Monday, December 25, 2023

A Christmas Chat And a Few Gifts

"Behold, I will do a new thing; now it will spring forth; will you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."   --- Isaiah 43:19


Read here long? Then you know I'm no huge fan of Christmas-as-usual, the frenzied way most folks treat it, that is.

I'd rather have Christmas the other 11 months of the year. The calm way, rather like this:

But here we are on Christmas Day. The sun is shining, not one snowflake sits upon the streets and I am thrilled. Answered prayer! Last year we had that historic, tragic, Buffalo blizzard and oh Honey, this is better.

My heart overflows with gratitude and so desires simplicity (and just sitting on the red couch thinking about Jesus' birth), yet downstairs awaits a ton of gifts from Tom and Naomi. I've still not even slipped mine into gift bags. Seriously, not a fan of this.

But I'll let Tom and Naomi be who they are. They pretty much allow me my low key grinchiness. I appreciate that.

Anyway, my head and heart already are faced toward the new year. In fact, I had a tiny 'vision' for 2024. In it, God stretched down His arm through the clouds and sky, then with His index finger, He swirled a big circle, round and round.

He majorly stirred things up and stuff went flying.

That's it, and you know? I'm so excited to watch all the changes He will bring in 2024. I'm not certain I've ever felt this anticipatory before regarding a new year.

Oh, what we will all witness!


But today, I give you some small gifts. Merry December Christmas to you!

A Perfect Day. The full movie is here.

The Crafty DIYer. Oh my, almost has she persuaded me to, in 2024, enter the world of shabby chic gifts and crafts.  And here.

And wow. Cassie's reaction to The Family Man truly felt like a personal present. Her thoughts and tears are priceless and I love her editing of scenes I'd always thought too long. Be sure to watch to the end of her recap--she glowed with honesty. Cassie is my favorite movie reaction person on Youtube--watch this and you'll see why.

200 Gift Basket Ideas for Everyone. It's never too late to give gift baskets.

And these?

I just received my 4th order! I keep finding new uses for these
Chip bag clips. 
Holders of my slippy clothes on hangers. 
Closures for frozen vegetable bags. 
Keeping our guest room curtains closed.
A way to seal cat food bags and pouches.
A means to stop our kitchen trash bag from slipping down. And more!

Top100+ elegant vintage rustic and shabby chic style farmhouse & cottage decor ideas. Lovely rooms and music, as well.

And here are my long ago (I like to think humorous) thoughts about those inflatable Christmas folks.  ツ

For my fellow rabid fans of It's a Wonderful Life, here's a terrific video about the locations used, then and now. 

Oh! I prefer this 2023 memoriam to celebrities. Extremely well done and not rushed (we oldsters appreciate that).
An update as I noted on Facebook! --

Oooo... a personal Christmas miracle. Just after sitting outside around 4:30 to read (a miracle in itself on this day), a flock of at least 90 geese appeared in the sky loudly honking with what sounded like joy and celebration of Jesus' birth. Wow. So grateful! ❤

Fondly do I remember this family ... Again, Merry Christmas to my much-appreciated readers!

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

Monday, December 18, 2023

Are We Loving This Life God Gave Us?

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."   --- 1 Corinthians 10:31


One of my few fears? That I'd ever share those Facebook memes which (pretty much) state--

"Just leave me alone at home with my coffee/books/dog/cat because people are mean and I don't like them."

Oh, the temptation of fiesty me to read those then ask my friends, "Where's the Bible verse where God says that's ok?"

Honey, it's not ok. I mean, yes, we all need our quiet times, but as a 24/7 lifestyle where we avoid most people? Hmm, no.

Again, where's that verse? 

Yet here are the verses we will find:

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly ... by love serve one another ... love does not insist on its own way ... let all that you do be done in love ... whoever loves God must also love his brother ...  the greatest of these is love ... anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Godly passion! May godly passion ignite our hearts, especially during these dark, loveless days of mass confusion.

May we not grow weary, but live hourly invigorated by love, viewing our outside lives and social media as the vast 'fields ripe unto harvest' which they are.

And 'because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit', may we--

-- with great passion infused by the never-ending love of God.

Love. With godly passion. It'll change everything.

"The secret of the Christian's passion is simple: Everything we do in life we do it as to the Lord and not to men."   --- David Jeremiah

Keep it new. Keep it alive. Keep it fresh, interesting and rut-free.


I hope you created a list of your skills! Some of them will be a reflection of your godly passions, sort of a jumping-off point.

Need a last minute craft idea for a Christmas gift? Go here.

And here are some gifts in a jar ideas. And here.

And here are some $5 and under gifts.

As Christians shouldn't we be the most excited about this life which God has given us?

