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On the shelf at Goodwill

GoodwillWriting inspiration can show up in the unlikeliest of places.

Occasionally, I will find an intriguing note or scribble inside a used book at a thrift store. Not long ago, I was at a Goodwill store out of town when I found a Christian humor book that had this note inside.

As a writer, I absolutely love finding discarded notes and even shopping lists in stores. I left this one inside the book since I wasn’t purchasing it, but I wasn’t above taking a photo of it with my iPhone. Doesn’t that note just tell you so much about Jennie and her mom? (I don’t believe I’m invading anyone’s privacy since Jennie’s last name isn’t given, and I’m not even naming the town where I saw this, just in case.) I’m assuming Jennie was suffering from depression (and good grief, haven’t we all at one time or another?). I love that her mother wanted to encourage her with this book, and how very like a mom to end with a reminder, “Take your meds!”

I sure hope Jennie is doing well today. My own mom isn’t here anymore, so I hope Jennie realizes how fortunate she is to still have (as of 2014, at least) a mother who clearly loves her. What a fun and thought-provoking thrift-store find.

Grammar: Why it’s Greek to me

img_6502 (1)A sweet New Year’s revelation: my spiritual studies and my grammar studies can overlap. At the end of the year, I was taking stock of my daily Bible-reading habit and realized it left me wanting … more. Yes, I read through the Bible again in 2018, but I wasn’t sure I’d gotten as much out of the reading as I would have liked. Then I remembered that a friend had passed along a Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible she no longer wanted. What if I tried reading that during my morning devotions? Couldn’t hurt, might help, I decided.

I also started reading with a notebook at hand to write down observations about the scriptures I read each morning. So far, my Bible-reading plan has me in Genesis in the Old Testament and Matthew in the new, and I have yet to finish a day’s reading without jotting down several new insights I’ve found. I can’t help thinking that this Hebrew-Greek Bible has something to do with these new insights.

This week, I found myself looking up the word “scribes” in the book’s concordance of Greek words. Imagine how it delighted my grammar-geek heart to learn that the Greek word was “grammateus.” The definition wasn’t especially profound (a writer, a scribe), but I did learn that the word could also mean “town clerk,” which was news to me.

The other big discovery? This Bible has a whole page of verb tenses that I had never even heard of. I was ridiculously happy when I found that, and I wonder how much time I’ll spend this year learning about things like the “aorist subjunctive active” (be still my heart!).

Of course, no matter how many Bibles I read and study from, I’ll be most happy if, at some point this year, I make some progress with the Christian basics, verses like Luke 6:31, and “do unto others as I would have them do unto me.” One day, I hope I’ll pass along a Bible to someone that will make them as happy as this one has made me!