We’re Having Turkey for Thanksgiving


Not exactly what I meant, but…okay.

With Thanksgiving just three days away, like most of us, I’m reflecting upon what I’m thankful for this year—my wonderful family, our health, all of you who read my blog,praying hands folded finishing novel #1 and starting novel #2, my church, friends, and most of all, my big God and his gift of salvation.

And, on November 23rd, as we bask in our blessings and the warmth of family and friends, I’d like to impart some of the Thanksgiving wisdom I’ve learned over the years:

Hug and kiss your family and friends, and not just when they arrive and leave.

Invite a lonely church member, neighbor, or friend to share Thanksgiving with your family. And when they ask if they can bring something, for heaven’s sakes, say “Yes!”

Count your blessings but not the calories–this is not a day to diet!

pumpkin-pie-1041330_960_720Snitch a piece of crisp skin while the turkey’s being carved. Yum!

Say yes to gravy and butter.

Add whipped cream to your pumpkin pie.

Watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and enjoy feeling like a kid again. (Normally, I would add “watch a football game,” especially since the Detroit Lions play every Thanksgiving afternoon. But, since I’ve had it up to here with the disrespect the players and league show our veterans and active service members, this year I’m altering my suggestion.)

Don’t freak out over spills.spill

If you’re hosting,  spent time with your guests and leave the dishes unwashed until everyone goes home.

Take a nap.

This Thanksgiving, my prayer for you, my readers, is that your table would overflow with God’s bountiful blessings and…

Hang on. Mr. Turkey wants to add one more thought to the above list:

Don’t gobble your food.thanksgiving dinner

Leave a comment with your Thanksgiving suggestions. I’d love to hear from you!

From Mr. Turkey and myself, Happy Thanksgiving! God bless you!

SIGNATURE FOR POSTS

On Our Knees—Praying for Our Children’s Future Spouses

IMG_4102Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. And I have to say—my husband, Bruce, deserves a medal for putting up with me for twenty-nine years.

Or at least a red 1968 Corvette.

When I think about meeting my husband at college, I am so grateful to our big God for his grace and mercy. His grace—for bringing a good man into my life.

And his mercy—for bringing a Christian man into my life when I too young and stupid to care all that much if he was a Christian.

Although I grew up in a Christian home, I never gave much thought to the Bible’sdating teaching about being unequally yoked. In high school, I dated boys who were cute and fun without caring whether they had a relationship with God.

When I was a freshman at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, being a Christian finally made my perfect-college-guy list. But, I’m ashamed to admit, it ranked somewhere near the bottom. And it certainly never even dawned on me to pray for a Christian spouse. Of course, since Grove City is a Christian college, my chances of dating a Godly man were better than at a secular school. But, even at Grove City, many students were there for the excellent education and beautiful campus and had little interest in their faith.

And because being a Christian wasn’t my most important qualification for a future husband, I could have dated, fallen in love with, and possibly even married a man who wasn’t a Christian.

I still shudder when I think about it.

But, instead, God brought Bruce into my life. A Christian man who He knew would be a loving husband, wonderful father, and most importantly, a faithful follower of our Lord.

So, like I said, I often think about why God brought Bruce into my life at a time when I wasn’t even praying for a Christian man. And I’ve come to this conclusion—someone a lot wiser than I was praying for me and for Bruce.

praying handsActually, someones. I believe God was answering the prayers of our parents.

I know that Bruce’s parents prayed that he would find a Christian spouse. Both strong, committed Christians, they spent time on their knees asking God to give their son wisdom and guidance when choosing a lifelong partner.

As for my parents, they also wanted me to chose a Christian who would love the Lord and love their daughter. My father, a man with a quiet and deep love for his Lord, welcomed Bruce with warm acceptance the first time I brought him home. And it gave me joy to see his growing contentment and peace as Bruce and I dated, became engaged, and finally married.

My mother also loved Jesus with all her heart. Although I was never able to ask her if she prayed for my future spouse—she died of Leukemia right after my sophomore year in college—I have no doubt that she put my life in God’s hands and trusted him to bring a Christian man into my life.

The power of a parent praying for future Christian spouses for their children cannot be underestimated. And it’s never too early to start praying for our kids’ eventual prayingpartners in life. In this day and age, when young Christian men and women are harderpraying on your knees and harder to find, make no mistake about it—it will take an act of God for our children to find Christian people to marry. We need to be interceding for our children, asking God to guide them to men and women after his own heart.

