Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Word for Us on 7/30/17

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16,17

God gives us the strength to perform good deeds and say good words, and as we do so, our hearts are encouraged!

In addition to making others happy by our good deeds, I know that for myself, doing nice things for others, especially "clear out of the blue," makes me happy. Joyce Meyer has said that doing for others makes her happy.

Recently I also heard her say, "Happy thoughts make a happy life." I like that and I once did a post on "think happy, be happy": here.)

Of course, being human, I don't succeed 100% of the time. But I keep coming back to happy thoughts, and do so often, and that helps me to not only function and keep going, but to mostly enjoy my days.

What are my happy thoughts? Well, I've written many times on the subject, but when I realize I'm being negative, I then silently sing hymns and praises to God, silently confess empowering Bible verses, and silently tell God what I thank Him for. Of course, if I get the chance to do these things out loud, I do that, too. Next thing I know, my mind is engaged, but not with negative thoughts.

Have a decidedly blessed week,

Friday, July 28, 2017

Taming the Tongue

Life in a village demands a guard on the tongue ...
(from Village School by Miss Read)

This is so true. In a small town, everyone is related to, or friends with, everyone else. When I read the obituaries I often am surprised to learn that so and so was so and so's sister, daughter, etc.

It is truly wise to be careful what we say. Especially in a village. And it seems to me, it's all a village: the church village, the school village, the office village, the family village, the neighborhood village, the Twitter village, the blogland village.

Not that it's easy. This is an area I struggle with. I'm getting better, but I know I still say things I later wish I had not. It's not that I intend to gossip or be hurtful, but rather that it's my natural inclination to share my thoughts. I'm too open.

In fact, my brother tells me that when we were teenagers, my mother told him that if he didn't want something to be repeated or made known, to not say it in front of Bess! Aargh! So you can see this has been a longtime thing with me.

These days I do try to think before I speak (or write). Sometimes I say a prayer before I speak.

Because once the words are out, they cannot be withdrawn. (Well, fortunately we bloggers can edit our posts, which helps a little.)

Transparency is a buzz word these days. I was transparent way before it was a thing!!! But I don't think we're to be transparent (used as being open and honest) at someone else's expense.

On the other hand, there is such a thing as "just making conversation" in which one has no idea she might be saying something that is hurtful or offensive to her "audience." In that case, we can certainly apologize upon learning of our offense, but then I think we can let it go without beating ourselves up over it. (However, I'm not very good at that second part either. I don't like to hurt people.)

Still, as they say, it pays to be cautious. "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." (Attributed to both Abe Lincoln and Mark Twain?)

And then there is this adage my mother often said, "If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all."

Lord, help us all! Right?! (Read the book of James in the Bible for more on taming the tongue.)

Enjoy your weekend!
(I think all the photos are from 2015.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 7/25/17

A post today re Alexandra Stoddard's books. As most of you probably know, she is a longtime, successful interior designer who also writes books on living and enjoying a happy life. A philosopher on the art of living. 

Some people have complained she's out of touch with the common woman, and I will say that I do have to be in the mood to read her enthusiastic, bubbly writing style. She also apparently holds to a mixed bag of spiritual beliefs, but I glean what I can use and run everything through the filter of God's Word.

I happen to have seventeen of her books (plus one duplicate that was my mother's), but to be honest, I haven't looked at or reread them for a long time, with the exception of Alexandra Stoddard's Book of Color.

So it ran through my mind once or twice to donate them to my library. But then I told myself I wouldn't want to part with her book Tea Celebrations ... or Gift of a Letter ... or Grace Notes ... and definitely not Living a Beautiful Life and ... ! So I decided to keep them all and will begin to rotate them into my reading queue before too long.

Ms. Stoddard is working on completing her twenty-ninth book: Joyful Living in the Real World, which I look forward to reading. I'd also like to own her first book, Style for Living. Her monthly newsletter can be found here. I haven't found any archives, so the old ones disappear when she publishes a new newsletter. Some parts of her website need to be updated (her husband is now deceased, etc.).

Do you like her books? I hope she is able to complete her latest project. I think in recent years she's had publisher problems. I wonder if she knows about publishing on Amazon?  ;-}

Enjoy your reading and many blessings to you,
PS: No Amazon links today. The heat and moving water hoses has made me fatigued this week!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Word for Us on 7/23/17

Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali- to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles- the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."
Matthew 4:13-16

Can we imagine what it would be like to have Jesus move into the neighborhood? Why, yes, we can! Because when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, He seals our new relationship with His Holy Spirit coming to live in us. He is as near as our breath, and we can truly say "God in us; Jesus in us." A great mystery, but true nevertheless.

From that time forward, we have His light to live by, to guide us in this life and then to guide us home. And it's a "great light." The Greatest Light.

During the dog days of summer, in order to cope with the extreme heat, we become rather like moles around here. For the better part of the day the shades are drawn and thermal curtains closed. We can't tell if it's sunny out or not (which it is). We are literally living in a form of darkness.

But when I do step outside to run an errand, I exclaim, "Bright light!!!" The difference is remarkable, and the light dazzling.

"The people living in darkness have seen a great light."

Come to Jesus, Friends. He'll positively dazzle you.


Friday, July 21, 2017


From At Home in Thrush Green by Miss Read, Anthony Bull says to Charles Henstock, when the latter was lamenting his old rectory that had burned down:

"Well," said Anthony at last, "it's no good harking back, Charles. We have to go forward, you know. And with hope."

Amen to that!

Have a fantastic weekend,
PS: If you want to read some of my thoughts on hope, my devotional memoir is available via Amazon, only 99 cents for the Kindle version, $4.97 for a pretty, ecru paper, matte softcover book. (I also explain my deliberately grammatically incorrect title in my introduction!) See the top of my sidebar if interested.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 7/18/17

I frequently search my library's website to see if any libraries in their system have whatever book I might be looking for. I look at the book on Amazon first, but then always check to see if it's available through the library.

Anyway, sometimes they have the book, and sometimes not. But the searches usually bring up anywhere from a few to a bunch of other books. Sometimes the results are pretty far out, but I suppose somewhere they share a name in common with the book for which I'm looking. (Amazon does somewhat the same thing, but the suggestions don't seem to include older books.)

I scan through the results, however, and every now and then a title leaps out at me and I click on it. And so that's how I wind up placing books on hold that I've never heard of before, and I've read some pretty obscure ones that way. 

Recently a search suggested a 1963 Avalon book entitled Betty Pritchard, Train Hostess by Elizabeth Beatty. Train hostess? I had never thought about that before, but evidently trains used to have them with duties similar to airline stewardesses (I don't suppose they are called that anymore), and my little bit of research showed that train hostesses are still used in some foreign countries. 

In this book, the train hostesses are nurses, but their main duties are customer service oriented. Betty is hired for the New York to Miami run, and winds up involved in adventure her first time out. The style of the book is reminiscent of a Nancy Drew, and after a somewhat slow start, the book became more interesting to me once Betty was on the train. There is excitement on the train, problems at home to worry about, and also a low-key romance. 

If my research is correct, Elizabeth Beatty is a pen name for Teresa Holloway (1906-1989), who wrote mostly career romance books, many but not all with nurse protagonists. I suspect they are somewhat hard to find, but here is a good list of the books. Your local library system might have a few, as mine does.

I enjoyed Betty Pritchard, Train Hostess. Betty is 24, conscientious, loyal, but also somewhat clumsy and forgetful. What was most interesting to me, however, were the scenarios and descriptions of train travel in the early 1960s (I assume), and the plentiful job positions available with the railroad at the time. 

There was some terminology not often used today. For example, a crack train is an express train given priority so that it has the fastest travel time.

I can recall traveling by train at least three times when I was a girl. Once with my family on an overnight from the Michigan UP to Chicago (I suppose we returned by train as well?), and with my brother, from Iowa to Chicago, along with the return trip. I thought it all truly wonderful.

Well, no links today except for My Amazon Picks as usual. But should you track down and read one of the Holloway/Beatty books, or a career romance by another author, let me know if you enjoyed it! 

Getting a new roof today (hail damage), but it's gone quiet so it must be lunch break as I write this. Ah ... lunch is over. :O) Guess I'll go have mine!

Be blessed,
PS: I am an Amazon Associate. Thank you so much for looking at these books (and you can always check with your local library). If you do enter Amazon and buy anything at all via one of my links, it costs you nothing extra and gives me a little credit for buying books for myself. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Word for Us on 7/16/17

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:45  NKJV

What's in our hearts?

Negativity was my default setting. But slowly, over the years, I've been reprogramming my default to encompass worship and singing, continual prayer, praise and singing, thanksgiving, confessing scripture, and singing. (Mostly I sing silently, in my head.)

I'm not always successful, and I sometimes cycle through various stages between negativity and positivity. I have made negative statements or at times said just downright odd things that my filter didn't catch, and I've been embarrassed by what I've uttered.

But I know that I keep improving as I remind myself to partake of the good practices above, along with studying God's Word, reading inspiring books, and listening to uplifting music. Oh, enjoying His creation (nature) and loving on kitties helps, too!

May God lift you up today and every day,

Friday, July 14, 2017


Time had lost its importance. That was one of the good things about getting old: you weren't perpetually in a hurry.
From The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

This quote fits my day-to-day living quite well. Now that I'm apparently retired, although still a caregiver, I love how my days may be routine, but yet are not regimented. Usually there is no set order in which I have to do my daily or even weekly chores. Once in a while I just don't do them at all!

After being at home for over two years, I now tell myself the day of the week and date upon waking each morning. Because one ceases to have to even know that information for long stretches. (Oftentimes, days seem as if they should be a different day to me. My brother will mention that, too.)

My busiest days are when trips to the pharmacy(ies), grocery store, and library all fall on the same day. I know! You wish you had it so rough! :O)

Somehow, what I used to get accomplished over my lunch hour, or the hour before or after work, now can take all day. 

My mother used to lament not being more productive in her older years. She would look at me, shrug her shoulders, and say, "The day just goes!" Not that I ever said anything to her; goodness, her time was hers to do with as she wished.

But now I know just what she means. And for the most part, I like it! I like putting my feet up almost whenever the urge strikes. I like saying, "I should go to the store, but I think I'll go tomorrow instead." I like being able to stay up until three in the morning to finish a good book, and then making up for it a little bit the next day. I like preparing an evening meal in the morning and getting that out of the way.

I do make my daily lists of things to do so that I won't fall into being a total sluggard! Tasks on the lists are over and beyond my caregiving duties and everyday housekeeping. Sometimes I don't do all of my three or four extra things, yet often I do more.

That's what is so nice about retirement: it's so much easier to simply "go with the flow."

However, I do intend to keep telling myself the date each morning. As we age, when we go to the hospital, that's one of the first things the doctor asks! I'd be embarrassed not to know. ;-]

An aside: You may have noticed that I've been sharing about books on Tuesdays and sharing Bible verses on Sundays. So it came to me that on Fridays I could share one of the quotes I've written in my commonplace books over the years. They may speak only to me, but I hope you'll also enjoy the quotes. I've done that many times in my older posts, but on those the topic came first and then I threw in an appropriate quote. Now I'll choose a quote, and if I have anything to say about it, I will! Anyway, that's what I'm up to now, posting on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, for however long. And perhaps an extra post every now and then.

Have a truly lovely weekend!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 7/11/17

I'm about one-third of the way through a reread of a book entitled Gardening Mercies: Finding God in Your Garden by Laurie Ostby Kehler. I have the original 2001 hardback version, but it is available new as a paperback (2016; link at bottom of this post).

Kehler, an avid gardener, shares stories about her garden and then gives each story a helpful and encouraging devotional/spiritual/Christian application. (I use the same method in my own devotional memoir.) Her essays are often several pages long, so allow plenty of time to enjoy each one. The back cover says this book "creatively combines gardening observations and tips with devotional lessons."

The original book is printed on lovely ecru paper, like fine letterhead stationery, and contains pretty, monochrome illustrations throughout. I don't know if the paperback is the same quality, but I hope so. The print is on the small side for my extremely poor eyesight, but still I am able to read it.

Gardening season is moving along, but it's not too late to enjoy these wonderful stories/devotions about all aspects of gardening. Or the book could be read for a breath of fresh air in wintertime. Whatever the season, Ms. Kehler's book is sure to make you want to put it down and walk about your garden!

I currently don't have a garden, but I have a sizable backyard with trees and critters, and I do enjoy strolling about to see the interesting little things that I haven't noticed before: broken glass, rocks, nuts, tiny little flowers/weeds, feathers, the impressions left by bunnies under my porch and spirea bush. Besides, the English call a yard "the garden," which I love that they do! (When I learned that from watching Keeping Up Appearances years ago, it greatly increased my esteem for my humble yard.)

Well, Dear Readers, it may be 100 degrees out as I write this, but I'm going to go have another bowl of the soup I made yesterday (chicken & rice with onion, carrots, & seasoned with a small amount of Montreal Steak Seasoning, black pepper, & garlic powder).

Hope this week you'll enjoy a good book and your garden!
PS: I am an Amazon Associate. Thank you so much for looking at these books (and you can always check with your local library). If you do enter Amazon and buy anything at all via one of my links, it costs you nothing extra and gives me a little credit for buying books for myself. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Word for Us on 7/9/17

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].
AMPC 18:21

This verse shows that what we think and speak is very important to the quality of our lives. There are consequences for walking around all glum and negative. For one thing, we then are walking around all glum and negative. That isn't good for those around us, and it definitely isn't good for us!

Let's listen to our thoughts and comments this week. Are they whittling away at our very souls, destroying the joy and contentment that are rightfully ours in Christ? Or are they life-affirming, carrying our days in a positive direction? 

Over the years, little by little, are we becoming more Christ-like?

We are what we think. The Bible says so more than once. If positive, wholesome, loving thoughts won't come, meditate on scripture verses you've memorized. Confess them out loud or silently. Or sing hymns or wholesome songs, out loud or silently. (I sometimes sing old Broadway music.) Or begin to thank God for every little thing you can think of. Be specific and tell Him the small details that mean so much to you.

Eventually our beautiful thoughts will spill forth from us as beautiful words.

Many blessings,
PS: For more on this topic, scroll down my sidebar. As always, if we are in a time of grief and mourning, we go through, with God's help, as best we can. He's not expecting us to be phony or turn cartwheels at such times. But when we're ready, we go forward.

Friday, July 7, 2017


This purrbaby is now buried in my backyard. Still miss her!

As long as you have a window, life is exciting.
From Country Chronicle by Gladys Taber

This is so true, especially for aging folks like myself who no longer travel. (Well, I won't say I never will, but I haven't for a long time.)

Of course, indoor kitties like nothing better than a window, unless it's a screened window with a breeze flowing in, thereby adding tantalizing aromas to the mix.

Would you believe my little 760 sq ft house has twenty-three windows?! Ten are on the utility porch, but still! :O)

These days, however, for privacy's sake (the living room acts as a bedroom, etc.), we keep the curtains pulled on most of them. Also, it helps the utility bills. (I do miss the light, but it's not good in the summer anyway.)

Kallie often has a thick "whisker" growing out of her eyebrow. She also has a rather unique "blaze" for a kitty, I think.

Have a great beginning to your weekend!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 7/4/17

Today I share this little book: The Bluebird of Happiness: A Little Book of Cheer by Vicky Howard. I had forgotten I had it, but came across this gem while scrounging around for other books. Poor thing. It deserves better than to be hidden away and neglected.

In this small book (about 4.5x4.5" but 96 pages), Ms. Howard shares quotes on happiness from the likes of Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, etc. She also shares gorgeous scenes from her personal collection of Victorian-Age postcards of birds and flowers.

Being short, it's tempting to whip through the book, and then maybe think: "Well, that wasn't worth it." But these helpful, wise sayings, along with the pretty pages, should be meditated upon and savored slowly, several times over. I'm going to keep it nearby, for a while at least, and turn to it frequently for an injection of cheer and wisdom.

It is published by Andrews McMeel Publishing (no affiliation), Kansas City, and my experience has been they publish some lovely books. They have coloring books as well! (Marjolein Bastin has a new one coming out in August.)

Originally published in 2007, Amazon still has copies of this sweet book. It's also available on Kindle, but I haven't seen that version and can't speak to its quality.

Enjoy your reading!
PS: I am an Amazon Associate. Thank you so much for looking at these books (and you can always check with your local library). If you do enter Amazon and buy anything at all via one of my links, it costs you nothing extra and gives me a little credit for buying books for myself. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Word for Us

This is my thimble corner; sorry for the dark photo.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.

You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:7,11

My goodness, where would I be without God and His help?

If you have one, enjoy your long weekend. Perhaps you are at the beach?

Painting by my grandfather; Lake Michigan.

I hope to go ahead and have a book post on the 4th.