What is Normal?

I am re-writing my novel, and I decided to write the protagonists’ normal lifestyle. Living in a world of movies and videos, I’ve heard the beginning needs to capture the reader as soon as possible.

I want action and suspense, but I don’t want to go overboard. I’ve been visiting family this week, so I didn’t choose to write. I did get to see two high action films and read part of Ivanhoe to my grandson. I finished it quietly because he didn’t seem to notice and I was thinking some of the scenes were a bit much for a seven year old. He assured me they were not. LOL.

We watched the films as the young ones slept. From what I’ve read, violent films and video games produce a cathartic effect for adults, but it increases violent actions in youngsters. Whenever I see a dad with a son about six years old at a super hero show, I want to approach him and tell him the statistics. I don’t. Once, I turned my head away from a particularly gruesome fight scene and there was the little guy, doing the same. Smart kid.

As a mom, if we attended a movie and didn’t realize the violence they were going to show, I told my children not to look. If temptation got the better of them, I wouldn’t hesitate to cover their eyes if they were within reach. Oh, they loved that, especially the boys. What can I say? I cared more about protecting them than making sure that they liked me.

We use “Plugged In” now with Focus on the Family. Back in the day, we had to rely on newspaper movie reviewers or my sister, the movie expert. Last month, I goofed even having read Plugged In. I gave more credence to the number of plugs than the words they used to describe the movie. My husband fell asleep and I suffered through. I’ve read their reviews more times than I can count and this is the first time I was sorry. I should have prayed about it.

The only other film I really resented seeing was “Noah” last year. That was so blasphemous I thought, they really don’t worry about what God thinks at all. What a shame. As loving and kind and merciful as God is, He is still a righteous Judge. I didn’t check Plugged In because a Christian source that I deemed trustworthy recommended it. I won’t listen to that source again.

Well, anyway. I’m glad to be home. I had four messages on the phone that my husband didn’t think warranted immediate action. So, I’ll call a couple of the business people back tomorrow. Life will go on.

I found my glasses last night. On the table, next to my sleeping spot, right where they should have been. Sometimes I just don’t see things. LOL. It was better we stayed put. My grandson woke up with a bad headache. I keep finding over and over again lately that God’s delays work out for my good and the good of others. He really does have my back if I ask Him to, according to many experiences over the years. I hope you are well.

 

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Finding

 

Maybe two weeks ago I hunted for a verse. Tonight I got watching a Netflix program about Jesus’ sayings in the gospel of John.  I check these out with a Bible at hand because the Jehovah Witnesses have changed the Word of God and I don’t know who the producer is.

The verse I hunted for was John 2: 24 and 25. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. (NKJV)

I don’t remember if I was commenting on someone’s blog; I do believe that was it. Looking through concordances and Bible search engines on a Bible online, I couldn’t find it. I asked God to help me find it and then I let it go. Tonight, there it was! I love answers to prayer, even little requests.

I’m done hunting tonight. I swung over to see my grandchildren and found them not feeling so hot. Tonight, the middle one started spiking a fever. So, I’m going to go to bed early so I don’t catch anything. I haven’t been over the flu all that long. It’s a low grade fever, so I measured out some acetaminophen for children. Hopefully, it will stem the tide. I’m praying it’ll be a very light sickness. And that I don’t catch it. lol

God knows what He has in mind for me, but I know that if I ignore healthy practices I’m not treating this temple of the Holy Spirit in the manner that pleases Him. Jesus calls His children temples’ of the Holy Spirit, not I.  So much worth finding out about in the Word of God. Take care!

Easter Dinner Tomorrow – I Hope

Hi! I keep putting off Easter Dinner, waiting for the time when the kids are free and the hubby is available. Now, it looks as though maybe just one or two of the kids are coming over, maybe the husband will be around and a handful of grandchildren.

 

Do you ever make plans and see them float downstream? I’ve been hearing from my spouse, and reminding myself, God’s got this. Lots of things are going in a direction I’m almost sure is the wrong way. Then, since I have no control over any of the results or the decisions leading to the results, I’ve decided to let go. Let what’s going to happen, happen. Then, sit back and watch what God has in mind.

