Wednesday, January 31, 2024

When You Must Create Your Own Sunshine

"The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied... 
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might."   --- Proverbs 13:4, Ecclesiastes 9:10


This is one of our greyest, darkest Winters, ever. Ugh.

Barely are my usual Winter survival tactics working: time with God, reading at windows, burning candles, watching Youtube travel and decorating videos, walking and gathering fallen twigs outside, keeping rooms lamp-lit, taking plenty of Vitamins D3, B12, magnesium, etc. 

But this Winter, God also reminded me to stay pro-active. Said it was vital never to allow myself to slip beneath weighted blankets of apathy--

Apathy: showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern.

Oh dear. We all have certain weaknesses and that's one of mine, especially in  *&%$#@ Winter.


While speaking firmly to myself (one must do that at times so to restore her Life passion), I began (again) keeping my eyes open wide for ideas, projects, and wow. I discovered the perfect one.

See this photo?

From a group I'd never heard of, it just appeared at Facebook. Immediately I noticed two things: 1.) our guestroom/my office is shaped like that (though the flat ceiling part is thinner) and 2.) the woman made that chandelier fit.

Be still my heart. For 12 years I'd longed to place a chandelier up here. Twelve years! But my still-thinking-in-a-box-sometimes brain could only picture one in the center of the room, you know, the place you usually see them. 

And who wants to step smack-dab into a low-hanging chandelier?

Yet what I'd never considered until spying this photo? Placing a chandelier over my table which (now permanently) sits in front of the window. 


Well, the next day, using a Christmas gift card, I ordered the cutest crystal chandelier, one not requiring an electrician to hang. Saw (thanks to a reviewer) that it would arrive like this--

---but I didn't care! I'd risk the possible frustration because here was my chance for a dream-come-true (in Winter, of all things, even).

A couple days later after 2 pleasant(!) hours while listening to a travel video (and moving the table, cleaning the windowsill, etc.), I'd finished putting together my new chandelier.

I am thrilled. Encouraged. And yes, feeling a bit blown-away that this dream took forever. But rather than waste more hours figuring out just why, I'll simply let the gratitude wash over me.

Lessons in this post--

Do your basic helpful things even while not feeling like it

Stay proactive

Keep away from apathy

Don't tell yourself you can't do something before even trying

Share your life with others 

(I'll write a post about that last one soon.) The woman who shared the photo of her room probably guessed folks would criticize that chandelier (they did), but she sent it anyway and her room inspired me to find a way to make a dream happen. I thanked her, believe me.

We need each other! God placed us here at this time in History for a reason. Many, actually. Always remember that.

Never stop believing for the things God wishes you to have, even if they take forever to arrive. It's our believing that keeps the road cleared for their delivery.

Hooray! Finally the sun returned to our land today. If only I could still do cartwheels!  シ


So I've visited the Niagara Falls State Park probably 20 times, but how delightful to watch this young couple's first-time joy there! (Oh my, I nearly laughed till I cried during their Cave of the Winds portion.)

Oooooo... lovely French Provincial style kitchens.

Having some road blocks with decluttering? This may help.

Ariel's updated house tour!


Yes! Someone gets it.  ッ

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, January 24, 2024

January This And That

Keep it new. Keep it alive. Keep it fresh, interesting and fun.


1.) Last year I kept a simple reading journal.

On the first page I wrote, "Books Read In January," then after finishing a book, I'd write the title, then these:


The reaction I kept short, usually, "Loved it," "Enjoyed it," or "Good, but not great."

For 'Form' I'd write, "Hardcover, own it," or "Paperback, own it," or "Open Library" or "Kindle, own it." So helpful to record the form lest later, I wildly search my bookshelves muttering, "I know I read it! Where is it?", forgetting I'd read it online, instead.  シ

A 2023 goal was to read at least 6 books each month and I ended the year with 80. Creating goals (and writing them down) becomes more important--and encouraging--as I age. 

No longer do I have tons of days and time left to waste with 0 goals, no vision nor any record to remind me of progress.

2.) My least favorite thing about winter is that I cannot sit and read outside on our porch. My reading table upstairs is placed in front of the window (which I can open in 30 degrees if I get really crazy), but yeah, it's not the same.

Weeks ago I imagined again how wonderful winter Life would feel if we built a tiny room through that window. Just days later? I spied this local house online:

Oh my goodness. Guess who felt cranky for awhile because she can't have one of those until Heaven?  ッ  

Anyone else wish they had one now? Anyone else ever pray, "Lord, help me to be content?"

3.) One of my favorite booktubers said she wishes there were only two seasons in the year: Spring and Autumn.

Oh yes, Honey. Yes.

4.) Valentine's Day is coming! Are you prepared? Have your cards and your list of recipients with their current addresses?

What an opportunity to add light and love to what otherwise can be a dark, cold month. 

5.) And as I wrote at Facebook:

So for the past decade (more?) I've tossed out too much jam that went old in the fridge. Seems we only eat it super occasionally and then not much of it. I finally found a solution! I ordered these tiny jars from Amazon and each is good for maybe 6 slices of toast if spread thin. No high fructose corn syrup, additives or preservatives(!)
My practical side just wanted to mention this in case this helps anyone else. The 2 boxes I bought should last us for years (knock on wood).

6.) Aren't these gorgeous sunrise photos? (Taken by Scenescapery in our old haunting grounds of Chester, CA.)


If you sometimes have trouble with winter like I do? Search for humor wherever you can find it. It'll help.

8.)  Middle grade books you can read for free:

The Dragon's Secret  (Read this yesterday. It whisked me away to a bungalow in the 1920's seaside in a warm October. Happy sigh.)

The Mystery of the Old Violin (More October beside the sea, this time at an old inn.)

The Pink Motel  (Summertime days at the beach.)

Wild Geese Flying  (an autumnal story)

The Case of the Calico Crab  (a winter at the oceanside story)

Let me know if you read and enjoy any of these, ok?

9.) This week I enjoyed walking around Maine with this guy. I also drove around the poorest towns of MS with him, but those were a bit depressing. Alas.

10.) Always. Even--or especially--in Winter:

Ha! Loved that. Over-thinking can stop any good time.

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, January 15, 2024

Adventure Is Where--And When--We Find It

" ... but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment."   ... 1 Timothy 6:17


Today it's popular (for younger folks, especially) to live all minimalistic stuff-wise and to quip at Youtube, "You'll live a happier, better Life if you go out and have adventures rather than staying home collecting (and enjoying) your stuff."

Well Honey, today we're surrounded by snow and even strolling down to the Salvation Army drop-off or the Little Free Library would be foolish for this nearly 65 year-old lady. And driving somewhere on ice? Uhm, no.

Also, when your husband has post-polio issues, you make his steps count--and take them cautiously to mostly just doctor or hair-cut related places. Plus, he has a full-time job via online, here at home, so there's that.

Am I complaining? Not even. Mainly I'm just encouraging you in 'similar boats' (shall we say), to not allow those Youtubers and others to shove you into the Guilt Ship for enjoying your home or your stuff.

God has given us all good things to enjoy and that includes the things and stuff He blessed us with, perhaps through our prayers, even.

Take this 'gel fireplace' for instance--

Now, I know things aren't supposed to make us happy, and yet? That fireplace still shoots cozy darts all around my heart. God provided this for us when they were everywhere (unlike now) and I burn candles in it 3/4's of every year.

And recently I ordered a glass top for my reading table here upstairs--

The adorable rug was a Christmas gift from Naomi.

Never do I tire of the leaf shadows which dance across that now.

Oh, and because I wanted my tiny bedroom to look only like a room, not a closet, I removed the clothes pole. Yet afterward, placing my in-season clothes in drawers and under-bed containers just didn't work, so I created this tiny closet--

(I guess those slanted walls are good for something though I'm still not a fan.) Instantly my life became seriously-easier.

And finally I found the perfect items for my kitchen windowsill.

What happens when I discover what feels like perfection around here? I leave it alone forever. Anyone else?

Solving puzzles. Many different ways exist, you know.

2023 in many ways proved rough for us, but oh, the adventure of fixing what irks me and making beautiful what I can. The satisfaction of creating an easier lifestyle for this gal who's no longer in her 30's.

What am I saying? I'm grateful Tom and I had our outdoor adventures for whole decades while we could. We cooperated with God and found the energy, time, ways and means so to create our sweet memories.

Yet in these later years, our adventures differ--and that's ok, even if others don't understand.

