Revue: Toaster Crumbs and Birds

“Sittin’ Pretty,” © 2018 Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

© 2018 Lynn Abbott

In the corner of my basement stands a set of beautiful French doors.

Of course, sheers prevent anyone from peering into the space behind the doors, and yet, that lovely entrance beckons with its promise of possibility.

Or so you might think.

However, I know what lies beyond those sparkling glass window panes.

And it isn’t pretty.

Yup. You know what I’m talkin’ about.

Behind those beautiful doors lies a dark corner for all the accumulated junk that I just haven’t been able to let go. It’s the kind of stuff you save for that rainy day.

My husband and I have a particularly large stash of rainy day items.  Over the years, I have managed to clear some of it.

I first tackled that basement storage room after my mother’s death in 2008.  I truly thought I’d sorted a lot of it.

My husband and I have a particularly large stash of rainy day items.

Yet, there was so much that I could not face sorting…much that I felt I might one day need:  memories wrapped in slips of paper or scribbled on random post-it notes; and then, the four extra toasters.

You heard right.

For ten years, I’ve frugally stored Mom’s toasters.  After all, it’s good to have a back-up; small appliances inevitably break.

And my parents, children of the Great Depression, taught me well.

But recently, I entered the “Great Sorting.”  You see, my son will be living in the basement until he begins graduate school.  For this reason, those rainy day items must be cleared.

It’s a good plan. But honestly? As I began my ruthless purging today, I nearly kept all of those toasters.

Okay.  Feel free to roll your eyes now.

Prudence is a virtue, of course.  Yet, despite our best plans or most promising prospects, most of us will face the unexpected at some point.

Proverb 16:9 nails it: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”

At times, I am a slow learner.  Thus, I initially relied on my “superb” organizational skills when my husband and I opened our current business…

I examined our finances and prepared both my mother and son for a 300-mile, geographical move.

I put monies aside for the business; saved to cover any moving and initial living expenses in our new community.

In addition, my husband and I enlisted the help of the best realtors.   And while my husband prepared for our restaurant’s grand opening, I wrapped up business in the town we would soon call our former home.

Despite our best plans or most promising prospects, most of us will face the unexpected at some point.

I anticipated every possibility.  I carefully covered the obvious eventualities.

Or so I thought.

Late January did not prove to be an ideal time  for opening a new restaurant.

A snowstorm dampened turn-out.  And expenses outran income.

To make matters worse, the 2007 housing and bank crisis loomed.  And I faced an expensive, personal, health crisis.

Within weeks, my long-prepared financial itinerary crumbled.  My budget imploded.

Life derailed our best-laid plans.

We fought for our very existence.   I prayed “Give us this day our daily bread” with renewed urgency.

Perhaps, that’s why David’s early life resonates with me.  Samuel, of course, had anointed David the next king of Israel.  In addition, David possessed an enviable position in Saul’s court.

Undoubtedly, we love to read of the Shepherd’s triumph over the giant Goliath.

But in so doing, we forget what long-term trouble that victory stirred.

On the army’s return from battle, the people sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands,” (1 Samuel 18:7).

David’s popularity did not go down well with Saul.   Soon, David fled for his life.

From palace living to cave dwelling… David certainly faced major life change.

Things looked bleak.

Saul’s jealousy knew no limits: he sought to kill David.  Given Saul’s extraordinary vehemence and power, I imagine David found few willing to help him.  Gathering food in flight likely proved extremely difficult.

From palace living to cave dwelling… David certainly faced major life change.

Day-to-Day, month-to-month and year-after-year, David learned what it meant to be in need.

Read within the context of David’s life, the opening lines of Psalm 23 demonstrate stunning faith:  “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want…”

Had David forgotten that food and shelter were scarce?  Did he fail to recognize that if the wilderness didn’t kill him, Saul and his army would?

No.  David knew.

And yet, he wrote, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows,” (Psalm 23:5).

A desperate state?  Yes.  Anxiety producing circumstances?  Without a doubt.

But David experienced the Good Shepherd’s grace in practical, daily provisions.

Yes, even when our plans fall apart, when circumstances look bleak or when the worst appears to take up residence in our lives, Abba leads us.

You and I may prepare as did Joseph in Egypt. We may even follow the example of the wise woman of Proverbs 31, and work for the good of all who depend upon us.  That’s all good.

But as I sorted this morning, I also asked, “Where have I placed my trust? Certainly not in this junk, I hope.”

Even when plans crumble or when Murphy’s law shadows us, Abba leads.

David experienced the Good Shepherd’s grace in practical, daily provisions.

And the words of Jesus in Matthew 6: 25-34 filled my thoughts, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear… Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Finances tenuous?

Lost your job?

Betrayed by someone you loved?

Persecuted unjustly by one in authority?

Or maybe, you endure pain, suffering or illness; grieve the loss of loved one; or simply dwell in a lonely emotional place.

In David’s Psalms, you and I find comfort:  “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters,” (Psalm 23:1-2).

Our Savior, in fact, points to a simple yet powerful response to the dreadful and unexpected.  No complicated negotiating required.  No bartering.  No begging necessary.

We need only ask, (Matthew 7:7).

Consider the birds… our Savior says.  Are you not much more valuable than they?

Yes, in God’s eyes, we are worth everything.  In fact, He prized us so much that He gave His only Son for us, (John 3:16).

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters,” ~Psalm 23:1-2

Considering this, our finances, grief, loneliness, health, reputation and physical needs certainly seem small potatoes by comparison. Undoubtedly, God is more than able to “meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4: 19).

And what’s more, not only is He able to supply our needs, but He is also willing (Matthew 7:9-11).

David not only survived the wilderness, but he also returned to a place of abundant blessing.  David–the Shepherd boy and the once, homeless cave-dweller–became Israel’s king.

That’s right.  Our Sovereign- Shepherd faithfully tends His flock; Jehovah-Jireh renews our strength (Isaiah 40:31).

We can depend on Him.

You betcha.  This morning, I finally took those toasters to the charity shop.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus,” ~Philippians 4:19

“The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness,'”  ~Jeremiah 31: 3

69 thoughts on “Revue: Toaster Crumbs and Birds

  1. I love the realism of this painting. The colors are stunning as well. As I look back over my life, we had just turned fifty when we lost everything. My oldest daughter turns 52 this year and my son will reach the half century mark in a little over a week. I hope they never have to experience the things we did, but in hindsight I know that God was using all of it to draw us closer to him. Maybe we do need crisis

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    • Thank you with all my heart, dear Kathy! That means so much to me since I know you absolutely understand the whole art process!! I’m so sorry that you had to face such a crisis at 50…I guess my husband was 50… I’m just a few years behind him. Wonder why 50 seems to be that crisis for so many? I pray your children don’t have to face such a crisis either. So tough. But you are absolutely right… walking such a path definitely draws us closer to God!! Love and huge hugs to you, my wise and wonderful friend!! ❤ ❤

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      • In hindsight we grew during that process. God continues to guide our footsteps and leads us in the right direction. Hugs to you sweet Lynn🎈

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      • Yeah… we grew, too, during our difficult days. I still pray daily for God’s provision of our “daily bread,” and now when I pay bills each month, it has become a “worship” experience since I thank God for His provision with every bill that I pay. He is so good to us. God bless you, dear Kathy! Your friendship is one of God’s gracious provisions and blessings in my life!! ❤ ❤ and hugs right back at'cha!! 🙂

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  2. 4 toasters…what a hoot!
    My dad was light that with light bulbs and televisions—you never could have enough.
    And yes Lynn, I am learning how to depend upon those breadcrumbs—my sustenance
    in our time of trouble…

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  3. Wow! Sounds like you’ve gone through more hoops than a Circus Lion! But I love that it’s made you better and not bitter (forgive the cliche). I think all our hoarding is just a security blanket. To that end a wise old man once told me regarding things left in storage, or hidden in basements or lofts: “If you haven’t needed it in 2 years – get rid, you’ll feel a lot lighter!” And it works! Being unincumbered is so freeing! PS I love the painting of the bird x

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    • Oh, you ain’t heard the half of it, Warren! But I’m laughing at the image of a Circus Lion jumping through hoops! You are so witty! You know, the difficulties are just part of life… I’m sure you have your own set of stories about your journey. We all do. And yes, it IS so freeing to get rid of stuff. I’ve been wishing to sort and clear that storage room again for a long time. It’s been full of all my parent’s stuff. Difficult to sort it as there are so many memories, but it feels so good to have much of it cleared now. I have only about 1/3 left to clear out. Two-thirds of it is complete! Yay! And thank you for your kind words about my painting! You are very good to me! 🙂 I’m very grateful for your friendship!! :-: 🙂

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    • It is a chickadee, ColorStorm! You know your birds! 🙂 And your comment reminded me of that old song from the musical starring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones–“The Music Man.” Yup, I’m thinking of the lyrics, “We got trouble, right here in River City…” I’m grinning from ear-to-ear! Thanks for the smiles in the midst of the storms, my friend! 🙂 God bless you!

