Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Looking For Spring In February

 Feeling In The Pink


Hi friends! I'm just popping in with a short post to wish all of you a very Happy Valentine's Day! I celebrated a bit early today with lunch out with The Mr. I'm wearing a new pink sweater with a multi-color necklace that just puts me in the mood for Spring.


I noticed this evening that it didn't get dark until well after 6 p.m. The clocks "spring forward" on March 10th which means that evenings will stay light even longer. I can't wait for that as I really dislike it getting dark so early in the evenings in the winter. Outside our church this past week, I have noticed the green stems of hyacinths starting to poke their way through the earth. All of these signs are hopeful to me that Spring isn't far away!

Pink is such a cheerful color and I enjoy wearing it a lot. It's also a Spring color in my opinion. Since Easter is early this year, on Sunday March 31st, I plan to start decorating soon for that holiday. So look for some pinks to be appearing in those decorations!

Enjoy a wonderful day and remember to love a little on yourself today! 

Until Next Time,
Debbie

Friday, February 9, 2024

Faithful Friday Devotion The Greatest of These Is Love

 I Corinthians 13: Love


And now these three remain : faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

Good morning friends! I hope your week has gone well and you are enjoying these first hours of your Friday morning. Since we are so close to Valentine's Day, I thought an appropriate devotional for this morning would be the verse from I Corinthians about Love.

Love is such a used word in our language isn't it? In terms of Valentine's Day, it typically refers to romantic love although the card sellers have cards for every relationship from friends to school classmates to our pets! It has become more of a "fun" day to celebrate. As a teacher, I always enjoyed this fun aspect and the children decorating their Valentine boxes. And of course the actual day was filled with all sorts of excitement and a party with cookies and punch with everything red! It was fun but exhausting!

During Biblical times there was no such thing as Valentine's Day, of course, and if you read the full Chapter 13 you will see that Paul was focused on relationships in terms of love. Here is what Paul says in verses 3-7:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I think of our world today and how, in so many ways, we seem to have gotten away from these Biblical thoughts about love. We don't always have to agree with one another. But we can still be civil and kind. 

Love takes work. And that work is not always easy. But a great place to start that work is through focusing on our relationship with God. Through prayer and reading God's word and building our own personal relationship with Jesus we can get there.

Blessings and Peace,
Debbie
❤❤❤



Thursday, February 1, 2024

Valentine Tree and Valentine Tiered Tray

 My Changeover to Valentine Decor


Hello friends and welcome to February! I've only managed to do one post this week and so, before we get too far into February and all things Valentine, I thought I would share my changeover to Valentine Decor. Sorry that there will be no Faithful Friday post this week. I'll try to do better for next week.


I don't have lots and lots of Valentine decorations so there is still some winter decorations mixed in as you can see. I was ready to de-emphasize snowmen on the white light tree in the living room so I removed the snowmen and kept the white wreaths. I added the pink heart wreath and a couple of red and white wreaths with the red heart picks tucked in near the bottom of the tree. My stuffed red hearts under the tree are pieces I have enjoyed for over 25 years and the little squeezable snowman with red hearts is a new piece this year. It's nice to have a bit of a change on the living room tree.


Here is the tree all lit up at night. I'm so glad to have this little tree up for the winter months. It really makes me feel better on these dreary winter days when it gets dark so very early. I enjoy looking at it all through the evening! 


I decided this year to put the tiered tray on the radio/bookcase cabinet in my music room rather than on the little foyer table. I think it really looks lovely in this spot. If you follow my blog from previous years you will most likely recognize some of the little pieces on the trays. The little bear with the broom candle on the top tier and the little wooden snowman holding a star on the bottom tier are new-to-me pieces that I recently thrifted. The red heart wreath to the left and the LOVE sign to the right pair well with the tiered tray. If you have ever visited Debbie Barna's Debbie Dabble blog you will see that she takes many items like the LOVE sign from the Dollar Tree and adds to them to make them really beautiful. I didn't do that as you can see. Do visit Debbie's blog, though, to see her amazing Valentine decor! She decorates trees all year long in her home. 



