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!

Intimacy is Personal

My hair lady told me the story of her pastor asking how many people in the congregation had “been intimate” in the past month, and she said there were only a few people who raised their hands.

I wish I had been there. I would have (I like to think, anyway) stood up and told him that intimacy between married couples is precious, private, and none of his business. I would say that anyone who did raise their hands and put their relationship issues on public display was unwise, as they cheapened it by so doing. I would say that he himself doesn’t understand intimacy or he wouldn’t be discussing it and encouraging others to do so, as if he were asking something as mundane and common as, “Who among you are morning people?” or, “Raise your hands if red is your favorite color.”

Obviously there is a problem when people are no longer “intimate” but I submit that the problem won’t be solved by making it a matter of public discussion.

The most important things in life should often be the most private. Talking to God, asking for the courage to be real, the grace to forgive, for renewed desire, and anything else that comes to mind will put you on the road to bliss. Further advancements can be gained in talking to each other, and to God with each other–intimately. It may be that there is additional wise counsel to be sought as well, but let it not be a pastor who thinks this is all for public consumption.

Honor your marriage, and each others’ hearts by being truly intimate–it’s between the two of you. That heart honoring will foster physical intimacy. Psssst! Don’t tell anyone. It’s a lovely secret, just between the two of you and the Lover of your souls.

For further discussion be ready for October 12! The Maker’s Marriage, all expanded and improved, will be ready for you.

Your Favorite Love Song, Please.

Hi,

I’m coming right along with the improved and expanded edition of The Maker’s Marriage (please don’t order from the picture here on the website, as I still haven’t managed to delete it ) and I’m wanting to add beautiful love song suggestions, as music is such a power tool in getting our hearts right, and attuned to love.

So, if you have a favorite love song or songs, or indeed just any favorite beautiful and uplifting music, would you mind sharing via comments, or by simply e-mailing to me at: bevparker@rocketmail.com.

‘I need a song for every chapter (there are thirty something chapters right now) and I don’t want to limit my readers to my tastes only. Also, if you want to include a few lines about why this song is special to you, that might be helpful as well.

Please remember my promise to have this very good (if I do think so, myself) book finished by John’s and my 30th anniversary–October 12, and be ready to buy a copy or several to share.

Thanks very much!

Bev

P.S. If you know how I can delete my current pic of The Maker’s Marriage, I would really appreciate knowing if you can spare a minute or two to share.

NO, NO, DON’T ORDER THE MAKER’S MARRIAGE YET!

Yikes, I see the “click here to order” next to the pic of the OLD Maker’s Marriage. Wait for it! I haven’t figured out how to get that off my blog, but I will. I just got a “WordPress for Dummies” book, so hopefully today will be the day I get this pesky thing down, and get on with the new version.

Again, the expanded version of The Maker’s Marriage will be available October 12, 2021, which will be John’s and my 30th anniversary! Yay!

The Maker’s Marriage Coming Right Up!

In expanding The Maker’s Marriage (available October 12, our 30th anniversary), I am adding an introduction so that those who won’t be helped won’t be wasting their time. Following is the first draft of the new intro:

Before we waste each other’s time, let’s understand that it’s not about me, or you, or our opinions and beliefs.  It’s about the One Who made us, loves us, and wants us to succeed beyond our wildest imaginations—our Maker.

It follows then that The Maker’s Marriage isn’t about keys, steps, techniques, or suggestions.  Rather, it is about the miracle of a marriage that is exponentially greater than the sum of its parts.  A Maker’s Marriage.

So, if you’re in hopes of finding yet untried ways to get that other person to straighten up and fly right, or to understand you and meet your needs, or any other base, low, pathetic mockery of God’s marvelous plan for you and yours, hope again.

Actually, I do want you to hope again.  But this time let it be hope in the Love that never fails.  Herein lies hope that is based on nothing less than Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of the relationship that is meant to bring Heaven to earth.  How about that!

And how about this–how about getting free from the need to be right?  How about getting free from the tyranny of selfishness and the life of pain it brings?  How about falling in Love with your Maker, and passing that Love right along to the person on the pillow next to you?  It’s called pillow talk, and it beats arguing hands down.

Why not?  Why not begin and end the day with a bit of a cuddle with the one on the pillow right next to you, and fill the spaces in between with the great adventure of a marriage that is all the Great Lover ever meant it to be?

It’s called honor and you were meant for it.  Honor yourself and your mate by first honoring your Maker and receiving His honor for you.  Yes, it sounds beyond you, beyond your broken heart and wounded soul, beyond the memories that refuse to fade.  That’s because it is, and we’re going there—beyond all of it, into the arms of the Restorer of the breach, the Healer of the brokenhearted. 

Welcome to The Maker’s Marriage.

Zero for Forty Something?

John and I will be 30 years married October 12! I’m thinking I’m going to do something memorable in these days remaining from now until then. Like stop mistreating my body and forget about a thing or two, or 1,000. And another thing (I’ll tell you in a minute).

It’s like this: there are forty something days remaining until October 12 and that seems like a good amount of time to once and for all forget about sugar (and it’s variants). It’s a good amount of time to forget about losing weight and just eat great food such as the soooo good, almost-make-you-cry strawberries, awe-inspiring sun-cracked tomatoes, and best of all, lemon cucumbers–all from a local farm stand. Most and best of all, forty something days are a great time to forget about past grievances, aggravations, and petty stupidities.

What might happen if one wasn’t sick at heart and body because of sugar; if the SIN of unforgivness was repented of and turned from and absolutely refused? One might do something marvelous, like write a marvelous book about a marvelous subject.

I’m going to improve and expand The Maker’s Marriage between now and October 12 (yikes, did I just promise that?). I”m going to take the original edition off this site, and get to work on the new one today. The mind boggles at all the great ideas it has already come up with, and that before I even begin writing.