"Therefore we do not become discouraged [spiritless, disappointed, or afraid]. Though our outer self is [progressively] wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day by day."   --- 2 Corinthians 4:16   (In other words, growing older is not an excuse to lose godly passion. Yikes!)


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, December 14, 2023

Let's Pause From Christmas and Look at Books, Movies, TV, Videos, Instead :)

 " ... put (your) hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment."   --- 1 Timothy 6:17


So is anyone else always searching for interesting, morally-decent, new-to-you books, movies, tv, and videos? 

Yeah, thought so.  シ

1.) Last week I discovered the Sparks and Joy cozy mystery book series via Kindle (only 99 cents!). Loved the first book (finished in one day), am now enjoying the second. Great characters and pacing. Go here to read the first synopsis.

And below are some movies Tom and I watched on our 'Saturdates' and can recommend:

3.) The Mighty Macs (based on a true story)

5.) Gibsonburg (ditto)

6.) Secretariat (ditto)

7.) The Rookie (ditto. We'd not watched this in years. Still great.)

9.) For months we anticipated The Hill (another true story) and overall, yes it was good except that the kid was consumed with baseball. No balance, which was confirmed when I read about his later life. His dad tried to fix that, but in mostly wrong ways. sigh.

So hey! At least cautionary tales can help improve us, certainly.

10.) Anyone remember the old tv series, The Streets of San Francisco? Some of the first season episodes are now available at Youtube. Here you go.

11.) I finished reading the Cider Shop Mystery cozy mystery series and wow. Loved them, especially the first and third books.

12.) Oooo... this video was lovely, well, the outcome (I did fast-forward a lot due to great anticipation!)-- Rotten Shed To Cottage Garden Fantasy. Definitely I'll need something like that in the backyard of my heavenly home. Definitely.

13.) And for those who prefer more traditional Christmas decor, you'll probably love this: Vintage Cottage-Style Christmas Decor.

14.) Oh, and while we wait for our favorite tv series' to return in February (!), we're rewatching Monk 'free' via Prime. Well, we did skip the majority of the Chirona episodes because her whining and nagging make us bonkers. Ha.

And well, ok. Let's toss in a bit of Christmas from my house. Instead of Where's Waldo, around here it's more like Where's Christmas? Heh. I prefer it low-key, find it if you can-ish.  シ

                      There's a Christmas tree print behind all that above our kitchen sink.

                     Give yourself 10 points if you spied the snowman couple immediately.

Ditto if you noticed the carolers. Those sets of shelves are behind the glass of our hutch (so kinda hidden) and the carolers were made by John and Donna who, this year, will both celebrate Christmas in Heaven.

               Okay, a bit more Christmas in-your-face there, the Merry Christmas sign. heh.


And may we remember, year-around, actually--

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

When God Asks Us to Move Forward--And We Finally Do

"And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."   --- Colossians 3:14


Still here! Just needed a break. December and all that.  ツ

Remember when, for 8 years, we had that 100 foot hedge around two sides of Hobbit Cottage? We kept it so to gain some privacy for our open-yard corner lot.

Privacy shmivancy.

Man, after yanking those 6 foot tall bushes out, I realized how unfriendly they'd appeared. What were we thinking keeping those hedges? Back then, while porch-sitting, almost no passersby chatted with me through that green wall, yet now? 

In the openness, lots of folks speak as they round our corner.

One young man mentioned not feeling well, having all sorts of ailments, but needing to walk to work anyway. "I'll be sure to pray for you, " I told him. He thanked me. Called me Honey. Seeing him again 10 days later I asked, "How are you feeling?" and he said, "Much better, Honey! Thank-you. Feels great to feel good again!"

Neighbors tell me we have a pretty yard and they love our flowers. Some delivery folks thank me for the bucket of snacks and water we keep out for them. I sense folks walking their dog really appreciate when I call out, "Oh, that's such a cute dog you have!"

Some stroll past and exclaim, "Hello! Isn't this weather gorgeous?"

Since the 90's, I'd become way more gregarious out at stores and such, but still, for decades, in our various yards, I craved my hometime privacy above kindness to others.

I clung too long to an older, shyer version of my yard self, not giving that over to God. Holding back part of myself--when does that ever work out God's way?

This is better, this friendliness and availability to encourage strangers from my own front yard. And wow, the past 4 years of openness is far more godly, joy-inducing and fun.

But oh, what I missed behind those hedges, the real ones and those I'd allowed to encircle my heart.

And yes, we do grow to these better places, but too often--in my own experience--the ignoring of godly conviction made it a much l-o-n-g-e-r growth journey.

Oh, the tragedy of not fully becoming who God intended!


