I heard a story recently that touched my heart. When an elderly woman, who happened to have dementia, entered a church sanctuary and spotted the word “GRACE” on a banner behind the pulpit, she shouted to her brother, “Look! He knows my name!”
Yes indeed, I thought. Only because of His amazing grace does He know my name.
What does GRACE mean anyway? We hear the word often, especially in Christian circles, but do we truly understand? Or is the word so broad & vague that we can’t grasp its application to our lives?
Some things to think about:
If God chose me as His child because of what I said or did or what I didn’t say or do—His grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:6
When I first realized God loved me unconditionally I was in my thirties. I was totally flabbergasted that I didn’t have to prove my worth, or at least become a better person than I was as the time. I could never be good enough or worthy enough to deserve this gift. That was it. I could never deserve His grace.
Grace is undeserved.
Grace is God’s free gift.
Only through God’s grace did Jesus taste death for me. (from Hebrews 2:9)
Grace: Amazing love.
If I accept His gift I am
Healed of a broken, bitter heart
Promised eternity in heaven
Called His child forever
"I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us."
What does grace mean to you?
Happy Vinyl Record Day, August 12th.
Although I no longer have a way to listen to them, I could never melt one in an oven. Never.
As young teens my sister and I listened to music by tuning in the furniture-size radio that sat in our living room or by loading a stack of records onto our phonograph. When one record finished playing, the arm that held the needle would move out of the way, another record would drop in place and the needle would move to just the right spot and another song would begin. For some reason we collected the 45’s that featured one song on each side, rather than the LP’s with multiple songs. Perhaps because they were cheaper. We kept them beside our comic books underneath our dressing table. Our favorites? Elvis, Fats Domino, and the Beatles.
I have a friend who collects the old records. He doesn’t have a way to play them, but he insists they will be valuable one day.
And then there’s a Brazilian businessman whose obsession with vinyl records is over the top. He owns over 200,000 and he can’t stop buying.
One of the characters in my book, Agnes Hopper’s Bridge to Retirement, is a man who also has a record collection, mainly Elvis ones. He plays them in his room late at night and Agnes can hear him shuffling about as he dances alone to tunes such as Love Me Tender. He needs a lady friend and he does fall in love with another resident, but it isn’t Agnes.
How did you listen to music when you were growing up? Through radio, the jukebox in the local drugstore, records, cassette tapes, CD’s, or perhaps holding a “boom-box” on your shoulder?
And who was your favorite artist “back in the day?”
You see, but you do not observe. Arthur Conan Doyle "A Scandal in Bohemia"(1891)
Do you truly observe and perhaps register it as being significant or do you, as I do many times, merely see and take no notice?
The following are suggestions for anyone, but especially writers who like to bring their characters to life on the page.
Take a notebook & pen (or laptop) to a public place & people-watch, only don’t be too obvious or you could get arrested.
A mall is an easy place to find a comfortable, out of the way place to write. Or if you have time on your hands in an airport—waiting for your next flight—put that time to good use.
Observe & make notes on choice of clothing, hairstyles, jewelry, tattoos, and don’t forget the shoes. You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes. Mine may be scuffed and run-down at the heel—I have noticed from old photos that my shoes have been this way since childhood—while my husband’s shine like he just left a professional shoeshine stand.
By the way, ladies, do you notice the shoes on either side of you when you visit a restroom or am I the crazy one?
And then there was a visiting minister at our church whose loafers looked older than he was, but man could he preach. We overlooked his shoddy shoes and his Hawaiian shirt because he was truly a man of God. So first impressions are not always reliable.
Notice how people walk. Does a young man swagger down the mall? Does an elderly woman walk with a limp? What about gestures? Is a teenaged boy always flipping his hair out of his eyes? Look for attitude. It may be evident in a scowl, a frown, or stiff shoulders.
If the mall is not your cup of tea, visit any café or coffee shop. What about a Waffle House? I think it is like a crossroads of America. My husband, the particular one, loves to stop there. We don’t very often because I think everything smells and tastes like grease.
Once, an older woman dressed in a long fur coat with teased blond hair and tons of jewelry sat on a Waffle House bar stool next to a tiny, young woman dressed like a lumberjack, and a very dirty one at that. She drove an eighteen-wheeler and had gotten her rig stuck in a muddy turn-around near the restaurant. A wrecker was coming, but it could be awhile. So the two women talked and talked and shared family photos and talked some more. This is plain fun, folks.
Future Blog: Dialogue. Learning to listen.
This page is dedicated to my inspirations and those who have enriched my life along the way.