Be ready! It’s gonna be good.

The Art of Conversation Creates Art

It was a lovely morning yesterday. Seth and I tried a new LaVazza variety (falling off the wagon a bit on this aspect of Zero For Six-ing, but more on that later) on the balcony. We likened the rustling of the Aspen leaves to the feel of clean cotton sheets, the breezes in the pines and the birdsong to music.

The conversation went and wound its way here and there, and somewhere in there I had a fantastic idea–a doable, practical example of how to remind our government that indeed, they work for us. I won’t go into the particulars of the idea, because I want to talk about the power of conversation.

We’re meant to have it, and it’s meant to produce ideas, solutions, revelations. It’s meant to connect hearts and minds and put us in the creativity zone. So, if our conversations aren’t producing this magical marvel, especially when we’re talking with our adult children, we can examine ourselves.

Do we listen carefully and thoughtfully? Do we interrupt? Do we have to be right? Are we taking a parental role when our family members are not asking for that? Just as we’re extra polite and considerate in our conversations with non-family folks, are we also with our beloveds? Do we remember that sometimes hearts simply want to be heard–not to hear our opinion?

When we don’t know the answer do we simply say, “I don’t know, but I will pray for wisdom, and I will pray for you to have wisdom, and all will be well”?

It’s helpful to remember that those who talk the most and loudest are often drowning out the words of those with the deepest and best thoughts. Just in case you’re like me, and maybe are a bit chatty, it could be time to put some art into our conversation.

The Power of Harmony . . .

After giving thanks and more thanks (when I open my eyes and am still snug under the covers) I read my devotionals: Oswald Chambers, Henri Nouwen, and Faith to Faith by Kenneth and Gloria Copeland. This morning’s Faith to Faith mentioned “the power of harmony” and when I hear about power, I listen up. So, please, listen up and let us ponder and consider:

Strife drops the shield of faith, stops prayer results and invites Satan and his cohorts into your midst. Discord is deadly. It paralyzes the power of God in your life.

Don’t allow the enemy to stop you at your own front door by allowing strife in your home. If you do, you’ll be no threat to him anywhere else.

Put the power of harmony to work in your family.

I say “Amen to that!”

Doors to Delight in the Details of Daily Life

There is a bed to be made lovely, a thank-you card to send, a bit more Quiet Time to be had, as mine was interrupted by a lovely breakfast with my husband.  We talked, rather than eating, so I reheated my walnut-topped raisin English muffin to be split with my son, this after buttering and toasting and topping it all with pumpkin pie spice and raw honey.

Of course, French press LaVazza on the balcony is the only thing for this, along with birdsong-interspersed conversation, and then back inside for a few more details.  Back to a resumption of my Quiet Time.  Earlier I read the words in red (hanging with Jesus so I can be like Him) and now for Oswald.  In My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers I read this:  “The tiniest detail in which I obey has all the omnipotent power of the grace of God behind it.”

Does this resonate, even ring out, to others as to me?  Possibly not.  We are all so very different, unique.  I’m reminded of a previous day’s devotion:  “Never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you.”

It occurs to me that, other than prayer, all other people really need from me is an example—that of the enjoyment of each and every detail and duty of my life, and the smile on my face because I have chosen to obey God in “the tiniest detail(s).”

Putting each moment, task, and detail under the protection and blessing of His Love adds up to a beautiful and wondrous life.  A unique life.

A Valentine’s Day Thought or Two

I always get a card for John that makes me cry – it’s the one that reminds me what’s in my heart, way deep under the crud that’s not real, and not really me.

This year, I vow, I will speak much more often like that card.  “A smart girl,” I reason, “should be able to do this.”

So, that thing that I’ve spoken (groused, grumbled, murmured) so often about, and thereby made it a real thing, needs to just go away.  Because experience teaches me that until I put it away, and give it to God entirely, it’s here to stay.  I’m talking about a little thing, because so much of the time it really is the little stuff.

It’s the little bad stuff crowding out the REALLY BIG good stuff.  In my case, it’s like packing my wicker picnic basket with fried chicken, devilled eggs, potato salad, artichoke dip with radishes and celery sticks, plus nut-filled brownies, thermoses of both cold milk and hot coffee, a bottle of Moscato, and taking it all to the river with my lover, and then . . .  letting one mosquito spoil the day.

SMASH THE MOSQUITO!!!!  SAY “NOT JUST ‘NO’, BUT HELL, NO!!!”

How again, does a smart girl smash her mosquitoes?  With her tongue.  I read Proverbs every day, and I read the tongue scriptures out loud, so my smart self can HEAR and BELIEVE and RECEIVE them.  Amen!

Like so:  Proverbs 6:2 – You are snared by the words of your mouth, you are taken by the words of your mouth (not anymore!!!!); 8:9 – All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them; 10:19 – In the multitude of words sin is not lacking; 12:18 – There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health; 13:3 – He who guards his mouth preserves his life (and marriage!), but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction; 15:1 – A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger; 15:28 – The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil; 16:21 (especially for parenting) The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning; 17:18 (perhaps my favorite) Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

I vehemently exhort you to read Proverbs 17 and 18 for yourself, and as I have, highlight each tongue scripture, and then put a big black “T” next to it.  Then in Proverbs 20 we find that “any fool can start a quarrel (verse 3), and let us not forget the squirm-inducing verses 9 and 19 in Chapter 21:  Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman; and, Better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and angry woman.

If that “angry woman” describes you (I think at times it describes all of us), get with God and get free.  “Free indeed” freedom is one of the many treasures Jesus purchased for us on the Cross. (you might begin with singing a little ditty such as, “I’m so free cause it SO aint all about me!”).

Oh, and Happy, Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day.  It’s yours for the saying.