Who we are with each other…how we show up…matters!

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I was standing in the check out line the other day. I was in my little “Dee” world. You know the one, I was in a hurry; places to be, things to do. I was doing the mental checklist of what I had been able to accomplish and what I had to rush off to get completed before the time I had allotted got away from me. The check-out girl was chatting away and I was smiling and nodding but really, I wasn’t there. I was away with my thoughts.

An elderly lady walk up behind me in the line. Suddenly, I heard, “Put her groceries on your bill.”

It snapped me back to the moment and I said, “what?” The two women gave me dumb-founded looks. They had not spoken. The elderly lady walked away to grab another item and I looked at the check-out girl and said, “ok, let’s do it, put her groceries on my bill. I will pay for them.”

Needless to say, both women were overwhelmed. The elderly lady teared up and when she got over the shock of what happened, she was elated. She couldn’t believe her good fortune and began to say, “No one has ever done anything like this for me in all my life. This made my day.”

I walked out feeling like I was on top of the world. The cost for me was so minimal -much less than I would like to do.

I have a dream. I want to make a difference in the world. I have this idea of how that will come to be. The idea is so big that sometimes getting to that idea seems too far away from what my heart would like to do today.

That day, I realized that although I do make attempts when I can to emulate that dream…Most of the time, I am waiting for the “one day” when I can fully put that dream into motion.

I think I look longing to the future and forget that this moment is the one I have been given to live.

20140512-231621.jpgIn this day, this moment, before me, are differing opportunities in the form of relationships. Some, I do not know personally- like the lady in the grocery store.

Others have included reconnecting to friends from years past. Catching up. Sharing. Lending a listening ear. Sometimes sharing an experience that may benefit their situation.

I have work relationships.

I have family.

There is a full world of opportunity right in my own back yard.

Those relationships are important; who we are with each other, what we say…how we show up! It matters.

The other day in the grocery store, I did not “show up” in a way that would lend true value to the people right in front of me…at least not until I heard within my heart to reach out and help.

20140512-231313.jpgIt would seem easy to get on a plane and go to the other side of the world to a need-filled country and lend a hand. This feels like an important way to make a difference. Easier, in fact, than working in my own back yard.

My own backyard (my world) is full of hearts that are broken where difficult conversations need to be had and prickly issues need to be addressed.

Having those difficult conversations may not be as easy as acts of kindness to a stranger or feel as grandiose as feeding the hungry in a foreign country.

But by having those difficult conversations, dealing with those prickly issues, and clearing the air- miracles happen.

We all have difficulties in relationships from time to time. We offend someone because we wake up on the wrong side of the bed. We punish a work colleague because they were recognized for a job well done and we weren’t. The neighbour drives us crazy. Family relationships become strained. Someone needs an apology or an explanation to help their wounded heart move on. Or a stranger is longing to know that their existence means something to someone but no one speaks up with confirmation.

20140512-231951.jpgThose relationships are the very ones that have been placed in our world and if we recognize the opportunity -we can make a difference.

Why wait for a future time to do something more important?

Why not look at what is right in front of us today and make miracles happen.

Maybe those miracles will seem insignificant to you and me but for the person for whom the miracle occurs…it could be life changing.

Don’t wait!

Show up to the relationships in your life in a meaningful way.

Clear the air, if it is necessary, so that you and the that significant person can journey together with joy in your hearts instead of pain.

It matters!

Dee

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24 proverbs that are just plain common sense

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the Webster dictionary defines wisdom as

knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life.

it’s interesting to me that Solomon found common sense that -after all the centuries that have passed- is still common sense today.

check out these proverbs that are just plain common sense.

giving advice:

Some people like to do things their own way, and they get upset when people give them advice.

the stuff that comes out of our mouth:

The tongue can speak words that bring life or death. Those who love to talk must be ready to accept what it brings.

Foolish people don’t want to learn from others. They only want to talk about their own ideas.

Foolish people hurt themselves when they speak. Their own words trap them.

