Tuesday, February 19, 2019

May You Rest in His Embrace

A Blessing for You

May you rest in His embrace,
His friendship strengthen you.
May you believe His love,
His kindness make you secure.
May you flourish in His goodness,
His favor pursue you.
May the well of His grace
Give you courage to start over.
May His mighty power protect you,
His generosity make you great,
His faithfulness delight you,
His majesty awe you.

He is the gift
And the giver as well.
His blood will make you right.
His light will give you
All the wisdom and all the guidance
You’ll ever need.
He is for you.
Yes, Jesus is for you.

So, may you dance in His sweetness,
May you never doubt his affection,
May you walk in all His glory,
And may you be bathed in His riches.

--JEL

Do you like poetry? Have you written any?
How does this blessing make you feel? 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Attraction: Only about Body Parts?


Romance Vs. Character in Liturature and Real Life

Is attraction only about body parts?

When I recently wrote a romance story for a women's magazine, I knew I needed to show attraction between the man and woman. But I had an issue with that idea.

Our society focuses far too much on image instead of character. The huge city my husband and I lived in most of our adult lives had a gym on every corner and healthy foods in the restaurants, but for the wrong reasons. Everyone wanted to have a skinny, buff body so they could look like a movie star. Not to live longer so their spouses wouldn't be left alone, or so they could contribute their gifts to the world around them. But to look good. To create an image instead of building a character.

That's just wrong. We are more than bodies with parts to look at. We are sprits and souls, minds and hearts, dreams and plans and fears and hopes. So I decided to fight against the focus on image when I wrote my romance story.


My loyal, kind husband reading to our grand kids--this attracts me!

I mentioned lovely blue eyes flecked with amber, and a smile that turned knees to jello. But I also focused on character qualities like loyalty to family, wisdom, and a sense of humor. 

Character should count more than image. In real life, it does. I'd rather have a fat, kind friend than a pretty, gossipy one. Or a faithful, plain-looking spouse than a buff philanderer. Even a C student child with an obedient spirit trumps a smart, sassy pants.

Because God looks on the heart, not the outward appear ace. And His love is the greatest romance of all time.

Have you noticed  a shift away from character to image in our society? How about in the books you read? What character quality most attracts you to a person?


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Is There Only One Way to Spell "Love"?


How do you spell "love"? Is there only one way?

When I write an email to a close friend or my husband, I sign it "Love, Jen"

Sometimes I spell "love" wrong, like "LOve" or "lvoe."

But I've never had any of my friends or my husband point that out.

They simply accept my imperfect love, and love me back.

Just like Jesus does with all of us. 

Don't think your love for God has to be perfect--praying an hour or two a day, reading your Bible for twenty minutes non-stop, and telling every sinner you meet the plan of salvation--before He will love you back.

He loved us first, knowing our love would never be perfect while we live on this earth.

It helps if we simply say, "I accept Your love, Father, and I love you back." 

Have you accepted God's love? If so, how has it changed you?


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

When Are Donuts Dangerous?


When Are Donuts Dangerous? 

