How to change the country in 5 minutes a day

clockSo many problems: Taxes too high, the poor, the homeless, the list goes on.

Sure we all complain, but what are we doing about it?

If we could all take five minutes out of our day, and concentrate it where it would do the most good, would you do it?

Scripture instructs us to pray for all in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2), but how do we do that, exactly? Here are 30 ways to pray for our leaders—our judges, educators, police chiefs, school board members, military officers, ALL elected officials, and others who serve our country by leading. By doing this, you are standing in the gap, intervening between God and those in authority.
30 Ways to pray for people in authority
1. That they be God-fearing and recognize that they are accountable to Him for each decision and act. (Proverbs 9:10)
2. That they be granted wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. (James 1:5)
3. That they be presented with the gospel and a loving Christian witness. (Romans 10:14)
4. That if unsaved, they be drawn to a saving encounter with Christ; if born-again, that they be strengthened and encouraged in their faith. (1 Timothy 2:4, Ephesians 1:17-23)
5. That they recognize their own inadequacy and pray and seek the will of God. (Proverbs 3:5-8, Luke 11:9-13)
6. That they be convicted of sin, transgression, and iniquity. (Psalm 51:17, John 8:9)
7. That they heed their conscience, confess their sins and repent. (Proverbs 28:13, James 4:8)
8. That they read the Bible and attend prayer meetings and Bible studies. (Psalms 119:11, Colossians 3:2)
9. That they value and regard the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Christ. (Psalm 19:7-11, John 8:31-32)
10. That they respect and honor their own parents if living. (Ephesians 6:2-3)
11. That they respect authority and practice accountability. (Romans 13:1-7)
12. That they be given godly counsel and God-fearing advisors. (Proverbs 24:6)
13. That they be honest and faithful to spouses and children. (Malachi 2:15-16)
14. That they be practicing members of local congregations. (Hebrews 10:25)
15. That they desire purity and avoid debauchery, pornography, perversion and drunkenness. (1 Corinthians 6:9-20, Titus 2:12)
16. That they be timely, reliable and dependable. (Matthew 21:28-31)
17. That they be honest in financial, tax and ethical matters. (1 Corinthians 6:10, 1 Timothy 6:6-10)
18. That they seek pastoral care and counsel when needed. (Hebrews 13:7)
19. That they seek out and nurture godly friendships. (Psalms 1:1-3)
20. That they have thankful and teachable spirits. (Romans 1:21)
21. That they be generous and have compassionate hearts for the poor and needy. (Psalm 112:9, Luke 10:33-37)
22. That they redeem their time and know priorities. (Ephesians 5:15-17)
23. That they desire honesty, integrity, and loyalty. (Psalm 26, Proverbs 11:3)
24. That they have courage to resist manipulation, pressure and the fear of man. (Proverbs 29:25, 2 Timothy 1:7)
25. That they be shielded from occultism, New Age cults, false religions, and secret societies. (Isaiah 1:29, 2:6)
26. That they be presented with biblical worldviews and principles. (Ephesians 3:10)
27. That they endeavor to restore the sanctity of life, families, divine order and morality in our nation. (Ephesians 5:22-6:4)
28. That they would work to reverse the trends of humanism in our nation. (1 Chronicles 12:32, Isaiah 59:19)
29. That they desire humility and meekness and be willing to serve and cooperate. (John 13:14, Titus 3:1-2)
30. That they be prepared to give an account to Almighty God. (Hebrews 9:27)
From http://nationaldayofprayer.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/30-Ways-to-Pray-Authority.pdf
2015 National Day of Prayer (Thursday May 7, A.D. 2015)
– 2015 National Prayer by Dr. Jack Graham
Heavenly Father,
We come to You in the Name that is above every name—Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Our hearts cry out to You.
Knowing that You are a prayer-answering, faithful God—the One we trust in times like these—we ask that You renew our spirits, revive our churches, and heal our land.
We repent of our sins and ask for Your grace and power to save us. Hear our cry, oh God, and pour out Your Spirit upon us that we may walk in obedience to Your Word.
We are desperate for Your tender mercies. We are broken and humbled before You.
Forgive us, and in the power of Your great love, lift us up to live in Your righteousness.
We pray for our beloved nation. May we repent and return to You and be a light to the nations. And we pray for our leaders and ask that You give them wisdom and faith to follow You.
Preserve and protect us, for You are our refuge and only hope.
Deliver us from all fears except to fear You, and may we courageously stand in the Truth that sets us free.
We pray with expectant faith and grateful hearts.
In Jesus’ name, our Savior.
Amen.
- 2015 National Prayer by Dr. Jack Graham

