Are You Listening?

This week’s suggestion is not too difficult for me: “Listen more than you talk.” I’m not a big talker. To some family and close friends I have been known to open up on occasion. And, when I’m giving a presentation or sermon I use some of my foibles and shortcomings to make fun of myself, but those are carefully chosen. I don’t think any of us tell all about ourselves. But talking is some people’s way to sort things out in their lives. They have a need to express themselves verbally. Talker or not, listening to others—really listening—is something we all need to practice. When someone is talking to me, I try to pick up on something they are saying and respond to it so they know I’m listening. Talkers or not, we have a real need to be acknowledged by others. Are you listening?

Real or Caffeine Inspired

While drinking my morning cup of coffee I have my daily devotional and early time with God. I like to start my day that way. This morning I felt especially energized and full of thankful love for our Father in heaven. Then after I prayed, expressing my love for my Savior, I thought, does this love declaration of mine really count. Was it really love talking or just a caffeine high? I’ve learned not to trust myself when it comes to my emotions. I can feel overwhelmed with love one moment and concerned if God is going to answer my prayers (the way I want) the next. Then I remember, it’s not my love that needs to be perfect anyway, it’s Christ’s love. It’s my involvement in his loving relationship with his Father that is real love. Thank you, Lord, for this understanding!

A Day of Thanks

Yes, I’m counting my blessings today. We have a loving God. (Can you imagine how bad it would be for us if he weren’t?) We have our wonderful family and friends. We enjoy way more than just the essentials of life. Yes, we also have difficulties, and we have differences of opinion, which, unfortunately sometimes tend to divide us. But, I’m hoping this day will inspire us to put our trials and differences behind us and to focus on how much we have been given. Give the stresses and concerns of life up to him and just breathe in his love. May you have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

A Caring Celebration

“Turn a project or task into a celebration: invite friends over to help.” That’s the matchstick suggestion for this week. Well, that’s what happened this weekend, only with family locally and from out of town. After Ed got older his two oldest sons would fly in twice a year and always ask for a list of projects. Now, four years since Ed’s death, they came again this last weekend, along with my daughters and sons-in-law.  Just some of the projects: My son-in-law Alan stacked my fireplace wood up high, replaced my faulty door bell, hooked up a needed remote and along with Ed’s sons Dan and Ken and Ken’s wife Andi carried off what I wanted to get rid of. Everyone got involved with getting my Christmas decorations down from storage. Daughter Tina figured out a problem on my laptop and all three girls reconfigured some of my bedroom furniture. Then we all went out to celebrate with Mexican food!  How blessed I am!

When Neighbors Become Friends

When I got home from church, a vase of white roses and sunflowers along with a bag of cookies and brownies greeted me on my porch—wedding reception leftovers. Two of my neighbors, both in their early 70s, got together last year and got married this last Saturday. The ceremony was traditional but with various personal touches that make weddings so enjoyable. Weddings are special, even when they’re not the first time around. The only problem, they’re selling both their houses and buying one of their own. That’s not their problem, it’s ours. We’re happy for them but not happy about losing two nice neighbors. We’ve established relationships over the years. I understand they want a place to start anew and make their own memories. I just hope it’s not so far away we can’t get together once in a while. Good neighbors should not be taken for granted.

A Blessing List?

Not a bad idea: “Keep a list of good things that happen; when you’re feeling down, refer to it.” I kept a “blessings list” for many years, but don’t remember referring to it much, except to add another blessing. I didn’t start one this year. I felt so overwhelmed with blessings, I gave up on it. Maybe I should start a new list for the coming year because this matchstick suggestion list is of “good things that happen,” so maybe it goes beyond just a blessing list for me.  Actually, if my children or grands are blessed in some way, I feel blessed too. When our little church receives a blessing, I feel I got one too. When I use the word blessings, I’m referring to what goes beyond just material things and stuff. But, even with things and stuff, every good comes from God. If it’s good, it’s from God. OK, I’m feeling overwhelmed again! Thank you, Lord, for all your blessings!

Dill Pickles and Relationships

Speaking of relationships (my last post), one time I asked for dill pickles at a restaurant even though they weren’t part of the meal. Whenever my friends and I go there now, no matter what I order, if we get that waitress, I get dill pickle slices on the side. Though I often order senior meals, I tip the same as if it were a regular meal. That may be a factor in how she treats me, but I think it’s more than that. One of my friends likes multiple refills on her coffee. This waitress doesn’t need to be reminded. Over the years she has built a relationship with our group. Though we like to go to different places, that little Texas roadside barbecue restaurant has become one of our favorites. We feel welcome when we go there. She doesn’t think I’m weird because I like pickles with my meals (well maybe, but she doesn’t say so) or that my friend is a coffee-holic. It made me think, wouldn’t it be great if more people felt as comfortable going into churches.