Big Decisions

When women are describing their dream mate, what is it they say – ???  Tall, dark, handsome, and non-communicative – right???  The sad truth is, most women don’t think much about how well a man can communicate, either verbally or non-verbally.  We find out after we marry just how important that quality is!  Frankly, in my humble opinion…  communication IS everything!

There’s a choice I had to make in college that I think may have altered the course of my life.  No, it’s true.  I had to choose between debate and interpersonal communication.  Well, no way was I going to get up in front of a bunch of talented speakers and try my hand at debate as a freshman!  It was a no-brainer…  interpersonal communication, here I come!  I don’t think I did myself a favor by going that way.  I should have thrown my shoulders back and charged ahead.  Now, I wish I would have; however, it does absolutely no good to second guess a decision that I made so long ago.

When one introvert meets and marries another introvert…  communication can be a bit sketchy for a while.  I’ve coined a phrase and use it often:

I am not a mind reader.  I’ve never been a mind reader.  I’ll never BE a mind reader.  Use your words so I will know what is going on.

Every decision as a couple needs to be discussed — not just the big ones.  It’s a matter of respect for one another.  With every year that passes, communication gets easier – you find your own way, and every couple communicates differently.  As long as it works – hey – that’s what matters!

Dear God, we know that marriage can be tricky sometimes because there are two people to consider.  Two sets of values, emotions, and baggage carried around from the past.  Help us to be considerate of one another and respectful in our decision-making.  Help us to make all moves together as a unit instead of as an individual.  You have declared that married couples are ONE.  Remind us, as only You can, that what You have joined together, no one can tear apart.  Thank You for being so good to us.  We love you, Lord.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sometimes it helps to think about a couple that you really admire – and try to mirror some of their actions in your own marriage.  I loved being around my parents.  Those two could just give one another a look and they’d know and understand each other.  I want that in my marriage – and I think that’s the goal of most couples.  It’s those unspoken moments that we cherish the most, I think.  The smiles, grins, silly faces…  I love to remember all that!

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

I’ll bet I could have been a great in debate class…  I hold my own fairly well on facebook!  Ha!  Does that count??? 

Today is Superbowl Sunday, of course.  I have one thought to share about it. 

One more example of a big decision…  to get excited about Jesus, or get excited about football.  Is there room for both?  Well, yes, of course there’s room for both in our lives.  I’m still angered by the behavior of the players, so will not be watching the Superbowl this year.  I’d rather get excited about Jesus.  He never lets me down!  🙂

 

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Remember the old saying, “Little pitchers have big ears?”  It’s a signal to adults that the kids are listening to you – and they don’t have a fully developed filter yet – so everything they hear will at some point be repeated.  Having kids is like having a parrot.  But you know, that got me to thinking about how it’d be nice if we all paid as close attention to what God was saying to us.  If only we listened and really had ears to hear!

The name of Jesus is POWER…  and His Word is alive in the hearts of His children.

It seems like we listen to nearly anything before we listen to the Lord and His teaching.  I know one lady who will sit and watch re-runs of The Beverly Hillbillies faster than nearly anything – and that show’s been off the air for how many years?  We all know how it ends…  it’s not really a big surprise after all this time, is it?  We all know that Jethro won’t get the girl.

Maybe it’s just me – but every time I read a portion of Scripture, the Lord shows me something I had not noticed before.  I hear some folks say they’re bored with Bible study and prayer.  I can’t figure that out – because I’m excited that I’ve learned something new – not because it makes me smarter than anyone else, but because it’s one more thing that can bring me closer to my Savior.  To me, that’s time well spent.  He died for me – I want to live for Him.  Every new thing I learn increases my faith in God and His faithfulness and goodness to me.

I love Lucinda’s new poem – I think you’ll like it too.

Good guidance you will find when you listen to HIS voice.  It’s easier to hear His voice if you stay in His Word and in prayer.  Use your lips to speak and your ears to hear His word – (and some of us will use our fingers to type His blog).

