Internet Cafe--"Great" Grandparents?

Did you have ‘great’ grandparents? You know, the kind that kept you for a week (or more) every summer. The ones who spoiled you by letting you eat (homemade) cookies before dinner–if they made you eat dinner at all. They listened to you, played games with you, taught you the most important things about life…

When my friend Lydia Harris was working on her book Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting, she asked me to tell her about my relationship with my grandparents. It was hard to know what to say because they weren’t the kind of grandparents I thought she’d want in her book. We didn’t spend the night with them or go on trips together. They didn’t even share my family’s faith, so they didn’t play a role in my faith formation.

But looking back, I can see how important they were nonetheless. Their acceptance of us contributed a lot to who and what my sister and I became...Come on over to Internet Cafe to join the conversation about what makes grandparents 'great.'

The Making of Many Books--Should There be an End?

As dozens of my friends and hundreds of other writers head off to the ACFW conference, I can't help but ponder Solomon's words, "Of making many books there is no end..." Eccles. 13:12

Here we are, some 2,500 years later, the number of books produced every year increasing exponentially as technology simplifies the process. But I'm not sure that I know any writers who haven't momentarily wondered, "Is there any point to adding another volume to the universal library?"

The question may be doubly pointed for the Christian author, "Could the time I spend writing be better used to build the Kingdom?" We know that books written by leading pastors or blockbuster novelists and memoirists are credited with changing lives, but is there really a higher purpose to be found in the pages penned by authors who will never see their name on a best-seller list?

In a business in the northwest, a 40-something man reads a girly, devotional gift book written by one of his employees—primarily out of curiosity and courtesy. In the pages that speak gently of God's presence, he realizes his own distance from God and makes a decision to return to faith.

In a classroom in China, a young girl reads Jane Eyre. For the first time in her intentionally secular childhood, she becomes aware of the existence of God. She takes the first steps toward a relationship with Him as she sees Helen Burns faith and friendship with Jane.

That young girl—now my friend—is raising a new generation to know and love the Lord. And we just learned that her 96 year old grandfather gave his life to Christ this week after she made a trip to China specifically to share her faith with him. Three generations (so far) have been directed toward God because a writer was faithful to the words she was given.

I doubt that Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre as an evangelistic tool. It may never have occurred to her that the book would someday be read in China. And yet the truths that Charlotte included in her work spoke life into the heart of someone who had never heard of "God."

As writers we toil, largely in isolation, hoping our words will communicate Truth to someone who chances to read them. Often, aside from friends and relations, we're not even aware who has read them, let alone hear of the impact they may have had on someone.

But whether we know where our words go and who they touch or not, the effort is isn’t in vain. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men.” Col. 3:23.

This is just a brief note to encourage my writing friends to continue to do what you do.

Have you encountered a life-changing book? What was it? I'd love to know.  In coming days I'll be sharing mine...

Going "Back to School"--5 Minutes for Faith

What inspires you?

I figured out quite a while ago that I'm inspired by scenery. I need something pretty to look at when I'm writing. Lovely music helps too. And often, creative thoughts of my own interrupt me when I'm reading excellent writing. (Of course, a good cup of tea doesn't hurt either!)

It took me longer to figure out that those are peripherals. Beautiful scenery or music only enhance the atmosphere for me; they aren't the source from which the words flow.

The concepts that can't be contained nearly always begin when I'm connected to God. I can't count how many book ideas, blog posts and devotions have come to me when I'm sitting in church or listening to the lecture during BSF or doing my Bible study prep.

So you'd think, since I know I need to be in the word to have any real inspiration, that I'd be more consistent in Bible study...

I'm posting today at 5 Minutes for Faith. Join me there to see why this "Back to School" season isn't just for kids.

UPDATE--Ever Hear of the Blogger who Cried "New Look is Coming?"

Well, here's the beginning of the new look. There will be a few tweaks to the layout and such, but finally, something simpler and (I hope) refreshing. Hopefully it will be a place we all enjoying being!  More to come....

Yeah, I know. I've been talking about a new look since Spring (and planning it for months before!).

I won't bore you with all the reasons why it's been held up (the list is ridiculously long!). I don't want it to sound like excuses or blame. The bottom line is I have the same old backdrop I've had for a year now and I'm sooo tired of looking at it!

There's probably a lesson in patience here. Or maybe one about not being concerned with outward appearances, it's the content that counts. (Hmmm...that just came to me; I might need to ponder that one a bit more.)

But, rumor has it my turn is coming soon.

And I'm still hoping that the new look will give me new motivation to hang out here--I hope it welcomes you in too! (I'm afraid I'm putting far too much into a relatively minor freshening-up!)

But hang in there with me and check back over the next few days. There'll be something to see, one way or another!
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