Wednesday, February 21, 2024

A Heart for Books

Doesn't this graphic make you want to sit with a cup of coffee 
or tea and read one of the books?

I don't remember a time when I didn't love books. 

When I look back through my life, 
I find my decades flavored by the books I read.
Children's book, young adult, textbooks, 
how to care for children, 
more children's books, novels, more textbooks, 
the Bible, and now writing and research. 
I even made a few books from scratch.

Do you love books? What do you love to read?


 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Refresh

Proverbs 11:25
A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

For the love of baseball.

My grandson’s baseball team had decided to go select, which meant a steeper price to pay to play. To raise money for his fees, my daughter chose to make and sell heart-shaped cake pops just in time for Valentine’s Day. The generosity of people overwhelmed us. Before she knew it, folks had ordered over 700 cake pops. I learned, in short order, what an intensive process went into those cute little pops on the end of a stick.

On the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, Maggie, Sara, and I started the process of cutting the dough into heart shapes around 10 am. Maggie had already baked a bunch of cakes and mixed them with icing to create the dough. We cut or stuffed the small heart-shaped cookie cutters with dough, then set them aside to chill. Once they set, Maggie dipped them in melted candy and we decorated them with sprinkles and more melted candy. At 4 pm Sara left and Michael (Maggie’s husband) joined us to decorate and wrap each one in a plastic bag and tie it closed. I left at 6 pm and prayed they were able to finish. From beginning to end, it took several family members to complete the task. Dilly, Dylan, and Emma jumped in after 10pm to dip, decorate, and wrap. They worked with Maggie until late into the night. Then, Maggie and Zeke finished and delivered them on Sunday.

I love that so many hands helped make the load lighter, and so did Maggie. She appreciated all who helped, either in person or financially.

Proverbs 11:25 reminds me to be generous, not just with money, but with my time. To take the opportunity to help others and lighten their load. I love to see this in person and be part of the refreshment of others.

When have you been able to help someone in need? When has someone helped you?

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Happy Valentine's Day

I searched for information on the origin of Valentine's day. 
What I found was shrouded in mystery. 
Nothing gave a clear source for the day we set aside to wish each other love. 

There were guesses and ideas, but none of them pinpointed the day.

What I can pinpoint is God's love for us, and that He wants us to love each other.

I hope this Valentine's Day finds you surrounded by love.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. -1 John 4:11





 

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Love Never Fails

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
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.

I read a post on Facebook recently, written to teenagers who were developing crushes. The writer advised the teen to replace the name of the person they liked for the word love in 1 Corinthians 13. I’ve also heard pastors encourage their congregation to do the same thing with their own names. It’s good advice on both counts.

Love is patient. Whoa! One of the most difficult characteristics to nurture is the very first one Paul, the author of Corinthians, mentions. I used to cringe at the word patience, because I wanted more. How ironic is that? Over time, God has helped me grow through circumstances to gain more patience.

Love is kind. We talk a lot about being kind. My granddaughter bought me a charm that said, “Kind people are my kind of people.” I love it, and I pray every day for a kinder world.

Love doesn’t envy, boast, or think more of themselves than others (pride.) Jesus gave the ultimate example of humility. The Son of God died for me and you.

Love doesn’t dishonor. I enjoy a good joke, as much as the next person, but I shouldn't put someone else down to make myself feel good. Respect others.

Love is not self-seeking. Let’s look out for each other. Time on earth is short compared to eternity, so why not take care of each other to make the journey better?

Love is not easily angered. When I was young, I had a temper, and I spent many hours praying for God to help me control it, and He did. God hears and helps.

Love keeps no records of wrongs and does not delight in evil. Start over every day, forgive, and rejoice in truth.

Love always trusts in God, hopes in Jesus, and perseveres with the Holy Spirit’s help.

Love never fails because God never fails. We can’t do this alone. We need God and each other.

Love makes a difference.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

And God Inspired Books

In this world of constant attention grabbing and alarm creating social media and news, I am thankful for the solid consistency of books.

When I write books, the words go through a process. The stories are not just thrown together and posted without forethought. Instead, they are vetted by me, my critique partner, my beta reader, and finally my editor.

I thank God for books, especially the book He inspired most. I find myself excited to read the stories in the Bible. David’s Psalms inspire me and give me hope and confidence in God. Luke’s accounts in the book of Acts teach me perseverance and inspiration. The gospels teach the truth of Jesus.

God created words for us to communicate truth, to tell stories, and to learn and share.

Do you have a favorite book? A favorite book of the Bible?

Saturday, February 3, 2024

He Loved and Healed

Matthew 9:10-13
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus loves people. It doesn't matter who they were, where they came from, or their occupation. He took the time to sit down with the folks he met, get to know them and share with them His Story. Yes, he talked to them about salvation because he loved them. Back in his day, tax collectors were often cheaters who stole money for themselves from the collected taxes. They were pretty much low-lifes in the eyes of the community. And you can bet the religious leaders of the day didn't bother to even say hello. Yet Jesus sat down at the table with Matthew.

Tax collectors weren't the only ones Jesus befriended. His disciples were a bunch of regular guys who were sometimes a bit clueless and smelled like fish. But he loved them and taught them about the new kingdom, his kingdom, and his sacrifice. Then there were the women. Mary Magdalene had been filled with demons. Jesus cast them out of her, and she followed him. He loved children and protected them. He loved older people, sick people, and sinners. Jesus wasn't a push-over. He was a caretaker, one who wanted the best for everyone he met. And that best is salvation. So you might be surprised who the Lord hung out with. It wasn't the kings or queens, rabbis or teachers. Oh, he spoke with them, too. But he spent his precious time on earth with regular people. Like you and me. And he still wants to, through us.

He invited regular old Joes and Janes to take up the cross and follow him. He included the lame, the lepers, and the dying into his fold. He healed and loved. Knowing how Jesus cared for people, how can I do any less? It's hard for me because I'm not exactly a people person, yet God puts folks in my path and says love them. With his help, I do.

How about you? Who has Jesus called you to love? Who has he asked you to share his story with?