And while we watch younger folks (and even some same-age friends) cross entire continents, still we feel grace-infused to live and thrive as we do: close to home, to each other, to God and smack dab in the center of godly contentment.

(I ordered this sign from Amazon to remind me.)  シ

Currently the Buffalo Bills are asking for more snow shovelers at Highmark Stadium for this afternoon's game. Uhm sorry, but no. heh.

What makes anything an adventure? Our thoughts concerning whatever it is we're doing.

"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.... But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.  --- Hebrews 13:5, 1 Timothy 6:6-8


Squeeze one more bedroom (and another bathroom door) into this tiny farmhouse and I'll call it perfect.

Often I watch the Incredible Tiny Homes company videos and this one wins for the loveliest decorated (imo). 

For those toying with the idea of retiring on cruise ships, you may want to watch this video first.  ツ


"God intends to provide us with a hopeful future, even when circumstances might suggest otherwise." --- Shawn Bolz


Adventures in
Watching TV travel shows
Food supply prepping
Online ministry, friendship
Wardrobe gathering
Trying new foods
Repairing and Fixing
Taking walks
Visiting with neighbors

"I can do all things (He asks of me, personally) through Christ who strengthens me......"

...... and the wild thing is that Grace makes Life's tweaks feel as wonderful as the original plans would have.


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, January 08, 2024

Where She's Practicing For Heaven (And So Can You)

"Your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven."   --- Matthew 6:10

"Heaven on Earth is a choice we must make, not a place we must find."  --- Wayne Dyer


The first book I read this new year? Intra Muros (My Dream of Heaven) by Rebecca Springer. Probably my 10th time reading this.

Back in the late 1800's, God gave Rebecca an incredible dream (while she was comatose) where she spent years in Heaven. Oh, her vivid descriptions of the homes, her family, Jesus, quaint towns, rivers, parks, temples, music, worship, angels, etc.

I described this book to you before, but what stood out during my January reread? How often her daily activities there mirrored our potential ones here.


--took long walks, alone and with friends, all in unity

--listened to beautiful music

--gazed upon rivers and other gorgeous nature

--read books

--spent time in her home visiting with family and friends

--walked within her home's rooms feeling much gratitude

--listened to great teachers 

--spent time with her family's dog

--ate delicious food

--wore beautiful clothes

--spoke with kindness

--sang songs of gratitude when her heart was full

--shared with others what she was learning

--created lovely things such as lace curtains

--worshipped God with her thoughts each day

--visited with friends in their homes and gardens

--laughed from pure joy

--spoke with family often about God's goodness

--gave her family little gifts

--entertained no fear, only a pure trust in God's wisdom

---and more. (I don't recall her gardening or dancing, but I, personally, would add those.)  ッ

Oh my. Practicing the things of Heaven while still living upon this dark, confused Earth--and bringing down the very Light of Jesus to others!

Could there be a better set of New Year's Resolutions than those above? 

"I am already in eternity."   --- John Fenn

Intra Muros can be found in Kindle format for $1.99 here  or $2.99 here.
Or read it free (with the original illustrations) at Open Library here.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart..."   ---Ecclesiastes 3:11


For Christmas, Naomi gave me some ginger hot cocoa mix and I got spoiled because usually I must gather 3 jars, plus vanilla, plus milk to make one simple cup of cocoa.

So. At Facebook I asked for mathmatical help in multiplying out my simple measurements for one cup. A friend and my nephew helped me come up with a simple mix for an entire jar of mix(!) 

As I'm always saying, we need each other! And what a blessing when we share our help and our lives with each other, something so simple to do online.

Anyway, if you're curious about the homemade cocoa mix, here it is:

The updated version as of January 30, 2024:

1 c. powdered creamer
1/2 c. powdered baking cocoa
1/4 c. sugar plus 2 tbl.'s
3 packets Stevia

Mix well in a bowl, then pour into a pint canning jar.

Place 2 tablespoons mix in an average mug (like an old-fashioned Fiestaware one). Add a splash of vanilla and 2 tablespoons of milk (canned evaporated milk tastes best, imo), then fill to the top with boiling water. Enjoy.


So cute! These "once upon a time there was a girl who--" signs. I simply must buy at least two with Christmas gift cards. (Tom and I are attempting a 'no-spend January', but using our gift cards is ok. heh.)

Which of those signs described you best?

