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

Improving Relationships, and the World – John 13:34-35

Choosing to love someone over the long haul–that’s real love. My husband and I attended his cousin’s memorial service last weekend, where we enjoyed a deeper level of unity in the family than we’d experienced before.

It happened at my 40th high school reunion, too. I cared more about my classmates and less about the dumb things that divided us when we were teens. I guess sometimes it takes decades to realize we don’t have to all think the same way, and we can have hundreds of friends.

An acquaintance becomes a friend

If we remembered that, we’d be more careful how we treat each other. The person we see as an enemy may become a good friend one day, if we don’t burn down bridges that connect us and forgive as we are forgiven.

Jesus said,
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 ESV).

How far are you willing to go?

I grew up in a large extended family, and we did a lot of traveling. My first adventure was as a 6-week-old infant when we drove 2,578 miles to visit my grandparents. Before starting first grade I’d logged more than 21k miles on long distance road trips.

By the time my third sibling was old enough to sit upright, we were committed to almost yearly family reunions halfway across the continent.

Love means more than going an extra mile. The results of our prayers and efforts might not be evident immediately. Sometimes love means traveling great distances and waiting decades.

We need to think about this when we’re tempted to trash somebody online, pronounce accusations against other drivers on the road, or judge anyone as being less than us. Even those we may not choose for next door neighbors.

Listen . . .

Three of Jesus’s disciples recorded in the Gospels that God spoke audibly. You won’t see many accounts in Scripture of God doing this, so his message must be extremely important.

God said, “This is my . . . Son . . . Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:51, Mark 9:7, and Luke 9:35 ESV).

What do we hear Jesus say? “Love one another . . .”

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

I Write for You – John 21:14-19

It’s all about you. That may sound strange, but it’s true. As we come to the end of January I’m altering my blog a bit, all because of you.

At an Oregon Christian Writers conference a few years ago I attended a workshop led by magazine editor Ginger Kolbaba. She taught on writing articles for publication, and the remarkable takeaway I got was from her comment about rejecting submissions she felt might discourage or do harm to the readers she served. She seemed adamant about her responsibility to care for them.

I hadn’t thought of my writing carrying that much responsibility.

“This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs’ (John 21:14-15 NIV).

Jesus told Peter three times to feed his sheep, and twice he reminded Peter to be his follower. I think it’s a pretty strong commission since Jesus had recently suffered and died and risen from the dead. Anyone would be motivated to listen to someone who’d been dead!

It was like he was giving his disciples his final instructions. This is important, take care of my sheep. You must follow me.

I’m looking for better ways to serve my readers, a more effective way to love my neighbor as myself as a follower of Jesus, so I’m writing my memoir (see explanation on my About page). Since it’s important I give more attention to it, I’m changing my blogging schedule to once a month.

You’re invited to sign up for my newsletter to receive updates. I’ll keep you informed of the progress of my book and other writing ventures. There’s also a form at the top of this page if the link doesn’t work.

Let me know if you have any comments or suggestions. It’s my pleasure to serve you.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis