Just Keep Swimming – Colossians 2:6-10

There’s a lot of meaning in what the forgetful little fish, Dory, says. In the Disney movie, Finding Nemo, she pulls her friend along by encouraging him to not worry so much and “just keep swimming.”

What helps you when you’re stuck in an “I don’t know what to do” place?

It seems I’m there more often than not. When I’m suffering, concerned about the future, worried about my family–just basically carrying the weight of living in this world, how can I renew my hope that things will get better?

That’s when it’s time to press on in him.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority” (Colossians 2:6-10 NIV).

To break it down:

  1. Receive Christ Jesus as Lord.
  2. Continue to live in him.
  3. Be rooted, built up, strengthened, and overflowing with gratitude.
  4. Guard myself against ways of thinking that promote dependence on anything or anyone other than Christ. He carries all that God is, and in him I find all I need.

Unlike Dory, who doesn’t know where she’s going, I have a promised destination. And I know I can’t go wrong when I’m directing my thoughts to him, moving towards him instead of away. More than floundering in a vast ocean, I’m traveling with the One, as my grandchildren say, is Boss of Everything.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

I’m a Finalist!

I’m enjoying some good news I received this month. If you follow me on social media or receive newsletters from Oregon Christian Writers, you probably heard I’m a finalist in the Cascade Contest. The winner will be announced at the summer conference on August 22.

2018 Finalist

My entry, currently titled Memoir of a Living Doll, traces the roles dolls played in my growing up. I learned from Chatty Cathy, the pre-owned doll who arrived with marks and scrapes, to see the value of loving imperfect people. This translated later into becoming a foster parent. And Raggedy Ann, who wasn’t crafted for the purpose of merely adorning my bed. She taught me the importance of releasing the ones I love to fulfill their missions in life.

I’m still knitting, pulling out stitches, and reworking my story so I’m sure I’ll discover more surprises along the way. For now, I’m excited my concept and sample pages pleased the preliminary judges. Thank you, Cascade staff, volunteers, and OCW!

————-

Here’s a scene I’m working on:

It didn’t matter if Chatty Cathy couldn’t speak well. She didn’t have to tell me what happened to her before she came to my house. I wanted only to care for her and be a friend. However, over time Chatty’s fraying string became more resistant to my tugs. I feared it might break with the next pull, stealing her speech forever.

“It’s okay, you don’t have to say anything.” I laid my hand over her chest, feeling the ridges in the grill covering her voice box. “I’ll talk for you.”

I positioned Chatty’s legs and seated her on my hip, the way Mom carries Baby Sister. It had to be uncomfortable, but when I pulled her string again she didn’t complain.

Chatty never complained, but I understood about putting a smile on your face while still carrying hurts inside. And she didn’t always say the phrase I expected. Sometimes I couldn’t say what weighed in my heart, too.

“Te-te-tell me a story.”

“Here’s my brother’s favorite book.” I squeezed her close. “It’s called Go, Dog, Go. Let me tell you about the funny dogs.”

We both needed a good story. (end of excerpt)

————

A few months ago one of my critique partners, Wanda Fisher, gave me her Betsy McCall doll to express her love and support. How thankful I am for the encouragement and reminder that Betsy also has a story to tell.

Hopefully, my book will help others tell their stories, too.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

An Oregon Hike and Making New Friends – John 15:9-12

I raced ahead, hopping over tree roots and dancing at the end of the path. Sahalie Falls, one of our favorite destinations on hot summer days, sprayed my face with its cool mist as I waited for my family. Soon my brother, sister and Mom caught up. Dad followed with my baby sister on his shoulders.

Jerry.Kathy.Sahalie Falls.5-2018

Last weekend Mom and Dad, now in their eighties, stayed home. And this time I took my turn bringing up the rear.

It was great to make new friends with international students and watch their exuberance in an Oregon forest. Jerry bonded with the younger guys, and I engaged with the girl gang as we made dozens of stops to pose for photos, admire the wild dogwood trees, and swirl our hands in the icy water.

Thanks to several long-term lifestyle changes and encouragement from medical professionals I pushed my legs to work like they haven’t been able to for a while. One of the students, Anna, stayed by my side the whole time to help me on tough stretches and insist I rest. She treated me as an honored mother, oh so kindly.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:9-12 NIV).

I attempted the hike to strengthen my legs and to learn more about people from other parts of the world. The kindness and respect I received as an older, weaker-but-getting-stronger person, however, was priceless.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Multiplying blessings – Psalm 103:1-5

I’m slowly being buried in blessings I don’t want, mostly because of my daughter’s wedding.

Frank & Amy Barbera

Amy moved home to save her rent money for wedding preparations last year. Within weeks boxes from Amazon began piling up by our front door. It felt like Christmas, only instead of celebrating the coming of a Savior we anticipated the emergence of the newest branch in our family tree.

Frank joined our family in May, a true blessing.

While Amy was here I started finding clothing and bridal catalogs in the mailbox. After the wedding I ordered some items myself, and that’s when the floodgates opened.

Tuesday seven catalogs assaulted my home in one day. Most of them filled with “blessings” I have no use for.

And the subscriptions keep multiplying.

“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:1-5 NIV).

Here are blessings I need, desire, and should never forget.

  • forgiveness
  • healing
  • redemption
  • love
  • compassion
  • satisfaction
  • renewal

Until I figure out how to stop adding junk mail to the landfill, I’ll use it to remind me of God’s greater blessings in my life.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Writing Tip – Finding the Right Words

When do you think the word cool became so “cool”? Ever wonder how long popular expressions have been used?

In a 1930s-era movie I heard an actress use the word swell to express her agreement with another’s plan. I think it was Follow the Fleet with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

As I remember, the line was “that would be swell,”  and it shocked me to hear it’s use in such an old film.

Before the 60s swell was how ocean waves behaved, but using it to show agreement or joy had been invented by my peers, according to my superior knowledge of such things. It’s typical, isn’t it, how each generation tends to think we’ve come up with something never before known?

My more accurate education came by way of Google’s Ngram Viewer.

In the viewer you can type in any word to see where in history it shows up, and when it rose or fell in popularity.

It’s especially valuable for writers who want an accurate tool for historical research. Here, try it out.

There are advanced features that hurt my head, but may prove valuable in the future when I might wish to increase my smartness. With a little study it’s possible to search with different languages, alternate spellings, compare verbs and nouns, and so much more.

How I would have loved playing with the Ngram Viewer when I was in seventh grade and had only my grandmother’s hefty dictionary and the  phone book to satisfy my hunger for words.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis