Marriage for Life, Uhuh

My youngest daughter stopped over to the house today. She does that on occasion and I took advantage of her company by asking her to lift a heavy bag for me to move to another location because I pulled some muscles in my back over the weekend and they’re still a little touchy. She had an agenda as well. “Do you want to spend some time talking about the marriage book you want to write? Do you still want me to collaborate with you?”

We spent a few hours shaping our ideas. She read my synopsis while I wrote a letter to a publisher explaining who we are and what our perspective is. I figure we might as well have a publisher on board if we can interest one, because why write a book if they want a different slant.

Cute Married couple fall photo shoot! 2013 | Photo shoot | Pinterest ...(photo from :http://ts2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.BJ8qz4_CIX9mBktgl7ZJhQDGEs&pid=15.1&w=77&h=116&p=0 )

It will be a richer book with her input because she wants to address issues people in younger generations are dealing with, and when she asked for advice from her parents and other couples, some almost seventy years old, they gave her a blank look. With all the years of wisdom accumulated, they hadn’t run into some of the issues she’s dealt with and others are facing.

We’ll see if God wants this project to go forward. We plan on praying our way through it.

I hope this finds you well and able to sit up easily and type without pain. It’s amazing how I take my health for granted. I’m grateful for a fairly rapid recovery.

By the way, if you’re married, there are lots of good reasons to stick together if you and your spouse aren’t sure at the moment. Of course, when there is abuse, I always tell folks to separate until the abuse stops through a changed heart and new, healthy behaviors have become the norm.

May God bless you!

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13 Year Anniversary

Our Ladies Bible study celebrated their 13 year anniversary today. It’s actually two days from now, but we meet on Wednesdays.

We’ve been getting new people lately and I love how our group welcomes visitors. Occasionally, I jump too soon into giving a book away and the person never returns.

The latest person, a young college student, rearranged her classes so she could attend today.

She is going to memorize the worship songs and bring her guitar on Sunday with permission from the leader.

I sought out a stranger in town today and found out she’s this young girl’s mother. They both have the sweetest smiles and joy in their hearts for the Lord.

One never knows what a day will bring. Since I gave away our last spare book to someone that may not come back, I’ll ask this young person if she wants our Unglued tome by Lysa TerKeurst.

My husband said since we’re almost done and if she doesn’t need the help that book gives, she may not want Unglued.

I’ll ask her on Sunday. I’m going to try and remember to bring in a zucchini plant as well. Her mom thanked me for the cherry tomato plant one of the ladies gave her daughter.

So delighted over a plant, it sparked the thought, I have four zucchini plants and a small space set aside for a garden.

I offered her a zucchini plant and she smiled with such delight, it gave me a warm feeling inside.

No wonder the Lord tells us to be thankful. It’s good for our attitude and I imagine it gives Him joy to be appreciated.

Occasionally people scam other people – strangers or friends may steal. My dad determined in his heart whenever he lent money to hope for repayment but not to expect it. That way it didn’t get in the way of relationship.

With the way the world is going, we have chances to forgive people daily – even those we haven’t met in person.                                                              (photo from http://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A0LEVvRSUSZZpR8ADktjmolQ;_ylu=X3oDMTBsa3ZzMnBvBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkAw–?_adv_prop=image&fr=goodsearch-yhsif&sz=all&va=praying#id=251&iurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.womensetapart.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F11%2Fbigstock-Praying-African-American-Teen-47553724.jpg&action=click)

So, we opened our Bible study in prayer, as usual, but we included people we don’t know whose names or home cities were in the news. We prayed for victims and families of deceased victims and for perpetrators and we prayed evil ones would repent and get saved and stop hurting people. Then we remembered our loving, just, all-powerful God before we shared favorite Scriptures.

A little later we celebrated 13 years of Bible studies and prayed for a continuation for as many more years as the Lord allows. Praise His name!

May God bless you.

Not Giving Up

Have you ever been desperate? Tossed restlessly at night instead of sleeping? Plotted and planned but hindered at every step of the way?

I’ve been reading in the book of Luke lately and Jesus tells parables, stories, so people can grasp a truth.

In Luke 18, the desperate person is a widow. She appealed to a judge. Women in Jesus’ day needed a husband or a son to survive, or a brother would do. This widow goes to a judge over and over again to receive justice. She has no benefactor and her persistence appears to be never ending.

