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

Monday, November 13, 2023

When You're Living An Impossible Life

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all."   --- 2 Thessalonians 3:16


So in the midst of a current worldly chaos, I'm watching cottagecore videos and 'soft life' (or slow living) ones with lovely homemakers living beautifully.

They take autumnal walks through forests, return home and decorate with found foliage, then bake cookies and drink tea or hot chocolate. Candles lit, they paint in art journals, then snuggle with a cat (or dog) upon their couch and read a book until their windows reflect the candle glow.

These women make Life appear cozy, peace-filled, warm and golden. Most of us appreciate the inspiration, while others leave cynical, accusatory, whiny comments:

"You must be wealthy to live such a life."
"Who really lives this way in 2023?" 
"You're faking it for Youtube money."

.... etc.

Well, bah humbug to the doubters, haters and cynics.

Even 35 years ago people told me living an imaginative life at home with just one income was impossible. Shaking their all-knowing heads they stated, "Those days disappeared."

But still, I persisted and just carried on, living-out my dreams at home, splashing around in all the creative challenges.

And when, while perusing Youtube, I view my much younger kindred spirits living a 'soft life' during these turbulent years, I smile.

What is a soft life? To me it's one where you creatively round-off your life's harsh corners. It's an attitude. A unique wisdom using a separate type of currency. It's you and Grace discovering ways to live peaceful, artistic days within the tiny kingdom you helped design.

It's using your money differently than others do. 

Brewing your own coffee rather than driving downtown to buy it. Cooking from scratch instead of serving convenience foods. Buying only books you love (mostly at thrift shops) and borrowing the rest. Growing gardens, doing your own yard work, painting your walls. Crafting what you desire. Taking your young children on nature walks or to street fairs or relatives' homes for visits and games.

It's not resenting challenges, but rather, simply fixing them with grace whenever possible (or changing your attitude toward them when not).

It's finding what others never pause to search for. It's risking being alone if that's where your unique life takes you, but not minding as long as you have Jesus, Grace and a few folks who love you.

Just some thoughts on this cold, but sunny Autumn morning. I'm hoping you are well and grace-filled-happy today.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”   --- John 16:33

How comforting to remember God can make a way where there appears (especially to others) to be none.

Go ahead. Tell me it can't be done and I'll do my best to prove it can. ツ


This video helped inspire today's post:  How to Make Mundane Beautiful

Don't you just love craft-talented women? Making Rabbits, Planting Herbs, And Tea with Beatrix Potter

My Facebook Marketplace Horror Stories.  Ariel illustrates the importance of keeping a sense of humor while creating your new life (though I did skip the last story because she mentioned a mean woman and frankly, I'm tired of reading about those online. heh.)


Oh, and as I wrote at Facebook:

Attention all prayer warriors: I just now discovered that my mom has shingles. She sounded rough over the phone. Any prayers would be appreciated--thanks so much!


Now, usually good movies appear around Christmas each year, ok, but I'm encouraged by many previews lately. It really does seem like movie-makers are trying harder regarding decency, something I've believed with all my heart would happen. Eventually.

The Family Plan  (looks like Mark Wahlberg is keeping his promise about making more family-friendly films)


Oh, November!

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 07, 2023

November This and That

"For we walk by faith, not by sight... "   --- 2 Corinthians 5:7 (Or... don't be blown away by the news!)


1.) So Tom brought home a dozen new, tiny canning jars from Goodwill, not even knowing I needed them for storing my air-dried garden herbs.

I'd placed the washed herbs on sandwich plates (after snipping the leaves) and paper towels upstairs on top of my waist-high white bookshelves, the only place available (and cat-safe) in all our Hobbit Cottage land.

This is a s-l-o-w way of creating dried herbs, but what's the rush?

2.) Along that line, though I'm not a tea-drinker (forgive me), I thought I'd attempt to make dried mint tea. Diffusers online appeared so dull utilitarian, then hooray! Miranda Mills at Youtube used one like my head had imagined.

Aren't they lovely? --

I also ordered an extra set for Naomi (preferring Christmas year-around, I couldn't wait). She pronounced them beautiful. 

You can find them here.

The herbs I dried?  Catnip, mint, basil and chives. Hopefully I'll add some oregano this week.

3.) Truly, daily gratitude can change our regular ol' life into one that feels brand new. Try it!

4.) After again hearing the name, Wink Martindale, during a televised football game, I told Tom, "Wasn't there a tv game show host ages ago with that same name?"

Tom chuckled. "No," giving me a 'there she goes again' look. "This guy's a coach with the Giants."

But I felt rather certain about this one, so I reached for my iPad. After a bit of research I laughed, "Aha! We should've bet on this. Wink Martindale was a game show host and since this coach had the same last name, his fellow college players nicknamed him 'Wink.'"

Well, Tom was surprised, but as I told him, "Hey, just face it. I am the queen of useless information of long ago."   ツ

(Read about the older Wink, here and the younger one, here.)

5.) My very favorite Youtube recipe lady? Julia Pacheco. And because she's sweet, encouraging, and so terrific with easy recipes, I wanted to show my appreciation by buying her just-released, first-ever cookbook

If anyone else is interested, you can order it here. Ways to encourage those who have encouraged us abound everywhere.

