Do you remember being pushed as a kid on a swing? Maybe your Mom or Dad, or a big brother or sister gave you a big push. And then another. And another. After a while, your legs started pumping on their own.
Sitting on my mother’s lap, I heard the cadence of a favorite Robert Louis Stevenson poem about the pleasure of swinging, sailing “up in the air so blue.”
Back to the push. It helps so much to have someone behind you pushing, pushing, and pushing you for a short while. Soon your feet and legs catch the rhythm, and you are pumping up and down on your own.
In the New Testament, Barnabas, whose name means “Son of Encouragement,” did that for people in the early church. A motivator, he inspired action. See how his “push” caught fire in lines from Acts 11:23 The Message, paraphrases it this way:
22-24 When the church in Jerusalem got wind of this, they sent Barnabas to Antioch to check on things. As soon as he arrived, he saw that God was behind and in it all. He threw himself in with them, got behind them, urging them to stay with it the rest of their lives. He was a good man that way, enthusiastic and confident in the Holy Spirit’s ways. The community grew large and strong in the Master.
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Here’s an opportunity for me to show gratitude to all who have given me a push: my family, my teachers, my pastors, my friends. And . . . You who have read and commented on my manuscripts, read my book, written a review—or connected with me here.
This week, in honor of the third anniversary of my first memoir’s launch, I’m offering Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl with special pricing
$4.99, Kindle e-book, in color $11.99, paperback
Cover Reveal of Memoir 2 Next Week!
Who has given you a “push” that came just at the right time?
How has your encouragement pushed others in the right direction?
HI Miriam. What a great metaphor – being pushed on a swing, and in a sense, being “held up” in the air and helped with the ups and downs by friends and loved ones. My mom and dad were my first “swing pushers,” and they believed in me throughout their lives. What a great way to be on life’s swing. I know I wouldn’t have the ability to write and publish without the soft push from my guy, always, as well as a coterie of amazing friends. And lastly, bloggers have also pushed me on the writing swing. They’ve made a difference in many wonderful ways! Congrats on your Memoir’s third year anniversary. Hard to believe it’s been that long! <3
I haven’t seen anyone use the word “coterie” in a while and I long to use it somewhere, safely, in a sentence soon. You are one of my swing pushers, and I SO appreciate it. Thanks, Pam! 😀
What a beautiful comment, Marian. May we both push each other, swinging, for years to come. xo
I’ll take that as a prediction, you with the flawless crystal ball, Pam!
Great post, Marian! 🤗 I’ve heard that Stevenson poem before. I used to love to swing at the park near the house where I grew up. As for who is pushing me, well God is—very gently most of the time. Writing was never in my family’s plan for my life. They wanted me to go into engineering or the law or even medicine. But I am where I am because this was what God had for me. As for others, I’m never quite sure that I’ve encouraged someone at just the right time. But I know that when God gives me a nudge to send a message to someone it must be at the right time as far as he’s concerned. 😊
Uh…waving my hand here, L. Marie. You’ve encouraged me countless times and your timing is always perfect! xo
Linda Marie AND Jill, thanks for being swing pushers for me–plugging my book and also supporting me here. . . keeping the thread of conversation lively. 😀
I’m glad to be an encourager of yours, Marian. YOU, however, give amazing pushes on the swing of life. You make everyone you meet a little more able to be the wind beneath other wings.
Thanks for the kind words here, Shirley. I appreciate how you are being generative these days, holding high the banner for grandparents with your new book. I enjoyed listening to the podcast with Marilyn as I played sous chef for the two of us yesterday.
And thanks for being the wind beneath my wings from the very beginning. 😀
Great post, Miriam! My parents have always been my “pusher.” Even in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, my mother continues to encourage me in my writing endeavors. A couple of weeks ago, I recorded her reacting to my recent contract. She was sitting next to me when I got the word. Her words of wisdom were those of her pre-Alzheimer’s years. It’s something I’ll cherish and watch over and over, especially when self-doubt takes hold.
