Bindings: Reflections on faith, life, and good books

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Posted 1/29/15 at 1:41 AM | Ramona Tucker

How Many Four-Letter Words Do You Need? by C. Kevin Thompson

Facebook. Marketing. Twitter. Platform. Blog. Followers. Brand. Instagram. Website. Goodreads. Constant Contact. Ebooks. Analytics. Hits. Page Views. Likes.

Okay, so they’re not all literally four-letter words. But admit it. You feel like they are sometimes:

“If I hear one more person talk about ‘platform,’ I’m
going to jump from one!”

“Twitter is for those who can’t spell and have to do so
in 140 characters or less.”

You’ve probably read scores of articles and books on those four-letter words. Spend 30 minutes here, 15 minutes there, an hour a week everywhere. Right?

I did the math: 126.4 hours a day would get all their suggestions slated into my daily routine. That includes eight hours for actually writing my novels, and six hours for sleep.

Oh, wait, I forgot to add family time. FULL POST

Posted 1/26/15 at 12:27 AM | Ramona Tucker

I Thought Someone Was at My Door

When I heard my doorbell ring, I wondered who on earth would be at my door at 8:00 on a Sunday morning. I had not dressed for church yet but had on sweat pants, a tee shirt, and tennis shoes. I had not planned for a work out that morning but much to my surprise I got one. I made my way to the front door but was confused when I found no one there. I scanned the front yard, walked to the corners of the porch, and looked around the ends of the house but still saw no one anywhere. At first I chuckled and thought I must have been hearing things or maybe what I heard was on television. Then all kinds of possibilities ran through my mind. I wondered if someone might be casing my house to see if anyone was home. Could someone be trying to divert my attention from something or someone else? Eventually I dismissed such thoughts and returned inside and sat down. FULL POST

Posted 1/14/15 at 12:54 AM | Ramona Tucker

The Flexible Writer

I like to feel I’ve been “productive” when my husband and I come to the end of a day, have a cup of tea together, play Scrabble, and read. I want the productivity to include writing as well as chores. Sometimes I haven’t been as productive as I’d like.

You know, stuff happens. A blog needs more time before it goes up. A meeting takes longer. The amount of lint spilling from under the bed accumulates to where we’ll be making footprints before long.

Particularly with writing, when I’m into it, sometimes I need to continue past the time I’ve allowed. It grips me, the characters are clicking, and the plot problem is solved. When that happens? Unless I have a must do appointment or an emergency occurs, it’s time to chuck the schedule and write. The house is dirty, the weeds aren’t pulled, and dinner is thrown together from a few cans. Time to be flexible. FULL POST

Posted 1/11/15 at 11:57 PM | Ramona Tucker

In a Little While

Grandson Gabe (4) and I took a walk to the willow tree, our special term for the place endeared to us because of the stately tree with lazy arms dripping to the ground. The grassy area also offered freedom to run and play and romp amidst rocks and shrubbery positioned artfully around and in a creek bed.

And the freedom to share one’s heart . . .

On this particular occasion, Gabe stopped playing and looked at me. “Grandma, will you be with me forever?”

My heart nearly stopped beating as tears sprang to my eyes. You see, he and his family have been living with us while they raise funds to go to Thailand as fulltime missionaries. He knows his ultimate destination is across the ocean, but the longer we live together (it’s been a year thus far), the more attached we become.

I stooped in front of him and met his gaze. “In a little while, you will go to Thailand. That will be your home. Then in a little while, Grandpa and I will come and visit you. Then in a little while, you will come and visit us.” And on the conversation went. He seemed satisfied with the answer, for the time being, anyway. FULL POST

Posted 1/7/15 at 1:01 AM | Ramona Tucker

Ringing in the New Year at 11:00 Central

This column is being written for you from Mexico Beach, Florida, at 2:00 in the morning, on New Year’s Eve. No, I am not still up at 2:00 in the morning. I am normally not still up at 2:00, if I can help it, and I try my best to help it. Actually, this particular morning, I am back up at 2:00. There is a big difference. I have reached the age in life where many things in my life, especially in my body, are different from what they once were. Sleep is one of those. I like some of those differences and I am simply learning to live with some of them. There was a time when I would have still been up at 2:00 and thought nothing of it. Now I’ve usually called it a day by 10:00. Once in a while I decide to live on the wild side a little and stay up until 10:30. That’s usually because Andy and Barney reruns come on at 10:00. They show two episodes back to back so they don’t go off until 11:00. I am rarely willing to go that far with living on the wild side. Besides that I’ve seen all the episodes so many times, that I can watch the first minute of one and know what happens after that anyway. That acquired knowledge allows me to go on to bed at 10:31 and rest without worry knowing that everything will be okay in Mayberry. FULL POST

Posted 1/5/15 at 12:58 AM | Ramona Tucker

Seven Prayers of Jesus

I’ve often considered prayer to be a mysterious thing, a fine balance between God’s part and my part. Pastors and teachers instruct us to consider the Lord’s Prayer recorded in Matthew 6:9-13 when we wonder how to pray. Certainly, this passage is a good model. But I’m also intrigued by Jesus’s prayer in John, chapter 17. Here we see what is on His heart right before His death. I don’t know about you, but I lean in close when someone on his deathbed shares final words.

Let’s do the same in this passage. In the presence of His disciples, Jesus makes seven requests of the Father.

1. That He be glorified (vs. 1).

Since Jesus and the Father are one, His primary consideration was that He be glorified so that He might bring glory to the Father. Adoration of the God-head is on His mind. It should be on my mind as well as I converse with those around me. Wherever I go and in whatever I do, I should be thinking about how I can best bring God glory. FULL POST

Posted 12/30/14 at 8:57 PM | Ramona Tucker

Christmas Card Prayers

A few years ago, our family decided to make good use of all those Christmas cards and letters we receive during the holiday season. Rather then toss them out after Christmas, we place them in a basket on our kitchen table. Cards and letters we hurriedly opened and hung during the busy days of December, we now thoughtfully scrutinize in the New Year.

After breakfast, each one of us draws a card/letter from the top of the pile. We then take turns lifting the giver of the card up to our heavenly Father for His continued work in his or her life. We pray specifically for any needs mentioned and praise God for ways He has already answered prayer during the past year. When we finish praying, we place the cards on the bottom of the stack. We follow this routine until we have prayed over every card and letter in the basket at least two times.

Praying over our Christmas cards creates a bond with family, friends, and missionaries, many of whom we have not seen for years. FULL POST

Posted 12/28/14 at 10:55 PM | Ramona Tucker

The Day I Waxed Eloquently

Do you ever recall some things you did as a kid and wonder “What in this world was I thinking?” I have a variety of such memories. I, along with many boys that grew up when I did, pulled some bonehead stunts like jumping off the roof of a house with an umbrella. Mary Poppins came out when I was young so I know why we tried this stunt. My experience didn’t work as well as hers. Maybe it was because there wasn’t any music playing, although I may have heard a few birds singing after I hit the ground. I think Mary Poppins must have had a special type of umbrella that had not made its way to Alabama. Those of us who have pulled that stunt could be listed as dumb and dumber. Jumping off a rooftop with an open umbrella and thinking I could slowly float to the ground was dumb. Jumping off a rooftop with an umbrella that had not been opened was dumber. I felt even a little dumber when Mama found her inside out umbrella! FULL POST

Posted 12/23/14 at 12:39 AM | Ramona Tucker

Merry Christmas

I missed Christmas in our local church one year, having been away visiting family. When I returned, I asked a friend, "How did the pageant go?" Being away, alas, meant missing our Christmas pageant.

And I loved her answer. "You know," she said, grinning, "it was just amazing. All the pieces fitted together, they all came together. The costumes were laid out with names and everyone put on their costumes and, well, it all just came together! It was wonderful. One minute there were piles of clothing on the table and the next minute it seemed we were acting out a pageant!"

And so it did come together. But I missed seeing the great story of Bethlehem told in our parish sanctuary on the red-carpeted steps leading to the altar. I knew that Angel Gabriel had appeared to Mary and she said be it unto me according to your word. I knew that Mary, when the days were accomplished that she should be delivered, traveled to Bethlehem where there would be no room for them in the inn, that she gave birth to the Savior in a manger-cave. Shepherds surely kept watch and guarded their flocks by night until a heavenly host appeared, singing glory to God and on earth peace among men. On this first noel the angels, I knew, sang joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her king! And the shepherds went on to seek this king born in a stable outside Bethlehem. All of this happened, I was sure, on the red carpet leading to the altar where candles flamed. I could see it all. FULL POST

Posted 12/19/14 at 12:09 AM | Ramona Tucker

The Real Story of Christmas

Once upon a time, long ago, there lived a young lady named Mary. Mary was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph. Before they were married, and while she was still a virgin, Mary was found to be with child. God sent an angel named Gabriel to explain to Mary what was happening. Gabriel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. You will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” Mary asked, “How can this be since I have not known a man?” And the angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”

Joseph, being a just man, and not wanting to make Mary a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” FULL POST

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