Your Favorite Love Song, Please.

Hi,

I’m coming right along with the improved and expanded edition of The Maker’s Marriage (please don’t order from the picture here on the website, as I still haven’t managed to delete it ) and I’m wanting to add beautiful love song suggestions, as music is such a power tool in getting our hearts right, and attuned to love.

So, if you have a favorite love song or songs, or indeed just any favorite beautiful and uplifting music, would you mind sharing via comments, or by simply e-mailing to me at: bevparker@rocketmail.com.

‘I need a song for every chapter (there are thirty something chapters right now) and I don’t want to limit my readers to my tastes only. Also, if you want to include a few lines about why this song is special to you, that might be helpful as well.

Please remember my promise to have this very good (if I do think so, myself) book finished by John’s and my 30th anniversary–October 12, and be ready to buy a copy or several to share.

Thanks very much!

Bev

P.S. If you know how I can delete my current pic of The Maker’s Marriage, I would really appreciate knowing if you can spare a minute or two to share.

Hooray for Insomnia

I was hoping it was at least 3:00 a.m. It was 1:30. But that was OK actually, and here’s why: I had put my jeans and writing shirt (more on that later) out before bed, right along with my water, Bible, scribble book, journal, pens and highlighers, and devotions. I was ready to sneak into John’s office (where the chairs are comfy and the computer cooperative) and have myself a little time with Jesus. Remember the song? So let us have a little talk with Jesus, let us tell Him all about our troubles . . .

I did have some troubles, as I woke from a disturbing dream and wanted to make sense of it, if sense could be made. But those troubles went away pretty quickly as I prayed and then found great teaching on YouTube.

It took a while to get through 2.5 sermons (I’ve paused in the middle of the third sermon to write this post) because I was taking notes, pausing to pray, pausing to sing scripture to God (I don’t sound all that bad and I know He likes my singing. I just know.) I also paused to pass on a sermon to people I think/hope will be blessed.

And let me admit it. I also passed it on to someone I think needs it. As do I. Especially the parts about remaining strong in such a time as this. How? Via meditating on the Word of God. Again, how? Well, let’s begin by saying it’s not how I recently heard a success guru say he does it–he “meditates” ten minutes.

Psalm 1:1-3 is helpful: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. (That’s verses 1 and 2–I’ll leave you to see this man’s reward in verse 3.)

Here’s most of what the Word Wealth in my Bible says–“meditates” hagah (hah-gah; Strong’s #1897: to reflect; to on, to mutter; to ponder; to make a quiet sound such as sighing; to meditate or contemplate something as one repeats the words. Hagah represents something quite unlike the English “meditation,” which may be a mental exercise only. In Hebrew thought, to meditate upon the Scriptures is to quietly repeat them in a soft, droning sound, while utterly abandoning outside distractions. From this tradition comes a specialized type of Jewish prayer called “davening,” that is, reciting texts, praying intense prayers, or getting lost in communion with God while bowing or rocking back and forth. Evidently this dynamic form of meditation-prayer goes back to David’s time.

This is how we receive the Biblical promise of a renewed mind. I, for one, am in great and continual need of this. I think thoughts and act ways I don’t agree with! They’re not the real me. They’re distortions and deceptions based on the lies of my enemy. But they’re always decreasing in power as God’s power overcomes through Biblical meditation.

I think I won’t call it insomnia, which implies being unable, but wanting, to sleep. I think I’ll call it a wee hours assignation with the Lover of my soul. Hooray for Hagah!

NO, NO, DON’T ORDER THE MAKER’S MARRIAGE YET!

Yikes, I see the “click here to order” next to the pic of the OLD Maker’s Marriage. Wait for it! I haven’t figured out how to get that off my blog, but I will. I just got a “WordPress for Dummies” book, so hopefully today will be the day I get this pesky thing down, and get on with the new version.

Again, the expanded version of The Maker’s Marriage will be available October 12, 2021, which will be John’s and my 30th anniversary! Yay!

