Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Fifth Most Important Lesson...for me

The fifth most important lesson I've learned in life.(Blog Post: 10 Most Important Things I've Learned)

5. Some body language can be harmful to you and to others.

A picture paints a thousand words, right? You probably never related that to body language.

The door opens and in walk my 3 adorable grandchildren....great big smiles, each one marching pass me with their own way of saying "I'm glad to be here!" O bless me! a squeal, a high five or a words just yet. little precious 2 year old grandson who lives many miles away. Walks in hesitantly, staring with bewilderment ....not sure just what to do. Gogo walks towards him but he turns toward mommy or daddy. Yea it breaks my little heart but I also know we don't see each other much so we have to go slow and warm up to each other.

That is the unspoken language of love, faith, and hope. No words needed.

Do you know what shame, guilt, disapproval and rejection look like when communicated with your body? Words are bad enough and can leave scars that are not easily forgotten, but body language can be just as harmful. Sticks and stones can hurt your body and so can your body hurt others.
A very well known cliche is "its better just to say nothing if you can't say something nice". Well maybe...that can be true... but I think either way can be hurtful if we aren't motivated by love. What we don't say acts itself out in our movements and facial expressions.
Some of us feel that we are masters at deciding what some one is thinking and that can also cause misunderstandings created by our body language. Only you know what is the motive behind your movement. But body language can be a tale tale sign that you or someone does not approve of what was said or done or even the way someone looks.
My mom, like many moms, was pretty good at projecting her disapproving "you should feel guilty" look on me. She would scowl when she saw me doing something she did not like. I can still see that face. I can feel the shame of not meeting the expectation of the one person I really wanted to approve of me. So guess what I thought.. you should scowl when someone does something wrong.
Scowling across life at my own children and husband and probably friends I produced the same expression passed down to me thinking it would get results...change your ways, get with the program, you're embarrassing me. NOT! No! it does not produce the kind of results you might be looking for. Change your ways, get with the program or you're embarrassing me expressions need guidance, suggestions and direction. Words please... Da! Why do we think we can change anyone by our judgments aka body language.
Matt 7:2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
I have a friend who told me her daddy always said, "If you spot it, you got it" Its not Jesus's words but its saying basically the same thing as Matt 7:2.
If you are judging someone for something they have said, done or even the way they look its more than likely the same way you judge yourself about what you do, say or the way you look. That's why you recognize it and that's why you despise it and that's why you use your body to communicate it. You don't like it about yourself and you don't like it in other people.
My challenge for you is to try this out next time you are deciding to punish someone with your judgments. Double check and ask yourself if you do the same thing. More than likely you do and if you are convinced that you don't then ask someone close to you if they think you do. Try it. You probably won't like it. BUT! You may find your relationships will grow if you learn to talk it out instead of acting it out.

All and all I just know I have hurt people with my scowling look, my ignoring ways, my quick jerks to the side or folded arms.
I'm truly sorry...lesson learned.

Can you guess what these 4 are thinking. :)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