The judge doesn’t fear God or man, but the lady keeps showing up asking for favor in her case.

“To keep from being worn out” the judge mutters to himself, “I’m going to rule on her behalf.”

Jesus tells us our heavenly Father will avenge His chosen ones speedily, which cry out day and night. Jesus asks though, “When the Son of God returns will I find faith on the earth?”

“Please let there be faith on the earth, Lord!”

I’ve been writing for decades now. I understand perseverance. I also understand feeling desperate at times. I’ve plotted and planned and then found nothing I could do would help. Then I began to earnestly pray and I’ve seen many answers to prayer over the years: healings, financial needs met, loved ones protected from harm, relationships restored and other things too, like peace to replace anxiety.

Have you seen answers to prayer that could not have been a coincidence? I sure have. It’s worth not giving up.

God bless!

Writers Helping Writers

I went to the home of a writer tonight. She told us that before she submits an article she goes over it 25 times. She may go over punctuation first, check formatting second, and then read for clarity third, etc. She focuses on one thing at a time.

I wrote about a cleaning product in the article for tonight and I had the bottle say something. We laughed as we pictured an inanimate item give directions.

The hostess is gracious yet she keeps us on course. If one of us brings a long piece and it takes almost 15 minutes to read it, then she asks the group if they have the time to extend that person’s critiquing turn. We are allotted 15 minutes each.

(photo from http://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view)

If we’re not in agreement, then we’d probably make quick notes on the copy and not have any chance for discussion. I imagine she’d have us move on to the next person’s writing.

It’s amazing how much gets done in one and a half hours. We spoke about blogging, marketing, editor’s expectations, The Chicago Manual of Style, speaking opportunities and writers’ conferences.

It’s a Christian group so we pray before starting. Once we begin, we say what we like and what we think needs changing.

At the end, the leader set up another meeting and said, “I’m so glad we can laugh at our mistakes.”

Earlier she told us as we laughed that she wasn’t laughing at me, but at the situation, which I knew. It didn’t hurt to hear that, though. Clarity is important. She, too, wrote a sentence that included a wrong word order that ended up clouding the meaning of the sentence.

That’s why it’s so important to let writing set a few days so the author can look at it with fresh eyes. Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury with this blog.

As a writer I hope to pen words that glorify God, encourage people, entertain or teach depending on the genre I’m working on at the moment.

I remember knocking on the door at my friend’s house. When she answered, music drifted out and the lyrics lifted my spirits. When I mentioned this to another mom, she said, “My teenagers tell me the words to their songs don’t affect them, I guess you just proved them wrong.”

I look forward to returning to the author’s home for our next critiquing session, although I have to admit I was a little nervous.

I wasn’t sure what they would think of my article. I’m glad they liked it. I hope to get it published.

I put Scriptures in it, such as Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”

Yet, I hope it reaches a wide market.

May God bless you.

2 Kings

I started reading 2 Kings yesterday and it occurred to me that God asks what do you want in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Was it because of where I was reading that I felt as if God asked me what did I want today? Whatever the reason, I did ponder that question.

If the God of the universe is asking me what I want as He asked Solomon and as Jesus asked the two blind men calling him from the side of the road in Matthew 20: 30-34, then it’s worth serious consideration.

What would you ask God for if you thought He was asking, “What do you want?”

Would you ask for healing for the short amount of time we have on this earth compared to all of eternity? Would you ask for a mate to marry and then possibly have children with that mate if you’re in child-bearing years? Would you ask for a better job? Would you ask for wisdom or riches? Would you ask for a skill to better the world for all of mankind? Would you ask for help in a faltering relationship? How about asking for social justice?

When Elijah neared the end of his life, his protégé Elisha stayed close by him even when Elijah tried to get him to leave. Finally, before the chariot from heaven came to collect Elijah, he asked his apprentice what he wanted from him. He wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. After the request was granted, stories of God’s power in the hands of Elisha got me thinking of the wondrous nature of God.

God removed poison from the pot of stew, He restored the life of a young boy, He allowed Elisha to call down a curse on a large group of young men that mocked Elisha and two mother bears came and attacked 42 of the boys.

I’ve heard that story before and it never occurred to me that that number of young men was a sizable group. I wouldn’t want to meet up with a gang that size and them looking for trouble.

Also, in the Jewish culture, respect for parents was part of their law. Lev 20:9, (CEV):  If you curse your father or mother, you will be put to death, and it will be your own fault.

Honoring elders was a part of their culture, so for them to mock Elisha showed a lack of morals. In addition, if they knew he was a prophet, then the offense would have been worse.

I love reading the Bible, yet in the book of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, it shows the kings of Israel and sometimes Judah, turning from God to false gods and what a mess that results from that choice. The Moabites worshiped Molech and they threw their children into the fire as a human sacrifice. God abhors that and the penalty for that in Leviticus 20:2 is stoning of the offenders.

I know God sometimes asks us what we want, but how often do we ask God what He wants? I don’t know about you, but I don’t ask often enough.

May God bless you.

Walk It Out

Psalm 25:4-5 (NKJV): Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all day.

I began my day in a strange way today, thinking of the future with tears in my eyes as I pictured a sad probability. As I sat with my Bible and opened it to read, the first thing I saw was Psalm 23: 4b-6, (NKJV): I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Before I sat down to be with God, my youngest texted me. Mom, I have an idea for your blog on organizing/decluttering today: “If you haven’t used it in 6 or more months, get rid of it! Even if you really don’t want to.  It will help you break past emotional, materialistic issues.”

Most experts say if you haven’t used it in a year, etc. Some say to put the stuff in a box or bag, store it away and in a year if you’ve never gone near it, don’t open it! Give it to your favorite charity or sell it.

I got thinking of all the things I’ve held onto and I almost panicked. “Dear God, help  me.”

So I sat down to my cleared kitchen table – “Thank You, Jesus for the changes You are gently encouraging me to make.”

I read beyond Psalm 23. Psalm 24: 3-5 (NKJV) says: “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol. Nor sworn deceitfully.

He shall receive blessing from the Lord, And righteousness from the God of his salvation.”

“Is that my problem? Are things an idol to me, Lord?”

So, I speak the words, “I repent, Lord, I truly repent.”

Now for His grace to walk it out.

Be blessed my friends.

Disappearances

My husband called to see if I could find a necessary receipt to prove we’d paid for something. Then I got online so I could let the agency know we’d paid. I looked at the clock and two hours had slipped away.

I went to the library today and got rewarded with a dark chocolate candy today because I “got caught” reading. While my friend dished out the sweet morsel, she got serious. I waited a moment and then she said, “*Marcy passed away at the end of April.”

“I’m so sorry to hear your mom is gone. I loved your mom.”

“Me, too,” she said.

I’m invited to her memorial service at the place where her mom worked because she loved it there and it seemed appropriate to her daughter and Marcy’s  boss is all for it. They had a lot in common.

Later in the day I did some typing for someone and the last time I worked, I put the info from the flash drive onto my computer. I thought, I don’t really need to do that, but there’s no harm in it and I think I have lots of room on the hard drive to save it.

Tonight I decided to type for at least an hour and when I searched for the thumb drive it was gone. I didn’t search high and wide because I didn’t want to waste time, but I couldn’t believe it wasn’t where I normally store it. After I post this, I’ll look slowly and thoroughly and if my husband is up I’ll ask him to check. He’s been known to find things that are in plain sight that I’ve not been able to see when it was right in front of me.

Sometimes I get ideas to do things that don’t make perfect sense to me and then I realize that it saved me stress and I thank God that I did that.

Well, I need to cut this short because I’m busier than normal because I prayed for work and God answered that prayer the very next day. Now, I have a commitment to do the work.

Speaking of commitments, I usually attend a Bible study on Fridays, but my husband’s cousin who has been sick for a long time now, gave up the fight and he’s no longer with us. I’d like to attend the funeral. I guess I’ll have to see if someone is willing to fill in for me on short notice or I’ll have to stay home and send my condolences with my husband.

A friend of mine tried to find me once and I was missing from all the normal places I might have been. Finally, I was able to answer her voice mail. She said, “I thought you got raptured and I missed out on it.”

I laughed and told her I was pretty sure if I got raptured, she would too. If there truly is a Rapture, when it occurs, there’s going to be lots of folks disappearing.

At the second coming of Christ, Jesus said to be aware and to be ready, for He is going to return like a thief in the night in Matthew, chapter 24.

May God bless you!

* Not her real name

Making Things New

 

I looked at the bulletin board over my desk and saw the Scripture verse, Isaiah 43:18-19, (KJV), which says, “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

I started my computer today to get onto the internet, and the first offering said my Windows license has been corrupted and taken, if I remember correctly and that my computer will shut down every few moments. I need to contact my service provider. The search engine refused to open. My computer expert son told me it may be time to buy a new computer or take it to the computer repair guy in town. “It sounds like it’s a virus.”

I called my husband to give him the bad news. He asked me to close it up and re-start it. I did and it still didn’t work. When he got home, he tried to get online and chose another of the headings to open the search engine company and it wanted his e-mail and other stuff, so he closed out and tried another heading. I asked why he didn’t choose the first one in line, like I did but he didn’t want to. The second time it worked perfectly and I was able to continue using my computer.

In the meanwhile, I was praying, “Dear God, please fix my computer; please let it work.”

I had to go to the library to use their computer because I’m doing some stuff for a client. I’d been in earlier and almost brought my work with me to use theirs at that time. I just figure it’s easier to work at home. If I had, I would have gotten more done.

Anyway, I felt relieved that I didn’t have to hop in the car and drive all that way to the store early in my day. I have a lot to do tomorrow already. Plus, I hope to get a few more years out of this computer.

Why did the verse in Isaiah speak to me tonight? I guess that last part about God making a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert fit my thinking about the computer. What I thought was infected or soon to be dead, suddenly came to life and I was able to work for the client. I hope to get an early start tomorrow before the scheduled events of the day. I’m grateful that God watches over me.

I think I’ll avoid the one new site I visited last night that may have caused my computer glitch. I have antivirus stuff and malware protection on this machine, so maybe it’s just a fluke. All I know is that in Romans 8:28, God says He causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.

Since the imposed wait came along, I relaxed with my husband for a short amount of time and then got the dishes done.

I hope this finds you well. May God bless you and keep you from harm.

 

Noises

I planned to blog earlier tonight, but my computer informed me it was beginning updates until it reached 35 thousand something. So, I left the room and picked up the Kindle my son gave me a few Christmases ago and it began to update itself. So, I put it down and decided to clean the kitchen for a bit. Now I’m back at the computer and I visited someone’s site that liked one of my posts and I heard a terrible sound so I quickly exited their site.

It reminded me of an enemy of a duck stepping on it as it lay down and the quirky duck sound from characters in cartoons filled my ears until I clicked on the x button as soon as I could.

Then I immediately prayed for God to protect this computer. There are times in life when a noise occurs that I know means trouble. Unusual grinding noises in my car cause automatic reflexes – foot on the brake, eyes scanning the dashboard for warning lights and little icons that mean something if I can find it in the car manufacturer’s instruction book hidden away in the glove compartment.

At one of the various jobs I held, my boss’s shoes clickety- clacked towards me on the tile floor at an accelerated pace. Then she’d open a drawer and start pawing through things and I’d do my best to escape from the narrow passageway as she grumbled about not being able to find …

After she released pent up anger or frustration, I’d hear the drawer slam and her shoes moving slower and with daintier steps away and I’d re-appear to wait on customers. I used to thank Jesus that she was not my mother and pray for her children and all of her employees. I ended up leaving that job for a different opportunity and my friends told me she became easier to work for after a little while. Who knows what stress people live with that we know nothing about?

Yesterday my daughter came over to the house for much of the day. She brought a nineteen month old boy she and her husband are caring for quite a bit to help out his mom. I’m teaching him how to race down a hallway with all the doors shut and no barriers to stumble over. When we get back to the living room, he lets out a delighted laugh and turns back to the entryway to start over. I point out my toe and hold him back as I say, “Ready? On your mark, get set, Go!”

Off we run with him in the lead. As he beats me, he gives me a high five and then he tries to say the word, “Ready” which comes out like, “Rery.”

That’s a noise I like to hear. He has a hearty laugh that gets me laughing right alongside of him.

I hope this finds you well. May God bless you!

We’re All Unique

Over the years I’ve noticed married couples and how they interact. Every couple is unique in their own way. One of the sayings in Proverbs gets me thinking every time I read it:

Proverbs 30:18, (KJV):  There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:

Pro 30:19  The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

(photo from images search yahoo.com, for married couples)

We visited a couple in their eighties and nineties, she and he respectively and she asked how we came to meet and date. Then I asked how they met and when did she know he wanted to go out with her. He glowed when he spoke about her and told us he has a good wife. She worked in a small restaurant and he kept coming in for coffee. One night she got stranded there and was trying to come up with a way to get home. He offered to give her a ride and she didn’t feel comfortable with that until her co-worker vouched for his character. Since she trusted her co-worker, she accepted his offer and the rest is history. 🙂

At a marriage enhancement group of some sort, many years ago, we attended because I convinced my husband that we should go. He told me we were okay, but I felt there’s always room for growth. He’s a nice guy, so we went. We wrote in notebooks about our feelings and what can I say, I’m a writer. I would have about a page and a half for each category; he would have about three sentences. Then we had to exchange our notebooks and talk about them. For him, this was akin to torture. By the end of the weekend, I felt sorry for him.

I’ve shared here before that he and I see the world differently. He’s opposite me in lots of ways. Even our upbringing wasn’t the same, although we both came from parents that loved us and worked hard to provide for us and we learned to work for a living, too.

He was brought up in a rural town, and I grew up in a city. He’s athletic, I’m not. His parents didn’t attend church. We went every Sunday and for the first eight years of school I attended a religious school. He got straight A’s in school, not I. Well, there are other areas of differing interests, but I’ll stop here.

I think what helps our marriage is our willingness to step into each other’s world. If he wants to watch basketball, I’ll watch for a while. I may even watch the entire game and enjoy it. When he wants to watch some kind of wrestling match or no-holds- barred Eastern world fighting, I may notice for about twenty seconds and then I leave the room. I’ll get busy doing something I want to do and then later he’ll look for me and we’ll do something together. He started watching a series on television about a Canadian Mounty and a schoolteacher falling in love based on stories set in the early 1900’s and he now likes it. The occasional catching of criminals and the horses appeal to him more than the relationship stuff, I’m sure.

We agree on the major things in life. We both love God and pray for others to know how much God loves them. We view money and the use of it pretty much the same. Sometimes we compromise if there’s a limited amount and we both want something at the same time. He’ll get what he wants this time, and I’ll get what I want the next time, or vice-versa. It usually works out. We talk about financial disagreements when we’re not exhausted and cranky.

Our differences balance us out when we listen to each other. Every marriage has ups and downs, but I learned over the years to give him space when he needed it. If I needed to confront him over something, I usually prayed beforehand and I waited for the right time to bring it up. When he ran into problems at work, I didn’t talk that day. I didn’t wait too long, but I wanted us both well rested and less stressed when I brought up a touchy subject.

My aunt and uncle told me the secret to their successful marriage was the respect they showed each other. As an older adult, she decided to go to college. She told him he had to keep up with her on the learning curve so they didn’t grow apart. He agreed to, so they talked about the new concepts she encountered. She actually ended up becoming a college professor for less than ten years if memory serves me, and it didn’t seem to hinder their relationship.

One time we stopped for ice cream at a roadside stand and she told him to choose the flavor for her. He tried to get her to pick the kind she liked the best. When he came out carrying a cone without her favorite ice cream, she pouted and frankly I don’t think he even noticed. She got over it soon enough, but I thought, my mom wouldn’t have tried to get my dad to figure out her choice.

We’re all unique and interact differently. She was an only child and they never had children, so she liked to be pampered once in a while. She didn’t demand a lot, but I suppose like all of us, once in a while she was selfish.

She kept a tidy home, worked outside the home and sewed clothes and doll clothes for us – her nieces. She was like a second mom to us, my brothers and sisters.

May God bless you. If you’re married, it’s worth it to work at your relationship for your sake and the sake of the many people that know you and care about you. I’ve heard it said that divorce is worse than losing your spouse due to death.

When I consider things from my husband’s point of view and we communicate clearly and kindly, things go better at our house. He’s good to me, too. He tries to understand where I’m coming from. We’re all works in progress is what I figure.

Do you have some ideas for solidifying a marriage that I didn’t mention that are appropriate for any audience? I’d love to hear from you.