What is it About Steak?, What are Dippies?,and Other Good Questions

Hallelujah!  That was what I wanted to burst into song with after last week’s Homefront Show.  Not because the show was over, but because we had steak for breakfast.  I’m going to talk about that during the show tomorrow (Wednesday the 27th) – about basic, timeless good things, such as breakfast, and steak, and conversation during breakfast while eating steak.  You think steak is for rich people.  Think again.  I’m going to talk about how expensive that kind of thinking really is.

We’ll consider the expense of a poverty mentality.  And we’ll look at Gary Keesee’s 10 Steps to Posture Yourself for Opportunity, and share insights from Tommy Newberry’s 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life, and excellent thoughts from two excellent men – John Parker and John Dunlap.

So, if you know anyone who could use a bit of excellence, good ideas, joy, and other good stuff, call them now and tell them to join us on the Home Front Show (Wednesday, March 27 at 8:00 AM Mountain), on http://1360khnc.com where we’ll also talk about the organization Transform Our World, and the joy  of transforming our world.

Joy.  Did you know joy doesn’t mix with fear.  Fear is the devil’s currency, and you can’t buy a single good thing with it.  In her book Time Alive, Alexandra Stoddard has a chapter entitled  JOY ACCOMPANIES A COURAGEOUS LIFE, and the title is followed by this Winston Churchill quote:  “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities . . . It is the quality which guarantees all others.”

Fear, as I said, is the devil’s currency.  Fear is what causes people to succumb to evil without even knowing it.  It makes people irrational so that they behave in ways at odds with their actual beliefs.  Fear makes us unsound of mind, and knocks the hero right out of us.

I like to talk about hero moms on the Homefront Show, and one of those was my grandmother, “Grannimother”, who did her laundry in Mountain Fork River near Hochatown, Oklahoma.  I remember not only what God has done for me in days past, but what my ancestors have done for me, what all our ancestors have done for us in building this country, in things large such as coast to coast railroads and highways, and in things a bit smaller such as running water and washing machines.

It may have been recalling bathing in the river as Grannimother did the wash that prompted my dad’s response to a group of women complaining about keeping up with the laundry.  He grinned and said, “Yeah, it sure is hard pouring in that soup and pushing those buttons.”

I remember one of my favorite things ever was Grannimother peeling her garden-scorched, best-in-the-entire-world tomatoes, and slicing big thick slices to share with me.  Just tomatoes and salt.  Who could ask for more?

That’s wealth, and it’s not expensive.  Here’s what’s expensive:  Putting a sugar/processed grain death concoction in front of your family every single day, as a way to start their day.

Then maybe it’s hot dogs for lunch.  “That just blows my mind” was John’s response the other day when he asked me if I wanted steak or chili dogs I said, “Steak is better and steak is cheaper.”

We bought round steak at Ridley’s in Wellington for $2.99 a pound (hot dogs were considerably more), marinated it  for three days, then grilled it after the show last Wednesday morning.  Oh, my goodness, was it wonderful!  I gently fried eggs (dippies) and made Dave’s Killer Bread toast and  pot of tea to go along with it.

Of course you can add all sorts of things to this:  I really like to saute spinach with garlic and mushrooms for breakfast, and I’m a big believer in homemade applesauce, or just a can of peaches (always get them in juice, not syrup) with cinnamon.

Now back to dippies:  The point of dippies is the runny yolk so you can dip your bread into it and say “Yum” right after you sing Hallelujah over the steak.

So, let’s talk about that.  What is it, in fact, about steak?  We actually asked each other that question last Wednesday.  “What is it about steak?”  I suggested the B vitamin found only in red meat.  Seth suggested we should eat it in honor of our ancestors, who might not have had as much of it as they wanted.  Wealth being measured not by goats or pigs or tofu, but by the cattle on a thousand hills was mentioned.  And then there was the crux of the matter in Seth’s question:  What is better than steak?  We couldn’t think of anything.  There is a delicious sense of well-being experienced in the first bite of a juicy steak, and in every subsequent bite as well, especially if it’s been a bit since you’ve had beef.

I say the whole anti-meat thing is from Hell.  Ever since the campaign against red meat and the assertion that it causes heart disease, heart disease has been on the rise.  Hmm.  It’s just another example of the dangers of being one of the crowd, of fitting in, going along, keeping your head down and your mind docile – doing the socially acceptable thing.  But here’s the big problem Satan and all his deceived have, in particular about meat.  It’s really hard to convince people something so good is so bad.

