Monday, January 30, 2017

Hard Work and Handiwork: Growing Up Blue-collar

I come from a solid stock of blue-collar workers. Clear back to my great-great grandfather and his father who labored as blacksmiths. According to a family story, my great-great-great grandfather Abbott, from Dundee, Scotland, shod Queen Victoria's horses.

I've heard some concern from family and friends that young people are not being taught to work with their hands; they're lacking the advantage of learning a trade or a skill. Growing up, we planted and tended a garden, my dad, a welder by trade, fixed all of our cars and any other machinery around our home as did my brothers. My mom and grandma canned all kinds of veggies and fruit. My sister and I both learned to sew, cook, and clean. I love to sew. The cooking and cleaning, not so much, but I still know how when I need to.

My granddad on  my mom's side farmed, built furniture, and worked as a barber. Grandma cooked for farmhands and later worked at the hospital cafeteria. Dad's father farmed. My brothers both build and refinish furniture and they've done factory work. My sister operated a telephone switchboard. Years later she drove an escort truck across the country with her husband. My uncles owned carpentry businesses. In other words we've always worked hard and with our hands.

My brother, Ron, and I had the opportunity to attend college and graduate with degrees. Even with my B.S. in Digital Communication I still prefer hands-on work. My degree led me to a staff position at the local college. As the Library's Technical Services Manager, I'm quite content to roll in the background as a support person.

I hope anyone who has an influence on children that happens to be reading my ramblings, takes the time to teach their kids everyday skills. If you know how to fix a car or appliances, teach a young person. If you sew or do a craft, share that with a child. If you garden or farm, include your children or grandchildren. I'd hate to see the art of hard work and handiwork disappear.

If you're like me, as you teach your children, you'll learn from them at the same time. That's the blessing of passing it on.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Light that Shines

Revelation 22:1-5 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

In January, grey dreary days have plagued southwest Ohio. For the most part, I'm a winter person. I love snow and the light that makes it sparkle. But so far our winter has been a drippy mess. We've had spring-like temperatures with mud. I'm not sure what coat to wear or whether I even need a coat. Mind you, I'm thankful we haven't had severe snowstorms or dangerous conditions. But a sprinkle of pretty white snow would be appreciated. Instead we're slogging through dark days with occasional sunshine.

How many times do we sludge through life in the dark? Instead of letting Jesus light shine through encouragement, hope, and joy, I let the misery of being human cast a shadow over me. Sometimes life sucks the light right out of me. But Jesus said if I am his follower, I also need to be his light. I need to care about the people around me, I'm called to show the love of Jesus, and I'm required to give. What a blessing to show Jesus' light. But do you know what is even better? Heaven! One of these days when I'm sitting at the throne of God, he will be the light. We won't need the sun. Because God is the light of heaven. I don't know about you, but I can get through these dreary winter days a little easier with the hope of heaven and the light that shines through God. Praise God for his eternal light!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Little Golden Books Turns 75 Years Old!

Do you remember The Poky Little Puppy, Saggy Baggy Elephant, Scuffy the Tugboat and Tootle, all a beloved part of my early reading experience. The Little Golden Books filled the shelves in my room. I loved listening to and reading the whimsical stories. Puff the Blue Kitten who fell in a can of blue paint, Santa's Toy Shop and Heidi.

How about the ones illustrated by Eloise Wilkin? The children she drew had such sweet, cherub-like faces.  Come Play House and Prayers for Children. I loved all of her books.

 Little Golden Books were first published in 1942, at the end of World War 2 for just twenty-five cents each. They were sold with the intent of bringing joy to the children who endured wartimes.

Now seventy-five years later they've sold over two billion books.
I like the attitude of Golden Books Editorial Director, Diane Muldrow —"Nothing takes the place of being read to."

They aren't a quarter anymore, but they are available for less than $5.00 on Amazon and in retail stores. If you haven't introduced your children to Little Golden Books, this would be a great time to share them. I have great memories of reading my Little Golden Books to my girls. They're a fun way to encourage reading.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Self-Control: It's Essential

Titus 2:11-14
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

January is often a time to make resolutions, set goals, and diet. In my forties I decided I was tired of being over-weight, so we bought a tread mill and went on a healthy diet. Every day I walked as I watched a show I taped on my VCR (yep-that long ago.) I fixed low-fat meals and stuck to my one treat a day, usually ice cream. In about a year I'd reached my goal weight. The self-control I imposed on myself paid off. I kept the weight off for almost six years. Then due to a change in job and some health issues, I gained weight again.

Since I'm older, the same techniques I used back then won't work now. I'm pretty happy if I just don't gain any weight. But my point is, I set my mind to accomplish my goal. And it worked. Self-control is essential when it comes to living life. I dislike the times I give in to anger, gossip, negativity or many of the other sins on this earth.

In his short text, Titus encourages the men, women, and young people of the church to develop self-control. I can only do that through Jesus who gives me the strength. As I seek to reach my goals (no matter what they are) and stay obedient to God, I keep my eyes on the hope that I have in Jesus. With him all things are possible.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Few Quotes in Honor of Winnie the Pooh's Birthday!

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“Just because an animal is large, it doesn't mean he doesn't want kindness; however big Tigger seems to be, remember that he wants as much kindness as Roo.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Monday, January 16, 2017

When Your Children Follow God's Path

My youngest daughter, Hannah, flew to Guatemala on Saturday with a group from Habitat for Humanity. They've traveled to Central America to build buildings and install smokeless stoves. Many of the people in the area cook over open fires in their homes. That equals an unhealthy environment. The travelers are also exploring a whole new part of our beautiful world.

When Hannah and her sisters were young I prayed for them to find the path God intended for them. I never dreamed Hannah's life would include world travel. But it has. I let go and let God and so did she. For any young mom's reading this, I want to tell you—it's not easy. Sometimes it's downright hard. On Saturday when they were flying I was a bit anxious. When I saw the message "Here safe and sound," my heart filled with relief.

Prayer and journaling are two of the best tools I've found to help me put aside the worry and entrust my children to God. This goes for grandchildren, too. I've learned to push worry aside and pray, pray, pray. That's when God brings me peace.

As a parent, we don't know where the Lord will lead our children. Encouraging them and guiding them is part of our job. Noticing their strengths and interests and giving them opportunity is a must. Letting them go to travel God's path is hard. But oh the joy I've found in each of our children's journeys. I'm proud of all of them and excited to see where the Lord continues to leads.

If you'd like to follow Hannah's adventure, she writes a blog:

Prayers are always appreciated!
I'd love to hear your thoughts, too.