“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” – Bryant H. McGill
Behaviorists say people who listen and express an interest in the other person instead of talking about themselves are usually perceived as more likable.
They also say simply smiling more has the same effect, whether you are a nice person or not. Don’t most of us think we are nice people? Why aren’t we all smiling? I’ve heard smiling makes fewer wrinkles than frowning so there’s that!
It’s also a great show of respect to allow people to enjoy their accomplishments without unsolicited advice on how they could do things the way you would do them. That is a form of condescension that can dull their joy. Why?
In a world full of fierce competition, encouragement is highly underrated! This people thing is hard! I know I have to tame the urge to insert my opinion far more than I should, but it’s worth the effort to keep still to see someone else shine. There’s a reason the Bible tells us to be encouragers to each other.
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Let’s be sincere encouragers, and if you can’t, then do what Grandma said and don’t say anything at all. We can do this.
Living on the farm where there weren’t any other kids my age to play with, I usually found things to do outside by myself. This was when I learned how much I love animals. I had dogs, cats, rabbits, fish, a tiny turtle from Woolworths, a salamander named Sally, baby raccoons, and rescued baby birds. I even hatched a baby bird in an Easter basket on top of the warm television on Easter Sunday. I also had a mean pet rooster. He disappeared around the time when we got invited over to the neighbors for a fried chicken dinner.
I tried to dig to China. I built tents on the clothesline and playhouse floorplans out of rocks. I tried to get lost in the cornfield, lay in the tall grass in the pasture, watched the clouds, and did “scientific experiments” that probably weren’t such a good idea. Still, God had me covered and kept me safe. I watched the baby pigs and once tried to save one that was being crushed by its mother. I had a rock collection under my bed that was mainly pretty gravel.
I learned to love reading and often searched the encyclopedia for fun topics. I created art projects that I came up with myself, sometimes getting ideas from Highlights Magazine. I enjoyed looking through the JC Penney, Sears, and Montgomery Ward “Wish Books”, circling my choices for Santa. I made Christmas trees out of magazines with the pages folded over. I climbed the neighbor’s apple tree. Sometimes I just sat outside and observed my surroundings. During one of these times of quiet contemplation at around age 10, I became acutely aware of God’s presence in my life and that I had a soul. Sometimes I was afraid.
My freedom as a child allowed me to become responsible for my entertainment and grow in self-sufficiency, perhaps too much. I lacked social skills and was known by many as spoiled with a lack of self-control while simultaneously withdrawing into myself for safety. While one person might scold me for my rowdy behavior, another might try to draw me out and tell me to play with the others. It was confusing to me.
Later, I learned that a trusting dependence on someone who gently guides and protects us in our youth opens the door to trusting a loving God to direct our adult paths. Some of us have to go through a living hell before we can admit and submit. We must acknowledge that our self-sufficiency is a farce and submit to the sovereignty of God over our lives. Therein lies the difference between a sad life full of self-love or hate, and a fruitful life teeming with the love of God.
Do not put your trust in princes—in man, in whom there is no salvation. His breath departs, he returns to his dust. In that very day, his plans perish. Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in Adonai his God,Psalm 146:3-5 TLV
Something I noticed about my mom in her last years battling Alzheimer’s and other health problems, was her ability to remember things that happened long ago while forgetting the simple things in the present. It seemed so odd. But when you think about it, don’t we tend to ingrain those experiences and words that affect our lives the most deeply?
I believe those old memories are held in our memory banks, only coming out when they are jogged and allowed by our minds. They can be gifts to treasure, or burdens locked away until they are given to the Lord for safekeeping.
I never thought I’d hear myself say it…in her fragile state, Mom exhibited this truth.
I struggled for quite some time during the first year of “unofficial retirement”.
Many didn’t consider my job important, but it was one where I was always busy, with little time for breaks, if we got one, and usually only a 20-minute lunch. Productivity was a necessity to meet immediate and long-term schedules and goals. Even though it only took me six minutes to drive to work, I purposely woke up at 4 AM to spend time with the Lord before my work started at 6:15. After 15 years of this work pace, it took some getting used to a slower, quieter lifestyle where some days I don’t seem to get very much accomplished. But the slowing down has allowed for more observation, contemplation, reading, study, and fellowship with the Lord AND I can sleep in until 6 AM now!