I may have already written that last week or a little more than that, the keys to my car were with my husband in another town. I had a dr.s appointment and I called them to cancel. When I arrived at a later appointment I ran into two people I know. One I prayed for, the other I talked to, and then a little girl barely old enough to walk was there. Cute as can be, with a virus that she couldn’t shake. So, even though the parent didn’t know  it, I also asked God to intervene for her.

I thought, maybe that’s why my appointment got changed. For those people. To see a different physician’s assistant who’s about ready to retire at the end of her day, when she’s not stressing to get me out before the next patient. Maybe she wouldn’t be that way, but I don’t know. I told her ladies at my Bible study sat around a table and said she was going to be missed. Maybe she needed a word of encouragement. Another thing I don’t know for sure.

All I do know is that when I rest in God’s control over my life and this world, I have lots more peace than when I keep my hands knotted on the ship’s wheel.

When I was driving my little car in the wind today in NYS, I was thinking, “Jesus, take the wheel,” like the Carrie Underwood song’s lyrics. I took a tree lined route to avoid wind without any barriers on an expressway.

Driving along,I got thinking, if we have a delayed Easter dinner tomorrow, so be it. If it falls apart, there’s always another day. “Your will be done, Lord.”

Rejoicing in Life!

Today is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it! Psalm 118:24. Tomorrow is Resurrection Sunday! Really worth rejoicing over.

I went to a wedding today and saw celebration and fun.

I interacted with a grandnephew on a deeper level. I think the last time I saw him, he was tiny. Now, he’s five years old and practiced mastering his knife and fork at the reception.

He snuck tiny cubes of cantaloupe and carrot sticks off my plate with the ease of a master thief. When I went back to the hors d’oeuvre table I took extra carrots and cantaloupe to accommodate his small hands.

His grandma laughed and said he helped himself to their plates at home habitually. A thought came to mind, at five he’ll be entering kindergarten. I can’t picture other children offering their fruit and veggies to this little fellow unless he charms them like he’s charmed the adults.

Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Helping oneself to food off a new aunt’s plate is one thing at a tender age.

Imagine him at thirteen, meeting another person at a meal. It’s not so cute to see a youngster of that age lifting a crunchy carrot without permission off a relatives’plate right after introductions.

“Excuse me? Get yourself a plate,” is the most likely response.

Children learn lessons at home and if not there, life steps up and teaches us, sometimes the hard way.

I didn’t want to tell him to keep his fingers off my plate, just like his grandma. Deep inside I knew it’ll come up some day. He’ll find out he’s not the center of the universe before long.

We all do. It’s a good lesson learned. I’m just glad he’s not my responsibility to correct. Such a cute kid.

Speaking as Well as I Write

When I told my husband I was going to blog tonight I had no idea his comments would provide the basis for my thoughts.

Sometimes when I talk to him, he’ll say, “I thought you were a writer.”

I know the man loves me and wants what’s best for me, and he likes to kid me as well. So tonight when I told him I always put the horse before the cart, Craig told me that’s the correct way for the line up – horse before the cart. We both laughed.

I admitted I wanted to match make for someone I care about and I told Craig I was not going to do that. I don’t know exactly how I said it, but he had to clarify it to understand. “I had not match maked. I was not going to match make.”

“I will not match make.”

“Better,” he said. “Clearer.”

See, there is one problem with writing for communication. There’s always the need to re-write. I know this deep in my bones. So, I can’t really say, but I wonder if I speak now with less thought because I’ve been programming myself for years to just get the words out and worry about editing them later. As a sanguine, that’s my propensity anyhow. Man, I could be in big trouble.

Although, I have to admit that I ask God to guard my heart. I ask Him to guard my tongue. I ask God to help me not to say things I shouldn’t say, just to be perfectly clear. Like He needs that. lol

I’m always aware of words whenever I have surgery. I pray, please don’t let me embarrass myself when I’m out of it.

Once, an anesthesiologist told me I didn’t like it when I was under. I asked him, “Why, what did I say?”

He wouldn’t tell me. I remember seeing lights and a ceiling and I was moving forward and up and I was telling God I wasn’t ready to go. Not that I knew for certain that I was dying. I started telling God I still had stuff to do here. So, maybe that’s what he heard.

I don’t know and I’ll never know, or so it seems. I don’t remember ever seeing an anesthesiologist more than once, except for that time.

