyway."  ツ


Had to smile.


Ever wondered what Kyoto, Japan is like? Here's a fun video of when Cash Jordan and his family visited there. 

(The playground reminded me of the good old days. You know, like this) -- シ


Please remember: My posts are always about more than they appear to be. 


 "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