Politics and Zero For Six Don’t Mix

In my Zero For Six No-Negative-Words quest, I find politics not to be my friend. But progress I do make! Today when I heard that yet again, our supposedly mostly-Christian Supreme Court has dropped the ball, and that even Justice Thomas failed us, I didn’t speak negative words. It wasn’t that I kept my mouth shut, but because it was hanging open. Seriously? But then I remembered that we are not to put our trust in man. Oh, right. Christianity 101.

Then there was the letter in the mail from our commander-in-thief paper doll “President” Joe (was that negative?), telling me how he’s going to take care of us all, blahdy, blahdy, blah. I managed not to mention it to John, and to wash my hands after I threw it in the trash, but it put me in a shady gray place for a bit. Fear not. Only believe. Shall I heed Joe and Co., or Jesus? I pick Jesus.

Back to the throne, back to the Psalms, back to prayer. Back to peace.

But then here they come again–those thoughts. Of every single solitary person who had ANYTHING to do with our election thefts being put where they belong–in jail. Turn out the people in jail for bad judgment and dumb mistakes and lock up the real criminals! Rant, rant (was that negative?). And then I remember, again–He sits in the Heavens and laughs–Psalm 2.

And I pray for us all, and for our beautiful and beleaguered country, and remember and notice how He’s at work, and that all will be well, and it’s past time to remember who I am as a child of the Most High–a Life-Speaker!

Back to Philippians 4:8– Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Politics? Not on the list.

Zero For Six Going Strong

Mostly. I am not even missing non-essential viewing. Not one minute has been lost to TV since I began my four adventures. To re-cap, I began a quest on June 1: Let’s see what happens when (and if it’s possible) I attempt a six-month exit from the lands of: 1) TV watching; 2) fatiguing food consumption; 3) negative words; and 4) non-essential spending.

About that non-essential spending. Well . . . I bought two new outfits yesterday, and I won’t bore you with assertions of how essential these outfits are, of how long it’s been since I bought anything new, etc. I will say that John was trying to get me to go shopping for new clothes, and wasn’t giving up. I will say that there is no buyer’s remorse. I will say that I didn’t buy these clothes because they were on sale, which can often be likened to eating a bag of cookies because they’re low sodium. The satisfaction just isn’t there.

Moving on to what’s the toughest part–negative words. Boy, is this a process. It is helpful to me to keep on keeping on reading Psalms and Proverbs. Not only do I find therein continual evidence of the importance of words of life, of faith, but the help needed to stay the course.

And I pray. There are those tricky little areas that most people, including me, wouldn’t even notice as negativity. But upon further examination . . . when I think about the power of words, and that what I just said was a pronouncement of power, but not for good, I find so much of what I say is enforcing a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. “It is what it is,” is a dumb thing to say. It’s defeat. Talking the problem simply solidifies it in our minds as unsolvable.

I’d like to say, regarding consumption of fatiguing foods, that I’m doing soooo well, good, and fantastic! I’ll simply that that I’m making a bit of progress. My coffee consumption isn’t remaining at zero, but like the purchasing of those above-mentioned new outfits, I am making it special. For instance, yesterday. I split a piece of actually and truly made-from-scratch key lime pie with my daughter at Island Grill in Fort Collins, and had a cup of coffee that almost made me swoon when the server set it down under my nose. Since this was the appetizer and followed with a simply divine burger and cole slaw, I was not at all fatigued. Interesting concept: Food that is sometimes fatiguing can, done right, be energizing . . .

I am absolutely loving not watching. Not simply sitting and watching (and munching) I get a little more excited about life every single day. Might I suggest, ever so gently, that you consider a Zero For Six adventure quest of your own?

Thanks for joining me!

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.

How to be Weak

If Henri Nouwen is correct in today’s e-mailed deovtional, and he is when he states,”Joy and Resentment Cannot Coexist” and if it’s also true, and it is, that “the joy of the Lord” is our strength. then unforgivness (resentment) makes us weak.

In my current quest for positivity, my Zero For Six adventure against negativity, I am aiming for joy, for strengh. Indeed I am aiming for the acquisition of the very joy of the Lord God Himself!

How is this going? I’m stumbling here and there, and seeking my way in communicating with those who, it seems, would rather be weak. It also seems as though some people prefer resentment to joy. That is entirely their business, of course, but does that mean they have a right to inflict their negativity on me? No.

The trick is in rejecting the negative person’s negativity, but not rejecting the person. Negative people have already rejected themselves, the Word of God, perhaps even God, and they expect further rejection. This is where it is helpful to say something like, “I’m doing a Zero For Six adventure of no negativity for six months! Wanna join me?”

