Year end

Friday, December 29, 2017

I'm starting to recover from my bronchitis. This bronchitis is becoming a regular occurrence. I'm going to need to do some research to figure out why I seem to be getting this about twice a year now. It eats up a good two weeks or more each time. Anyone else have this problem?

I've been sitting by the fire reading and knitting and watching movies for a good week now. Not such a bad time actually. We celebrated a very low-key Christmas, with ham sandwiches and cookies sent by my brother in Hawaii. I've read three books. 

And, despite the fact that I was whining that I wouldn't have any gifts to open because we weren't going to be able to visit family, and my husband and I had agreed not to exchange gifts, there were gifts.

My husband cheated, and got me some, and our daughter and son-in-law stopped by with presents and a nice visit. As you can see from the above photo, I didn't move from my chair all week!

The coughing is starting to subside, so today I took care of a few things. I boxed up all the gifts for our sons and DIL, and my husband took them to the post office. I vacuumed and dusted and swept and did some laundry.

Sheets need to be washed, groceries need to be bought, and bathrooms need to be cleaned, but  . . . they always do, don't they? 

{The books I've been reading have featured plenty of servants to do the cleaning and cooking. I surely could go for that.}

Are you thinking about the new year? This quiet week between Christmas and New Year's is a perfect time for contemplation and planning. And even if I wasn't sick, I'd be staying pretty close to home this week anyway. We've had about eight inches of snow, and the temps have been in the single digits.

I don't like to think about resolutions. The word "resolution" sounds so grim and determined. And kind of like "will worship," as St. Paul describes it. I like to think of possibilities and dreams and goals, and see those words with little sparkles shooting out of them.

Here are some of my ideas, still fermenting, still bubbling in the pot.

*** Making Sundays device free. Here is a good article on this from a favorite website. Maybe. I do need to figure out how to corral the online time into a set part of the day so it doesn't invade my life all day, every day, as it often seems to do. 

*** Writing another nonfiction book and dusting off my fiction book.

*** Learning to knit a sweater and finishing two afghans.

*** Reading through morning and evening prayer from The Book of Common Prayer.  I'm not Anglican, but was brought up one and miss the rich liturgical prayer book. I'll use the old 1928 version. You know, because older is better.

*** Sorting through all the paper work in the basement. I still have boxes of old homeschooling papers and lots of photos to sort. This seems monumental to me. But sometime in the next five or ten years we will be downsizing and the time will pass quickly. Setting the timer for an hour and going at it regularly will make things so much easier later.

*** Visiting our children. In just the few short years since they've left home, our children have worked in Montgomery, Alabama; Winston-Salem, Jacksonville, and New Bern, North Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia. Now our youngest is moving to Des Moines. I've never been to Iowa. Far from being in the middle of a cornfield, Des Moines is supposed to be an up and coming city. I'll let you know.

I'm still dreaming, still thinking of different ideas. How about you? Any hopes and dreams for 2018?

A different kind of Christmas

Friday, December 22, 2017

This is turning out to be the most unusual Christmas I've ever had.

I thought at first we would only be seeing our daughter and her husband because our two out-of-state sons were unable to get enough time off to be with us. We had them all at Thanksgiving, so that was okay. But still, the first Christmas with only one of our children.

Then we got a call inviting us to our daughter-in-law's family's mountain house in Virginia, where both our sons will be. Now, we would be missing our daughter, but we'd be seeing both sons. And in a beautiful mountain setting. First time ever away from home for Christmas. But we were looking forward to it.

After a couple weeks of preparation, I had a pile of wrapped gifts and boxes of food and supplies, ready to go.

And now, the latest development. I'm laid up with bronchitis, and we won't be seeing anyone. Just the two of us here. We haven't been without at least two of our children in 30 years. And no other family at all? Never in my life.

This will pretty much be me all weekend.
And no presents to open. My husband and I agreed we wouldn't exchange gifts with each other as we're saving up for a trip next year. But that was okay; most of the fun now is watching everyone else open their presents.

Now, nothing to open. That certainly will be different.

We won't go hungry, though. We have piles of food here. I'm thankful I didn't get any cookie baking done. I felt a cold coming on earlier in the week, and decided to forego the baking and just try and rest and not get sick. Now that we're stuck here with my bronchitis, at least I won't be stuffing my face with cookies! 

My husband dropped off a ham and a casserole and other goodies this morning at our daughter's house. They were coming to dinner tonight, but we're postponing that until I feel better. I froze much of the rest of the food I was going to take with us.

After some realignment of my expectations, I'm trying to see the good here.

*** I can do a lot of reading which I've missed out on during busy weeks of preparation.

*** We have lots of wood stacked for cozy nights by the fire.

*** I won't have to do any cooking, just reheating. 

*** While we can't go to church (coughing too much), we can read the familiar story from Luke together and listen to some lovely Christmas music.

*** Our kitty won't be lonely for four days.

*** We can work on a puzzle together and watch movies.

*** I can nap and rest and make plans for 2018.

As my husband said this morning, we have had so many wonderful Christmases together with our family. We have memories and more to look forward to. Our children will be with in-laws and friends who love them.

And we have each other.

And we have the gift of Jesus, The Most Important Thing.
 One of my best Christmas memories was when I was pregnant and on bed rest and could do nothing but sit on the couch. No shopping, no baking, no decorating, no parties. But it was peaceful and lovely, just enjoying the lights on the tree and reading stories to our three-year-old daughter.  Who knows? Maybe this Christmas will be special in its own way, too.

 A Merry Christmas to you, my dear blog friends. Enjoy your family. And if you're alone, double hugs. xo Deborah

Finding beauty in everyday life -- an excerpt from my book

Monday, December 18, 2017

Thank you to those who have bought a copy of my book Help for Depression, and for your kind support. Today I thought I'd post an excerpt from the beginning of Chapter 5, Finding Beauty in Everyday Life. I think the information in this chapter can be helpful to anyone, whether or not they suffer from depression.


Beauty will save the world. ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

I write a blog entitled The Beautiful Matters. The beautiful does matter. Beauty is healing. Something in our spirit is drawn toward beauty and responds to beauty.

Who hasn’t experienced powerful feelings of joy and wonder at seeing something truly beautiful? A gorgeous sunset, the sky shot through with brilliant hues of purple, rose, and gold, or a vista of rolling hills covered in trees clothed in autumn’s splendid colors, or an expanse of water sparkling with thousands of brilliant diamonds in the sun. The sight of a baby contentedly asleep, the thrill of those first notes of a well-loved symphony, or the humbler pleasures of a pan of lovely homemade cinnamon rolls coming out of the oven.

We all crave beauty. We long for it. It has the power to heal the brokenness in us, and the capacity for restoring us.

We must make a conscious effort to seek out beauty in our lives, to claim it as our birthright, to fill our lives with it. We must shun the ugly, the tacky, the garish as much as we possibly can.

And when I speak of beauty, I’m not talking about the superficial images we are indoctrinated with in our culture. That make us feel defeated and unworthy instead of lifting us up. The airbrushed supermodels, the Pinterest- and Instagram-perfect pictures hinting at a life we can never hope to achieve. The beautifully decorated homes featured in the magazines and sponsored on the big and flashy blogs.

I’m talking about beauty that is true and good and real. There is more beauty in the lines on my friends’ faces, lines that speak of lives of sacrifice and suffering, as well as laughter and hope, than any modern nipped and tucked versions of beauty.

Some of my beautiful book club friends, showing off our Christmas slippers,
 a gift from one of our  members.

There is more beauty in a humble home with a welcome heart for those who are hurting, than one in which everything is carefully curated and styled.

So while this chapter includes practical ideas for including beauty in our lives, we have to remember the larger picture. Suffering can make us beautiful when it gives us a larger heart in which to experience life and empathize with others. Brokenness can be beautiful when it leads us on the path toward wholeness and truth. This is how beauty saves.

This kind of beauty is real. It is deep. But we don’t scorn the smaller things that point us to this larger truth. Things as simple as a beautiful bone china cup for our tea or a single lovely flower on our kitchen table.

Creating beauty in your life or experiencing beauty doesn’t have to be expensive or require a lot of work. Just the recognition of its importance is a good first step.

The very best place to start is outside, in nature. You may live in a city apartment or in an area with not much natural beauty, but it is there if you look for it. The sky is over all of us, and if you make a habit of just looking up and studying light and clouds, sunset and moonlight, you will absorb some of its healing power.

Even if all you can manage to do is to make a cup of coffee and sit on a balcony or on a deck and look at some trees and listen to the birds you will be opening yourself up to beauty. Close your eyes and listen to the birds. Feel the sun and the breeze on your face. Smell the freshly mown grass. Watch the shadows of the leaves moving against the sky.

You will gradually start to feel a peace, a quietness, in your soul. And even if you don’t, even if the depression and heaviness don’t seem to lift, know that the beauty around you is not being wasted. It is influencing you and touching you with its healing power even if you’re not aware of it.

Try to do this every day.

When you have a little more energy or are feeling a little better, look around your environment and think of ways that you can introduce beauty into your home or living space. We can observe the natural beauty around us, free to those who have eyes to see, but we can also create beauty.

In this chapter, I share some practical steps for creating beauty in your life. I realize that some of these suggestions may sound shallow or insensitive. Tell someone who is overcome with depression and anxiety, who can barely get out of bed in the morning, who is craving a drink to help numb the anxiety that is pounding in their chest, tell them that they’ll feel better if they clean out their closet or drink tea out of a china cup?

Yes, I’m actually recommending that. We don’t want to despise the small things. They have more power than you think.

Small things can make us smile.

And listen, your depression isn’t going to magically go away today or tomorrow. Even if you’re taking medication and going regularly to therapy, even if you are exercising and eating right, it will take some time. In the meantime, what can you do right now, today, to inject some beauty into your day? Because beauty also brings hope.

I used the days when I was feeling good to implement some of the suggestions in this chapter. Then I could be sure of having beauty around me when the dark days came.


Okay, so this was a shameless promo. If you'd like to order a copy of this book, Help for Depression, click on the picture at the right top of my sidebar. A Kindle version will be available on December 22.

This winter, I'm going to be writing my next book, simply entitled The Beautiful Matters, which will expand on this whole topic.

Thank you again, and don't forget to enjoy the beauty around you as you are busily preparing for the Christmas weekend. 


Help for Depression is on Amazon

Thursday, December 7, 2017

I've finished my book on depression, and it's now available to order on Amazon. Yay!

I have no idea what I'm doing here. I'm learning it all by the seat of my pants as I go along. It reminds me of when I first started blogging four years ago. I didn't know how to go about it and didn't know anyone to ask. So I just kept searching for my answers online and eventually figured it out.

Same here. I don't know anything about being an indie author or marketing my book. I don't know anyone personally who has done this. So I just am figuring it out as I go.

Just like blogging, I have to somehow market myself. When I posted my first blog post I guess I just expected people would show up. I didn't realize how much I'd need to do to let people know I was even here.

Several months of visiting and commenting on others' blogs eventually brought me readers and some great friends as well. Blogging isn't just a private endeavor, me writing by myself; there's lots of networking and socializing.

And that's actually one of the best things about blogging.

I guess the same is true with writing a book. People aren't going to know about it unless I figure out how to let them know. I don't even know when the Amazon search engines are going to kick into gear and a lot of other stuff. Duh.

So I'm starting with you, dear readers.

I'd be so grateful if you would visit Amazon and buy a copy. Only $7.99. Every copy I sell moves me higher in sales rankings and I guess that's a good thing. I would also be thankful if you would write a (hopefully positive) review.