Oh, Jill! I really felt your words. Definitely a moment to hold close to your heart. ❤️
It’s wonderful to know that someone, many someones, have pushed you along so that you can swing free and do your thing. Of course you had to climb into the swing to begin with so make sure to give yourself a pat on the back, too.
Gee, thanks, Ally. You always pick up on what others tend to overlook. Obviously, I appreciate you swinging with us here, whatever the theme. 😀
Good morning, Marian! I missed my first responder position today. 😊 A lovely post. You’ve had and still have many people in your life who support you. Congratulations on your book’s third birthday!
I can’t help it, but I hear Bullwinkle’s voice in my head reciting that poem.🤣
Thank you for your support, too. I appreciate your comments and words of encouragement.
Bullwinkle’s okay, as is a gentle British accent. . . or the remembered voice of a mother reciting the Stevenson poem. Thank you for your encouragement over many years now, Merril!
You’re welcome, Marian!
My parents and my husband have been the primary pushers in my writing life, including ensuring the conditions to make it so. I am forever grateful!
You are fortunate to have people close to you honoring your writing life. As it happens, my studio has French doors, which I can pull shut when there’s conversation. I must say, my grandson’s bass tuba penetrates no matter what — ha! Thanks, Liz. 😀
You’re welcome, Marian. With me, it’s a matter of self-preservation on my family’s part. I’m not fit to live with when I’m not writing. 🙂 When we were in high school, my brother’s saxophone would carry through the heating vents into my room.
Yes, saxophones are loud too – ha!
Has it been three years already? Happy Birthday! 🍾🥂🎉
There’s no doubt we all need that initial push to get ahead in life. In my case, it was the example from my elder siblings, always there for me, as they are now.
No one has mentioned elder siblings, so thanks for that. I’ve known you through many life seasons and appreciate so very much your support through them all. 😀
This brought back some great memories, Marian. My sister and I used to swing together, one pumping and one sitting. Love the RLSTevenson poem!
Good afternoon, Elfrieda. Nostalgic memories are good, especially in this season of our lives when days disappear, weeks flash by, and months march faster than ever. Thank you for your constant support since I began posting here. 😀
Great post, Marian! Happy Birthday to your wonderful memoir! I thank the Lord for all the encouragers in my life. I hope I’m taking some of that positive energy people have invested in me to give a push to whoever needs one. It’s as rewarding to be behind the swing as it is to be sitting on it. Blessings!
You have such a way with words, Patty! I’m so glad I met you through the RRBClub. It’s a pleasure to have you in my cheering section. I need to do a better job of reciprocating. Thanks for tuning in again today. 😀
Hi Marian, this is a lovely post and display of gratitude towards those people who have supported you on your writing journey. I love this particular poem, and as a girl, I loved to swing.
You always swing high and inspire me to aim higher. Sometimes I think of you when I consciously limit my TV viewing–more time to read books, write blog posts, and edit new books.
Thanks for the inspiration and the support, Robbie! ;-D
Hi Marian, My parents were my first, and probably most valued “pushers” in terms of my faith and the career direction I’ve taken…my two godly grandmothers were the “pushers” who spent hours on their knees praying for me to stay focused on my relationship with Jesus as I walked through the career opportunities presented to me and other important life choices I would be faced with. I’m grateful for the influence of both my parents, their godly modeling, as well as my sweet grandmothers and their love for me. Walking through these past couple of weeks, since my Mom’s death, I’ve been reminded of the lasting effect of her influence on me. Periodically, Faythe will remind me that sometimes when I open my mouth, my Mother comes out. That’s part of the lasting heritage she’s left and one of the many benefits of her “pushing”.
You and I (probably Faythe too) are the beneficiaries of a heritage of strong family connections and a firm faith in God. I know you miss your mother. I remember the death of my own in 2014 as my last link to that generation in my immediate family. How funny that your wife comments that “Sometimes when you open my mouth, your Mother comes out.” Yes, our parents do leave indelible impressions.
By the way, the artwork this week is one of several paintings Cliff did for Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, sometime in the 80’s.
