Thursday, December 28, 2017

A New Year A New You

By Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliaims

I think we’ve all made that New Year’s resolution. You know the one I’m talking about. Where we put away all those things we don’t like about ourselves and work at becoming the person we truly wish we were. The most popular of these has to be to lose that extra weight we gained during the past year.

Believe me, I’m in that boat with you, sailing down (or is it up?) that river of fat. Not a pretty picture at all is it? Not from where I’m sitting. And I will admit, that is definitely one of the things on my new me list for this next new year. I was pretty successful last year. I began on New Year’s Day and by May, I had lost about twenty to thirty pounds, depending on the day of the week and how cantankerous my scales wished to be on any given day.

Somehow, at least half of those lost pounds managed to become found within the past few months. All that hard work, for nothing. Not quite, but almost right back to my starting place.

This year, I hope to do things differently. My family is joining me in this venture and I think that with support for one another, we may all succeed. All prayers for success are greatly appreciated.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Magnificat--Mary's Song of Praise

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is called The Magnificat. In sung Latin, this is pronounced mahn-yee-fee-kaht, emphasis on the second syllable. The words are found in Luke 1:46-55. These are the recorded words of Mary at learning that she is to be the mother of the Son of God.

I cannot imagine being the very young Mary and hearing that she has been chosen from among all the women on the face of the earth to carry within her, God’s only Son, the Savior of the world, the long-awaited Messiah. Her words are so beautiful, I am in awe of her ability to express so eloquently what she felt at the time.

Then it occurred to me that she had been filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, thus her ability to put into words what her heart and her entire being experienced. What a mountain-top event.

Each of us can have this same mountain-top experience when we decide to carry Jesus within our hearts. God sent His Son, this perfect gift, to us to be the propitiation for the sin of the world. He also gave to us free will. Either we accept this gift, or we turn our backs on it. The choice has always been ours. I can’t imagine why we wouldn’t want to accept this gift─Jesus. It costs us nothing and we gain everything, including everlasting life, the moment we welcome Him into our hearts.

As Mary did, ponder these things in your heart. Then feel the peace, joy, and love that comes with accepting this precious gift. Peace that passeth understanding. Joy everlasting. And unconditional love. That’s right. Unconditional love. All that is asked of you is that you believe. And faith is believing. In Hebrews 11:1, we are told Now Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen. (NASB)

Some of the happiest times of our early married life were spent as members of the sanctuary choir of Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. We had a phenomenal choirmaster/organist, Joseph W. Schreiber. The choir, to this day, still sings some of the same anthems and major works we sang during our years there. Orlando Gibbons’ arrangement of The Magnificat was one of our favorites. The link I am including isn’t of the IPC choir, but it is a good one. I hope that you will enjoy it.

This Christmas season, let me challenge you to have faith as Mary had. Read The Magnificat in Luke, then share your thoughts with us here.

The Magnificat--Mary's Song of Praise @DDuPreeWilliams (Click to Tweet)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Seeing Jesus With the Eyes of My Heart

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

Many of you know that I recently underwent cataract surgery. While I can see things that are close-up, things more than four or five feet away are blurry. Forget seeing those things that are in the far distance. Many return visits to the doctor’s office confirm that I was left with a not-so-unusual problem, but one that doesn’t normally occur this soon after surgery. Most people who develop this do not do so until one to five years post-surgery. Leave it to me to have it right after. Par for the course, if you knew me.

One of the major issues accompanying this problem─blurriness on the new lenses─is that lights halo and starburst so much that I cannot see at night. My vision is just the pits once the sun goes down and car lights, street lights, and this season, Christmas lights, go on. They all spread to the point of distortion, causing discomfort in my eyes. I even have difficulty reading on my Kindle and working on my computer screen. Not good for a writer.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Missing in the Manger

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Williams home. We’re in Florida for Christmas this year. After more than thirty years down here, it doesn’t seem odd any more to see Christmas lights on palm trees. As a matter of fact, it can be quite beautiful. But this year, I’ve noticed a flamboyance of flamingos wearing little Santa hats. I have to say, that’s not my style, but my best friend, no doubt, has one.

We live in a little villa, perfect for those of us who are of a certain age. The kids are grown, and if you’re lucky, out on their own. One of ours is living with us, and while we are delighted to be able to give him temporary housing, it does make things a bit more cramped than we had anticipated. Especially in a small space.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

To Go or Not to Go? One Tough Decision

by Debra DuPree Williams  @DDuPreeWilliams

That question comes up a lot during the busy holiday season. Do we pack up the kids, put the dog and cat in the kennel at no small expense? Do we drag out suitcases and clothes to last a week or two, or even a long weekend, for the entire family? Will the relatives have a washer? Does it still work? Is there room for all of us? What about when that relative comes for Christmas dinner? I don’t need to tell you who it is. We all have at least one.

I’m going to give you my thoughts on this. And remember, these belong to me. Formulate your own thoughts and opinions.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

We Gather Together

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

We Gather Together 
Many will be singing We Gather Together today, either in church or gathered around your Thanksgiving table. I wanted to tell you a bit about its origins.

When this lovely hymn was written by Adrianus Valerius in 1597, the Dutch were involved in a war for their national liberation against the Catholic King Phillip II of Spain. It was written in celebration of the Dutch victory over the Spanish forces at the Battle of Turnhout. It became well-known and much-loved by the Dutch because they had been forbidden to gather and worship as Protestants.