I'm formatting the book for Kindle as well, and hope to have that available in a few days. That will be selling for less, and you can find it under the same title, Help for Depression.

Here's the Amazon link. Or you can search on Amazon with the book title and my name.

I was encouraged to write this book after getting so many positive comments on some posts I did here on the subject of depression. So, again, thank you for that encouragement and support.

Here is a description from the back of the book . . . 

Imagine sitting across the table from a wise and compassionate friend, one who has walked the same path as you for years, one who understands what it is to walk in the darkness of depression. Listen as she shares her heart, and gently listens to yours, encouraging you and offering practical steps to finding freedom and joy.

Covering the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of those suffering from a depressive illness, discussing when and if mental health counseling and medication is appropriate, and bringing a unique perspective of how to engage in loving and positive self-talk and how the presence of beauty in our lives is healing, here is a life-giving guide to help you through your own dark night.

8 things I'm not loving right now

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A couple weeks ago I did a post on 8 things I'm loving right now. So, in the interest of fair and balanced reporting, I introduce 8 things I'm not loving right now.

1. A thing of beauty is a joy forever, according to Keats. Maybe not forever, but at least a week, right?

These roses bent their heads over and died the day after I bought them! Not loving it.

2. I think this is a new thing. Black toothpaste powder.

It's made from activated charcoal from coconut shells. It came in my latest subscription box. What a mess! Black powder all over my sink that I couldn't rinse off, but had to scrub off with cleanser. And I needed to triple-rinse before I could get rid of the black outlines around my teeth. I have no idea if this works to whiten and brighten because I didn't use it more than once.

3. Poldark. The season is over, thankfully. The characters I love to hate -- Elizabeth, Ross, George, and that horrible vicar Osborne.

I do so want Morwenna and Drake to get back together. But how?!

4. Not having all these with us over Christmas.

SIL, daughter, son, son, DIL
Loved seeing them all over Thanksgiving. But, sigh. We won't be all together at Christmas.

5. Turkey carcass and ham bone.

I love making homemade chicken noodle soup. But I don't like turkey soup or ham and bean soup. My husband does, though, and, besides, I feel guilty throwing out the turkey carcass and the ham bone. They're both in the freezer where I'm ignoring them for now.

6. Stink bugs.

I think they're finally all gone for the year. Last year, we had a major infestation because I left our bedroom window open for several weeks with a broken screen and didn't realize that they were trooping in night after night. This year, we got some new screens and I went around and taped any possible opening, even if it was 1/8 of an inch, using wide packing tape. 

We still got about a dozen, not too bad. Until I saw one crawling up the back of the chair I sit in every night. Ugh. Hate these things.

7. Most everything I see on the news. I think I'm gradually becoming less and less informed about the world because I just can't bear to watch the news most days. I know there's lots of lovely things in the world which is why I'm loving turning my attention elsewhere.

I only came up with 7. I could think of more, but the truth is there's a lot more to love in this world than to not love. So I'll leave the balance in favor of love. xo

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 23, 2017

{Comments closed. Enjoy your family and friends today.}

How to cope with holiday stress

Saturday, November 18, 2017

I've been eagerly looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. Everyone will be here, including our two sons and daughter-in-law who live out of state. My mom is flying in. And just found out our niece and her husband and our nephew will be here for dinner Thursday. Our son-in-law's parents graciously gave up having Thanksgiving with their son so that he and our daughter can be with us the whole day. 

I love my family, and time together now is rare and precious. We won't all be together at Christmas, so Thanksgiving will be a two-in-one holiday. We put the Christmas trees up early. I'm looking forward to a wonderful week.

But, as wonderful as it all is, holiday stress is inevitable. We want things to be perfect, and everyone to be happy, and that can be a lot of pressure to put on ourselves.

I'm talking to myself here.

So this is my five-step plan. Maybe these thoughts will help you, too.

Plan ahead.

