The book connection

In our country school miles from the nearest book store, each class received a monthly Scholastic Book Services list of age-appropriate books. I relished reading each book’s tantalizing, if brief, description and often ordered a book or two with my allowance.

The older students received a different list of books, so we always had plenty of wish lists to consider. One day my year-older brother gave me a couple of quarters to order a book from my sheet that his class sheet had not included. I had not selected any books that time, so I tucked his order in my pocket and headed for the school bus.
By the time we arrived at school, I could not find his quarters. Embarrassed with my lack of diligence in carrying his quarters to school, I told him my problem. He did not say a thing. He did not even raise his eyebrows. He just handed me another two quarters and I ordered the book for him.

Several years ago I saw that same quiet grace in action in the days after my father died. As the oldest, he quietly settled differences of opinions about how things should be done. And then he planned one more thing: a memorial service, not as part of the funeral, but a gathering of family and friends who wanted to just sit and visit after the funeral and funeral dinner. He arranged for a piano player to play one verse of the old hymns we all had known as children and with a smile insisted we sing only “one verse. Just one verse.”

Between hymns he invited comments on Dad or growing up together as siblings, cousins and friends. None of us professed to have the perfect father. We knew his flaws, but we also remembered that when it came to family game night, Dad pulled out the Monopoly board or set up the ping pong net. Many Sunday mornings we woke up to Mom quickly assemblying a picnic lunch at Dad’s behest.

The cousins remembered working the farm together. We remembered the good times and put the perspective of time onto the other times.

And now my big brother has done it again. With his early retirement and a part-time contracting job that left his evenings unencumbered, Mel used his spare time to write down eight different lessons he really wanted to share with his grandchildren – lessons that have grown into a Bible Study type of book for others to use.
On the bookseller’s website at my brother described his writing process and gave a brief description of the book.

Several years ago while teaching the adult Sunday School class at our church, my father- and mother-in-law suggested I should write a book. The topic we were covering on that particular day was about how to conduct ourselves at work. That thought lingered in the back of my mind for a couple years.

I decided it was time to give it a try. So with those writing skills taught in seventh and eighth grade in a small country school, I put together an outline based on seven key points from Psalm 37. That outline sat on my desk for another three years. Then in February of 2012 I had three weeks of free time to put the outline to words. When it was done it became the “Eight Heavenly Focused Work Habits.”

“You just need to reach down within yourself and pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Over 30-plus years of adult education, whether a one-day seminar or several weeks of training, have taught me the answer to self-improvement is you. You make the adjustment that is needed, improve your weaknesses, and grow your strengths. However, as believers, we have a truth that goes way beyond man’s understanding. All we need to do is follow the wisdom of Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path.” In all our ways, work, friends, home, church, recreation, etc., no matter what we are doing, we need to let the Lord control our ways. Living by those words is a lifelong commitment that is never taught in typical adult education.”

“This book takes eight of the Godly actions discussed in Psalm 37 and applies them to everyday life situations. Each chapter discusses one of the actions with supporting verses and illustrations from my personal experiences. My prayer is that people will better understand some of our Heavenly Father’s desires for daily walk as we serve Him.”
That is my brother, a man described as “Mel Hibbard has an bachelor’s degree in engineering technology and has worked in both engineering and operations for 35 years. He lives in Canisteo, New York, with his wife and is actively involved with his church, where he teaches Sunday school and serves as a deacon.”

I bought a copy of “Eight Heavenly Focused Work Habits” online at – and because I used my credit card, I did not lose any quarters.