Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A Secret for Increasing Understanding in Relationships

   Most everyone—including you, I believe—longs to increase understanding in their relationships. I recently discovered a secret that's helped tremendously: asking questions instead of making statements. It works like this:

           I could say to my husband, “You never left clothes on the floor for the first thirty years of our marriage. Now all of a sudden you’ve become a slob.” Or I could ask, “Would it help you if I moved the hamper to your side of the bedroom, so it’s easier for you to toss your clothes in there at night, when you’re tired?”

I’ve gone from critical to helpful.

             I could tell one of my grandchildren, “Don’t act so selfish! Think of others sometimes, not just what benefits you.” Or I could ask, “Do you feel like you’re  sometimes not getting your fair share of things?” Or, “Have you noticed that the kids who willingly share their things have a lot more friends?”

I’ve gone from off-putting to empathetic.

  I could scold my elderly mom with, “I’ve told you a hundred times that your continual sniffling during church distracts me. I think you’re purposely doing that to exert your will over mine.” Or I could ask, “Are you feeling okay today?” Or simply, “Will you please blow your nose?”

I’ve gone from offensive to considerate.

           When we ask questions, it shows another that we care about them, we want to know them better, and we’re striving to increase our understanding of them. We don’t use questions as a magic formula for making people cooperate with us, but as a doorway into their hearts, to show them our love and respect.  

So. . . Are you having a good day today? How is your life in general going? Anything concerning you that I can pray about? I care about you.

Monday, March 12, 2018

A Secret I've Decided to Share

       It's time to share with you a secret I've kept under wraps for the last 18 months. I've not told anyone about it before this because I didn't want to come across as boastful. Now the Lord is prompting me to share with you what I've been doing. 

Perhaps you'll even want to join me!

Patty at Nabrizi School in Uganda

   When we visited my cousin, Del, and his wife Patty, in Portland, Oregon in September of 2016, Patty told us about the mission work she helps support in Uganda. Patty manages Sam's Attic, an eclectic thrift store in the Portland area, fully staffed by volunteers, to fund schools and orphanages in Uganda through Good Samaritan Ministries.  Patty has flown to Uganda and visited the schools they support many times and has fallen in love with the kids there. They call her "Mama Patty." 

Here is a wee bit from their website: "GSM Uganda empowers people through education.  We have educated over 6,000 students since our beginnings in 1990, with over 1,500 children currently in Nursery, Primary or Secondary School programs.  We continue relationships with our alumni students, many who have come back to teach at the GSM Schools.  We provide counseling and Bible training, HIV/AIDS education; senior citizens programs; Bible study; GOGO Piggery project (Get One, Give One); Community farming projects; Community Fishing projects; and Hospital Ministry.

GSM Uganda has over 300 students in orphan homes.  These homes are able to provide family to many of these students.  We provide housing, porridge and food for the students living on campus, medical, life skills training, and gospel centered community."

As I listened that September night to Patty's stories of some of the children GSM has helped, my heart swelled with compassion. "I want to partner with you," I said. On the spot, I committed to giving 15% of all my book and article sales to this worthy ministry. 

Of course you won't be surprised to learn that since I committed to helping GSM, my book & article sales have increased! 

This is not a pitch for you to buy my books, although that is part of my income. I simply want you to know that when you do buy a book (or many), 15% of what I make goes to help needy kids in Uganda. 

And that makes Jesus and me very happy. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Jesus and fun? Can Those Two Co-exist? You Bet!

Occasionally I do what my husband calls a “Bible dash,”  where I read through the New Testament in as few days as possible. The last time I did so that discovered three fun facts about Jesus I think you'll like. In case you're thinking "Jesus and fun?" Can those two co-exist? You bet! 

     1.     Jesus is generous. 

            When Jesus multiplied a few little rolls and fish from a young boy’s sack lunch to feed a multitude of  thousands, there were twelve baskets of leftovers. And not just Red Riding Hood-sized baskets—these were baskets as tall as a person!
            When Jesus told Peter to go catch a fish to pay his taxes, there was a coin in the fish’s mouth that equaled enough money to pay both Peter’s and Jesus’ taxes.

                  2. Jesus values children

              Jesus tells us to become like kids, not to look down on them, that the Father wants none of them to perish, and that we’re not to hinder them 
from coming to Him.
              Jesus stuck up for the children who praised him in the temple and defended the moms who brought their children to him to be blessed, rebuking his disciples when they tried to keep the kids from coming to Jesus.


3. Jesus can prevent tragedy but sometimes he chooses to wait, so he can do a miracle 

              In the cases of Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus, Jesus could have easily healed either one. Instead, he delayed and they died. Later on, he resurrected them. Sometimes a dream, a situation or a relationship in our lives seems dead. We wonder why Jesus doesn’t just step in an fix it. Why does he delay? Perhaps he waits, knowing that he wants to fully resurrect it, so we’ll see how much he loves us.

            I hope you’ll try a Bible dash sometime. I always find new insights I’d not seen before, and it’s fun to get an overall view of the whole Bible or the New Testament. What is your favorite characteristic about Jesus? 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Encouraging Quote Game

Do you love encouraging quotes? Me too. Play this encouraging quote game by matching the speaker to his or her quote. The answers are at the bottom of this post. 

1. "Success is never final. Failure is never final. It is courage that counts." 

2. "Easter means you can put truth in a grave, but you can't keep it there."

3. "You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

4. "All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen." 

5. "Just because something is hard doesn't mean it isn't God's will for you. Just because something is hard doesn't mean you can't do it."

A. Eleanor Roosevelt

B. Ralph Waldo Emerson

C. Joyce Meyer

D. Winston Churchill

E. Veronica, Ann Lamott's pastor

If you chose the following speakers for these quotes, you were right!

1. D
2. E
3. A
4. B
5. C

Which was your favorite Quote? Do you have a quote not on this list that encourages you? 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Colors Tell about Our Hearts

   I have a thing for colors. You too? I love color combinations in fabric for clothing and upholstery, in jewelry, and in nature. I even have a favorite color of cats! I believe the colors we are drawn to tell about what's in our hearts. 

   As a writer, I enjoy finding new ways to use color:

  • Scarlet heat creeping up my neck
  • Mauve and rose washing across the horizon
  • The blackness of a bitter memory

If you write, how do you use color to enhance your scenes? If you don't write, how does color enrich your life? What are your favorite colors?