Make a list of all the meals you will have for out-of-town guests and on Thanksgiving Day, get recipes out, and make up your shopping list. Get all your groceries in early so you're not stressed at the last minute, realizing you forgot to get the cranberries or the ingredients for your appetizers. 

Cook as much as you can ahead of time. Our family loves to play board games together, and I don't want to be shopping or cooking when I could be enjoying time with my loved ones.

I've got a lasagne in the freezer, as well as meat cooked up for chili and tacos. I made gravy for Thanksgiving Day from turkey wings, and that is in the freezer, too, along with pumpkin muffins. I cooked up all the sausage and sautéed onions and celery and froze that so that the stuffing will be easy to assemble the day of. I can make my cranberry sauce a couple days ahead and I will make rolls and assemble the sweet potato and vegetable casseroles the day before.

Our daughter and daughter-in-law are making pies, so yay, one less thing for me.

I've gotten enough food for an army laid away. My goal is to stay out of the stores from now until after Black Friday.

Adjust your expectations.

Holidays have to bear the weight of some pretty heavy expectations. We want a perfect Norman Rockwell holiday, with plenty of good food and everyone getting along. But, sometimes we end up with lumps in the gravy and arguments over politics. Life is messy and people are people. We all have our rough edges and we all bring our own share of stuff to the table, as it were.

Try to bear with yourself and with one another in love.  Acknowledge that not perfect is good enough. Trying to create an Instagram- and Pinterest-worthy holiday will make you, not to mention everyone else, crazy. If the gravy is lumpy, strain it and call it a day. If conflicts come, try to be a peacemaker if you can. If not, remember it's not your responsibility to make everyone happy. Leave the room and raid the chocolate stash. ;)

Ask for help.

If people offer to bring a dish or to help peel potatoes, let them. If they don't, ask them. Most people are happy to help out, and really don't want to see you making a martyr of yourself. You are not responsible to be chief cook and bottle washer for a crowd of people watching football.

If people are staying with you, don't feel you've got to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for everyone all week long. I've planned every dinner for the week, but there's food enough here for people to make their own breakfasts and lunches. Of course, there's nothing like a leisurely breakfast together,  drinking coffee and talking over bacon and eggs and pancakes. We'll be doing this most mornings, but I'll be enlisting help. I just don't have unlimited energy.

Take a few breaks.

As an introvert who is now used to long stretches of alone time, being with people 24/7, no matter how much I love them, can be exhausting. I'll plan on taking our two grand-dogs for a walk or excusing myself for a little nap upstairs.

Don't forget to be thankful.

After all, it's Thanksgiving. Maybe that relative had too much to drink or the other one hogs all the conversation. Maybe the rhetoric around Donald Trump or climate change gets heated. (I'm thinking about putting up a sign that says, "no politics zone" in my dining room.)

We all have so much to be thankful for. I have a pretty long list myself, thank You, Lord. Keep your eyes on the bigger picture. And remember, "not perfect" can still be pretty awesome.

8 things I'm loving right now

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Here's a list of some things I'm loving right now, in no particular order.

One. The pillows on my couch have seen better days. They were flat and sad-looking. I decided to join the faux fur bandwagon, and pick up some soft and cozy faux-ness. Love these. Also got a faux throw; a couple more pillows are due to arrive soon on my doorstep, just in time for the whole family to enjoy napping with one after a big Thanksgiving meal.

Two. The old pillows were a sage green and plaid to match this valence. I wanted the valence down to let in more light, and to move to a more neutral palette in my family room. It was easy to do as most of the colors in the room came from the valence and the pillows. It's so calming now. And I love seeing the tree tops through these upper windows.

Was just starting to remove these valences when I remembered to stop and get a pic!

Three. Okay, I posted this pic on Instagram, and a few were puzzled by this trend of shelving books backwards. I was too at first. I mean, how ridiculous. How can you even know what book you're looking for?

But it was time to dust. I hadn't actually pulled the books off the shelves and dusted them for well over a year. I decided to turn a few around just to see what they looked like that way. Pretty soon I was turning most of them around. After all, I have them all sorted by category and alphabetized, so I can pretty much tell you where any book is anyway. 

And it's very soothing to look at in my new neutral room.

Next time I have a big dusting I might organize them according to color, just for fun.

Four. This is the first time I've seen this shortbread in the sheep shape. Adorable!

Five. Not only have my pillows needed an upgrade, but my bras as well. I'm embarrassed to say how old they are. It was time. I kept seeing the Third Love brand advertised on my Facebook feed. I was a little leery of ordering bras online. But they do take you through a questionnaire to determine your correct size, so I took a chance.

They fit perfectly, and they're so comfortable.

Six. Binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix. 

Okay, yes, horror, supernatural, some really gruesome scenes. Not my typical series for watching. Hallmark Christmas movies are usually more my style. But we did get drawn into this series. I really liked the kids in it, but I kept thinking, where are their parents?!

Seven. On a slightly more elevated cultural level, the DSO.

A friend and I got tickets for a series of seven concerts this year at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. We just went to a performance of Romeo and Juliet. And heard an amazing pianist. Just lovely.

Eight. Subscription boxes.

I tried Blue Apron, the meal delivery service. Loved it. But really too expensive, and I felt guilty about all the packaging waste so I discontinued it. But I now have lots of great recipes from them that I can make on my own.

So now I'm trying some other subscription boxes, FabFitFun and ipsy. FabFitFun is a quarterly box of fitness gear and beauty products for $39.99 a quarter. In my first box I got a beautiful scarf, a belt, a gym bag, a jewelry organizer, some makeup and more. A couple items great for Christmas stocking stuffers.

ipsy is a makeup subscription service for $9.99/month. I got five items in my first shipment, all items I will use, and definitely worth more than $9.99. A little makeup bag I'll keep in my purse, some foundation, eyeshadow, eye pencil (love this), and something else I'm forgetting.

I will try both of these subscription services for a little while. Both allow you some choice as to what you receive and both can be cancelled any time.

And an extra bonus one. The thing I'm most loving right now, though, the thing I'm most thankful for, is that both of our sons and our daughter-in-law are coming for Thanksgiving. My mom is flying in from Colorado. With our daughter and her husband here, we will have everyone together. Since the boys can't be here for Christmas, we're putting up the tree before Thanksgiving so we can celebrate a two-in-one holiday together. Yay!

What about you? What are you loving right now?

{I never do sponsored posts; none of the brands mentioned here was sent to me for my review.}

The Enchanting Rose teacup and mug exchange reveal!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Welcome to the party! More than 200 coffee drinkin' and tea sippin' ladies swapped teacups and mugs and a whole lotta love for The Enchanting Rose's 11th exchange party.

Our daughter was bringing in the mail for us while we were out of town in October. She told me I had a package from Ontario waiting for me. I had a sneaking suspicion it was from our self-proclaimed "teaholic" friend Margie from Tea in the Valley. And I was right! Wow. She so spoiled me.

Look at all these fabulous goodies!

An elegant and lovely teacup. Trés chic.

She included a Jane Austen coloring book. Love Mr. Knightly. He's my favorite.

Preach it, Emma . . .

Real maple syrup from Canada.

Thank you Margie. You sure know how to make a girl feel like royalty.

This was the first time I did a mug exchange. This is from Chas of Chas' Crazy Creations. She also does DIY videos on Hometalk. I am in greater admiration of her after having done a few practice YouTube videos! It takes confidence and some courage for sure.

She shows you how to make easy and low-cost crafts. Right up my alley!

I love this mug with the raised autumn design.

Chas made this delightful little pumpkin and included a battery-operated light to go inside.

I sent a fall mug and package to Annie in Indiana.                            .

I sent a teacup to Tanya at Timeless Romantic Designs. I was excited when I learned she likes pink.

