Proverbs 31 Truth or Consequences?

beautiful home

We’re all in this together, and no one of us is the others’ slave.  We will serve ourselves as we serve others and God via caring for our home.  Amen!

I used the C.O.D. (Child of the Day) plan as a truth vehicle in raising our kids, and even today, as I am creating yet another variation of it, I marvel at its inherent genius.

little-girl-praying.jpg

Born of necessity when each of the kids chimed in during breakfast prayers, the C.O.D. has become my good buddy through the years.  As we (John and I) repeatedly picked up and put our forks back down to the tune of yet another prayer request, I decided we would simply take turns praying.

“Thank you, Father for this beautiful day and for each other and for this delicious food.  Please bless it to our bodies and protect us from anything harmful in it.  In Jesus Name we pray.  Amen.”

That was the beginning.  Then came, “And please help me find my hungry lizard,” which sparked another creature-in-distress thought in another little mind.  “And pweez help Grandpa’s cow that’s sick.”  Now Grandpa thoughts.  “And please, Jesus, help Grandpa remember to bring gum next time.”  Fork up, fork down.

“And Lord, please . . . .”

“OK, that’s enough.  Let’s eat.”

I quickly wrote up a COD list:  The Child of the Day gets to ride in the front, stay up 15 minutes late in bed with Mom and Dad, pick the readaloud story at bedtime, and have other privileges as determined by Mom and Dad issue by issue, day by day.

pen and paper

Benjamin would be the C.O.D on Monday, Hannah Tuesday, Rebekah Wednesday, and Seth Thursday.  Rarely has an idea garnered such immediate support and enthusiasm.  Not only were they all about the day for themselves, but they staunchly supported the rights of their siblings.  “It’s your day.  You get to choose.”

And what a blessing for me.  “Mom, can you sew my doll’s arm back on?” went from being another unneeded interruption, to something I enjoyed doing because I said, “Tomorrow is your day.  Bring her to me tomorrow and we’ll have a sewing lesson.”  Meanwhile I could round up the sewing box, determine if I had acceptably colored thread, and simply prepare myself to do that thing that wasn’t on my “want-to-do” list.

The C.O.D. concept would have been a success if it had never evolved, and if it had simply solved who was praying at mealtimes.  I was thinking recently when we had guests over and got ready to pray, how nice it was to hear the kids ask, “Whose day is it?”  The guests were blessed and it blesses me that my kids are absolutely unfazed about leading prayer in front of anyone and everyone.

“Whose day is it?”  The C.O.D. program would have been a success simply for the memory of Seth climbing into his high chair with a big grin as he asked, “Whose days is its to pway?”

Seth’s questions lately are about yet another change in the program, which is now less a program of daily privileges and more of a weekly responsibility list.  Thursday is still Seth’s day to pray, or to say, “Hey, Mom.  There’s one piece of pie left and it’s my day.  Can I have it?”  That’s an easy “yes”.  But other questions of late, such as, “Hey, Mom, I think with Hannah gone and Benjamin working for Dad and Rebekah doing Mary Kay all the time, maybe we could take another look here.”

He didn’t actually say those words, and being Seth, he never actually complained that more and more of the load was coming his way, with little appreciation or remuneration to show for it.  (Aside:  Beware of piling more on that child who doesn’t complain and who will do a good job, just because that’s the easy road.  Not good.  Not fair.  And the biggest losers are the kids who are being taught irresponsibility and laziness).

Because the Proverbs 31 Woman “watches over the ways of her household” I know changes need to be made.  I’ve made a few preliminary steps:  asking other kids to do extra, doing extra myself, getting John’s input.  But this morning as I was reading Laurie Beth Jones’ Jesus, Enrepreneur , I realized that this is a matter of, for starters, two things:  1) making a list; and 2) stewardship.

Laurie Jones says, regarding a confused young man, “Doesn’t he realize that how we handle small matters will determine how and if we handle great ones?”  Stewardship.

I realize as I’m pondering how well things C.O.D. have worked in times past, that it was at least in part because everything was clearly understood, discussed, explained, illustrated, and written out.  Time for a new and improved chore list.

Through the years we’ve gone from one day a week on dish duty, to a week on dish duty, to rotating per month, and then back to weekly stints.  The division of labor went as follows for several fairly harmonious years:  Dishes, Floors, Laundry, Miscellaneous.  Four kids, four categories, continually rotating, per a list on the fridge.

