Tuesday, August 11, 2015

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The Lost Art of Hand Writing

Stone, clay, copper, silver, parchment and papyrus were all used to write upon during biblical times. I can’t even begin to imagine the tedium in writing just a quick note to a friend. If I had to produce the clay or cut down the reeds to make the papyrus, I would probably forgo any written communication. I’ve read it took Paul, or Paul’s secretary, when writing to the Thessalonians, about 11 sheets of papyrus and 20 hours to complete. Let’s put that more succinctly. If when I finish this blog, and its approximately 500 words, then it would take me more than 4 to 5 hours to finish. Good grief, Charlie Brown! I will try never to complain again about having a writing deadline.

Of course that informational excursion led me to ponder how beautifully our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written. The penmanship was almost like a piece of art. Again, I wonder how much writing would I, or could I do with my carpel tunnel wrist, if I had to handwrite with quill pen and ink? Hmm? When typewriters were invented the ease of writing became much more fluid. I have to admit I own 2 of them. I will pound at the keys just to hear the lovely clickety click, but again, much more time consuming than a computer. The ease of writing has made written communication quicker and more immediate, but what has been lost in the translation of being expedient? When I read texts, mine included, I sometimes gasp at the errancy of it all.

When once in a blue moon, which by the way happened last month, I receive a handwritten letter, it’s almost like receiving a Christmas or birthday gift. I know it took effort and time and care. I can picture the individual sitting down and thoughtfully creating the words as they move their pen along the page. It’s like seeing a bit of history in the making. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for my laptop and for the multitude of blogs and books and articles I can read and or write at the push of a button, but some days I long for a beautiful well thought out hand written note. Imagine the world without the 278 written words that began with, “Four score and seven years ago…” When I see the original online version, I try and picture Lincoln on the long train ride to Gettysburg and wonder about all the thoughts going through his head in that moment. That doesn't seem to happen too often when I’m reading things written in Times New Roman or Sans-serif.

After all is said and done, I will continue to open up my laptop and tap away, but every once and a while, like this afternoon, I think I will pull out a piece of pretty stationery and write a quick note to a friend or relative. Write on dear friends; write on.



Writing: A Gift From the Lord

Writing. I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me to put my thoughts on paper is a driving force. However, if no one reads my words, is it like the proverbial tree in the forest – when it falls, does it really make a sound? If no one else reads my words, then what good are they? Do they make a difference? Perhaps every writer, famed or not, feels this way.

The Lord provides each of us with gifts. The bible even makes a list. Romans 12: 6-8 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. 

Great writing, I believe, is a gift from the Lord, but doesn’t meaningful writing from the heart have its place too? If we believe we have some modicum of talent, and we believe we are the Lords creation, then shouldn’t we use that talent? I ask this of myself quite often. I hold no awards, no accolades from prominent publishers, not even a book deal, but yet I strive on. And to what purpose I ask myself? In the end, I suppose, I write not for scads of money or fame…thank goodness, since I haven’t acquired either…but because I cannot not write.

Aristotle once said, “The exercise of vital powers, along lines of excellence, in a life affording scope.” Like many, I assume, I am driven to write, to exercise my vital powers regularly. I have a blog. It’s an outlet to express my beliefs and emotions, but there’s another more important reason. I pray that just one person will glean something meaningful from my ramblings. I like to imagine my words moving my readers, whether to laughter or tears or to simply ponder life more deeply. I want to know they are making a difference; perhaps I even need to know they are making a difference. A hundred or a thousand years from now, if the world still exists, will any of my words be quoted like Aristotle? Even if I believe the answer to be no, it won’t stop me. And I pray it doesn’t stop any writer from striving for the possibility. For now, I pray everyone endeavoring to reach others through their words finds success in a way that best suits them. Whether it is fame, or fortune, or fulfillment, or one more friend on their blog page. For now, in such a time as this, it is in placing the words on paper that keep my dream alive and therefore hopefully, builds the dreams of others. Write on dear friends. Write on.

