Can You Hear Me Now?

A few years ago, Sylvia and I attended a supper event at a church where we had been members.  I was seated next to the denomination’s spiritual leader.  I introduced myself and told him that I had been a student in his Pastoral Counseling class about thirty-five years ago.  I went on to say that his class had been particularly helpful in my secular work.

The bishop wanted to know what had I learned that was so helpful.  My reply, “You taught me how to listen.”  He was surprised, but he shouldn’t have been.

I had been one who was thinking about my response whenever someone was speaking.  In other words, my focus was on myself–not the other person.

It’s not just enough to hear what the person is saying, a good listener is an active listener.  That means asking for clarifications when you don’t understand.  Also, you can restate what they’ve said to make sure that you did understand.

It sure turned my world around.

Proverbs 18:13
He who answers before listening—
that is his folly and his shame.
and
Proverbs 17:27, 28
 A man of knowledge uses words with restraint
 and a man of understanding is even-tempered.
 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
 and discerning if he holds his tongue.

I’m a Winner

On Wednesday, this blog featured a promotional post for my friend, Sharkey, and her blog, My Quality Day.  That was just before the deadline of a month-long contest.

Yesterday (Thursday), she drew two names as contest winners.  Wonder of wonders, my entry came out a winner.

Thanks, Sharkey, and congratulations on your 6th blogaversary.

Family

Yesterday, my sisters Margaret and Clara with her husband, Rick joined us for our Thanksgiving celebration.  It was fun, the food was fantastic and the conversation pleasant, which meant a very nice day with loved ones.

Thankful

Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.  (Psalm 95:2)

thanksgiving

So much to be thankful for, and so little time to express sincere gratitude.  When I start counting good things in my life, it always starts with family.

Faith is interwoven with family and is a firm foundation for our lives.

Our physical needs are met.  We may not have luxury, but we have enough, and that’s perfect.

We have friends.  Life is good.

Worth Reading

My daily online routine starts with a visit to a few favorite blogs.  (The rest I keep up with using an RSS reader.)  One of the “must see” blogs for me is My Quality Day by Sharkbytes.  She has just celebrated her 6th blogaversary.  I was not “hanging out” in the blogosphere when Sharkey began to post, but it wasn’t long after that I entered the scene.  It wasn’t long before I discovered MQD.  Then I went back and read all of her posts.  There weren’t that many back then.  If you were to do that today, you’d have 2180 posts to read.  A lot to do but well worth it.

Chuck, Sharkey and Sylvia

Chuck, Sharkey and Sylvia

Sylvia and I always look forward to visits with Sharkey.  She loves the outdoors, hiking, and good food.  By that, I mean healthy food.

One handed push-up.  Good exercise!

One handed push-up. Good exercise!

Nothing like a fresh organic coleslaw to top off a good lunch.

Do yourself a favor and visit My Quality Day.  You’ll enjoy the experience.

Doggies!

Tuesday evening just after sunset, I saw a sun dog (also called a parhelion, meaning “beside the sun”). Unlike a rainbow they appear in the sky near the sun — usually about 22 degrees from it and at the same altitude. This phenomenon is caused by ice crystals high in cirrus clouds that refract sunlight and, like tiny prisms, break the light up into colors. Red is closest to the sun, blue and violet are away from the sun. The colors are not clearly defined, nor are they vivid.

Tuesday evening after sunset

Tuesday evening shortly after sunset

Here’s a closer look:

A sun dog at day's end

A sun dog at day’s end

Just seeing tiny bit of color in the sky made me feel better.  Then the snow came.

It reminds me of the story of the calm old man.  When asked how he could remain so laid back despite the trials and tribulations that beset him, he answered, “I just think of my favorite Bible verse.”

“What’s that,” he was asked.

He responded, “It came to pass.”  He went on to explain that it didn’t come to stay.

Warm weather on the way this weekend.  Yes, I can hold on until then.  Can you?

Not Stuck–Yet

Our friend, Sharkbytes, wrote this in an online comment: “Haha. Yup, It’s Michigan, it’s winter. We are shaped like a mitten.”

I may not be ready to go out in public, but I’m not stuck in the house.  Here’s proof.

At least more is not falling

At least more is not falling

Thanks to Sylvia for leaving the Jeep here while she went to be with her dad.  Makes it easier to retrieve the mail.

I’m Still Here

Sorry, I’ve not been here for you lately.  I’ve fallen beneath the spell of a particularly nasty virus.  It nearly knocked Sylvia off her feet for two weeks.  And then, just when I thought I’d escape, it hit me.

I won’t try to guess why.  Perhaps the virus grew in virulence, or maybe maybe Sylvia is that much stronger than me.  Fact is, I’ve been hit harder–much harder.  I’ll spare you the details.

Pet Peeves

DuctTape

What irritates you?  I mean “angry enough to chew nails and spit rivets.”

For me it’s the announcers and annalists that cover certain sports events or news programs.  That keep repeating cutesy cliches and then grinning because they think they are clever.  Yes, I know that the second sentence of the first paragraph is a cliche.  However, it will [most probably] be a long time before I use it again.

I’m a NASCAR fan–perhaps I’m even an addict.  One of the NASCAR news programs that I regularly watch, features a personality that loves to throw out those cliches again, and again, and again.  <rant on> Sometimes I just want to stuff a dirty sock in that grinning mouth.  <rant off>  Yah, I know not very Christian of me, huh?  I worked very hard to exorcise those things from speech.  Perhaps that why it bugs me?

So what “pushes your buttons.”

This Week

Monday and Wednesday were beautiful sunshiny days.  Tuesday was cloudy and a bit damp today (Thursday) is very damp.

With Monday’s sunshine, farmers were in the fields early.  Traffic was [relatively] heavy–more than one vehicle per hour passing.  Harvesting equipment went by and then the trucks were running back and forth.  Some large trucks ran solo.  Others had farm wagons in tow.  As day came to an end, so did the activity.

Tuesday, the weather kept the neighbors out of the fields.

Wednesday followed a similar pattern to Monday.  However, when the sun went down, the activity didn’t cease.  Rain would begin overnight.  The harvest must be brought in.

Observers

Observers

This morning, I saw a deer on the lawn.  No two .  Make it three.  No four.  Two of them were racing around.  Not the high bounding leaps that you may have seen.  These two hugged the ground and went for all-out speed.

Oh yes, it is November.  It’s silly season for these critters.  Time to make the babies that will be born in the spring.  We have to be extra alert as we drive around our neighborhood.  Should I put the deer whistles back on my car?

Costume Season

Last week, Briana (granddaughter), posted that having red hair, she could take on a persona that others could not portray.  I waited patiently to find out the meaning of her statement.  Today I found out.

Briana and friend

Briana and friend

Can you name the character that she assumed last Friday?