Dastardly Distractions, Nuisance Noises!

We are here to do what only we can do–not to be going down every rabbit hole coming our way via media. We are here to pray and praise like never before, to seek Him FIRST. And last. And between times.

In reading the Word of God Himself this morning there was/is so much. For me. Realignment, repositioning, renewal, refreshing. We simply do not get those things from focusing on the nonsense and chaos available and in our faces from every direction. Rather, we become addled, confused, and diminished. Impotent.

Yes! Of course you agree and you’re going to tell all those other folks in your house all about it. Or not. Maybe it’s time to spend a good two or three hours with your Creator and see what He has to say. To me, He’s saying, “Stay in your lane. Go where I lead, and let me do the leading of those around you. When I need your verbal input (other than in prayer, which is always needed) I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, let patience possess your soul.”

Patience is not my strongest and most prolific Fruit of the Spirit. But I’m learning! And oh, the benefits of keeping still, being at peace, because I can. Why? Because I’ve been hanging out with the Lover of my soul. Focusing on what puts everything else in perspective, what makes life work. Amen!

Control or Contentment? Success or Selfishness?

I’m hearing lots about eliminating “toxic” people from my life–those who don’t contribute to my “success”–about walking away. I really like this idea, but does God?* In listening to and reading motivational “success” gurus I know I’ve gotta get up at 5:00 a.m. if I’m going to “be somebody.” But God says I am somebody. People always want to know what I “do” and the temptation is to say, “I’m a writer,” as this, unlike homemaking, is an approved occupation. But God approves of me. Just because.

Still, the messages are so compelling, as are the ideas of writing bestsellers and achieving other lauded goals, having an actually heeded day planner, and checking off my to-do lists each day. And the facts that vision boards don’t work for me, and my plans almost always are superceded by “life” doesn’t faze me. It can’t be that all those people are missing something–after all, they’re “successful”–I MUST TRY HARDER. FASTER, FASTER, WORK, WORK!

As I ponder all these things, and wonder why Christian motivational speakers consider non-Christians “successful” simply because they’re famous, I suddenly remember something I once heard, and now I am listening: If at first you don’t succeed, fry, fry, a hen. Ah, now that sounds like success to me. My daughter recently roasted a fat chicken in the Hobbit way – bacon, butter, herbs, and those things under as well as atop the skin. The chicken was first rinsed and then patted dry, to be cooked on high heat, and all in pursuit of a very crispy and delicious skin. Roasted along this dear bird were root vegetables, and all hearts were made glad.

When Rebekah asked what I wanted done with the chicken I could have told her my plan. Rather, I asked for her suggestions and out came An Unexpected Cookbook–The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery. Not my plan, but better than. I’m liking the sound of that: Not my plan, but better than. My daughter is happy, my family enjoys an excellent meal, and I don’t have to cook. Success!

* In Andrew Murray’s classic book, Humility, he writes: “Look upon every fellow man who tries or vexes you as a means of grace to humble you.”

What Can I Create?

With this evening’s attitude, not much. Once I start thinking about what’s not perfect, I’m on the way to griping about it, and here it comes–the Biblical “spirit of heaviness.” And who needs more of that?

Well, no matter how many times I try sad, I never like it. It never works for me. And it’s always rooted in choosing doldrums over delight. As someone who, over 40 years ago, chose to join the revolution started 2000 years ago by a really great guy named Jesus, I simply have no business thinking it’s about me.

I know (this I’ve tried as often as I’ve tried sad) that when I start doing the selfish it’s not going to end well. Ah, but when I read the beautiful Word of Life, when I pray, when I repent of my disobedient self-absorption, the very atmosphere of my life begins to change. What a difference a moment makes.

What a difference a bit of good preaching (this evening it was Creflo Dollar talking about the “sin” of selfishness, the miserable life therein); last week it was Bill Johnson saying, “When at war, create.”

Create. I’d no sooner finished listening to Creflo, than John asked me to watch and listen to the story of a businessman turning Central Park into something marvelous for New Yorkers. Create. We’re all born for it, created for it.

Just in putting out the maple syrup and making plans for homemade waffles, scrambled eggs, brats, peaches and tea for a late breakfast tomorrow, I have begun creating something marvelous in the sight of my beloveds.

In writing my evening pages (I scribble my thoughts morning and night to see what’s in my brain) I create a list for tomorrow–assuring that it will begin as it should–first with thanks for the Author of all Beauty and Creativity, and then with the getting to it.

What can we create tomorrow? Why don’t we let it begin with smiling at ourselves in the mirror and remembering we’re created in the image of the The Creator. Who knows what we’ll get up to (I might start a book, or at least another blog post, do a YouTube thing. I might even clean the junk drawer!). Or maybe I’ll just create joy by giving smiles and good words to all.

Thanks for letting me share with you!

P.S. You can still get The Maker’s Marriage (on Amazon) before Christmas–if not for Christmas, by New Year’s Night.

Did I Say Enough About Respect?

I’m wondering if I said enough about respect in The Maker’s Marriage. And did I say enough about the personal blindness engendered when we look at others’ (our husbands’) faults? Most of all, did I get across the bottom line: It’s not about me, you, our mates–it’s about our relationship with Jesus.

Do we respect the Lord of all good and glorious gifts? Or, do we disrespect Him, and thereby assure that our marriages are not good or glorious or gifts at all?

Apart from Him (which is where I live when I choose my own stupidly selfish way) I not only can do nothing worthwhile, I have nothing worthwhile, and can therefore give nothing worthwhile.

