We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Spring in Your Step?

Spring! March 20 dawned cold with a few flurries by evening. But somehow I felt we collectively turned a corner. We can now leave the blast of winter behind for the hoped-for warmth of the sun and for green grass, flowers, and . . . gardening.

Today, our family visited a local farmer who participates in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Outside we stepped over tired snow piles and mud. But inside Tim's greenhouse, we witnessed rows of green, luscious lettuce - several varieties. He told us about his soil, how he cares for his gardens, and what he hopes to harvest and have available for his customers. We purchased some greens and had a scrumptious salad for supper. A taste of more to come!

My friend, Susan Vinskofski, is a Master Gardener and has written a wonderful e-Book about gardening titled The Art of Gardening: Building Your Soil. Complete with illustrations by artist Deb Hamby, this resource offers step by step instructions on how to take a garden from good to great. Susan's website has been a most helpful resource for all things healthy: learningandyearning.com

Springtime reminds us of new birth and youth. It's the time for planting, for the resurrection of grass and perennials, for bursting leaves and buds, for sap and growth. It's the time for animals to bring their young into the world. It marks the time of new beginnings.

We usually don't  associate spring with "old age," but tucked in an ancient psalm I found these words:
The righteous flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
(Psalm 92:12-15, emphases added)
Now that's enough to put a spring in your step!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

When Friends Become "the Face of God"

"Women friends become the face of God to one another-
the face of grace, of delight, of mercy." *

This past week, someone asked me to serve on a committee. I asked the typical questions and requested a day to think it over, then asked for a couple more days. I jotted down the pros and cons, tried to determine if my responsibilities would fit with my gifts, and prayed.

You see, to me this represented more than a position on a work committee. I'm at a crossroads. A seam. A place where the present emerges from the past. Where should my focus lie now?

I reached for perspective from friends, friends I have come to appreciate and trust.

Every other Monday, a group of writers meets around my dining room table. We critique manuscripts, trouble-shoot blogs, and offer ideas and encouragement. After years of meetings, we've become close friends. 

This past week when a few lingered at the table, I asked their advice about my decision. They listened. They heard my heart. And they shared insights I had not considered before. They brought clarity and objectivity to my decision.

Friends feed my soul. They help me grow. They keep me accountable. 

Another long-time friend lives in a neighboring state. We email and chat every so often. Pick up where we left off. Last week she shared a few thoughts on accountability from Jennifer Rothschild - questions to ask a friend:
1. What do you see in my life that encourages you?
2. What do you see in my life that you would like to caution me about?
3. What else would you like to tell me?
Proverbs 27:17 sums it up well: "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."

So, what role do friends play in your life? Are they "the face of grace, of delight, of mercy"? I want to be that kind of friend, don't you?

*From Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge, page 180.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Do Unseen Forces Tinker with Technology?

Most of last week, our internet didn't work - and since our phone depends on the internet for incoming and outgoing calls, let's just say I felt a little cut off from the world. Well, at least my world.

So, when my daughter needed to go to the library to do her homework, I took my laptop with me. Easy enough. But, for some reason, I couldn't pick up the wireless. And I had a deadline to meet in a matter of hours. I hurried home to pick up a jump drive, saved the two devotionals on it, and my daughter kindly saved them onto her computer. We got them out in time! Teenagers can be wonderful.

I did a little thinking over the quiet "technology-less" week. How dependent on the World Wide Web was I, really? Social media and email are important to a writer. We are supposed to log in, post, read, leave comments, and interact online. But my growing annoyance and frustration with the long wait seemed to be telling me something. Or asking the question, "Can I find a better balance in all this?"

During my "week off," I organized my office, wrote and mailed a few notes (using paper), and did some baking. I also took some time to read and jot down a few quotes from a book someone loaned me: Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge. Have you read it? I needed time to digest the ideas on femininity and found myself grateful for the stillness . . . still mulling it over, by the way . . .

Now we're back online. We have a dial tone on our house phone. My son-in-law patiently pushed a tiny hidden switch on my computer, and we installed our new passwords.

So, what do you think? Do demons tinker with technology? Some days it may seem like a plausible explanation. Or maybe, just maybe it's angels who mix up the wires . . . to help us see beyond the here and now, beyond the visible urgent to the invisible important.