Tuesday, November 8, 2022

photo by Matthew Gilson

In case you don't receive Guideposts magazine, 
here is a link to a recent story I wrote about how writing Thank You notes increases your joy. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

In Praise of Praise

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Why Be Thankful in Terrible Times?

Why Be Thankful In Terrible Times?

            I recently heard a message about being thankful. Although I'm usually upbeat, even zany, this teaching convicted me. I need to be more thankful to the Lord for all I have. I need to wake up in the morning praising God for my health, my job, my family and my mind that works (most of the time!). I’m especially thankful for a place in Heaven, and my sweet relationship with a loving Heavenly Father.         

     My pastor husband, Kevin, and I don’t own our own home; we live in a parsonage. But it’s a lovely house in the country surrounded by great neighbors and few noises, apart from birdsong and cricket opera. We have no smog; we enjoy crimson and lavender sunsets and delight in brightly colored leaves dancing on our trees. 

            Our church is comparatively small. But the people love, support and pray for each other. Some even tell us how grateful they are to have Kevin pastor them. I benefit from new recipes at our potluck dinners, the prayers of our Monday night ladies’ group, and Kevin gets to preach every week.

Our family in 1986

         Both our kids and all three of our grandkids love and appreciate Kevin and I. We live in close proximity of them, so we can see them often and share holidays as a family. 

         I refuse to allow the news media, pessimists on Facebook, or anyone else, to tell me what to think and how to feel. There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. I choose to focus on the good in our lives.

     I want to be sunshine going somewhere to happen. I hope that makes God smile. 

What three things are you most thankful for?

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Why Listeners Make Better Lovers, Friends, Spouses, Bosses...

Why Listeners Make Better . .  People!

“Listeners make better lovers,” says the commercial. What, it’s not listeners, but milk drinkers? Well, if you don’t like milk or have an allergy to it, there’s still hope for you to become a better lover: by learning to listen from your heart. Here are seven ways to do that:
1.      The eyes have it. When we look into someone’s eyes as they talk, rather than staring out the window or planning our next meal, we show them respect. We also gain more insight into their thoughts and feelings. We can uncover pain, disappointment, fear, or joy by making eye contact when we listen. This type of active concern leads to greater understanding and deeper love between us.

2.      Ask questions. We endear ourselves to others by asking questions regarding their interests. I’m not the movie buff that my husband Kevin is. But if I ask, “how many Frank Capra films was Jimmie Stewart in?” Kevin comes alive. He knows I truly care about him and his hobbies. In the same way, if Kev asks, “how’s your Vista article coming along?” I’m convinced of his interest in me as a writer, not just as his wife. I can feel his love.

3.      Body language shouts. Leaning forward, raising our eyebrows, nodding, and smiling are excellent ways to listen from our hearts. Folding our arms, rolling our eyes, and cleaning out make-up drawers or tool chests while someone is trying to talk to us shouts, “who cares?” Imagine your body as a Yes, We’re Open! sign rather than a Sorry, We’re Closed! sign, and others will open their hearts to you.

4.      Can the rude ‘tude. You probably know people who own first-place trophies from the W.F.I. (World Federation of Interrupters). They’re about as much fun to be around as cats fighting at midnight under the bedroom window. When we wait for people to finish what they’re saying before we speak, we give them the dignity they deserve, and gain their respect. Leave a pause of three to five seconds before you speak, to give others time to process their thoughts. Some of the wisest insights come in the form of afterthoughts. If we rush to speak the second it seems a person is finished, we might miss something glorious.

5.      Mirror, mirror. We prove our interest by reflecting back what we think we heard. “So, you aren’t saying that people who prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate are idiots—just that it’s a matter of taste?” tells Kevin I was listening with my heart, and wanted to understand his point of view We don’t have to agree with everyone’s opinion, but it’s essential to healthy relationships that the other knows we listened with our heart.  

One of my favorite TV personalities, Fred Rogers, sang a song called, “There are many ways to say I love you.” Listening with your heart is one of those ways. It’s also a creative method for service to your brothers and sisters in the Lord. 
Which one of the above ways will you incorporate into your conversations this month, to become a better lover?


Tuesday, October 11, 2022

My #1

I love this quote by Oswald Chambers. It reflects my own heart: 

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Why keep reading the Bible?

   For many years, I recited Psalm 91 as I made my bed each morning. Then recently as I read it, verse 2 popped out at me:

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust” (NIV). 

     Oh, my. How many hundreds, even thousands of times had I said this? Yet am I really trusting the Lord? Or am I trying to do life on my own, worrying when things don't work out the way I know they should, or as fast as I think they ought? 

     I'm not talking about impatience in the grocery store line or having car trouble. I'm talking wayward loved ones, family members who refuse to hear about Jesus, and issues of global dimensions. Situations that I know are God's will to change, but that are delayed. 

I worry. 
I fret. 
I manipulate. 
I get upset. 
But do I trust? 

Sometimes a Scripture will grab you around the heart and ask, 

"Do you believe this enough to live it?"

     This is why we keep reading God's Word. It's not just a book. It's alive, and it speaks into our lives the message we need at the exact time we need it. If we are wise and listen, we are changed. 

Have you had this happen with a Bible verse? How did it change you?