The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild
By Stephanie Williams Dean
My birthday will be here soon. When I was born almost 63 years ago, I was named Stephanie – a name that comes from the Greek name, “Stephanos,” which means “crowned.”
But for my birthday, don’t plan a party to celebrate me. For my birthday, don’t spend wasted hours looking for the perfect present for me. For my birthday, don’t shower me with expensive gifts. And on my birthday, please don’t put one of those rhinestone crowns on my head that says, “Princess.”
Instead, for my birthday, celebrate one girl who’s never known what it’s like to be treated like a princess. Instead, for my birthday, take extra time to find that perfect gift for a needy person. For my birthday, instead, plan a celebration for a homeless person, or give a generous donation to a poor person.
And, on my birthday, instead, please do share the Gospel story with one person, and with that crown, use it to illustrate how the greatest gift of all, one of everlasting joy, will crown their heads through the acceptance of Jesus Christ.
“It is our centermost human impulse to rise up from our proper place before God’s throne and wander off in search of a throne upon which we ourselves might sit down.” (David Henderson – Discipleship Journal)
There is only one person worthy of wearing the crown.
By Shari Keller
I perused the empty beach, inhaling with exhilaration the freshness of sea air that comes with late fall, exhaling a life left behind. A journey well taken, littered with pain, bruises and scars, ending at my place of serenity, my private, vast sanctuary of wonder. There is nowhere else on earth I would rather be. Settling in the chair, book tucked at my side, I adjust the worn wrap around my shoulders, its softness a contrast to the occasional sting of sand on my cheek. The silence is deafening today, and I find myself seeking out solace in my surroundings rather than reading and being enveloped in the usual, relentless, lull of the waves. The empty lifeguard chair, wooden and weathered, looms beside me, towering, an abandoned precipice. I find myself mesmerized, drawn into its emptiness.
“So chair, from your high perch, why do you think so many people are drawn back to the beach?”
Chair: “It depends… the photographer up before dawn, always trying to capture that perfect burst of color as sunlight teases the horizon, dedicated walkers and runners whose bodies reflect commitment with the beach offering them exhibition, lifeguards who love the surf, girls in need of a summer job, families wanting their children to experience generational passion for the ocean while providing an inexpensive all day playground, couples having found love, people looking for love and especially seniors, cataloging scenes in their minds for a time they can no longer make this journey except in memory. Through it all, I’ve seen laughter, tears, happiness, anger, panic and pain. I wake to beautiful skies or massive, destructive storms. The shoreline beckons, stretching like an infinite ribbon with the horizon touching the ocean at seemingly the end of the world. High winds, stinging sands, mighty waves, calming tides, life, death, all of it calling to you like the Pied Piper.”
“I wonder how God sees us,” I ponder.
Chair: “I’ve never thought about that. When people see me, they know I am the place to go whether in time of trouble, need for reassurance or just simple direction. They look for my flags whipping in the wind, signaling a warning. They run to me frantically when their child is lost or they have been bitten by something unspeakable. They expect me to be able to provide the breath of life from heaven and sometimes….I can, they just don’t realize it’s God’s call, not mine.” With that finality, the chair was silent.
I stared at the old guard, “you are so important, yet taken for granted, an icon for memories, a harbor for safety and reassurance, and now a harbor for me.” I suddenly remember the picture sitting on my daughter’s mantle, the one of just her and me on this beach. Smiling, I realize this is the perfect memory I’ve searched for; my journey is complete, this IS the perfect day!
No warning flags flying today, no one to see the still figure in the chair, no one except the curious seagull overhead watching the empty pill bottle fall from her limp hand, caught by the wind, rolling haphazardly across the sand toward the beckoning tide.
“What time is it?”
By Linda H. Barnette
People are already talking about when they will gain the one hour of sleep they lost last spring. I always thought that Daylight Saving Time (DST) began in order to allow farmers more daylight hours in which to do their work. In any case, I decided to read about the history of the time change because things are not always as simple as they appear on the surface.
Although I am sure that early civilizations utilized light and darkness to their advantage, it seems that we must give credit to one American, Benjamin Franklin, and one Englishman, William Willett, for the decision to move to a standardized system of time.
While he was an American envoy in Paris from 1776-1785, Franklin observed that the French people habitually slept until the late morning, often rising just before noon. So the author of such famous sayings as “early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” wrote a satire called “An Economic Project” about the French use of time. In his essay he suggested taxing window shutters, rationing candles, and ringing bells and firing cannons daily to wake people up. Luckily for him, people laughed with him about this!
The idea for DST was also advocated by a London builder named William Willett (1857-1915), who proposed advancing clocks 20 minutes on each 4 Sundays in April and slowing them by 20 minutes for 4 Sundays in September. He also wrote a pamphlet called “The Waste of Daylight.” He said, “Everyone appreciates the long, light evenings. Everyone laments their shortage as autumn approaches, and everyone has given utterance to regret that the clear, bright light of an early morning during the spring and summer months is so seldom seen or used.” Willett was an avid golfer who did not like to have his game cut short by an early dusk. Although his idea was actually presented in the British Parliament in 1909, it did not become law at that time.
Port Arthur, Ontario, was the first city in the world to enact Daylight Saving Time on July 1, 1908. The first countries to adopt it were Germany and Austria in 1916 as a way to conserve coal during wartime. Britain, its allies, and many other European countries adopted it in 1917, and the United States chose it in 1918.
There are those who love it and those who hate it, but that’s the way it is. Obviously, time has always been an interesting subject, and the sun has been central to its observances. Now if we could only figure out why those early Brits built Stonehenge!!
RWG Literary Corner
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