So many thanks to our lovely hostess Stephanie. None of us probably realize how many hours she puts into these exchanges to make them so enjoyable for everyone. Thank you, dear Stephanie.

Linking with The Enchanting Rose.

Do you tweet? Upload YouTube videos?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Thank you all for your feedback on the title for my book. I'm still debating, but it looks like From Darkness to Light: Hope and Encouragement for those with Depression is in the lead.

I finished it last night and sent it off to three friends and family members to read. Which is a little iffy because what are they going to say to me if it really stinks? I'm hoping they will not worry about hurting my feelings (too much!) and will give me honest feedback. 

In the meantime, I've been looking into how to publish my book and market it.

Seems like a lot of people advise you to get big into social media, which I'm not. I haven't posted anything on Instagram for months. I never post on Facebook, only go on to like other people's posts. I do love Pinterest.

But tweeting? About what?

And have a YouTube channel? You've got to be kidding.
Then again, everybody tweets. Everybody uploads YouTube videos. Right?

Do you? Would you?

I kind of practiced a little making some videos using my iPhone. Oh my gosh. Now I think I need a facelift. My teeth whitened at the very least.

And I saw some advice that, you know how the camera adds 15 pounds? A video also halves your enthusiasm. You really have to exude sparkle and excitement.

I tried. Hah. I wish I was brave enough to upload my attempts.

But I had some good laughs.

Help me pick a book title

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I've pulled out my book I was working on last year. The one on depression that I ended up being too depressed to finish.

I'm planning on self-publishing it through Amazon, both in a print and an ebook format.

It will be a small book, 25,000 to 30,000 words. For reference, a novel is about 80,000 words long.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with all the things I need to learn about formatting and publishing, including coming up with a good title and making a good cover. And then figuring out how to market it.

I remember when I first started blogging, it seemed like a real learning curve. But I just kept looking up my questions and figured it out. I hope the same will be true here. But it almost seems like it will be more time-consuming than writing the book itself.

I'm not sure why, but the title is giving me a hard time.

I was originally thinking of something like From Darkness into Light. Until I looked that up on Amazon and saw a bunch of titles with the same name.

But it will be impossible not to find a book title that hasn't been used somewhere by somebody. With 75,000 books being printed each year (!!!), there's just not enough words out there.

I want to have the word depression somewhere in the title, just so people can find it with their search engine.

So maybe you can help me pick a title.

A short description of the book first so you'll know what it's about . . .

Imagine sitting across the table from a wise and compassionate friend, one who has walked the same path as you for years, one who understands what it is like to live with a depressive illness. Listen as she shares her heart and gently listens to yours, encouraging you and offering practical steps to come out into the light of freedom and joy. Covering the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of those suffering from depression, discussing when and if mental health counseling and medication is appropriate, and offering the unique perspective of how beauty heals, here is a life-giving guide to help you through your own dark night.

So here are some possible titles.

1. Healing for Your Dark Night
Help and Encouragement for those Struggling with Depression

2. Help for Depression
Compassionate Advice from Someone Who's Been There

3. From Darkness into Light
(and the first subtitle above)

4. Recovering from Depression
(and the second subtitle above)

5. Hope in Your Dark Night
(and the first subtitle above)

Sigh. None of these seem very catchy. But I guess it's hard to find anything too exciting for a non-fiction book on depression.

Which title speaks to you? Which would you want to read? Let me know what you think.

Thanks, friends.

Hanging tough through the ordinary

Friday, October 13, 2017

The test of a man's religious life and character is not what he does in the exceptional moments of life, but what he does in the ordinary times, when there is nothing tremendous or exciting 
on. The worth of a man is revealed in his attitude to ordinary things when he is not in the footlights. --Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

I do think it's the ordinary, everyday, humdrum existence that can really show our character.

When the baby's diaper needs changing again. When the cat has thrown up on the carpet again. When you have to cook dinner again. When the dishes need to be done, the laundry folded, the bed made, the thank you letter written. The groceries bought and put away.

