Loving One Another

Archive for May, 2012

I Did My Best


Thank you, GinaV, for this “adorable” reminder of how we measure our success most effectively:

http://professionsforpeace.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/i-did-my-best-smiling-ribbon-award-n13857_xl.jpg

When you posted it on your blog at http://professionsforpeace.com/2012/05/26/ongoing-learning-from-awards/, you created a caption. It said, “No I am not starting a new Award, but if I was I’d choose this great image!” You listed the source as Scholars Choice. Thank you for posting it and acknowledging the source. I love this adorable image – and am inspired by it to share my experience with this “Do Your Best” concept.

As an educator (K-6) in the classroom for more than two decades and as an administrator (K-adult) for a dozen or more years, I had the opportunity to experience first-hand how the expectations of others affects our self-evaluations, our self-esteem. How do we know when we have done our best? Who helps us determine what our best is?

I learned from a wise educator (Madeline Hunter) in an in-service once upon a time eons ago that the question is not, “Are you smart?” The question is, “How are you smart?” What a difference that makes! As teachers, coaches, mentors, parents, friends, our task is to look for the natural strengths in others (as well as in ourselves). We all have them. Dig! Build on successes. Learn from, but do not emphasize, failures. Rewaprd achievement.

My favorite expression when I was counseling teachers was one with poor grammar, but with great truth: “What you pay attention to is what you get more of.” Want success? Find the best effort and praise it! Find what the person does best and teach through that strength.

When I met her, Mary Jane was an illiterate adult. She was nearly 40 and she had spent the last 30 years avoiding the world of print. Her “best” was sorting clothes from the dressing rooms at JC Penney and putting them back on the proper racks. No words needed for that task. But she hated being unable to read. She hid it well, but it made her feel “less than.” You can imagine! She enrolled in the adult literacy program and I had the privilege of working with her to unlock the world of print. Sorting letters was a lot like sorting clothes. Matching capital to small case letters, sounds to letters, classifying vowels and consonants. One step at a time, backing up to the beginning, building on her strengths, we did it!! Have you ever watched the light glow in an adult’s eyes when the star illuminates and the heavens open? “I did my best” took on a whole new meaning!

When we are asked to perform at a level above our capabilities, frustration abounds. Maybe we WOULD be capable of that performance, but somebody needs to care enough to show us how. With love and patience, and confidence in our ability to catch on, somebody needs to break it down. Step by step, lead us through the process of knowing how, trusting that we CAN. We sense it when somebody teaches us that way. They believe in us. We begin to believe in ourselves. What a thrill!

Everyday is a new opportunity to DO MY BEST. What will I tackle with confidence today? Together, we can do it!

Sunshine Award


The Sunshine Award

I am honored that this blog has been nominated by a dear blogging friend, GinaV at http://professionsforpeace.com  for The Sunshine Award.  She acknowledged this site and nine others   for bringing sunshine into her blogging world.  Many thanks to Gina. She brings sunshine into my world with her inspiring insights.  She encourage me to keep on writing and  sharing sunshine with others, just as she does!

To accept the award, here are the steps to take – with joy and appreciation:
1.  Include the award logo somewhere in your blog.
2.  Answer the 10 questions, below, for fun  – if you want to.
3.  Nominate 10 to 12 blogs you enjoy… or you pick the number…   (I choose to nominate 5 sites initially … and will add more as they shine into my world).
4.  Pay the love forward:  Provide your nominee’s link in your post and comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been included and invited to participate.
5.  Pay the love back with gratitude and a link to the blogger(s) who nominated you.

The Nominees ~ I am not adding a note about each blog, but I encourage you to visit and discover on your own how they deserve The Sunshine Award.  They all positively and creatively inspired me. Even if some of these writers choose not to participate in this award process, I still want this chance to help you, dear reader,  find these blogs and perhaps be inspired by what they contain, if you haven’t found them already.