This Christmas, why not give the gift of respect.? I mean to, for sure and for certain. Amen.

Takin’ Out the Paper and the Trash

When we take out the kitchen trash at our house we get the bathroom trash, John’s office, and anything else that needs taking out. I was thinking of that this morning as I had my Quiet Time.

If I forget Who loves me I will live in contact with the one who hates me–in the dumpster with the trash. If I focus on what’s wrong I will be blind to what’s real and right and true. If I harbor (shelter and hold in my arms and heart) unforgiveness I will have no peace. When, through disobedience and ignorance (“my people perish for lack of knowledge”) I go my own way, I fail. Every single time.

It’s all trash and I choose to take it out, all day every day. It’s not going to be in my house.

Back in the Morning

I’d like to say I worked all day on The Maker’s Marriage and did my very best to get it on Amazon, today as planned. The truth however, is that my darlin’ wanted me to go to town with him to do errands, and then go out for steak and a movie. I worked hard on the book, learned much, refrained from griping about technology and things that make no sense, and then took off for greener pastures at 2:30 this afternoon.

It is after all, our Anniversary Week (we had our party yesterday, went out for breakfast the day before, and who knows what will happen tomorrow). One day soon my daughter Hannah and I will have her birthday date (she had the good sense to be born on our anniversary and was 26 yesterday)– she’s already had her date with Dad. Saturday will be her birthday party at our house, and so on it goes.

This year, being our 30th anniversary, was extra special (yes, John got me pearls and I’m wearing them even now–the loveliest of necklaces and earrings. I look positively chic in them) and I am reminded even more than in years past of the goodness of God. There are now words to adequately express my thankfulness and awe–He took two absolute yay-hoos like John and me, and blessed us beyond, so far beyond, all we ever asked or imagined. Well, enough of the mushy stuff. Let’s talk steak.

Texas Roadhouse was fun as always, and I got to see the new James Bond movie afterward. John’s not much of a fan, but he went because he’s a very good man.

Movie review: I loved it, John didn’t. But back to The Maker’s Marriage. I really, really, really do plan to get it finished tomorrow. I’m learning so much, and the next book will be so much easier! Right??

Maker’s Marriage excerpt

Rain, snow, sleet and hail aren’t the issue–it’s everything else! Still, I said I’d have the expanded and improved Maker’s Marriage available on October 12 (our 30th anniversary!) and so I shall. For today I have an excerpt for you, so enjoy!

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It’s your choice. Are your words going to bring life or death to your marriage? Are you going to build your mate, or tear him down?

     Spare yourself the grief of knowing you let the enemy use your words to hurt those you love, those whose hearts God has entrusted to you. Remember, this doesn’t only happen in an all-out battle. You can deeply wound that heart so attuned to you—the one so desperately in need of your absolute and always-faithful love, respect and kindness—with seemingly inconsequential words (no such thing). Just a tiny little whine about something they were “supposed to” do, or something they “should” be, will wound a weary heart.

     God wants your marriage to be beautiful, so get your eyes off your mate’s issues and onto Jesus. If you don’t think there are areas in your heart He would like to heal and clean up, you have a pride issue. Repent! Otherwise, you are bound to wound your mate.

     Warning: “Supposed to” goes right in the trash can with “should.” You are under grace. Refuse law, and stop trying to be the law. Your name isn’t Sheriff Wife. Your name is Lover Girl.  (Think in fives:  See Romans 5 and Galatians 5.)

Suggested Reading:  The Peaceful Life by Fiona Ferris.

Keys to Victory:  Take a victory stance—you’re not backing down.

Music:  The Love Songs Collection by Al Green

Money for Things We Don’t Need

In the life-enhancing, joy-bringing book, An Italian Journey by James Ernest Shaw is this truth: “Spending money for things we don’t need also makes us think we can’t afford to pay a fair price for things of precious value–like healthful food, great art, and inspired entertainment that celebrates mankind’s creative spirit.”

This can be seemingly insignifcant purchases, but oh, they are not! The curious thing is how we think we’re saving money at the big box store where tomatoes are half the price of those at the farm stand, not noticing that the big box tomatoes aren’t edible, while the farm stand tomatoes call our names with their scent before we can even see them. Everything about shopping at the farm stand satisfies. The price is only a part of good money management.

We think it’s good money management to choose the BOGO sale and yet wonder how we come home without what we need and after spending well beyond what we planned. We wrongly equate a full pantry with prosperity, even though it’s full of things we’d be better off without.

Things. Things can be groceries. Right now my pantry and freezers are each mixtures of things we’ll eat and things we’ll throw out. It is the old case of careless spending, rather than careful, focused, thoughtful purchasing of quality goods. It’s the rewarding of the bigger-but-not-better at the expense of the purveyors of quality, and at the expense of ourselves.

This is a big deal. I’m not at all talking about big business vs. small. I’m talking about quality vs. quantity, about the huge expense of going cheap, about cheating yourself and your family via spending your money on fluff.

And fluff makes us fluffy. Fluff is energy bars, instant oatmeal, dry cereal with cheap skim milk, microwave mac-n-cheese, corn syrup and sugar-filled drinks, 30-ingredient “snacks” and “treats” and other such fakiness. Expensive on every level. The richest people in the world can’t afford this.

If my husband reads this, he will likely hope I’m taking my own words to heart. Well, I am. This is a big deal.

P.S. For more on the subject of marriage and money, stay tuned (and buy!) The Maker’s Marriage, available October 12, 2021. Thanks!