We once worked with several young women who were vegetarians, vegans, and other variations of labels which in many cases were simply sad attempts at that “defining sense of self”.  And then one day we invited some of them over for steaks – “that’s what we’re having, you’re welcome if you want to come” was the casual group invite.  Three of them came over and they practically inhaled those steaks.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Well, you may think this is much ado about nothing, or very close to nothing, but I’m after a larger picture.  I’m after our taking a look at the gifts of God and participating.

And lest you’ve been victimized by that “can’t eat it if it has a face” let me help you with that.  I was raised on a farm and I can tell you there are no retirement facilities for cows, there are no nursing homes for deer.  If man does not obey God’s directive to steward the earth, animals such as cows and game will overpopulate and die of starvation and disease.  Failing that, they will die miserably of old age.  You are being singularly unkind when you suggest no one should eat meat.  Most of all to your own self.

Meat makes people strong.  In days of old meat was only for royalty, and starving peasants were shot or publicly strung up for poaching so much as a rabbit to feed their children.  It was no secret that when people are well fed, particularly on meat, they become very difficult to control.

Well, things are better in that regard, and yet we return to a peasant’s mentality when we say we don’t want meat.  It is a weakling mentality.  We are royalty and we need to act like it, and eat like it.

Royalty – we’re going to have royalty on the show tomorrow, so if you haven’t already done so, give that someone you’re thinking of a call.  Reach out, be brave.  You can do it – just act like you had steak for breakfast.

Thanks for joining me, and if you’re out of the 1360 listening area, you can go to the website – http://1360khnc.com

Thanks again.

“And so I began to dance with my life . . . ” – Shannon Ables

I’m reading Shannon Ables’ Choosing the Simply Luxurious Life and at the above-mentioned sentence, I had to stop and share.

I can relate.  I had so many ideas for what to do with today, “something truly meaningful,” I prayed to God.  And then I wrote down the three things that would, I thought, be truly meaningful.  But thanks be to God, He, as usual, has a better idea.

So, here I sit before the fireplace, with the wood popping madly as the wind blows the snow horizontally outside, and I’m smelling John’s baking “chicken/turkey/bacon” enchiladas.  I’m ready for them, having only partaken today of a glass of Moscato, some Trader Joe’s peanut butter cups, and a cup of New Mexico Pinon coffee with plenty of organic heavy whipping cream – that shared first thing this morning with my gem of a son, Seth.

As Seth made the coffee in the beautiful French press (present from him for Christmas – lovely deep red in color), I prayed that another gem of a son, Benjamin who is in Kuwait, would call.  I dressed in favorite old jeans and a marvelously comfy sweater and sat quietly, and when the phone rang I knew it was him.  A truly meaningful day, and it’s only just begun.

I first opened my eyes this morning to the rocks on the bluff gleaming gold, and diamonds in the snow.  But by the time I finished a long and lovely chat with my son, the sky was threatening snow big time.

It was a good day, I reckoned, to visit the post office, pick up the mail, and send cards and letters.  I wrote what I believe is a fun letter to a dearly beloved young man who is in prison, and tucked it inside a small package along with Louis L’Amour’s Ride the River, which is about Echo Sackett.  I covered the package with real stamps (more romantic than stickers) and got a special “Love” stamp for the fun greeting card I also put in the mail today.

We, my Valentine John and I, went next to the Library – they had called and said I had books in!!!   It was a lovely stack:  Through the French Door by Carolyn Westbrook, Really Rural by Marie-France Boyer, Fight Like a Girl by Lisa Bevere, The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Classen, and finally, Shannon Ables’ Choosing the Simply Luxurious Life, to which I plan to return right after those enchiladas . . .

Later in the Truly Meaningful day

The enchiladas were EXACTLY the thing for a cold February day in the Rockies, and I made for sure and for certain the cook knew he was appreciated.  Hugs and kisses and thanks and more thanks.  “Yum, oh, yum, you must remember exactly what you put in these,” etc. (It’s not Valentine’s Day, it’s Valentine’s week at our house).

And now I’m back to what makes any day truly worthwhile:  a good book.  I must pick up where I left off:  “And so I began to dance with my life . . .”

