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Don’t You Remember

There are some songs that really stick with me. This one posses a question that many hearts ask and for many there is no answer.

When will I see you again?
You left with no goodbye, not a single word was said,
No final kiss to seal any seams,
I had no idea of the state we were in,

I know I have a fickle heart and bitterness,
And a wandering eye, and a heaviness in my head,

But don’t you remember?
Don’t you remember?
The reason you loved me before,
Baby, please remember me once more,

When was the last time you thought of me?
Or have you completely erased me from your memory?
I often think about where I went wrong,
The more I do, the less I know,

But I know I have a fickle heart and bitterness,
And a wandering eye, and a heaviness in my head,

But don’t you remember?
Don’t you remember?
The reason you loved me before,
Baby, please remember me once more,

Gave you the space so you could breathe,
I kept my distance so you would be free,
And hope that you find the missing piece,
To bring you back to me,

Why don’t you remember?
Don’t you remember?
The reason you loved me before,
Baby, please remember me once more,

When will I see you again?

Who do you think of when you hear this song? Who thinks of you?
Do you remember?
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1-2 Punch

So, you made it through yesterday and have arrived at today without the countdown, the confetti poppers or the champagne. Yesterday is history. But was it memorable?

Kicking off my year of questions yesterday I was greatly encouraged and blessed by the response. With permission I am sharing one of them as today’s guest blog. I’d like to introduce my sister, Linda Humbert. She is the mother of 3 and a proud grandmother. She has served her country in the Army and now serves the artistic community as a major supply resource.  Until yesterday I had no idea she saw me the way she describes. It was an unexpected blessing and her question was really good. I hope it gives you as much to think about as it did me.

I’d love to hear your answers to….

 

I have a question for you. It’s a little long in the explaining, but worth it.

Who is in your arsenal? And what weapon are you in others weapons cabinets?

At Kevin’s funeral Ron compared Kevin’s battle with alcohol to David and Goliath. How through the power of God he won the battle against a larger and stronger foe. After the funeral I went up to the woman he used to be with before me. She is the one who saw him through getting sober. She never really understood how the new woman in his life could be okay with their strong friendship. I think she finally understood when I put my arms around her and told her that if the booze was his Goliath, then she was the slingshot. And I told her that I love her for helping Kevin be the man I fell in love with.

During our lives God has given us His armour, but He has also blessed us with an outstanding arsenal!!! One of my favorite weapons is the woman who is asking questions this year… my big sister! When life hits me with an atom bomb she’s been my bomb shelter. When life throws stones she is the baseball bat that hit them out of the park. When the rains come down, she has been the umbrella keeping my head dry, even when I’m up to my neck in the flood….

There are other weapons in my arsenal… some that I’ve had to let go, because the weight of them drug me down more than their firepower was worth… that doesn’t mean they didn’t do the best they could, just that they weren’t designed for my particular battles, but I hope I’ve been an effective weapon in their weapons locker.

So…. my question is: Who is in your arsenal? And what weapon are you in others weapons cabinets?

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A Year In Questions

While it’s true every year and every day that we don’t know what lies ahead the year we are all facing seems to be dragging some pretty heavy luggage this time. And with that luggage come a lot of questions.

About 25 years ago I was introduced to a woman who changed the direction of my journey and not only said questioning was good, she built an entire ministry based on questions.  Learning Inductive Study was a major foundation for exploring what I believed because it was what I was taught and what I believed because it was Truth. As you can imagine there were some huge discrepancies.

This past week a wise woman asked a question. She had gotten the blogging prompt from WordPress about focusing on writing about one thing for the next year. Wise Woman asked what the bloggers she was addressing would choose to write about if they narrowed it down to one focus. Without much, if any, hesitation I knew my theme would be questions.

So for the next 366 I will be asking questions. Some you may want to answer and others you may want to ponder and keep the answer to yourself. The goal isn’t to necessarily find “THE ANSWER” but to learn to ask better questions.

You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers.

You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.

  Naguib Mahfouz

So each day I will pose a new question. I would love to hear your answers and see what the questions are prompting not only in your thoughts but in your actions. I will be adding a special page to list all of the questions in case you miss some or want to go back over them.

Starting off with a big one…

Have you prepared for tomorrow today?

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Better Q & A

I’m taking some online courses to finish my college degree. The actual material isn’t very difficult but the “discussion” questions are frustrating. I understand the purpose of questions in this situation is to verify the student has read and even possibly comprehends the information presented but the art of questions seems to be a lost, if ever acknowledged, art.

Conversational questions that begin with “Do you want…” can be answered with “Yes” or “No”. Simple and straightforward. But if you add one more word to those same three little words it becomes an open-ended question “What do you want…” that can lead to discussion and further information.

Nothing shuts down the flow of communication faster that a closed question unless it’s a vague question. “Do you not know…” Huh? When a simple “Do you know…” leaves the respondent able to formulate a fitting reply rather than decipher what the actual question is.

Written questions present their own set of challenges in that you can’t actually hear the tone or see the expression that goes with the words. Leading questions that are clear enough to direct the respondent to the desired answer may be so full of the answer itself or so incredibly obvious that it leaves the respondent nothing to add or with a sense of futility. The flip side of that coin are the questions that are so broad the respondent has no clue what the questionnaire is trying to ascertain.

At the same time I am taking the online classes I am over seeing the independent study program my teenage daughter is taking through the local school district. This morning I was going over the written responses to the assigned reading passages for her Language Arts assignments. The answers were well thought out but incredibly short. After reading the questions I was impressed she was able to write as much as she did.

I am also teaching a study through Genesis right now. This is my fifth time teaching through this material and each time the emphasis has been different. This time the thing that is really jumping off the pages for me personally are the questions God asks. He asks some very open-ended questions.

“Where are you?”

“Who told you you were naked?”

“Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

“What is this you have done?”

“Why are you angry?”

“Why has your countenance fallen?”

“Where is your brother?”

“Where have you come from?”

“Where are you going?”

“What’s the matter with you?”

Later Jesus shows the same inquiring facet of God’s character with some very open-ended questions.

“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”

“Which is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk?”

“What do you want?”

“Who do you say I am?”

We’re heading into a new year and a big question is “what are you going to do with it”? Before you start searching for answers. I would encourage you to really take a long hard look at the questions you are asking.

What is the first question that came to mind?

What is the question you have been carrying around in search of an answer for the longest?

What one question would you most like to have a solid answer for?

Find better answers…Ask better questions…

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God Provides

So last night I went to print out the words for the first night of Hanukkah and was so low on black ink that the words didn’t show up. Moving the menorah to my office and reading the words off my computer screen was a nice private moment  of prayer and quiet.

Imagine my “surprise” this afternoon when I opened my desk drawer to find an index card to write the words on for tonight and found not one but two ink cartridges!  Don’t tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. I can almost hear Him chuckling and see the big smile on His face.

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Can You Hear Me Now?

There is an illusion that communication is easier now than ever. I don’t buy it. Sure we have more ways and faster ways of communicating but as any blogger or marketer will tell you “Content is king!” And I think the king is dead.

A hundred years ago if I wanted to tell you something I would track you down and tell you to your face. The faster version was to tell the neighborhood gossip who would do that for me but for the most part communication was personal. Then the ease and speed of the telegraph made it possible for messages to be delivered long distances. The original twitter, most were kept short and the details left out allowed for vast amounts of imagination and fear to fill in those missing points.

The telephone simplified things, didn’t it? Instead of tracking you down I could just ring you up and without having to look in your eyes I could let you know what I was thinking or tell you what I thought you wanted to hear. It was so much easier not to have to look at you when I told you I was “too sick” to come to work or that I’d love to be there but just couldn’t make it.

The answering machine made communication even more remote. “I’m too busy to talk to you so leave a message and I’ll get back to you when I’m good and ready if at all…BEEP!” We didn’t have to talk anymore. Phone tag became acceptable.

Even the art of putting pen to paper has been over run and impersonalized. One look at my penmanship addressing Christmas cards made me realize just how lazy I’ve become. Words I write often flowed smoothly but the names and addresses I write once a year were halting and in one case so illegible the post office returned it undeliverable.

Now email and voice mail have been reduced to texting, mostly done on “smart phones”. How smart are they really? Built in auto spell has been responsible for many humorous messages sent when the sender was in too much of a hurry to actually read what the phone predicted the message was going to be.

Skype and Facebook and all the lesser social connections don’t come close to replacing the personal interaction of face to face over coffee or lunch or a clothes line. Anybody remember the look of the backyards on a summer day when not only your towels but your underwear was  dancing in the warm breeze along with the rest of the neighbors?

“Status” is so easy to hide behind. In some ways I think it’s the ultimate poser shield. It may say “Available” or “On line” but the truth is so often “Multi-tasking” or “Distracted”.

As the pressure and emotion packed into this week every year begins to build I wonder if above all the noise, among all the ways to communicate, with all the possibilities if we haven’t lost something. I know I have. There is a song (isn’t there always?) that has been on my playlist a lot lately.

If you are reading this, I would love to hear from you. I would love to have coffee and hear your story. I would love to hear your voice on the phone at the very least. And if you honor me with a real letter I will answer with my own pen to paper.

