April 2018 Header

How Do You Like to Communicate?

If we want to develop strong, life-giving relationships, we must communicate with each other, right?

Sounds so simple. So straightforward. So easy. Or not.

For many genPhoneerations people had three main ways to communicate with each other: call on the phone, send a letter, or get together and talk one-on-one.Mailboxes

We now have at least a dozen ways to contact friends and colleagues.

We can still call on the phone, send a letter, and get together in person. But we can also contact people through a text message, a Skype call, a FacetTime call, an email, a Snapchat photo or video, a tweet or direct message on Twitter, a post or message on Facebook, an individual or group instant message on Slack, a message or post through LinkedIn; a message or post on Wattpad, a message or post on on Goodreads, a comment or message on Pinterest, a video message on Marco Polo . . .

I wonder if all these tools actually make it harder for us to communicate. You might really like to text. Maybe your friend prefers Snapchat. These days we have to work hard at figuring out how best to communicate with the people that matter to us. And then we have to communicate. :)

Recently a friend of mine introduced me to an app called Marco Polo (https://www.marcopolo.me) that lets participants leave short video messages for each other. You can then watch the video at any time, and it doesn’t disappear as do videos on Snapchat. When my friend invited me, I muttered to myself, “Not me. I’ll never use this App.” I would MUCH rather send a written email or text—something I can think through carefully and edit several times so that I don’t say something hurtful or stupid.

But then I started thinking about the friend who invited me. She said she enjoys communicating this way. Perhaps she likes it better than emailing or texting. Go figure! And I like my friend and want to stay connected to her.

So . . . I downloaded the app and sent my friend a video message. (The Chief Furry Officer made a guest appearance.) It took me several days to realize that my friend had sent me a video message in return. Clearly, I’m still learning how to use this app! But when I opened her video, I just smiled. What a delight to see the face of my friend in addition to hearing her words. :)

And then I discovered that two twenty-something friends had also sent me video messages. So wonderful to see them and hear their voices again, even if it wasn’t around our dining room table.

My point?

I’m glad I stretched my communication muscles a bit and tried Marco Polo. It turned out to be fun. Because we are all wired so differently, we, of course, have different communication styles. I need to remember that and keep stretching my communication muscles. What about you?

Cheering you on as you communicate and grow your friendships!

 

 

 

 

March 2018 Blog Header

We All Have a Story

 

I raced to the post office late on a Saturday afternoon, hoping to get there before closing time. When I walked through the door, I discovered a line of five people all waiting for one clerk. Aargh! I really wanted to get my package in the mail that day.

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My face must have shown my frustration because one of the women waiting in the lobby turned to me and said, “You go ahead of me. Really, it is fine.”

I smiled, took a breath, and hit a mental reset button. Getting this package mailed certainly doesn’t matter so much that it justifies my ignoring the people around me and acting rudely.

“That is so nice of you! Are you sure?”

“Yes. I’m actually enjoying the wait.”

“Really?”

“I am.”

“Thank you!” I smiled and continued to stand near her. We made eye contact a few times and exchanged a few more smiles. And then she took a step toward me.

“I’ve been taking care of my parents 24/7 for over a year. My dad passed away recently, and then my mom had a stroke. She seems, finally, to be getting better. Today is the first time I have left her alone. I’m enjoying the peace of standing here waiting. I never thought I would say that. And I can’t believe I’m telling you all of this.”

“You have had quite a journey. I helped take care of my mom before she died. I know how hard and also how wonderful it is.”

Before either of us had time to elaborate, the clerk interrupted our conversation to ask me to step to the counter to mail my package. I reluctantly stepped away from that moment of shared story-telling.

I never expected to receive an invitation into a stranger’s world while standing in the line at the post office. But I did. And she did. For those few brief moments, we looked each other in the eyes, listened, nodded our heads, and gave witness to each other’s lives. What a gift!

We all have a story, don’t we? And we all become more whole by telling it. Oh, may I remember this the next time I feel intent on completing a task and someone shows up at my door, or the person behind me in the grocery store line smiles as I’m hunting for my coupons, or . . .

Cheering you on in this journey to live connected!

P.S. I love this video from the Cleveland Clinic that so vividly reminds me that everyone has a story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDDWvj_q-o8&feature=youtu.be

P.P.S  Just can’t resist passing on a recipe. Thought you might enjoy this recipe for Overnight Steel-Cut Oats: Overnight Steel-Cut Oatmeal