What’s to be done with the rough material?

Gravel is very useful. During our recent driveway paving project some of the old gravel needed to be removed to make way for a different grade of gravel that would form a more compact base for the asphalt. The workers were going to haul the old gravel away unless we had a use for it.

Do away with perfectly good gravel? I could think of all sorts of uses for it!

There is a gravel perimeter — a sidewalk — on three sides of our house, gravel-filled stairs to a lower yard, gravel pathways through garden beds, not to mention a 30′ x 40′ gravel dog yard. Their surfaces are always in need of replenishing. Combined with sand, cement and water, the gravel could also be made into concrete for a new patio, or a planter, a crude garden bench, or…. My goodness, of course, we can find a use for that gravel!

The pieces rattle from the bobcat’s bucket and soon I’m looking at the growing pile of gravel with new respect.

For now, it’s just an unsightly pile of pebbles, but with a little imagination and a lot of work it has the potential to be turned into something useful, maybe even something beautiful.

Bear with me now… this analogy might require a small leap!

Words are a lot like pieces of gravel. We use them every day, taking them for granted as we speak and read and write our way through a lifetime of ordinary conversation. We often let them spill out without any real thought or purpose — yes, like bits of gravel that we leave as discarded piles all around us. And yet they have the potential to be so much more. That’s where writers enter the picture.

Being a writer doesn’t mean only stringing words together. By using our knowledge and imaginations we can also cement everyday words into unique sentences to uplift and support, to pray and praise, to educate and entertain. Being a writer isn’t just a means of self expression or storytelling. It’s a commitment to participate in a special form of communication mixed with creation. And creation takes work. Just ask God about that! But the results can be something of great worth. God knows something about that, too.


“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”

[Proverbs 25:11]


“Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

[Proverbs 16:24]

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

[Colossians 4:6]
 ~  ~  ~


8 thoughts on “What’s to be done with the rough material?

  1. youngmin park says:

    Thank you, Ms. Careen! for giving me good words. You stimulate our spirit to become a writer letting us know what is a writer;s soul and what we have to do.

  2. christicorbett says:

    I’m loving the way you’re able to turn a yard project into so many analogies about writing 🙂

    Christi Corbett

  3. I think your analogy is perfect! Have reacently been studying the power of our words in God’s word. Your words were “fitly spoken”. 🙂

  4. Sue Harrison says:

    I love how you glean such strong wisdom out of everyday things, Carol! Thank you!

  5. torimcrae says:

    I love the scriptures you shared on words. I’ve known for many, many years the power of words — power to heal or destroy, to build up or tear down/ I was convicted a long time ago to put aside my juvenile, childish speech and pursue speech more fitting to a child of God. I’m not always successful, but I try. Much like writing. It doesn ‘t always come out the right way the first time around but I keep trying.
    Tori McRae

  6. joylene says:

    I think this is one more reason why I’ve always thought “for granted” should be one word: forgranted. Like “forever, everyone, everything, and nothing.”

    I take way too many things for granted. It’s a daily battle trying to stop myself. But I don’t mind. I think it’s worth it.

    Thanks, CArol.

  7. Laura Best says:

    I totally agree that writers find uniques ways of putting sentences together. There is nothing more pleasing to me than finding some really great lines in books and seeing how others view the world. Thank goodness for our uniqueness. 🙂

  8. Carol says:

    Thanks to each of you for your comments. I always appreciate the thoughts you share in response.

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