It’s good to hear from you, Howard. Thanks for commenting. Do give a hug to your sweet wife! 😀
My Spanish professor, Sam, who got me in the door at Mennonite Media years ago was one of my pushers or “suggestion makers” and I wonder if he hadn’t said what he did, would I have ever tried that door?? Interesting to ponder. [The story is found on p. 8 of my memoir, in case anyone is interested.] More importantly, I like the way your post helps us all think about the persons who have helped us find our way! Blessings, Marian.
I had the same Spanish professor, Sam Miller. I did not know until I read that page in your memoir that his wife was Ella May Miller, whom I “knew” from the radio program and probably from her writings (?) in church publications.
Melodie, you have a lot of moxie, but I think Memoir of an Unimagined Career traces your steps toward finding mentors along the way. Or, maybe they found you–in providential ways. 😀
Just read your post. As always you do such a great job in how you present your topics. As a child I loved to swing. Also to push siblings and friends. I also love the scripture verses. As I’m going through this phase in life, helps me to look back at all the people God put in my life. Your parents being key role to love, give encouragement and spiritual guidance for 42 years of my life. I treasure that in my heart. Pray to be the same example of love and guidance. I miss them so much.
As I now miss my biological mother who has left to be with the Lord on the 19th of August. She left peacefully with all her children and many grand and great-grands by her side in her home. I thought i was prepared to let go. Yet i find myself missing her. I’m on a new treatment praying this one will work. Bible study started yesterday. This will help you through it all. My friend has pushed me to write me story with her. We shall continue to meet to sort it all out. My granddaughter is pushing to write my recipes on paper she is going to help me measure because i don’t measure. Pray for us. Congratulations on your 3 years of your first book. Looking forward to reading it.
First of all, condolences on the loss of your mother. I know you feel a deep hurt in your heart as I felt losing mine. Still do. You say she is with the Lord, so that’s a comfort. I know my parents played a key role in your life, and I’m so glad that was part of God’s plan. Think of how you influence everyone around you now–your children and grandchildren especially.
I’m glad you are writing your story. That’s wonderful! And the recipes too. I had several in my first book, some from Mom. My next book will contain her famous vegetable soup. 😀
You are on my prayer card, so I have a constant reminder to pray for you and that the new treatment will help. Thanks for reading commenting, dear Gloria. Blessings to you and your family! 😀
I used to love to swing, Marian, and I still do (a great reason to hang out with the grandson). It’s wonderful, almost essential, to have someone giving the push and helping us find our rhythm and gain momentum. Especially when what we travel is a long road. Thanks for the lovely post. 🙂
What a delight to see you here, Diana. When I went to Amazon to check out your newest book, I noticed a veritable library of work. Awesome! Yes, “what we travel is a long road, and I marvel at your oeuvre.” It’s good to know that you take time out to swing with your grandson.
Thanks for reading and commenting today. 😀
I love the notion of friends giving us a boost much the way our parents did when we first started out on a swing. That was a clever way to communicate the idea that we all need help from our friends along the way in life’s journeys. They’ll be there for us and we’ll be there for them when needed.
Yep, Pete. None of us does life alone. We need pushers through every stage of life, and sometimes we can “push” others, as you are doing here, supporting my blog. Did you know you’d have so much fun after you left teaching?
If you’re like me, I thought I’d never be happy without the classroom in my life, now I’ve found another outlet, and you have too. Thanks for dropping in again. 😀
More than being pushed by others, I remember pushing my sons in swings–and the delightful peals of laughter and joy. I celebrate ‘Mennonite Daughter’ with you and look forward to the upcoming book. I already love Cliff’s first portrait. How could you not fall in love with a whimsical guy like that?
I love sentences with the verb “peals of laughter” in them. It reminds me of other pealing: like bells. Now those same strong men who thrilled at their mother’s pushes on the swing are looking out for their mother’s welfare.
The “swing” picture Cliff painted when he created other themes for the Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville in 1983. Little did he know then that years later our youngest grandson’s life would be miraculously saved in the NICUnit of that same hospital.