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Special Effect

superpower Have you ever noticed how some people seem to get the good seats every time? The best parking places, tables at a restaurant, or just the permission to go where others cannot? I am not one of these people, but I am married to one, and it’s a great perk to join in with a person who has access. People allow him to go behind the curtain, or upgrade his hotel room, or tell him about some great deal that is only available to some.

And then there are those who can simply suggest an idea and before long it becomes a reality. You know this type; excited and excitable, kind of a cheerleader who can motivate the hearts of others. A person who has influence tends to have people around them most of the time, just waiting to see what’s going to happen next. We have a child with this tendency and it is fun to watch the wake.This person is often successful in sales.

There is another type that seems a lot like one with access, but it is the person who is often let in to the hearts and minds of others. This one is allowed to speak into people’s lives because they have permission to do so. You will often find this type sitting off to the side of a large group, talking with one person at a time, either giving encouragement or saying hard things.

Finally there are the people who take command of a situation, who speak in proclamation, not in questions and make statements with confidence. People rely on the one with authority to take a stand and point the way, bringing clarity and either relief or frustration to those around them. This person is often polarizing because they have the ability to see all the issues and comment on them while others are still processing the situation.

Which of these tendencies describes you best? This isn’t really about personality, it’s more of the effect you have, and I believe these are areas of strength that we use all the time, but not always for good. Have you noticed that you are allowed information or special circumstances more than most? You probably have access. What can you do with it? Do you find that you need to be careful endorsing ideas publicly because others are taking notice? That sounds like influence. What can you do with it? Maybe you are the type who people open up to and share their deeper hurts or fears, even those you don’t know well. That would be permission. What can you do with it? Or perhaps others rely on you to lead the charge and speak for them. This could be authority. What can you you do with it?

We can use these super powers for good or for our own good, it’s a daily choice.

Behind Every Great Man…

great

What were you thinking??

Are you serious??

I just don’t trust you.

Three statements that can crush a man. There are many more, but they all share similar characteristics; from the woman they love, these words inflict wounds that do not heal.

I don’t think most women understand how much impact we have on our men. There are so many jokes floating around about selective listening and how men tune out our words, but I think they listen very carefully. At least, early in the relationship I am quite sure of it. Over time they may feel forced to close you out in order to survive.

Your guy is looking for support, encouragement and grace that only you can give. He doesn’t need judgment or doubt, he hears that all day already. When he shares a crazy dream for your future together, instead of telling him all the reasons it won’t work and belittling his ideas, say something like, “I don’t think I understand. I’d like to hear more about that.”

When he asks if he has what it takes, instead of using the opportunity to share your doubts in his abilities, try, “I believe in you.”

And when he messes up and asks for your forgiveness, instead of reminding him of all the past hurts inflicted, respond with, “I forgive you.”

I have talked with so many men over the years who share that they feel paralyzed with doubt in their own abilities, afraid that they do not have what it takes. The difference can be the words that you are speaking into his life, detailing his strengths and potential.Your response to your man is incredibly powerful, that saying, ‘behind a great man is a great woman’ should be, ‘behind every great man is an encouraging woman.’

It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife. Proverbs 21:9

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

What Does She Want for Valentine’s Day?

img_2378Guys…..if you’re starting to feel some pressure from all the Valentine’s Day ads but have no idea how to proceed, I think I can help. You have the universal question looming right now….what does she want from me? Okay, here we go….

1. She doesn’t want you to ask her what she wants. Ever. If you have to tell someone what to get you, it doesn’t feel like a gift. And honestly, there’s a good chance she doesn’t expect something specific. She wants to see you looking confident and like you have this one covered. Seriously.

2. More than likely, she doesn’t want you to spend a lot of money. She is aware this is a cheesy excuse for a holiday, but deep down a token of your affection is much appreciated, even if she says otherwise. Want some ideas? If she normally secures the sitter, you do it, and have a plan for the evening that involves something she prefers. Or send her for a manicure and pedicure while you’re home with the kids. Or sign her up for piano/foreign language/cooking lessons – anything she has mentioned before that she is interested in. Or list out the Top 10 things you are most grateful for in your wife and read them to her over dinner in front of the kids, teaching them how to shower someone with love. Or buy her something in her favorite color and tell her why you chose it, and notice when she wears it.

Bottom line: she wants you to hear her, to see her, to love her and to know her. And then she wants you to communicate it back to her. And you thought we were complicated!

17,828

 

steph

 

My college roommate died last week. She left behind a thriving marriage and two children still living at home. Cancer hounded Steph for years in different manifestations and proved to be too powerful to fight any longer. We made a pilgrimage back to the state where we had attended college and witnessed the funeral along with at least 600 people who felt the pull to show up and honor Steph. Only one other person was a representative of those college years as far as I know, but I talked to many people last week who wanted to be there, but for various reasons could not attend.

