Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Resolutions?

Not me, I make'm and break'm all year. PBPGIFWMY!*

But if you want to make some resolutions, such as try to eat better, work faster and accomplish more goals, I recommend Marla Cilley's wonderful routines that teach how to work smarter, not harder, whether you're a complete slob or just want to spend less time to have a lovely home.

For instance, the most important routine of the day is the Bedtime Routine:

1. Lay out your clothes for tomorrow
2. Take a few minutes for yourself
3. Check your Calendar for Tomorrow's Events
4. Spend 2 minutes clearing off your Hot Spots
5. Shine your sink
6. Wash your face, moisturize, brush your teeth and floss
7. Go to bed at a decent hour

She also divides the house into five zones, one for each week of the month, and advocates fifteen minutes a day cleaning them. No Spring Cleaning necessary, it's all done.... And her service is free. God bless Flylady.

My character, Maggie, was pretty organized until the untimely death of her Navy pilot husband. This followed the death of a cab driver who had been kind to them on their honeymoon. Putting two and two together, she blames herself for both deaths and searches in the wrong places for the powers she needs to restore peace to her life. In spite of a spirit-lifting trip to Paris, her fun-loving self disappears in a dark place, and a man who loves her gives up and makes aliyah--moves to Israel where he learns some atonishing things....

Her name is similar to mine, not as an ego trip, and not because of any similarities with the novel, but because what she and I both learned about the name's original meaning, and the effect it had on our lives. This startling information will be available when an editor picks up my book!

There's a good resolution for some savvy editor!

Happy New Year!

*Please Be Patient, God Isn't Finished With Me Yet!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Fight for our Christmas--Pass it on

Merchants want our Christmas dollars but not our Christmas doctrine. They take our money and trash our beliefs.

Charlie Sheen just blatantly dissed Christmas and Christian with vulgarities on tv. Please click here. The networks would cry political correctness and never allow any other group to be so horribly disrespected.

So, we can make nice and sit home and pray, or we can put feet, or at least, fingers, on our prayers and send in *courteous* complaints to those in charge.

But if we don't speak up, it will be open season on Christians.

And we can pass on this poem I received in email this a.m. It says one thing that isn't true: "Not a Christian is praying or taking a stand." Many are doing just that. Will you?

"The worst evil happens when good men do nothing." Edmund Burke

The Fight Before Christmas

T'was the months before Christmas
When all through our land
Not a Christian was praying or taking a stand
Why the P.C. Police had taken away
The reason for Christmas - no one could say
Children were told by their schools not to sing
About Shepherds, or Wise Men, or Angels and things
It might hurt some feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a "Holiday"
Yet shoppers were ready with cash and with credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it:
Madonna CD's, an X BOX, an I-pod
Something was changing, something quite odd--
Retailers promoting Ramadan, Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda
As Target was hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - nowhere was found
At K-Mart and Staples, at Penny's and Sears
You won't hear about Christmas; it won't touch your ears
"Inclusive," "sensitive," "diversity"
Are words that they use to intimidate me
Now Daschle, Now Dean, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzer
On Boxer, On Clinton, on Kerry, On Rather
To the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, from all public matter
And we spoke not a word, as they dissed to our face,
We're forbidden to speak of salvation and grace
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season was stopped where it started
So, celebrate "Winter Break" beneath your "Dream Tree,"
But while sippin' Starbucks, just listen to me ...
Choose your words wisely, choose what you should say
It's MERRY CHRISTMAS to all ... not Happy Holiday!


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Spiritual (lack of?) Disciplines

I've been thinking about this, and I guess the answer changes over time as I or my needs change. Coming from a mainline denomination, I loved three-hymns-and-an-anthem-type services. And I still love the hymns so much. But I now love the praise and worship I find in some other churches, the freedom to stand up with arms upraised in praise and *affection* to my Creator, Lord and Savior.

In dh's mainline church the other night, I heard the most beautiful new Christmas songs about worshiping. It was very hard for me to sit there and not participate as above. I wouldn't say they weren't worshiping as they sat there, listening, participating with full hearts. But my favorite form of worship is different, now.

(One dictionary gives "affection" as a definition of "reverence." And it's not to get attention, but is based on the scripture, "Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless (make happy) the Lord." Or the last of the Psalms, which even call for dance. Why not?)

Now that we're retired, I love my newest ritual--pour a cup of coffee and get back under the kivvers with coffee and Bible. I go over previous sermon notes, or just freely look through the Word to see what stands out that day. Moreover, I find if I'm in an organized Bible study with daily homework, Beth Moore being a favorite, I see God's hand in my life more than when I'm not. I love to sit there with pen in hand and underline and make notes in the margin. This morning, I learned that Herod was an Edomite. Edom is where the descendants of Esau went. That figures, huh? I visited the capital of Edom--Petra. Fascinating place, featured in my wip.

I find this topic a most interesting study, possibly coming true as we speak: Click here.

Then there's one I'm not very good at, fasting. Derek Prince once wrote that we speak about prayer, we ask for prayer, we rejoice in answers to prayer, we discuss prayer. But we've almost lost a great spiritual weapon, fasting, because we don't talk about doing it. The few times I've been successful at it, I can't even say I've seen direct answers to the prayers I prayed. They were huge, long-range prayers and I haven't seen the answer yet, unless it's "Wait." Or sometimes, fasting and praying for someone's healing, and they were not healed. But I didn't feel ignored for it. And God has His reasons.

"I believe, therefore, I speak." I'm seeing if praying aloud is more effective in my relationship with the Lord than is praying silently. I love the discipline and the lack of "discipline" in prayer, a running conversation with my constant Companion.