How’s your communication. Do you speak clearly? Do you have close family or friends that will tell you you’re not coming across in an understandable manner. I like my husband to read my writing because I trust his judgment, but he doesn’t like to do that for me. Maybe he doesn’t want to hurt my feelings. Maybe he hates editing. I don’t know. But I don’t push it much. Hey, I didn’t marry him to be my editor. That never crossed my mind.

Blessed Are the Merciful

Mat 5:7 (TLV) “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.”

 

Jesus speaks of mercy, a subject He and the Father know well.

After I pondered this verse, then I read Mary’s praise of God in Luke chapter one to her cousin, Elizabeth in the King James Version of the Bible:

Luk 1:46  And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

Luk 1:47  And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

Luk 1:48  For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

Luk 1:49  For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.

Luk 1:50  And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

Luk 1:51  He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

Luk 1:52  He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.

Luk 1:53  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.

Luk 1:54  He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;

Luk 1:55  As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

Mercy is a pardon when I deserve a punishment. Kind of like grace, I think. Grace is undeserved merit. So, since Jesus is merciful to us, He wants us to be merciful to others. He took on our punishment so we’d be okay in the Father’s eyes. He wants us to be kind and forgive others, merciful.

As we sow, so shall we reap, it says in Galatians.

Gal_6:7 (KJV) says: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Gal_6:8  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Gal_6:9  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

It’s not easy to be kind and merciful and forgiving when others are being just the opposite, but if we ask Jesus to help us, we can do it. It makes our world a better place, and others may come to Christ if they see us obeying God’s commandments. I know I’ll never be perfect this side of heaven, but when I seek to obey Jesus, He gives me joy.

I remember being really mad at my children and deciding I would not punish at the moment so the punishment was not overly harsh. When it came time to punish, I’d be apt to take them on my lap and explain why I was so mad. Then when I felt they understood, I’d say, “Don’t do that again!”

It took me a while to learn how to discipline. I learned a lot over the years and wish I’d learned sooner rather than later. Thank God that He is all knowing and there is no learning curve with God’s parenting skills. There’s a song out that says, “He’s a good, good Father…It’s Who You are…And I’m loved by You, it’s who I am, it’s who I am…”

I love that song, sung by Chris Tomlin. I’ve also heard it sung by Casting Crowns, excellent as well.

Our merciful, loving God, perfect, absolutely perfect!

Beatitudes Continued

Mat 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Mat 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Mat 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

I love how Jesus spoke in the Beatitudes. We are blessed when we hunger and thirst after righteousness. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get less hungry and less thirsty for God and then I wonder: “What am I filling up with that has nothing to do with God?” Sometimes the flesh rises up and gets in the way of the Spirit. Or the enemy causes distractions and confusion.

We have to be on our guard. 1Peter_5:8 (KJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

The idea of wanting to be righteous or in right standing with God goes against my selfish grain in the first place. I feel like I can’t do a thing without God, even be interested in Him, unless I ask for His help. I know that’s Scriptural, but sometimes it doesn’t hit me unless I really think about it.

Paul tells the Greeks in the book of Acts: Act 17:24 (TLV) The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by hands.
Act 17:25 Nor is He served by human hands, as if He needed anything, since He Himself gives to everyone life and breath and all things.
Act 17:26 From one He made every nation of men to live on the face of the earth, having set appointed times and the boundaries of their territory.
Act 17:27 They were to search for Him, and perhaps grope around for Him and find Him. Yet He is not far from each one of us,
Act 17:28 for ‘In Him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His offspring.’
Act 17:29 Since we are His offspring, we ought not to suppose the Deity is like gold or silver or stone, an engraved image of human art and imagination.
Act 17:30 Although God overlooked the periods of ignorance, now He commands everyone everywhere to repent.
Act 17:31 For He has set a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness, through a Man whom He has appointed. He has brought forth evidence of this to all men, by raising Him from the dead.”

Such heavy stuff in the Word of God. I ask God to teach me from His Word because there is so much to it! These last verses remind me of Jesus’ crucifixion and Him being raised from the dead, which we’ll celebrate in America on Sunday in many churches.

I don ‘t seem to get very far with  the Beatitudes. Just one at a time in these blogs.

The verse saying to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto us,” is in Matt. 6:33. That refers to physical necessities.

That corresponds with Jesus saying we’ll be filled if we hunger and thirst after righteousness in Matt. 5:6. Although I’ve always thought here it means we’ll be filled with His Spirit so we don’t feel empty inside.

Of course, God cares about the whole person, not just fragmented parts. Be blessed as you seek God and His righteousness. If you’re not sure what hungering and thirsting for righteousness actually means, ask God to show you. He waits to interact with us, according to Revelation 3:20.

Rev 3:20 (TLV) :Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

Be Blessed!

 

 

Beatitudes for Today?

Matthew 5:5 (KJV) Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Mat 5:6  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Mat 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Mat 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Mat 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

I’m so torn over what I want to write about. My husband starts his sermons with Scripture because he tells us that if we fall asleep, we heard the best part. So, since I really wanted to continue with the Beatitudes, I’ll start here.

If I have time I’ll mention book three in the Heirs of Acadia series by T. Davis and Isabella Bunn which I’m a quarter of the way through. The characters are living in times of turmoil and spiritual persecution. Does that sound familiar?

In Matthew 5:5, Jesus, God Who became man, Who spoke what the Father told Him to say, (John 17:8) said that we are blessed when we are meek. Meek does not mean weak. Meek means humble. Jesus Himself was very humble.

Php 2:5 (KJV) tells us to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Php 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Jesus amazes me.

Then there is Moses.

Moses humility is apparent in these verses:

Exodus 6:29 (KJV): That the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I am the LORD: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say unto thee.
Exo 6:30 And Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?

Jesus and Moses led men and women because of the will of God. Both men were self-sacrificing and they both sought God for wisdom.

Can we do any less?

My prayers go out to those in Brussels and to the families of all involved in today’s terrorist attack.

How I need to be humble and seek God with all that I’ve got within me. He wants better for humanity which was made in His image. “Lord, help us!”

Math and Writing and Weather

 

My husband the part-time math teacher is watching Algebra videos so he can learn the new arithmetic before he teaches it to his class. So, I’m learning if you have license plates with three letters and then four numbers the equation is 26 to the third power times 10 to the fourth power together – twenty six for the letters in the alphabet, ten for the digits 0-9.

So, 26 x 26 x 26 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 to get the possible number of varieties of license plate numbers which was supposed to come to over one hundred seventy-five million plates. Yowza. One hundred seventy five million seven hundred sixty thousand plates, to be exact.

I like learning math now that I’m not being tested for a grade.

I went to the library for a chance to write and to pick up a few library books I had on hold. I stayed a while because our furnace stopped working this first day of Spring with more snow than we’ve had most of the winter, although it didn’t stick. My husband called a furnace technician, so he worked on the furnace while I worked on typing the revision to my novel.

A couple of weeks ago we had no snow with temps around zero degrees F, so I wasn’t complaining about the temperature hitting 30 degrees. It was even supposed to go up some. I wrote and paid a bill and talked to a friend and read my Bible and then called my husband who said it was done. I went home to do more housework.

I’m playing catch up after being sick and I’m still tiring easily. My oldest daughter told me not to overdo it and then relapse in my recovery. I smiled.  “You know better than that,” I told her.

Although when I was young, I often pushed myself to exhaustion. So, I’m blogging after having just changed the linens. I washed linens and disinfected one spot of the house today. This morning, I swept and threw things away after starting the laundry. I washed dishes and did the library stuff. Now, I am exhausted, except blogging is easy on my health.

Last time, I think I mentioned I was reading a writing book by Sol Stein entitled, How to Grow a Novel: The Most Common Mistakes Writers Make and How to Overcome Them, Copyright 1999, published by St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY. I notice when things are outdated and then just ignore those points. I figure some writing tips are universal and there’s a lot of wisdom in this book.

His exercise that made me laugh when I tried it was to pick one body part of mine and write about it as Elia Kazan did for his autobiography. Kazan chose his face. I chose my baby toe. Who knows, maybe a character will use it one day, as Stein suggests or it may end up in my autobiography, if I ever get brave enough to write it.

I like writing books that suggest the perspective author stop a bit and write. That’s the point, isn’t it, to improve the craft?

Well, if you’re a writer and you’re stretching your brain with something that’s not language related, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I used to believe I’d never be able to learn math. That was a lie. As I conquered some math, it increased my confidence. Not a bad thing. I don’t spend much time on math.

I spend most of my learning time on the craft of writing and on discovering more about God and His interests. After all, those are things I’m passionate about.