Hands-on Parenting is NOT Evil!

It comes from every direction.  My daughter is encouraged to drink by our “friends.”  She is on her way home and tells them that her parents wouldn’t be pleased by her driving and arriving under the influence.  They assure her that it’s time to be her own person.

She just proved that she is.  And that she’s not dumb as a post.

She leaves home and supposedly Christian women make fun of her for calling “your mommy” every day.  “You need to grow up,” they say when she won’t take their negative and decidedly unChristian advice.  No, they need to grow up to the point they can actually keep their mouths shut about that which is none of their business.

She is grown up, and yet still a child.  Aren’t we all?  I call my parents when I need to hear the voice of one who will always love me, one who will not belittle me for being a bit sad or needy or unsure.  Does that make me defective, immature?  No, it makes me human.

My daughters communicate with me – when they’re feeling on top of the world, when they’re under a cloud, when things are rolling right along fairly smoothly.  Why should they not?

Rather than apologizing for having a good relationship with a parent or a child, we should thank God for it, and continue to do those things that brought us to this happy outcome – be there for that person, pray with and for that person, and let them know we will be as the Lord Himself is, the one who will never leave them nor forsake them.

It’s called giving them a strong foundation on which to stand, as well as wings for flight.  It’s called love.  And because of that love, my child feels free to let me know when she wants to handle things on her own.  I have such faith in her and respect for her, that I always ask her how she wants me to proceed, what she wants me to do or not do.  

We prayed this morning about a difficult situation, and I read scripture aloud to her, and encouraged her.  But when it comes down to the tough part, she must walk this walk alone.  And yet, when a child knows that she knows that her parents and Jesus will never leave her nor forsake her, how can she be alone?

Something about such a person really gets to people who don’t have this kind of surety.  Is it jealousy, or is it simply the all-pervasive societal view that parents are inherently stupid and faulty and should be sidelined and ignored in pursuit of . . . what?  The lovely mess that these anti-parent folks have made of their own lives?

What is this unholy desire to separate children from their parents?  What is this need to control and convince and influence?  And why is this invariably from people who have little or no control or success in their own lives, and with their own children?  But I must say in our case, most of our most vitriolic critics are themselves childless.

And yet, no need to fret.  My daughter, the one accused from every direction of being “too dependent” on her parents, is so much stronger than her accusers.  She goes on about her merry way, and forgives.  And she prays for those who show her nothing but disrespect and contempt (that after a bit of exasperated venting).

Just as I communicate with my parents and with my Savior, I have raised a child who does the same.  So to all these busybodies, I say, “Just mind your own business,” or as my mom says, “Tend to your own pea-pickin’.”

 

Fall Decor to Warm the Heart and Soul!

https://www.facebook.com/beverly.parker.9883

I just read a decorating post about warming up your space for Fall.  But if all your walls and furniture and decor are white and grey, you’ve got your work cut out.

Why not put old fashioned colorful quilts on those white chairs, soft camel throws on the couch with scarlet-streaked pillows, and warm amber lightbulbs under those stark white lampshades and then . . .

Paint your walls something warm and marvelous, such as butter yellow, or golden umber.  Maybe a deep terra cotta trimmed in olive green or a dusty apricot with creamy trim would really light your fire.

Fire.  If you have a fireplace, you understand fire power.  If not, light candles until you can get one, or at least a facsimile.

Move some art around.  Go through the house and find the warmest and brightest of your art and bring it to the most-used areas, which are likely the living room and kitchen.

Cook.  Soup.  Cook soup.  And muffins.  And don’t stint on the butter.

Use warm spices.  Spray the house with spicy essential oil scents, cook spicy foods, warm up some cider and keep the tea kettle whistling.

Even if it’s still 90-plus degrees at your house, Fall is coming and it’s time to get ready!

It’s Fall and it’s cozy and warm and welcoming time.

 

Anyone Can Find Crappy Christians – They Advertise Quite Effectively, But . . .

The only Christian we need to be looking at is Jesus.  I am always meeting people who justify their faithless lives with their sob stories of mistreatment by Christians.

Consider this:  Just because someone calls themselves Christian does not mean they know Christ, and that His Spirit has shed abroad the love of Christ in their heart.

And consider this:  Even born-again, Spirit-filled (yes that’s a thing, and I do mean a THING) Christians can really miss it and really be deceived and deluded (they can spout the BLASPHEMY that God does horrible things to people to “teach them a a lesson.”   See John 10:10).

And consider this:  If you let any person be your lens for looking at Christianity, you’re looking through a clouded lens.  Look at Jesus Himself.

The Christianity of the Bible is about love, hope, and victory through a living Savior, and if anyone presents it as a religious set of rules, they look suspiciously like someone who does not know Him.  Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.  It brings life not death, conviction but not condemnation, victory rather than victimhood.  Again, real Christianity brings life, because it is alive.

Jesus is alive, and He lives in the hearts of those who will invite Him in.

What a deal.  Don’t let any poor specimen of Christianity steal the deal.

Amen!

How About a Bit of “Maximumism?”

hobbit-house

Starting in the low 400’s!  Yay.  For just a bit more you can get windows and doors.  And never forget the marble countertops.  Friends of ours got a deal on a  house because it had lovely blue Corian counters, which aren’t “in”.

I recently visited a favorite decorating blog post, and was disappointed.  The author, a lovely and talented Christian lady, was touting, “What’s in for Fall 2018!!!!”  And everything was white.  And grey.  And there was that teeny bit of “color” as proof of bravery.

Why not be brave and actually go with your heart?  Please, I must believe that I’m not the only one with a red heart.  I must believe there are red-blooded women out there, whose homes minister to their red-blooded family members, and to Hades with what’s “in”.

Pray to God it will soon be out, and as forsaken as most other decorating mysteries of the past.  Really, we once put fluorescent lighting in our kitchens to illuminate brown ovens?  Really, we now prefer stark white, encoldened (I made that word up) by gray.

Perhaps I should say we prefer gray “further silenced” by grey-white.

Gray.  Grey.  White.  Off white.  Off.  When can we get off this chilling, unwelcoming, stark, minimalism.

What’s minimal here is coziness, warmth, hospitality, jollity, personality, uniqueness, honesty, quirkiness, heart’s treasures.  

I have changed my entire kitchen because of the colors on a Susan Bright calendar, and once because of an April Connell dish towel.  To my delight, and isn’t that the point?

Why must we delight in being like everyone else, and therefore really like no one?  Why worship at the altar of what’s “in” rather than seeking to find and express what’s “in” our own hearts?

There’s a falseness, a facade, in preferring pressed wood furniture that won’t make it twenty years, over a family heirloom mahogany table (I have a friend who gave such a table to charity because her daughters had no use for it).

We choose to make social “statements” rather than personal, and in so doing, say nothing at all.  We are not mindless parts of a group, or a generation.  We are each unique in all the world, in all the history of the world, and our homes should reflect who we are, not which group with which we share birthdates, or fad to which we’re enslaved.

So, how about we go to a bit of “maximumism” (yes, I made that word up, too).  Why not maximize our own personal joy in our surroundings by making our homes uniquely, radically, and positively ours.

Are we cold and soulless, unwelcoming and robotic?  No, we are human!  We are fearfully and wonderfully made, as the Word of God tells us.  “Knit together in our mother’s wombs, known by God before the foundation of the world.”  Talk about “maximumism”!

Welcome to our very own homes, and welcome to everyone who enters herein.

 

What’s More Important than Scripture? and Does “All Things” Include Pounds?

I have before me an excellent article by a wise man, and it will help some folks very much, no doubt.  But for me, not so much.  It’s one of those 7 steps, 15 ways, change your life in 30 days kind of things.  And it’s more than scripture-based.  It is scriptures –  a list of marvelous and beautiful scriptures for “Weight Loss and Health”.

And yet.   I know and have often spoken these scriptures, and they have helped me time and again.  But I know that this time the Holy Spirit is saying, in effect, “Forget the formula, and remember Jesus.  He has a lot more on His mind, a lot better for you, than the plus or minus of pounds.”

“What might happen,” I muse, “If I really did seek Him first?”  Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.  ALL these things?  Wouldn’t that include weight loss?  Exercise?  Health, vitality, energy, and strength?

What if I found, through communion with the One Who Knows, that there are higher things than the high number on my bathroom scales?  Who knew?

And yet, it is important to me.  I am programmed to focus on the belly fat, the lack of fitness, the dearth of plans carried through.  The SHOULDS undone.

It just so happens, and not because of weight, that last I began a fast.  And on Day Three I bought a new dress (I love Dillard’s in Cheyenne, Wyoming) for an event.  It looked great, fit perfectly.  One that day I ate a seared tuna salad, wanting to break my fast sensibly (this after having achieved the spiritual breakthrough, the answer I was seeking).

The next day, not hungry, but also not wanting to arrive at the gala starving and shaking, I ate an egg and toast and a salad.  That’s it, except for lots of mineral water and lemon water and plain filtered water.

That evening, as I tried on my beautiful new dress, I looked as though I’d been poured into it.  I wanted to rant:  “How could I gain all that weight back?; What is wrong with me?  I shouldn’t have eaten at all.  Maybe I’ll just fast for the rest of my life!”

But I remembered my wise husband’s words from years ago, in response to such a lament, or something equally fruitless and unpleasant.  “Why don’t you just forget about it.?”

And this morning I thought, “Why don’t you just forget about it, and remember Jesus?”

Can I do that?  Can I stop with the fruitless and futile and go with the fun and fulfilling?

When He said that with Him all things are possible, did He really mean ALL things?

