Monday, October 23, 2017

The Sand is Slipping Away, by Carol Ford






Board games often include a miniature replica of an hourglass. It is used to time a player’s turn. The timer is set in the middle of the table and everyone watches the sand slowly trickle through the narrow opening. If it’s my turn, and the sand is running out, my heart races and I become noticeably agitated, because once it has all sifted through to the bottom half, I know that ‘time’s up’.
I use this imagery of an hourglass, not to create anxiety or stress, but to draw your attention to the natural laws of God’s timing in our lives and reinforce the idea that there are no surprises—we can expect change.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV) says: 
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Can you identify with many of these positive and negative changes?
The author of Ecclesiastes was Solomon,  King of Israel. He had an important job and big shoes to fill; his father was King David.  He asked for the following from God:
“ So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” 1 Kings 3:9 a (NIV)

What happened to Solomon when he prayed for help from God? Read 1 Kings 3: 10 -14
How has God helped you in your vocation?
As Christians we have an amazing advantage. God expects and will be pleased (as he was with Solomon) when we ask for wisdom and guidance in all areas of our lives.
An authentic hour glass is a fragile and a precise time piece. Our life is also a fragile and a unique creation.  
Here’s what Psalm 139.16b (NIV) says about our time on earth, all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be..”
 

Carol Ford is a speaker, career coach and writer. She shares her adoption reunion story with women and senior groups. Her short stories My Mother's Gift and My Forever Home, 1948 http://hotappleciderbooks.com/ are published in Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon and Christmas with Hot Apple Cider. As a contributor on Hope Stream Radio,https://hopestreamradio.com/ she gives advice on work life.  Carol volunteers with The Word Guild and leads a local writers’ group. The group has written As the Ink Flows, Devotions to Inspire Christian Writers & Speakers (Judson Press)
.As the Ink Flows: Devotions to Inspire Christian Writers & Speakers
 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Old Fashioned Stories-by Heidi McLaughlin



Lately I thrive on the simple things in life, after dinner walks, finding a plaid shirt in a Thrift Shop or stopping for an ice cream cone. I also love being huddled down with a great book and a bag of black liquorice. As my late husband Jack would have said, “This and Heaven too!” Well, he finally got Heaven and I’m beginning to cherish simple gifts all around me here on earth.

“This and Heaven too.”

For instance, last week’s big snowstorm in Southern Alberta. For three days, while I was visiting at my daughter’s family home, we were stuck in the house with no electricity and no school. The first evening of darkness we sat huddled around candles and a puzzle we couldn't see, and stared at each other. So, what do we do now? So I pulled out my Grandma gumption and asked my grandchildren, “Would you like Nana to tell you stories about my growing up years?” I was shocked when they shouted, “Yes, Nana!”  They dragged out their favourite blankets, snuggled on the couch and waited with eyes wide open.

They were mesmerized as I unfolded my growing up years of living in a log cabin for two years, of waiting for the two black bears to leave the outside pump so that I could fetch mother’s water. Of root cellars, snakes, getting the strap in school, and hunting for chicken eggs in the woods. With bedtime looming, ten year old Austin let it be known that we should go back to living in those simpler times, sitting by candlelight as a family and telling stories.  It made me think.  Are we so caught up in the latest and greatest, the flavour of the week, who is the latest rock star that we’re leaving behind a rich legacy of simple stories?

Are we too caught up in the latest and greatest?

My sisters and I begged our mother to tell us stories of her growing up years.  Between the war torn years there was too much destruction, hunger and fear to relive the memories. Yet, now that it’s too late, I long to hear the details of those years. How did they overcome struggles?  How do you become resilient? Where/how did you find joy? What is the most important thing you learned?

Even photo albums are becoming old fashioned as we fully embrace our digital world. “Well, we can put them on memory sticks or DVD’s people say. “ But with technology changing every six months how will the next generation access these “old fashioned” devices? How will we preserve our stories for our next generations?

I hope my grandchildren will remember the week of the big snowstorm where the lights went out. The time when I invited them into the twists and turns of my growing up years, and gave them a glimpse into the past.

Do you have children or grandchildren that need to hear how you handled that bully, helped with the chores, made Christmas presents or helped mom and dad plant the yearly garden? The simplicity of these narratives will enrich their lives and leave your God given legacy.

Heidi McLaughlin lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. Heidi has been widowed twice. She is a mom and step mom of a wonderful, eclectic blended family of 5 children and 12 grandchildren. When Heidi is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book, or golf and laugh with her family and special friends.
Her latest book RESTLESS FOR MORE: Fulfillment in Unexpected Places (Including a FREE downloadable Study Guide) is now available at Amazon.ca; Amazon.com, Goodreads.com or her website: www.heartconnection.ca


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