I reluctantly admit I am the female version of Oscar of Felix and Oscar (The Odd Couple)
I am a very visual person and need my plans for the day where I can see them. At times those towering stacks include recipes/recipe books, items to mail, writing ideas, things to do, and more.
Yesterday I was in a whirlwind. I’d had my list of to-dos stacked up on the table again and Mister was bemoaning the offense, when the phone rang. Long missed missionary friends were in the area and would stop over later that afternoon if we were available. Gladly we’d make ourselves available!
Racing around together, Mr. Neat started on his most important goal – vacuuming. I on the other hand, do last things first, so I began making a pot of soup for a light dinner. We began to get in one-another’s way. I asked (ok ordered) him to leave the papers until I got back, and dashed off to the store for a missing ingredient and a dessert.
I quickly found the items and ran for the car. It was raining lightly and a wind was picking up.
Parked behind my car was a small and obviously well used hybrid and next to the car, with a few papers in his hand was a very tall, very big man. I felt God’s nudge to ask the man about his car.
Now? I still have to get home, finish the soup and take care of those papers.
But…I’ve learned if I don’t obey I will feel the loss of an opportunity, so I asked, “How do you like that hybrid?” Next thing you know Robert began opening the hood of the dented and beat-up car and showing me things I knew nothing about but that led to some interesting conversation. When he told me originally, when he bought the car cheaply from someone who couldn’t get much for it on trade in, he planned to fix and resell it. But when he learned about the Prius, he began to value what was under the hood. God gave me the idea to liken that experience to getting to know one another and appreciating the value that is often hidden at first glance. We talked about how many people look at one another the way we might look at his life-banged-up car, and don’t immediately see the value.
We had some great conversation including Robert confirming that he was confident we’d meet again in heaven. Robert held up the papers I’d noticed in his hand that had been flying about the parking lot. It only took a minute, he said, to pick up a few and leave this place a little neater. This conversation was like that, he explained… Shouldn’t we all be leaving each place, each person a little better?
“Don’t say anything that would hurt another person. Instead, speak only what is good so that you can give help wherever it is needed. That way, what you say will help those who hear you.” (Ephesians 4:29 – God’s Word)
Turns out Robert is a new believer, and when I ran to the car in the rain, he came over and knocked on the window. Hey, he said, I think God set up our meeting with the car and everything. Would you pray for me, and I will pray for you?
I was so glad I obeyed the nudge.
Yes, I was rushed when I got home, and yes, I hid all those papers in the closet and my Hubby praised all the wood that was exposed by its absence.
But yes we praised God even more for the reminder to slow down, look around (and under the hood) and see what we can say or do to leave encouragement wherever we go.
Is your life filled, too, with piles of to-do urgent things in the middle of the little details of life?
Do we know what’s under the hood or are we so busy running to and fro that we miss a God-sent mission?
It’s an amazing and most unusual deal. The builder is doing everything – choosing the place, designing and building the home, outfitting every detail with our personal needs and desires in mind, selecting and creating the landscaping that promises to be more beautiful than I can even imagine, and even assuring us a setting with compatible neighbors. If that wasn’t enough, He is PAYING FOR EVERYTHING!!!
Sound fantastic or fictitious? Wondering if I got an email from a Nigerian prince?
No worries – it’s not that – Our builder has a worldwide reputation for building from scratch, and personalized renovation stories that get me more excited than if I won a home makeover from the Property Brothers or Chip and Joanna Gaines!
Honest— it’s better than either of those choices.
It’s real. I got an inheritance!
1Pet. 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
Eph. 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance…
Eph. 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
Eph. 1:19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
The more I examine the facts about Heaven, and the more excited I get. Just like home here, it’s not as much what it looks like but WHO is there that makes my spirits soar.
God gave us one mouth and two ears so we would listen more than speaking – but really, we should listen with our whole bodies.
You know you can tell when someone is listening (or not listening) to you – so why do we convince ourselves that others cannot tell when our mind is wandering? To actively listen, we use more than just our ears!
Our brain – Evaluate words – it helps you focus. Are you listening and repeating in your mind what you understand the person to be saying or are you planning a response or an exit to the conversation?
Our eyes – Look at their expression, their posture, their body language. When you listen to someone and their eyes are looking anywhere but at you. It’s a sad and disrespected feeling. Let’s not let anyone else feel that way. Live out what you long for– if you’ve ever had someone brighten when you walked in a room, you know the warm feeling to have that soul greeting “Bright eyes gladden the heart” – Proverbs 15:30.
Let my body actions tell them I am listening – I hear you. Face the person talking, put down your cellphone, or the book you were reading, or turn off the television. They will feel valued and you will also teach by example how to honor others.
I can show I am listening with my words – clarify what I think I heard and give the other person the opportunity to clarify what they meant. Tell them I will try to repeat what they said to make sure you are understanding, then restate their response in my own words as briefly as possible.
Proverbs 10:19 –When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise
Facial expression can convey your sincerity. I might raise my eyebrows and ask is that what you meant – giving the person the opportunity to qualify with a yes or no so we can continue the conversation.
Actions can value differences while calmly using word pictures to explain feelings. One example is a wife who feels unvalued when husband misses their dinners frequently with business meetings and tells her about the nice dinners and might even bring her leftovers. When she explained to him it felt like his business associates were steak to him and she was leftover pizza he got the picture.
The same conversation will sound and feel differently from each personality type perspective. Do your relationships a favor and study their personality type (and yours) so you both can better relate to each other, and understand what their bodies actions are really saying.
The Wired That Way personality test can be found at that site.
4 Animals Personality Test
If Only …by Scott Morton (an excerpt shared with permission)
As I sat at my desk that day, I realized I was angry.
It was a familiar feeling. I argued a lot. Not face to face, but mentally. Usually with people from the past. This was the pattern of my life. Every five or six weeks, I’d find myself in a rough of discouragement for two or three days. Grumpy. Moody. Unable to sleep. There had to be a reason.
So, despite the pressing deadlines of the work on my desk, I went to a favorite place to reflect on my lack of joy. Scott shares details of his decision to give up the opportunity to play professional baseball, and how he daydreamed what if…
Out of desperation that day, he turned to the Bible…. and ended up doing an in-depth study of regret. Over those months he discovered some practical insights for dealing with regret – the joylessness that comes when you focus on what might have been:
Identify the source of your regret.
Regret is precipitated by disappointment. Some Biblical examples of tragedy and treachery causing regret are
Naomi – Following the death of her husband and sons Naomi was left with knowledge of never having children or grandchildren or a provider. Widows without family could expect only poverty. She was so distraught she changed her name to Mara (Bitter).
Scott was also disappointed –by himself. He wondered despite a successful ministry, if his career move made in haste caused him to miss the will of God.
All three incidences of regret were stirred up by a disappointment.
From his study Scott found when he was feeling grumpy and angry he can stop and identify the source of regret by reviewing any disappointments from the day.
Those disappointments he found “can become a breeding ground for regret unless specifically identified and surrendered to the Lord. Until then, no amount of pep talks, Sunday sermons, or days off will lift the heaviness.
Scott’s resolution to this challenge was to invite “Scott the hasty decisionmaker” to sit across the table. He named the regretted decisions, and forgave himself for hasty decisions, foolish sins and lack of self-control he’d displayed.
Don’t rehash the past
Mental arguments of how life would have been different if only do no good. They only keep me, he said, feeling sorry for myself
Trust God’s Sovereignty. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Joseph made that statement (Genesis 50:20) to the brothers who threw him into a pit and then sold him to a band of gypsies heading for Egypt. He was able to see a greater purpose behind his hard times, and was therefore able to say “it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Gen. 45:8)
Sometimes our regret centers around a sinful choice. Whether tragedy, tyranny relationships, jobs, parenting or our physical body, we all have regrets.
Though God continually confirmed his calling to His service, Scott admitted, ‘I still had days of defeat when regret wells up inside.’ But suppose it was a mistake. I could still rest in the assurance that God would not abandon me to the results of my failure.
Nothing in all creation – not our bad decisions or the results of others’ failings in our lives will be able to separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:39) or from His loving purposes for us.
Let us put away the past “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” – Philippians 3:13 – lookng forward to how our sovereign God will work in our lives.
What disappointments have you experienced this week, month, or year? If you can see a pattern of disappointment turning to regret, go back as far as necessary to identify the specific disappointment that keeps you discontent with your life.
Following the steps of forgiving yourself, refusing to rehash the past, and trusting in God’s sovereignty, can you use a ‘bigger picture” for your life? What possible larger arena could God be moving you into?
Scott Morton served with the Navigators in collegiate and community ministry before becoming director of Donor Development at the Navigators U.S. headquarters. He and his wife, Alma, have three children.
Scott Morton played a crucial role in Ken’s and my discipleship as young believers. We are continually faithful for the foundation of understanding, studying, applying and sharing God’s Word he and the Navigators provided.
Webster’s dictionary – to cause to be in a state of confusion : upset, disorient.
Vocabulary.com says – Discombobulate is a fun, fancy word for “confuse.” If something has put you in a state where you don’t know up from down and you can’t spell your own name, you may be discombobulated.