The hymn, set to the tune Kremser, made its first appearance in print in 1626 in a collection of Dutch patriotic songs, “Nederlandtsche Gedenck-Clanck”. The text we all know was written by Theodore Baker in 1894.

Do you remember singing this at church or around your family’s table? Tell us about that.

We Gather Together

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free! Amen

I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving.

Oh Give Thanks to the Lord for He is Good @DDuPreeWilliams (Click to Tweet)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

I Get By With A Little Help - From a Blog

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

Do you look with envy at all those Instagram and FaceBook posts where people’s homes are decorated to the nines? You know the ones I’m talking about. Your sister who has every cutesy-pie little decorative piece here and there and everywhere and she posts photos of Every. Single. Thing. she owns. You do realize that you are not the abnormal one in this picture, don’t you? So many of us are in the last-minute-club that looking at those photos just sends us into the Guilt Zone─much scarier than the Twilight Zone.

Blog, Book, and Busy
I’ve been writing this blog for a few months now, but I've also been working on a book for a couple of years. I’m in the midst of edits and am trying to get it ready to go out to editors and agents. I’ve won some awards and my book has garnered some attention this year, but it needed the help of a good red pen. Enter an outstanding editor.

My editor is the best. Her suggestions and catches are making this a much better book. She even has me doing written exercises in my weakest areas, all to make me a better writer. Now throw in cataract surgery, remodeling a home, six hundred miles from where I currently live, and the absolute need for quality hugging time with my granddaughters. I just have to have that sugar fix. It’s what keeps this DD going and it’s so much better than chocolate! I failed to say that I’m in Florida and our girls are in northern Virginia. Busy, busy.  But that’s life.

So, in the middle of the night, when I do my best thinking, I began looking for ways to make the upcoming holidays a bit easier. I started with my Library of Resources (LOR). My social media coach told me I need one of these, and it has been a lifesaver. If you don’t have one, you need one, especially if you are a writer or a blogger. So here a few of my favorite sites. Some have been in my LOR for a while, but some I just found in the wee hours this morning.

Some Favorite Blogs
One of my favorite blogs is Hymns and Verses. Doreen Cagno has such a pretty home and she tells you where to purchase her finds. I love that. You won’t believe what all she can do with the simplest of things from Wal-Mart or Ikea! Check her out and you’ll see what I mean. If you like her, don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter so that you get her outstanding ideas. She has fall décor as well as her current look for Christmas. Don’t forget to dig into old posts. She has gems in there!

I found this great blog this morning. Flea Market Gardening. She has great ideas for all seasons, but you will love her Christmas décor. Even though her blog posts appear to be a bit older, they still generate great ideas. Go check it out at So many ideas, with links to each within her blog. Be sure to search for one that has twenty one ideas for Christmas.

Another one I found this morning has so many fantastic projects, I won’t ever get around to half of them. One of my favorite things about Shaunna West is that she is a fellow-Alabamian. She lives just up the road a piece from my hometown of Andalusia, Alabama. You’ll love her blog, I promise. And, if you live in or near Troy, Alabama, she has a store there, y’all!  Her blog is Perfectly Imperfect. I love that name. From gorgeous painted furniture to a teaser for an HGTV show, her site is fabulous.

Of course, there are the ones you would expect to see, Martha Stewart, House Beautiful, Southern Living. Of these, my favorite is Southern Living as it has everything from great food, to décor for any and all seasons.

The nice thing is, even if you don’t go all-out like these bloggers, you can use their ideas to create something you do have time to do, something that works for your family. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Your family will think you are a genius and that you worked so hard to make the holidays special. And besides, its’ all about making memories, not about perfection. I have to interject one more blog here. Check out Just 18 Summers by my friend Michelle Cox. Talk about making memories. It isn't all about the holidays, but you'll love her blog.

Just to help you out a bit more, I’m including my sister’s recipe for Busy-Day Chili. I’ve been making this for years and it couldn’t be better or easier. I hope you enjoy it.

What are some of your favorite blogs? Have they helped you make the holidays less stressful? Share a link with us and tell us about them. 

I Get By With a Little Help - From a Blog @DDuPreeWilliams

Bobbie’s Busy-Day Chili

3 pounds ground beef (you may use turkey)
Two Envelopes French’s Chili-O seasoning mix
One 30-Oz. Can Tomato Sauce
One 30-Oz. Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
Three cans Bush’s Seasoned Chili Beans (use the heat level you prefer, and don’t rinse!)
Two to three cans additional kidney beans (I mix them for a variety of color. Rinse and drain these)

Brown the ground beef.
Add the packets of Chili-O
Stir in the Tomato Sauce followed by the tomatoes
Stir in the Chili Beans
Stir in the rinsed and drained kidney beans
The only water I add is that used when I rinse out my cans. It’s isn’t a lot. Less than a cup. Pour from one can to the next, slosh it around and pour into the next can.

At this point, you may add any other spices you like. It isn’t necessary, but if you like yours hot, by all means, grab that bottle of hot sauce or that little bottle of red pepper and shake away.

Cook on low, stirring pretty often as the sugars in the ingredients will tend to stick and may burn if you have your heat too high.  I cook mine at least an hour just to blend all the flavors.

Serve with shredded cheese or a dollop of sour cream.
This takes less than 30 minutes to throw together.
It freezes well.