Foolish people say things to start arguments. They are just asking for a beating.

An insulted friend is harder to win back than a city with strong walls.

People love to hear gossip. It is like tasty food on its way to the stomach.

The words of a discreet and wise man’s mouth are like a gushing stream sparkling, fresh, pure, and life-giving.

Let people finish speaking before you try to answer them. That way you will not embarrass yourself and look foolish.

Your words can be as satisfying as fruit, as pleasing as the food that fills your stomach.

The first person to speak always seems right until someone comes and asks the right questions.

results of our actions:

Do something evil, and people will hate you. Do something shameful, and they will have no respect for you.

Someone who does careless work is as bad as someone who destroys things.

Giving gifts can open many doors and help you meet important people.

justice:

You must be fair in judging others. It is wrong to favor the guilty and rob the innocent of justice.

attitude:

The rich think their wealth will protect them. They think it is a strong fortress.

A proud person will soon be ruined, but a humble person will be honored.

A good attitude will support you when you are sick, but if you give up, nothing can help.

The poor are polite when they beg for help. The rich are rude with their answer.

Wise people want to learn more, so they listen closely to gain knowledge.

communication:

The best way to settle an argument between two powerful people may be to roll dice.

Arguments separate people like the strong bars of a palace gate.

relationships:

If you find a wife, you have found something good. She shows that the Lord is happy with you.

Some friends are fun to be with, but a true friend can be better than a brother.

how to practice love in the form of patience

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impatience is an emotion. patience is a skill. like all skills, patience is a life skill that can be practiced until application can be made more easily than when you begin.

the relationships that we invest in are truly rewarding. our hearts hope that they will make us happy beyond belief. talk to a young couple before their wedding day or before the birth of a new baby. the heart is full of expectations for the future. it is when reality meets those expectations causing disappointment that frustration surfaces.

when my daughter was five years old, my husband and i decided that we wanted another baby. it would be three more years before the birth of my son. there was the first expectation that met frustration. we had a timing in our mind and yet there was a long period of time to wait until we received confirmation that we would have our second child join the family. if you have ever planned to start or continue your family only to have reality present an alternative timing, it is heart wrenching, frustrating and painful. once he was born, we were elated. then came the sleepless nights. he did not sleep as well as my daughter had. it was a shock to the system after eight years of normal sleep routines. i would have difficult days of weariness that were trying. we made it through the sleepless nights, finally. then as a toddler, he began too bite other children. do you know how embarrassing and stressful it is when your child harms a friend’s child? this was not going as it had the first time around or the way i had expected. this lovely, beautiful little boy was the delight of my heart but he was trying my patience…in many more ways than i ever desired to endure.

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what was i to do? i was not enjoying those moments i was living. i wanted to fast forward to easier, more enjoyable days, the future seemed so distant and far away…when life as i had hoped it would be would appear.

i was given advice to “be patient”, encouragement that he would get through the stage(s) and things would settle down. we often think another person should find patience easier to conjure up than we do in our own difficult situations. we mean well… we do…but we find taking our own advice impossible when faced with our own circumstances that evoke frustration, anger or pain; a stubborn or distant spouse, a self-destructing teenager, a special needs parent, a bullying boss, or a rude stranger.

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i was irrevocably and inescapably stuck in the moment—my feet were tied to it. had i writhed and hollered as much as i wanted, i was still not going anywhere. i was there. immobile.

the available antidote was patience. it speaks of self-control, restraint, delayed gratification, bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance; tolerance and persevering. it was not my idea of a party that i wanted to attend. yet, it was necessary.

the revelation for me was that patience is a skill, not an inherited trait i happened not to inherit. it leads to relaxation, not self-harnessing. it gives you the freedom to have a pleasant time even when the baby gods are playing with you. it converts the helpless rage of impatience into a delicious sense of spaciousness.

patience creates more space between impulse and action.

impulsiveness causes you to act hastily. patience creates feelings of peace and calm, as opposed to the anger and frustration that often arises with impatience. impatience is on the anger continuum. first, you have irritation, then impatience and then anger and, at the far end, rage. patience keeps your anger turned off.

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so, how do we practice this skill and develop patience? how can we apply patience, so that frustration goes away, outrage cools, and peace is yours?

1. accept that whatever is happening right now is the way it is. accept that you are here, living this moment as it is. coming to terms with reality helps you to focus your emotions.

2. apply persistence. that’s the capacity to keep on going even though you can’t yet see the end result. it’s what keeps us moving toward our goal and thus helps us make our dreams come true.

3. practice cultivating a sense of peacefulness, serenity or calmness in the face of what is. address poor, learned behaviour such as ranting, fretting or working yourself into a frenzy. stop, breath deeply, count to 10 (or 100), or separate yourself from the situation until your emotions return to a calmer state. whisper a prayer or recite calming scriptures. many find repeating the serenity prayer helpful.

4. focus on your goal of healthy relationships and perfected love.

5. focus your effort, energy and skills on problem solving. pursue wisdom in order to find a solution, this will produce a more effective result.

6. trust yourself, apply compassion when you fail at applying patience…practice makes perfect…keep going…all skill development requires time and practice, practice, practice.

today as i planned to write a post on practicing patience, wouldn’t you know, things did not go to plan. i woke not feeling well. i faced a busy work day. and my husband seemed to want me to help him do something every 5 minutes, and in the midst of all that i lost half of the post before i was able to publish it. opportunities to practice will present themselves. it never fails. i had to laugh at myself and my situation…

i told myself, “dee, love is patient…” and i made the 100th cup of coffee of the day as requested and began to reconstruct my post.

patience is the first and possibly one of the most difficult steps to producing genuine love in the heart. it is a skill. if you find impatience surfacing in your heart, do not fear…you can apply wisdom, practice this skill and develop real love…love that will not fail at building strong, fulfilling relationships.

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the next we will explore the fact that love is kind.

i hope you will join me,
D

love and impatience don’t belong together

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relationships engulf the biggest part of our lives. can you think of how many of your activities involve a relationship in one way or the other? the most important to many of us is family. add church, friends, work, school, community and strangers (store clerks, bus drivers, joggers, and more) and it doesn’t take long to fill a day. Relationships enrich our lives but they can also try our patience.

interestingly enough, when i was searching for the best description i could find for love, i found nothing better than 1 Corinthians 13.

wouldn’t you know, the very first description was that love is patient.

it would be very easy to read over that word and think, ” oh, isn’t that nice.” we are not going to speed past this word today…we are going to stop and consider it…think it over and decide what we can do with this. after all, it is wisdom. by now, you know how much i adore wisdom.

imagine a thermometer. a temperature gauge. how would you measure your patience level? if you are like me, you might imagine that you are pretty tolerant except in a few instances.

what would be your patience level in these situations:

1. you are sitting in a traffic jam, it’s hot, other driver’s are honking and trying to cut in front of each other.

2. you are waiting in line at the bank on a busy Friday afternoon and there is only one teller waiting on customers.

3. you have had a busy day. You just want to eat dinner when you get home but your spouse thought you were bringing it home with you.

4. you are late for work, the keys are lost. the kids have a hundred questions about when you are leaving? your spouse drove the car last and can’t remember where the keys are.

5. you have a stubborn elderly parent who relies on your care.

6. your boss seems to always be in a bad mood and you catch the wrong end of the stick continually.

actually, it’s not difficult to conjure up a list of frustrating examples, life is full of them. our patience gets tried right and left.

love is patient.
love never gives up.
love endures long.

what exactly does it mean to be patient?

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a good ole google search renders this definition:
.
1. bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance with calmness.
2. marked by or exhibiting calm endurance of pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance.
3. tolerant; understanding: an unfailingly patient leader and guide.
4. Persevering; constant: With patient industry, she revived the failing business and made it thrive.
5. capable of calmly awaiting an outcome or result; not hasty or impulsive.
6. capable of bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance: “My uncle Toby was a man patient of injuries” (Laurence Sterne).