The Housewife Chronicles of a Roller Coaster Week

vacuum-ornI believe that Truth is stranger than Fiction; movies based on true stories with a little tweaking or embellishment are my favorite kind. And so my life, with just a little embellishment, is the theme of this blog.

Let’s start out on a cheery note. A picture of my very spoiled dog, Bailey. (Note to self: I need to make a user icon for Bailey so he can post for himself.)

Once again he asks: Do I look comfy to you?

Bailey-comfy

Here’s a pic that could be his avatar:

Bailey-nose

Bailey Nose or Bailey Knows.

In no particular order, here are the highs and lows of the past week or ten days:

1. My friend Suzanne* asked if her son Jeff* could stop over my house for a  free** vacuum cleaner and rug shampooer demonstration. He would vacuum and clean my rugs, for free. The reason is he is going to sell vacuum cleaners and needs to “practice.” Against the yellow lights blinking in front of my face, and the knife-like feeling in my stomach, I said yes.

vacuum-guy

A half hour before he is supposed to show up, his boss calls to tell me that he is coming with Jeff. What kind of vacuum do I currently have? If I fall in love with their vacuum, do I have the authority to make the financial decision alone that I can buy their vacuum. No. No, I don’t, because I have a new vacuum that works just fine, thanks. Also, I am not in the market for a vacuum, as I am not working and have no extra money. He says, no problem, we have easy payment plans for any budget. Absolutely anyone can afford their vacuum.

I hung up the phone. (Yes, my cell phone. A wimpy click. Remember the good old days when you could slam a phone down? I miss that.) From my toes, up through my body– with a quick stop in my stomach to pick up some extra juice–came anger. Furious anger. How dare he stick his nose into my personal finances? The anger went up through me all the way up to the ceiling. I was in a cloud of anger. (Yes, I know this is not a life and death situation, but I’ll get to that.)

Then I realized: this was the first time in a longgggg time that I did not stuff the anger back down. I did not deny myself of feeling the anger.  I did not lie to myself and say that I wasn’t angry.  I did not eat a box of cookies to stuff the anger back down. I was feeling an emotion, not quite as normally as other humans, but I was feeling it.

I called back, and got voice mail. Of course. I left a message cancelling the demo. I wrote a big note that I was not available and left it on the front door. Then I took my very spoiled dog for a longggg walk. As I was walking I was breathing and feeling all around inside the anger. It felt overwhelming, but I kept putting one foot in front of the other, and realized that it’s okay to be mad. I don’t have to worry about being punished, or being yelled at. I can just let it be. After 50-something years, I felt real anger more intensely than I can remember.

Back and forth text messages to my friend and her son. She told me please don’t worry about it, and don’t be upset. He has other people to do the demos for, and he wouldn’t want me to feel bad. I was so relieved.

I felt better after the walk.

I sat down and laughed when I realized that the last time I encountered a pushy salesman, I threw him out of my house. It was years ago, and the two guys were trying to sell us siding for the townhouse. But after an hour of talking, they could not give me an estimate of the price. I told them, “We’re done here!” and that was that.

2. I lost my hat. (Whiteface Mountain.)

Whiteface

Then I lost my other hat. (sorry no pic)

My ears are cold.

