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!

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.

Love is Success, Success is Love

I appreciate Grant Cardone because so much of what he wrote in The 10X Rule applies to success in the most important thing of all: family. “Pretend,” he writes, “you’re being recorded as a model by which your children and grandchildren will learn how to succeed in life.”

If you’ve read this blog for very long, you know I define success a little differently than most people–something like, “Success is being free from the approval of others, from the tyranny of selfishness. Success is being a homemaker.” It can also be being a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker, as long as in that role we are also the one who doesn’t pass by on the other side when we see the opportunity to give, the opportunity to sacrifice.

(I must pause here to say you don’t impress God when all your giving is done outside your family, and all you have left for them is impatience and unkindness. And judgment.)

Back to sacrifice–WE ARE MADE FOR IT! What story is better than that of the Good Samaritan who “took pity” on the half dead man? I’ll tell you one that is as good, but first a word about the Good Samaritan. He was on his way to somewhere and it was not in his plan, on his calendar, or convenient for him to stop. He was likely a man of affairs and means, as evidenced by his leaving the man at the inn, promising to be back, and promising to pay any and all costs. The innkeeper trusted him and I think that was because people who take the time to help others at great inconvenience to themselves–people who sacrifice–are trusted.

Now for another good story: Once upon a time there were scores and scores of women who “took pity” on their husbands and children, and cared for them, without access to success gurus, social media, nannies, new SUVs or throw-away diapers. They had to lean on the Helper, the One Who (if we will let Him) sticks closer than a brother.

In making such sacrifices they raised children also willing to sacrifice. They were rich inside.

We are created in the image of the God of Sacrifice, and apart from a life of sacrifice, we cannot ever be whole.

This is not a call to return to the “good old days” of twelve diapers and no washing machine, or of no central heating and running water, or having nowhere to go if married to a brute. In America, because of the sacrifices of those who came before us, we live in such a lovely world as regarding physical conveniences and social supports, but not one so lovely when it comes to sacrifice.

It’s time to not only be willing to sacrifice and give, but to be on the lookout for opportunities for doing so. And if you have the immeasurable privilege of having people living in your own house for whom you can sacrfice, it’s time to give thanks, not complaints. Just remember this when the doubts and self-pity come in like a flood: your reward is guaranteed, even if not immediately seen.

If you don’t believe me, read the New Testament. If you don’t believe that, you’re doomed–to the misery of a life without sacrifice.

The Opportunity Cost of Running and Hiding

I wanted John to take me away, to distract me from my wretched selfish self, but there were pesky things like roofers coming, a tow truck on its way to haul the tractor in for a new engine, the windshield man coming to put a new windshield in John’s truck, and I don’t remember what all else. I didn’t get my way, whaaaaaaaaah!

I didn’t get my way,

So it’s come to this–time to pray.

Not getting what I asked for

Life is such a bore.

Artist’s pages reveal

The thief is here to steal.

He’s taught me well to doubt

It’s time to kick him out.

——————————-

I hope you will forgive and bear with my rhyming fun. What I meant by “Artist’s pages reveal” was that when I began to journal (Julia Cameron calls it writing “artist’s pages” in The Artist’s Way) I saw what the enemy (John 10:10 says he comes to steal, kill, and destroy) was up to, and where I was giving him access.

I just so happened to have, lying next to me on the couch, I Never Learned to Doubt by Jesse Duplantis. Yes, I realized, I am doubting, and it’s making me miserable and a misery. I did some heavy duty repenting and heart-cleansing, some delving deep into my heart attitudes and among other things I came up with this: I am not to run and hide from the misery of doubt. I am to root it out!

If John would have taken me out for breakfast it would have been quite expensive–the opportunity cost of doing the one thing (often what we think we need and certainly what we want) is what we miss via that choice. I would have missed a heart-cleansing, a joy refreshing, a time with the One who heals me.

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.

This Prayer I Keep Praying – Merry Christmas to Me!

I opened an e-mail from Dr. Carol this morning, knowing she always come through for me, but today she went above and beyond ( www.drcarolministries.com. Or you could also include the direct link: https://www.drcarolministries.com/christmas-prayer-for-your-marriage/

I’m going to share the prayer and suggest you do as I did: Pray it through aloud, and then pray it again as though it’s a done deal. I’ll share the prayer and then illustrate. Now, here’s Dr. Carol:

A Christmas Prayer for your Marriage

Choosing a gift for your spouse at Christmas can sometimes be frustrating. That may seem even more difficult this year as 2020 has disrupted everything. But much more than physical gifts, your spouse needs you. A prayer for your marriage would be just the thing to help you there. 

Every marriage has challenges, and it’s not easy to stay focused when the stress builds. That’s a big reason why praying for your own heart, your spouse, and your marriage is so helpful.

Let this prayer set your mind and heart in the right place.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the gift You have given me in my spouse. My vision is so often clouded by their failures and weaknesses that I forget to treasure who they are to me. Forgive me for taking them for granted. You’ve entrusted me with the privilege of caring for my spouse’s heart in a way no one else can, and I thank You for that honor. Fill me again with Your love for my spouse.

I ask You to bless me with special vision to see my spouse as You see them. Let me value them in the same way You do. Forgive me for trying to make my spouse into the person I want them to be. Help me to see the work You are doing in their life, and to support that work in any way I can. Let me rejoice in every step my spouse takes in becoming the person You have created them to be.

Give me an understanding and open heart to truly hear what my spouse wishes to communicate. When faced with a conflict let me reserve judgement until I fully understand. Give me the courage and wisdom to stick around through difficult conversations, and to always work toward not what is best for me, but what is best for our marriage.

Let me see frustrations and conflict between us as opportunities to understand better, and to offer my own character to You for any necessary changes. Show me who You need me to be in this season of our marriage. I give You permission to change me into the person You need me to be to my spouse. Use me in my spouse’s life in any way you can. I invite Your Holy Spirit to have full sway in my own heart and in my spouse’s heart.

Dear Lord, be the glue that holds us together. Surround our marriage and home with Your Divine protection from all that the enemy would do to drive us apart. Break down the walls between us, and show me whatever I can do to help that happen. Deepen the intimacy between us. Bring us closer together and closer to You at the same time.

I ask You to fulfill the purpose You have for our union. Heal us where we need healing. Change us where we need changing. Fill our marriage and home with Your Divine presence, peace, and joy. As you love us, may we continue to learn ever more how to love well. Continue making our marriage into a demonstration of the love You are and wish all marriages to know. 

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Perhaps you will want to share this prayer with your spouse, and pray it over each other.

My prayer for you this Christmas is that God bless you with His understanding, healing, courage, and wisdom you need in order to love well.

Your Turn: What gift from your heart are you going to bless your spouse with this Christmas?

__________________________________________

OK, that was all Dr. Carol, and here’s a sample of what I did (I’m sharing because it was SOOOO powerful). After praying the prayer, I went back and prayed as though it was a done deal. Like this: “Thank you, Father, that I don’t take John for granted, and for the privilege of caring for his heart . . . thank You for the treasure he is . . . thank You that I have an understanding and open heart to hear what my spouse wishes to communicate . . . thank You that I see John as You see him . . .”

Merry Christmas to me!

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.

Wednesday, April 10 at 8:00 am – Yay! for the Homefront Show

https://1360khnc.com/ is where it’s at!

Lots about marriage, and from the star of my book, The Maker’s Marriage.  That’s so – John Parker will be short and to the point today, and it’s a point I for one can’t hear too often.

As usual, I have all kinds of goodies for my dearly beloved listeners, so make a cuppa and prepare for a blessing today on the Homefront Show.

Thanks,

Bev