Monday, April 27, 2015

ONE STEP AT A TIME



I was feeling a bit unaccomplished the other day as I thought about all of my women friends and relatives who have wonderful well paying "careers". I screwed up the side of my lip, looked down at the ground, and kicked my shoe against the floor. Am I where I'm suppose to be? I ask this quite often of the Lord, waiting and expecting a response. I want to head in the direction He has planned, but sometimes I cannot hear him, or I do not listen, I'm not sure which it is somedays. I know He knows everything about our lives from the beginning to the end, but He does not tell us the final destination,. We must find it one step at a time. Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.   Proverbs 16:9  A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.  God's path is full of abundance. When you ask him for direction in your life, he gives it, but usually just a bit at a time. So when the Holy Spirit speaks to us in a still small voice we must listen intently, and with an open heart.  Isaiah 30:21  Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.  When I prayed a while ago for the Lord to give me the next "step" in life, I heard my heart speak. Below is what I heard. Make things to remind people about all of the small blessings in life. Remind them the moments you take for granted can become precious memories later on. I know to some this may seem silly when the world is all about climbing the corporate ladder, making more money, and having tons of "LinkedIn" friends, but there you have it. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with making money. I pray my items will sell. Everyone has and needs a purpose in life, and to be fruitful in it. The Lord gifted me with a small amount of creativity, so He said use it and bless others with it. I am taking one small step in that direction as I constantly try to walk in His way all the days I have left.








In this moment time stands still.

    The beauty is in the details remembered. It’s your first golf trip to St. Andrews, Scotland. You’ll never forget the smell of the course.  With the gorse in full bloom, the small yellow flowers emit a smell of coconut reminiscent of summer lotions. And over the sound of gentle waves rolling onto a sandy shoreline you hear the distant bagpipes playing Amazing Grace. It’s a perfect setting for the country where golf began.
    Golf is a game of honor, integrity and rules; albeit some peculiar rules. Rules for the most part, which are left to the individuals to police themselves. This begs the question: if you cheat at golf are you only cheating yourself?  Golf began as a gentlemen’s game, and it remains a gentlemen’s game. The honor is in playing as the “rules” intended, so if you quietly move your ball, or don’t play to your potential, then it says far more about your ethics then your golf score. I’d like to think the Lord would love a good game of golf, played hard with honesty, and fairness.
    Now it’s on to Royal Troon for more great golf, but no haggis. That will be kept for someone far more abdominally brave.

    Enjoy the view, the sights, and the sounds, especially the hollow clunk of the ball as it drops into the cup echoing a birdie on the eighteenth hole!








In this moment time stands still.

            I sit patiently looking up at you while you take in the sounds of summer, the birds chirping in the trees, the warm summer breeze whispering past your face. You look content.
            Our walk is an established routine, especially when the weather is nice. I wait by the door looking longingly up at the leash. After a specified time I bark, sometimes incessantly, until the leash is attached to my collar. Then we’re off to the park.
            If you don’t have a park nearby, a walk through the neighborhood can be just as delightful. The hometown streets, where trees border the sidewalks like sentinels, are a joy. They can evoke childhood memories of trick or treat, or caroling in the snow, or simply walking to grandmas house, if you are or were blessed enough to have them live nearby.
            Ah, the joys of summer are never ceasing if you take a moment to be still…and listen…and watch…and smell. They are all around you from the birds in the trees, to dogs being walked, to the smell of fresh cut grass. When you stop and look around, blessings abound.
            James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”.     The Lord is Creator of all things. I believe he wishes us to be appreciative of, and enjoy it. However, we must be willing to hold on to our blessings with open hands lifted upwards, so when or if one is taken away, we can still lift our voices in thanks even as the caged bird sings.







In this moment time stands still.

It’s your day. A day to spend with a sister, a friend or just yourself, and watch the world go by as you sip some coffee or tea, and eat a croissant. It’s one of those few days you get when you can just relax and imagine the possibilities of life. A moment to reflect on all of the absurdities the world hands out; yet see the beautiful possibilities, too. For instance you discuss getting a typewriter and writing the next great American novel, or you debate the pros and cons of starting your own business? Ah, the potential and promises life can hold.  You take another sip of warm creamy goodness and close your eyes for a moment. When you open them you smile, and count your blessings. Maybe the novel will have to wait, and any business prospects will have to be put on the back burner for now. But the beauty of life is it’s full of blessings from the Lord. In every single day, in every single place, in every moment the Lord shows His love for us. So, even though the great American novel may be left for the next person, you are still able to sit with a loved one, sip tea and sweetly laugh as you watch the world go by. And in that moment blessings are counted, and dreams are made.