Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Listening’

Celebrate Palm Sunday


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Celebrate Palm Sunday with branches

Like the ones His disciples laid

Across His path in Jerusalem –

A path on which our sinful debts were paid.

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Let each branch represent

A deed you’d like to see undone.

Give all regrets to Jesus, and

Lay those sins upon God’s Son.

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He knew as He was riding in

Upon a humble donkey’s back

That He was headed to fulfill

His earthly purpose – that’s a fact.

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With that triumphant entrance,

He willingly trudged Golgotha’s Hill.

Today Holy Week is beginning.

Receive its message. Heed and listen.
… Heart, be still.

I listened to the sermon in church this morning,
and as usual, I took notes in poetry.
Here is what I “took away”
from Rev. Jean Johnson’s message:

 

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“Commitment”
– reflections on Luke 22-23

Pageantry and wildly waving palm branches
Are not the acts that really matter.
Palm Sunday is about the difference
Between Christ’s commitment and our chatter.

People were involved as Christ entered
The city of Jerusalem to die;
But their focus soon returned home.
They forgot Jesus, abandoned Him without a cry.

Commitment is a hard road to tred.
It requires we stay when we’re through.
Stay beyond the time we think we’re done.
Tenacity’s hard for me and you.

Sometimes when we feel abandoned,
The emptiness of our heart makes room
For the One who never left us.
He is there through our joy and in our gloom.

Christ gave His all on Golgotha Hill.
He died for us, for our salvation.
We need to walk that path with Him;
Live the pain, know the cost, delay elation.

Our faith voyage leads through Jerusalem.
We must walk the way of the cross.
Walk in commitment to Calgary,
Suffer the insults, and know the loss.

Amen?

Most Useful Asset


We each have assets.
What’s your most useful asset?
Think for a moment.

think outside of the box

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Could it be your looks?
Might it be something you own?
Some talent, maybe?

Give it some thought.

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Here is what one person said:

Heart:ear:hand

Does your head agree?
How’d your heart respond to that?
Ear and hand – ready?

What’s your most useful asset?

Be Led, Not Driven


The Purpose Driven Life

I have an affection for Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life. It has so many words of wisdom – and it helped me as I was trying to define my purpose for living. I had recently suffered a burst appendix and had almost died. Prayer, God’s grace, a skillful ambulance driver, and a careful surgeon gave me back my life. I looked earnestly for clues about how I might live purposely for God to thank Him for my survival.

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This book of Daily Inspirations is a complement to The Purpose Driven Life. I used it as a devotional and as a journal, writing in the margins and at the top and bottom of the pages each day.


Soul Feast

But recently I read a quote by Marjorie J. Thompson in her book, Soul Feast.

Thompson wrote, “I admit I do not care for the language of ‘driven-ness’ in recently popular books and seminars…” She went on to explain “… it is significant that the Bible likens us to sheep, not cattle.”


My Haiku

Giving overtime thought to Marjorie J. Thompson’s  quote I wrote the following Haiku:

Live from a posture
Of profound trust and deep love
Be sheep, not cattle

 

Deep Conversation

My husband and I had a deep conversation about life and death, purpose and the difference between being led and being driven. When I am weary, Jesus leads me beside still waters. He refreshes my soul.

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Cowboys here in Montana drive their cattle to the next pasture and farmers in Switzerland drive their cows in the springtime up to fresh grass from the lower meadows where the beautiful animals have spent the winters.

agriculture alps animal background

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But Bob’s point as my hubby discussed the difference between being driven and led, was that cattlemen drive their cattle for the same reason shepherds lead their sheep. They have their best interests at heart. (Well, they may be driving them to market!)

There is a connotation to the word “driven” in our American culture. It seems to imply push-push-push, a relentless effort toward getting to the top.

 

Hope for the Flowers

I was reminded of a book for adults and others (including caterpillars who can read)  titled, Hope for the Flowers, by Trina Paulus. It was copyrighted in 1973, but it is as pertinent today as it was then (and it still is available on Amazon.com).

As I recall the story, the caterpillars in this clever little tale are climbing over the top of each other, creating a  “caterpillar pillar.” One little creeper is on the outside edge, getting tired of the climb, wondering if it’s worth it. She asks a fellow climber as she looks at the daunting distance to the top, “What’s up there, anyway?”

“Just other caterpillars pushing each other off so they can be on top,” her climbing companion explained as one of the fuzzy creatures came tumbling down and crashed to the ground.

(How sad, huh? I am fascinated by these wonderful creations and their metamorphosis.)

caterpillar close up hairy insect

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Right about then the disillusioned climber caught the eye of a beautiful butterfly cruising by. “Climb on down,” he encouraged. “Spin yourself a chrysalis, rest inside, and eventually you will emerge a butterfly like I did. Then you can join me.”

(Of course those quotes are from my memory, not the actual book. I loaned it out to someone…. don’t remember who… but I have ordered a new one. Hope for the Flowers is a terrific book to have on hand as a reminder of my journey!)

Moving Down the Administrative Ladder

I discovered this beautiful, child-like, but profound, paperback when I was working as a curriculum coordinator in the district office at a school district in central California. My office was waaay too far from the children. I had been an elementary teacher for over 20 years and the principal of a K-6 school with over a thousand students for nearly a decade. The “caterpillar pillar” (that ambitious climb to greater “success”) led me to the district office. I knew after only about three weeks that it was not where I belonged.