Parents, it’s imperative that we get on our knees, pronto. The spouses our sons and daughters choose will have eternal ramifications for their faith, their children’s faith, and so on, throughout the generations. I am the perfect example of the power of that prayer.

So, on my anniversary, I want to say—thank you, parents, for your prayers.

Thank you, Bruce, for your love and unwavering faithfulness—for me and for God.

And to my big God—thank you for your everlasting love, for answered prayer, and for the gift of a man after your own heart.

Happy Anniversary, Bruce. I love you.

SIGNATURE FOR POSTS

Oh, What a Riot—I’m on a Diet

IMG_3849I’m on a diet. Again.

Sound familiar?

These days, the question isn’t, “Are you on a diet?”—it’s, “What diet are you on?” Everyone seems to be trying to eat healthier or lose weight, and doing so in different ways: eating small meals, fasting, high-protein, liquids only, no meat, no dairy, no carbs, no fats, no gluten—

No fun. Whoever said the first three letters in “diet” is “die” certainly had that right.IMG_3923

I don’t like broadcasting the fact that I’m dieting, but inevitably, when I’m at my neighborhood church group or Bible study or out to dinner with friends, someone offers me a fattening dessert or snack, and I fess up. The usual response is, “Why are you on a diet? You’re not fat.”

To which I respond, “That’s why I’m not fat.”

Many of you can relate to the bewildering fact that our bodies and metabolism change as we age. When I was in my twenties, I ate whatever I wanted and never gained an ounce. Good times.

In my thirties, I still ate what I wanted and went on occasional diets that lasted maybe a week. That’s all it took to bring my weight down. Then, when I turned forty, I found that I needed to exercise and diet together in order to keep my weight under control.

But when I turned fifty, everything changed yet again. I would diet and exercise, get on the scale to see how much weight I’d lost, and…you guessed it. Not one pound.

“Honey,” I told my husband. “I finally figured out why I’m not losing weight. Brace yourself.”

“What’s wrong?” he asked, concerned.plant names sue

“I think I’m a plant,” I said.

“A plant?”

“Yep, your wife is a plant. There’s no other explanation for it. I starve myself, I exercise, and nothing happens. I must be using sunlight to make my own food.”

Fortunately, thanks to Chris Powell’s diet plan from his book Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution, I came to the relieving conclusion that I’m not a member of the kingdom plantae.  His diet is not only good for your body, it really causes you to lose weight. Here are the basics:

  • Every day, eat five small meals.fruits
  • On Monday-Saturday, breakfast consists of a lean protein and a healthy carb—no fats.
  • On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the other four meals consist of a lean protein and a healthy fat—no carbs. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, the other four meals consist of a lean protein and a healthy carb—no fats.  Do this for three weeks in a row. Here’s my favorite part of the diet—Sundays are free days. Not a pig-out day, but a time to eat some of the foods we’ve been craving during the weeksalmon-518032__340
  • During the fourth week, all five meals Monday-Saturday consist of a lean protein and a carb—no fats at all this week. This “jump start” boosts your metabolism. Sunday is still a free day.
  • Continue this three-week/one-week cycle until you get to your desired weight. After that, all five meals each day can include a lean protein, healthy fat, and healthy carb.

nutsIn his book, Chris Powell also talks about portion size, what constitutes healthy fats and carbs, and even provides recipes. And, of course, exercise is a big part of this diet as well, which he explains in detail.

But I gotta level with you about one thing—

This diet is not easy.

I’m a pretty disciplined person, but along with keeping my weight down, resisting candy, desserts, and fast food has become more difficult for me over the years. So how do I manage?

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you already know the answer.

Pray!

Does our big God care about my struggle to stay healthy? You betcha. I’m not bothering God one little bit when I ask him to control my urge to stuff myself with huge portions or junk foods on a regular basis. Notice I said on a regular basis. I enjoy ice cream, pizza, chips, and pop on occasion without the slightest twinge of guilt. I also live a little jogginhat Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other special days. But, as a general rule, I try my best to eat food that will benefit my body and to exercise almost every day—not only to feel good, but out of obedience to my Lord. God wants me to be healthy, not only so that I have the energy to serve him, but also so that I can rejoice in him and glorify him. If I feel crummy and tired all the time, because I’m not taking care of my body, I will fail to give him one hundred percent of myself.

So, as tough as dieting can be, I try to honor him with a healthy body. And, like King David wrote in Psalm 139:14, ” I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV)

SIGNATURE FOR POSTS

 

Happy Halloween—I think.