6.) Here are a few cozy mysteries waiting in my Amazon Wish List. In case you'd like to also look into them, here you go:

7.) You may not believe this, but I've never read an Agatha Christie book(!). Yet since all my favorite booktubers enjoy them, I thought I'd begin with Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories.

So far, so good.  (You can find inexpensive copies here and also through Bookfinder.com.)

8.) And along those lines, the 'lovely autumn ladies' at Youtube created incredible videos this Fall, but uh-oh. Some of their book recommendations positively curl my (so straight) hair.

I stare up at the tv screen and tell them, "Oh Honey! You don't really want to read that book about witches/wizards/ghosts, do you? The Bible is so clear about staying away from those things which open scary doors."

Then I pray for them.

Life is certainly full of hundreds of prayer opportunities, right?

9.) Last week Joyce Meyer reminded me, first thing while sitting on the edge of my bed, to say aloud: "I believe something good is going to happen today."

Love that, and you know? At each day's end I'm now asking myself, "Which good thing(s) happened to (or through) me today?" Always there's something. Always.

(Update: Woo hoo! My 'good thing' for today is discovering a Michael's craft store is coming to our neighborhood. The first one in our county and it'll be next to Dollar Tree, both only about 5 blocks away. Yay! Never before have I lived so near a craft store and this will certainly get me out of the house more often.)

10.) Remember The Globetrotters? A good documentary about them is here.

Have you watched any of Corben Bernsen's inspirational movies? We'd seen one (two?) and watched Rust last week and enjoyed it, though the first half hour was a bit slow and depressing. But it picked up and taught lots of good lessons.

(Be sure you watch the correct Rust for whew, there are lots of movies with that same name.)

Oh, and we watched the squeaky clean mystery, Hazardous Duty, and liked it. (The main guy, though, reminded me so much of Donnie Osmond that it was distracting. heh.)

And I'll just end by encouraging you to hang in there! Truth is truly rising to the top (as the saying goes) in our world and it's so exciting to watch it happen and to do our part, as well.


Autumn Afternoon around here, well, after my iPad washed out all the colors. heh.

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, November 01, 2023

Where She Finally Drove To the Library, But Then --

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."   ---Isaiah 43:18,19


So last Thursday I actually drove the few (cloud-eerie, but tree-gorgeous) blocks to Dollar Tree. 

Pushing my cart down the kitchen aisle, I thought, "This was a good idea!". I especially thought that while grabbing next year's calendar, something I never find cheaply online.

Recalling all the times I've mentioned decluttering to you, I used such self-control and mostly bought only what I needed (but oh Honey, the temptations...).

I complimented the check-out lady on her teal sweater (she appeared to need a kind word), carried my bag to the car, then headed to our town's library located in its beautiful 1925 building. Always it feels odd (but kinda cool) to meander past the outdoor barred windows of former jail cells of long ago.

The first room one steps into is dark and lined with shelves of books for sale. Squinting, I read most titled spines, but found nothing due to my extreme pickiness of what I'll read (er hem). Then I wound my way through a reading room and quiet halls with framed our-town-in-the-old-days photos.

Standing in the dusty stacks, I'd meant to scribble into my notebook cozy mystery titles to locate online, yet I just stood there and sighed, instead. "How much easier to just look up Youtube videos specifically about cozy mysteries. Why haven't I done that before?"

So while slowly stepping back to the hall, I listened to folks quietly chatting at the check-out desk and I took one final gaze around. "I haven't missed anything by not visiting here these past 4 years," I mused. "My own home library contains my loved vintage books, books this library discarded ages ago, calling them irrelevant and not politically correct. Always I can find new-to-me-treasures online."

Then entering the winding hallway, I whispered, "Good-bye, Library. You were here when I needed you, so thanks. But I've moved on."

Of course, never say never--and all that. 

But still, sometimes you just know when you've grown past something (or someone). Farewells may sting, but keeping-up a not-God's-plan pretense eventually hurts more.

And ugh, grasping dead-to-us things can scent Life all sour (shall we say).

On the drive home, all the orange and yellow trees gleamed like bright confetti even in the grey skies and I smiled with additional feelings of freedom.

How good to rest assured that, always, when God asks us to let go, He replaces that thing with a sweet sequel, something we'd never have even discovered with hands too full of the Past.

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”   --- Steve Mariboli

--or--some people never discover their new life because they could not release the old one.


I admit it, most of my video recommendations are geared toward women. Hey.  シ  Yet today, men readers rejoice!  You may enjoy this one: Heading Home For October. This almost resembles a movie and the outdoor scenes (and pacing) are gorgeous.

One dark morning on the red couch I began my day with this video and wow. Its beauty set the tone for the remaining hours. That huge hedge with the passageways! And don't miss the angel statue: immediately I asked God to place one like it in my garden in Heaven.

And for my fellow decorator friends, this:  A Cozy Fall Apartment In New York.

Unsure of what a cozy mystery is? Go here.


Books I finished reading in October:

The Stillmeadow Road by Gladys Taber
The Cat, The Professor and The Poison by Leann Sweeney
The Cider Shop Rules by Julie Anne Lindsey
Autumn by Susan Branch
Apple Cider Slaying by Julie Anne Lindsey
At Wits End by Erma Bombeck

One of my most visually beautiful books is Wildings: The Secret Garden of Eileen Soper. You can now read it at Open Library here.

"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

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