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  4. Wonderful post, Lynn. What stuck out to me most was this: “Yes, even when our plans fall apart, when circumstances look bleak or when the worst appears to take up residence in our lives, Abba leads us.”
    Amen, Lynn, and thank you for sharing this crucial life lesson!

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    • Thank you; thank you, David! It’s wonderful when something God has led me to write stands out! How very kind of you to note the line that resonated with you! That means the world to me and is so encouraging to know as I write. Thank you for the blessing of your friendship. You are an inspiration. God bless you again and again, David!

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  5. Hi Lynn, we’ve downsized four times in the last few years so I know where you coming from. It does feel good to finally get rid of stuff though, the trick is not to let it fill it up again. We don’t come here with anything and we don’t leave here with anything, there’s probably a life lesson in there somewhere. Consider the lilies … beautiful painting by the way! Grace and blessings!

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    • Oh, yes! To not let it fill up again… sigh. My husband seems to have a need to fill space with his collections… Ha! I’m going to have to stand firm. 😉 He, he! But you are so right… the stuff isn’t important and is extremely temporal. Thank you so much for your encouragement about the painting. God bless you greatly, Bruce!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely post as always. So funny, we had saved several DVD players for years and finally got rid of them….and then needed one very soon thereafter. You never know! 😊

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  7. Oh Lynn, you’ll never know how much needed encouragement this gave me today. I cried. With this chronic lung disease, I get sick so easily. Like a couple of days ago. My plans were derailed, and I was so discouraged and disappointed. I’m feeling worse today and it’s hard to concentrate. I can’t get my mind to focus on getting together a blog post for next week. Then I was deleting some posts in my email. But it was like God whispered, “Read this one.” He knew I needed this encouragement that He leads me and knows what I need, no matter what. I LOVE the bird painting, too. Even that alone gave me such comfort. Birds remind me of God’s faithful care and that we are even more valuable to God than they are. Thank you so much! I am thanking God for you right now. Love and hugs to you!

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    • Oh, Trudy… your lovely, thoughtful and heartfelt comment has brought tears to my eyes! Thank you; thank you! I’m so sorry to hear that you are so prone to illness because of your lungs! Chronic illness is such a heavy burden to bear. I’ve personally dealt with health issues, and cared for/ watched so many of my loved ones suffer with chronic health issues…It breaks my heart that you must suffer so! And often, others don’t fully understand that our hearts are willing but our bodies are weak. Sigh. I will pray especially for your this week! That God will restore opportunities for you… whatever was lost because of your recent sickness… and that He will heal you more rapidly than you generally experience! I love you much! Sending huge hugs and prayers! ❤ ❤

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  8. So wonderfully written! Yes, amen. And humorously enough, my husband and I have been doing some long-overdue maintenance on our 20-year-old house. The latest project has been the kitchen – repainting, painting cabinets, replacing worn-out flooring.

    Then we had a leak and are now the proud owners of new plumbing in our shower and three large holes in our drywall – one in the closet and two in our basement.

    I went with my husband to take our garbage cans full of damp drywall to the dump, and he looked at our old microwave. This poor thing was blackened from the time I set my wok on fire, the control panel was warped, and it had 20 years’ worth of kitchen grease and accumulated yuck way back where I couldn’t clean because of its installation. He asked me, “Should we keep this?”

    Not a chance! It was such an eyesore I don’t even think we could give it away. It still worked, sort of, but it was a complete and total mess. A mess which no longer takes up space in my garage. 🙂

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  9. Good for you! Right now I’m struggling with whether or not to part with my glockenspiel. It was given to me by a dear friend who knew I wanted one. He found it sitting on the ground beside a dumpster and bought two sets of mallets for it. I then bought a stand for it. I played it for several months to get “good” at it, then played it in church and the nursing home a couple times, and have hardly touched it at all in the last 2 years. So should I keep it, or sell it? I’m thinking about listing it at a crazy “firm” price, letting it go if I get my price, and keeping it if I don’t. The worst part is that the friend who gave it to me is coming in to town in a couple weeks. What if he asks about it and I have to tell him that it sold in the yard sale? Will he be happy about that, since the proceeds are paying for my daughter’s mission trips? Or will he feel offended that I didn’t keep it? This is a sticky wicket. :/

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    • Oh, my…I completely understand, Angela! What a difficulty! Can you wait until after your friend’s visit to part with the glockenspiel? What a concerning situation… :-/ And yet,how wonderful that you play the glockenspiel! You are so incredibly talented and versatile! I wish I could hear you play. Love and hugs to you!! ❤ ❤

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  10. It seems the blogosphere is big on Psalm 23 this week. Your post is probably the third or fourth one I’ve seen. What a lesson you mentioned with the loss of the business and trying to get by just like David. Good point, too, sister on exploring that initial victory by David resulted in a deep personal cost to him. We forget that so easily…

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  11. I love that painting. I think it is my favorite, so far. I also loved your Bible lesson. It spoke to my heart; to where I am presently. So, thank you! I am not a packrat, though. If I can’t use it, I give it away. 🙂

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    • Hi, dear Sue! Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so glad you liked the painting. It was a commissioned piece and so, it was out of my usual “wheelhouse.” I’m a landscape painter and so portraits–people or animals–isn’t usually my subject material. It’s nice to know that my efforts are so appreciated! That means the world to me. I had to laugh about the packrat comment. I’m really not a packrat. It’s just that when Mom died we had just moved. All her things were still in boxes, and I just couldn’t bring myself to unpack it all. That was nearly ten years ago. I’m still sorting. My husband thought it might be useful to have several toaster since we have a lot of allergies in our household… and all of us allergic to different things. So if we are to toast anything, we need a different toaster for each member of the household. That makes three toasters. (The fourth was obviously extraneous 😉 ) However, I’ve become gluten intolerant in recent years and so my toaster is no longer necessary. My husband has given up gluten recently for dietary/health reasons… so that toaster is no longer necessary. And my son is moving… so that toaster will no longer be necessary. Thus, toasters can now be relegated to the GoodWill I will say this, though. When I was a young teen, my brother gave me a hairdryer. Because money was tight, my parents always repaired things rather than throwing or giving them away. And Dad often raided old appliances for parts. Dad repeatedly repaired that handheld hairdryer for me until he died. I was in my late thirties. I don’t think many people can claim that they used the same handheld hair dryer daily for nearly 20 years. Ha! Ha! Yup, frugal was a way of life for my family. 😉 Love and hugs to you, dear Sue!

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    • When someone we love dies, it’s hard to let go of their “stuff” because it seems to connect us somehow…but in time, as grief settles, I am letting go of all but my mother’s treasures… photos, etc. It’s a process, isn’t it? Thank you for understanding! You’re great! God bless you greatly!! ❤

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  12. Great post Lynn. I like when you stated, “… despite our best plans or most promising prospects, most of us will face the unexpected at some point.” Sometimes, when we face the unexpected, it’s God trying to shift our focus back to Him.

    I love your use of Psalms 23 and how David, even when fleeing from Saul’s vengeful wrath recognized that God is His Shepherd and that whatever he needed, God would provide; even if it meant in the company of his enemies.

    I love when you stated, “… even when our plans fall apart, when circumstances look bleak or when the worst appears to take up residence in our lives, Abba leads us.” God continues to lead us, even when the circumstances seem disastrous and against us.

    Some of the quotes thay I liked in your post include:

    1). “Even when plans crumble or when Murphy’s law shadows us, Abba leads.”

    2). “…in God’s eyes, we are worth everything.  In fact, He prized us so much that He gave His only Son for us, (John 3:16).”

    Overall, the post in my opinion really asks the question: Who or What are we putting our trust in? People? Items? Pleasure? We as Christians need to remember that we need to put our trust in the Most High; who has called us His children.

    Doesn’t Proverbs 3:5-6 say that we should trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and lean not unto our OWN understanding but in all our ways, we should acknowledge the Father and He will direct our path?

    Starting now, we as Christians need to reevalute where we are placing our trust and place it in the hands of the Father.

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  13. Oh Lynn!!!! This tea really encourages me so much!!!!! Wow!!! I’m smiling ear to ear. God is amazing!!!! He really does know when to send the right person at the right moment!! I do appreciate you! Love you much! ❤️ ❤️ 😊

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  14. “Jehovah Jirah, my Provider. His grace is sufficient for me, for me, for me. Jehovah Jirah, my Provider, His grace is sufficient for me. And my God shall supply all your needs. According to His riches and glory. He shall give His angels charge over thee Jehovah Jirah cares for me, for me, for me. Jehovah Jirah cares for me.” I learned this song from my church family in Little Rock, and it’s true. When I was reading this post I thought of the song. ❤

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