My Nominees for the Sunshine Award:

1)  http://thesubterraneanworld.wordpress.com
2) http://courtingmadness.wordpress.com/
3)  http://oldsunbird.wordpress.com
4)  http://silverpoetry.wordpress.com
5)  http://theeffstop.wordpress.com
Oh, and one more bright and shining tender hearted blog:
6)  http://justspokenthoughts.wordpress.com

The Questions:

What is your favorite color?  
~ Red depicts images of love and strength and the flames of the Holy Spirit. Shades of red, orange, and yellow cheer me.  Shades of green inspire me.  Shades of blue calm me. My favorite depends on my mood or my needs on any given day!

What is your favorite animal?  
~ TazE, my Boston Terrier, is my favorite animal right now. Bob & I have had Boston Terriers most of our married life. They are such fun!! But, we have antelope who come into our yard regularly, and deer and bunnies. I do love wildlife!

What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?  
~I am with Gina on this one = Cool water. So necessary – and so good for me.

Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter?  
~Facebook. It helps me stay connected to my daughter in Switzerland and her three teen sons. Also, it connects me to beloved family in other states and to dear, dear former students and colleagues.

What’s your passion? 
~Sharing the love of God through service to others, making a difference in others’ lives, and being honest and genuine while living a life of integrity – those are my passions.

What’s your favorite pattern? 
~Plaids

Do you prefer giving or getting presents?  
~I always prefer giving, but I’d never turn down a present! I love finding just the right thing for someone and giving it “just because” instead of waiting for a birthday or Christmas.

What’s your favorite number?  
~My favorite number is seven (7). It symbolizes completeness. I have seven grandchildren. My birthday is in the 7th month. My phone number and mailbox number both end in 77. Our house number is 7.We are living in our “Last Best Place.”

Favorite day of the week? 
~Sunday – the Lord’s Day – the day He said something like, “It is complete. Rest!” It is the day my husband and I go to see our extended family in the church and worship our Maker and thank Him for all our many blessings and express our appreciation for the many answered prayers.

Favorite flower?
~A single red rose cut from the bush and delivered with a smile from my sweetheart … a stem of orchids on a plant from my friend, a plant that reproduces every year in greater abundance than the year before… the first daffodils in springtime… I could go on and on… I love flowers!

There, I have answered the questions and fulfilled the requirements of the award. Thank you for reading, dear bloggers… and thank you for visiting those nominated sunshine spots. You’ll be glad you did!

Have Faith and Step Out


Life Swirls Around You

Have Faith and Step Out

Don’t overlook your life’s importance
or minimize your worth.
It doesn’t matter if you’re on an allowance
or on Social Security;
No matter where you are in life,
You have so much to give.

The vital part of your life
Never disappears or fades away.
Each of us is vital to God.
He gives us the courage to go out and live,
to heed His call and step out in faith
on a new journey today.

In faithful obedience, lean forward
to hear Him; He doesn’t shout.
His call is quiet and personal.
Get serious. Listen carefully.
Are you up for a new journey?
Have faith and step out!

Pentecost Sunday


If I were creating human beings as God did in the beginning of time, I’d add a part that I think God forgot to include. He put a belly button on our abdomen, but I’d have a button on each person’s chest. The button would be like Siri on my new iPhone. Press it and “Presto!” I could ask my brain to speak in whatever language I needed at the moment. I could ask it to translate what I am hearing. I could ask it questions and the button would activate a response! Isn’t that what God did for the people in the temple on that first Pentecost Sunday around AD70? With the help of the Holy Spirit, the people spoke in languages previously unknown to them.

This coming Sunday, May 27,2012, is known on the Christian calendar as Pentecost Sunday. Catholics and Protestants alike celebrate this Holy Day.  On the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox calendars, the date for Pentecost Sunday is June 3rd. Historically it is the day the Holy Spirit descended with tongues of fire on the apostles and other followers of Jesus. Pentecost is celebrated seven weeks (50 days) after Easter Sunday. It commemorates the “Birthday of the Church.”  Red is the ceremonial color of Pentecost, depicting the color of the flame – and the movement of the Holy Spirit. The ways in which churches celebrate this event in its liturgical calendar are as rich and varied as the churches are themselves. Red flowers might adorn the alters, symbolizing the renewal of life, the coming of the warmth of summer, and the growth of the church at and from the first Pentecost. Music that is especially composed for Pentecost often is performed on this special day. I will sing with a small group of friends. Our song is an example of a Pentecostal message. The words are beautiful:

(Refrain) Send down the fire of your justice,
Send down the rains of your love;
Come send down the Spirit, breathe life in your people,
and we shall be the people of God.