All You Need is Love

O the precious gorgeous grandmas! I put out a request at the begining of the year, 2014, to make this year a year to reach out and help others. I had a great response. We had moved away from the original purpose of the grandma reach out to the less fortunate. We continued meeting doing crafts for ourselves and our grandkids, having coffee, dinner or ice cream together, but no real outreach. I missed those opportunities we had done in the past...making sock monkeys for the crisis nursery, paper beads for women in Africa, scrap book photo albums for people in the hospital, Christmas baskets for shut-ins...the list goes on and it's all blogged :). So back on track grandmas!
We have in our group several families whose children or family members are serving in the mission field. One family has children in Africa serving the dying, one in Thailand housing and helping girls and boys get out of sex trafficking, one in Mexico carrying on a dream her and her late husband forged together. It's beautiful and touching hearing the stories, but it's hard work and they need support!Our goal this year is to see if we can help somehow.
Right here in my own back yard my husband and I had started challenging each other to become mini misionaries with the scripture out of Matt:25. When I was hungry you fed me, when I was thirsty you gave me something to drink, when I was in prison you visited me, when I was naked you clothed me, when I was sick you came to me. The part of this scripture that really challenged me is when believers reply back to Jesus. They respond by saying "when did we feed you, when did we give you drink, when did we visit you, when did we clothe you?" Then Jesus replies, "When you did it to the least of these you did it to me."
How come those people didn't pat themselves on the back and say "Hey You noticed! Awesome!" It was the opposite. They didn't even know they were manifesting the heart of Jesus through compassion and care and it seems they didn't even care that no one saw what they were doing. Could it be their hearts were so transformed that they didn't think twice about helping someone?
I know some of us are naturally gifted in serving. My husband is one of them. I think God gave some people that gift so at least there would be somebody who would reach out even if it was inconvenient. But that's just it. When it's done in our own strength and in our own time there may not be the unconditional love that goes with it. I've noticed even gifted servers want to do it when its convenient and when its done on their time schedule or maybe even expect something in return. I think when we have a heart that's transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to lay down our own expectations and do what's needed for that person at that moment. I confess, serving in some areas is not my forte. I would much rather direct, tell you what to do and how to do it. But the Lord is teaching me to love out of His love. To see people the way He sees them. To care.
4. To the best of your ability make people feel welcomed and loved.
This is my fourth lesson I've learned about life.
Have you ever walked into a room full of people you know and felt so alone? It can happen, especially if you are inclined to be more introverted. We want people to approach us, we want to know someone noticed us when we walked through that door, we want to be loved. That is the universal need. Everyone wants to be loved. So I am learning to notice people and to make them feel like they've been noticed. Once again in God's upside down kingdom the very thing you want is produced by dong the opposite action. I want to be noticed, start noticing others, I want to feel included, start including others, I want to feel loved, start loving others.
Well, that's not natural for me. I can't fake it! Haha. I've said that so many times and I've gotten the same results by behaving the same way....expecting people to come to me. They sometimes don't, they sometimes won't and you always can. You may feel like a fake in the beginging but because your heart wants something different it will change.
I should say that I have had people who loved on me many times and I'm sure that's what validates my expectation, but we are not inherently good. We have a very selfish sin nature that wants to be nutured. If you don't believe me just do a quick inventory next time you do something "good". You will probably find it feels proud, or successful and you are hoping someone noticed. Is that all bad? No, in fact that is the very need God placed in us to let us know we need Him. He is the ultimate lover, noticer, comforter, rewarder and esteem builder. In fact, if you let Him meet all those expectations, you will feel less rejected and unloved. Your expectations will decrease. You will get the revelation that everyone feels just like you and that is why only God can fill that void. So whose gona make the first move. To the best of your ability make people feel welcomed and loved and you will too.

The gorgeous grandmas put together homeless bags to give to people on the street, letting them know someone cares and someone sees them. Finding out their name and chatting with them for awhile can help make them feel valued and loved. Who knows you may even make a friend.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

I Get It!

  3. God loves us soooo much. He is not trying to squelch our fun!

My granddaughter and I had one of those " battle of the wills". She wanted a pretzel stick and I wanted her to finish her apple. Sounds pretty silly. This grandma has everything a little person would want. Cookies, candy, ice cream and chips but the only rule that goes along with those delicacies is you must eat something good for you first.

Granddad cut the apple up in several sections, giving a couple to each of the 3 grandchildren. The 7 yr old gobbled his apple sections right down, the 4 year old soon after but the 2 year old refused to finish her second piece after seeing the other two rewarded with a long pretzel stick. "I want a prethel! I want a Prethel!" You can't have a pretzel until you finish your apple. "Nooooooo!" Tears popping out of ducts, feet and arms swinging. "I Want a PRETHEL!"

Sound familiar? If you're a parent or a grandparent I'm sure you have had the opportunity to witness and/or enter the battle of the wills. Ok so this turned into a battle that I picked! O dear.... I lifted my granddaughter off the stool and sat her in time out. I held on to her while she screamed and kicked. In a calm voice I said "Katelynn, Go Go loves you and I want you to have a pretzel. Look at me. I WANT you to have a pretzel, but you have to eat your apple first."

Really.. that's all it took. She wanted to know I wanted her to have the pretzel! Some how in her little mind when I said she can't have a pretzel until she finishes her apple, all she heard was "she CAN'T". She sat right back up on her stool and finished her apple and soon after was rewarded with the pretzel stick.

We sure don't like the word "can't" at any age. And we definately want what we want! Are you wondering how I got my third life lesson "God loves us so much. He is not trying to squelch our fun?" Well go back and put yourself in the story. You be the grandaughter and your parent is God. How many decisions have you made that you insisted on doing or having what you wanted and those decisions may not have been the best choice for you? In some things we are like a 2 year old. We don't really know what's good for us and in some things we know exactly what we are doing but don't heed the warning that there will be a consequence down the road. That consequence almost always effects ourself negatively and the people we love. God knows that, just like I know my granddaughter should eat the apple first. I can hear you. What's so bad about a pretzel? Nothing..but in her case if she eats too many simple carbs it can cause some painful elimination down the road, if you know what I mean:) God WANTS you have the things you desire, but maybe done in moderation or maybe you need to wait or maybe its just not the best for you. He's got all the cakes and cookies you could want out of life. He's really not a big bad god whose trying to take all your fun away. He's a Loving Father who wants the very best for His kid!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Andy Griffith Show

It's the Andy Griffith Show! Starring Andy Griffith and Ron Howard. Brought to you by the Gorgeous Grandma club!

Every day at noon, monday through friday, after a morning of homeschool drama, my boys and I would anticipate their dad walking through the door finished with work for the day, throw off his baseball cap, take off his boots and join the three of us in front of the TV with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich .
It was lunch time at the Donaldsons and we loved watching the kooky, ridiculous, but moral inducing TV entertainment...The Andy Griffith show.

When I first met my husband I witnessed him sitting in his apartment with his guy friends watching their favorite show.  It didn't take long for me to realize they all thought this was the best thing since sliced bread. It was a ritual every day for as long as my history with my husband goes back. They all slept in till 11:30 or 12 after closing the resturant/bar the night before then congregated in the nearest apartment. Yawning and rubbing their eyes they leaned forward as soon as they heard the whistling theme song. Then derogatory comments and gutteral laughing and snickering continued until the 30 min. show ended.
  I never understood why any of them liked the fumbling, bumbling deputy (my husbands favorite) or the town drunk (he always looked greasy), the plump Aunt Bea (who I swear these guys thought was real and often dreamt there would be a pie stting in their window when they returned to their apartment) or the goofy, simple minded gas attendent (Gomer or was it Goober). But they did and it didn't take long for my two little Opies to fall in love with their daddy's favorite retroTV show.
Over the years I have met other women with husbands who loooooove Mayberry and all it entails. And of course we have quickly become friends. By golly if you can get two men who have something in common like the Andy Griffith Show you have conquered the myth that men are not relational!

So......the gorgeous grandmas had a Mayberry gathering. We potlucked...
Miss Ellie brought Confetti Vegetables, Charlene brought Wilted Lettuce Salad, Helen brought Honor Rolls, Aunt Bea brought Write-On Chicken Marsala, and Thelma Lou brought Very Chocolate Cheesecake.
Miss Peggy supplied an array of soda pop. Opie, Andy, Harold, Goober, Barney, and Earnest T. all came. We enjoyed the delicious meal then watched an episode of the Andy Griffith show. O did I mention that there is a Bible study that goes along with several of the episodes? yup that's right! Someone capitalized on the man cave gathering actually realizing there were some pretty good moral endings to these shows. So we watched the episode (for those of you who know these shows frontwards and backwards) of Opie deciding he didn't want to work for his allowance anymore. Then we circled around the fire pit in the backyard dicussing why Andy said this and Opie did that.
One guy(I think it was Harold) commented that the show was not real.(obviously not an avid Mayberry fan) It was just a show and you can make anything happen in a show. It all turns out just the way it should! GASP! O my goodness, I think a slight prick tried to burst a bubble but the rest of them nipped it in the bud. Nope this was real life and these are real people with the same issues you and I have. We can learn from this! Such is life in the Mayberry bubble.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Number 2

NUMBER 2  from my  "Some of the Most Important Lessons I've Learned" blog post.

2. In  alot of cases some people don't have a clue if they just hurt you or offended you. Think the best of people and extend grace and forgive. You've probably done the same thing to someone.'s a way to start fresh.
Because I believe in Jesus, the ultimate forgiver, I have learned with out a doubt that forgiveness makes the heart grow fonder.
Some one once said "When you forgive it becomes your story not their story." such truth.

I suggested one day on a birthday road trip with my sisters and mom that we should invent a game called "Assume". Since  "assuming " can get you into trouble and almost always makes an "ASS out of U and ME" (wise words spoken from my little sister) it is a catalyst for offense. Jesus tells us not to be offended. As believers we are to brush the dust from our shoes and move on forgiving and leaving it all behind. So much easier when you read it, not so much easier to do it. I am talking about those day to day little foxes that get into your garden. The annoying, harrassing thoughts that we carry in our heads when we are judging or grumbling.  Someone just jabbed at you with a word or their body language looked rejecting. Let's play the Assuming Game! "She didn't even acknowledge me when she walked by! I must have done something wrong." "I haven't heard from him for days. I guess he took what I said seriously. I was just kidding!"
Yes Assumptions! Later you find she just found out her mom has cancer and she didn't notice you. Or he was so busy with the event he was in charge of he didn't have time to call and he can't even remember what you said a few days ago. So many of us have been in those places. So why not "assume" the best of someone rather than the worse. I don't know it human nature?...maybe it's self centerness. It's more than likely a poor self image with super sized insecurities.
I have been caught in the middle of an explosive discussion because someone assumed I was doing something deliberately in spite of them. It just was not so no matter how I tried to explain my side of the situation. And I've been the one who has assumed. For that I have had regrets. So I have tried to quietly go to my prayer closet, sit before the ultimate Forgiver, and tell Him I forgive so and so even if they don't know they hurt me.
It works.... It changes my heart towards that person and I am released from my hurt feelings, my anger and feelings of rejection.  It becomes my story instead of theirs.
Take the high road and think the best of people. If it turns out to be wrong you haven't lost anything.