Or

1. enduring trying circumstances with even temper
2. tolerant; understanding
3. capable of accepting delay with equanimity
4. persevering or diligent: a patient worker

we live in a world where patience is no longer a virtue. with technology, we no longer have to wait for “snail mail” (even the slang name indicates…it’s too slow to use). my husband gets a bit agitated if he drives through McD’s and they are slow getting his order to the window. he likes to watch the timer above the window and 2 minutes is too slow. really? i’ve been warning him about the 2-3 hour wait for a table at my favourite American restaurant on our next visit home. i’m going to enjoy watching him practice his patience. ☺

an impatient person never wants to wait for others, or does so with great reluctance. an impatient person feels angsty when things do not go to plan. an impatient person usually feels a great sense of urgency to get things over with and to move on to the next thing, the next task, the next place, the next stop. he/she usually has little regard or interest to what’s going on at this moment in time, because in his/her mind, he/she is already thinking about what he/she has to do next.

our patience is challenged when we are faced with circumstances out of our control, when there is a lack of planning, when our expectations are not met, when we don’t have a clear understanding of the situation and when there is difficulty with communication.

i don’t know about you but there are plenty of opportunities that come my way in all five of these areas.

personally, i was most impatient when i lost my keys in mornings. i was always trying to get one more load of laundry done, or dinner in the crock pot before work. i was not consistently organized so my keys could be any where…which meant, when i was in a hurry…there would be a lot of yelling at the kids and my husband. not a good look. it’s not helpful for building good relationships either.
the underlying problem for me was my perfectionist tendency. this tendency was a driving force in my life that often threw me into chaos and my impatience would end up sky rocketing.

my husband is a what I call a “yapper”, a “chatty cathy” type personality. he loves to talk like no one i have ever known. when we were first married he would wake me at 3am because he was awake and “needed” to talk. he becomes very impatient if i take too long to make my point when we are communicating. he already has his next thought formed and can’t wait until it’s his turn to talk again. Lol. my temptation to be impatient having to listening non stop all day is often pressing but i’m getting better at being patient everyday.

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wanting what we want when we want it. this desire repeatedly manifests itself as a constant feeling of impatience, a source of self-pressure (in an unhealthy way), and an annoyance at things that stand in your way. these are negative, tension-filled, and fear-based emotions which have no place in our lives. impatience is an emotion that has no place in our heart. it is destructive.

as a result, many of our relationships become strained and begin to break down. this result is seldom a favoured goal.

colossians and hebrews tells us that we can exercise and practice patience. when i was growing up, the members of my dad’s congregations would declare, “don’t pray for patience because tribulation works patience.” we’ll, who wants to invite,much less pray, for tribulation to come into their lives. there seems to be enough of that without asking for more. so, the common result would be that impatience would continue to rule. problem NOT solved.

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i think we should look at the idea of practicing patience and explore how to develop this skill. i invite you to join me tomorrow for a little practical exploration. let’s look at replacing impatience…the emotion that has not place in our heart…with patience. this wisdom might just help develop stronger bonds of love and improve our relationships.

please join me again on this journey as we look at what love is and how to develop genuine, life changing, never failing love in our lives and relationships.

as always, get your friends and family in on the adventure and share this post with them. together we can make A Difference in our circles of influence.

see you next time,
D

missing those you love

20130824-171409.jpgto all those who are not close by except in spirit…

today is one of those days that i am feeling very blessed to have those i love in my life…and it’s missing those who are not here close by.

heart to heart, i want you to know that…

you are loved….

you are missed…

you are precious to this heart of mine…

and it’s missing having you here!
D

how listening will help you achieve better solutions

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most people do not listen with the intent of hearing, they listen with an intent to answer. -unknown

have you ever had one if those conversations that didn’t actually require you to be involved? where you know the person is not hearing what your saying much less listening? where you throw in, “and she was dancing naked with all of her clothes on while a crowd of penguins gathered” and the other person says, “yeah, yeah but i was making my point that….”?