The temptation avoided.

These are the boring necessities of life. That need to be done every day, or life can quickly fall apart. The things that no one recognizes unless they're not done. No one notices a clean toilet, but everyone will notice a dirty one.

If we're honest, we all want to be part of, or be, the Big Deal. Get the attention. The spotlight. The thank you's for a fabulous achievement.

It's the daily grind that can flatten us. The daily saying no to laziness and temptations. This is where we need to stay faithful.


And just look at this . . . 

Can you believe the difference?! I can't get over how much I'm loving this.

I feel like we've moved to the country.

So the next step is some more topsoil, grading, and extending the lawn back a bit. We'll leave the further back area au naturelle. I want to add some color by way of (shade-loving) perennials. Maybe the gardeners out there can give me some ideas.

Arguing with myself

Friday, September 29, 2017

So I went into Home Goods a couple weeks ago and saw a little hourglass with pink glittery sand that just called to me. 

And then the argument started.

I always have these arguments with myself whenever I see anything pink and glittery and adorable.

"What -- are you 12 years old?"

"But it's so stinkin' cute!"

"What are you going to do with it?"

"Well, I could use it to time brushing my teeth." (I tried appealing to reason, as the idea of "fun" didn't seem to be getting me anywhere.)

"It's just one more thing to clutter up the counter. You don't need it."

"But it's 40% off." I was whining by now.

"Just because it's on sale doesn't mean you need it."

The practical adult got her way. We left the store with a few sensible purchases. But the fun-loving child in me didn't forget the hourglass. I reminded Ms. Killjoy of the time she sent back the pink tulle skirt, and even she regretted it. It had been fun to twirl around in. And just maybe there would have been an occasion to wear it. I could have toughened it up a bit with boots and my gray suede bomber jacket. Right?

So the next time I was in Home Goods, we got the hourglass. I tipped it over as I stood in the checkout line with my daughter. It was a long line. I soon realized much longer than the 2 minutes recommended for teeth brushing.

"I'm not brushing my teeth this long!" I told my daughter after about 10 minutes.

Later, I timed it, to see how long it actually took for the pink sand to run out.

16 1/2 minutes. This obviously isn't some kind of regulation timepiece.

Okay, I can work with this.

What can I do in 16 1/2 minutes? I was going to prove that this was a practical, needful purchase.

*** Work out with arm weights.

*** Check Facebook (it usually takes way longer, but I'm trying to cut down on SM. This will be so helpful!).

*** Do my makeup and hair.

*** Clean the bathroom (okay, it takes longer than this, but sometimes I just put the job off. I can clean for 16 1/2 minutes; something is better than nothing).

*** Clean out a drawer.

*** Write a letter.

Hey, I'm starting to think that this was a very sensible purchase. 


The practical adult in me doesn't give up, though. 

A similar argument broke out at DSW last week. Over this.

"Oh. My. Gosh. Look at this!! Isn't it adorable?!"

"Oh, for heaven's sake. What are you -- 12 years old?" (This seems to be her standard response.)

"But . . . 

"Where would you ever wear this?? What would people think?"

"Oh, come on. Really? You're going to worry about what other people think? At your age?" (I can play that game, too.)

I then went on to remind her of our regret over the tulle skirt. I remind her of that often. And how fun and sensible the hourglass purchase ended up being.

"But this fake, furry pink purse is really ridiculous. You really can't justify it at all."

"But we have a coupon."

"How many times do I have to remind you? A bargain isn't a bargain if you don't need it."

But I suspect that Ms. Killjoy is really a softie at heart. After wandering around the store a bit, we circled back and got the purse.

Every time I see it in my closet now I smile. It's worth it just for that.

And I actually think I'll use it. Maybe. 

Would you? (haha, don't answer that)

And what would you do for 16 1/2 minutes?

And do you ever argue with yourself?

{Linking with Pink Saturday.}

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