I have mixed feeling about Halloween. But, to be honest, I don’t think I’m the lone pumpkin in the patch.

Like myself, a lot of Christians struggle with Halloween. While we enjoy certain aspects of the day, we feel uncomfortable too.  Many faithful Christians truly believe that Halloween is evil and take no part in celebrating it. So we wonder—should we ignore October 31?

I like many things about Halloween. Take costumes, for instance. Who doesn’t delight when we see little girls dressed up as princesses, ballerinas, kitty cats, and Wonder Woman? And the boys—tell me whoIMG_4098 could possibly scowl at baseball players, Ninjas, Spider Man, and pirates?

When these cute little kids knock at our doors, do our hearts not melt when we plop a piece of candy into their pillowcases and receive a mile-wide grin and breathless “thank you?” Okay—maybe we can make an argument that sugary candy isn’t good for children. But my philosophy is that Halloween comes once a year—let the kids live a little. If you’re really concerned about the sugar, kids love cool pencils, home-made cookies (Although I warn you—as a parent, if I don’t know who gave my kids that homemade cookie, I pitch it; what if it’s poisoned?), and other healthy snacks. Or, if you IMG_4082really want to see a megawatt smile, give them money.

Besides the costumes, I love the carved pumpkins, the corn stalks, the hay bales. And this year, in my little village of Romeo, Michigan, folks have even decorated their homes in orange lights.

Ah, lovely.

But then there’s the flip side of Halloween that I definitely do not like—not one little bit. I shudder when I see children dressed as witches, ghosts, ghouls, or fortune tellers. The Bible clearly tells us to have nothing to do with these things.

There shall not be found among you anyone…who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead,  for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. (Deuteronomy 18: 10-12)

And, call me a fuddy-duddy, but children dressed up as the devil? Jesus—myJesus dying on the cross Lord that I love above all—allowed soldiers to mock him, beat him,  and nail him to a cross to free me from sin, death, and eternal damnation—the same sin, death, and damnation that delights the devil. Satan isn’t a fairy tale or something to take lightly. He is serious business; so serious that it took God Almighty himself to save us from him. The devil wants nothing more than to separate us from God by wooing us with worldly sin. To die and spend eternity in a lake of fire. And, make no mistake about it—his agenda includes our sweet children.

How’s that for scary?

Therefore, I will never, ever see anything adorable about a child dressed as the devil.

Of course, I could easily pretend that Halloween doesn’t exist, thus eliminating my quandary. My kids are all out of high school, so I don’t have anyone to dress up anymore. And, since we live on the outskirts of Romeo, the number of trick-or-treaters that came to our house in the past few years is a big fat zero. Therefore, no one will be disappointed if I don’t pass out candy. Yep, October 31 could just roll on by—be another fall day like any other day. Except, as anyone who lives in Romeo knows, Halloween is almost impossible to ignore.

Because of Tillson Street.

Starting in early October, the residents of Tillson Street decorate their homes for Halloween. When I say decorate, think thousands of dollars—and the results are spectacular. I have friends who lives on Tillson Street, and every year they convert IMG_4092their home into a castle, complete with a cannon that goes BOOM and scares the pants off anyone inching past the house in the long queue. Fun stuff. (I’m a willing cannoneer at least once a year—see why I kind of like Halloween?) And, I kid you not, during the week before Halloween, people actually wait in a line to walk the sidewalks with thousands of other folks who have come to view the amazing displays. On Halloween, the police close the streets as over two thousand costume-clad children scurry to the coolest trick-or-treat spot in Michigan. You can find out more about Tillson Street at https://www.facebook.com/Halloween-on-Tillson-Street-Romeo-121198587983604/ or at http://www.terrorontillson.com.

Tillson street is fun to visit. Again, while I’m not a fan of the witches and ghosts, a lot of homes are truly wonderful to see. Let me end this blog by displaying my favorite decorated Romeo homes in the photos above and below, many of which are on Tillson Street.

Be safe on October 31.

SIGNATURE FOR POSTS

 

That’s My Son’s Truck

I’ve been writing a lot about vehicles lately—Jeeps, our GMC Safari… Here’s one more, courtesy of Dizzy Blonde Chronicles.

garageSeveral years ago, my oldest son’s Dodge Dakota needed new wheel bearings. Since the garage my husband and I use would do the job for a good price, he dropped off his Dakota and took my Jeep for the week. I’d drive his truck when the mechanics fixed it, and then we’d swap back next weekend.