It is also helpful to saturate that person in prayer, whereby we get perspective on their preciousness to God. This helps counter our perspective on their aggravation to us. We need a change of heart, or at least I do. Otherwise, I will not overcome evil with good. Rather, bad company will corrupt me.

Negativity is contagious, but there is a vaccine, a sure innoculation. It’s the Mighty One–Jesus. The only time I feel those sick symptoms of negativity, that debilitating weakening of frustration, is when I hold on to an offense. I am actually choosing Death, rather than God’s mandated choice–Life. I am choosing to fearfully focus on and glorify what Satan’s crowd is up to.

We can be less than worms with fear and negativity, or more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.

“You show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy…”
PSALM 16:11 (NRSV)

Zero For Six–Feeling the Freedom

So much more than time is lost to the screen, to junk TV. As we connect to the entire world we lose connections with our own hearts, and with our Creator. As we watch and see and are programmed by the creations of others, we cease to create. We are stilled. Jailed even.

The great narcotic, the false god, the black box we come before at every opportunity–that is TV. “There’s nothing worth watching,” we hear others lament, and agree. And yet we go. Just as pagans of old throwing the valuable before a dead god to no avail, so we sacrifice our very lives to TV.

That man who was called into politics–he only watches the news and rants. The child whose art was lauded and entered into the World’s Fair at age 6–she can’t wait to leave her cubicle and get home to her shows. And year after year she becomes a bit less picky about the offerings. She’s not even embarrassed that porn (call it what you will) comes into her home day after day. (Note: research reveals there is an inverse relationship between watching porn and a personally satisifying sexual relationship.)

Yes, there are Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth, Emma, Jeeves and Wooster, Fawlty Towers, and James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small. But how many times can you watch these, or Quigley Down Under, Man on Fire, and Rocky? If there’s nothing worth watching, push the “off” button. It can be done. We can just stop rewarding Hollywood by opening our pocketbooks and hearts to insulting excuses for entertainment.

Last night, May 31, was my final movie for six months, and I chose carefully. I considered You’ve Got Mail, and my visiting daughter suggested Bruce Willis’ Red, but we couldn’t find the DVDs (not paying for movies via Internet). I thought carefully. What would be worth the watch–excellent plot, casting, acting, and not a single dull moment? Oh, and one where the guy gets the girl. I chose a movie where I actually did shut my eyes (I take seriously the Bible’s admonition to guard my heart) a time or two for a moment or two. What is this paragon of a movie? Spectre.

Interestingly, given this post’s subject and matter of introspection, Spectre is about James Bond saving the world from being watched.

Could it be that when we do nothing but watch, when we never pause to think, we set the stage for our own demise?

Please consider joining me, if not on a Zero For Six TV adventure, at least on the sensationally rewarding activity of pushing the “off” button. Even if you simply sit still and do nothing, you will begin to reconnect with your marvelous self. Who knows what will happen–you may make a jailbreak!

No More Cashlessness via Carelessness–Zero For Six Plans and Procedures

Sometimes you just have to say, “Whoa there, Girlie.” When you find beauty products you don’t remember buying–they’re a few years out of date, so how could you? When you think it makes sense to gripe about food going bad in the fridge–“people” need to eat more salad, right? If your closet is stuffed with “deals” you never wear, and there are life-changing (the good doctor on the net promised and he wore a white coat) supplements galore in the back of somewhere . . . Most of all, if your beloveds think and maybe even dare to say, that you’re just a teeny bit out of balance . . . rein it in.

If you’re like me, and quite gifted at excuse-making and behavior justification, you can be your own worst enemy. You, the real and reasonable you, would rather she had the cash than all that stuff. And yet, girls will be girls, right? Wrong. Just as it goes all over me when mothers of brat sons simper, “Boys will be boys,” it goes all over me when I catch myself excusing and repeating bad behavior.

Yep. Disrespecting your cash with throwing it away on stuff, is bad behavior. And so. Here I go. I’m on vacation and thinking about those flowers . . . Those flowers I meant to buy for my balcony as soon as I returned to Colorado where surely to Goodness the snow would be over–they’ll keep. Those supplements I “always order” (as though that justifies it) I will do without, because after all, when I stop with the junk eating, they’ll be much less needed. Designer soaps (my guilty pleasure and we all must have those, right? Nope.) will still be there in six months.

When I decide that not only will I stop paying for “entertainment” that doesn’t cut it, it follows that I will return to the “real” and often cost-free entertainment I once enjoyed. I’ll take a thermos, quilt and good book to the woods and watch the sun set; hike nearby trails with whoever wants to come along, make my own mayo and bread for roast beef sandwiches (such a good feeling and outcome) for a riverside picnic, play cards and board games, re-read my watercolor book and do a little watercolor painting, get my French DVDs out again, sit on the balcony and listen to birds sing as I hold my darlin’s hand, read deep and delightful books, listen carefully and for as long as is desired, to my children and friends–undistracted by a plan to engage in substandard and dollar-devouring behaviors.

And so forth. I actually began the spending frost (a freeze means you don’t spend a single dime) in May. There was a conversation, a catalyst. I would say it opened my eyes, but actually it just royally ticked me off. But when I cooled off and thought about it, I knew, again, it was time to rein it in. (NOTE: It makes absolutely no difference what other people are spending–this is about the one in the mirror).

And it’s like magic. When I say, “It really is possible to have brunch without sparkling cider; I can cut my own bangs; no one will croak if we don’t have milk every day; we’ll have just to get creative with our cooking (such good meals happen!); and, not only am I not buying summer clothes, I’m getting rid of half of what I have,” it is nothing less than astounding what happens to the checking account.

John called me to look at the bank statement the other day. “Can this be right?” he asked. Oh, so smug am I. Nonchalantly I nodded. “Yes. That’s right.”

And so it is. Absolutely right that I, a beloved child of God, do not drive a team of runaway horses unto the disaster, despair and defeat (in countless cases, even divorce) of cashlessness via carelessness.

Thanks for allowing me to share with you, and please pass this Zero For Six adventure on to anyone who comes to mind. Anyone. You could save a marriage, actually.

Dastardly Doubt, Get Out!

It’s time to get back to basics, or, as in the case of so many Christians, to go there for the first time. So here are some basics:

  1. God’s accepted currency is faith; Satan’s is fear.
  2. Faith works via Love.
  3. Love never fails.
  4. Death and life are in the power of the tongue–you will have what you say.
  5. You must receive Jesus’ gift of forgiveness, and pass it on without reservation to others.
  6. Sins ruins everything, and doubting God is sin.
  7. He wants you to receive the victory over sin Jesus bought for you at Calvary–He’s for you!
  8. The prayer of faith avails much!

These basics are all based in Scripture, and to believe otherwise is insanity leading to death, and calling God a liar. Doubting victory is calling God a liar. In fact, it is believing the great deceiver, the father of lifes.

Dress it up any way you like, call it common sense, prudence, or whatever you want–fear is a lie.

Watch yourself-we all have to, all the time, because our enemy is good at his craft. Watch to see what you’re thinking: do you immediately believe and accept the defeat and the negative, and doubt the possibility of victory?

Your experience, education, and opinions do not matter. What your pastor and best friend think is not the issue. The issue is the Word of God Almighty, and if you’re not going to go with that, prepare for devastation in your life.

Once the devastation comes, you can continue in the crud thinking–blame God, refuse responsibility, accept defeat, and do the woe-is-me mantra. Or, you can change your wicked ways.

That’s right. It is wrong, wicked, perverse, and purely evil to call God a liar, and call what the liar Satan puts out, the truth.

If things aren’t going well, and maybe never have, God isn’t the one who missed it. Maybe someone doesn’t want the responsibility required for victory in Jesus. Jesse Duplantis, in I Never Learned to Doubt, says, “Doubt doesn’t want the responsibility of believing–doubt always seems to want to pass the buck or shift the blame–but it’s not OK.”

If we don’t get it, if things haven’t gone for us the way we prayed, hoped, expected–again, God didn’t miss it. Believe it or not, there’s something we missed, or don’t know, or haven’t patiently and persistently and immovably waited on. There is a lie we’re believing.

I told my husband recently, regarding healing in America, “If I’m the last person on earth standing and believing that God is healing our land, I will stand. If I’m the last person on earth who believes He wants to heal and bless His children, that He cannot lie, that Jesus’ blood bought us free-indeed freedom, I will stand.”

The enemy of our souls wants us to think we’re the last and only one, that it’s up to us, that’s it’s too little, too late. Such a stupid liar he is, and certainly no match for the God I serve.

Come along with me. The only choice is faith, the only path is Love–the victory-bringing, blood-bought Love of Jesus.

Pray with me: “Father we repent of doubting You, of misunderstanding You, of being ignorant of Who You are. Help us, Lord, to trust and obey, to hear and heed Your voice. Cleanse us from the unrighteousness of fear and doubt, from the pride that says we can do anything at all apart from You. Amen.”

Let Us Now Be Good Company

The French Café tells us we can frequent Parisian coffee shops of our choice, perhaps because of “the landlord’s personality, the clientele, the ambience, or the décor.”  In a rural setting we are told the décor of old country cafes is frugal, but that, “they often create their own atmosphere of romance and poetry with a remarkable economy of means.”

There is something particularly satisfying about creating our “own atmosphere of romance and poetry with a remarkable economy of means.”  You don’t need a new French Press to make coffee.  Indeed you can brew a satisfactory cup boiling it on the stovetop!

One of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever tasted was cheapo store brand coffee steaming hot out of a thermos.  I was in the back seat of my husband John’s truck, it was very cold outside, we were crossing a high mountain pass.  John was driving, my brother in the front seat with him, and my beloved, beloved sister-in-law sat beside me.  My sister-in-law is steady, to be depended upon to keep up her end of the positivity bargain at all times. I’ve been sharing meals with Liz since the seventh grade, and she hasn’t failed yet to be good and pleasant company, the kind of company that makes a meal a feast, in fact.

The flavor is enhanced by the setting and the company, so let’s all be sure we’re good company!

I was with good company last week driving with my daughter Rebekah and friend Pam when we got on that subject: politics–the fraudulent elections, disappointments being handed out by the Supreme Court (only Justice Thomas does not disappoint), traitors in Congress, small business woes, etc. Pam reached over and touched my arm. “I’m sorry,” she said, “for ranting about all that.”

But because she was ending all of it with her trust in God, with quoting and reminding us all of Psalm 37, with seeing all the good that is coming out of the bad (and there’s lots of it, especially in that Christians are humbly remembering who their Savior is), it wasn’t a rant. It was an air clearing and mutual exhortation among good company.

Keeping our eyes lifted doesn’t mean we don’t know what’s happening, or that we aren’t doing something about it. It just means we’re looking to our only hope. We’re keeping good company with good company.

Let’s enjoy life a little, and let me say it you and to myself again–let’s be good company.

Bring on the Persecution! Bring on the Power!

The Bible says we’re to rejoice when people persecute us and tell all kinds of lies about us. So, rather than getting all shook up when the IRS seems to target the most effective ministers, or when a group of politicians tries to impeach a president who isn’t even in office, and when the media hands out lies like Halloween candy, let’s say, “Hey! That guy must be doing something right! If that gal is rejoicing every time she’s plagued and persecuted, her life is one big party!”

Let us not be surprised or dismayed or angered about what we’re told is coming. Jesus told Paul, in a nutshell, “They hated me, they’re gonna hate you.”

It’s not personal. It’s just darkness vs. light and there’s no hiding from it. We may as well stand up and fight.

How to stand? For what to fight?

We stand by humbly bowing to Him, by obeying His . . . command . . . to Love . . .

We stand by rejoicing because we are being continually filled with His Spirit via hanging out with and obeying Him, acting, thinking and talking like Him. Talking like Him, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Thinking like Him, “It’s not about politics in America. It’s about the Good News being preached throughout the earth.” Acting like Him, “I forgive my persecutors.” (Good Newsflash: When we’re continually spirit-filled, we have the power to forgive–we look like the One we say we serve.)

Praying, as He suggested? No, as He commanded. Praying for our enemies, that they may turn from darkness to light.

For what to fight? We fight for the Light, not to be right, not to “win” an argument (there are no winners where there is strife). We fight for the Light. How will they turn to light if there is no light? Will there be light if we refuse to obey? When we disobey, our own hearts convict us and we are sick inside, dark, without light to share, cut off from power.

The light is Love, Who loves the persecuted, and the persecutors. “Where,” they ask, even as they revile and hate us, “is the Love?” “How and why,” the astute among them marvel, “do they serve my master Satan even more effectively than do I?”

We stand by repentance. There is no problem on earth, and no solution on earth, apart from the Church. Let us pray, beginning with, “Father, forgive us, for we know exactly what we DON’T do, haven’t done, refuse to stop doing. Make us strong (humble) enough to admit our weakensses and failures, strong enough to stop looking at the weaknesses and failures of others, strong enough to disregard the opinions of man, and consider only Yours. Create in us clean hearts, O God. Hearts mighty in Love.”

Love is mighty enough to tell the truth, and to withstand the consequences of doing so. Love is of God, and is up to any task or trial. When all else fails, such as supreme courts, parties, legislatures, media, medicine, education and other things of man, we will turn to the One Who cannot fail, and cannot lie. We will cease looking for natural solutions, and seek the supernatural.

When we stop returning hate for hatred, reviling for reviling, and become living testimonies of the power of Love, the enemy will have nothing to work with. We will see victory in Jesus, when we are “in Jesus” and His Spirit in us.

“How much longer,” God must be asking, “are you going to walk in circles in this wilderness?”

We can come right out anytime we decide our way isn’t working, anytime we believe that apart from Him we can do NOTHING, anytime we stop the insanity of disrespecting, disdaining, and disregarding of the Blood-bought freedom of Calvary.

Why not now?