Oh, and in honor of the passing of David Soul, I'll mention that Youtube has full episodes of Starsky and Hutch.


Books I Finished Reading in December:

The Secret of the Marmalade Cat by Milton Lomask

Death and Decluttering by Nancy McGovern

Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stores by Agatha Christie

Mystery in Hidden Hollow by Mary C. Jane

Alibis and Arranging by Nancy McGovern

Suspects and Sorting by Nancy McGovern

The Adventure of the Seven Keyholes by August Huiell Seaman


Perfect verses for 2024! --

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, January 02, 2024

New Year's Resolutions and How I Kind-Of Cheat At Them :)

"You can do all (God-inspired) things through Christ who strengthens you. With Jesus you are stronger than you think."

Newness of Life! I love how every year God provides for us newness of Life.


2024! Well, it's gonna be exciting (you'll see) and color me thankful we're going through this together, you and me.

Now. I realize various Christians say the oddest, defeatist, most hopeless things about New Year's Resolutions (and don't include God in them), but that's not me.

I anticipate these Januarys, this making of lists of ways I'm hoping to improve my life. (Call them goals if you prefer.)

Why? Because (here's the cheating part) before list-making, I ask the Holy Spirit to remind me of all the recent convictions He's nudged me with. All the ways He's asked me to 'come up higher', grow-up and behave more lovingly.

Then I simply write those things down. (Frankly, it pleases Him that I'm taking His requests seriously.)

My list from January 2023?

Be slower to speak.   

Complain less.         

Be more excellent in all ways.

Keep decluttering.    

Spend less time online.  Read more books.   

Be more creative around the house.  Fix what annoys you.

Express more gratitude.

Now, why is it cheating to make resolutions this way? Because always, the Holy Spirit shows up to help with whatever He asks us to do.

He --

cheers us on
gives wisdom
saves us time, money, energy
holds us up
instructs us in customized ways--

--so good gracious! With all that, how can we go wrong?

God's goals for us are certainly not impossible, but rather, doable. And since we can do all (divinely-inspired) things through Him, we only fail when we make lists He has no part of. When we attempt things He designed for someone else.

Don't go there, ok? Instead, ask, listen, write. Then move forward humbly believing at the end of 2024 you'll be thrilled how closely your new year's resolutions resemble your present life.

Happy brand new beginning to all my readers!

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever..."   --- John 14:16

“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”
― Brad Paisley

Keep it new. Keep it alive. Keep it fresh, interesting and fun.


Concerned about your 'follow through'? Consider this example: If you're not a bigtime reader, but feel God wants you to read 5 books each month? If you end up averaging just 3 books instead, that's a cause for rejoicing! 

At least you stepped out. You tried something new. You did better than before and hey. Better is better. Always.

And thanks to my friend, Rebecca, for sharing this quote, below!--

"Better to aim for a star and hit a mountain than to aim for a mud puddle and hit it every time." 


My Top 10 Favorite Movies I Watched In 2023:

The Rocky Movies. All of them.


And as I shared at Facebook:

One thing I love about our Charlie Cat is that God's used him to help heal our hearts over Daniel's loss. In many ways, Charlie is like Daniel and we greatly appreciate him.


My Top Ten Favorite Books I Read In 2023 (Some can be found at Open Library) --

The Calico Year by Dorothy Gilman Butters

Shoestring Theater by Nancy Hartwell

Gabriella by Nancy Hartwell

The Brass Keys of Kenwick by Augusta Huiell Seaman

Mystery of the Red Carnations by Mary C. Jane

Truly, Madly, Sheeply by Heather Vogel Frederick

Dying to Read by Lorena McCourtney

The Cider Shop Rules by Julie Anne Lindsey

Death and Decluttering by Nancy McGovern

Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie


And here's a free short middle grade Kindle book for you: Enjoy The Poodle Skirt. Again, it's short, but it made me smile.

And for whatever reasons, I super enjoyed this: Living Big In a Tiny Victorian House. (Though yes, too much stuff! But legit Victorians--like they were--did live that way.)  シ

Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain who build it. Be sure to build with God!

"May this be your best year yet! Our God promises to make all things work for good for those who love Him, so let us make our main resolution to love Him more, and experience and demonstrate more of His goodness. The world needs it. We need it, and can do it. Start today!"

---Rick Joyner


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