Archives for March 2009

Springing Forward

So did you all spring forward successfully today? Or were you one of the ones who arrived just in time for church when you thought you were actually getting there for Sunday School? Don’t worry. I’ve been there. I think we all have at one time or another.

Thanks to daylight savings time we’ll all get to enjoy an extra hour of daylight in our evenings for the next several months. Nothing to complain about there. The process of getting that extra hour, though, is not totally pain free is it? I mean, who likes to lose an hour of sleep? Makes for kind of a rocky start to the new day, huh? Once we’ve adjusted, though — once we’ve made that little sacrifice — we love the benefit we’ve gained.

Can’t help but wonder if there are other areas in our lives where we might benefit by some more springing forward. You know, just taking the leap and doing some things. Things we’ve hoped for or talked about doing but for some reason just remain dreams and talk. Maybe some personal or professional goals we’ve not tackled yet or possibly steps in our spiritual growth or steps toward better spiritual and emotional health. We each know the things that call out to us, the things that beckon us forward.

And yes, I realize taking a leap might require some sacrifice. Much like gaining our extra hour of daylight, the process might not be pain free. Whether we have to give up things like time, money, comfort zones, or even addictions or possibly things like lack of discipline, unforgiveness, fears, or idols, each one can hurt for awhile or be difficult to achieve. Each one comes with a cost.

What good things await you if you’ll only take the leap? Remember, once you’ve adjusted — once you’re made that sacrifice — you’ll love the benefit. So go ahead. Spring forward!

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

**Don’s mom is very tired and weak but is hanging in there. She’s a fighter. All prayers still appreciated…

*Flickr photo by sabrina stash

Celebrating Books – A Feast

Did you know it’s Read Across America Week? I didn’t until I read about it over on the LPM blog on Monday. I know I wrote about reading just a couple of months ago, but in honor of Read Across America, I’d say it’s time to celebrate books again, right?

Some of my fondest, earliest memories of books take me back to my grandparents’ farmhouse, our home on Christmas Eve, and also to the public library in Pittsburg, Kansas. Grandpa and Grandma Hoy kept a few Little Golden Books on hand to read to us grandkids when we came to visit. We could find the books, along with a few other treasures, in their dining room buffet. My favorite was Three Bedtime Stories. Grandpa loved reading to us and had all the voices down pat. I don’t think this book is available anymore, but I bought a copy when our girls were young so I could share my love for the book — and the great memories — with them.

When I was growing up, Christmas Eve found us engrossed in another Little Golden Book favorite — The Night Before Christmas. I still have an image in mind of our house on Parkview Drive with Dad sitting in his chair reading this magical classic to us. Again, I made sure to purchase a copy of this favorite for our girls while it was still available with the same cover I loved as a child.

As I grew older, my mom made sure to take me and my sisters to the public library on a regular basis during the summers. There in a room with vaulted ceiling, filled with the familiar smell of books and dominated by the silence befitting a library, I discovered Nancy Drew mysteries and devoured them one after the other.

My favorite in high school, Gone with the Wind, I think may be my all-time favorite book. I became so immersed in the story and the lives of the characters I didn’t want it to end. As I remember, its emotional impact stayed with me for days. This sweeping epic indeed swept me away. I think I should go back and reread it again after all these years and see if it has the same effect on me now.

The written word wields power — power to transport us as well as transform us. Reading allows us to feast on all kinds of treasure. And as we feast, let’s remember to feast on the most powerful of all written words, the Word of God. Talk about transformation power — I’ve seen it work in my life. How about you?

Okay, now it’s your turn. What are some of your earliest, fondest memories of books? What’s your all-time favorite? Come on and share in the feast!

“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight…” Jeremiah 15:16a

**Update: My mother-in-law’s lab work this week shows that the infusions aren’t really helping the kidney function hold its own. Not sure how much longer she can avoid another hospitalization. Thanks once again for all your prayers.

Heart’s Desire

heart's desireRemember me telling you about the scripture memory challenge I accepted for 2009? (If you missed that, this post gives the details.) Beth Moore encouraged readers of her LPM blog to memorize or seriously meditate on two scriptures each month this year, and I decided to give it a go. We post our scriptures on her blog on the 1st and 15th of the month. So far I’m keeping up.

In one of her follow-up posts, Beth advised us to select verses that would be important to us in some way or have special meaning for us at this point in time. Since my life has been pretty stressful since then, I’ve chosen a couple of scriptures that offer comfort and peace. On February 15th, though, God brought a verse to my attention that perfectly captures my heart’s desire concerning my writing.

I wasn’t sure what my new verse would be when the 15th rolled around, but that soon changed. As I was reading the day’s devotion in Daily Devotions for Writers, I came across Deuteronomy 32:2. I know I’ve read it before because I’ve read the Bible completely through in years past, but it sprang off the page with new and personal meaning now. Now I was looking at it through the eyes of a writer.

In the NIV, Deut. 32:2 says, “Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” Ah yes, that’s what I want my words to do. That’s my heart’s desire.

Even though I don’t do indepth teaching through my writing, I do want my words to bring refreshment, encouragement, and yes, even some life lessons to those who read them. This verse, in fact, beautifully reflects the tag line, or brand statement, I already use: Cheryl BarkerRefreshing Spirits, Nourishing Souls.

I’m so thankful God led me to this verse a couple of weeks ago. I feel like I’ve discovered a valuable jewel — a life verse, if you will, for my writing life. I pray that this verse, my heart’s desire, will be realized from time to time in the lives of all who read my words. I pray that you, dear friend, will be refreshed, encouraged, or nourished by something you read here sometime.

My prayer? “Lord, thank You for the words You give me to share with others. Bless those who read them. ‘Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.’ May You receive all praise, Father. May You be glorified through us all. Amen.

“But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.” Job 16:5

*Personal update: Don’s mom doesn’t feel well much of the time, but she hasn’t had to be hospitalized again yet. We’re so thankful for each day out of the hospital. Thank you for your prayers!

*Flickr photo by Perry McKenna