Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Crossing I Look Forward To

Penny Frost McGinnis
John 17:1-5
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”

For most of my life I feared bridges. Nevertheless, I’ve had to travel across them. Several years ago, my young daughters and I, with my brother and his family, traveled to Georgia to visit our other brother. To get to St. Simon’s Island, where he lived, we had to cross a causeway. Similar to a bridge, the concrete road rose above the water to a peak, then came back down and connected to the island. As I drove I felt like I might propel straight to heaven before we came down on the other side. Then there was a bridge in Maryland I rode on, over 4 miles long, that curved across the Chesapeake Bay. It was beautifully engineered but gave me butterflies. If that’s not enough, the old Maysville bridge that crossed the Ohio River filled me with great anxiety every time we traveled to the college my daughters and I attended (at different times.) Fortunately they’ve updated it and added a new one down the road. So when Tim and I walked across the Purple People Bridge in Cincinnati, I had a mini-celebration.

My fear of bridges has dissipated over the years although I still get a flutter sometimes when I cross over. But one bridge I’ll never fear is the one God has given me to get to heaven. Jesus is the bridge to eternal life. He’s the only way for imperfect people like me to be forgiven. Because of Jesus, I look forward to a home in heaven where I’ll be free to rejoice and praise God all day long. Because of Jesus I have the freedom from sin that gives me peace and hope. He bridges the gap between earth and heaven and that’s one crossing I look forward to. Praise God for Jesus!

Have you ever feared bridges?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Most Basic Element

I'm taking an online class to prepare me to help students with reference questions in the library where I work. Several years ago I helped people find information in the public library. Things have changed. An increase in online databases, e-books, and search engines has updated the face of gathering information. But, even as the techniques get more sophisticated, the most basic element of helping someone hasn't changed.

Our second online chat addressed---wait for it---being friendly so people will come back. That's one of the most important elements to good reference work.

I have to admit, I was a bit surprised to have an instructor teach me to be approachable, kind, and patient. Whether I needed it or not, it's a good reminder of how to treat people, no matter what I'm doing. 

When have you encountered an especially helpful person in public service?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

He Spreads the Snow Like Wool

Psalm 147:15-18
He sends his command to the earth;
    his word runs swiftly.
He spreads the snow like wool
    and scatters the frost like ashes.
He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
    Who can withstand his icy blast?
He sends his word and melts them;
    he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

Southwest Ohio has been covered in snow and ice this week, like much of the country. We’ve not had the amount Boston had, but the fluffy stuff closed businesses, schools and made life more difficult for anyone who needed to be out and about. The weather caused power outages, accidents, stress, and frustration. But once the ice and snow melt away, people will travel, kids will go back to school and stress will ease.

Much like life, something happens that causes stress, a negative change, or difficulties beyond our control. The Psalm assures us that even though God sends the snow and ice, he also breaths the warm breezes to make the waters flow. When you think you can’t take anymore winter weather, spring arrives and warms the air. My hope is in God and his caring hands. No matter what I experience, I know he’s with me and brighter days are ahead. I love winter, but by the time spring rolls around, I’ll love that too. Praise God for hope. 

What's your favorite season?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Are You a Hobbit?

I don't know about you, but being snowed in for several days in a row brings out the hermit in me. Or maybe the hobbit. Staying in and enjoying my home brings satisfaction to my soul. Whether I'm writing, reading or fixing dinner there's something about knowing I
can't leave that makes me want to hunker down and enjoy the peaceful solitude of where I dwell.

How about you? Are you more like a hobbit, content to stay home or do you get cabin fever?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow day!

I love snow days! We finally got two here in Southwest Ohio. Why do I like them? To me they're like free days. Unplanned, I can do what I want days. I don't have to be at work. I don't go to appointments. So what do I do?

Yesterday I unpacked photographs and hung them in the hallway, as well as a beautiful picture of Eli and Ella Cate I got for Christmas. Now my hallway, filled with family, brings me joy. Some of the photos landed in our second bedroom, and a set of Tim and I at the ocean found a prominent place in our bedroom. 

Today, I dusted, am doing  laundry, and plan to write. Sounds boring, but to me-- it's delightful. Added bonus--Tim is home today, too.

What do you do on a snow day? Or a free day?

Monday, February 16, 2015

This Old Dog...

My daughter, Sara, called the other day. She wanted to know how much I loved my granddaughter, Ella Cate. Silly question. I love all my grandkids bunches and bunches.

The outfit I made for Ella Cate to go from the hospital in.
Sara couldn't find an Easter dress she liked for her sweet little girl. Could I make one? Sure. I'd give it a whirl. I'd made prom dresses, a wedding dress, lots of baby and toddler clothes for the girls, and quilts. I assumed (one should never do that) we'd go to the fabric store and purchase a pattern. Nope. It's not what young moms do anymore. Instead, she went on Etsy and purchased a downloadable pattern.

What? I have to download the pattern and print it. Not to mention make sure the 1" square is exactly 1", because that's how you know the sizing is accurate, follow the forty-nine pages of directions to tape the pattern together, cut out the fabric and sew it, and figure out how to improvise the parts that require a serger. (I don't have one, and I think I'd like a hem better, anyway.)

The pattern's printed. I've read the directions. As soon as we have a chance, Sara and I will take Ella Cate to pick out fabric. Can't wait.

Am I challenged? Yes. Will I do it? Yes. This old dog can still learn a new trick or two.

I'll post a pic when the project is finished.

Have you learned something new recently? What was it?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

True Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

February the month of Love

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Tim and I married on October 31, 1992. Over twenty-two year ago, we combined our families— my three daughters and his son and daughter, ages ranged eight to fifteen. One year from March to July, all five were teenagers. With lots of love for each other and for each child, we rejoiced with them, high school and college graduations, weddings, and babies, plus all the daily joys. We protected them the best we could and comforted them in heartbreak and injury. We trusted them to make good decisions and hoped for the best. Our love persevered. Now with eight grandchildren in the mix, we experience more love than we imagined.

God feels the same way about his children. When we choose truth, he rejoices. Through his Spirit he protects us and in free will he trusts us to make the best choices. The hope he gave us outweighs all hope. Through Jesus we look forward to eternal life. God’s love perseveres. His love never, ever fails. On Valentine’s Day we send messages to the people we love. Buy flowers and chocolate. This day I want to send a prayer of thanks to the Father who loves me. Praise God for true love.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Writer off the Leash: Growing in the Writing Craft

Of all the writing books I've read, and I've read a lot, this is the best one. I wish I’d had it when I first started writing fiction. Michelle's sense of humor makes the book fun to read. Her great explanations and advice make the book a keeper. I’ll refer to it over and over again. She doesn’t just give the nuts and bolts of writing fiction, she gets to the heart of why a writer writes and has the reader ask themselves questions that reveal whether they have a heart for writing. If you have any interest in or already write fiction, buy this book. Seriously, buy this book.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

When Love Disintegrates

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

February, the month of love.

Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

As people milled around the exhibits at the zoo, a couple of peacocks strutted about. They dragged their multi-colored tails behind them, then stopped to impress the crowd. The tail feathers fanned out into a beautiful array of iridescent blue and green. You could say… they were proud as a peacock. Male peacocks show off their tails to win a peahen’s heart. God created the birds to show their feathers.

Can you imagine people strutting around with prideful, feathered tails? When people throw pride, envy, and selfishness into a relationship the bonds of trust are broken, abuse happens, and love disintegrates. Paul tells us in Corinthians to turn from selfishness. Instead of envy, appreciate. Instead of boasting, encourage. Instead of luxuriating in pride, be humble. Show honor, be selfless, let go of anger, and throw grudges aside. Follow Jesus example of love and put others first. He gave his life. Praise God for his love.