Thursday, May 9, 2013

Garage Sell Grandmas

With fanny pack in place like a cowboy ready to draw, the gorgeous grandma club rallied together for a cup of coffee and a piece of coffee cake early Saturday morning. Before straddling their spot in the van for a morning of galloping around the Dobson Ranch annual garage sell they shared grandma stories and caught up on past news. "How many grandchildren do you have now? Who got married? How many does this make? What are your children doing in Thailand?" Alot can happen in a month.
 There's nothing like acres of homesteaders sharing their wares in one long loop around the arena. With a keen eye roaming to and fro at each stop the gorgeous grandmas managed to buy everything from car seats, to puppets, books and little girl and boy outfits . Each gorgeous grandma filled their spot in the van with treasures for guess who, their grandchildren! Yes lucky them!
Just one more grand event in the life of a grandma! Ye Haw!

Try this recipe for the coffee cake. It is easy and super good.
Apple Crunch Coffee Cake
2 cups chopped and peeled apples       Combine all ingredients in order listed.
2 cups flour                                          Spread thick batter in a greased and
2 cups sugar                                         floured 13x9x2 in pan.
1 cup vegetable oil                                Bake at 350 for 55 mins.
2 eggs
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup nuts

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hey! What's on Your Mind

" I just don't know why he doesn't get it. Why can't he understand the way I feel? "
"Well, have you told him how you feel?"
Long pause with disgusted look.
"Then why do you expect him to know how you feel if you don't tell him?" as usual having an answer but not necessarily doing it myself...hmmm as my own light bulb went off. I had an ah ha moment!
I remember this conversation vividly 30 years ago as my girlfriend and I sat in the car discussing why husbands can't or don't always seem to meet our need of the moment. It's hard to believe this was actually the solution to the "devastating" problem, but it was as simple as just sharing her thoughts with him. And believe it or not it was an ah ha moment. I guess we really believed our husbands should know how and why we feel the way we do and  be able to magically make it better and intuitively have the solution.
Now that I say that maybe that comes from the intuitive mom with eyes in back of her head. She seemed to know everything! Even the things you didn't want her to know. Was I expecting that gift to transfer to my new live in partner?
Transitioning into marriage and not realizing you just ventured into a journey of learning about a whole new way of life apart from every familiar path you came from,  knowing that mom or dad will not be there to figure things out for you AND that you just might have to hit a few bumps to get yourself into some kind of living momentum with this person can seem like an endless SAT exam.
Some of the most important lessons I've learned... (blog post)
Number 1
No one knows what you are thinking so don't expect them to know. Express yourself about how you are feeling and what you are expecting.
Now mind you I've learned  there is an art to this. You just can't spew all over every time you think someone should be listening to you. But you do have to realize that each person is unique and individual with their own perceptions of life. This can sometimes be challenging to get your point across. But if you don't try you will give that person an opportunity to come up with a perception that could be totally false. And that my friend can make you feel misunderstood, disappointed or hurt and many times cause you to slip into the bubble bath of self-pity.
I've watched my grown children and their spouses dance around issues because one or the other won't say what they really mean. Its called pleasing. The notion is.... I want to do this right. I don't want them to think --fill in the blank--about me. It's the beginner dance that is out of beat and stepping on toes. And we do it in all areas of our life...not just our marriages.
Once we get the steps down we begin to pretend we have the beat, but reality states that even moving together can  hide our true thoughts behind the beautiful ballroom mask. Over time the mask starts to slowly slip down revealing bits and pieces of our true identity.When alas! The true face comes into full view!
Things can really start to change. Yikes! And it ain't always pretty:(
So I learn to use "I" messages instead of "you always". I express myself knowing that not all people will agree with me all of the time and some of the people will some of the time. I get it that I am not always right and  there are several ways to do the same thing. Speaking out just gives an opportunity to say "you know now how I feel and what I need. Can you help?" or "what are your thoughts on that?" I learn to deal with my feelings of rejection when someone still doesn't go where I want them to. And my feelings of fear that someone might reject my opinions or ideas. I've even learned to keep my mouth shut after I have expressed my view if it doesn't bring life to a situation. O dear, I sound like I have this all figured out and I do this perfectly. Nope. I've just learned  that I matter and what I say matters. I am still learning too.
 Can I really give all the pros and cons of expressing yourself  in a nutshell of a blog? No. Life has a way of teaching each of us as if we were His only child.
All I know is that you may end up with an appliance instead of roses if you don't talk! Even Facebook wants to know "What's on your mind!"
Book resource "TrueFaced" by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch