Thursday, October 26, 2017

The October Wordsmith

Hands down, October's one of my favorite months.

This month-in-review post is all about the daily joy and power and radiance of the written word.  This wasn't planned, it's just the way it unfolded.

Where would we be without reading and writing and all the encouragement that can pour forth and spill out from wise words shared with kindness? 

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
Proverbs 25:11













the bookbag
Two brand new releases have graced my night table in recent weeks ... Tessa Afshar's Bread of Angels, a fictionalized story of the biblical Lydia, and Jan Karon's latest novel, To Be Where You Are.

Tessa is a talented weaver of biblical stories and cultural details, and while the dialogue sometimes comes across as a bit stilted, her books never disappoint.  I loved seeing Lydia's saga unfold as she courageously braved the challenges of patriarchal Roman culture and appreciated the imagined conversations with the Apostle Paul and friends when he was in Philippi {Acts 16}.

Set in the month of October, Jan's Mitford Series lives on with the next generation taking center stage.  The adventures of veterinarian Dooley and artist Lace unfold, even as old favorite characters still leave you smiling and shaking your head.  The author's trademark attention to detail make this charming, relaxing volume read like 'old home week.'


the journaling
'I'm asking for and agreeing to whatever is Your will.  I have no easy answers, just some opinions.  But I also know that Your ways are much higher than ours and those are the ways I want.  

I want to stand awestruck at the way You open doors, the way You unfold the future ... I don't want to be the author or the designer, I want to be the listener, the observer, the one clapping on the sidelines.  I want You to wield the glue, the gold, the hammer and nails, the chisel, the clay.

There's great relief in not thinking I must have all the answers, knowing You do ... and to be in the place to offer safety and quiet, listening and discernment.  I take the pressure off myself to be the fixer-in-chief and hand it all over to you.

That's where I want to be ...'


the memorization
My husband and I are s l o w l  y memorizing Psalm 103 together ... in the King James version no less.  Looks like we're finishing up verse 4 and headed into 5.  Sometimes we recite it together, other times one quietly prays it aloud in the morning when waking or whispers it late at night while the other is drifting off to sleep.

After 41 years, I do believe this is a first!


the kindness
I've often said that readers' comments are often better than the post itself.  Like this one so laden with lovely grace from Barbara after reading the Unraveled guest post over at Lesley's place ...

'Isn't it hard when that last drop falls into your cup, breaks whatever surface tension you've maintained for who knows how long, and life spills out all over the place: disappointments, anger, anxieties, misunderstandings, and all those affronts we'd thought we'd forgiven - but obviously did not.  It's a cleansing of sorts, not especially pleasant for those around us, but we're probably all better for it in the end.  Love is acceptance and the good grace to understand what we need, when we need it.  What gifts to receive.  You've captured this very human time so well, reminding us of who we are and how we so often experience life in similar ways.'


the recommendations
Click right here {and be sure to bookmark!} for online reads I think are worthy of your time.  Frequently updated, you never know what you're going to find.  Promise.

This month's five star read?  Debby Hudson's Alcohol and the Church.


the emotions
Coming soon ... a little series about emotional health.  Springing forth from the infamous Unraveled saga, we'll be looking at how we can clearly identify and name our emotions.  Figure out what they're trying to tell us and learn to express them well.

What do we need to do to keep them from defining who we are?  And where's God in all this?  Stuff like that.

I have no clear cut map of where we're going to go with this, but I do believe that the Lord has something for us.  If there's some specific emotion / topic you want to see addressed, please let me know in the comments ... or grab my attention at lindastoll@juno.com.  I'd love to go there with you.

And be sure you subscribe before you run off so you won't miss out on the discussion!




*   *   *

sharing October with
Emily  &  Leigh  &  Holley

42 comments:

  1. Linda, I am honored by your inclusion of my post on Alcohol and the Church. Praying it will be used by God. Thank you, friend.

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    1. That 1 out of 10 statistic of our young evangelicals is an incredibly sobering eye-opener, Debby. I share your deep concern.

      Thanks for putting this on the table, even if you've taken a little heat over your beliefs.

      Bless you, friend ...

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  2. A generously filled post this time with many topics covered; great photos too. Thank you Linda.

    It may well be still October over here, but it sure feels like mid-winter already.

    God bless.

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    1. Brrr ... I know it's only a matter of weeks til I'm pulling out the scarves and the gloves.

      Stay toasty, ol' chap.

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  3. Love, love, love this post and the book suggestions. And memorizing a Psalm with your hubby? That's over the top, Linda. <3

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    1. Coulda knocked me over with a feather, too, Kristi!

      But God ...

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  4. October is one of my favorite months as well.

    I love the Psalms ... I have a few memorized, but not 103. We prefer the KJV as well.

    Blessings~

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    1. Most Scripture I've memorized was done as a child, and the KJV was it! I seldom if ever use that version these days, but for memorization, there's something about its cadence, those ancient words that hits home.

      I'm glad you've jumped on in to the discussion. Welcome!

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  5. Love this, Linda, such a warmhearted greeting and celebration in my inbox this morning. Thank you.

    And the pictures are a treat!

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/10/your-dying-spouse-395-caregiver-to.html

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    1. Technologically ignorant as I am, I do like to pretend this is my Instagram page!

      ;-}

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  6. I was especially touched by Barbara's comment and your prayer in Journaling, Linda. As always, I love your photos, too. I tried several times but I couldn't get into the online recommendations as it either said "Page Not Found" or I needed to sign in to LinkedIn. I did get to the Alcohol and the Church one though. I can see why you gave it a five star read! Have a blessed weekend! Love and hugs!

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    1. Bummer about that LinkedIn link, Trudy. Maybe you do have to sign in to read ...

      * sigh *

      I'll be sure to post the links to specific posts next time ...

      Meanwhile, thanks for all your kind words. You, my friend, are an encourager. And I hope your Sabbath is filled with sweet restful moments ...

      ;-}

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  7. I could tell you were on the MA coast just from your picture of the buoys. Then I saw the next picture and had to look up your bio to see...I thought it might have been Nantucket or the Vineyard. I grew up on the coast of MA as well in Marblehead, on the north shore. Now I live in Nahant which is a tiny little island, connected to the mainland by a two mile causeway. It's also on the north shore...in fact I can see Boston and the Cape from the beach across the street. I am a big fan of Jan Karon but haven't read the last book yet. I think I will pick it up as you have given it such a great recommendation. I hear we are expecting a bit of a storm on Sunday night. I hope it doesn't hit you too hard.

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    1. It's so very good to connect again! It's been a year or two since we ran into each other online and it means so much that you've reached out.

      I'll be over to say 'hi' and see what's been happening in your neck of the woods.

      What a treat to see you here!

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  8. I am listening to the audiobook of To Be Where You Are! Reading one of Jan's books is like going home for a visit. I've not read any of Tessa's, but that sound interesting.

    All the pictures are nice, but I especially love the one with the window.

    How nice to memorize Scripture with your husband! I've been reading the ESV lately, and even though it is often easier to understand, I used the KJV for 40+ years and did most of my memorizing with it, so it is what comes to mind when Scripture does. I love the beauty of the phrasing in places. I need to get back to memorizing.

    Love your journal entry. I need to stop offering God suggestions and yield to His will.

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    1. Memorizing is hard in this season! Too often my mind feels like a sieve! Trusting that the Spirit will override age to keep on implanting God's Word deep.

      I hope you're finding this Sabbath day to be encouraging to you, friend ...

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  9. Ahhh, I remember being able to read! LOL. Finding time alone is so hard these days, no matter how early I rise, the kids somehow always beat me to it! But memorizing Scripture.. now that is something I think I should focus on. I used to do that all the time back in the day... sigh... - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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    1. Kiddos have such a way of soaking up God's Word. One of our little granddaughters was helping me learn by writing a verse on a white board and then erasing words one by one to see how I would do!

      ;-}

      And it worked!

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  10. Hi Linda! This: "There's great relief in not thinking I must have all the answers, knowing You do" Holy Cow, this is such wisdom! I just love your heart my friend, I know that Jesus must have smiled super-big when you wrote this.
    I am so impressed by you and your husband memorizing the Psalm. I'd love to hear those words when I'm falling asleep or just waking. What a great way to start the day, or end it. Sounds beautiful...
    Ceil

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    1. You always arrive with heapfuls of encouragement, Ceil! I'm grateful to call you friend ...

      Thanks for connecting this weekend.

      ;-}

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  11. Your October pictures are really delightful! The words that you shared are always encouraging. It is awesome that you and your husband are memorizing scriptures together, I memorized much scripture as a child but find it harder to do so now that I am older! It helps that you both are doing it together!

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    1. You are so right, Marilyn ... it was oh so easy when we were young and our minds were sharp and elastic and waiting to be filled!

      It's not impossible in this season, but what else is new?

      It prompts me to encourage the next generations to soak in every bit of God's Word while they can. For it sure will be needed in seasons to come!

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  12. I love your journal entry- it's not always easy to hand it over to God, but it's a relief at the same time that we don't need to have all the answers. And I'm looking forward to your series on emotions!

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    1. Thanks, Lesley! I've got all kinds of emotional health stuff swirling around in my head.

      Now ... to get it out on paper.

      If ever we've needed to be emotionally healthy and strong, it'd be right about now ...

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  13. LOVE LOVE your photographs AND your journal entry rings to the very depths of my soul!
    Blessings, My Friend!

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  14. All the going on's you have sound like cozy comforts, however full of growth and learning for this fall season! Tessa's book sounds like it might be a good read for my book club. I read the one she wrote on the bleeding woman and enjoyed learning so much about the culture in those days of Jesus.

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    1. Yep, Tessa does a beautiful job in the weaving of biblical story, culture, and fictionalized relationship ... I'm guessing not easy to accomplish!

      Would love to hear what your book club thinks, Lynn!

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  15. Wonderful post, Linda. I'm on my library's hold list for the Mitford book and can't wait to read it. Also looking forward to your series on emotions ... I can't think of any specific questions off the top of my head (not that they aren't in there somewhere), but I know whatever you write will meet me where I am! I loved the sneak peak into your journal, and Psalm 103 is at the top of my list of favorites (though I've never officially memorized it)! Hugs, friend!

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    1. Good morning, Lois! For some reason, I'm having trouble jump-starting the emotional health series ... not quite sure which way to go.

      Ideas are swirling but nothing concrete is settling in. I think that means it's time for a walk, 'cause that's when things often begin to click in.

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    2. I know how you feel about getting started on your series, Linda. I hope the walk helps. When I read your reply to my comment, I thought of a verse I read this morning: "The One who examines the thoughts and emotions is a righteous God." (Psalm 7:9b from the HCSB.) Isn't it comforting to know that when we can't figure out our emotions (or what to write about the topic), our righteous God has it all covered? :-)

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    3. Yes, to bring all our emotions to the One who knows us best is such a huge blessing! What a release, a relief to name them in His presence and to get His wisdom and what to do with each and every one. I'm so grateful He does't grow weary with us, His beloved children.

      P.S.
      Instead of going on a walk, I wrote a post instead. Go figure!

      ;-}

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  16. Linda, I do believe this is the first review of the month post I've read of yours. I truly enjoyed it. And I LOVE that you and your hubs are memorizing Psalm 103 together. My hubs and I have never tried to do that. Maybe if I was accountable to him, I'd be more diligent in memorizing. ;)

    Your series on emotions sounds like it will be a good one. It would be interesting to hear how we can help our teens to learn how to get a handle on understanding them, handling them in a healthy manner and naming them (not in that order.... ;) ).

    So thankful for you and all you offer here!

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    1. I'm hearing what you're saying about the teens 'cause I know this is a concern for you, Jeanne. I'm keeping this in mind as I figure out what to put on the table.

      Your encouraging words help!

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  17. I'm enchanted at the idea of a book for Lydia! She's so unsung!
    And I memorized Psalm 103 as a very young adult, which means that I learned it in the KJV as well, so I've had to mentally update some of the pronouns, but I've never run across a version that renders it more beautifully!

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    1. My oldest granddaughter is named after my mother's middle name. Lydia. And I've always loved the story of the mysterious 'seller of purple.'

      The novel spoke to me on all kinds of levels. If you do a book review, I'll be the first to line up to read it, friend ...

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  18. I love that you are memorizing together! :)

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  19. Linda,
    I'm with you in October being my favorite month. There's something about the cool crispness in the air that puts a bounce in my step. I feel rejuvenated and love the fall colors. I love how you say you are giving up being "Fixer-in-Chief" lol. I need to step down from that position in my family and friendship circles as well. I'm working on writing down scripture I'm reading....it really helps with the memorization. I know I'm a visual learner so this makes sense. How about a post or two on handling adult children and their failure to launch?? Is it just me or is this generation short on responsibility and big on experiential and seeking their bliss?
    Blessings sweet friend,
    Bev xx

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    1. Being the 'Fixer-in-Chief' is so very overrated, isn't it?! Who are we trying to kid?

      We know who is TRULY in control, who calls the shots from His heavenly all wise perspective.

      Ah ... to get out of the way and let Him unfurl His plan for the lives of those we love, knowing that He loves them in far deeper ways than we'll ever be able to.

      Meanwhile ... failure to launch. A very interesting idea!

      ;-}

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  20. I got lost in soaking in the beauty of your pictures. Thank you for sharing.

    I love Jan Karon and realize that I am a bit behind if the focus is on the next generation. My mom and I used to read these. I imagine that's why I'm behind. Happy November! Praying it brings a pause of gratitude to your everyday life.

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    1. So grateful that the pictures speak something beautiful to you, Mary. Thanks for those kind and encouraging words. I guess this is my Instagram, huh?

      Would love to hear if you get to catch up on Father Tim and the adventures of his little village. Very relaxing reads, for sure ...

      Best to you, friend.

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda