R is for Rapport

A young boy and girl hugging. Black and white photograph.Webster defines rapport as a relationship “marked by harmony, conformity, accord, or affinity.” It seems an appropriate word to begin the New Year, a wish for peace and unity. Such qualities, though, don’t arise out of nowhere. They require effort, devoted attention, time, and humility. Unity and peace — harmony — only come through bending toward other people rather than demanding one’s own way.

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To Whatever End

Cottonwood Canyon, Oregon State Park.But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.

“Where you die, I will die, and their I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”

Ruth 1:16–7, New American Standard Bible

I believe the phrase “to whatever end” finds its most popular use in a young adult fantasy series. It isn’t one I’ve read, so the words stick with me for a reason other than literature. For me, the words resonate because of where I currently reside, physically and spiritually.

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Write Right’s List of Exquisite Books for 2018

A book with a heart-shaped bookmark.

The New Year often brings all sorts of resolutions, including ones to read more books. I could offer numerous suggestions for such a decision, but the recommendations would take the better part of the day. Because of that, I narrow the focus. I won’t share my favorite books — an almost impossible task — but my most exquisite books.

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Q is for Querulous

Cup of coffee with a queen's crown designed with the froth.Querulous seems a fitting “q” word, mostly because the letter sees little use unless one serves a queen or plays Scrabble. Querulous, though, produces a small Scrabble score with all its vowels and “l” and “s.” A better option would be quiz or quagmire.

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Book Review: The Original Storyteller

Journal and pen with a burning candle.Robert Carnes’ devotional The Original Storyteller: Become a Better Storyteller in 30 Days states its intended purpose outright. It is a guide meant to aid writers in both their craft and faith. “Writers” in this case largely refers to novelists and memoirists; the series of devotions focus on matters especially pertinent to them: character development, thematic motifs, foreshadowing, et cetera.

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With Heart Abandoned

Heart-shaped Christmas ornament.I’ll stand

With arms high

And heart abandoned,

In awe of the One

Who gave it all.

—from The Stand, Hillsong United

I recently read a devotional that said encountering Jesus’ love prompts people to whisper promises and make vows. The idea isn’t wrong, and yet, it seems somehow incomplete. When I read the Bible, I discover people who encounter God and abandon everything in response.

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According to Your Word

A girl's hands holding stalks of purple flowers, probably lavender.And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” —Luke 1:38, New American Standard Bible

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P is for Ponder

Black and white photo of a woman looking out to sea.In Luke 2, the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth, the author reports the shepherds receive the news of Jesus’ arrival and hurry straight to Bethlehem. The shepherds then share the words spoken about the baby boy. They also disclose the messengers of those words: angels, a multitude of the heavenly host.

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Write Right’s Night before Christmas

Write Right character, plus a sleeping mouse, sugar plug fairy, reindeer, and Santa inside a doll house structure.

O is for Onerous

Tabletop Christmas pine boughs and two red candlesDuring the holidays, everything aims to be cheerful and bright. Some tasks, however, remain onerous. They are burdens that must be accomplished to reach the joy of “decking the halls.”

Seating arrangements seem like a good example. You can seat your mother-in-law by a certain aunt but not by your mother or odd uncle. Even buying presents can become onerous. Consider, for instance, when you seek to buy a gift for that impossible-to-buy-for person. The holiday season becomes dreary, a landscape more suited to Ebenezer Scrooge than to you.

Fortunately, the letter “o” begins some words less bleak than onerous. They might not align with the festive season precisely, but they are fun. If nothing else, they offer a break from the holiday hustle and bustle.Continue Reading