I grew up on a farm in south-central Kentucky. Although we lived on a gravel road far from the nearest town, we had frequent visits from a host of relatives and friends. Our house was the gathering place. Some people stayed minutes or hours. Others remained days or weeks. A few lived with us months or years.
Like my husband’s uncle in today’s meditation, most of us took advantage of occasional quiet moments alone, soaking in the beauty of creation. We could sit on a rock or stump, hike down a wooded lane, or wander through fields. As with most of life, those moments included both joy and pain. Butterflies, squirrels, and birds played all around us. Cattle often outnumbered people. Flowers, grass, gardens, and orchards clearly displayed each season’s splendor. At the same time, we had to contend with sweat bees, extremes in heat and cold, skunks, and poison ivy. Whether joyful or pain-filled, God used each experience to teach life lessons.
When we returned from our moments of solitude, we loved to talk, laugh, and sing. We frequently sprinkled our conversations with liberal doses of idioms or other unusual expressions. Some of those sayings revealed a need for hope: the end of your rope (out of options). Many included wisdom: cross a bridge when we come to it (deal with life as it happens). Several had origins in nature: nip it in the bud (prevent a problem before it starts). Others offered fun descriptions: cute as a button (usually about a small cute person, animal, or object). A few originated in the Bible: go the second mile (do more than law or custom demands).
Little did I know how God would use those expressions after my husband and I opened our home as a friendship family to international university students. When students heard a new expression, I became their unofficial interpreter. One student requested a new expression every day. Gradually I saw God’s guidance in those experiences as well. For the students who became a lasting part of our family and for anyone with English as their second language, I started a blog, Words, Wit, and Wisdom: Life Lessons from English Expressions. Each post includes the expression, an explanation and related life lesson, and a closing devotional thought. I pray God uses my posts not only as an English teaching tool but also as an introduction to our loving Creator and Savior. International friends or anyone interested can find posts (and subscribe to receive one per week) at dianaderringer.com.