James Bond, Georgette Heyer, and Let’s Write!

I struggle with those highbrows, both in and outside my life, who refuse to read anything except “good writing.”

First off, I’m sure my writing doesn’t qualify.  Next, we are not in agreement of what constitutes “good writing.”  Ideally, I don’t have to choose, but if presented with a choice between the “dark, poignant, and tragic tale of human whatsit” and a story that makes me smile, laugh out loud, think and ponder, and generally feel I’ve been enriched in some way, there’s no contest.

Give me a writer whose life isn’t a “dark, poignant, and tragic tale of human whatsit” and whose mission is not, therefore, to make certain my life is, at least for a time, equally depressing, morbid, and joyless.  My husband, John, has a name for this prevalent idea among the literary “elite” (I do not think that word means what you think it means) that good writing  (Literature, no less!) comes from the angst of the tortured soul (good writing is the the province of such souls, don’t you know), and is most often performed under the influence of various mind-altering substances, and at the brink of suicide.   John says it’s bovine fecal matter, aka B.S.

It seems to me that much of what the publishing world is praising, publishing, and passing off as literature is contrived, formulaic, and trite.  Someone writes a great romance or two, and then suddenly they (or someone influencing them), decide we must add “poignance”.  Why?  Is it because the world is too happy and bright, and we must never for a single moment consider things not horrible?

Let’s write a book about predictable, boring, uninspiring, plastic people in plastic worlds being defeated at every turn!  If we put on a slick jacket with nifty artwork and get a crafty marketer to sell the plot, another sucker will pick it up and try it.

And sigh.  And say, “Where is The Swiss Family Robinson?  Where is The Secret Garden?   Why aren’t there more books like The Help and Louis L’Amour’s The Sacketts?  What is this fear of goodness, joy, beauty and victory, what is this celebration of ugliness, THIS FALSENESS, seeking to grip us all? “

Give me authenticity!  Authenticity works.  George Strait, Clint Eastwood, Katherine Hepburn, John Wayne, Edith Schaeffer, Ben Carson, Ronald Reagan, Queen Elizabeth, and even Donald Trump are among those folks who dance(d) to the beat of their own drummers.  And even if we don’t like them, we pay attention.  They don’t leave us cold, bored, and wishing there was someone real in the room.

Who was the best character in Bewitched?  Agnes Moorhead, who played the wickedly honest Endora.  Why was Kevin Cline so much fun with Meg Ryan in French Kiss?  Because he made no apologies, cared not one whit for the opinions of others.  What made John Cleese so great in Fawlty Towers and in The Pink Panther?  It was because he was authentic, even awful, but in no way for a single moment, dull or ordinary.  It’s called entertainment.

People make fun of me, behind my back and to my face, for my unsophisticated tastes.  I have grown weary of explaining why I watch James Bond movies, but here I go again:  Because James is smart and strong and handsome and he always wins!  Because there are exotic locales and not a single boring moment.  There are amazing cars and exploding gadgets, and impossible feats of derring do!  Fascinating folks named things like “Q” and “M” and “Moneypenny” are always doing the dangerous and sacrificial thing, right along with James.  Yes, there are scantily-clad and shockingly-named women moaning, “Oh, James”, but to the fun-lovers among us, it’s just more fun.

Contrary to the allegations of the Bond naysayers, there are thought-provoking plots (sometimes, anyway) such as the consequences of worldwide information and surveillance control, adding depth and texture to an already satisfactory offering.  Most of all, in Bond we have a hero worth his salt.

I don’t apologize for liking Roger Moore better than Sean Connery or Daniel Craig, and I do admit that a couple of the Bond flicks weren’t quite up to par.  And I am happy to say that the final (???) Bond movie, Spectre, is my favorite among favorites because it ends, as do all my favorites, “Happily Ever After.”

So sue me.  I believe in happy endings.  Listen, if you don’t, you won’t ever have to worry about one if your own life.  You won’t have to worry about people calling you Pollyanna, making fun of you and thinking you give a care what they think.

I once had a boss who made fun of me for reading Reader’s Digest.  “So?  You read Time,” I countered to his frowning confusion.  I was supposed to apologize for reading uplifting stories of real people, rather than what the “intelligent” people read.