Books I finished reading in November:

Pulp Friction by Julie Anne Lindsey
Just Wait Till You Have Children of Your Own by Erma Bombeck
Wildings: The Secret Garden of Eileen Soper by Duff Hart Davis
Checking Out Crime by Laurie Cass (Began well, then dragged on and on. It's rare for me to finish a book I'm not liking much.)

Oh, and Mary C. Jane is my all-time favorite middle grade mystery author. You can read some of her books here at Open Library. My favorite, Mystery of the Red Carnations, is available cheaply on Kindle.


Need a cozy, isn't-winter-lovely video? Here you go. And here. Here's another. Okay, just one more.

And  wow! How exciting was this?  Times Square Billboards Taken Over By Nativity Scene.  Many inspiring God-things are happening during these crazy days--are you watching for them?

And oh my, being a rabid fan of the Avonlea tv series, I did so enjoy this: Remembering Jackie Burroughs.

Here's a video I listen to while puttering upstairs because of its peaceful music.


Your place in this world matters!

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

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Do This And You May Just Feel Better

"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness."   --- Romans 12:6-8


So I watched a video, Baby Boomer Life Skills That Are Useless Today and wow. Made me think.

Oh, not about whether the skills listed actually are useless today (I disagree about a few), but rather this:

With their examples in mind, perhaps I have more than 5 or 6 skills, myself, after all! シ

So in a draft folder, I created a quick list and who knew? My list grew to 55 skills, not counting various detailed subsets.

Need some examples? Well, because I'd love for you--today--to make your own list so to encourage yourself, here are a few of my 'skills'--

Cooking. Baking. Keeping a clean-ish house. Gardening for food and flowers. Wallpapering. Painting walls. Driving. Writing in cursive. Shopping at stores online. Using a computer. Traveling by train. Caring for children. Being a food prepper. Using a toaster oven. Teaching Sunday School. Making coffee. Unclogging a sink. Riding a bicycle. Mending. Composting. Making candles. Creating photo books online. Crocheting, Reading Roman Numerals. Decorating. Encouraging.

You get the idea. 

Some abilities sound tiny, ok, but you know? I've watched Youtube videos where young folks had no clue how to do some of those. And at various points in my life, neither had I, that is, until I took steps to learn. Then do, risking failure, but not quitting early.

In other words, many skills require a simple desire to learn, then a boldness to step out and try. Then rinse, repeat (as they say) until that skill becomes second nature. 

Today's homework? Create your own skill list. Surprise yourself! List all the detailed subsets if you wish (like for me, being a food prepper requires keeping lists, discovering storage ideas in my small house, rotating food by dates, cooking over an open fire, etc.). 

Make your list as lengthy as you wish!

What might happen after you create your own list? You may step away encouraged. Relieved that you didn't reach your advanced age with few abilities. And more? Challenged to try new skills, ones you've perhaps procrastinated learning for decades.

As Joyce Meyer often says, "Step out and find out." Learn, try, make mistakes, gain experience, move forward.

Become the you God intended.

We can do this, especially if Jesus has asked us to s-t-r-e-t-c-h for who knows why? Maybe He needs us to be a bit more skilled for the next thing He asks of us.

And how marvelous to be prepared ahead of time!


This was lovely: 15 Things to Declutter Before the Holidays. Not just your average decluttering video! Lots of ideas I'd never even considered before.

Oh! An upcoming movie about Bonhoeffer. (I keep telling you good things are coming.)  ツ

And Ariel found a secret room (!)

Aww... I'm seeing snow outside my window, but you know? On November 21st I was still pulling cherry tomatoes from my experimental front garden, so am I going to complain about a few flakes? Probably.  ッ


Have you ever tried ThredUp? They bill themselves as the largest online thrift store. I used it for the first time last month, bought three winter tops for cheap, no shipping cost, and was delighted with my purchases--although--they did take 2 weeks to arrive. 

Oh well, the growth of patience--its a good thing.


Is this so cute or what?

(A stunning photograph captured by Polish photographer Jacek Stankiewicz is making headlines in various media outlets today.

His work has earned him a finalist spot in the Wildlife Comedy Photography Awards.)

And always remember ... none of us are helpless!


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, November 25, 2023

When You Think You Can't--But You Can

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, even releasing what I love if He asks me.


In March of 2019, I felt God asking me to give away 350 of my books.

"Whaaat?" I asked. "Three hundred and fifty? That's probably nearly half of all my books." (It was.) "You know how much I love these books I've collected for 35 years. Most libraries don't even still offer many of these! I don't think I can do this."

Yet the conviction persisted. And persisted. And persisted to the point where I knew it would be disobedience for me to simply pretend I'd not felt this nudge within my conscience.

So I began. 

One shelf of books at a time, I lovingly fingered the spines then pulled the easier-to-release books, first. I noted on paper the number liberated, then placed them in bags with various household clutter and walked them down to the Salvation Army drop-off. 

(If the Little Free Library 'round the corner had existed then, I'd have carried the books there, instead.)

Of course, after weeks of culling the not-dearly-loved books, then came the oh-this-hurts-now books. Or ones I believed were painful to release. Many I'd do a quick read-through, (beginning pages, a few middle, some ending ones), then I'd think, "Hmm. At this point in my life, this book doesn't feel as special." 

Clunk, it would fall into my bag.

Months sailed by. Years. Then this morning I added '7' to my Books Given Away list. The total? Four hundred and one. 

Yes, 401 books given away since 2019. Wow.

And ok, some were Tom's, probably 30, but still I exceeded that 350 number and my mind is blown. Four years ago I truly doubted I could release that many books, even with God's prompting and His help.

Yikes about that last part! Oh me of tiny, doubting faith. Ouch.

Well Honey, lesson learned. Now may I recall this one in the future when God asks of me other impossible-sounding tasks. 

I can do all things He asks of me, for He also supplies the strength and grace for body, soul and spirit.

He does! Only when I say yes, that is. And move forward in obedience with Him beside me. Succeeding.

What's on my Christmas list this year? Okay, okay--it's books. ツ 

And that's a major reason why I pulled 7 books from my shelves today. I'm making space for fresh, new books. This is something I do throughout the year and now? My shelves, more than ever, hold only books I currently love. 

And that's yet one more lesson to remember: Always fling away the unused, unneeded, unloved things (anything!) so to make room for what's beautiful and currently appreciated.

It's the loved things, and people, who are not a burden to care for.


Thank-you, Dolores!  シ  --


Happy anniversary to Tom and Debra! Forty-five years ago today we tied the knot and it's been an adventure ever since. I'd not have traded any of these years.


Oh! Anthony Hopkins has another movie coming out soon. Watch the trailer here

And what's doubly interesting is the documentary about its original story which you can watch here. What a joy to learn how folks obeyed God and helped people in remarkable and even scary ways!


And wow! Mark Wahlberg has even another family-friendly movie coming out. Arthur The King. Very cool.

Oooooo.... if you love watching people be kind to each other, go here. (Watch with a tissue. Or two.)


Need some encourgement during your large projects? Keep a simple written record of what you've accomplished. On days you feel you've not done much, refer to your lists and be assured you've made progress.

Sometimes we lack what we'd love to have simply because our life is too crowded with what we don't even like.


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, November 23, 2023

Thanksgiving Notes

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."   --- 1 Thessaloninas 5:18


Thanksgiving! We vowed to make 2023 a whole entire year of Thanksgiving and what we got? Eight months of one bad circumstance after another.

Oh Honey.

But color me extra grateful today that we made it through. That with God pulling us along and reminding us of everything we'd ever learned--we came through stronger. More hope-sighted. I think.

Way more appreciative, anyway, of these past 3 just-tiny-troubles months and much more likely to dance with deep joy, inside, over daily, small blessings.

And what I learned, especially since last October (2022) when something scary happened in our driveway and Naomi needed to move inside our basement? -- 

-- when real friends hear you're facing a hard time, they say/write something. They do not read your Facebook or blog posts then just poof! move on with their day.

Call me what you will, but I'm thinking it's that simple.

And using that definition it actually surprised me to discover who my true friends are now. And who had, instead, er, uhm, moved into the acquaintance slot.

Hopefully that doesn't sound harsh. For me it feels like truth setting me free, truth which simplifies, clarifies and sweeps wrong imaginings out the door. 

You know.

Anyway! Today I am especially grateful that:

--those first 8 months of 2023 are over.
--that embarrassing cyst is off my head.
--this is a snow-free, sunny, warmish Thanksgiving(!)
--little Charlie The Cat joined our home
--Tom, Naomi and I are here together

---and more than ever I realize if God designed your 'village', then it's certainly good enough, even though it may not resemble other families in your address book.

Whew. And I could write on and on, but I'll stop here and say, Happy Thanksgiving to each of you, my appreciated faithful readers!

Gratitude. It's a daily thing.

Yesterday from the Little Free Library I snatched an old (1970's, ok, ok) copy of The Illustrated Walden. My blessing for the day!


A special thanks to my friend, Dolores, for sharing this at Facebook!

Ooooo.... this week my favorite decorating style is French Provincial and country. 

Two upcoming movies:

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful."   --- Colossians 3:15


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