September 10, 2014

Moving Forward with Words and Ideas by Sharon Espeseth

I enjoy when someone uses a common word, but gives it a different twist.

At the beginning of my year at Covenant Bible Institute decades ago, then President Rev. Wendell Anderson was introducing the new Dean of Women, Clara Mae Adamson to the students and members of the local Evangelical Covenant Church. "Miss Adamson," he said, "is a young woman pregnant. . . (significant pause) with ideas." The collective holding of breath was audible at the use of the word "pregnant," but more audible was the burst of laughter that followed his completed sentence. We all enjoyed Rev. Anderson's speaking skills, his sense of humour and wit, for he too was a man pregnant with ideas.

Sometimes I feel full of ideas, but sometimes I let those ideas get rusty and dusty, or they escape from my mind completely as other activities, events and distractions crowd into their space. I must keep that notebook for ideas handy and give these thoughts the time and attention they deserve.

I like a good phrase that is new to me. I had never heard the term "deficiency list," until my husband and I, unaccustomed to being renters, had a meeting with our new landlord. We had presented him with a list of things that needed repair. The gentleman said he didn't like a "deficiency list." This was a new term for both Hank and me, so we were both frustrated with his response and amused with this new term. How were we to get things repaired to a suitable standard without a list of what needed to be taken care of? I'm happy to report that some of the items on that list are getting looked after even if our landlord isn't working from the written list.

I'm glad God doesn't make a deficiency list for us, because I don't think we'd like that either. Our Heavenly Father loves us as we are, but he also loves us enough to want us to grow in faith. We can't be spiritual infants all our lives. Like the psalmist, I pray,

"Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I'm about;
See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong--
then guide me on the road to eternal life."
(The Message)

I get annoyed by phrases that are overused in the media, but maybe there's a reason. Nowadays we often hear broadcasters say things like, "Moving forward," or the double speak of, "At this point in time," when the speaker could say, "At this point" or "At this time." Is there anything wrong with saying, "Now"? Apparently these phrases are used to stress the immediacy of the "news" being given while it is still new.

The writer of Ecclesiastes begins the third chapter by saying, "There's an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on earth." (The Message) But speaking "at this point in time," I need to write and get thoughts and ideas that have been laid on my heart out there.

It's good to read, to listen to sermons and motivational speakers, to feel that our cups have been filled by God speaking to us through his word, through daily events, and through other people. Then it is our responsibility to use the inspiration that comes to us and share it in the public space.

We don't know who is in need of the message we've been given to share. For some person or persons today might be the appointed time when that missive needs to be delivered. At this point in time, I need to move in a forwardly direction with my writing.


  1. I identify with you. It bothers me that every newscaster begins all their sentences with, well!

    I thought they were supposed to be the ones with a wealth of words. I wish they would cut 'transparentcy' and 'holding their feet to the fire' out of the English language.

  2. It's interesting, Sharon, I can hear your voice as I'm reading your post today.

    I was just thinking about your little story of how Miss Adamson was introduced. No doubt she and everyone else was holding their breath at that. And then the relieved laughter.

    I can't say that I've ever heard of a deficiency list either. There must be new words being made up every day now in our lightning tech world.

    Enjoyed your post!


  3. I hear you too, Carol. I've heard enough "transparency," especially when there is so little of it in supply. And "holding their feet to the fire" is also quite worn. If they don't start there sentences with "Well," there's always, "Now!"

    We as writers must commit ourselves to being more innovative in our use of language.

    Thanks for your comments, Carol and Brenda. There are new words and terms being created all the time. I agree.

  4. I agree with you, Sharon. What is happening to the English language? The one that rubs me the wrong way is "free gift". I thought all gifts are free. Thanks for your blog.

  5. Thanks Sharon,
    Haven't heard of the deficiency list, but like that term. I agree with your line--"We don't know who is in need of the message we've been given to share." That is encouragement to keep at it.

  6. Nice Sharon. Interesting take on our use and misuse of words. I am a bit of a 'prefacer' and sometimes it is evident in my writing. 'So' is a bad one for me! 'Well' is another one. Thanks for the reminders and I totally agree with the idea passage. I have my trusty big green idea ledger on the go often. Thought-provoking post. Thanks.

  7. Thanks all of you for your comments. They are always encouraging.


Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.