May 2018

Navigating the Storms

We have had stormy days and nights here in the month of May. Maybe you have too.

We always know when a storm is coming. The Chief Furry Officer (Ringo) grabs his stuffed duck and paces around the house with it in his mouth. And then about 45 minutes later, the rain, thunder, or hail begins. We have thought maybe we should set up a Ringo-cam and share his IMG_1266 (1)insights on Facebook.

He must feel the storm deep in his little body somehow, even before we can see or hear it. He feels it so deeply that he shakes all over.

I don’t share Ringo’s fear of storms, at least when I’m inside my comfy house. I don’t so much love them when I’m driving on I-80 with semi-trucks passing and splashing.

At one point on a recent trip home from Ohio, the rain got really intense and I muttered to John, “Maybe we should pull off.” My level-headed husband said, “Check the radar.” I did and realized that in ten minutes, we would be out of the path of the storm. We decided to keep driving.

Hard to know how to react in a storm, right? Especially when the storm has to do with your heart. Maybe illness or doubt or frustration or uncertainty or other people’s choices have created a hail storm of sorts within your heart lately.

Maybe you feel like saying (as I did on I-80), “Let’s stop. I just can’t do this anymore. I just want to curl up and sleep and sleep and sleep.”

Maybe you feel like just blasting your way through this storm, foot to the gas, hands gripping the steering wheel, jaw tight.

Maybe you have discovered the joy of the buddy system in the storm: “I’m nervous about this storm. Can you help me navigate it? Can you stay with me and talk to me?”

Later on that same drive back from Ohio, we hit another patch of rain. I was at the wheel while John snoozed. But this time I didn’t feel that instant urge to get off the road. Hmm . . . .

What happened? Was the storm less severe? Maybe.

But I had also spent the previous ten minutes listening to worship music and turning those words into prayers of gratitude to God. So when I hit this current rainstorm, I entered it with a heart full of gratitude and a heart fully aware of God’s presence.  What a relief! It didn’t make the rain stop, but it did give me perspective by reminding that God sees and knows all and can do far more than I can ever ask or imagine in any storm.

 

Life this side of heaven will have storms, even if we all move to sunny southern California. Let’s use the buddy system and help each other through them.

Cheering you on as you navigate the inevitable storms of life.

P.S. I discovered a new recipe for potato salad with crab and olives. Delicious! Check it out here: https://pin.it/kqu4x3u6n4kfbb

Thank you, Falecia Sanchez, who recently made this for us one stormy night in May.  :)

 

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!