John has always been on board, especially if he sees something that will interfere with my peace, i.e. dirty dishes in the sink right before I’m about to start cooking.  “Who’s on dishes?” he’ll call on a Monday, when everything switches.  If there’s any confusion, we simply look at the list.  “Let’s see.  Benjamin was on dishes last week, so it’s Hannah.”

But then Benjamin went away to college and we consolidated things.  Then Hannah went away to Fort Collins and we came to two categories:  1) /Laundry and Floors; and 2) Dishes and Miscellaneous.

“Dishes” (or Kitchen) has always meant you do the dishes as soon as the meal is over, with each diner bringing their dishes to the sink.  Also included is occasional fridge cleaning, and a weekly checklist (which has somehow been misplaced) including clearing and wiping down all counters, the fridge, cabinet doors, baseboards and walls, and putting every single thing in its place, on the last day of the week (to be modified per interfering events).

“Miscellaneous” includes taking out the trash, building fires and bringing in firewood, running errands, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, straightening, and whatever else needs doing.

“Floors” means sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, and once per week cleaning all baseboards.

It’s all pretty straightforward, and except for laundry, everyone seems to clearly understand.  Well, there is that one little thing which in the minds of all parties except myself, seems quite difficult.  And that one thing is this so very often repeated instruction:  Don’t take the trash out before you put a new trash sack in the can.  This is particularly important when I am cooking and you’re off to get on your coat and boots and traipse to the dumpster and leave me trashcan-less for a good ten minutes.  It’s the little things, it surely is.  But I don’t and won’t give up on this one.  Don’t leave me trashcan-less!

Back to laundry.  It’s my favorite job.  I won’t call it a chore because I simply love throwing nasty whites into a lovely machine, filling it with wonder ingredients, pushing buttons, and then walking away while its wonders are performed.  Now it’s time to throw bright and lovely-smelling whites into the dryer with a lavender sachet, and again, to walk away!

And then for the putting away.  I only do my and John’s laundry, and when I hear the beep I make every effort, especially now that it’s chilly weather, to get in there and snuggle my face into the towels and get them folded and put away while they’re still warm.  I would happily do all the laundry, time permitting, but time does not permit, and it’s important that everyone contributes.  People need to know they’re needed (those helping) and people need to know they’re appreciated (those being helped).

Kids, such as Seth, who are getting plenty of chances to help, need to know they’re appreciated, both by parents who see and take action, and by siblings who step up to the plate.

This is all truth.  If I don’t teach the truth- it’s important to know how to do basic life tasks; it’s important to do your part and then some; it’s important to live in a nice, clean, orderly home – then I’m teaching lies, and I’m leaving them to a life of unpleasant consequences.

————————————————————————

I have to get off here and make a new C.O.D. list.  Benjamin (Lt. Parker) is here for a very short while, as he changes from the Montana National Guard to the Kansas Guard and then deployment in March.  So, for that time, I must make changes.

Maybe I’ll combine Dishes with more cooking (I don’t need any cooking lessons and they do!); put Miscellaneous with Floors, and let Laundry stand alone.  We’ll have a family meeting tonight to discuss all these things.  I’ll make the most coveted and begged-for of cookies:  chocolate peanut butter no-bakes (make with heavy whipping cream and half-n-half and salt as well as vanilla and almond flavorings).  I’ll encourage input after I set out some reminder truths:  We’re all in this together, and no one of us is the others’ slave.  We will serve ourselves as we serve others and God via caring for our home.  Amen!

 

What was the highlight?

mountains

This past weekend my daughters Hannah and Rebekah joined me and nine other ladies from our church at a women’s conference entitled “Women Arise!” held at Charis Bible College (Andrew Wommack Ministries) in Woodland Park, Colorado.

We arrived home Sunday just before my husband, John, arrived from the airport with my mother-in-law.  We all unpacked, chatted and chattered, and it wasn’t until this morning at breakfast that John got a word in edgewise, saying, “What was the highlight?”

Hard question, but I’d given it some thought.  The spiritual highlight was perhaps the final teaching from Audrey Mack, which lit a fire under me that seems to be getting hotter by the minute.

flame

The setting, the weather, the thousand small favors of God on each minute – these were all highlights.  Maybe, as I said to Hannah last night, “Maybe the most important thing was the bonding between the hearts of the women of our church, and no doubt between all the women there.  The revelation of sisterhood in Christ, the shared hilarity and heartache, the love..

