I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

True Confession Time--if you weren’t you, who would you be?

Delores E. Topliff

I have a confession to make. And since we’re only two days past Valentine’s Day, I’ll present one of those, too.

The comedian I’ve always admired absolute tops is Carol Burnett
her inventiveness, spontaneity, ability to laugh at herself to make others laugh have gained her lifelong achievement awards AND established her in our hearts. Her pratfalls, sense of timing, facial expressions perfectly conveying the emotions going on inside emotionally represent any of us.

Spoiler Alertoften in life, I’ve pictured myself getting by waving my hands, managing cute dance steps, belting out a song or Tarzan cryand bringing down the house. MANY of our houses NEED to be brought down.

After reading her second memoir, Together Again, and loving and respecting what I read there, I tracked down her much earlier, more complete, raw, bootstrap-inspiring 1986 One More Time that she totally wrote herself. Wowser! Her writing is great, but her life tenacity and accomplishments revealed are incredible. Moral? Maybe the greater the challenges, the greater the jet propulsion when the runner commits himself/herself to the starter blocks determined to leave Point A and reach Point B or far-beyond, and breaking all known records along the way.

Though there’s little chance we’ll meet, I say hats off, Happy Valentine’s, endless respect, healing laughter, and enduring love.

In college psych when they administered vocational aptitude tests, mine came back pointing me toward forestry, education, or pastoral studies. I laughed, but my life combines all threeworking my way through college and many summers for the U.S. and Canadian Forest Services, racking up years of college teachings in many venues and loving it, PLUS enjoying mission trips and similar opportunities in far-flung places and benefiting from amazing relationships.

But if I were not I, I’d be Carol Burnett, making them laugh, connecting interesting oddball humans by portraying their entertaining eccentric sides but revealing how those distinctive individual traits survivable and lovable. Well-done, brave soldier, warmest thanks, and Happy Valentine's!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Parable of the Talents or What Are You Doing with Yours?

Patricia Bradley

Good morning! As Minnie Pearl used to say, "I'm so glad to be here!"  I've missed y'all, and one of the reasons I haven't been here is I've been on deadline. But the book is in, and I have a name for it: Justice Delayed, Book 1 in the Memphis Cold Case Series. Now I'm just waiting to see if my editor likes it.

digging a holeThis morning during my quiet time, I was in the different versions of the Parable of the Talents.  I'm reading through the New Testament in chronological order, so all three versions were there and they were basically the same. That's one thing I like about reading the Bible in chronological order--I get triple and sometimes quadrupled versions of the same subject, good for my ADHD mind.

For those not familiar with the parable, the master was going away, and he gave three of his servants talents (one talent was worth more than a thousand dollars). One received ten, one received five and the last received one. When he returned he summoned his servants and demanded an accounting. The first two had doubled their talents, but the last one had dug a hole and hidden his. His excuse was, he was afraid that if he invested and lost the money, the master would put him in prison. Well, it doesn't exactly say that, but close.

In the end, that servant's talent was taken from him and he was put out into the darkness. The other two were given more talents. As I thought about the takeaway of this parable, I thought of the talents (or gifts) God has given each of us. If we use them in the way the two servants who doubled their money, God will give increase. But so many of us are like the servant who dug a hole and buried his. We are afraid to put ourselves out there, so in a sense, we're burying the gift God gave us.

Why? Shyness, maybe, or low self-esteem...or maybe we don't recognize our talent. I've had people tell me they had no talent, but I know better. God gives each of us gifts or talents. One of those who told me they had no talent had overlooked her natural ability for taking a piece of clay and making a vase. But to be really good at it, she needed to practice. And she didn't, even though she loved working in the clay. For whatever reason, she buried that talent.

I've been told I have a talent for writing, and if I do, it's because God gave me that gift, but it was up to me to sit in front of a computer sometimes eight hours a day to develop it.
I cross stitched a saying once: Success is that place in the road where opportunity and preparation meet, but too few people recognize it because it comes disguised as hard work.

So what do you think? Leave me a comment, and I will enter you into a drawing for my novella The Gingerbread Pony, digital right away and for those living outside the Continental US, print copy as soon as Amazon approves my file. :-)
This post is running simultaneously on my blog: www.ptbradley.com