I think He did and I think I can (Philippians 4:13).  I think when I stop focusing on the fat, I will be free to . . . to who knows what?  What might open up when I close that door?  All things?  All sorts of things?

I might even be convinced John is telling the truth when he says I’m “hot” and that “real women have bellies.”

 

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Oh, and by the way, I just happened to buy a second dress, which fit just fine, and was the PERFECT dress for the event.  So, all is well and swell, and the next time I have a shindig to attend in my lovely electric blue dress, I’ll just fast and not break my fast until the actual event, and it will be a science experiment of sorts to see if a perfectly fitting dress can get too tight while being worn.:  We know we can gain five pounds in two days of eating almost nothing, but can we gain five pounds during dinner?

Get the Should Out of My Writing!

Tightwad Gazette author Amy Dacyczyn tells the story of how her creativity went out the window when she was told exactly what to create and when to have it done.  We sabotage ourselves in this same way when we write for results, rather than for the joy of creating.

I’m attempting to plant a seed here, based on my somewhat murky vision of what the crop might be.  A plain white packet of tomato seeds will not be chosen by a novice gardener as quickly as will the one showcasing a vintage watercolor of sun-ripened tomatoes on the vine.

So, let us envision a lovely scene, all written to our own specifications, no “shoulds” allowed, and let’s call it ours.  It is not for the cruel editor’s cut, or the critique of the masses.  It is not even for the approval of those who love us and think whatever we do is simply grand.  It is “Not for Sale!”

It’s for the joy and the beauty of creation.

And tomorrow, we will see, as delighted and adventuresome children, what comes next.

As I listen to layered birdsong and the rustle and shimmying of aspen leaves, and think with satisfaction of my watered, sort-of-thriving herbs, I imagine myself in this setting as a small child.

I would bury my face in those exuberantly red geraniums.  Could they smell like they look –  bright and boisterous?  And all those vines hanging down around the sides of the basket – might I hide among them, and make myself a spot?  A place of my very own?  Would anyone care if I nibbled on those mint leaves, or some basil?

And suddenly there is a little girl in my heart, and she has a story.  I don’t need to know the end of the story, and an outline would be quite ridiculous.  I live in the here and now, and this story will tell itself in its own good time.  I don’t have to know if it’s long or short, serious or silly, and there’s no reason to define it, limit it, constrict it – should it.

This is my story and I’m stickin’ to it.  And I’m lovin’ it.

Writing, I mean.

“I’ll Take a Hug.” “Thanks, and How About a Kiss?”

“Come here,” my daughter Rebekah said this morning.  I knew the drill.  I was trying to hurry and forgetting to put first things first.  Hugs.

And as I wrapped my arms about her good (and soon leaving home) self, I had a revelation, a knowing.  God loves her like this – huglike, all encompassing, embracing Love.  All-is-and-will-be-well Love.

“What’s in a hug?” I pondered.  Beyond what we can imagine, I’m certain.  I know science will bear me out – in hugs are health and well-being and so much more , so that we all want to be on the receiving end of hugs.  Well, that’s not quite right, is it?  Both ends of hugs are receiving ends.  What I mean is that we are glad when someone opens their arms and says to us, “I’ll take a hug.”

“I’ll take a hug,” is a never-forgotten sentence spoken to me years ago by a woman of grace, and when I really needed that hug. 

Give a hug, take a hug.  Especially if it’s from and for one of the beloveds in your house. 

I usually get up before my darlin’ and am more excited about mornings than is he.  So, to wake him properly I always crawl back into bed and hug him.  He pats me on the back in his sleep and says nonsensical things like, “It’s too late.”  More pats and moans.  “I mean early.  It’s too early.”

And then a kiss before I jump back up and get to something lovely like tea all alone on the balcony, where I muse a bit more about hugs.  And kisses.  Sometimes on the cheek from and for people I hardly know.

I, one raised without a lot of hugs and kisses (we all have learned better by now), and kind of shy about the whole thing, especially the kisses, am now a big fan of both. 

Here’s how this came about as regards the kisses:  A fine young man named Gabriel was spending a holiday with us, and because I knew he was missing his mama and vice versa, I tried to be extra nice to him.  Plus, as he was a friend to my son, I felt quite dedicated to his wellbeing and happiness. 

And so, when it came time for his departure, he very sweetly and naturally kissed me on the cheek, and as in this morning’s hug with Rebekah, I got a bit of a knowing:  This is a good thing.  This is a blessing.  This is like being a little baby when people kiss on you non-stop, head to toe without a second thought.  This is grand.

From that day on I often kiss people on the cheek when I hug them.  It’s lovely and I know sometimes they are surprised, and perhaps even displeased.  But for the most part, they are getting a knowing, I’m hoping.  A revelation that they are not only hug-worthy, but kiss-worthy.  Appreciated. 

Loved.