Continuing the De-cluttering Journey

Just past Christmas, if memory serves me, I bought a book by Marie Kondo with a sticker on it, “sold over two million copies.” I’m always interested in learning more about tidying up, those words are in the title, and as an author, a book that sells over two million copies is something to note. So I began to read, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.”

It’s a small book, so that didn’t hurt. It’s filled with ideas she’s incorporated in her business of helping others to de-clutter and to enjoy their surroundings and their stuff. I did the first step, and frankly it wasn’t too bad. The next step is one that I don’t look forward to trying, but I’m determined to do so. She includes spirituality in her book that doesn’t mesh with my beliefs, so I did my best to ignore that aspect of her book. I firmly believe Jesus Christ, God the Son; His Father, God; and God the Holy Spirit are the only God to worship. One God, three persons, a great mystery.

If you struggle with too much stuff, she’s gentle in her approach, she’s passionate about the topic, and she gives advice about the benefits of less and the hazards of too much. God gives free choice, so I have chosen to guard my heart after learning about many lifestyles and religions. Christianity measures up, in my opinion. So I skimmed over the different philosophy and tried to take in the mechanical and psychological insights. I’ve been praying for help in this area. My son, Tim visited for Christmas and suddenly I saw him cleaning and organizing the kitchen counter as a surprise. I teared up. That was the first step in the answer to prayer; this book and my first action is the second answer to prayer.

God answers prayer. Thank you, God. Thank you, Marie Kondo for your insights.

Suicide – the Great Deception

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

I saw my doctor for a routine check-up and I told her I’d been to the hardest funeral the day before, a suicide of a young person. She said they are altogether too common, and this young doctor dropped her head.

The funeral on Sunday broke my heart. The tightly held tears wracked my body for this precious girl and her family. Jesus said in John 10:10 that “the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come to give life and that abundantly.”

We are in a spiritual battle and God, the creator of the universe, invites us to fight for life and righteousness through prayer and loving Him and others, and witnessing. He gives his children free will to choose Him or to choose Satan’s course, a life rejecting God and going our own way.

From what I’ve read in the Bible, Satan relishes his hatred of mankind and uses his influence to cause havoc around the world. He hates people because we are made in the image and likeness of God, Who kicked Satan out of heaven for wanting to take God’s place, as found in Isaiah 14:12.

I remember thinking of suicide in college because the thought of it kept hitting my brain. When I mentioned it to my boyfriend, now my husband of nearly 40 years, he said, “Why would anyone think of suicide?”

I told him I would never do that. But Satan wants people to kill themselves. He is a liar and a thief. I don’t know how many suicide victims make it to heaven, it depends on their belief in Jesus Christ and their repentant heart. I prayed long and hard that none of the people at that funeral would succumb to the well-meaning phrases of the pastor.

He called her death a tragedy twice in the midst of a long eulogy extolling the wonders of heaven and God’s incredible love. As this beautiful, 28 year old daughter lay in her coffin, her mom and dad poured out memories as they tried to keep their woundedness at bay. The dad did better than the mom. As her mom told us of the ignored text, “Please, please, don’t do it,” her daughter chose to end the gift of life from God above, and her mom bawled as she ended her talk.

Her first-born and only daughter will never text her again, listen to advice or offer her mom insight and hope that young people often impart back to their parents.

I can’t help but cry as I write this because I knew her as a baby, I’ve been close friends with her grandmother for years, I saw her as a college graduate with a degree fashioned so she could help others. I witnessed the pain of her loved ones.

I’m sad. I’m mad. America embraces a culture of death when God’s plans, as stated in Jeremiah 29:11-13, are for a future, a hope, peace, a life filled with a relationship with God.

I shopped for infant wear last month and skipped racks of clothes with skulls on them in a local department store, which I found appalling.

“Dear God, protect our young people from suicide, I pray. May they know Your love and protection and hope and guidance, I ask, in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.”

To Fear or Not to Fear, That is the Question

I am working on a novel proposal, and I told my primary physician that I would get it sent out by January 12. For those of you aware of the calendar, that is not very far away. 🙂 She wants to read it when it comes out, she tells me. An article comes out tomorrow in “Live” Magazine and that did not invoke near the fear that the proposal writing did this past week. Maybe because it’s smaller and a story I’ve wanted to tell for a long time. I’m thrilled, that’s for sure.

I’ve gone to the library twice this week, because I don’t get as sidetracked there. I noticed the last time I was there, when fear hit that I needed to acknowledge it, say a quick prayer and then ignore it. Then I typed on. So today I re-wrote my beginning of Chapter One four times. I will do it two more times when I’m done here, that’s the plan. I’ve been working through a book by David Fessenden entitled, Writing the Christian Nonfiction Book: Concept to Contract. He published it through SONFIRE MEDIA in 2011. That’s one piece of advice he gives for an essay, plus writing six different endings. I actually liked the fourth beginning the best, so far. I figure if it’s good for nonfiction, it’s good for fiction. He talks of re-writing as part of the process.

At Montrose Christian Writers Conference in the summer, Cec Murphey chose my first chapter to dissect ( a few sentences of it, I should say), along with other writers’ first sentences, and he found a few places he thought needed editing. He is an expert, as well. So, I am listening.

Fear may be a part of life, and sometimes it’s a necessary part of life. It may save our lives, if we take heed. It can also steal life from us if it overpowers us. My daughter told me Jesus says “Do not fear,” often. Although, God told people the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge and the fear of God is the beginning of understanding in the book of Proverbs and in Psalms.

I choose to fear God and try my best not to fear change and opportunities and life. How do you conquer fear?