“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 . . .”

Coming Right Up!

2:00 Today.  Then changing show time to 8:00 am Wednesday mornings.

I’M GOING TO HELP YOU ARMOR UP!

https://tunein.com/radio/KHNC-American-Freedom-Network-1360-s16926/

Beginning next Wednesday, Feb. 6, The Homefront Show will air at 8:00 am Mountain.

AND . . . Dr. Carol will be with us!

So here’s what’s coming up, and make notes:

Wednesday, February 6 at 8:00 am Dr. Carol will join us on The Homefront Show, and

Wednesday, February 13 at 8:00 am Hannah Parker will join us with Millennial and Bookwyrm thoughts.

HOW DO YOU JOIN IN?

Tune in to 1360 am via radio, or join us at:

https://tunein.com/radio/KHNC-American-Freedom-Network-1360-s16926/

Jesus the Homemaker

The Word of God tells us to “guard our hearts” and that sounds like a defensive posture, which sounds, well, defensive.  But it’s actually a preparation and strength posture.

I think of it in physical terms as the Keep of the Castle.  Guarding our hearts means keeping our hearts.  “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

The Keep is where the goods are, the sustenance, the abundance.  For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).  Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.

What is spoken will be.  Proverbs 18:21 tells us that there is the power of life and death in the tongue.  Focus on the word “power” there, and let’s ask ourselves this question:  Who has the power here – are we going to speak for Satan, words that will destroy our own lives, or are we going to speak for the Lover of our souls, the author and finisher of our faith?

James 3:2 says, “If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body.”  The only thing more amazing to me than how little Christians know about the tongue’s power of life and death, is how often I speak as though I am a total tongue-power ignoramus.

I know and believe the Word’s admonitions regarding the tongue.  I have read and re-read Joyce Meyer’s Me and My Big Mouth. I know that I guard my heart, indeed my entire life, when my tongue is harnessed to the Holy Spirit via prayer and diligent attention to the Word.  I know and believe and have experienced the devastation wrought when I go ahead and wound my very own soul by speaking death words.

Death words are words of darkness and doom, of doubt and dismay.  Words with the power to open my heart right up to fear.  Then comes the physical manifestation – an actual poisoning of my entire system, also known as stress.

We guard our hearts with our tongues, and we guard our tongues when we guard our hearts.  A lovely life circle.  Or, we can go our own way . . . and say whatever the HELL (that’s where it’s from) we FEEL like saying.

What would Jesus have us say?  “Poor poor pitiful me?”  “Woe is me, I’m so misunderstood and unloved?”   “Why does this always happen to me?”

The answer is “none of the above.”  He would have us say, “God is my refuge, God is my strength, a very present help in trouble.”  He Himself would say, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” and “Where’s someone I can love and bless and heal and help?  Come unto me!” (John 7:37).

“Come unto me all ye who are weak and heavy laden.”  We weaken ourselves when we SPEAK the weakness.  Weakness is only a temporary fact, but it is not the truth of the matter.  The truth of the matter is what the Word of God says about it.  He is my shelter (Psalm 61:3), my strong tower, my very present help in trouble.  Sing the song I Will Arise (listen to Phil Driscoll do it first), “I will arise and go to Jesus.  He will embrace me in His arms.  In the arms of my dear Savior, oh there are 10,000 charms.”

What again, would Jesus say?  He would speak from a guarded heart, words of life.  His heart was guarded by his focus on and love for others.  He freed Himself to the beautiful life that is a life of caring for others.

Like, um, well, a Homemaker.

What’s in a Package?

Love.  I have packed a box as full as I could get it, and then added just a few more things.  And as I wrestled it closed with the miracle that is packing tape, I thought, “The postage is going to cost more than the contents are worth.  If the postage is over $50 I’ll just unpack it and send the cash.”

But no.  That didn’t seem right.  Because you can’t put a price on Love.

This package is for my daughter Rebekah, at Bible College in Fort Worth, Texas.  She has friends coming for a tea party and a movie, but no tea things, no bedding if they want to spend the night on her air mattress, and no movies to watch, which is what they’ve suggested they want to do.

She has one plate, and nothing on her walls.  “Mama, I want you to come and visit and help me with my little house,” she said over Christmas break.  Code:  “Mama, I want you to come and visit.”  (She calls me Mum via e-mail, Mom in person, and Mama when she’s lonely.)

Well, OK.  I will.  But for now I’m sending Love in the form of a package.  And now that it’s all packed and addressed, I feel that ridiculous sense of joy and accomplishment that sending Love in the mail always brings.