3. I was watching a show on tv, when someone rang the doorbell. I peeked out the window (thinking it might be my son) and there was a guy there looking up at the trees in front of my house, with his back toward me and shirt that said, “Tom’s Tree Trimming Service” (or something like that). Ugh. We spent almost $3,000 having trees taken down 3 years ago. That ship has sailed. Now, I suppose a normal person would open the door, listen to him, and say, “No thank you.” But who says I’m a normal person? I made sure the door was locked, and hid in the kitchen until he left. Bailey was barking the whole time, so I figured he wasn’t going to try to break in.

Bailey is not amused!

Bailey is not amused!

4. I cleaned out the kitchen closet, you know, the pantry, where all the food and spices are, and the kitchen garbage can. Over the past 6 months when I was recuperating from cancer surgery, nothing in my house got a deep, scrubbing cleaning. So you know how food misses the garbage can, and winds up all over the walls, floors, yuck. So I took everything out and cleaned everything.

When I was finished, I closed the pantry door and realized that no one in the universe is going to notice that my closet is now clean. Huh.

clean

5. My son got a new job and was supposed to start on Sunday. Oh, it was a divine answer to prayer. He was working at Radio Shack, which is circling the toilet and has filed for bankruptcy. We were all so happy about this new job.

My son caught some kind of wicked cold and has been in bed all week. I took him to the doctor Monday, and he got some medicine and a note for his employer. I took the note to his work, and told them that he really really really wants this job but he is very very very sick. Which is all true. I hope he is better soon!

[Monday involved two different doctor visits, two trips to the pharmacy, etc., etc. Sometimes I wonder why I am tired.]

****

Well that’s just some of the excitement that is my life.

I need to go vacuum the floors now!

* I don’t use real names. But you already knew that. :-)

** Nothings free. There is a price in blood, sweat or tears. But you already knew that too.

If I wrote the Finale for Downton Abbey

Downton-gangThere are rumors that Downton Abbey will only have one more season.  We are expecting a kick-butt finale. There are also a few plot lines that have been introduced along the way that need some closure. It’s a rule of writing that whatever is promised in the pilot should be sufficiently wrapped up in the finale, so as not to upset your fans. I need only mention Lost and How I Met Your Mother as examples of finales which left the fans angry, upset and frustrated. So this is how I would end Downton Abbey:
1. Thomas will pull another grand scheme to hurt Mosely. It will backfire in his face and he will die a slow, horrible death.

Thomas=1
2. The Dowager will confess on her deathbed that she did indeed bare Kurigan’s love child while vacationing in Switzerland in 1875.

Dowager-6
3. Captain Obvious: John and Anna Bates will open that Bed and Breakfast they’ve been discussing and call it the “Bates Motel.”

Bates-motel
4. Rose will marry Atticus. They will supply housing for the Kindertransport Children who will be coming to England in the late 1930’s to escape Hitler. Her mother is not amused.

Roses-mother
5. Carson and Mrs. Hughes will retire together and share a little cottage, separate bedrooms of course. And indoor plumbing.

carson-and-hughes
6. Mrs. Patmore purchases the cottage adjacent.

Mrs-Patmore-1
7. Isobel will marry Lord Merton and secretly spend all his money and leave his spoiled brat sons penniless.

Lord-Merton 8. Tom will announce he is leaving for America. Robert will refuse to let him take baby Sybil. Tom will punch Robert in the mouth and take off running.

Branson
9. Robert dies of a heart attack while discussing finances with Mary.

Lord-Grantham
10. The true heir of Downton Abbey, Peter, who was believed to have died on the Titanic in the pilot (and who showed up in season 2 with a mangled face) will return to Downton, having undergone plastic surgery. He will then marry Edith, who will then inherit her father’s portion of the estate. Due to some legal mumbo-jumbo, Mary and her son will lose their share of the estate also, and Edith gets everything.

lady-edith-quote
11. Mary will be forced to marry for money and position after all. Maybe bring back Sir Richard Carlisle. (Ouch!)

Mary-thinking
12. Daisy leaves Downton and becomes a sous chef at the same hotel where Alfred works. He finally falls for her. They invent fire together.

fire

Season 6 is probably already written, and mostly filmed. But I wouldn’t be surprised if at least a few of these ideas showed up.
In fact, I expect it.

Peter: Get Out of Jail, Free!

getoutofjailPeter was chained in his jail cell with sixteen guards watching him. King Herod must have had a premonition that Peter needed all those men to keep him in jail. I mean, two sets of chains would be enough to hold most people, don’t you think?

Meanwhile, Peter’s friends were all gathered in one place, praying for him. I’m guessing that they were praying for his release from prison. I don’t think they were praying for a new car for him. But that’s just my opinion.

An angel showed up in Peter’s jail cell, bringing light with him. He poked Peter in the side and told him, “Get up!” The chains fell off of Peter. Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and follow me.” Peter, who is famous for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, doesn’t say a word, but follows the angel. I wouldn’t argue with the angel either; get me out of here!

Peter didn’t know that the angel was real yet; he thought he was seeing a vision. The angel led Peter past some more guards at their posts, and came to the iron gate of the city, which opened by itself, and they went out, and went down one street. Then the angel disappeared.

Peter realized at this point that this was real, he wasn’t dreaming. He went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, were Peter’s friends were gathered praying for him. He knocks on the door — the answer to their prayers — but they don’t believe it’s him. Ha. I do that sometimes, I can’t believe I got the answer I was praying for! Peter finally convinces his friends that yes, it is he, and then he decides to go to another place to hide. Herod’s boys are going to be in hot pursuit any minute.  They don’t find Peter, and Herod orders that the guards that were watching Peter be killed.

That’s the first part of Acts Chapter 12. The miraculous jailbreak. It’s one of my favorite stories. I also like the next part.

The people of Tyre and Sidon made peace with Herod because Herod’s country supplied their food. The one day Herod dressed up in his fine kingly clothes and gave a big speech. The people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!

Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.

Where did the worms come from? A sudden burst of worms like locusts?

So Peter gets out of jail free. And Herod gets eaten by worms.

It all depends on who your trust is in: Yourself or Jesus?

#trustJesus

Greetings from the Great White North East

Do you hear that sound? Listen carefully.

Yes, that. That’s the sound of the Canadians and Russians laughing at us for being Snow Wimps.

Besides several feet of snow, the temperatures are in the single digits, and factoring in the wind chill, they are well below zero.

Wimps.

We are frustrated, moody. Winter is not supposed to be this cold.

Says who?

I came across a lot of humor on this subject, and I will share it here for your amusement.

Winter-1

Winter-2

Winter-5

Winter-3

Winter-4Winter-6

Winter-7

Winter-8 Winter-9

Winter-10

Winter-11

#EnoughAlready

Update: Here’s another one.

Winter-12#snow

Breaking News: Winter is cold

Oh, it's well below zero.

Oh, it’s well below zero.

Today’s the kind of day when the snot in your nose freezes when you take your first breath outside.

So you wrap a scarf around your neck and mouth and breathe through your mouth, not minding too much the taste of polyester, or the fear of breathing in one of those little balls of fabric that congregate so happily in the dryer lint-screen. Better to breathe in some warm lint than ice-cold air. After a while, you notice that the outside of your nose hurts; it feels as if the wind has encrusted it in ice.  As you continue walking, you notice that now you don’t feel your nose at all. It’s a welcome numbness that takes the place of where your nose used to be.

I don't know what the big deal is. I have a fur coat.

I don’t know what the big deal is. I have a fur coat.