One evening, my son called and said his vehicle would be ready for pickup the next afternoon. So the next day, I had my youngest son take me to the garage.

“Wait here, in case it isn’t done,” I told him.

It’s a good thing I asked him stay, because when I walked into the garage, the first thing I saw was my son’s brown Dakota still on the lift.

When a mechanic came my way, I pointed to the Dakota. “That’s my son’s truck. He told me it would be done by now.”

The mechanic took off his hat and wiped his brow. “Sorry, but that truck needs a lot of work. We’re not finished.”

“But my son told me it just needed new bearings.”

The mechanic replaced his hat. “It does, but we found a lot more problems.”

I cringed. My son was a new teacher and not making much money yet. “My son said the bill would be around $600,” I said.

The mechanic shook his head. “Not anymore. He’s looking at $1,500, maybe more. Let me show you.”

He led me under the truck and began pointing out the problems. I’m sure he wasempty pockets trying to be kind, but all I could think about was that $1,500 would wipe out my son’s meager savings. While the mechanic pointed to thingamabobs and twiddled hickey majigger, I contemplated asking my husband if we could help by paying at least half the bill. But, no matter what, I’d have to break the bad news to my son when I got home.

I called him as soon as I walked in the door.

“Honey, bad news on the truck,” I told him. “It’s not done, and they found more that needs to be fixed. And it’s going to be over $1,500.”

“But they told me $600,” my son said.

“I know, I know. But they showed me all the problems. And even though my knowledge of truck innards can be summed up in the words ‘diddly squat,’ even I could see that those parts needed replacing. But don’t worry, we’ll help you.”

After I hung up, I found myself angry. How dare those mechanics give my son a price, have him haul his truck all the way up here, and then swindle him. Wait until I picked up his truck—I’d give them a piece of my mind they’d not soon forget. And I’d never, ever, ever take our vehicles back to them.

An hour later, my son called. “Mom, I just talked to the guys at the garage. They said the bill was $600.”

“But, but…”

“They also told me they finished my truck this morning.” My son broke it to me gently. “Mom, I think you were looking at the wrong truck.”

The wrong truck? Now that I thought about it, I’d never told the mechanic my son’s name. I’d just pointed to a brown Dakota, assuming it was my sons.

“Mom,” my son continued, “can you go back and pick it up today? I already gave them my credit card number and paid for it.”

“Uh-uh, no way José, I’m not showing up there again,” I said. “Never, ever, ever. I’ll be the laughingstock of the whole garage!”

20171020_154622But in the end, I went back. But not until the next day, hoping another mechanic was on duty. Just in case I saw the same guy, I pulled my hair back, put on a ball cap, and wore a different coat, hoping he wouldn’t recognize me.

But, when I slunk into the garage, there stood the same mechanic. And, yes, he recognized me right away. I could tell by the way he bit his lip when he saw me coming.

Fortunately, the man must have a blonde wife, because he had the remarkable ability to keep a straight face. “So, talked to your son yesterday. I guess you got his truck mixed up with another customer’s truck.”

When all else fails, I’ve learned to try laughing at myself. “Ha ha, isn’t that funny? What’s the chance of there being two Dakota’s in here at once? And both dark-colored! What a hoot, I can’t believe I did that, I’m so funny…” I snapped my trap shut. I was babbling, like I always did when I’m humiliated. I got the receipt, grabbed the keys, and hightailed it out of there as fast as I could go.

Today, we still use the same garage, now that I’m back to trusting them again. And I’m never embarrassed to have my son or husband drive me there when I have to pick up a vehicle.

Of course, I have them pay and get the keys while I sit outside slumped down in the seat.

Wouldn’t you?

SIGNATURE FOR POSTS

The Bagel Seduction

cropped-img_38361.jpgBeing a penny pincher, I have a hard time resisting anything that’s free. Maybe I’m weird—if I pass up something that’s free, I feel like I’m wasting my money. Am I alone in this?

Lured once again by the Sirens of free food, I find myself writing this blog at Panera Bread. Sometimes it’s free coffee for a month. Sometimes it’s a free pastry of my choice. This week, it’s a free bagel, every day for seven days. I love bagels, so “free” plus “bagel” equals “I’m-there-wild-horses-couldn’t-stop-me.”

Of course, I can’t always use things that are free. Last week at a car show, I stuffed my backpack with free pens—although I already had four or five—and my stomach with free candy—which I absolutely did not need. When some friends and I stopped at a newly-opened craft store and the owner said we could take anything we wanted from the upper room, I loaded two bags full—only politeness and a twinge of embarrassment kept me from taking a third.

I never, ever, have unused Kohl’s Cash. And when I go to Costco, I take a free food sample from every product demonstrator.  We even got our first dog thanks to a “free puppy add.”

Last month, it was replacement blades for a razor.

“What are these?” My husband asked as he came into the living room, holding up tworazor-587625_960_720 packages of Gillette Mach 3 cartridges.

“One of the managers at the store was giving them away. I think they were free samples or something.”

My husband stared at them. “Honey, I use an electric razor.”

“I know. But they were free,” I said. Which, in my mind, explained everything.

“What am I going to do with them?”

“No clue,” I told him. “But they were free.”

I think I’m in good company, however, in my inability to pass up anything that’s free. Years ago, when a windstorm knocked over our rabbit hutches, allowing our boy rabbit to become acquainted with our girl rabbit, people called for weeks to inquire about our “free baby bunnies,” although they were gone less than an hour after the ad ran. When I’m out walking the evening before trash day, it’s not unusual to see waiting in line-540519__340someone loading an item they found at the curb into their vehicle. And when I see a line of people, I can bet my bottom dollar it’s for a free give-away. (Unless, of course, the latest iPhone or PlayStation system is now available.)

Yep, we all love free stuff. Which makes me wonder…

Why, then, don’t we have a line of people waiting for God’s free gift of salvation?

Our big God sacrificed his only son, who paid the penalty for our sins, so that we could have eternal life…just by receiving it. That’s it. We don’t have to do anything to earn it, and we don’t have to pay for it ourselves—neither of which we could do anyway. Jesus already bore the cost. All we have to do is accept it. And him.

Talk about the freebie of a lifetime.worshipping-god-2101347_960_720

Actually, the freebie of eternal life—the most wondrous gift ever.

Now that’s worth a wait in line.

And definitely a lot better than bagels.

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelations 22:17 NIV)

SIGNATURE FOR POSTS

Apple of Your Eye

cropped-img_3836.jpgI love October in Michigan.

There are six apple orchards less than fifteen minutes from my house. U-pick apples (which means U-stuff-yourself-silly-while-U-pick apples), fresh cider, hot donuts, pies, caramel apples…a veritable fall feast for the taste buds.

And for the eyes. Hay bales, pumpkins, corn stalks, and sunflowers decorate the buildings that bulge with rows of house-made jams, jellies, salsas, barbecue sauces, and fresh honey.

I’m hungry just thinking about it.

But, in my humble opinion, nothing beats the beauty or gets my mouth watering faster than an apple tree, boughs teeming with apples and almost touching the ground.

And the variety of apples–there’s something for everyone. Michiganders seem to favor the Honey Crisp, God’s perfect blend of tartness and sweetness. I prefer hard, tart apple orchardapples—Winesaps being my favorite, followed closely by Empires and Braeburns. Johnagold, Cortland, Yellow and Red Delicious…the list goes on and on. There’s an apple to satisfy everyone’s palate.

When I think of apples—which I do often these days—I can’t help but remember what David prayed to our big God. “Keep me as the apple of your eye…” (Psalm 17:8a ESV)

What a prayer! The phrase, of course, is an idiom; the apple here refers to the pupil. But when I think of this verse, I am overcome by the meaning. David is asking God to guard and protect him in the same way that we guard and protect our eyes, the source of sight. And in the same way that God protected our eyes, fashioning them with meticulous care.

eye-1173863__340We take special care of our eyes, valued by us as our most important sense. We wear safety glasses in situation where something might splash into or puncture our eyes. We spend money on eye doctors and medical doctors to keep them healthy.

And God gave us natural protection to keep our eyes safe. We involuntarily blink when something gets close to our eyes. And God recessed them in eye sockets and surrounded them by the bony forehead and cheek bone. He also gave us eyelids and eyelashes to shield them, and tear ducts to wash away any foreign object.

The eye is precious, more valuable than riches or fame. David is asking our big God to protect him apple-single apple in a handwith infinite care, with the tenderest touch, with constant diligence.

To Keep him as the apple of his eye.

Psalm 17:6-8

I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my words.
Wondrously show
your steadfast love,
O Savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.

Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings…

SIGNATURE FOR POSTS