The Maker’s Marriage Coming Right Up!

In expanding The Maker’s Marriage (available October 12, our 30th anniversary), I am adding an introduction so that those who won’t be helped won’t be wasting their time. Following is the first draft of the new intro:

Before we waste each other’s time, let’s understand that it’s not about me, or you, or our opinions and beliefs.  It’s about the One Who made us, loves us, and wants us to succeed beyond our wildest imaginations—our Maker.

It follows then that The Maker’s Marriage isn’t about keys, steps, techniques, or suggestions.  Rather, it is about the miracle of a marriage that is exponentially greater than the sum of its parts.  A Maker’s Marriage.

So, if you’re in hopes of finding yet untried ways to get that other person to straighten up and fly right, or to understand you and meet your needs, or any other base, low, pathetic mockery of God’s marvelous plan for you and yours, hope again.

Actually, I do want you to hope again.  But this time let it be hope in the Love that never fails.  Herein lies hope that is based on nothing less than Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of the relationship that is meant to bring Heaven to earth.  How about that!

And how about this–how about getting free from the need to be right?  How about getting free from the tyranny of selfishness and the life of pain it brings?  How about falling in Love with your Maker, and passing that Love right along to the person on the pillow next to you?  It’s called pillow talk, and it beats arguing hands down.

Why not?  Why not begin and end the day with a bit of a cuddle with the one on the pillow right next to you, and fill the spaces in between with the great adventure of a marriage that is all the Great Lover ever meant it to be?

It’s called honor and you were meant for it.  Honor yourself and your mate by first honoring your Maker and receiving His honor for you.  Yes, it sounds beyond you, beyond your broken heart and wounded soul, beyond the memories that refuse to fade.  That’s because it is, and we’re going there—beyond all of it, into the arms of the Restorer of the breach, the Healer of the brokenhearted. 

Welcome to The Maker’s Marriage.

Love is Success, Success is Love

I appreciate Grant Cardone because so much of what he wrote in The 10X Rule applies to success in the most important thing of all: family. “Pretend,” he writes, “you’re being recorded as a model by which your children and grandchildren will learn how to succeed in life.”

If you’ve read this blog for very long, you know I define success a little differently than most people–something like, “Success is being free from the approval of others, from the tyranny of selfishness. Success is being a homemaker.” It can also be being a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker, as long as in that role we are also the one who doesn’t pass by on the other side when we see the opportunity to give, the opportunity to sacrifice.

(I must pause here to say you don’t impress God when all your giving is done outside your family, and all you have left for them is impatience and unkindness. And judgment.)

Back to sacrifice–WE ARE MADE FOR IT! What story is better than that of the Good Samaritan who “took pity” on the half dead man? I’ll tell you one that is as good, but first a word about the Good Samaritan. He was on his way to somewhere and it was not in his plan, on his calendar, or convenient for him to stop. He was likely a man of affairs and means, as evidenced by his leaving the man at the inn, promising to be back, and promising to pay any and all costs. The innkeeper trusted him and I think that was because people who take the time to help others at great inconvenience to themselves–people who sacrifice–are trusted.

Now for another good story: Once upon a time there were scores and scores of women who “took pity” on their husbands and children, and cared for them, without access to success gurus, social media, nannies, new SUVs or throw-away diapers. They had to lean on the Helper, the One Who (if we will let Him) sticks closer than a brother.

In making such sacrifices they raised children also willing to sacrifice. They were rich inside.

We are created in the image of the God of Sacrifice, and apart from a life of sacrifice, we cannot ever be whole.

This is not a call to return to the “good old days” of twelve diapers and no washing machine, or of no central heating and running water, or having nowhere to go if married to a brute. In America, because of the sacrifices of those who came before us, we live in such a lovely world as regarding physical conveniences and social supports, but not one so lovely when it comes to sacrifice.

It’s time to not only be willing to sacrifice and give, but to be on the lookout for opportunities for doing so. And if you have the immeasurable privilege of having people living in your own house for whom you can sacrfice, it’s time to give thanks, not complaints. Just remember this when the doubts and self-pity come in like a flood: your reward is guaranteed, even if not immediately seen.

If you don’t believe me, read the New Testament. If you don’t believe that, you’re doomed–to the misery of a life without sacrifice.

Zero for Forty Something?

John and I will be 30 years married October 12! I’m thinking I’m going to do something memorable in these days remaining from now until then. Like stop mistreating my body and forget about a thing or two, or 1,000. And another thing (I’ll tell you in a minute).

It’s like this: there are forty something days remaining until October 12 and that seems like a good amount of time to once and for all forget about sugar (and it’s variants). It’s a good amount of time to forget about losing weight and just eat great food such as the soooo good, almost-make-you-cry strawberries, awe-inspiring sun-cracked tomatoes, and best of all, lemon cucumbers–all from a local farm stand. Most and best of all, forty something days are a great time to forget about past grievances, aggravations, and petty stupidities.

What might happen if one wasn’t sick at heart and body because of sugar; if the SIN of unforgivness was repented of and turned from and absolutely refused? One might do something marvelous, like write a marvelous book about a marvelous subject.

I’m going to improve and expand The Maker’s Marriage between now and October 12 (yikes, did I just promise that?). I”m going to take the original edition off this site, and get to work on the new one today. The mind boggles at all the great ideas it has already come up with, and that before I even begin writing.

Be ready! It’s gonna be good.

Sarah Ban Breathnach Calls it “Homecaring”

In A Daybook of Comfort and Joy Sarah Ban Breathnach writes, regarding Victorian women, that they: “. . . were the moral, spiritual, and physical center of the home, responsible for creating a welcome retreat of beauty, comfort, and contentment that would protect, nurture, and sustain those they loved; elevated the pursuit of domestic bliss to an extraordinary art form; and . . . approached the domestic arts–cooking, decorating, gardening, handicrafts, and entertaining–not as burdens but as a form of personal expression and a means of persuasion.”

A means of persuasion . . . Could it be, might it be true, that the more care we give, the more we get, that the less we try to force others into our way of thinking, the more apt they are to see things our way? I say it’s time for a bit of “Peace be still. Be still and know. Know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, created. Created in the image of God, the God Who ordained that we all have home, and Who waits for our invitation to partner in that great endeavor called homemaking. “Home,” wrote Emily Dickinson, “is the definition of God.”

He has crowned us with a beautiful and glorious crown. We might call it a “homecaring” crown, to quote Ban Breathnach again, who further exhorts us to, “Begin believing that the time, energy, and emotion you invest daily in the soulcraft of homecaring–carving out a haven for yourself and those dear to you–is a sacred endeavor.”

P.S. Regarding the pic at the top–that’s my dad. My dad was a builder–of houses and of hearts. Whenever and wherever he was around, it felt like home.

Dull Books, Dull Boys and Girls

“You appear to have absconded with my keys, Mother,” my daughter said. “Oh, no! I’m so sorry.” And I was sorry about it, even as I was delighted in a child who says, “You appear to have absconded,” rather than, “Hey! You took my keys!”

It pays to homeschool, especially when you have a literary approach. That is, approach the teaching of spelling, speaking, writing, and thinking via literature. Put excellent books in every nook and cranny. Read to them and with them. Read books they recommend. Talk about it: What was your favorite part? Do you agree with the author’s worldview? Are there plot holes? If you re-wrote the story, what would you change? If this book were to be a movie, who would you cast as the villian?

DO NOT read below their level. One of the best parts of any book is a new word. Beatrix Potter’s use of “soporific” is a great example. Don’t go into Mr McGregor’s garden: your father had an accident there, he was put into a pie by Mrs McGregor. It is said that the effect of eating too muclettuce is ‘soporific‘.

Perhaps he shouldn’t have been absconding with other people’s property, eh?

Phyllis McGinley, in the treasure of a book, Sixpence in Her Shoe, wrote, “If I had time and courage enough, I’d write a children’s book stuck plum-pudding rich with great jawbreakers of words,” and, “I am certain that children, left to themselves, would prefer a rattling good story . . . to the handsomest volume in the world which brings no glory to their dreams or quickening to their pulses.” She continues, “They are a braver generation than we suppose. So they deserve brave books. They deserve the best that men and women of wit and talent can write for them.”

And they deserve parents who will read to and with them. Books with big stories, big wonders, big ideas, big words.

Week One of my Zero For Six adventure is over, and here are some conclusions and confessions.

ON NON-ESSENTIAL SPENDING

I tried more than once to buy makeup and skin care, and finally settled for ordering the ingredients to make skincare at home (from Vitacost.com) and a tube of lipstick and some foundation, both Mineral Fusion. This after I trashed all my old (some 14 years old!) cosmetics and was completely out of skincare. I was using Vaseline.

When I say I tried more than once, I mean I filled my cart with some very impressive products on the Net, and then just couldn’t spend all that money, so gave it up. The next morning I drove to a department store to see if there was one of those cool specials where you spend $35 and get a promo package worth $150 of stuff you mostly want and will use. Nothing doing, plus they were blasting cruddy (non-relaxing, non-uplifting, non-melodious) music and I’m just so over going into stores where the customer is obviously not that important.

So, one of the morals of this story is that frugality can either be deprivation, or it can be an open door to creativity, often resulting in a better quality and healthier outcome. And of course, there’s that lovely smug feeling that comes of spending less and getting more. How smart are we? Pretty smart.

ON NON-FATIGUING FOODS

I dropped the ball here a little, both at The Sugar Mouse tea house on Thursday in Laramie, Wyoming, and then again Saturday night, when I made chocolate no-bake cookies (they had peanut butter, so that makes them real food, right?). But then this morning I read Honey, God’s Gift for Health and Beauty, which caused me to sweeten my blueberry muffins with honey rather than sugar, and to give my leftover no-bakes to my son, who has no belly fat and a great love for no-bakes.

From there I researched benefits of drinking vinegar and honey and went to town for organic (with the mother) apple cider vinegar. I already have raw honey, so upon finishing this post I’ll make this amazing elixir and partake!

As to coffee, I actually went to a coffee shop and ordered herbal blackberry tea, iced. Delicious! I didn’t have any coffee at all, all week long, until a very tiny cup (1/4 cup of coffee, 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream) today, telling myself that I will allow myself one cup per week. So, we’ll see how that goes.

ON WATCHING

I scored A++++++ on this one. There are so many other marvelous and fun and creative things that get done when the TV/laptop/phone is off. I love it. Yes, there were a couple of times when I wanted to watch something, but it was only when I was thinking of eating something fatiguing . . . As I’ve said before, these habits, for good or for not-so-good, go together.

It was helpful that I didn’t take a martyr’s stance, that I checked my thoughts before speaking them. I might have thought a few times that it would be nice to sit down and take a load off, watching something totally fun, such as Decoy Bride, or that it wouldn’t hurt to watch whatever John was watching. After all, it was Friday night . . . But I didn’t speak it, didn’t talk about it. Instead I settled in with a stack of books, my journal, pens, and highlighters, and read old favorites such as The Shape of a Year by Jean Hersey, and Candy Paull’s Abundance. I prayed as I read from the Psalms, and also had a couple of lovely phone conversations. Best of all, I did some some very in-depth listening to my beloveds as they shared their hearts. This simply doesn’t happen when you’re glued to the tube.

Determined not to be even a little bit tempted to watch an episode of Poirot tonight, I made a library visit and came home with Francine Rivers, Victoria Holt and of course, Agatha Christie. I was completely surprised by the ending of By the Pricking of My Thumbs, and I keep marveling at the mind of Agatha Christie, and wondering when my non-watching time will become writing time. Fiction, I mean–the writing that stretches me, calls me, eludes me, and won’t leave me alone. As my daugher Rebekah said when she was little and things didn’t go smoothly, “Oh, sigh.”

ON SPEAKING GOOD WORDS

I noticed and noted that I don’t need to worry about the negative words of others–I have plenty of my own. I read Lindsey Roberts’ free booklet, The Company You Keep and among so much rich and uplifting information, I focused on the idea of being good company to me. I really enjoy myself when nothing but faith, thanksgiving, and great expecations come out of my mouth.

And of course, what you fill your heart and mind is what comes out of your mouth, and then what becomes your life. So, maybe out of all four of my Zero For Six quests, this one of is most important of all.

Evacuated Yet Again, But My House Will Stand!

It was a Thursday morning, five or six weeks ago, bright and beautiful, during my Quiet Time.  I sensed the Holy Spirit saying, “Take care of business at home.”  What did that mean?  I prayed about it, for my home and beloveds therein.  I walked through the house, praying, listening, and felt led to go outside.

Outside I walked around the house, praying God’s protection over it.  I then felt led to turn and extend my arms in all directions, praying for all that I could see.

That evening my daughter said, looking outside, “Look at the light, it’s so golden, so beautiful.”  John and I looked, and then at each other.  “That’s not normal.”  From the west it was, the light of a sun setting through the smoke of a forest fire.

I called the daughter who lives safely down the mountain and told her what I’d been led to pray, and that there was a fire, the “Cameron Peak” fire.  “That’s wild, Mom,” she said. “I had a dream last night that the entire mountain was on fire.”

A week or so later (during Labor Day weekend) we were evacuated.  After a few days in the friendliest hotel we’ve ever stayed in, the Cheyenne, Wyoming Days Inn, we were allowed back home.  A lovely rain and snow storm seemed to have defeated the monster.

But alas, here we are again, in Day 10 of Evac #2.  The winds came along with the heat, dead timber, rough and inaccessible terrain and the fire re-ignited, growing to today’s acreage of over 124,000 acres.

Many people are in shelters, their possessions piled about them, wearing masks, coughing from smoke.  Others, like a lovely couple I ran into yesterday are struggling because they’re staying in a condo without a TV.  We are pitied because there are four of us in one hotel room.

Perspective.  I choose a 5-Star perspective, to borrow from Fiona Ferris in her lovely book, Thirty More Chic Days.  Fiona noted that if you read the 1-star reviews of a book, even one you’ve read and loved, it will taint your opinion of the book.  She’s decided to only read the 5-star reviews, as those will enhance your experience and enjoyment of the book.

I would add that the 5-star reviews are written by people who are thankful.  If they were masked and in a shelter, they’d be ever so grateful for the heat and running water.  If they had a condo, TV or otherwise, they’d be glad, glad, glad they could afford privacy.  If like us, they were in a hotel, they’d be grateful for the funds (our employer is paying, hooray!) to cozy up and get acquainted with the charming town of Cheyenne.

It takes a bit of wisdom and smarts to be thankful.  It takes nothing but bowing to the flesh, which anyone can do, to gripe.

So, even though I really want to go home, I’m making the most of, praying for ideas of how to spend, each day.  And I’m knowing we’ll be home when we go home.  Meanwhile, home is where my beloveds are, and our good God is always there.

If it doesn’t feel like it (such as a few days ago when the winds came up to 60 mph and the fire went straight toward our house) it’s because I’m not doing a 5-star lookout.  A 5-star lookout means my mind’s working right and is certain that I was led to pray protection for my home, and that my home is protected.

We have also been praying for protection for our firefighters and thus far (and we’re believing this will continue) there have been no injuries reported.  Numerous structures have been destroyed, but again, no injuries, no lives lost.

Thank you, Jesus, for teaching me to be thankful.  And please bless this lovely coffee shop we’ve found in Cheyenne, The Rail Yard, which had we not been evacuated, I might never have discovered.

I think I’ll do a post about my Cheyenne discoveries.