(Verse One) Call us to be your compassion,
Teach us the song of your love;
Give us hearts that sing,
Give us deeds that ring,
Make us ring with the song of your love.

(Verse Two) Call us to learn of your mercy,
Teach us the way of your peace;
Give us hearts that feel,
Give us hands that heal,
Make us walk in the way of your peace.

There are two other verses, each as beautiful as these. If you Google “Send Down the Fire,” you will discover other songs with that title, but the one with these words that I appreciated most is found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wai-9zpmXQY.  The students are listed as LOMC Swing Choir Tour — 2009. Their motions add to the meaning of the lyrics. I have asked what LOMC stands for and am awaiting an answer. Meantime, I encourage you to go and celebrate this Pentecost Sunday with the true meaning of the day. Join these YouTube singers with “hearts that sing” and “hearts that feel.” Move into the world with “deeds that ring” and “hands that heal” as  you walk in the way of Christ’s peace. Be His compassion!

You may not have a Siri button built into your chest. You may not be able to speak in tongues and be understood in all kinds of languages, but you have a love button built into your chest. It was planted there by the Holy Spirit. Go out this Pentecost Sunday and use your love to teach others of God’s mercy and His desire for us  to live together as one people throughout the world – working for peace on earth.

I am only one person and I can’t do everything, but I am one who can make a difference to one. Maybe the one will be you. Happy Pentecost Sunday. Use your love button! God Bless You.

red heart pinback button

Reflections


My confession, admission, and plea to God today is this:

None of us lives to just self alone;
Each of us lives for the other.
Whatever we do, be it rosy or blue,
Reflects on our sister and brother.

None of us sits on the judgment seat.
We’re not assigned to decide
If someone’s dull or bright, wrong or right,
Sending them to a corner to hide.

None of us lives a faultless life,
Though we try our utmost to seek
The humble hill to fulfill Your will
In our deeds and the words we speak.

We stumble and fall and fail to be
Examples of the upright and strong.
Try as we may, we know that someday
We’ll have to account for each wrong.

We’ll each have to stand before Your judgment seat
And review how we’ve spent every minute.
So, Lord, help us give every day that we live
All the love and the grace You put in it.

Help us to generously welcome all
To be part of whatever we do.
None of us lives to ourselves alone;
We always reflect on You.

Amen?

Amen!

Can You Love Life And Be Fit and Healthy?


Can You Love Life And Be Fit and Healthy?.  This blog from goss-coaching.com really hit home with me this morning. If I could double-like it, I would! So, here is my affirmation of the wisdom shared here. Together we CAN do it! Thanks for being part of the sharing and caring community of those who love life AND strive to be fit and healthy!! Click on the link above, read, and BEE INSPIRED!!

Reaching Out


Loving one another requires reaching out. That seems pretty obvious, but it really hit home with me when my niece jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge at age 19. That was more than two decades ago, but it is a lesson I carry in my heart every day. Suicide is such a sad way to leave this earth. It leaves behind so many unanswered questions. It leaves behind so many broken hearts and guilty consciences. The sadness never leaves those of us who loved the victim. The sadness never stops making us wonder what we might have done. The sadness brings with it a sense of helplessness. We can’t go back and redo what was left undone or say now what was left unsaid then. Sometimes the sadness lessens as we put the suicide behind us and look out toward the fair future. The gloomy skies of glaring grace-gaps can be filled with the sunny skies of serenity only if we allow the retrospective regrets to turn into current compassion. The reasons for my niece’s suicide can be speculated, but never resolved, never fixed in her brief lifetime. All I can do now is use the heartbreak of her despair to drive my compassion to new heights. Who needs my smile today? Who needs a sincere hug or a friendly phone call? How can I help dissipate someone’s loneliness? Reaching out via the internet – blogging, e-mailing, posting photos – can go just so far. But a touch goes so much farther. I’m shutting off this computer for the rest of today. I’m headed out to reach out. How about you?

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