Sometimes it requires a new mindset to make changes, but the blessings of slowing down and making time in your day are immense. God help us.
We hear that old adage but do we understand what it means?
Rudeness, road rage, shopping cart rage, self-righteousness, impatience, and lack of empathy and consideration all contribute to a cloud of discontentment and sorrow. There is so much anger and despair in the world, and it feeds on itself in a miserable cycle until finally, it ends, too late to correct the damage.
Keeping a cool head, giving the benefit of the doubt, slowing down, carefully choosing our words, and avoiding the temptation to retaliate are sorely lacking. I know I’ve been guilty, too, because sometimes it all seems too much to take, and I forget to pause and pull away to the quiet place where God’s Word shines through to instruct and comfort.
Words are important. Actions are important. Facts are important. Feelings are important, even if they are not factual because by their false narrative, they give us insight into the heart of another. Love is important.
Take the high road…. the road less traveled… and make the world a better place, if only in your little corner.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, our kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever.
Others have gained strength from how they were raised. Still others, like Job’s wife, grow into their strength. Three faltering steps forward, two steps back, one forward, one back on wobbly legs that display their weakness for all to see. She caved in the wifely support department when he needed her the most. The Bible doesn’t say she repented but she was still by his side suffering along with him. Sometimes in retrospect, we Christians can see the winding path we took as we learned how to be strong in Jesus Christ and how He supported us every step of the way.
It is said that broken bones heal stronger than they were before. I believe the same is true of broken people who place their lives in the care of the Lord and believe in Him to heal their weakness. So strong.
For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27
Hi there! I am popping in with a heart of thanksgiving.
Nothing special happened, I just am grateful for all God has done for me, us, this last year. It’s been so, so difficult but God is so very good. He has protected our hearts and brought blessings beyond our dreams through the friendships made here and through the forced rest placed upon us by the Covid panic. It has allowed us to read, pray, think about priorities, and be ever so vigilant to watch for His direction. We’ve seen the power of fervent prayer. There are so many hurting and healing families torn apart by this culture we live in, mental illness, and bodies wearing out, the passing of family and friends, and the stress of continuous chaos taking its toll. And yet, the faithful plod on with hope and peace in their hearts. We’ve seen bodies healed, relationships on the mend and restored, and a peace and calm in the face of uncertainty that could determine life or death. We’ve heard stories of redemption. These are true miracles. There is so much more to life than what we see and hear and do. My prayers are simple but He is listening and hears each one, of that, I am sure. I guess my message today is don’t ever give up. Don’t lose hope, even when an answer isn’t forthcoming. Keep praying, and in those times when the answer will not be seen until after we’ve taken our last breath, God will sustain us. He is.
Firstly, if I haven’t heard from someone in a while, I message them. Facebook has an algorithm that makes it so I can see the posts of only a small portion of the people on my friend list. If you don’t see them any more, it is possible they aren’t seeing your posts either.
Sometimes people are just curious. They want to know about your life but don’t really want to nurture a friendship online or otherwise. I get that. But I don’t collect friends. Why gather a slew of people on your friends list if you don’t participate? That just seems a little one-sided and well, strange.
If I ask someone to connect on Facebook it’s because I have some other connection to them. Occasionally, I will friend a stranger if they have requested and we have mutual friends, but I first verify the relationship to weed out any posers and fake accounts.
At one point, someone I had been online friends with for several years was posting some things that bothered me.They just didn’t sit right, and I started to pull away. I was hesitant to tell her why when she asked because she was a highly educated professional, and she was in grief, as was I. I didn’t want to deal with it then, nor did I want to hurt her. At her insistence, I reluctantly and I thought gently, told her what was bothering me. It was a disaster. She put me in my lowly place, and that was that.There were no opportunities for further discussion, apologies, or closure.
Sometimes people ghost because it’s the right thing to do when their priorities have changed, but they don’t want to tell you because they think it might upset you. Instead of being kind, it hurts with uncertainty.
When the ONLY time you hear from a person is when they have something negative to say or disagree with you, they might get ghosted.
If you interact with a friend’s posts, but they don’t respond in kind, or at least wish you a happy birthday or congrats on milestones, they might get ghosted.
If you know they are close to people who have hurt you and talked about you behind your back, yup, they might get ghosted.
If you are vicious, racist, or chronically rude, you might get ghosted. Most of us have bad days, but those are the times we learn to take a break from social media so we don’t bring others down. There is absolutely no good reason to humiliate or disrespect a friend or family member on social media. If you allow your friends to verbally attack, threaten, disrespect, and shout at another friend without stepping in to stop it, you will get ghosted.
Political and religious issues won’t get you ghosted unless you start making them personal with name-calling and other forms of disrespect. If you’re a professed Christian who chronically takes the Lord’s name in vain and disrespects Him without care or remorse on social media, you might get ghosted. If I speak the truth in love and you continue, I will say a quick prayer for you, then you will get ghosted. It’s that simple. It makes my stomach turn.
We teach people how to treat us. Never has that been more evident to me than in the last few years. So often, when we don’t set boundaries in real-time and online, we get run over and manipulated, mentally and emotionally. Then when we finally do set boundaries, we may be verbally attacked, ignored, unfriended, or even blocked completely.
I know some decisive, strong souls who advise against social media participation at all, but the fact is, social media is here to stay. Even with all its complexities and potential to do harm, it serves a purpose. Social media primarily provides a venue for good interaction and communication with our tribe: the people who have love and care for us and with whom we have interests in common.
Our job is to wisely use it and learn to set boundaries in love. It’s not easy at all.
Have you ever been met with an inconsistency that defied explanation?
My husband and I once bought a case of packaged drinks that claimed to contain 100% fruit juice. But when we opened the package, the individual cans said they had “Natural Flavoring”. We were intrigued!
So my husband called the 1-800 customer service number on the can to inquire about the natural flavorings. After all, doesn’t it make sense that if the flavoring is not real juice, then it is not natural? Why did they differentiate between the two on the inside and outside packages?
The customer service rep put him on hold. He was on hold for a long time. When she returned, she offered to send him a coupon for a free product.
In life, we don’t always get answers to our questions. Instead, we get a benefit to make us quietly leave or a cold shoulder that glosses over the infraction of questioning appearances and procedures. It can be frustrating, especially regarding important matters that affect our livelihood, health, home, family, lifestyle, and religious beliefs and traditions that we hold dear.
At the time, we thought we were pretty clever, but it’s a little scary how often we are willing to accept the status quo without answers to our questions.
We need to insist on no less, or more, than the truth.
“Test all things; hold fast to that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
I’ve discovered there are two types of people at the dog park:
The ones who are horrified that you don’t do something about your dog’s disgusting behavior, and the ones who say, “Don’t worry. They’re dogs, and that’s what dogs do.”
Finding the middle ground with wisdom is my goal.
Presently, our dog Dandy has decided he likes the taste of urine. He follows his brother so closely he almost gets a wet head, then he licks the spot and his brother. I noticed that afterward, his senses seemed overloaded as his lips twitched, kind of like Hannibal Lecter thinking of his next meal with a side of fava beans and Chianti.
It was at the dog park the other day when another dog peed on the concrete, and Dandy started licking it and grossed everyone out that I hoped this was a temporary adolescent phase that would go away. So embarrassing, but you know what? We all are an embarrassment at certain points in our lives. Usually, our younger years find us with more pride at the chagrin we’ve caused others than ourselves. It’s all part of growing up and finding our way.
The wise parent knows those years are fleeting, and unless it involves a serious infraction, it’s relatively harmless. Eventually, maturity sets in, and a different kind of pride evolves in knowing everybody made it through. There is no middle ground for humans to enjoy their immaturity.
There is a quote attributed to John Wayne, “Life is hard. It’s harder if you’re stupid”.
All I can say is, yes, it is, but it doesn’t have to last forever if we don’t want it. A collection of 66 books called The Holy Bible gives us all the instructions and encouragement we need to grow and mature in life, spiritually, mentally, physically, and in our relationships. People don’t have to suffer in their foolishness if they are humbled, repentant, and willing to learn a better way from Jesus Christ.
It’s highly recommended.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2