Yesterday at the Red Feather Lakes Library I picked up Sons and Soldiers by Bruce Henderson.  I am miffed at myself because I hoped that would redeem me in the eyes of one of the more “highbrow” volunteers, one I am quite sure thinks my Georgette Heyer love affair quite childish.

I am halfway through Sons and Soldiers (would have stayed up all night reading it, but my heart had to have a respite), almost finished with A Gentleman in Moscow (taking my time because I don’t want it to end – how I love, respect, and admire the Count!), just started on my third reading of Minerva by Marion Chesney (why do I love Minerva’s  atrocious daddy?), and I just finished with Georgette Heyer’s A Lady of Quality.  This represents my fiction reading of the moment.

Non-fiction includes my annual reading, month by month, of The Shape of a Year (such a treasure) continual dippings into and out of various motivational and informational books (Jennifer Scott’s Madame Chic books for instance), magazines (I just subscribed to Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman magazine!!!!), homemaking blogs, and of course, my almost daily reading of Psalms, Proverbs, and something Jesus and/or Paul had to say (I’m sadly deficient in my Old Testament knowledge, and often mistake the exploits of Daniel with those of David, Joseph or another notable.  This lack, it seems, isn’t nearly as reprehensible or disconcerting to others as is my lack of taste in movies).

I guard my heart.  I believe much of what passes for literature and entertainment is a danger to the health and therefore the strength of my heart, and even my character.

And I think it’s time that all of us who want to write but don’t think we’re “any good” should just get to it, without a single thought of what anyone thinks about what we write, without a worry or even a nod to the opinions of others about what constitutes “good writing.”  Even if it’s never published or read by another soul, we can say we did more than criticize and complain.

Let’s write, shall we?

P.S.  TOMORROW, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, AT 2:00 MOUNTAIN TIME, TUNE IN TO:  WWW.1360AM.CO FOR THE HOMEFRONT SHOW.  I’ll be sharing good stuff on manipulation (how not to do it, or to feed it); champion forgivers among our Founding Fathers, rescuing yourself from the TORTURE of unforgiveness, and much, much more.  Thanks ahead of time for joining me!

 

Promised Booklist

Last week on The Homefront Show I mentioned a conversation with three of my children wherein we answered the question, “What five books do you think everyone should read?”  On the show I shared what we came up with (more than five each, sorry, but certainly less than an exhaustive list of our favorites) and promised to post the list, along with author’s names (which I didn’t share on the show).

So here goes, in the order, more or less, the titles were called out (with a few added I’ve since recalled and couldn’t possibly leave out, such as Little Joe Otter, The Capricorn Stone, and On the Banks of Plum Creek.

 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Little Joe Otter by Thornton W. Burgess

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein

The Bible

Little Women and Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

William Tell by Friedrich Schiller

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Angel at the Fence by Herman Rosenblatt

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Narnia Series by C. S. Lewis

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkein

Last of the Breed by Louis L’Amour

Daddy Longlegs by Jean Webster

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

All Sackett books by Louis L’Amour

By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman

George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl

Pilgrim’s Inn by Elizabeth Goudge

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Mutiny on the Bounty by William Bligh

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle

Blessed Child by Ted Dekker and Bill Bright

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Heidi by Joanna Spyri

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

The Capricorn Stone by Madeleine Brent

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

With the Old Breed by E. B. Sledge

Guns Up by Johnnie M. Clark

Medications by Marcus Aurelius

 

So, there you have it.  Maybe you can give yourself the Christmas gift of one of these great books.  Wanna great laugh with a book you can’t put down?  Daddy Longlegs and the sequel, Dear Enemy are unbeatable.  I read both of them aloud as we traveled a few years ago, and EVERYONE in the car begged for more each time I stopped for a rest.

Happy Reading to You!

And . . . REMEMBER TO TUNE IN TOMORROW, DECEMBER 15 AT 2:00 MOUNTAIN TO WWW.1360AM.CO FOR THE HOMEFRONT SHOW!

 

 

OPEN THE DOOR TO PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE AND MOVIE STAR HOMESCHOOLERS COMING RIGHT UP ON THE HOME FRONT SHOW – 2:00 MTN

It’s so great when a plan comes together.  When I awoke this morning/last night? at 1:45 a.m. I didn’t know what today’s show was about.  But just a bit of prayer (and because I went to bed after John prayed with me about it) I knew!  Perseverance and patience.

And everything I listened to, read, and experienced told me I was right on track – Dave Ramsey in Entreleaders, Sheila Walsh’s joy infusions (Rebekah will be sharing from that on the show today), The Home School Mom’s Devotional Bible, Harriet Beecher Stowe, two sermons I caught in the middle of the night, and just the beautiful, wonderful Word of God – patience, perseverance, power.  They go together, so let’s get together on the show today and celebrate!

Also, I have a special giveaway today – a book by a famous movie star/homeschooling couple, who are also the stars of “Let There Be Light”!

Go to:  http://www.1360am.co at 2:00 Mountain Time, and Thanks!

 

John was Right about Her, and Rebekah will be on at 2:00!

After a particularly trying day with my girls, ages 4 and 3, I met John at the door with a long lament.  When I finished he said these immortal words, “Some day these girls will be your best buddies and you will enjoy every minute you have with them.”

Huh?

Years later I am admitting, as I have to do so often to John, “You were right.”  What a gift back to me are these children I’ve been blessed to stay home with, to love and educate as priceless treasures, as though they were (THEY ARE!) royalty.  My lamentations gave way to praises a long time ago, and today Rebekah Parker will grace all listeners as she joins me on The Homefront Show!

Look at your lament as a leading.  That’s Part I of today’s Homefront Show Broadcast on http://www.1360am.co at 2:00 Mountain Time.

Rebekah Parker will be on with an infusion of joy from Sheila Walsh, I’ll answer the question, “Which is more deadly, typhus, typhoid, or selfishness?” and Real Man John Parker may chime in about something brilliant.

The aforementioned lament is about handling major differences of opinion with other Christians, and how a lament can either be a fearful road to nowhere, or the impetus to get aboard God’s Love Train and have an adventure!

There’s more, such as why studying Benjamin Rush’s life would be a great home school project, and my favorite part of David and Goliath’s story, and why Zorro rocks.  Perhaps the most important part is where we understand the difference in being disappointed in a child, vs. for a child, and how to communicate this to bring healing to all parties.

Thanks for tuning in today at 2:00:  http://www.1360am.co

 

When I Write a Book . . .

I picked up Alice Hoffman’s The Third Angel because it was recommended in Fearless Writing.

I have a like/dislike relationship with this book, but I’m keeping on with it because it keeps redeeming itself, keeps pulling me along with unexpected delights.

I am not delighted with a woman who is marrying a man she knows to be selfish and flawed, but I am carried away with the answer to her own question:  How do you love such a person?  You just do it.

I am delighted when a book reminds me of the truths in my own life, how love is an act, a sacrifice, a looking like God.  Love is God and I am becoming more transformed into His image when I “just do it.”

Like the character in The Third Angel, I find myself unmoved by the flaws in those I love, even blind to them, when I get on that love train and we both start going places.  Life becomes an adventure of raw discovery, flaws become idiosyncrasies, differences become intriguing – even delightful, and life is good.

There is language in The Third Angel.  If not, the editors would probably say to the author, “This is London, you must have language, no one will believe it otherwise.”  But if I write a book, the strongest language will begin with “sh” and end with “it” even if the plane is crashing.

Wait.  No planes crashing in my book.  I will, as they say, write what I know.  Spaghetti sauce in a favorite antique bowl slipping out of my hand as I swipe it out of the fridge, breaking and splattering spaghetti sauce all over the kitchen.  Living and moving and breathing spaghetti sauce.  Everywhere.  Little faces astounded at the crash and even more at Mommy saying that word.

But then I would forget about a broken bowl and a messy kitchen because there is a much larger issue:  tender and bare feet.  I would shoo them away and clean every last speck – not perhaps every last speck of spaghetti sauce, which I will be finding this time next year, but every single last speck of glass.

Because I know these feet are going to be with me forever.  I know what is real and good, and that is the life of my children.  Life.

I don’t know if Alice Hoffman knows life is good, if her book will end as a good book must, with a satisfactory and victorious ending (a love ending).  I do know if I write a book, it will be filled top to bottom, end to end, and side to side with “Just do it” love.

Amen.

P.S.  Don’t miss The Homefront Show Fridays at 2:00 MTN.  Go to 1360am.co and join the fun!