          
“Honey, come quick,” I shrieked to my husband, Kevin.” That couple in the car across the road is in trouble.”
            Standing at our picture window of our living room, I clamped both hands over my mouth to keep from sobbing. My heart hammered in fear, a contrast to the serene blanket of snow on the lawn.
            When we relocated from Los Angeles to Paris, Illinois three months earlier to pastor a rural church, we were surprised at the differences in culture. The stores displayed Udder Balm at the checkout counter in place of breath mints. Gas stations sold live bait and mulch right alongside the antifreeze. People waved as we passed their tractors on the highway and spoke to us at the farmers’ market, even though we were strangers.
            But no kind greeting or wave could’ve prepared us for the harrowing scene taking place before us now. This was culture shock at its worst.
             Careening out of control just fifty yards from our house, the car was a flash of red and silver atop the frosty ground. Our eyes stayed frozen to the window for several seconds, watching the horror unfold. But, what could we do? All of our urban savvy was worthless to this couple, spinning on the snow like a child’s top. I grabbed the only weapon I knew how to use, and bawled out a prayer:        
  “Lord, deliver those people,” I shouted. “They need Your help right now, before they die, or flip onto the highway and hurt some…”
            Kevin placed a hand on my arm to interrupt my hysteria.
            “Wait, Jeanette. Look over there, opposite from the car. There’s another one spinning in circles, going the reverse direction. I wonder if they could be doing that on purpose. Do you think it’s some sort of winter game they play around here?”
            Squinting to focus, I realized he was right. The cars faced each other, revolving in opposite directions, like two steel monsters dancing to the music of “Winter Wonderland.” For several minutes they whirled, grinding their tires into the gravel. Picking up speed, their chrome bumpers reflected light from the pristine ground cover. When they’d reduced the snow to a slushy rut, they stopped. Paused. The drivers appeared to sigh in contentment. And off they blazed, leaving us to stare at each other, befuddled.
            The following morning, I worked for several hours before I gathered courage to ask my co-worker what we’d seen the day before. I certainly didn’t want her to discover how dumb we city transplants were. She made it easy for me by reading my thoughts.
            “You live six miles south of town, don’t you? I bet you get a lot of teenagers coming out your way after it snows, doing donuts. It’s safer out there, away from the highway” she explained.
            I shook my head and grinned. “That’s what you call it: donuts?”    

“Yeah,” she chuckled, “young people do it for fun when there’s a good snow. It’s pretty harmless. Just our method of keeping the boredom away during a long winter. I should have warned you about it. If someone from the city saw that for the first time, it might scare the stuffin’ out of them!”
            I tried to sound nonchalant as I said, “Yeah, it just might.”
            Since that first winter’s excitement fourteen years ago, I believe Kevin and I have adjusted well to rural living. We buy our mulch at the Speedy Fuel and say “hello” to people we’ve never met. But, I may never get used to donuts in the snow, rather than my coffee!

The above story is a chapter from my book Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top

 
Have you experienced culture shock when moving from one climate to another?
Does it snow where you live?

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

What Can We Learn from Cats? 12 Furry Lessons



Cartoonist Ron Levellie copyright 2014
Cats: most people either hate or love them. The haters contend that felines ruin furniture, kill songbirds, and consider people their slaves. The lovers argue that cats control rodents, relieve stress, and cover up their poops.

I find my “spoiled brats in fur suits” brimming with wisdom. Here are some insights I’ve learned from the roguish angels:
1. If you fight with the other household cats, you won’t have energy left to ward off enemy cats.
2. It’s okay to have whiskers and pointy ears.
3. Look for a patch of sunshine, and stay there.
4. Naps are cool.
5. Don’t fuss about your food, or the one who feeds you may start buying a cheaper brand.
6. Purring will get you everywhere.
7. Master the “Shocked and Innocent Look” if someone laughs at you. Better yet, stick your nose in the air and saunter away, pretending you don’t care.
8. Naps are fun.
9. Act as if you know what you’re doing even if you don’t have a clue.
10. Convince those around you how blessed they are to live in the same universe with you.
11. Refuse to give up. If one bird escapes, climb another tree.
12. Naps are refreshing.

Similar to cats, people are a mix of aggravating and endearing qualities. When I’m tempted to dismiss a brother or sister as too ornery to tolerate, I remember how God bears with my faults and stupid mistakes. Receiving His unconditional love frees me to love myself and others, focusing on positive qualities. Now if I could only convince my husband to see the good in our kitties . . .
    From My Heart to Yours: I believe God gave us pets to help us laugh more. Whether you like dogs in tutus, cats hanging by their claws from tree branches, or pygmy marmosets yodeling to their friends, observing animals is one of the most relaxing, fun activities on earth.

    The above is a chapter from my humor/inspirational book, The Heart of Humor, a compilation of 45 funny stories and 15 articles, lists and links to help you add more laughter to your life. 


    Did any of my cats' suggestions for a happier life resonate with you today?