United by Stories – by Beckie Horter

Introducing my GUEST BLOGGER for May – Beckie  Horter

I am delighted to feature  a writer I met a number of years ago when she attended the college where I taught.  Beckie is a graduate of Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA. We  reconnected recently and she wrote this GUEST BLOG ARTICLE exclusively for SCANdalous! And, here she is……

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United by Stories

Our hearts were made for stories. Fearfully and wonderfully made, said the Psalmist. And it’s true:  we were built for giving and receiving stories as a means of soul sustenance. It’s the gift of truth told, lessons learned, and humor offered to lighten the daily load.

I’ve been noticing the power of stories lately as I spend time with my 86-year-old mother. Her short-term memory is terrible. But her capacity for long ago stories lives on. She remembers days on the farm, walking to school, and what an old woman wore on the beach in 1950—a full slip instead of a bathing suit. Scandalous!

Those are the best conversations to have with her…she’s comforted by those tales. They are real to her and part of who she is. Just as all our experiences become part of who we are and what we share with the world.

“I like a good story, well told. That is why I am sometimes forced to tell them myself,” said Mark Twain.

I can relate! Even though I am shy and introverted—not the bold speaker Mark Twain was—I am often called upon to tell a story. One girlfriend, after I haven’t seen her for a while, will sit me down and say, “Tell me stories!” She wants to know what’s new, of course, but she wants it told in an interesting way.

I am happy to oblige. Telling stories, either on the page or in a small group, brings joy and unity. It takes us on a journey even while we remain perfectly still. Our minds join together for a time, and we imagine scenes and sounds, and smells and tastes that go along with the narrative being told.

When it came time for class plays, I always volunteered to be the narrator. Others wanted to have a big speaking role and fought to be the main character, but I wanted to tell the story.  Because the narrator had the scoop. They kept everyone together, brought the story up to speed, and answered all the questions in the end.

I think Garrison Keillor, a modern-day storyteller, would agree. “Be as crazy as you want to be,” he said. “Just let me tell about it.”

Where do we get this impulse? This need to tell stories?

I believe it comes directly from God. He is the giver of all good things, including stories and imaginations. God’s Word is laden with memorable stories, and it was Jesus’ first choice for teaching the people.

Consider the parable.

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“A farmer went out to sow his seed,” begins the parable of the sower in Luke 8. From this teaching, we understand that the seed is the Word of God, and there are four types of soil—or hearts—the Word can fall on. Shallow soil, rocky soil, thorny soil, and good soil. In the end, only the good soil, or the heart that has been properly prepared, is the one that will yield a crop for eternal life.

We may conclude from this story that three-fourths of the time the Word is shared, it will not have lasting effect. Wow! So we are not to be discouraged when we don’t see change. Jesus told us that the devil will snatch it away, that some will believe for a time and then fall away, and others will give way to worry, riches and pleasures. This is a cautionary tale, too. We want to have good soil and avoid the pitfalls Jesus warns of.

We get all that from the mental picture of a farmer, seed, soil, thorns, rocks, etc. But, of course, it represents so much more! The truth that we are built for eternal life seeps into our hearts like a healing balm.  We instinctively know it’s right. And it quiets the longing inside us.

A great teacher will always incorporate a story along with the lesson.

Stories work better than lectures.

Our defenses are down and our hearts are open.

And while the points in a lecture quickly fade, a story imprints our memory.

So, as summer kicks off this week, I’m hoping to build my story collection by making new memories. To journey down the road a bit and see new sights, notice something different, talk to a stranger, laugh about a situation, and then come home and tell the story.

Maybe you’ll do the same!

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Blog15_SCAN_May23_Beckie_portraitBeckie Horter is a Christian blogger and devotions editor for Proverbs 31 Ministries.

After receiving her B.A. in Writing from Geneva College, Beckie worked as a correspondent for the Allegheny Times. There she covered government meetings and wrote feature articles. Telling stories and loving it! She went on to proofread for the paper until a retina condition erased most of her central vision leaving her partially blind.

Following a period of adjustment and seeking the Lord’s will, Beckie once again returned to her passion of writing—albeit slowly. God showed her how to use her remaining vision and continues to open doors to spread His message of hope.

A theme she often explores on her blog,This Abiding Walk, is how God works through the brokenness of our lives. Although the subject matter can be quite serious, Beckie gives her readers comic relief and writes in a truthful and thoughtful way. Read more by Beckie Horter by visiting her blog:

 http://thisabidingwalk.com/author/beckie291beckieann/

Most recently, she’s been delighted to become re-acquainted with her former drawing professor, the colorful Lynda Lambert!  These two find that God works in unusual ways. And they are both enjoying the journey!

Kaleidoscope: Collecting Patterns of Light and Dreams

“Kaleidoscope: Collecting Patterns of Light and Dreams”

by Lynda McKinney Lambert, 2015

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Note:  The first version of this essay was first published on “Amy’s Adventures Blog, by Amy Bovaird,

April 24, 2015.  Thank you, Amy, for inviting me to create a guest blog for you.

You can VISIT me at Amy’s Blog by clicking here:

 http://amybovaird.com/friday-friends-spotlight-on-lynda-lambert/

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“For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come,

and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

Song of Solomon 2:11-12 ~

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Patti and I walked down the old, narrow stone path on an April afternoon in the 1950s. Our pastel plaid dresses fluttered slightly in the soft afternoon breeze.  We removed our cotton sweaters, draped them carelessly over our arm for the journey back home. Like most days in April in western Pennsylvania it had been raining in the morning that day. A few hours later, the day took a turn and now it had warmed up significantly since our early morning walk to school. We felt happy because there was not a rain cloud in sight as we took our time walking along our familiar path. Now we meandered at an easy pace in the opposite direction.  School was over for the day and there was no reason to walk faster.   We walked a short distance and then we were standing beside a large field.  The aroma coming from the thick blanket of woods violets slowed us down even more as we scanned the field. In a moment, without speaking to each other, we stepped lightly between the moistened deep green leaves that flourished in thick patches of weeds and flowers. We were absorbed at the moment, bent over the deep blue-violet blossoms and reached out to gather some dainty flowers.  One by one, we snapped the fragile, slender stems of the violets.  While we picked our violets with our right hand, we placed each one in the grasp of our left hand.  Our bear arms were hot as the late afternoon sunshine turned our pale skin bright pink. When our left had could hold no more violets, we stepped away from the field and continued our walk home where our Mother was waiting for us to return   we came into the 1920s frame house through the back door with our fists full of violets, she was delighted with our small gifts.  She went to her cupboard, got out two small glass jelly jars and put the bouquets in water to keep them fresh. Our floral  gifts remained on the windowsill in our kitchen.

***

This year I set my intentions on observing small details in nature.  The landscape is changing continuously.

I see crystal  drops of dew on tender new leaves in the meadow.  They are sprinkled with transparent silvery diamonds.   Another turn, and I am walking beside a field of dewy dark green leaves with little periwinkle flowers peeking through the moisture.

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I felt the velvet softness of Sumac branches. I looked at layers of last autumn’s leaves intermingled with shoots of new grass, and budding Hyacinths   Along the stone walk, I observed the red stalks of Peony bushes forging upwards through the moist earth.   Oh, Yes!  It’s Spring!

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All these thoughts bring me to think about the beauty I have seen in a kaleidoscope. The word “kaleidoscope” has Greek roots.  It means “a form beautiful to see.”  I am compelled to ask you…

“When is the last time you have had a kaleidoscope in your hands with one eye focused through the small round window?”

“Do you recall the vivid colors, ever-changing shapes, as you slightly moved your hand around the barrel of the kaleidoscope?”

You give it a small twist and all the shapes fall into new pictures.  Hidden fragments inside the instrument create  numerous symmetrical, abstract  pictures.   Envision the world such as you have seen in a kaleidoscope!

 

Could you describe what you feel as the colors dance and flow over the mirror images inside? And did you know that inside the kaleidoscope are tiny, ordinary objects such as buttons, stones, chips and fragments – every illusion you enjoyed viewing is merely a collection of ordinary little things someone gathered and put inside with mirrors set at 60 degree angles

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It has been over six decades since I picked wild violets with my sister in a rural farmer’s field.  I realize my faith in God still works in the same way it did when I was a child gathering God’s little presents.  Just a small twist takes us to a new landscape.

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Big things make headline news, are celebrated and sought after. There is no mention of the ache we have in our inner being and the feeling that something is just not right.  Oh, I know that yearning that whispers from deep inside my body.  Could it be that once again I have walked on that familiar pathway that led me to places where I was not called by God to be?  There is always a sense of discomfort and painful stumbling blocks to be experienced when we are outside of his will or his calling, for our life. Fortunately, we can turn around, retrace our steps back to where we need to be and get our direction going once again. That is the good news – we can change direction!

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Sitting in silence, being calm, listening for God’s still, small voice takes us to his glory.   Small treasures surround us   When I sit down and spend time alone with him, in silence, I experience transformation.  I turn another bend, there is a shift in perspective, and those little gifts are reflected by the mirrored light of his countenance. I am transformed yet again, by small gifts.

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God works just like that!

The longer we look at him, the more our faith grows.  Each turn we take towards him opens up a new landscape that shows us insight into his character. I approach quietly.   Slowly, I realized the rain has stopped. I tilted my head towards the sky, listened for the songs of the circling birds as they hover above the tall trees; it is happening again.  Something new.  My feet are damp from the spring shower. Just another small turn of the kaleidoscope – yes! I can see it now.

Transformation.

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Copyright, 2015. Lynda McKinney Lambert. May 9, 2015. All rights reserved.

Written for publication by Amy Bovaird. April 24, 2015. With much gratitude for the kind invitation to write for Amy’s Adventures Blog. Thank you!

 http://amybovaird.com/friday-friends-spotlight-on-lynda-lambert/