Musings — April 2017

Returning from a family vacation (and a blogging break!), it’s great to be rested and to have stored up some delightful memories with my patient husband, our two youngest sons, and with dear friends who love us so much and so well that they even welcomed our big slobbery dog!

Did you know that the roller coaster was invented by the French in 1817? Two hundred years later, our guys enjoyed this “history lesson.”


Obviously, the cool people are sitting on each end.

On the Nightstand

Not because I deserve it, but because God is gracious, I have a friend who has stuck with me through a dozen or more years of reading Scripture together.  Even though we are geographically far apart, we read the same passage each day and hold one another accountable to the practice of showing up in the presence of the Word.  Our plan for the foreseeable future is to read through the book of Jeremiah, using Eugene Peterson’s Run with the Horses as our road map.

“Before I shaped you in the womb,
    I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
    I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—
that’s what I had in mind for you.”

Jeremiah 1:5  (MSG)

Already, the first chapter is breathtaking with its reminder that we are known before we know, that we have been enlisted by God before we were even qualified for anything.  Then, since “giving is the style of the universe,” we have been given to our families, our friends, our neighbors — and to our enemies.

“Our life is for others. . .  We don’t think we can live generously because we have never tried.  But the sooner we start the better, for we are going to have to give up our lives finally, and the longer we wait the less time we have for the soaring and swooping grace of life.”

This was true of Jeremiah, and it is certainly true of believers in 2017.

On the Blog

In April I shared my first offering as a contributor to God-sized Dreams, an on-line community where you can say your dream out loud and find the glorious encouragement of others who are also familiar with the joys and pitfalls inherent to dreaming.   When fear threatens to extract all the air from my dreams, I’m thankful for the courage and strength that come from an upholding God.  You can read more here about letting your fear drive you to the One who casts out all fear.

Ruby Magazine included a couple of my book reviews in their April edition.  I always enjoy sharing children’s books, and, of course, the best part is test-driving the books with the adorable grandson.

The most viewed post in April was my review of Gary Thomas’s book, Cherish:  The One Word that Changes Everything for Your Marriage.  Gary encourages his readers to go beyond merely loving our spouses and to live our way into “a marriage that feels more precious, more connected, and more satisfying.”

Just for Joy

What is it about fiction and the imagined words and experiences of well-developed characters that can leave the heart aching with the beauty of truth?

In The Maytrees by Annie Dillard, Toby leaves his wife Lou and moves to Maine with Deary.  Twenty years pass, and with Deary in the process of dying, Toby falls, breaking both arms.  He returns to Lou and asks her to care for them both.

Spoiler alert:  She says yes.
All incredulity aside, this excerpt from Lou’s processing of the decision stopped me in my tracks:

“At this age, forgiveness could be child’s play if you know the ropes.”

Is this “knowing the ropes” another word for grace?
Am I better at forgiving now than I was twenty years ago?

What are you working on these days?
Are you seeing evidence of God’s knowing, choosing, and launching you into His agenda?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and am thankful for your eyes in this place at the end of another month.
Blessings and love to you.


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51 thoughts on “Musings — April 2017”

  1. Michele,
    As always…enjoy your musings. Glad you enjoyed a fun time with family and a blogging break (we all need those). You know what I would enjoy reading from you more? I love reading your book reviews, but I also love the way you turn a phrase and would enjoy reading YOUR takes on more subjects. I think you have a lot of wisdom to share and such a witty style. I saw a card the other day that was perfect for all of us who write: An epitaph for a writer….She died doing what she loved best….correcting other people’s grammar. LOL made me laugh. You know it’s bad when you’re listening to the pastor’s sermon and are correcting his grammar in your head. Okay, this was all random. It’s Monday and I haven’t had my coffee yet…..have a good week.
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I’m so guilty of correcting other people’s grammar! Thanks, Bev, for your input. I go through fits and starts with writing essays — and right now I’m behind on book reviews (pant pant), but I’m wanting to do exactly what you said. It’s a little free-er to just write what’s in my heart instead of feeling tied to the content of a book and rightly representing the author’s intent. By the way, I just got Lisa-Jo’s book in the mail today, so I’m behind on reading for our Sweat Pants book club, but really looking forward to beginning that! Again, Thanks for your suggestion. I appreciate it!


  2. I enjoyed reading your recap of the month and I’m glad you had a good break! I like the Annie Dillard quote- so true that as we progress we should get better at “knowing the ropes” of forgiveness!


    1. I’m in the midst of a Eugene Peterson binge right now, and what a rich thing for me. Just finished reading his new collection of sermons from Multnomah and starting Practice Resurrection today.


  3. What fun you had at the beach! I just love that shot of you and your men, Michele. And we all know that the *cool* one is the sweetie with the aqua jacket …



  4. Hi Michelle, happy new month! Beautiful summary of April and yes I enjoyed your first offering at God sized dreams.
    Can’t wait to see where May takes you 😀😊
    God bless


  5. “We are known before we know; we have been enlisted by God before we were even qualified for anything.” Chill bumps. Thanks Michelle.


  6. So glad you had a little vacation. I find myself counting the days until school is out. I love what I do (teaching) but crave breathing moments some times. It’s interesting that you’re writing of giving, living generously – and I wrote of saving pennies for God. 🙂 I love, love, love the quote you posted: “for we are going to have to give up our lives finally, and the longer we wait the less time we have for the soaring and swooping grace of life.” This just pushes it all into perspective, doesn’t it!


  7. Beautiful musings! I love seeing the picture of you and your two youngest sons! It gives a snapshot into who you are and I love that!

    The book you chose to go through with your friend based on Jeremiah sounds wonderful. I might need to get that for me too. (I say that with a smile because I love books and reading but need a little more free time to conquer them all.)

    I hope you have a wonderful week and I love that we share God-sized Dreamers together!


    1. Yes, we seem to connect in various places, and it’s nice to have an “official” gathering spot. I’m enjoying your series with Debbie, Patti, and Holly! Such good stuff!


  8. Michele, it sounds like you had a refreshing April. I love the pic with you, your husband and your oh, so cool teen boys. I have a couple of those “cool people,” too.

    This quote you shared really resonated with me:
    ““Our life is for others. . . We don’t think we can live generously because we have never tried. But the sooner we start the better, for we are going to have to give up our lives finally, and the longer we wait the less time we have for the soaring and swooping grace of life.”

    I want to be more intentional about giving my life away. And doing so willingly and consistently.

    I hope your May is a wonderful one! I’ll look forward to stopping by. 🙂


  9. This was so encouraging, Michele! Glad I found you over at Leigh’s page. I really need to work on the “prudent use of little minutes”. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Michele,
    What a great photo of your family and I’m so glad you enjoyed time away – -that is always so refreshing and much-needed, isn’t it? I recently read the Run with Horses and got so much insight from it – -it’s so good — and I was glad to see it mentioned here!


  11. Well you had a fruitful month.
    Touched that you have a friend that you share scripture with daily – that’s amazing.
    I enjoyed this post.
    Stopping by from #RechargeWednesday


  12. Just beautiful! I’m glad to hear you still have time for family fun in the midst of what looks like a very full life on this side of the screen! Thanks for being such a blessing!


  13. I didn’t know the French invented the roller coaster! That is interesting, especially since my daughter worked at Cedar Point in Sandusky several years. Thanks for sharing at Crystal Storms.


  14. I can’t get enough of that picture of y’all. Love seeing you with your people. 🙂 Welcome back, hope you had a wonderful time. ((hug))


  15. Loved every bit of this, Michele, including the “history lesson” but especially the family picture! : ) Inspirational nightstand book, and what a blessing to share that with a friend. Your question at the end left me pondering. Oh, I pray His grace is evident in me. Sweet blessings to you! ((Hugs))


  16. April seemed to go by so fast, I’m hoping I can take it slower in May! So glad you were able to get away, Michele! Wow, the Maytrees sounds like a great read! I missed your first post on it, thanks for including it again here! May your May be blessed with more of Him, my friend!


  17. So thankful you got away on vacation with your family. Those times are so important. I love when you share your recaps. I get to catch up on whatever I missed. Blessings!


  18. it’s so fun to read through what you did – I especially love the picture with the cool people as bookends – lol and I don’t think I have ever read Eugene’s books, but I like what you do with your friend and how you encourage one another even though you are not close in proximity – you are close in heart and that is what counts. Thanks for linking up with #TuneInThursday this past week.


  19. Michele, I always enjoy your monthly musings. What a nice photo of your “still at home” crew! I know what you mean about the strangeness of that number growing smaller. Even now that they are all grown with grown kids of their own, I look at vacation photos with just the 2 younger ones and have to remember the 2 olders were grown and gone. I look forward to this months musing and another recap of your Bible reading. Blessings sweet sister!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Wow – those are good friends who’d welcome a dog, too. I don’t think I could do that! Thanks for sharing your musings at Literacy Musing Mondays. 🙂


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