And finally, I wanted to share these beautiful flowers that were on the altar at church on Sunday. A sweet couple who attend our church placed them there to honor myself, our music director and pianist and the chancel and handbell choir members as a thank you for our music program and in their words,"the joy we bring each week." I thought that was so lovely and the music director and pianist voted for me to bring the flowers home. So now I have this gorgeous arrangement to enjoy as part of my Valentine decor!


 And one more thing to share before I finish up this post. My friend, Sharon, shared with me that there is a new line of fabric out called, "Deborah's Garden." I asked her to send me the link so I could see a fabric named after me! I love the fact that the fabric has colors on it that I love, especially the blues, and even butterflies! If I were a better sewer I would definitely be thinking of all sorts of things I could create from this pretty fabric. But alas......maybe some pillow cases??!!

I hope your week is going well and that you enjoyed this post and, perhaps, got some ideas for your own home decor. Or some inspiration...or just enjoyed looking at the pictures. I'll be back next week with more.

Until next time,
Debbie 

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Faithful Friday Devotion Growing Healthy In God

 Finding Nourishment In God

Image by jcomp on Freepik

Hello friends. Welcome to another Faithful Friday devotional. I hope that your week
has gone well. Tell me....are you getting your nourishment each day? No, I'm not 
talking about nourishment from food. But rather, are you getting your nourishment
from God? 

Colossians 2:19 says: 
"We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us."
(The Message)

Staying in touch with God is an important part of finding this nourishment. 

So, how do we stay in touch? 

I believe that the best way to stay in touch with God is through talking to Him.

Praying is such an important part of the Christian walk. 

Psalm 27: 8 says:
My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me, O my people."
And my heart responds, "Lord, I am coming."
(The Living Bible)

Another way to stay in touch with God, is through reading the scriptures and
meditating on them. Thinking about what a scripture is saying to me and 
thinking about what God wants me to hear and learn from the scripture is 
an important part of my walk with the Lord. 

In II Timothy 3:16-17 We read the following
There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.
(The Message)

Praying and reading the Bible is my way of staying in touch with God on a daily basis. 
This keeps me nourished and healthy as a Christian.

How about you? How do you stay in touch with God?

Blessings and Peace,
Debbie







Tuesday, January 23, 2024

What's In My Reading Basket?

 Books I'm Reading


Hi friends!  My reading basket is chock full of books right now-some I've already finished, some I'm reading right now and some that I have yet to read. So today, I'm sharing what's in my reading basket with you in case you need some ideas for a good read. A few of the authors represented here are tried and true authors that I have followed for years and others are new-to-me authors. I did a bit of book shopping for Christmas and scored some really good titles. Combine that with a gifted book from a friend and you can see I will be kept busy reading for quite a while!



I just finished reading, "Devil's Delight," an M.C. Beaton book with R.W. Green. I have loved these Agatha Raisin mysteries for years and was happy that after Marion Chesney's death (M.C. Beaton) her friend and colleague was going to continue writing books about the character. This book was a cute and fun read in which Agatha is up to her old tricks running her detective agency and solving a mystery which takes her to a nudist colony! Although Bill Wong and James Lacey play a very small part in this book, I was happy to see that Charles, Simon, Patrick, Mrs. Bloxby and Toni are all present and accounted for. The mystery itself was interesting and held my attention throughout. I do feel, though, that Agatha has lost a bit of the "edge" that I enjoyed when M.C. Beaton was still writing these books. It's so hard for a new author to write in the style of someone else, in my opinion, and I have seen this happen with other favorite books. This won't stop me from reading future Agatha Raisin mysteries penned by R.W. Green, however.

I'm in the middle of reading two books right now; "Home for Christmas" by Andrew Greeley and "An Unsuitable Attachment" by Barbara Pym. The Andrew Greeley book was a Christmas gift from a friend and is the first book by this author that I have read. Since Greeley was a Catholic Priest it is no surprise that this book has a religious theme. It is the fictional story of a soldier turned unwilling hero who is "killed" in battle and goes to heaven in what is later termed a "near death experience." While in heaven, the soldier meets people he knew on Earth and has an interview with God who is called The One. I must say that this book is taking me a long time to read because I find myself savoring each reading session and then needing to chew on what I have read before continuing once more. I have a feeling I will be reading another Andrew Greeley book in the future. 

This is the third Barbara Pym book that I have read and so far, "An Unsuitable Attachment" is holding my attention. All of the Pym books I have read take place in England and have a vicar in the story. This book is no exception. I'm enjoying the librarian of the story, named Ianthe Broome, and wondering if there will be a romance blooming between her and Rupert Stonebird, the anthropologist. Or am I completely on the wrong track? This book seems to contain quirky characters with equally quirky names and has been a fun read so far. This author was originally recommended on a book site I follow as comparable to my beloved author, Miss Read. I do not really see any comparison between Miss Read and Barbara Pym other than both authors wrote books that took place in England and had Church of England priests in them. To me, the comparison ends there.

"Hooked on a Feline" by Sofie Kelly and "Time of Fog and Fire" by Rhys Bowen both contain stories about characters that I have read about before many times and enjoyed. Sofie Kelly is the author of the "Magical Cats" series which I love and I look forward to reading "Hooked on a Feline" soon to see what mystery those crazy and magical cats, Owen and Hercules, are going to help solve this time! If you like cats and mysteries I highly recommend the Magical Cats series to you. 

This particular Rhys Bowen book is a Molly Murphy Mystery and takes place later in this particular series. I have read a few Molly Murphy mysteries before and have enjoyed them. I mostly know Rhys Bowen's writing through her other series, "Her Royal Spyness" and have read and enjoyed several books in that series. This particular Molly Murphy book takes place in 1906 in New York City and follows Molly to San Francisco where she attempts to help her police captain husband solve a mystery. Molly reminds me, in a small way, of the Maisie Dobbs character in the books by Jacqueline Winspear. I'm looking forward to reading this particular book soon.

A totally new-to-me-author is Hazel Holt who wrote the Mrs. Malory Mystery series. I found out about this author on a book site I follow on FaceBook and decided to give her books a try. The book I found at our local used book store is actually the final Sheila Malory mystery so I'm starting the series at the very end. We'll see after I am finished with this book if I want to go back to some of the earlier titles and read more. 

So that's what is in my book basket right now. Are you familiar with any of these titles? Have you read any of these authors before? What is in your book basket (or night stand or book shelf) right now? Be sure to share so we can all learn about some new reads! And be sure to check back on Friday for another Faithful Friday devotional!

Until Next Time,
Debbie



Thursday, January 18, 2024

Faithful Friday Losing Anxiety and Finding Peace

A Faithful Friday Post


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Hello friends and welcome to my first Faithful Friday post of the year! I mentioned in my post about my new words of the year that I also chose a scripture for the year. That scripture is Philippians 4:6-7 and is the basis of today's devotion. 

It is so draining to have anxiety, isn't it? Few things cause such misery as being a worrier and I'm sorry to say that I often find myself worrying and/or being anxious about things. Thinking about the "what ifs" of life can sap energy, cause mental distress and affect our health. As a person of faith, I know that God is in control. But, I still find myself feeling anxious, even about things that are totally out of my control. Not just personal things but events happening in the world around me. There's a whole lot of "stuff" happening in the world right now, isn't there? Much of it is not good. That can contribute to one's anxiety, as well. 

Paul's letter to the Philippians was actually written while he was in jail. Talk about an anxiety inducing place to be! And yet, he admonishes the Philippians to not be anxious about anything! Instead, he tells them to pray about everything and to also be thankful. 

Prayer and gratitude are key components of not having anxiety according to Paul. He also mentions supplication, which means to ask for something earnestly. In other words, we need to ask God for our desires and what we need, thank Him for the many blessings He has given us, give to Him our worries and then leave it all in His very capable hands. 

It is my belief that trust plays a huge part in having the peace of God guarding our hearts and minds, We have to trust that God has planned our life, has our best interests at heart and loves us more than we could ever imagine. Even if circumstances aren't the best. God is still with us and loves us and is working on our behalf. 