If you are blessed by these words, I hope you will share the blog link with a friend.  It’s my joy to encourage and uplift through God’s Word and His Spirit.  Have a beautiful day and keep listening – with intent!  🙂

 

JAMES 1:19 ON 1/19

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My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  – James 1:19

I always read the book of James with a great deal of introspection.  Of all the books in the New Testament (or the Old Testament, for that matter), this is the book where it seems I fall short in my Christian walk.  I do pray that my brothers and sisters in Christ will be quick to forgive my shortcomings.

It’s not that we should not speak – or speak up – or speak out when necessary.  We just need to listen before doing any speaking at all.  I’m reminded of a famous quote:

Speak only if you can improve upon the silence.  – Gandhi

It’s human nature to want to speak up or speak out.  I’m living proof…  I write a daily blog!  It’s the equivalent of speaking up and speaking out.  I hope and pray that to those in my real life I come across much differently.  I really do purposefully listen when I’m spoken to.  I try to hear what’s being said before responding – and reply with thought and after asking God to give me the right words to say.  His Holy Spirit gives me wisdom to respond in the right way, with a proper temperament.

We need to remember that a quick temper is never an asset in character, but a liability.   I’d rather have a quick wit than a hair-trigger temper, wouldn’t you?  Isn’t it better to laugh than to get your knickers in a knot?  I think so.  A tendency toward laughter rather than anger is not only what God wants for us, but it will keep us healthier and happier.

I want to be quick to listen and slow to speak – slow to react and with God’s help I won’t over-react.  The book of James is a challenge for most of us, I think.  Love TRUMPS judgment and laughter TRUMPS anger.  Listening TRUMPS speaking and prayer TRUMPS worry.taking-time-for-peace

We have so much to learn, and we’ll never learn it all, but with God’s help, we will get better every day.  The Message says we should lead with our ears and follow up with our tongue.  It takes discipline, but with practice we can hear – really hear – and let it sink in before offering a response to what we’ve heard.  If for no other reason, we should do it because we’re told to – but remember, once those words come out of your mouth, you can’t just reel ’em back in, ya know.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (15)Remember when you were a kid and your mom or dad would say, “This world has gotten so out of control, we are surely in the last days!” – ???  I heard that a lot as a kid and recall thinking, “You’ve said that for years…  Christ has not returned yet.”

Well, now I’m the adult and I’m saying, “This world has gotten so out of control, we are surely in the last days!”  LOL!  I imagine some reading this are saying, “You’ve said that for years…  Christ has not returned yet.”

As I keep my eyes on the eastern skies, I catch a glimpse of steeples…  pointing toward heaven, reminding all who take time to look that God still cares about us from His throne in Heaven.  He is there, but He’s also here amongst us in the form of His precious Holy Spirit.

Once in a while we just need to be reminded that the steeples are not to be worshipped, but they point towards Heaven, where God is, and His Son Jesus sits at His right hand.  When God gives the word, Jesus will return and this time He won’t come as an innocent little baby, but as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

You know I love steeples and you know why.  I’ve written several poems in which they’ve spoken.  Lucinda Berry Hill has written about them.  For those of us keeping our lamps trimmed and our eyes open, they remind us to keep looking up!

We see Steeples in all seasons…  Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.  I love them all…  the steeples for all seasons.  ❤GOD SEES EVERY HEART

CHASING STEEPLESSTEEPLE IN THE TREESPRAYER ABOUT STEEPLESA FERVENT PRAYERI AMSUMMER SONSHINE FROM THE STEEPLEA STEEPLE IN THE WATERSTEEPLES IN THE SPRINGPRAYER ABOUT FREEDOMPRAYER ABOUT SALVATIONPRAYER TO THE GREAT I AMTWO STEEPLESCAPTURED BY A STEEPLEWe love Jacob, Deanna’s cat.  Obviously, he’s a very wise and observant feline! GIVE GOD THE MESSAGE

Here are a few photos we have not used with poetry – – – yet.  😉

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No matter what the season, Steeples…  some with crosses, some plain – stand tall and straight.  It may seem strange that a steeple could “speak”.  Well, they don’t – but God’s still small voice can definitely speak as I’m looking at a steeple – and thinking.  It results in a poem usually, but sometimes it’s a Bible verse or other type of writing.  HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE STEEPLEHAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY FROM THE STEEPLEHAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY FROM THE STEEPLEHAPPY EASTER FROM THE STEEPLEHAPPY MOTHER'S DAY FROM THE STEEPLE(6) HAPPY FATHER'S DAY FROM THE STEEPLEP&P MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE STEEPLEThere’s also a steeple poem about Independence Day & Thanksgiving.  I can’t find them at the moment.  I have an chronic condition that affects my ability to stay organized.  😀

The next time you see a steeple, say a prayer and be still.  You may be surprised at what happens!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)POSITIVE PLAN #3 for me is to listen carefully to others before I speak.  It’s the highest form of respect to hear others – not just sort of listen and immediately begin to speak.  We all want to be heard, especially by friends and family.  Would I be writing a blog if I didn’t want to be heard?  Well…  probably not.

To speak and to speak well are two things.  A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.  – Ben Jonson

Miscommunications can be avoided and hurt feelings are not as likely to be an issue if the people interacting are actually hearing one another before they speak.  I want to show more respect for my family and friends this year.  This is also helpful advice for those in the workplace.  We have relationships with employers, co-workers, vendors and the all important clients and patrons.  If we have good relationships with one another, regardless of the circumstance, it has a direct impact on the bottom line.

LISTEN BEFORE YOU SPEAKMost of us have a tendency to think of what we want to say while someone is trying to talk to us.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing to do that, but if you can focus more on listening to their contribution to the conversation and less on how you are going to respond, it would be a better idea.

Here’s a reason to listen intently…  you may actually LEARN something!  Yeah – it’s true.  What a concept!

I’m not suggesting that we ignore what’s being said to us on purpose.  I think it’s human nature to think ahead about what we’re going to say in response.  We don’t want to say anything that will sound stupid, so we scrutinize our response to ourselves to make sure it sounds reasonable and logical.

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.  – Doug Larson

Listening on purpose doesn’t happen naturally, rather it’s a learned behavior.  Fortunately, with God’s help we can re-train our automatic method of communicating and make it more effective.  Great bosses are good listeners and a pleasure to work with and for because those employees feel they are heard and understood; more to the point, employees believe the boss takes a genuine interest in what interests them.  It’s an all around good relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORDToday I want to know what your favorite Christmas Carol is…  each of you would give me a different answer with a different reason.  Since we can’t listen to everyone’s favorite Carol – we’ll listen to mine, which happens to be OH HOLY NIGHT.  Why do I like it best?  Well, I love the music – but it’s more than that – it tells the story of the Nativity in a poetic manner.  It just floats along with that consistent bass line until it gets to FALL ON YOUR KNEES – in that commanding fortissimo and then calms down just before the end again as if to say – this Child is not just any Child…  He is worthy of your attention.

Prepare your heart for the Christ Child today…  listen to this great Carol and really hear the words and the music – maybe for the first time.  🙂

https://youtu.be/4Zh-yR0pbmU

Once you’ve let it sink in, I want you to take your journal (or a piece of paper) and write a letter to God.  Don’t look around to see who’s watching – it’s none of their business what you’re doing.  Just do it.  Let God know what’s on your mind and what’s in your heart.  Yes, I know He already knows – but that’s not the point.  He wants you to tell Him all about it.

Now, I want you to listen to your favorite Christmas Carol (in case it is not Oh Holy Night) and keep writing to God.  There’s an old song in the Pentecostal church called JESUS ON THE MAIN LINE – it says Jesus on the Main line – tell Him what you want.  He’s your very best friend – tell Him what you want.

So do that right now.  Write a prayer to your Father, in Jesus’ Name.  🙂

 

OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

TL OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go.  – Unknown

I had a unique opportunity to interview our favorite Christian poet, Lucinda Berry Hill about a very painful time in her life.  This post is a lesson for us because we never know the struggles that others have faced and overcome.  We don’t know why these circumstances have to be, but we most definitely know that God can and will work in our lives to help us through.  I appreciate Lucinda being so candid and opening up about this part of her life.  It’s our hope that someone will be helped or at least be assured that they are not traveling this road alone.

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SURVIVOR FIRE

Whether you think you CAN or think you CAN’T – you’re probably RIGHT!  – Unknown

ME TOO

Q: When did you first realize your situation was not good?

A:  Well, of course he didn’t start hitting me until he had me far away from family and friends.  I was barely 18 when we started seeing each other.  I was too naïve to even notice the emotional and mental abuse.

Q:  Did he ever apologize after he hit you?

A:  Oh my gosh, no!

Q:  Did you notice any particular triggers that would set him off?

A:  My “long face”.  One time we were cleaning a machine shop.  I was sweeping the floor and I wasn’t smiling while doing it, so he put my arm in a vice grip attached to a work table.

Q:  Do you believe you ended up with Stockholm’s Syndrome?

A:  Absolutely!

Q:  Could you see the hand of God working in your life along the way at that time?

A:  Only in the fact that he didn’t kill me like he threatened so many times.  He used to tell me he’d chop me up and put me in the river.  No body…  no crime.

Q:  You were away from family and friends.  Were you allowed to make phone calls or write letters to them?

A:  Yes.  He never actually told me I couldn’t.

Q:  Can you pinpoint anything that helped you through this time?

A:  Nope.  I’d say my innocence, maybe.

Q:  In the ten years of domestic violence, did you ever leave and then come back?

A:  Yup!  Twice.  But I was trapped.  When I left, I went to my mom’s.

Q:  Did he ever come to your mom’s house to take you back?

A:  Sort of.  One time he was in the area stalking me.  He left a present in my car while I was working.  I guess that was his way of letting me know he was still in charge.  The second time he came, I’m not sure what his intentions were, but I wasn’t there.

Q:  Did your mom say anything to you that made you rethink the situation?

A:  Nope.  My mom didn’t believe me when I finally told her.  We were in counseling after the fact, and she told them she thought I was the crazy one.  That’s how charming abusers can be.  No one would ever know.

Q:  What finally made you decide to get away?

A:  When I started envisioning me killing myself or him.

Q:  Would more support from friends and family have made much of a difference?

A:  Probably not much because he had me under his control.

Q:  Describe the day you escaped from him.

A:  I don’t remember the first time.  Isn’t that odd?  The second one, he was literally holding me hostage!  His sister came to pick me up while he was gone and met my step-dad halfway where she dropped me off.

Q:  At that point you were finally free from him once and for all?

A:  Yup!  Because he ended up in jail!  I’m not sure what I would have done if that had not happened.

Q:  What would you say to a woman in similar circumstances?

A:  You’ve got to leave before something happens that can’t be fixed!  He doesn’t deserve that kind of control of your life!  There is nothing out there in the world…  not loneliness, not lack of job or education, nothing that can hurt you more than he can!

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Did you catch the common word throughout the interview?  I caught it as I was asking questions…  CONTROL.  It may begin with small things.  If a man will not let you leave the house, for instance.  If he is a control freak by nature, then the tendency to want to hold you on a tight lead may come naturally.  Don’t be afraid to let him know you are uncomfortable with it.

A couple should be a team – equal partners.  Both need to feel free to speak, to think for his / herself.  When one begins to exude CONTROL – either mentally, emotionally or physically – it’s time to reassess the situation.

We love Lucinda, and we are so thankful for her testimony!  She loves God with her whole heart and writes of His faithfulness, His goodness and His grace every day!  We’re thankful that God gave her survivor fire along with His Holy Spirit.

HE MADE ME TOUGHER

I want to post a couple of websites for you today.  If you or someone you know needs help, please call these fine folks.

http://www.thehotline.org/

http://www.wordoflifecounselingcenter.com/

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Paint your ring finger purple.
Paint your ring finger purple.

What can you do to help?

By painting your left ring fingernail purple, the color of the anti-domestic violence movement, you will show the world your vow to end domestic violence and support Safe Horizon and the survivors it serves. In addition to painting your left ring fingernail purple, you can also show your support by spreading the word on social media with #PutTheNailinIt or, most importantly, by donating at safehorizon.org to help victims safely become survivors.

Be blessed and well today – and peace be unto you and your household.  🙂