YouTube, etc. Coming Right Up!

We’re home from a lovely trip to see grandkids (yes, and their parents) and watch the sunrise at Port A (aka Port Aransas, TX) and much more fun–John loved going to look for aliens in Roswell, NM and I could have stayed in Gruene, TX or eaten at Emma’s and Ollie’s (or is it Ollie’s and Emma’s) in Fredericksburg every day.

I’m finally completely unpacked and making notes for my new adventures on YouTube and possibly other avenues, with the starting date just a little later than I first thought–on Monday, July 18 at 11:00 a.m. Mountain Time I’ll begin. I’m not sure of all the details, because I don’t know yet how best to proceed–do I try Facebook Live (I’m not very happy with their scooting my stuff out of their way in the past)?; what other avenues are good fits, and how do I know which ways to go?

As usual, there are plenty of reasons to postpone, but Monday, July 18 it is! More details to come!

Henri Nouwen on “hope far beyond” and changing my heart

Compassion born in solitude makes us very much aware of our own historicity. We are not called to respond to generalities but to the concrete facts with which we are confronted day after day. A compassionate man can no longer look at these manifestations of evil and death as disturbing interruptions of his life plan but rather has to confront them as an opportunity for the conversion of himself and his fellow human beings. Every time in history that men and women have been able to respond to the events of their world as an occasion to change their hearts, an inexhaustible source of generosity and new life has been opened, offering hope far beyond the limits of human prediction. – Henri Nouwen

Proverbs 14 – The Wise Woman Builds . . .

If you read the Proverb of the Day you’ll see today’s first verse (Proverbs 14:1) tells us that the wise woman builds her house. Digging into this we find “house” referring not only to a physical dwelling place, but also meaning “family.” The rest of the verse tells us that a foolish woman pulls her house down with her own hands, but let us now talk about how to build, how to be wise.

It always begins with humble and yet ferociously faithful prayer. Would you see your house as a strong and sure shelter for the hearts of all those you’ve been given to love? Do you want to build, nurture, partner with God Himself as a grace architect? Pray first. First pray. Pray, intercede, fight the good fight of faith for those you’ve been given to love. To Love.

This is serious business, this Love. This is God. We hear and say, “God is Love” and we go on and act like He’s a tyrant, not to be trusted. Well, there is one way out of that destructive thinking, and it begins with a determination to build, to obliterate the lies of the enemy, to be as Paul, “not unaware of his schemes.” In short, (this is too simple) read the Word of God.

You can begin with the Proverb of the Day–today’s the 14th, so read Proverbs 14, then get lifted with Psalms, taking your sweet time with sweet Jesus. Read some of His words in the Gospel of John, maybe try some GE Power from Galatians and Ephesians (I can’t ever read too much of Ephesians). And back to Proverbs for some scriptures on the power of the tongue, maybe . . . then full circle back to that house building.

Proverbs 14:11 tells us ” . . . the tent of the upright will flourish. Flourish–I like the sound of that, and find it defined thus in Strong’s Concordance: pârach, paw-rakh’; a primitive root; to break forth as a bud, i.e. bloom; generally, to spread; specifically, to fly (as extending the wings); figuratively, to flourish:—abroad, abundantly, blossom, break forth (out), bud, flourish, make fly, grow, spread, spring (up).

So, let’s go back to that “upright” business, as we surely want our tents to flourish. Again, from Strong’s: straight, upright, correct, right. It is straight, upright, correct, and right that we wise women build our houses–our beloveds–with faith-filled, Word-based prayer. We don’t need to talk about it, or plan ahead and dress up for it. Just do it right this very minute. Now!

“Father, I thank you for those you’ve given me to love. Let me Love as You Love. Show me how to build my house. Reveal any place I’m tearing it down. Teach me, reveal to me the glory and privilege of being Your ambassador to my beloveds. Help me to be wise. In You. Amen.”

Life is Good. Worry is bad.

I live with kind and undemanding folks, which sounds like a very good thing, right? But it can cause me to get a bit selfish and too into my own thing, which never seems to satisfy my soul. So, in my recent adventures in doing less and going my own way more, I am reminded of what I should KNOW by by: There is satisfaction in sharing, satisfaction in sacrifice.

And I am reminded of my mantra: A smart girl like you oughtta be able to figure this out. Of what am I speaking? I am speaking of the lack of shared meals happening of late at House of Parker.

We all have differing schedules, dietary preferences, and priorities–one person gets up at 3:30 a.m and is home any time between noon and 5:00; another gets off work at 11:00 p.m. The easy thing is to just say, “Who cares?”

The voice plaguing me says they don’t know or appreciate what it takes to put healthy meals on the table; it takes too much time; we’re in a new season and it doesn’t matter that much anyway. “Reason” continues: If I cook what they want it’s too hard to stay low-carb; let them cook their own–they know how.

And yes, they can and often do “cook their own” with the attendant continually messy kitchen, use of ingredients meant for other things, formation of unhealthy habits, and a general state of culinary chaos.

But that isn’t “the thing” really. The thing is that we no longer have “Table Share”. When I read a beautiful quote, or hear an amazing tale which simply must be shared for the joy and edification of all parties, for the common bond created via the ensuing good conversation, the best opportunity for doing so–while enjoying a meal–is unavailable.

What then shall a smart girl do? Give up? Sigh? Call someone and gripe (true friends share joys, not gripes)? No, she changes things here and there. She calls a family meeting first of all, enticing everyone with milk and no-bakes (chocolate oatmeal cookies cooked stovetop with plenty of butter, vanilla, salt, maybe some peanut butter and almond flavoring, and a bit more salt than called for).

In this meeting it is discerned that everyone is fine with her having more time to “do whatever” she wants, and that she should just “make herself happy”. And so . . . the hope that they will tell her what to do, how to solve this issue about which she is apparently the only one who cares, fades into more of the voices: It doesn’t matter; no one cares; you’re the only one bothered by this.

I own it. I am bothered by this, and that’s reason enough to do something about it, and I will find a solution.

So here it is: Breakfast together will be in the form of a weekend brunch; we’ll have dinner together (sort of–when it’s possible) and I will have beautiful times alone, as well as lovely times with only one of my beloveds at a time per their schedules, and on those marvelous times we’re all available, it will be all the more beautiful and lovely for the rarity.

And I will relax, and live in the unforced rhythms of grace given by my Creator. Because it always comes down to this: As smart as I am, He is smarter. He cares about what I care about, and He cares about me.

So rather than losing my creative juices via fretting, I will stop. Rest. And make my darlings happy by making myself happy. I will live each and every day without a plan or a goal, except to receive what God has for me–peace and love and joy–and pass it on. If that happens to be over a meal, so much the better.

Life is good. Worry is bad.

Wealth–It’s Not About Diapers or Tomatoes

In answering a question about my view of wealth, I once answered “tomatoes.” I was thinking of my grandmother’s adept peeling of hot-off-the-vine, sun-split tomatoes from her garden, and eating their sliced deliciousness with nothing but salt and myself. Wealth.

That same grandmother once said, “Well! He did that just right.” She was watching John carefully fold and gently apply a soft, cloth diaper to Rebekah’s baby bottom. Wealth.

Rebekah, like her sister Hannah, didn’t fuss or cry when her diaper was wet. She sent in my direction a businesslike grunt of sorts and I responded immediately. No soggy bottoms on my watch, no sir! Wealth.

A lovely woman once discussed cloth diapers with me, telling me how other moms thought she was ridiculous for using them. “I enjoy the extra time, the interaction,” she said. I knew what she meant. We shared something precious, an understanding of the beauty, the wealth found in taking that extra moment to make things “just right.”

It’s a matter of opinion and preference, of course. With our fourth child, when John was changing a smelly diaper, he said, “We are not this broke. No more cloth diapers.” I didn’t argue. There was a new wealth at this time, one made of cash, one not as rich.

I am not suggesting you use cloth diapers or grow your own tomatoes. I am simply suggesting that wealth is made of moments shared.

Looking for Opportunities and Better F-Words

“You know what this is?” I asked my husband, and then answered. “This is an opportunity to trust.” We were talking about the curse spoken over me by my doctor: “If you don’t terminate the pregnancy you will die.”

When I refused he raised his voice. “You don’t understand!”

“No, you don’t understand,” I answered, and left.

Years later (that child is an astoundingly fabulous Jesus-loving 26-year-old now) I read well-meaning writers talking about abortion, and sometimes out of both sides of their mouths. Why and how can people say they’re pro-choice and pro-life? Because they care more about their own and others’ opinions than about the blood of Jesus, shed that we might have life, and life abundantly (John 10:10). Because they don’t have fear-destroying, mountain-moving, never-say-die faith. They know about Jesus, but they don’t know Him.

