Monthly Archives: November 2015

Table Scraps – “love” (2015)

ullyelynodWith Thanksgiving behind us on the calendar our challenge now becomes how do we carry that attitude of thanksgiving through the entire holiday season? For my third table scrap I thought I’d take a look at the word “love.” No doubt the word was used often in conversation throughout Thanksgiving day at your family gathering. Expressions of love were probably used in reference to family members, football teams, perhaps a favorite food, the weather, and possibly an article of clothing.

How much thought do you think each person put into their proclamation, “I love _______ “? Before you allow a wave of guilt to wash over you, I should point out that we only have one word for love in the English language. So, “I love this apple pie,” “I love your sweater” or “I love God” are verbally expressed the same.

The Greek language has many words for love. Roman Krznairic in his article that appeared in Sojourners magazine lists six different Greek words for love. Three of the four most common Greek words for love appear in Greek translations of the Bible, one surprisingly does not.

Eros.  It is commonly associated with sexual passion or desire. Krznairic calls it a “fiery and irrational form of love that could take hold of you and possess you.” Our culture has become obsessed with this type of love. I find it interesting that Eros is not found in Greek translations of the Bible.

According to Precept Ministries International, eros love says, “I love ____ because it makes me happy” (you can fill in the blank with anything your heart desires).

Storge.   This is the word for self-love. Krznairic refers to is as “philautia” and says “the idea was that if you like yourself and feel secure in yourself, you will have plenty of love to give others.” When self-love is abused it takes on the form of self-absorption or self-obsession. Some define storge as natural love that emanates from within, like the love a parent naturally has for his or her child.

According to Precept Ministries International, storge love says, “I love you because you are my child (spouse, parent, dog, etc.).  Krznairic would say, “I love you because I am able to love myself.”

Phileo.  Friendship and companionship are key ingredients in this word for love. It is not referring to the friendship or following that we strive to compile on Facebook or Twitter, however.  Krzainric describes it as “the deep comradely friendship that developed between brothers in arms who fought side by side on the battlefield. It is about showing loyalty to your friend…”

According to Precept Ministries International, phileo love says, “I love you because we are friends.”

Agape.  Agape is love that is selfless, love that will make sacrifices for others and genuinely cares about their well being. This type of love is rapidly becoming scarce in our society today. Precept Ministries International says, “this love keeps on loving even when the loved one is unresponsive, 
unkind, unlovable, and unworthy. It is unconditional love.” The Bible states that God’s love for us is agape love.  Agape love says, “I love you because unconditionally.”

“For God so loved (agape) the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) 


I don’t know about you but when I am struggling to show love to someone, I need only to remind myself of how much God loves me.  With that thought in mind…

How will I demonstrate my love to others this holiday season?

Will I show God how much I love Him by keeping Christ in Christmas this year?

Faithfulness and Love

If you are searching for something larger than life itself, greater than anything you can possibly imagine, then consider this…

Up to the Heavens

Trains and Thanksgiving

IMG_0934I’m looking forward to the upcoming four-day Thanksgiving weekend. Thursday, we will be entertaining family members. We’re thankful our relatives would choose to spend their day with us. Come Friday, however, it’s a good bet I’ll be spending a chunk of “Black Friday” down in the quiet confines of my train room listening to Christmas music as I labor.

I mentioned in my previous post that I decided to construct an “O” gauge model train layout. If you are considering modeling this gauge, there is a significant division within the “O” gauge community that you need to be aware of. It has to do with the words “gauge” and “scale”.  “Gauge” is defined as the distance between the rails and “scale” is defined as the proportioned size a model has to the full-sized object (for “O” scale it’s 1/4” = 1 foot).  These terms, however, also represent two different branches of approximately the same size model train.

Buildings, model figures and scenery are interchangeable between “O scale” and “O gauge.” “O scale” and “O gauge” engines and railcars, however, are not interchangeable, even though the models may look a like. O “gauge” track has three rails and is powered by alternating current (AC). O “scale” trains run on two-rail track powered by direct current (DC).

I chose to purchase “O” gauge trains. In the past these trains had a toy-like quality about them and tended to be slightly smaller than their “O” scale cousins. Recently, there has been a lot more realism added to “O” gauge trains and accessories.  The more popular manufacturers are Lionel and Mike’s Train House (MTH). IMG_0051









I spent a considerable amount of time over the last two years creating a track plan for my layout. As I mentioned in my last post there were two things I wanted to incorporate into the design; to be able to run trains continuously for visitors and operate them like a real railroad. I have had to modify the track plan a number of times to make it appear more like a real railroad.

Last winter, my goal was to finish all the bench work sections and cover them with plywood. Bench work is the foundation that supports the weight of trains, scenery and both the upper and lower levels of my track. I constructed my bench work out of 1”x3” pine boards and roof sheathing (plywood a little thicker than 1/2″). My bench work is supported by 2”x3” legs. Many model railroad experts would say I skimped too much on my materials. They would recommend 1”x4” framing ¾” thick plywood and 2”x4” legs, which is good advice. Since I am keeping the depth of my layout to 3 feet and the length of the sections to 4 or 5 feet I am confident I will be okay with the choice I made.

IMG_0076When all the bench work was finally complete and the sections bolted together, I had a 30 by 13 foot around-the-room layout shaped like the capital letter “C.” Earlier this spring I finished laying most of the track on the lower level.  I decided to bypass the rail yard area due to the cost of the track and switches. I am saving that area for next winter’s project.  In case you didn’t know, a rail yard is a collection and redistribution point of freight and passenger cars.  It is the place where inbound trains are broken apart after their arrival and outbound trains are assembled prior to their departure.

This winter I am adding the second level of track to my layout, elevated approximately 8” higher than lower level.  A two-level track plan presents engineering and design challenges but it permits me to run more trains, allows the trains to travel greater distances and lets me add more towns and industries for my trains to service.

So, my work this weekend involves constructing a long gradual incline connecting the two levels of track. Since I plan to run trains consisting of 8-10 railcars plus a caboose, I can’t make the grade too steep. If it does prove to be too steep, I can always run an extra engine behind the train to push it up the grade like a real railroad. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Stop back in a couple of weeks to check on my progress.

Table Scraps – “you’re welcome”

IMG_0507I am looking at words or phrases that we often glibly use in conversation.  For my second table scrap I chose the words, “You’re welcome.”  The Thanksgiving holiday is almost upon us and I am certain I will hear these words used as food is being passed around the table.

”You’re welcome” is probably one of the least thought about expressions in my vocabulary. Not that many years ago it was a universal and automatic response to the words, “thank you.” I  was taught when someone thanked you, you acknowledged their gratitude.  Today we try to be more creative with our reply, check out these more modern expressions suggested by “you got it,” “don’t mention it,” “my pleasure” or “it was nothing.”

What are we really saying when we blurt out, “you’re welcome?” Consider the last time you helped someone out of a difficult or stressful situation that perhaps you yourself were involved in. When you said, “you’re welcome,” did you really mean it? Which choice below best describes how you felt?

Choice A:  I didn’t mean it but I felt like I had to say something to the jerk! Now I can get on with my life.

Choice B:  I was okay saying it, but you better believe that person is going to owe me a favor. I will remind them the next time I need something.

Choice C:  I did actually mean it. It felt good to do something nice for someone and then being able to walk away.

Choice D:  I really meant it. I thought about how grateful I was the last time someone did something to help me out. I also told them if they ever needed my help again to let me know.

Choice A:  I can actually say there are days when I would have picked this one.  Like the time I couldn’t get any price concessions from the satellite TV salesperson after tense phone negotiations. There was also the time a person pulled their car out in front of mine and proceeded to give me a “thank you wave.” All I was thinking about doing was roaring up close to their bumper to “express my appreciation.” I think we can agree there is no value in spending any more time on this choice.

Choice B:  Believe it or not there is a lot of support for this choice out there. I found an article by Adam Grant on the Huffington Post website titled, “Why You Shouldn’t Say, ‘You’re Welcome.’” In the article the author grapples with how to remain polite when someone thanks him. Apparently he is uncomfortable saying the words, “you’re welcome” out loud. He is, however, in favor of making sure the person he helped out knows how much they burdened him. From the article it appears he is searching for the best way to extract a favor from someone he just helped out. Grant cites the book, Influence, by Robert Cialdini, in which Cialdini declares, saying “you’re welcome” equates to a “missed opportunity.” You, being the beneficiary of the words, “thank you,” are in a position of power. Cialdini suggests using the opportunity to trade favors and make the person feel obligated to pay the favor back. Grant, uncomfortable with such a direct approach, settles on a “pay it forward” type response suggested by Adam Rifkins.  He says “I helped you, I know you’d do the same for someone else.” Rifkins then later calls in the favor, not for himself, but directs the favor at someone else. Is that supposed to make me feel good somehow?

Choice C:  I would say this is a situational approach to saying “you’re welcome,” and a space I feel very comfortable operating in. I like doing something nice for others once in a while with no strings attached because it makes me feel good about myself. Saying, “you’re welcome,” then, signifies a clean break from the situation and makes it possible to dodge any further responsibility. I can’t think of anything negative to say about this approach other than I might miss an opportunity to help the person further or at a deeper level.

Choice D:  This is more of a relational approach. I don’t know about you but this choice IMG_0110 makes me squirm a little. I am uncomfortable putting myself on the hook for future favors if I don’t really know the person. In a relationship situation, meeting the immediate need is a no-brainer. But relationships don’t stop there.  Choice “D” asks, is there a greater need that can be met beyond the obvious?  Consider the conversation between Jesus and the Samarian woman. She is concerned about her daily practice of having to draw water from a well.  Jesus is concerned about her greater need, her spiritual well being.

“Sir” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where will you get this living water?”…Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks from this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink the water I give them will never thirst.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty.” John 4:11-15

The next time you say, ”You’re welcome” remember yours can be a message of hope. Your words can also convey love, hospitality, comfort or ease someone’s burden.   It is a moment when grace and humility can shine.