Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Why You Need to Be Careful What You Pray for

Be Careful What You Pray for
“Yes—he wants to meet my parents!” My heart spun in circles. A secret crush, Ethan, had asked to accompany me home from college Easter weekend. Kevin Levellie, another friend of Ethan’s, pastored a small church in Fresno, where my folks lived. After Sunday evening worship, Ethan and I popped over to Kevin’s house, visiting into the night. Driving back to school the next morning, Ethan suggested we pray for Kevin. Seems he thought a wife would cure Kevin’s loneliness.
Eager to Impress
Eager to impress Ethan I nearly sang, “All right! I’ll go first.”
“Dear Lord, please lead a woman into Kevin’s life who will stand beside him, offering hope in the darkness and laughter in the bright times, who will help him pastor your sheep with tenderness, bringing out the best in him and themIn Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Shortly after my show-offy prayer, Ethan lost interest in me. Although confused and hurt, I accepted his explanation that he felt inferior because I had wheels and he didn’t.

The Diamond Bikini
That spring, Kevin and I started writing. This old-fashioned custom requires use of a pen and paper to tell someone what’s been going on in your life, and ask them about theirs. After finishing the letter, you fold the paper, place it in an envelope, attach a stamp, and mail it. Archaic, I know, but effective.
When I returned home for the summer, our friendship soared. By August, my ring finger danced in the Fresno sun, clad in a diamond bikini.

God Smiles
Do God’s methods of answering prayer baffle you? Although I consider myself creative, I did not have me in mind when I asked God to send Kevin a wife. In fact, I had insisted since childhood that a preacher was my last choice as a spouse because I wanted to be rich.
Yet thinking back over the last forty-plus years (I was five when this story took place), who am I to look the Great I Am in the face and say, “You bungled it the day you called me, Lord. I’m too silly, loud, impulsive, and messy to make a decent pastor’s wife.”
He would only smile and say, “You asked for a wife for Kevin, didn’t you?”
The above is an excerpt from my book, Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top: 72 Stories Sprinkled with Laughter to Help You Discover The Sweetness of God's Heart for You. 

Have you ever been surprised at an answer to a prayer? 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Simple Flag Cake Recipe

Yankee Doodle Dandy Flag Cake recipe

I'm all about simple. 

This Yankee Doodle Dandy cake recipe for your Memorial Day or 4th of July celebration only has seven ingredients, and one is water! Isn't it lovely?

Prepare a boxed cake mix--I like to use Red Velvet for this recipe.

Pour into a 9 x 13 pan and bake as directed.

Frost with white icing.

For stars, use blueberries or navy blue M & M's; for stripes, cut fresh strawberries into slivers.


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

It's a Small(er) World.

I noticed the other night at supper how napkins are shrinking. It’s bad enough that they fluff them with air pockets to make them look plump; now they are decreasing their dimensions.  One used to cover my whole lap; now it barely fits on the top third of one thigh. If they keep this up, I’ll need half a package at each meal. It's a small(er) world. 

Candy bars have also been shrinking with the times.  It used to take me five bites to eat my 100 Grand bar; now I have to get out Grandma’s magnifying glass to see it before I pop it into my mouth in one nibble.

And have you seen how the ice cream containers went from half a gallon to 1.5 quarts? We used to serve ice cream with our birthday cake; now we simply wave the carton over each plate as a sweet remembrance of the way things were.
Coffee can shrinkage is another travesty.  Remember when coffee was sold by the pound? Now it comes in  12 or 13 oz. packages, for the same price.  Soon they’ll be selling it by the cup, and charging $3.50. Oh, they’re already doing that!

TV shows now take up only forty-five minutes instead of fifty-two. Today's cars are the size of my grandchild's scooter. Even Band-aids barely cover a boo-boo anymore. 

I'm so relieved that Jesus' love never shrinks or diminishes in strength. Jesus stays the same year after year, century after century, forever--even if my favorite pants shrink to the size of a dinner napkin. 

The above is an excerpt from my second book, The Heart of Humor: Sixty Helpings of Hilarity to Nourish Your Soul.

What have you noticed shrinking in your world? 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

When You Need Joy

An excerpt from my prayer journal on a day I needed joy…

Lord, I need encouragement today. I really don’t want to go by my feelings, or I wouldn’t have a good day at all. I know I have to choose joy and choose to have peace rather than turmoil, but I need Your help even in the choosing. I need you to show me what to do and how to think in order to choose joy rather than sorrow. And I need You to send me encouragement, because right now I just don’t care about anything. To care would mean work, and I’d rather rest and sleep and escape.”

Jeanette, I don’t want you to CARE. I will care for you. When you TAKE CARE, it means you aren’t giving me a chance to help you and care for you. You are trying to do it yourself and that’s pride. When you let go and relax, My spirit takes over and gets the job done in an almost effortless way. You know it’s Me when you don’t have to struggle to get it and struggle to keep it. For Me to carry you, you need to simply relax and not wiggle down and run off. Trusting Me means allowing Me to carry you. JUST QUIT TRYING SO HARD.” 

I am forever amazed at the timelessness of God’s words. I hope His shepherding of my heart spoke to yours today. May you rest in Him, allowing Him to care for you. 

The above prayer journal excerpt is now a chapter in my new book, Hello, Beautiful! Finally Love Yourself Just as You Are, co-authored with Beth Gormong. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Too Busy? Here's a Prayer for You

     A Prayer for When You Are Too Busy

Lord, my friend is choking on responsibilities. She is trying to do too much, to be all things to all people. I know this is not Your plan for her.
Because she loves people and fears disappointing them, she says yes more than she says no. Her schedule is crammed to bursting. Because she accomplishes tasks with excellence, she’s a magnet to people who need things done.
And all this responsibility is causing her light to dim.
She was once so bright and eager to spend time with You, study Your life, tell others about Your love. Then she started working for You. And working. And working. The Devil knew he couldn’t tempt her with robbing jewelry stores or murdering her neighbors, so he dangled the fruit of the business of the Lord in front of her. He convinced her that to be a worthy Christian, she had to stay busy, and that to say no was unholy.
Silence his lies to her, Lord. Woo her back to the place of rest and sweet contentment in Your presence, where the beam of Your smile is enough. Return the light to her eyes and the spring to her step.
Please help her find the balance You lived in when You walked on earth. You knew when to say “Okay, I’ll do that,” and when to say “Not interested,” without worrying what others might think of You. You were secure in the Father’s plan for You, not needing to please others in order to feel that Your light was bright enough.
Teach my friend Your ways, dear Lord. She doesn’t want to burn out; she wants to sparkle and blaze with Your life, to do only those things You’ve called her to do. Then, when You come to take her home, she’ll shine in heaven with You.
In Jesus’ name, so be it.

References to Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11, John 6:38

The above is an excerpt from my fourth book, Touchable God: Finding the Lord's Friendship Through Prayer. It is a combination of personal stories about my prayer journey with Jesus and prayers for friends in crisis. It would make an excellent gift for someone you are praying for!