Tag Archives: commitment

Good Reports

“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8b, (NLT)

Like many people, I tend to look back on the old year in January. As I remember situations, I think about the good things God did for me. Things like—

  1. He helped my mother through various health issues, as I wrote about here. He used that time to mold me, as I wrote here. Through that time, He gave me a better perspective on love, not as strictly an emotion, but as commitment and action.
  2. I wanted to live in a bigger comfort zone. God responded through a friend’s request to cat-sit for her. Even in that small effort, I learned some things. This post, here, is reflections on what stuck out to me.
  3. I wanted to try something new. As a member of Inspire Christian Writers, I had an opportunity to volunteer to serve as an assistant editor for the 2021 Inspire Anthology. I had never done any editing before. As an editor on four pieces, I gained valuable experience. To do the editing I used Track Changes on Microsoft Word. Although I use Microsoft Word regularly, that was the first time I used Track Changes. I looked at the pieces with an editor’s eye, certainly a different approach for me. I learned an editor’s way of interacting with a writer.
  4. In December I received a Christmas letter from an acquaintance. For whatever reason, envy reared its ugly head. I was so angry! I had no cause to be, but I was. I intended to write the person back in a way as to cut off any future relationship. But, thank God, a phrase from Steve Laube’s writing/publishing blog jumped to the forefront of my mind: “Never burn your bridges”. Another phrase followed, this one from a magazine: “Grace beats malice…” The need to write something in reply was almost overwhelming, but I didn’t know what to write. God provided the answer, as I believe the Holy Spirit told me to write the person a letter describing how God worked in my life through the year. I wrote it, mailed it, and had a wonderful sense of peace and relief about it. Had I allowed my envy and anger to go from me to the person, I would not be enjoying that peace today.
  5. For years I’ve known I should read and study the Bible more, but couldn’t keep up with whatever Bible reading plan I followed. I felt guilty and gave up. Through the years I read bits and pieces here and there, but never had any organization. God provided an answer through a journal and the Bible I started using (New Living Translation). The journal provided a page a day for Bible reading and reflection, and the NLT has headings above passages, breaking up chapters. I decided to read and reflect on just one passage or possibly two for each day’s reading. This is working out well for me. If I miss a day I no longer feel condemnation. I simply pick up where I left off. A bonus is that I want to read the Bible now; it’s not a “should” thing.

I am glad I can look back and see these things God brought into my life.

©P. Booher

If you’d like more information on the anthology I mentioned, Inspire Christian Writers 2021 Anthology, Inspire Community—Inspiring Writings About the Power of Community, is available on Amazon. Seventeen writers share different ways community exists.

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Filed under Country Ripples, Faith Matters

Diving Into A Sea of Books–I Heard The Owl Call My Name

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Photo Credit: Pexels.com

As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

I Heard The Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven is a slice-of-life novel about a young Anglican vicar, unaware he has a terminal illness, sent to a remote parish of Native American villages on the coast of British Columbia, Canada. The area is stunning in its natural beauty, but so remote that transportation–whether to get supplies in or people in or out–is via canoes, boats or seaplane–all subject to weather conditions.

The young priest commits himself to the task of ministering to the natives as he copes with loneliness, the insecurity of living in an unfamiliar culture, poor living conditions, and piloting a boat in the sometimes harsh weather and rough seas.

The villagers, who in the past sometimes dealt with priests who expected to be served rather than to serve, are polite but not friendly. They learn Mark is different from previous vicars as he helps the people any way he can, stands up for the needs of the tribe, attempts to learn the unwritten language, and respects the native traditions and beliefs, even though he doesn’t understand or agree with them.

As Mark rejoices with the people in their good times and suffers with them through their losses, bonds of deep affection grow until he becomes as one of them. When it’s time for the vicar to leave, the villagers ask the Bishop to allow Mark to stay.

Comments: I reread this book a few weeks ago. It’s one I don’t really want to give away. Without being “preachy” the novel shows commitment, humility, and giving oneself in service to others. For me, this book is a “treasure”.

©P. Booher

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