Gail's Book Nook

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Looking Out the Window: A Good Laugh with a Spiritual Message from Margaret Brownley


Notes from Camp

One day, Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1 NIV

When my oldest son went away to summer camp for the first time I was a nervous wreck. Although he was nine years old he hadn’t as much as spent a night away from home, let alone an entire week. I packed his suitcase with special care, making sure he had enough socks and underwear to see him through the week. Since this was prior to the advent of cell phones I also packed stationery and stamps so he could write home.

Thanks to a conscientious camp counselor I received the first letter from my son three days after he’d left. I quickly tore open the envelope and stared at the childish scrawl. Camp is fun and I only barfed once.

The next letter offered little more. Jerry wet the bed. Who’s Jerry, I wondered. The third and last letter provided this interesting piece of news. The nurse said it’s not broken.

Fragments. Bits of information that barely skim the surface. A preview of coming attractions that never materialize. It’s kind of like the text messages I get today from my grandkids.

It makes me think of my own sparse messages at times to God. “Dear Lord,” I plead when a loved one is late getting home. “Keep him safe.”

“Give me strength,” I pray after breaking down on the freeway or getting a letter from the IRS.

“Let me have wisdom,” is another favorite prayer of mine, usually when I’m giving unsolicited advice. “God is good,” I say when an editor agrees to extend a deadline.

Fragments. Bits and pieces. Are my notes to God as unsatisfactory to Him as hurried text messages are to me?

I knew that my son was safe at camp, and somewhere in the cryptic texts I get from the grandkids I know all is well with them, too. After all, how much trouble can you get into when your fingers are glued to a keyboard? But sometimes you just want to pick up an old-fashioned land phone—one that makes you stand in place and concentrate on the person you’re talking to—and have a good heart-to-heart.

“Thank you, God,” I murmured recently when a repair bill wiped out only half the bank account. I then settled down for a nice long chat with Him. God deserves a lot more than a text message or hasty note from “camp.”

Dear God, help me to prioritize the countless things in my life that clamor for attention, so that I always have time for you. Amen.
More Love and Laughter in the Old West

From Bestselling Author Margaret Brownley

 Sage Advice for Photographers from Margaret’s new book


• When photographing stampeding cattle, charging bulls or blazing shoot-outs, use a fast shutter speed.

• Brides, take pity on your photographer. Matthew S. Brady and his helpers were able to record the entire War Between the States with little more than 1100 photographs. Half that number should satisfy most brides.

• Doctors, do not look at the camera like it’s a patient needing help through death’s door. Such a pose will speak ill of you, and it won’t do much for your practice, either.

• A man imagines himself more handsome than his photograph; a woman believes herself more homely.

• While posing for a photograph spinsters should avoid looking desperate or deprived. A serene smile will show that your circumstances are by choice and not for lack of beauty or character.

About Margaret

My writing career began, and ended, early. I wrote my first book in fifth grade—a mystery without an ending. I was on a roll until I reached eighth grade. Unimpressed with my essay on why I wanted to be a writer my English teacher not only flunked me but suggested I not even think about a career as a writer.

Dream squashed, I did little writing until I became editor of the church newsletter many years later. After making a church picnic read like a Grisham novel, my then pastor took me aside and said, “Maybe God’s calling you to write fiction.” So that’s what I did. I now have 25 books to my credit, published in 15 different languages. I’m currently working on a new series.


Jessica R. Patch said...

My daughter is away camp this week!

I love your analogy. I like to get on the phone early in the morning with God and spend a good deal of time with Him. The minutes cost me nothing!

I do however breathe text messages the rest of the day to stay in touch.

I laughed at your son's letters! So cute and funny!

Margaret Brownley said...

Hi Jessica, I guess text msgs do help people stay in touch. Your comment reminded me of a question a teen asked me recently. He asked how people dated and got married before cell phones were invented. Still laughing about that one.

cbalmony said...

Love the analogy. I'm such a God-texter. Really should sit and have a cup of coffee with Him.

June Foster said...

How true, Margaret. By faith I ask God to prioritize the tasks in my day. Thank you for your post. June Foster

Celia Yeary said...

Margaret--absolutely wonderful. Spot on with each comment. I'm so guilty of just texting God. We're in a severe drought here in Texas, and a couple of days ago, the weatherman said we might expect a brief shower soon--but don't expect much. Okay, I never do when it comes to rain. So I prayed what I call an "apologetic" prayer--God, if you could just give us a little, it would help. My poor deer and road runners are having a hard time." Last night? We got almost 3 inches--wow! Thanks for the thoughtful post. Celia

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Oh my gosh, I laughed myself silly. This was a great devotional. Margaret's book sounds like a wonderful read with lots of comedy. I would love to read it and laugh. Thanks for sharing this with me, Gail.

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Margaret,

I loved your devotional. Thanks for sharing it along with information about your new book.

Miss Mae said...

Ah, this is so true! Kids can only give us bits and pieces, and I'm afraid that our prayers probably mirror this too.

Insightful post, Margaret! :)

Gina said...

Hi Margaret,

What a touching post! We really don't ever know when we'll be getting a message from Him, do we?

Loved your devotional very much. Thank you.

And Gail, your blog is a lovely gift - with a message - to us all. Thank you always.

Hugs & blessings,