They don’t know that a death threat is an opportunity to trust, to obey the COMMAND, “Fear not.” They don’t know that when Satan offers his currency for doing business (fear) they can just say no. They have no idea who they are, and Who He is. Rather than taking their rightful authority as children of the Most High, they tune into their enemy’s lies. And if that’s not enough, they repeat what he says. Over and over and over. And we all know what happens when we hear a lie enough times . . . when we partner with the enemy by saying what he says . . .

When Satan shouts death and defeat (John 10:10 is where we see his stealing, killing and destroying discussed by Jesus) into our ears with a megaphone, we are to stand up and fight. It’s called the good fight of faith.

What makes it a good fight? First of all, because the faith side is the God side. It’s also because a good fight is one you can, and provided fear is strictly and absolutely forbidden, will win.

So, rather than cowering and hiding and hoping (but not really believing) you’ll somehow survive it all, TALK to it! “Fear, I know you’re Satan’s currency. I know you’re a lie. See, right here in Psalms what David said. See what He said about God. Now let’s go see what Jesus said. And did. You are a defeated foe, so get lost. Oh, but first, let’s feast a bit more on the Word of God with Ephesians, say Chapter 3. Or how about some more from Psalms? No? Oh, I’ll bet you’d like to read about Jesus’ victory over you at Calvary? That’s some seriously good Word Feasting!”

“What? You don’t want any more?”

Yes, Dear Reader, you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus, but in fear you are Satan’s prey. Thanks for thinking and seeking–we all need to win. Victory in Jesus! Amen.

P.S. I have new and improved F-words for you today: Ferocious Fighting, Feasting, Fearless, and Faith. Forever.

What Would Smith Wigglesworth or a mom do?

The March 21 offering in Devotional by Smith Wigglesworth is the tale of a miracle healing, wherein before Smith came on the scene God prepared a woman’s heart to receive. This was a handy thing for me to be reading, as my son came to ask for healing prayer just after I finished. My heart was prepared to pray, and I wanted his heart prepared as well.

“First,” I answered, “Sit down and do me the honor of letting me read this to you.” Benjamin sat and I read Smith’s marvelous story, beginning with Matthew 8:17: He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.

After finishing the devotion, I took Benjamin’s right hand and wrist (where the pain was) and began praying, during which action I was impressed to remind my son that his name means “Son of the Right Hand.” There was much more, and he received more than healing. He received encouragement.

I didn’t wake up encouraged today, and I was in no mood to encourage anyone else. But then there came that miracle thing called Quiet Time, and I was encouraged by the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John; then by Paul in I Corinthians with Love words, and David speaking straight to my heart in Psalms.

In Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest I was struck by the statement, “I have been identified with Him in His death.” Pondering this, I read from Smith Wigglesworth, focusing on the fifth verse of Isaiah 53: But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

I choose to identify myself with The Healer.

The final thought in this devotion is, “One bit of unbelief against the Word is poison.”

He IS the Healer. Amen.

An Ash Wednesday Like No Other? Lent for all Christians?

I hear tell that 20% of Protestants participate in Lent, which is essentially a Catholic thing. So, in looking into the idea of setting aside a period of time for dedicated fasting and prayer, beginning with Ash Wednesday, I have a brilliant idea for us all: What might we accomplish if we, on Ash Wednesday, set our alarms and/or timers to go off every 90 minutes, at which time we stop and pray.

What if we put it on our calendars to fast and pray every Wednesday and Friday, along with Christian believers all over the world, throughout Lent and beyond? What if the voices of millions are lifted on high, beginning tomorrow, every 90 minutes, all day long?

I plan to pray The Lord’s Prayer, speak Psalm 91 over everyone in any way involved in the fiasco between Ukraine and Russia, and further as the Holy Spirit leads. I am beginning tomorrow, hopefully with you, my very Dear Reader, and all those with whom you share this post.

None of us have anything at all more important to do than stop and pray tomorrow, every 90 minutes if at all possible. Why 90 minutes? Because long ago when I read and followed Jordan Rubin’s The Maker’s Diet and included his suggestion to pray regarding making the changes therein every 90 minutes, I found it to be quite effectual. It was a leaning on, a pressing into, a cleaving to, the wisdom and comfort of God.

Why is this important, why will it work? Because when the world sees Christians united they will see the goodness of God. Because we will be mighty–victorious over darkness and despair! Because we will bless the Lord.

So again, join me in creating a worldwide wave of spiritual might unto the pulling down of strongholds–in Ukraine, Russia, and everywhere else!