This doesn't sugar coat the fact that life can be very hard and health issues, losses and traumas can all affect us in life. But those things happening doesn't mean that God doesn't love us. In John 16:33, Jesus said that in this life we will have tribulation but to be of good cheer for He has overcome the world. Jesus also said that He was telling us this so that we might have peace. 

It's so hard to leave our worries and cares in God's hands and not try to take them back into our own hands! That is why I want to really focus on Philippians 4:6-7 in the coming year. 

Putting my trust in God, praying and being thankful and then feeling God's peace is so much more desirable than sitting with anxiety and worry don't you think? 

What are your thoughts about anxiety, worry and Philippians 4?

Blessings and Peace Until Next Time,
Debbie

John 16:33










Friday, January 12, 2024

Tan Striped Sweater, Easy Tasty Meals, Cat Antics and More

 A Little Bit of This and That


Hello everyone! In true "this and that" fashion, this post is going to share something for everyone including fashion, food, pets, parties and more. Hope you enjoy!


I've been working on adding some new sweaters to my closet and this one I ordered from Blair. It's called a tunic sweater as it has a longer length which I really like. I also like the cowl neck. The sleeves are a tad long but that is minor in my book and I just roll them up. It pairs well with jeans but can also be dressed up with dressier pants. I'm definitely a sweater girl and have quite a collection of sweaters that I wear all winter long. How about you? I'll provide the link for this Elisabeth Williams sweater in case you are interested in doing a little shopping. I'm not promoting items for Blair. I do enjoy items I have ordered from them, however. I also ordered this Fair Isle sweater and really like it as well. 


Since the holidays, I have been working a little harder on making sure to provide nutritious meals for The Mr. and myself. So, here are a few meals we have enjoyed. Feel free to take any ideas from here that you think you might like. And please share any ideas you have for easy, healthy meals. This was a recent breakfast. I incorporated sauteed mini tomatoes into an egg white omelet served with sliced banana and whole wheat toast. 


This salad was really delish! Mixed greens tossed with mini tomatoes and topped with a salad topper of dried cranberries and almonds. I have been making my own salad dressings using a tablespoon of either apple cider or balsamic vinegar with about two tablespoons of olive oil, onion and garlic powder. Sometimes I add a dollop of honey mustard. Whisk well and pour over your salad. So good!


And this meal turned out really well the other night. I made salmon patties using pre-packaged salmon mixed with an egg white, onion powder, garlic powder, finely minced onion and bread crumbs. I mixed all the ingredients well, formed patties and browned the patties in a skillet with a little olive oil. Then, I baked the patties at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. I served the patties on top of a garden salad with potatoes on the side. We both really enjoyed this meal.


After sharing so many photos of our dog, River, lately I thought I would devote this post to sharing some of what Cassie and Garden have been up to lately. As you can see in the pic, Cassie has started the new year by getting on the scales! We can all probably identify with the feeling of peeking at the number and not wanting anyone else to see it! I think you're just purrrrfect that way you are, Cassie!


Meanwhile, Garden has been devoting a lot of time to her hobby of sitting in boxes. (Photo by The Mr.) She finds that this shape of box fits her to a "T" although she enjoys other shapes as well. 



Both girls also love their perches and sit on them all the time. (I won't tell you how many perches we have throughout the house for them. Can you say spoiled cats?!) Cassie loves to jump and climb and Garden likes the perches that have hidey holes on them. Both girls like the scratching posts on the bottoms. The Mr. snapped this photo just before Garden knocked Cassie off the top of the perch. That is a "prized spot" for both of our girls. 


I had a fun time last weekend celebrating birthdays with these two lovely ladies. We all have a birthday within about a month of each other and, this year, each of us celebrated a "significant" number for our birthday. We decided to join forces and celebrate together with our other friends. What a fun night we had with good food, delicious cake, laughter, games and fellowship. As I said on Facebook, getting a year older isn't so bad when you have good friends to celebrate with! Thanks Sallyanne and Jennifer! ❤❤❤


Finally, I want to share how I have decorated the top of the radio cabinet (bookcase) in my music room using a blue theme. After Christmas it really looked bare so I added this beautiful blue quilted bowl created by my friend, Sharon. I also have a unique calendar that Sharon gave me for my birthday (it has cards that you change out for each month) and a blue tile that says, "Home is where we love, rest, dream and nest." That is certainly true of my home and, I hope it is true for you and your home as well!


This has been a busy post and I hope that you found something within it that you enjoyed, learned from or just liked looking at! Maybe even something that made you smile! That's my goal and I surely enjoy sharing a little bit of my life with you right here on the blog. Be sure to leave a comment. I love hearing from you! I leave you with a sunset seen from my kitchen door. How pretty is that?!

Until Next Time,
Debbie (This and That)




Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Happy 2024 and My Word Of The Year

 



Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Hello friends and Happy New Year to each of you! Here we are in 2024 now with a brand new year ahead of us. What are you looking forward to in this new year? 

One of the things I enjoy doing with each new year is choosing a word or words to use as a focus during the year. I have been doing this now for many years and find the words to be helpful in keeping me grounded and moving forward. The last couple of years, I have also chosen a scripture to use as a "theme" for the year. Philippians 4:6-7 is my choice for 2024. 

And after making lists of words and pondering and considering them one by one, I have actually chosen two words for 2024. As you can see from the opening word collage of this post, my two words are Courage and Contentment.

I was a bit surprised when the word "courage" kept coming up in my mind as a word for the year. In fact, I worried a bit as to what this word might mean. Illness or tragedy of some kind that I might need courage for in the coming year? And yet, we all need courage of some kind for this life don't we? Not necessarily for just illnesses and tragedies, but also for daily living. I know that in my own life, I am at the point in retirement where it is just as easy to sit back and kind of let life pass by. And while that can be a luxury on some days, on other days I need to have the gumption, the bravery and the, yes courage, to get myself up to do something new or to try something I haven't tried before. Even in simple things like reading new authors that I haven't tried before or going to events where I meet new people. It takes courage, at least for me, to do these kinds of things. So, we will see where the word "courage" takes me in 2024. 

The word "contentment" feels like an important word for me this year, as well. To be happy and satisfied in life is so important. And while the words courage and contentment might seem like opposites in terms of thinking about trying new things, I feel that one can be content with life "as it is" and yet still be willing to venture forth to try new things in order to add to the contentment of life. So, we'll see where the word "contentment" takes me in 2024.

My word for last year was "light" and what a wonderful word it turned out to be in my life! After suffering the loss of my oldest sister in 2022, I really needed to look for the light in 2023. I feel that my faith life grew last year as I felt God's urging to "move forward" in life even in the midst of loss. I have had wonderful opportunities to serve in my church with continuing to direct handbells and even helping to lead services as liturgist and with preaching on Sundays when our pastor has not been able to be there. These have been times of great blessing and light for me and I continue to serve God in these ways going into 2024. I was also able to make a trip to West Virginia in both late May and October this past year. Once, I traveled alone and once, I traveled with The Mr. and those were both good visits with family. I continued musical pursuits with flute, did some trio playing with friends from bell choir, and took a breather with lessons from October-January which helped me to have time to process what I had learned so far and to play my violin a bit more since that instrument was a bit neglected while preparing for flute lessons each week. I re-read favorite books and felt the "friendship" of  book characters that warmed my heart. I went on a couple of retreats with women either from or associated with my church and enjoyed the warmth of love and fellowship in their company. The group I went with has been meeting for almost 17 years and we share a rich history together. I enjoyed meeting up with my dear friend, Sharon, on many occasions and was joyful in welcoming her to ring with the handbell choir this past year. And, The Mr. and I just celebrated 41 years of marriage. Yes, there were many points of light shining in my life in 2023 and I am so grateful for each one of them!

I sincerely hope and pray that 2024 has started out on a good note for each of you, my dear readers. I would love to know if you have chosen a word(s) or theme for the new year. Or, something you are looking forward to in 2024. Or, simply what is happening in your life right now. I truly enjoy hearing from you and I read each and every comment!

I wish you many blessings in 2024!
Until Next Time,
Debbie