I stuck it out for two years. Did the best job I knew how. Wore at least a half a dozen hats (Federal Programs director, language arts and music coordinator, in-service leader for new teachers, mentor for new principals, etc.) I learned a lot, and am glad I did it,but generally, I was not happy. My love & my gift was teaching children and helping “my staff” grow to be their best selves. I loved the interaction with the students, the teachers, and the parents.

As I climbed back down the “pillar” and announced that I was going back UP to the classroom (as soon as I rested a year and earned my butterfly wings), I was told, “What are you doing? That’s the wrong direction!”

Some warned, “You can’t go back down! People will think you’ve been demoted!”

“Yes, I can,” I insisted. I slid into my chrysalis, listened to The Voice of Reason and Transformation, rested, and devoted more time to my family, myself and my God.

I emerged a happy butterfly and was led back UP to a group of first graders. At the end of that year I led them on to second grade. What joy! I still hear from some of those children twenty years later. Several of them are my Facebook friends!

Best move I ever made!!

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The Voice

Contemplative time
Creates vessels of vision
Hear the “still small voice”

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Let God fill you up
with new creativity
Receive fresh insight

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I encourage you
To let contemplative time
Be a microphone

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Let unstructured time
Be a transformative time
Listen to The Voice!


Take time to rest.
Build your chrysalis.
Listen to your heart.

Find your True Purpose!

You may want to consider getting Rick Warren’s, The Purpose Driven Life,
and the accompanying inspirational/journal:

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and look for Hope for the Flowers. It’s out there…

Be Led, Not Driven

Kind Words


Kind Words

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Mother Theresa was the first

who said something like this:

“Kind words can be short

But their echo

Lasts Forever.”

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  • Come in
  • Thank you
  • You’re welcome
  • I’m sorry
  • You’re forgiven
  • I need you
  • I’m praying for you
  • He hears
  • I’m listening
  • I care
  • I’m here for you
  • Join me
  • I’d love to

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Can you add to the list?

What kind words

Have you spoken today?

What kind words

Have you heard today?

How did you respond?

Do you hear the echoes?

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  • Come again soon
  • I love you!

Heartache


The Hearings

The heartache

Of yesterday’s

Dying day

Will live on

In our memories

As cinders

In the heap

Of society’s sorrows.

Why Pray?


God directs your path

When you take time to listen

To His Voice in prayer.

Hah! You thought I was gonna write something about how God answers your needs when you speak to God in faith, right? Well, that’s true, too. Especially when you believe God is here; God hears; God loves you and wants what’s best for you; God answers.

But, the main reason I pray is not to speak and request. The main reason I pray is to listen. In my silence, God speaks to my heart.

My day goes better if I take time to hear God’s Guidance before I begin the hard task of living intentionally today.

Prayer is not a one-way street. We are never alone when we pray. As Charles Stanley wrote in his devotional for today’s reflection “In Touch” magazine, prayer is “… a divine appointment with Almighty God.”

Do you keep that appointment daily? Do you invite the Holy Spirit in? Do you listen and absorb as the Creator creates in you a new spirit of love, joy and peace to guide today’s footsteps?

Take time to pray before you begin each day. Take time to listen. Keep that divine appointment!

God bless you.

95 Years of Life Lessons


Living Fully Every Day

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My 95 years young friend, Carol, was in the hospital. Her face lit up when I walked in. It was a joy to see her. We chatted about her recent birthday, the family who came from far and near to celebrate with her, and about my trip this year to visit our daughter and grandkids in Switzerland. I shared that one of my grandsons may come to live with us for a time – and how Bob & I look forward to sharing life with him for awhile.

I told Carol, “With eight decades of living under our belts, we find joy in sharing some of the pearls of wit and wisdom we’ve picked up along the path.”

I asked Carol if she would share some of her life lessons with me. I don’t think I was prepared for the depth of her sharing. But, as soon as she began, I knew I was in for a treat. I grabbed a paper and pen and asked her if she would mind if I took notes. Carol used to be a writer, too … but she finds it hard to set pen to paper these days. So, knowing I love to write, she grinned widely, and nodded.

“Here are some things I have learned as I’ve grown older:

  1. Life softens.
  2. Things aren’t so urgent.
  3. I can fall in love at all ages.
  4. Life constantly changes – be open!
  5. It takes judgement to realize the possibilities life holds.
  6. We’re happier if we count our blessings.
  7. Our lives become more dimensional with years.
  8. Love is huge!
  9. We all must take responsibility for ourselves and our actions.
  10. . Life comes together in a natural and beautiful way.”

I read her list of life lessons back to her – choking up more than once in the process of doing so. Such wisdom! Such articulation!

“I want to be you when I grow up,” I told her. “I hope I can learn and internalize those lessons as beautifully as you have done.”

Carol and I hugged – and as I left her, she called after me, “It all comes down to living fully every day.”

May you, my dear blogging friends, live fully every day, too. Reach out to a loved one and ask, “What have you learned as you’ve grown older?” Their answers may surprise you.

Share one of your life lessons with me today.

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