John asked me a few more questions this morning, then turned to Rebekah.  “What was the highlight to you, Rebekah?”  Rebekah said she “got new dreams and remembered forgotten ones.”  She didn’t mention that we got to the conference early and feasted on Brat Kolaches and amazing pastries at Woodland Park’s Donut Mill, but perhaps we’d already said enough about that, and about the other culinary delights experienced by all.  If Rebekah was reticent, Hannah could regale her dad on that account at a later date.

Hannah was already gone to work when John asked his question, but she would have had so much to say, so much to praise.

I could say the praise was the highlight, the worship of our good Father.  I could say bringing home a heart full of praise and thanksgiving and joy was the highlight.

But how do you describe the highlights of God?  It’s all highlight.

Certainty.  I came home with certainty.  With peace and power and a new and greater level of dominion, a new revelation of authority in Christ.  More humility, more surrender, greater power.

More.  Always more.  Because His depths are unfathomable, endless, and marvelous.  I marvel at the question, and so enjoy exploring the answer.

How to choose one highlight?  Would it help to eliminate those things that weren’t my favorite parts?  There was a workshop time slated Saturday afternoon that I skipped out on, in favor of walking around the sparkling lake, crossing the high wooden bridge, and making tracks to sit under a pine in the sun, where I whispered to God and He heard me.  That was definitely a highlight.  So, even the parts that weren’t looking like the best parts, became highlights.

“It’s all highlight in Jesus,” I could say to John.  And I remember what I told Rebekah, and then repeated to John last night.  “You know what’s really great,” I said to Rebekah as we ate lunch on the way home yesterday.  “What’s really great is to go somewhere so astoundingly beautiful and have such a wonderfully blessed time, and yet the best part of it all is going home.

english cottage

And so, dearest husband, the highlight of the entire beyond-all-I-asked-or-imagined weekend, was coming home to you.

2:00 Friday! Decluttering My Way to Peace, Patience and Power Today on The Homefront Show

In danger of becoming Clutterblind, I have been to see Jesus, the eye doctor of my soul, and He said I am in need of patience.  If that weren’t enough, He said when I declutter my mind by spending more time with Him, my surroundings will also begin to take shape, and I’ll be cured of “Acquisition Angst” as well as “Hoarder’s Hell.”

He then prescribed SEVERAL scriptures to be taken at least 3X daily, and said to call Him in the morning, and indeed every morning, and also without ceasing throughout the day.  It seemed a bit over the top.

He smiled when I assured Him my symptoms, at least compared with other people I know, are miniscule, if at all existent.

Sigh.

Today on The Homefront Show (go to http://www.1360am.co) I’ll share the ways we clutter our minds, our surroundings, and our relationships, especially the most important relationship of all (and what to do about it!)..

Wise women from the 1940’s will speak to us about messy husbands and “Getting the Most Out of Life” and I’ll talk about how a wise woman today, in my church, has blessed me and helped me declutter my thoughts about the men in our church.

From The Founder’s Bible I”ll share a great home education idea, and I’ll showcase Melissa Michaels’ new and excellent book, Love the Home You Have., as well as Pastor James McDonald’s marvelous book, God Wrote a Book. 

In discussing patience and it’s power-twin, Faith, I’ll tell you where I need them most (hint:  it’s with other Christians).

And as always, much more.  So, get ready to take notes, call a friend who needs  a blessing, and join me today on The Homefront Show!!!!!

At 2:00 p.m Mountain Time simply go to http://www.1360am.co and scroll over the “Live Radio” button.

Thanks!

 

Blessed in Denver???

I am thinking of living life toward what makes me grateful, thankful, overwhelmed and amazed at the glory and goodness of God.  Thinking of THOSE things, talking about THOSE things, building THOSE things.

I have been in Denver for what seems like a very long time – getting lost, getting honked at, finding parking, finding ATMs for yet more tip cash, for yet another nervous look at my account balance.  My daughter was called to jury duty and I thought (duh) she wouldn’t get picked but just in case I took a  change of clothes (one change) and came along with the idea of writing the bestseller of the decade in a coffee shop while she did jury things.  That was last Monday.  Ten days later . . .

I have come to love these people, the plaintiff and company as well as the defendants and company, and indeed, their entire little mountain town.  If you pray enough for people, you come to love them, you come to see them through the eyes of Jesus.

So, here I sit at Corner Bakery on Stout Street because the staff here give me free stuff and smiles and don’t seem to mind me sitting here praying and reading my Bible all day (not trying to say I’m a spiritual giant, just wanting to let you know you can do this), hoping the jury reaches a verdict today, and preferably before rush hour.

Last Monday Denver rush hour seemed a big deal to me.  Now, it’s more important that God is the true Your Honor here.

I sat in court for what was to be my only time, that first morning.  That was enough for me to say to my daughter, “Call me when you’re finished,” and, “Lord, deliver me from endlessly repetitive attorneys and crotchety judges” (I stood up too soon – when the jury was dismissed – along with a few other ignoramuses, and did we ever get a verbal spanking!).  Note:  I now think this judge rocks in every way.

My daughter said she would feel better knowing I was there in all that darkness, so after a brief absence I rejoined the fray as a praying and often appalled spectator, and it all began to matter.  And I thought of how much grief might have been saved by baking cookies (that’s what I did when we were new and unloved in a small town), and by saying, “I’m sorry.”  In short, by obeying the Truth, the Word, the Lover of us all.

The Bible tells us to settle out of court.  Look it up.  I think the judge is marvelous and the lawyers brilliant (sometimes) and the witnesses incredible (in both good and bad ways), but I think the legal system is best left, if at all possible, to those who have no better alternative, i.e., the alternative of faith working by love.

What?  You heard me right.  I was daring to agree with my Maker, being weird.  The weirdness of faith.  Dave Ramsey talks about becoming weird in his book Priceless, and I had no sooner finished reading that than I turned on Ministers Jesse Duplantis, Mark Hankins and Keith Moore (not all at once) and I got the message again – be different, be weird, expect people not to like it, not to get it, to be threatened by it.

But not all people, and not the ones you might think.  The people of Denver have amazed me, astounded me really, with their curious and helpful friendliness.  Beginning with the people in the courthouse (all of them) to the hotel and restaurant staff, to people on the street, I have sensed and experienced a most unexpected friendliness, and even a gladness of heart in many cases.  (The exception were some British businessmen making fun of President Trump and stupid Americans, which was a lovely time to flex my forgiveness muscles and press my lips firmly together – casting pearls before swine, you know).

This isn’t my first time to town, and this enjoyment hasn’t been my experience of Denver in the past.  Has Denver changed, or have I?  Or both?  Whatever the case, I am thankful.  Does that mean I want to live in Denver?  No, but it does mean that if God said so, I wouldn’t argue or complain.  I would give thanks, because He is wherever I am.

I am thankful for changes in me, changes for the better that are the inevitable consequence of letting Him be Lord.  When he says “Love” he means always and everywhere.  He doesn’t mean lament about having to be in Denver and pay for parking on the street as well as $40 per night valet parking (which may or may not be reimbursed). He doesn’t mean whine about possibly missing being home tomorrow, October 12, which is not only my daughter’s (different daughter) birthday, but also my and John’s anniversary.  He means enter into, abide in, be enormously thankful in, His love. He means stop griping about having to drive down here on slick roads, and stop worrying about driving home in the snow.  It means grooving in his grace flow.  Wow, that sounded really groovy, didn’t it?

There’s a lot of talk about grace lately, and I am NOT thankful that the subject is actually fodder for division among Christians. But I’ll let the Holy Spirit sort (learned that word from the Brits) that one.  I just want to submit that if you or I are in strife, we are thereby not in grace, and we are without power and victory in this world.

But thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph!  In spite of sorry attitudes about my little world getting disrupted by folks who can’t get their acts together and think they can fix everything with a lawsuit, in spite of my being rather given to my own ways and means, in spite of dead zones in my brain, and grey spots on my heart . . . still, He patiently and endlessly works in me and through me.

So, as to living my life toward what causes me joy, what causes me to be overwhelmed with thanksgiving, it’s so simple:  Live life toward The Way, The Truth, The Life.  Jesus.

Wow.  What a deal!

P.S.  I am also ever so grateful for everyone who reads my posts.  Thank you.

P.P.S.  If the case is over by Friday (please God!) I will talk about it and much, much more on my radio show at 2:00 MTN.  Simply go to http://www.1360am.co Friday, October 13 at 2:00.