 

 Throughout this painful time I have tried hard not to make it about myself; I wanted to support the family and honor my friend, to help bring closure and complete any gaps in time of her life. As I was sitting in a packed church, unable to see anything up front but with a perfect view of strangers of all ages who had come to say goodbye, I was struck by the impact that this woman had made. She lived 17,828 days, at least 20% of them with a cancer diagnosis or the threat of another scare. And she encouraged those around her with her positivity and strength over and over again. I have many stories of Steph telling me about a new symptom or diagnosis over the years and quickly following up with being so thankful to see her kids for as long as she had. I know many other people would say something similar.

 

 17,828 days. I didn’t want to make this about me, but the way Steph spent her time on this earth has caused me to consider my own. What are you doing with your days? What impact will I have with mine? Over the years my roomie taught me so many things, and I’m thankful to still be learning from her now.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

 

 

 

 

 

Bloom

 

lilies

My children sent me flowers this week, it was a belated birthday present. I’m not certain why the timing was off, but have you ever known a Mom to question a gift from her kids? They are well aware that Stargazer Lilies are my ultimate favorites, and I received a vase full of tightly closed lilies two days ago. I  set them on the kitchen table, the very place each of them would expect them to be. I work at this table most of the day, and now have a fresh floral fragrance and a promise of impending beauty.

At this same time my college roommate is actively dying. Cancer has hunted and chased her for eleven solid years, and she is exhausted with the fight. My heart is broken because I have loved this woman for 30 years, because I believe we need more people like her here and most of all, because she has a precious family who be forever changed. I could list so many reasons why my roomie is special, but for now I am holding most of those close. Sacred.  

I look up from the screen and see the biggest bud of them all facing me, and I could swear in the past couple of minutes it has made a subtle transition. It’s definitely going to open soon. It makes me think of my Steph, who is going to bloom even more beautiful than ever, as well.

I think I understand why the flowers came this week after all.

Do You See Me?

seemeIn tenth grade our daughter decided to become a rugby player. Our sweet, creative, incredibly dramatic daughter who is not terribly athletic wanted to play a violent game that we knew little about. We had some reservations, but went to the team meeting and entertained the idea. Somehow she convinced us that rugby was her sport, and she began practicing, learning how to be tough and strategic within a team.

Several weeks went by and our girl was an actual rugby player, on the field in a real game! As her parents, we stood on the sidelines at each game and cheered and cringed while watching young women work very hard to move an odd-shaped ball down the field. Once, we witnessed our sweet whimsical daughter make a tackle that would make any football player proud, leaving the opponent down on the ground for a few minutes.

When the game was over, our warrior ran towards us and literally jumped into her Dad’s arms while screaming, “Did you see me?” I can still hear the crack in her voice as she asked the question, it was so important to her at that moment. We both told her about it from our perspectives, proving that we had seen every second of her gamesmanship.

We all want to be seen. Over the years our children have asked this same question, but often in different ways; sometimes they act out, are hilarious, are sullen, are too big and loud for the room to contain them, or move around the edges of that same room, daring us to notice.

As parents, it’s our job to see our children when they excel and when they fail, but also in the everyday muddling of life. As believers, it’s our responsibility to see those that God has placed in our lives at work, while running errands and within our spheres of influence. While talking with these people, let the question rise up, Do you see me? Then do everything you can to prove that you do.

Know Your People

communication

I am meeting with my boss in a little while. He doesn’t really seem like a boss, it’s a part-time job that I get to do from home, exactly the kind of work I need to do to keep me busy and fulfilled and I’m working for my best friend’s company. My ‘supervisor’ is the President of the company, who is also a close family friend, but he is still my boss and should be regarded as such on a workday.

Anyway, we haven’t talked in weeks and I have several ideas I want to pitch to him. But I’m not sure how to go about it. I know this guy really well, but I don’t know how he receives ideas and information best. I’m still getting to know him in this arena.

Think about your people, the ones you interact with most and need to communicate well with; what do they need from you in order to understand best? One of our children must read information in order to process it, hearing it does little to no good, while another child must hear it, the written word seems useless. Also, one child needs time to sit with a new idea before making a decision while the others can roll with new information as it comes in. My guy needs facts and figures and if possible, a recommendation from an expert to help him make a decision, while I bank on my feelings and intuition.

I had a professor in grad school who recommended when getting to know a new professor or boss, to ask their preferred mode of communication; some prefer email while others like phone calls or text messages. Communicating with someone in their favorite way can make a big difference in how the information is received. Last week my guy and I were walking in a cold, fierce wind and he started to say, “Hey, I have an idea…” I cut him off immediately and said no idea would seem like a good one right now, could he wait until we were warm?

We need to know how best to get a point across to those we interact with most, and maybe even let others know the best way to communicate with us. If you leave me a voicemail you can be very sure I will probably never hear it, unless you are one of about six people on this earth. But if you text me, there’s a good chance I will respond very quickly. We’re all different, know what your people need from you.

As for my boss, I emailed him my ideas and we are talking in the next hour. We’ll see which way works for him!

 

 

 

 

 

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