I’m thinking over what I’ve sent:  two sets of sheets, a lovely kitchen painting of a giant red pepper, and then a sacrificial gift –  the collage Rebekah made as a child that shows me her heart every time I look at it.  It brings me joy, but it is now hers.

Then there is a tea set, a Pioneer Woman plate (also VERY sacrificial giving) to match the one she has, two other personality plates, a sack of hanging paraphernalia (stick pins, hooks, nails) along with safety pins, tape, scissors, and a Leatherman-type tool.

What else?  There is some gourmet summer sausage, canned meats, two beautifully wrapped gifts from a friend (I know what’s in them, but I can’t say), and a book she’s going to love.

And then a favorite movie per her request:  Amazing Grace.  Well, why not add two or three others?  I chose National Treasure, Letters to Juliet, and Enchanted.

There are a few more items for decorating, and a love note to go with the Love.

So, as I have now convinced myself that I will send this package regardless of the cost of postage, I will also urge you to put a little something in the mail to someone you know.  Someone who might enjoy a bit of Love.

It costs fifty cents to say, “Hi.  I love you.  Bye.  P.S.  Please write back soon.”

So Many Opportunities for Joy, Why Let Anything Steal Them?

We went to a Christmas ballet we’ve dubbed “Ballet Bizarre”.  We looked at the checking account and decided repurposing is indeed a wonderful thing.  It will be our first Christmas with our son overseas in the Middle East.  The world is a powder keg, and our child is in the smack dab middle of it.

And so on.  There are reasons to lament during this Season.  There are reasons (but then aren’t reasons simply excuses?) to Bah Humbug it all.  But I am not one to say “Tis the season to be jolly!, or as I was singing (shouting) all morning, “Tis the season to be Jarry, fah, rah, rah, rah, rah!”, and leave it at that, fun as it may be.

I am here to dig and delve deeply into the Reason for the Season.  I am here to say the money (or lack thereof) in the checking account and the bizarrre-ness of “Art” and the locale of loved ones are simply opportunities to remember Jesus.  This is the season for the ultimate of all beauties – the Love of Christ.

And so the bizarre ballet is an opportunity to be thankful that I have yet another focus for prayer.  The repurposing is a reminder of all the treasures I own that will now grace the lives of others.  The son overseas reminds me that technology can be a wonderful thing – his Christmas package will arrive today or tomorrow most likely, and he will open it in our presence via Internet.

The powder keg world?  Still and as always, Jesus is our refuge and our strength, our high tower and deliverer. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, Amen!

Sharing Him at Christmas can be done with or without cash.  We are opening our home on Christmas Day for the first time.  We will be sharing a Christmas brunch with people the Holy Spirit has put on our hearts to invite, and there will be much merry-making, joy and celebration.  We’re including the most important of guests via the special invitation of prayer, and as always, He will be right on time.

I have decided and decreed that I will not even think, for one moment, thoughts of lack this Christmas, much less speak words of lack.  What indeed, do I lack?  I serve a Risen Savior.

As for those pesky arguments about December 25 not actually being His birthday so what?  I was born December 28 and I would have no problem with people celebrating my birthday on July 28 or whatever day suited them.  What I would have a problem with would be people being upset because they didn’t have a gift for me, or feeling pressured because the day was a reminder of what they lacked in their lives, rather than a reminder that I loved them.

So, that’s it – the key to joy in this Season, no matter what your circumstances:  We must choose to worship and serve and receive His great gift to us all.

Mr. Bennett, in Pride and Prejudice says, “No lace, Mrs. Bennett!”  I say to myself, “No Lack, Mrs. Bev!  You have Jesus and it’s time to celebrate.  Each and every moment of each and every day.”  Jesus the Savior is Born.

You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart.

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Send the poem below as an invite/reminder to those coming to your house for Thanksgiving.

 

Or, try an e-mail such as this one I’ve sent out to my guests:

 

Hi,
I am praying we are all overjoyed at the goodness of God this Thanksgiving.  To that end, if you have something to share – a testimony, poetry, a song of thanksgiving perhaps!!!, and if ____________ would sing too that would be SO marvelous.
No pressure, and please pass on to your beloveds if they have something to add/share.  Anything at all, maybe something from American History???  A favorite psalm or other verse?
Love and Hugs and Can Hardly Wait!
Bev
And now for the food:  “We’re not having ham this year?” Seth asked in wonderment.  “No, we’ll have ham at Christmas maybe,” I answered.  The truth was that I have other meats in the freezer I want to use.  I think it’s OK to deviate a little from tradition, just as long as you keep the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy.
Gravy can be tricky, but it’s nothing compared to who to invite.  The key is that, after prayerful consideration and family discussion, YOU INVITE.
There are countless people who would love to come to your house, but you need God’s
guidance to get the right group together.  I like to have it all nice and tightly sewn up, so I can plan.  Let’s see.  If we take the folding chairs off the balcony, if we mix the old steak knives with the new, and alternate the plates – green, gold, white, green, gold, white . . . Should we move the loveseat into the living room for more seating???  
How many people?  One couple has to go to Minnesota to see ailing folks, and that other couple who’s on the outs with their own families could take their place . . .
Or, I could invite that little single mother down the road . . .
In all this there are, thanks be to God, some people coming who will back us up and stand with us in prayer if there are some “messy” folks there, some folks who really need extra, extra, extra love, love, love.
Thanks be to God for Thanksgiving.  Amen.
 

