younger than springtime – solc 2019 #31

Yesterday I had the occasion to visit briefly with an important person in my life. As always, time spent with him is uplifting and encouraging.

Brother Mike Dawson came to be the minister at our church when I was a teenager. He was 36 years old at the time – I remember that because, for all the years he was there, my mother continued to say that he was 36 years old. It’s no wonder – he never ages. His vim, vigor, and vitality are endless.

He went to pastor another church when I was in college, but returned to perform the ceremony when my husband and I married. We had the required counseling sessions prior to the wedding, too, all filled with wise Godly counsel, helping us start off our marriage on the right foot. Still so vibrant and supportive.

Years passed. We would see Brother Mike and his precious wife Mrs. Jolene from time to time, usually at weddings or funerals. The churches he pastored along the way were large and growing. His family grew into Christian servants just like their parents. Yet Brother Mike never aged.

Meanwhile, at the church where my husband and I were members, things weren’t going so well. As I prayed about this troublesome situation, I felt the urging to pray for our current conflicted minister AND to pray for the next minister that, someday, God would direct to our church. Can you believe that it turned out to be… the STILL youthful Brother Mike Dawson!

We moved to a nearby town shorty afterwards, but as before, we still saw him from time to time. Two years ago he led the service when we had a “youth group” reunion at my childhood church. That congregation is now a bit stagnant, and he brought life back to it not only at the reunion Sunday but also afterwards, by meeting with the pastor there and offering encouragement to him. At the reunion, everyone had aged – but not Brother Mike.

He’s always been there for important moments in our family – weddings and funerals and other occasions. Yesterday we saw him at a prayer service for a friend who is ill. Retired now, but still available for people in need. People he loves. People who dearly love him.

Brother Mike may have gray hair now, but he is still younger than springtime. When he talks with you it is as if there’s no one else on earth. He remembers everything about you and your family. He offers encouragement and he radiates the love of God.

I have been blessed beyond measure to have this man of God as such an ongoing influence in my life. May we all be more like him – and like Him, the God that Brother Mike so faithfully serves.

it must be time – solc 2019 #30

a whisper of sound, a passing whoosh – and nothing more

a soft touch, a tiny dimple – then gone

a scent, powdery smooth – only air

a fresh taste, springlike flavor – nothing there

a bulge, with swollen tip – just empty space

 

it must be time, I thought, but I was wrong

only my hopeful imagination

 

but no…

the next morning there they were

awakening the senses

so alive and ready, wiggling in the wind

just like that, growing before my eyes

sparse at first,

each day swelling, accumulating

and now a cloud, an inflated flurry

expanding in the space, completely full

exactly right

filling my heart,

welcoming spring,

the season arrives at last

doing the right thing – solc 2019 #29

In my Bible study group this week, the leader talked about faithfulness – doing the right thing, over and over and over and over and over. Even without noticeable results. Just doing the right thing because it is the right thing.

Easier said than done.

As an example she shared a story of her younger days, when their family was trying to save money, and she would go to the grocery store and buy chicken that was on sale. Limit three per family. But in addition to the three she was purchasing, she gave money to her children, sent them to separate checkout lines with three chickens each, and got a great deal to feed her family. Only it wasn’t the right thing. She said she realized that she was stealing those chickens from the store because she wasn’t doing the right thing. And she did it even though she knew it was wrong. She repeated parts of this story over and over and over and over.

Overkill, I thought. Or maybe not.

Yesterday I was ready to post my slice and I discovered that today’s SOLC#29 was already available for posting. I checked the date and found it was still the 28th. In my time zone. Ah, but the SOLC rules state clearly to post by midnight Eastern Time. I posted yesterday’s slice on the 28th, but when it comes time to turn in our names if we wrote every day, I can’t do that. I didn’t technically follow the rules.

It isn’t the right thing to do.

Today I spoke with a friend whose supervisor asked her to do something that she had originally agreed to, but had recently provoked second thoughts. As she discussed it with a couple of other coworkers, they came to an agreement that it would violate copyright laws. It wasn’t easy to tell the supervisor that she wouldn’t do it, especially when the boss became defensive and made it clear she was disappointed with my friend AND that she didn’t see anything wrong with it. But my friend expressed herself well in a written statement that she wouldn’t be able to do this task.

That was the right thing to do!

Those small little things that seem so trivial creep into our thoughts and can set a pattern of poor choices if we don’t ALWAYS do the right thing. Over and over and over and over. NOT overkill. Those right decisions set the foundation of a strong character that makes it easier to make better decisions in the future.

A worthwhile lesson repeated in several situations. It must be the right thing.

truly madness – solc 2019 #28

I played basketball when I was young and our son played when he was in high school. I love to play the game and I love to watch it even more.

But I do easily lose myself and get caught up in the excitement. When our son played my husband would sometimes not sit with me.

I get a little vocal with the referees. My father was a referee for years, and I know they have the hardest job on the court, and I could never do it myself, and all that – but honestly – sometimes I wonder…  And I often express my questions and concerns out loud.

I have not kept up with teams much this year but tonight I sat down to watch a televised game between two teams that do not mean much to me.  But soon I chose sides.

”How can that not be a foul? Of course he missed the shot.   That guy was in his face like a gnat,” I shouted at the TV.

“A gnat?” My husband muttered.

”Look at that! Yeah you better call a foul. He was over his back like a hood. Just go ahead and cover his face, why don’t you?”

”A hood?  Really?” my husband said as he shook his head.

I still got it.  Madness comes out in March.

too much sign language – solc 2019 #27

When we ordered breakfast this morning, my husband had trouble understanding the young girl who took our order.

Yes, he does have a little bit of hearing difficulty. But that wasn’t the only problem.

This young lady spoke as so many people do these days. A bit of a nasal pitch, with the end of each sentence rising as if everything said is a question.

But he was able to get enough repeated to finalize his order, and as we waited at the table for our meal, we reminisced about our college speech professor.

Dr, Woodruff (Woody) was very dramatic. Plus his voice reverberated throughout the classroom. From time to time he would suddenly use his gruff tone that rose from the gravelly depth into a higher pitch in the course of a sentence stating a rule of proper speech-making that he wanted us to be sure and remember.

”I wonder what Ole Woody would think of the way people talk these days.” I said to my husband.

He laughed and said, “I’m sure he wouldn’t like it.”

Then he reminded me of one of those important public speaking rules Dr. Woody tried to instill in us.

Don’t use your hands too much. Better no hand movement than something distracting. And his example was a line from an old hymn:

  • When (point to wrist where watch is worn)
  • the roll (rolling hands over each other in front of you)
  • is called (hands to each side of mouth as if shouting)
  • up (point upward with both index fingers)
  • yonder (point out as if to the distance)
  • I’ll (point back to self with thumbs)
  • be there (point index fingers down to the floor in front of you).

Good teaching, Dr. Woodruff.  We remember this well.

tree tunnels – solc 2019 #26

Today we were talking to our granddaughter in the car on the way back from gymnastics.  We travel a small road that has two places where the trees form a canopy over the road.

”Look, Madison, the trees are starting to get their leaves.  They are tiny now but they are growing each day. Soon they will be filled out completely.  Then the trees will be covering the road. It will be nice and shady underneath.”

”That’s right, Nan. Then we will have tree tunnels!”

Yes we will, precious child.  There will be tree tunnels before we know it.

And you are growing each day.  It seems to be as fast as lightning.  How can you be almost five years old?

Time moves quickly these days.

moving forward – solc 2019 #25

So, yesterday was post number 500 here.  Now what?

I have been able to take the Slice of Life Challenge for eight years now.  I am so thankful for that opportunity, made possible by Two Writing Teachers. The act of writing has strengthened and encouraged me in so many ways.  It’s a great habit to write every day.

But even though I have the BEST intentions, my daily writing ceases after March.  Every year.  I want to keep it up, but I just don’t.

Perhaps it is too ambitious to to publish a piece every day. Perhaps there is a better way to continue writing – successfully.

I have been pondering this dilemma, and I have come up with a plan. (Here we go again…)  But I think this MIGHT be one I can stick with.

  • Write something every day.
  • Determine to publish two posts each week.  An original one for the Two Writing Teachers Tuesday challenge, and, on Friday or Saturday, a revised version of one of the many quick writes I have posted along the way.
  • Respond to the comments I have received on my writing pieces. As much as I enjoy and learn from these, I seldom reply.  Now I can go back through these and express my thanks, at the very least.
  • Comment more on others’ writing. I have developed a list of writers who “speak to me” in their posts, and I want to visit their sites more regularly and interact with their wonderful words.
  • Organize my posts.  I have never used tags, and it is time for that to be done!
  • Evaluate my dream of publishing a book and decide 1) if I truly want to, and if yes, 2) how to get that done.

To make these ideas work, I will need to spend time writing each day. Not publishing a post every 24 hours, but carrying through with a writing activity with regularity.

I am putting this here to remind myself of these ideas and plans. And I welcome any suggestions that YOU might have, dear readers.

Wish me luck!