i have.

i have met people who can carry on an entire conversation without letting me say a word and not realize that i have been silent the whole time.

sadly, i’ve been that person, too.

there have been times as a shy teenager that i was quite happy for someone else to carry the conversation.

however, i remember feeling like i walked away without that person getting to know me at all.

i’ve exited conversations without leaving the room as well without the person noticing for quite some time.

actually, my husband gets this from me a lot. shocked? don’t be.

he and i have an agreement of sorts. he is passionate about oysters; how to grow them, how to build infrastructure they need, and many technical details that are beyond my comprehension or interest. my husband likes to talk through “how to…”(whatever it is) as a way to organise his thoughts. he just needs a warm body nearby to hear the sounds so that he feels like he’s talking to someone. he does not need or want input (yet). so, he has agreed during those times, i can “tune-out”, if i will indulge his need to be the only participant in the conversation. when he is ready for input, he lets me know he needs me to listen.

however, feeling surplus to requirement in conversations is extremely frustrating.

i want to be heard!

i want to be listened to!

i, also, want to contribute.

don’t you?

there is skill involved in listening. i believe it also requires a genuine heart and an attitude of respect.

listening is not waiting for your turn to talk, interrupting because you have something more important to say or correcting the other person.

listening is genuine interest.

listening makes you trustworthy to the other person. it means you are willing to learn about who they are and what is important to them- whether or not it’s important to you. you gather the contents of their heart and place value on those contents.

this leaves the person with a sense of acceptance and belonging which is encouraging.

pride will prevent listening. often, people who feel insecure will take on an attitude of pride that insists on proving they are more of an expert on a subject than the person they are talking to.

someone who is unteachable will demonstrate their belief that they “already know” all they need to on a subject projecting their knowledge through dominating the conversation.

this approach causes us to miss the heart of the matter which is relationship. we miss vital treasures. the contents within a person’s heart can bring such richness to our lives. all it requires is the investment -the art of listening.

this point was emphasised to me this past weekend. my ex-husband was sharing some struggles he was having with my son and he wanted me to talk to him. i decided that instead of being judgemental about the teenage symptoms, i would actively listen to his heart. i learned a lot.

he had desires and lack of desire that he wanted someone to hear and understand.

he wanted respect (i’m learning how vital the need for respect is in the heart of all men).

he wanted to be heard as a teen approaching adulthood. he didn’t want one-way conversation or lectures on life. he wanted his voice to matter.

he also had pain in there that he desperately did not want dismissed as trivial, teenage over reaction.

when i listened, i related and remembered times when i had experienced similar desires. i understood better what was making him tick. i was honest with myself that when i did not experience being listened to, frustration resulted followed by the temptation for poor behavior and attitudes.

listening to the contents of his heart helped me to not judge him but come to an understanding that could lead to a resolution that might actually work.

i am thankful for that opportunity. i realised that i have a young man emerging. i could see that although the symptoms were frustrating, frightening and difficult on my heart, there were answers that could bring a positive response.

in fact, i spoke sternly to him on a couple of matters after i had listened. when he replied, his defensiveness dropped and instead if a disrespectful answer, he replied,”yes, ma’am.” i have to say it stunned me for a moment. then i beamed with pride. do you know why? because i have taught my son to show me respect and i saw that the training is in there…it is in his heart. i didn’t demand it, he offered it.

listening is an art.

my husband always tells that a problem always points you in the direction of the solution. if you will pay attention to the problem and discover what is causing it…finding the solution becomes easier.

listening is the genuine paying attention when it comes to relationships that makes success much more accessible.

are you a good listener?

i would love to hear about some of the treasures you have gathered when you took time to listen to someone’s heart. will you leave me a comment? i could do a little heart-content gathering if you did!

thanks for stopping by,
D

precious heart gifts

20130815-210803.jpgdon’t allow a familiar attitude to rob you of the exquisite miracle of love…cherish the ones who trust you with their heart.
it’s not a right…it’s an amazing gift.