Keep walking. You notice that the wind is whipping through your legs, just below where the coat covers, and even though you have warm, thick sweatpants on, they are no match for the arctic chill. Suddenly you notice that your fingers have a thousand tiny pins prickling your fingertips and kick yourself that you wore your cheapo $2.99 gloves instead of the nice “Made in Norway” gloves that are home collecting dust in the basement, inside a Rubbermaid container. You move your fingers to circulate the blood again, but the needles still hurt and now you notice that the previously frozen snot is now beginning its descent down the inside of your nose, and do you have a tissue handy, or did you use up all the paper towels while cleaning up the dog’s poop from the side of the road?

Sure it's pretty--from indoors!

Sure it’s pretty–from indoors!

You see a neighbor pull their car into the driveway, but you speed up your steps and pretend not to see them. This is not a day to be chatting outdoors while standing still. By now, your toes are starting to complain because they have been shoved into sneakers and not boots, because you are so tired of wearing boots and sneakers are more comfortable, but as the little dog in 101 Dalmations said, “My nose is froze, and my toes are froze..”

Thankfully your ears are not cold because you are wearing your Whiteface Mountain hat, which you overpaid $40 for in May of 2013 in Lake Placid, when it snowed there but the locals were all wearing shorts. You get nervous when you wear that hat some places, because with all the racial tension in the country, you get afraid that someone may not have heard of Whiteface Mountain, and may misconstrue the meaning of “Whiteface” sprawled across your forehead.

Whiteface

You finally get back to your driveway and even though Bailey pulls on the leash because he wants to take another lap around the cul-de-sac, you pull back tightly and let him know that we are going into the house, sorry but there’s no compromising today, and you’re already spoiled enough and I’ll give you cheese if you just let me get in the house without a tug-of-war.

The first stop inside the house is to the bathroom to grab toilet paper to wipe your nose, as you forgot to buy tissues again, and the water-repellant sleeve of your coat just won’t do. It is a warm 65 degrees indoors, but the sudden change in temperature feels like a hot flash, and you begin ripping off your outer clothing and dropping it in a pile by the door.

Whew.

It’s winter.

It’s cold.

But this too shall pass.

Stay warm, my friends.

What if an atheist wrote about the Holocaust?

Scheisshaus-LuckWhat if, instead of a Jew, an atheist was arrested and thrown into a concentration camp?

That’s exactly what happened in the book that I am currently obsessed with, Scheisshaus Luck, Surviving the Unspeakable in Auschwitz and Dora by Pierre Berg with Brian Brock.

When I looked at the cover, I thought it was going to be “just another” Holocaust story. (I would love to see them re-release this book with another cover. I believe it can reach a wider audience.)

Although Pierre was a member of the French Resistance, he was arrested by the Nazis while visiting a friend who was being arrested for owning a short-wave radio. Wrong place, wrong time.

He was a teenager when he was arrested and sent to Drancy, where he met a girl named Stella and fell in love. His love for Stella weaves in and out of the story, a thread of hope for him to look forward to in the future, as he endures hell on earth day after day.

After leaving the concentration camps and getting back home, Pierre sat down to write his memoirs while still fresh in his mind. After a few attempts to have it published, he put it in a drawer and moved on with his life. Fifty years later, he pulled out the draft and worked on it with Brian Brock, a writer. It became the book, Scheisshaus Luck.

The book is not merely a retelling of the atrocities committed, but an emotional roller coaster through the eyes of a teenager whose world is spinning out of control. That’s what makes it so different.

There are a few of the sentences and phrases that make me stop as gasp as I read it:

…with our traveling companions, twelve hundred prisoners of the Third Reich.

If the Nazis found that message and connected it to me, it would be certain torture and death.

No, [this time] we were going to travel like farm animals.

From the shadows appeared ghastly creatures dressed in blue and gray striped uniforms. I couldn’t believe they were human.

The only thing I cared about was my stomach’s incessant crying.

There are lots more, but that is a sample of how good this writing is.

I highly recommend you read this book. Click to read more on Amazon here: Scheisshaus Luck

#bookreview