In other words – weary. So weary that you are tempted to lose heart.
If you are a mom, you know this state well. If you are a woman who has experienced PMS, Menopause, or both, you know this state VERY well J
Jet lag: extreme tiredness and other physical effects felt by a person after a long flight across several time zones.
I thought it was clever when I saw a news article including a picture from Mitchel Field Airport and it’s unique RE-combobulated area. Apparently if you are in a state of exhaustion and confusion from travel, Mitchel Field has a place that will help you get combobulated again – in other words, bring renewed clarity and energy to you in your every day travel.
How does this relate to us spiritually?
When I am over-tired, over-inundated, over-stimulated
When I am under-rested, under-prayed, under-hydrated
My health is unbalanced, leaving me in danger of being discombobulated.
It’s time to take a deep breath and assess life balances I can do something about”
Hydration – set a timer if needed to drink water
Rest – set a limit of computer time, and create a bridge to rest (for me it is reading)
Stimulation/Activity – learn to say yes and no.
YES – to some physical action daily – walking, stairs, stationery bicycle, elliptical, rebounder – something. Daily.
NO – To unreasonable demands. Set boundaries that include a mandate of rest and refreshment.
NO to call anytime – Set work hours for do-not-call (other than life-or-death emergency) work-at-home (If I don’t respect my work as work, why should I expect others to?)
And finally – Remember Elijah
He forgot about the afterglow from a mission. God showed up in power and might and answered prayer in a larger way than Elijah had imagined.
Yet, because he forgot to ask for or plan for emotional recuperation God had to meet him at the edge of the cliff, so to speak, and bring in reinforcements to hydrate, rest, and revive his spirit.
Perhaps you are or recently have been on a mission assignment from God. Did you remember to plan for (or to ask for) post-mission refreshment? If not, do it now. Set aside at least some hours, or a whole day if possible. Use the day to read, pray, hydrate, build up your strength with healthy foods and at least a few minutes of exercise (and double those minutes of rest even if you cannot sleep).
That’s my day tomorrow. Preparing for the next race which means building up strength and removing all encumbrances
Hebrews 12:1-3 Let us also lay aside every encumbrance…
Heb. 12:2 …fixing our eyes on Jesus, …
Heb. 12:3 … so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
My Dear Hubby and I completed our ongoing discussion about pruning today. It started about 5 years ago when he pruned the two abundantly fruitful peach trees in our yard after they blossomed. Both trees were so insulted they never bore fruit again. Wife freaked out, but recovered and forgave. Then he pruned the apple tree, which was not very fruitful. Smaller freak-out from the wife that time. Ordered a book on how to prune a small fruit tree. Changed her mind that he maybe shouldn’t read that book and hid it. Bought and planted two new peach trees. Oddly enough last summer both trees were loaded with quarter-size peaches one day and the next day every one was gone – none on the ground, none bitten into. Would a squirrel have done that? Better to have angst transferred to a squirrel than to husband who does everything else beautifully.
Found the book today and he pruned the two new peach trees. I haven’t looked yet – will look tomorrow. The reason I didn’t go out and look today was I got to thinking about pruning and when word thoughts pop up, I start hunting in the scriptures for instructions so I can react better than I have in the past.
Tomorrow has come and I inspected the trees – it was painful, but I hope, will be beneficial in the long run. I thought, tree, you are a lot like me. I too need a lot of pruning. Lots of branches need to be cut back (like diet, procrastination, running on emotion, etc). I found there are several applicable parables and advice in the Bible about pruning.
Not that kind of pruning… couldn’t resist. The most well known verses are about the vine.
The Vine and the Branches
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Because I was in Israel I can picture somewhat where they were walking as he told this story. We know from other passages they walked through peak season (lush vineyards) of the Kidron Valley on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane and Jesus used this scenery to teach about pruning. Imagine their thoughts as they heard the story. My first thought would be oh, no – what have I missed. I’ve accepted the call to follow Christ and trust Him to care for us. Likely it was that type of insecurity that prompted Jesus to comfort them (and me, and you, later) that we are already clean and ready for useful service (verse 3). But then he wanted to take them (and me, and you) further and closer.
What a comfort that must have been to know they weren’t about to be disciplined. Instead they were being taught about bearing more fruit and putting God before ourselves! That is what I pray for (don’t we all) and then when I find out it could hurt (I mean look at the chunks that were lopped off our little tree! It’s scary, and natural to hesitate unless we remember the huge benefits of pruning from other experiences in our past walk with Christ.
As I looked at the branches that were pruned, I thought yes, I want the sunlight (SON-LIGHT) to get into my heart to enable me to bring about the abundance He wants, but I want relief too because let’s be honest, pruning brings discomfort and deep self-evaluation.
So I went back in the house asking God for help because my natural self avoids discomfort. I pondered, which do I want more – the lack of discomfort or the deeper walk, the increased fruit and John 10:10- the abundance of life Jesus wants for me…
I thought about the story of the vine and branches again and thanked God for what this season was not – that it was not discipline like the Corinthians needed, and it was not being sifted as Job and Peter experienced. Have you ever done that – thanked God for what a situation was not? I was glad I did it, because it made my next chore a great example. I had to remove dead leaves from the peace plant, so the new buds inside could receive more sunlight!
What a Great God to give me so many confirmations that He is working in me to make me more fruitful for Him.
We’re all experiencing changes during the pandemic quarantine. I’m wondering if my changes mean I am becoming my own grandma!
I’d just begun avoiding salt. That meant ordering some staples like pizza sauce with no salt in quantity. In summer I purchase fresh, blanch and freeze. This summer I may, depending on situation find a recipe I like and make my own tomato puree/pizza sauce
– EVALUATING what I should use up first (just had a beet, sour cream and cranberry balsamic salad and creamy chicken rice soup is in the fridge for dinner). P.S. the beet salad may sound weird but it was yummy! I’ll definitely make that again.
It’s amazing what you can find when looking for recipes using artichoke spread! (bought for a party that might not happen for quite some time but now sounds possible on a Keto pizza crust and topped with some leftover chicken bits)
1 cup sugar = 1/2 cup applesauce.
1 cup butter = 1 cup mashed avocado (good in chocolate brownies etc)
Butter/oil/margarine = equal parts of either unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana (for baking)
1 egg = 1 tbsp. chia seeds + 3 tbsp. water –grind in a spice mill – (or flax seed and mix in blender)
Curious me measured the amount of water that usually goes down the drain waiting for warm water for washing self or dishes (about 1/3 gallon!). I now catch that with a gallon jug and add a few PH drops to make the water alkaline (lower in salt and better for me). Then I go to that water first for soup, etc.
Admittedly I am still training my husband that sitting in my specially indicated reading chair indicates I am either in private discussion with the Lord or working by reviewing material. J Honest. And if (cross that out I mean when) I get through all these books I have another 70 or so in the bedroom and more coming in the mail, which I’ll need to read first. It’s a warm sunny spot that I appreciate. Hard to focus when shivering.
Are a few minutes of devotions profitable? Check out https://www.navigators.org/resource/daily-quiet-time/
I know I certainly need daily devotions, but I also realize things are more challenging with the fluidity of time in a quarantine – as well as more tempting to do it later.
I encourage you to grab that minute with God no matter how busy your schedule looks – you will be glad you did. I know I am.
And yes, I know I posted the first thing last. I usually like to confirm how much I am a last things first person – making sure the last things I want done at the end of the day are first on my list. So yes, the devotions should come first, and yes, I posted it at the end on purpose because if anything will make our day start—and end— better, it’s a few minutes with the Lord! And if you will remember anything from this post it is likely to be the last thing I wrote!
So- if you didn’t have a quiet time yet today, please do it now, then take a look at the Grandma things I’m doing lately and let me know if you’ve got some things to add to my list – I’m always ready to learn.
Our Prussian Grandma Minnie said their people tend to live off of nature, and are very frugal. At the end of the week rolled dough was a good way to fancy up bits of whatever was left over and she often chopped or ground it up and spread on a thin dough, sometimes served with gravy. Her rolled dough held jelly for breakfast, ground meats for savory breads and my favorite, the sweetened fillings of walnuts or poppy-seeds I still make on purpose J
The filled bread’s original name, Potica, meant rolled up. The next generation nicknamed it Roly-Poly because to feed her family of 16, Grandma’s original recipe produced two huge long roly-poly (chubby) rolls equal to six loaves of bread! The traditional bread took much of the day to mix, knead, rise and roll out before baking. Lots of time to pray and to thank God for the abundance from left-over bits, Grandma said.
Philippians 4:9 – What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you
Grandma taught by example much as the disciples did and her next generations continued abundance appreciation by making weekend baked potatoes topped with the weeks meal remnants, saving all our change for an ice cream date, and appreciating a long wait anywhere as a prayer opportunity.
Wait a minute – what was that last one? Grandma’s bread baking taught me that having to wait is an unexpected form of abundance! If we have to wait for too-much time for a light to change, the person ahead of us to make up their mind, a machine to work so we can complete our transaction, and so on, we’ve been given a gift! Next time it happens, look up and look around you and see who is next to you, in front or behind you and pray they will appreciate all the abundances in their lives, or ask God how we can cheerfully show patience as we wait for the fruit of our endeavors to come to fruition. That process is similar to Grandma’s baking routine:
Mix – Accept all the ingredients in our life right now as God’s recipe for growth
Knead – Work those life ingredients together with a prayer of patience, and hope
Rise – patiently ask God to show you how to turn what you have into an abundance
Roll – use what you have to create something new
Then thank God for the heat of your situation and ask what have I learned from it?
Practice that outcome with others — it is, after all, what you and God have created
What have I learned and received that I can put into practice today?
Recipe for Walnut-Raisin filling.
I have the privilege to know Jodie Wolfe, Author and wearer of many hats, including friend (though we’ve yet to meet in person). I’m excited about Jodie’s new book, Taming Julia because it has me chuckling about a new bride who is more clueless than I was. Come, meet my new friend, and hear about a story you will enjoy. Please feel free to leave a comment for Jodie or me. One name from the commenters will be drawn for a FREE kindle copy of Jodie’s book Taming Julia!
Jodie, Please tell my friends a little about yourself.
Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and COMPEL Training. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She’s a contributor and co-founder of Stitches Thru Time blog. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at http://www.jodiewolfe.com.
What qualities do you look for in a hero and heroine?
One of the things I really work at with each of my hero and heroines is some kind of quirk that makes them distinctive. My characters have quirks because I do, and chances are, you do too. 🙂 God designed us uniquely different.
Tell us about your new book.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery’s sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation’s ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy.
Jules Walker strides into Drew’s life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle–more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she’s not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is.
Apart from writing, what is your favorite creative outlet?
I really enjoy knitting. Currently I’m working on a polar bear sweater for one of my granddaughters.
Do you have a favorite scene in your newest release?
I especially like the opening scene:
Matrimony News, February 6, 1875 edition
Minister bachelor aged 27, height 5 feet 10 inches seeks genteel, honest and first-rate homemaker with a desire to serve God. Must be willing to marry by proxy and arrive in Burrton Springs, Kansas by May 1.
Burrton Springs, Kansas, Saturday, May 1, 1875
Dear Lord, please don’t let that creature be my new wife. Drew Montgomery swiped the sweat trickling a path down his neck and shoved the new hat back on his head. He squinted, taking in the lone passenger stepping from the stagecoach. At least, he thought it was a woman. He shielded his eyes from the sun, taking in the britches.
Britches? A gun belt strapped to a slim waist. He gulped. A rifle rested on her shoulder, and she wore a Stetson situated low on her brow. The figure shifted sideways, and Drew groaned, fearing his proxy mail-order bride had arrived by the look of all the curves. He squared his shoulders and crossed the street.
“Are you Montgomery?” Her coffee-brown gaze seared through him.
He snapped his gaping mouth shut and nodded. “Y-yes.”
“Name’s Jules Walker.” She shoved her hand into his and shook it so hard his teeth clattered. “I reckon, Jules Montgomery since we’re hitched.” She waved a slip of paper in his face. “Got the paper here to prove it. So are you my husband or not?”
Drew caught a whiff of dirt. He coughed and cleared his throat.
She peered at him as if he were a chicken with one leg.
“I’m Drew.” He managed to choke the words out. “Isn’t your name Julia?”
She scrunched her face, pushed her Stetson from her head, and allowed it to dangle from the string around her neck. Her brown hair scattered in disarray, slipping from a shoulder-length braid. “I can’t remember the last time I’ve been called Julia. Like I said, name’s Jules.”
“But…” Drew let the word hang between them. No matter. “Where’re your things?”
“Got my knapsack and that there.” She pointed to the top of the stagecoach. He expected to see a trunk, but a saddle rested there instead. What kind of woman brought a saddle into a marriage? What kind of woman showed up dressed like a man? No. No. Something was terribly wrong.
What do you plan to work on next?
I’m actually working on two stories. One is set in the town where I went to college and deals with the subject of belonging. That one’s called Hannah’s Quest. I’m also working on book two in my Burrton Brides Series. Jules decides to return the favor be searching for a bride for her brother. I’m still playing with the title for that story, but it might end up being either Wooing Annie or Protecting Annie.
Where can readers connect with you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jodie-Wolfe/e/B01EAWOHXO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Where can readers find your book?
Purchase Links for Taming Julia:
Thank you Jodie! Readers, don’t forget to leave contact info where to send your kindle, should you be the winner.