Thanksgiving Day

Over the river, and through the wood,
  To grandfather’s house we go;
       The horse knows the way 
       To carry the sleigh
  Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood—
  Oh, how the wind does blow!
       It stings the toes 
       And bites the nose
  As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
  To have a first-rate play.
       Hear the bells ring 
       “Ting-a-ling-ding”,
  Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood
  Trot fast, my dapple-gray!
       Spring over the ground, 
       Like a hunting-hound!
  For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood,
  And straight through the barn-yard gate.
       We seem to go 
       Extremely slow,—
  It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the wood—
  Now grandmother’s cap I spy!
       Hurrah for the fun! 
       Is the pudding done?
  Hurrah for the pumpkin-pie!

 

Don’t Hide Behind What’s “In”

One size does not fit all.  If you have a brand new home in a look-alike neighborhood, then go ahead with what’s “in”.  But if you have an old and beleaguered house, with crooked walls and battered  baseboard heater covers, with weird angles and misplaced windows, you need to form a cohesive whole.  One that goes.

Goes?  Yes, goes.  One that goes with the house, the setting, and one that suits you, even if no one else gets it at all, even if it couldn’t possibly be less “in”.

A brief history of decorating:

Our house had darkly stained (almost black) wood trim, unpainted.  The walls were a dark diarrhea color, and the crowning touch was the mauve Formica countertops to match the pink-ish stain on the cabinets.  My budget was for paint.  Not new trim or countertops or cabinets.  Paint.

After much searching I finally hit on a golden apricot for the walls and a trim color called “Blackberry” which was deep purple most of the time (I took the doors off the upper cabinets and display dishes rather than pink-ness).

But there was that time of the day when the purple trim was just garish as heck against the white areas of the kitchen, and not all that complementary with those  lovely mauve countertops.  The countertops were the sticking point – the mauve against the apricot, which also at some times of the day was just plain orangey papaya, began to be a thorn in my side.

I griped in my head every time I looked at it.  If I could just get new countertops.  I spent a couple of years on this “if” but to no avail.  Fine.  One fine day I would have new countertops.  In the meantime I would go to what always works for me.  Paint.

Don’t want to repaint the whole thing.  How about just the kitchen including the wall that is also the window wall of the dining room?  What color then?  Finally I found it.  A lovely and very pale green/yellow (depending on the light, but more green than yellow).

The mauve countertops against the green look fantastic.  The ugly old now appears lovely vintage.  I am so very pleased with this outcome of my efforts.  However, there was one thing.  The corner.

With a bit of uncertainty I had stopped in the dining room corner, where each color refused to cooperate with or give way to the other.

And so.  Something to tie it all together.  Perhaps a border that went all the way around the dining room.  I found the border.  A year later I thought (border still in drawer) of stripes on the lower part of the wall, beneath the border.  Another year later I did it, and you see the results above.

I leave it to your imagination to  envision how awful this room looked before I painted, but let me assure you that when that trim was stained walnut, and later when those walls were painted in shades of body excrement, those things were “in”.

Again, what’s “in” should be what works for you.  My house is high in the Rockies and it’s often chilly.  I want warm colors.  My house is also a 70’s monstrosity of vaulted ceilings and weird angles, and the argument could certainly be made that “granny” decor doesn’t fit.  But the final word on it all is “mine”.  This is house is mine, and so what’s “in” is irrelevant.

No design police are coming, no magazine photographer either.  What’s “in” about this house are the people who LIVE “in” this house (continual compliments from my beloveds on this new creative endeavor).

I encourage you.  Go browsing and digging around thrift shops, estate sales, antique stores, kitchen stores and consignment shops, and your own “stuff” for something that absolutely delights you.  Let your imagination go.

Just remember this:  “In” is based on someone else’s imagination, or lack thereof.  Again, this house is your house!

Happy Real Decorating!

P.S.  Somewhere in all this – about a year ago, I think, I painted the trim white, a lovely brilliant white with the very teeniest hint of rose (in certain light).