Tell me ’bout the good old days.

 

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What if the Hippo won’t wear the beach thong?

Perspective is a very tricky thing. It is not possible for any two people to see anything exactly a like. Their journey and personality and preferences just make it impossible to match up exactly. Ask any two witnesses what they saw and the things they remember are different. One can tell you the color, make, model and year of the car. The other will be vague on the vehicle but can describe the tatoo on the right forearm of the passenger in the back seat because it was hanging out the window with a cigarette half smoked.

There is an old Indian proverb about walking a mile in another’s moccasins. But if you ever try walking in anyone else’s shoes your feet will quickly let you know that the shoes have conformed to the owner’s foot and your foot will not change that. But it may show you why your friend or foe walks the way they do.

 

Just something to consider as you walk through the day in your own shoes. Snarf!

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Help Wanted

 

In my life I have had some great and some not so great role models. My first official mentor fired me. Her replacement taught me some very valuable lessons.

One of the ones that stuck with me the most took place while we were painting an office in the church’s new building. We had just finished rolling the first coat of paint when a guy popped in and said “You missed a spot!” Now, I think he was just trying to be funny but I will never forget what my mentor did. She handed him the roller and said, “Great! Take care of it.” Then she turned to me and said, “Ready for lunch?” We came back an hour later to find he had rolled the whole office with the second coat of paint. With a genuine smile she told him, “Thanks for seeing the spot and taking care of it. I really appreciate it.” And the thing is…she did.

As the next leg of my journey gets under way I am looking for the sage who will walk the road with me pointing out the spots I miss and maybe handing me a paint roller or taking me to lunch. Over the past 5 years I have met some incredible candidates and am excited about what mentoring will look like and bring about in the coming months.

Thanks, Sharon, for the painting lesson and so much more.

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Editor or Agent

I am amazed at the number of writers that have come into my circles over the past few years. Several are published book authors and many are honing their skills and finding their voices by putting out blogs on a semi-consistent basis.

Yesterday I spent some time working on a project of my own and wondering what I will eventually want to do with it. The most obvious path would be to try to get it published or maybe to go with my first publisher FastPencil and just get it out there. Then came the distracting decisions of format and distribution. Keep in mind I haven’t finished writing. Which brought me around to the next question.

As a writer, would I rather have a really honest editor or an aggressive agent? Or maybe an aggressive editor and an honest agent? Anyway…I only know one editor from a distance and no literary agents at all. I’m at the level where editors and agents are a faint distant vision who’s looming shadows are more of a distraction to actually writing than to getting anywhere with a finished book.

So my question to you is, where do you find yourself in your creative process? Are you ready to turn it over to someone for a serious shakedown? Are you ready to put it into the hands of someone who sees it as a product to market and you along with it? Are you still crafting away in stolen moments of creativity and inspiration snatched from the demands of everyday life?

If you were given the gift of a professional this Christmas, knowing this would impact next year in a major way, would you choose an Editor or an Agent? Would you want someone who helps you get better or get out there?

One way or another you are writing the story of your life. Make it a good one.

 

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Deviled Egg Dance

At 7:15 this morning I was informed that deviled eggs were expected at the Independent Study potluck today. I had exactly 2 eggs in the refrigerator and school started at 9.

A quick run to the store and dropping my favorite teen off with the promise I would be back at noon with said eggs freed me up to return to my quiet home and recharge my personal batteries.

I love homeschooling. I will miss it next year when she heads to high school and joins the main stream of her friends and public education. But right now, the two days a month she goes to class are my time to decompress. By nature I lean heavily toward the introvert end of the scale and time to myself is necessary for my heart and the well being of my family. And that brings us back around to the eggs.

As I was putting them in the water I notices a strange behavior taking place. When I put the first eggs in they were all laying on their side taking up the most space they possibly could. It didn’t change the amount of water they displaced but it did impact the surface area on the bottom of the pan. Being a round pan, the eggs quickly formed a natural circle following the outer limit of their new space but as more eggs were added they started standing up on end making room for more new comers until the outer circle was shell to shell. The inner circle followed the same pattern, shell to shell. And when those two circles were completely at capacity I noticed the egg in the very center had room to lay down.

Now when the  water started to move the eggs on the outer and inner rings were  held snuggly by each other’s close proximity but the egg in the middle began to dance a bit. It had some room to move with the water and, yes, even risk being cracked by bumping into the less mobile eggs.

So much to learn…yes, it’s good to make room for others in our lives but not at the cost of loosing our ability to move. I hope I am always willing to get up to make room for others but I also hope I always make sure there is room to move and breathe and dance and risk cracking my shell.

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