Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How Much Does Your Tone Say?

It will come as no surprise to you that I love words; but perhaps it is more accurate to say I love speech.  One speech exercise I like to do to emphasize the importance of tone is to use one sentence-today, I'll use the sentence, "Why did you bring me that casserole?", and I emphasize one word in the sentence each time I say it.  I say, WHY did you bring me that casserole?  I imply that bringing me a casserole was a ridiculous and utterly absurd thing for you to do. This makes you feel stupid.  Why DID you bring me that casserole?  Here it sounds like I am accusing you of having ulterior motives.  You feel defensive.  Why did YOU bring me that casserole?  I may as well just tell you I'd rather be seeing anyone else besides you.  This makes you sad.  Why did you BRING me that casserole?  This sounds like I really mean to say that I think you're a fool for bringing me the casserole when I could have gone to your house to pick it up.  You feel foolish.  Why did you bring ME that casserole?    I obviously don't appreciate your thoughtfulness or your casserole, and I wish you'd give it to someone else.  You feel unappreciated.  Why did you bring me THAT casserole?  I'm being an ungrateful beggar and a chooser.  You feel like your effort was all for naught.  Why did you bring me that CASSEROLE?  I wanted something else, and now I am unhappy.  You feel mad.

This is a fun exercise, but it is also helpful in proving the point that it's not just what you say, but how you say it.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Halloween Poem

To a pumpkin-carving party,
I brought a watermelon;
some called me a hero,
some called me a felon.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Answered Prayer.

Sitting in my darkly lit room after a long day filled with anxiety, I pray for answers. I just want to be allowed to get a peek at the path that lies in my future. I want to know what comes next. Instead of allowing me a peek into the future, God reminds me of two virtues that I need to ask for and to cultivate: laughter and hope. I am reminded first of the wise woman of Proverbs 30 who, verse 25 says, can laugh at the future because she is prepared for whatever it may hold for her. I know I have done my best to prepare for all likely scenarios that may be in my future. I also think of Job 13:15, "Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him." In my current circumstances, I read, "Though He adds an element of chaos into my life and I can't see the way forward, yet I will hope in Him." So, instead of an easy answer, God shows me that I must seek and cultivate laughter and hope; both pleasant and enjoyable things, but not things that come naturally to an anxious heart.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Every Christian a Missionary

I have been thinking a lot about missions lately.  A lot of faithful Christians go to other countries to share the good news of salvation, and that's great.  I thank God for them, and I pray that more workers would go out to the harvest.  Many Christians stay in this country but still go to an unfamiliar state or town to plant a new church and to share the good news.  Still more faithful Christians stay in one place, and they-we-share the good news with our friends and neighbors, our family members and those in our communities.  Suburbanite soccer moms need to hear about Jesus, too, and need to see people who are devoted to Him living our lives.  We are all aliens and strangers on earth, chosen by God before time, so we all need to be missionaries right where we are, right now.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

It's The Little Things

It's not even 11 am, but it has already been a good day.  First, I took Renee for a walk.  We met a really nice young mother who was taking her little boy out for his first walk.  She was really sweet, and he was really cute.  He was so cute, in fact, that he won over Renee, and she let him pet her repeatedly.  I was shocked!  It was a major breakthrough!  On the way home, I was chatting with one neighbor, and met a neighbor-to-be.  Then, I went home and sat relaxing in the shade of the front porch reading a good book about a boy with Autism.  As I sat reading, I heard another neighbor cleaning her yard, so I went to say "Hi."  (Being in such a good mood, what I actually said, in an Irish accent, was, "Top o' the mornin' to ya", and did a short Irish jig.)  She invited me, and another neighbor who was heading out to the gym over for apple pie later.  Of course, I probably wouldn't be writing any of this if I hadn't run into a friend from church yesterday who was complimenting me on writing often on my blog.  So the point is that that sweet mother who let her little boy pet Renee will probably never know what a huge role she and her son played in this major breakthrough of Renee's, and my friend may not be aware that her encouragement was the nudge it took to get me to write about the blessings of this morning.  We just never know how one small word or gesture on our part is going to affect someone else, maybe turning their whole day around.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

October, The Season of Spice.

I enjoyed this for breakfast one morning this week.  Now, since it is the 1st day of my favorite month, I may just mosey on down to a local coffee shop and get a fresh, custom-made version.  I know pumpkin spice is all the rage right now, but I'm craving some chile spice and cayenne pepper in my coffee.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Morning on the Farm, or Snack Time for Squirrel

Mornings here on the farm begin with carefully checking the ground for fallen crabapples.  Our herding dog, Renee, (she herds crickets) likes to eat these, so I try to get to them first so I can throw them away.  (I used to give them to Persnicketta.)  However, I do not pick the crabapples off the tree; I leave them for the squirrels.  (You can't tell, but there was a squirrel in the tree eating a crabapple when I took this photo.)

Look at That Bird!

Today started off with a bang.  I signed someone up for a trip to the casino.  I think it's in L.A., but it may be in Reno.  I got home to find gold in my mailbox.  Two letters from friends, both of whom still play with blocks.  I was reading the mail, and chanced upon an amazing sight.  What I saw was so great that I squealed with delight.  My instinct was to get my picture-taker-I didn't want my readers to think I was a faker.  I snapped the shot, and called my manager.  I had  been visited by a bright yellow Western Tanager.