Category Archives: LIFE-SHARING EXPERIENCE

WRITE IT DOWN.032416

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“There is something positively supernatural about writing things down.” Tex (from a letter to my kids)

Well, as you already know, I’m not much good at setting goals.  I’m more interested in fulfilling my role(s).  But all the wise men say, and I concur, that if you wish to reach a goal, or achieve some great thing, or be some memorable person, you’ll get there quicker and easier if you write it down.  Actually, it seems to me that the mere act of writing it down makes it come to pass.  Any idea is more real if you write it down, and the more detailed you make it, the more real it becomes, and the more likely it is that it will come to pass.

And this applies to little every day things as well as for big, long-term goals.  You all know that I make a list of things to do every day, and I update my list every morning.l  It amazes me how often things on that list get done without my ever consciously thinking about them again.  Try it for 21 days.  That’ll make it a habit.  You’ll be amazed too.

I don’t get mad much anymore, (thank goodness), but you know I used to get mad a lot.  If it was a small simple thing I’d holler and get it out of my system, (which I occasionally still do), but if it was a big complicated issue, and I was having a hard time being heard and/or understood by my opponent, then I’d write a long, forceful letter and say all those things I couldn’t think up in a normal hollering match.  And then I’d actually GIVE the letter to the other person.  I guess that’s where I got the reputation for writing “mean” letters.  Later on, I stopped giving the letters to the victims, because I figured out the purpose of the letters.  It wasn’t to convince the person to think or do things my way.  It was only to vent my wrath.  But writing the letter had the great side effect of getting rid of the anger and helping me figure out what was really important, if I got to talk about that topic again.  The moral is: write long, irate letters if you must, just don’t mail them.

In conclusion, I believe there is something positively supernatural about writing things down.  Try it and see if you don’t agree.

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UNDERSTATEMENT.030216

Isaac Newton       [From a letter to my kids]

I read somewhere that if you are asked to tell something about yourself, it is always better to say as little as possible.  If there is something about you that’s worth telling, somebody else can tell it, and it will sound a whole lot better coming from them than from you.

And if you are supposed to get an award for something you’ve done, make it a point to give all the credit to someone else.  Like your husband or your wife, or momma or daddy, or your teacher or boss or mentor.  Like Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the sholders of Giants.”  It’s especially neat if you can give the credit to the little people; like people who work for you; or your kids.  If you hunt a little, you can always find the right person or people to give the credit to.  If you’ll humble yourself, the Lord’s gonna lift you up. (James 4:10)

Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln (both of them) said that when you give a speech in English, use English (Anglo-Saxon) words, like hit, or run, or eat, or bite, or talk, or feel, or love, instead of long French-Latin based words like masticate, or orate, or agitate, or literate.  The short words have more meaning, more impact, and they stay with you longer.  In this case, as with the other, less is more.

As far as I know, the art of ‘kidding’, as taught by our forbears, is mostly the art of understatement; saying something is less than it is, just for fun and just for effect.  With folks that like to talk as much as we do, it’s hard not to talk, so it really is good to use the art of understatement.  As you know, I have a hard time doing it, but as I get older, I try a little more each day.  It’s not so much thinking about every word you say as it is a feeling in your heart.  If you humble yourself, the Lord will give you the right words to say. (1 Pet 5:6)

Talking about Talking: 030116

Happy portrait of grandparents and granddaughter“A man’s words are a mirror to his soul.” Unknown. 

“It is not what goes into a person’s mouth that defiles them.  .  . but what comes out of their mouth that defiles them.” Jesus of Nazareth, Matt 15:10; (paraphrase)

[From a letter to my kids, 1995]

“I just don’t know what to do with people that won’t talk. It’s hard for me to deal with them. People that talk a lot, which includes most everybody in my family, are easy to read. They tell you a lot about themselves.  If they’re not talking, they must be sick, or mad at somebody. 

“There is nothing more fun and pleasurable than spending an afternoon or evening solving the world’s problems with somebody who enjoys talking and listening. It helps your mental, emotional health. When necessary, it’s a legitimate and inexpensive alternative to a psychiatrist or psychologist.  Personally, I enjoy a ‘highball of an evening’, with my talking companions, but the highball is not required.  Tea, cokes, or red Koolaid will substitute nicely.

“In Ireland of old, next to the kings, the persons held in highest esteem were the bards, who were the government supported combination priests, historians, and storytellers. Some say that the oldest uninterrupted literary tradition in Europe was the orally maintained and transmitted stories of the Celtic Bards. Those folks raised talking to the level of an art, a science, almost a religion. That’s where we came from, a long and uninterrupted line of talkers. Talking is in our blood, so in choosing what you want to do in your life, find something that involves talking. You’ll enjoy it, you’ll be good at it, because you’ve got it in you.

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but talkers get extra attention, and they often end up being leaders, because they don’t mind telling people what they think.  It is a big responsibility, so don’t take it lightly. You have a lot of influence just because you talk, as long as you know what you’re talking about, and you have love in your heart. Always remember to use your influence for good. Really, that just sorta happens, because that love in your heart comes out.

“Talking is one of my favorite pastimes. It’s good cheap entertainment. You can do it anytime, any place. You can even talk to yourself.” 

SMALL GROUPS FOR JESUS 3.111115

drinks, communication, friendship and people concept - happy young women with cups sitting at table and talking in mall or cafeThis is my last post about “small groups for Jesus”, at least for the time being.  I just have a few more comments to make.

1] In my opinion, small groups are like family; they’re not about enforcing rules, and everybody being disciplined; they’re about letting God’s love flow through you into other people.  You may not believe this, but I’m convinced that almost every single person is acutely aware of their short-comings, and what they really need, on a regular basis, is encouragement and moral support.  (I find a lot of support for this attitude throughout the Bible; call it grace and mercy)  Small groups are, and should be, about sharing and expressing the fruits of the Spirit; and while self-control is one of the fruits and is therefore important to God and should be important to us; it is the very last thing on the list.  Wonder why that is?  (I don’t even know if there IS a hierarchy of the fruits, but I hear a lot more about love in the Bible than I do about self-control.)

2] One of the central, indispensible ingredients of a small group is trust.  Continue reading

SMALL GROUPS FOR JESUS 2.111015

aerial view of family eating pizza at homeThere are a lot of “small” groups in the world, where people get together on a regular basis.  I’ve been a member of a number of them, such as a foursome for playing golf every week.  You get  to know the guys.  You enjoy their company.  You tell jokes.  You catch up on what’s happening in their world, how they’re getting along with their wives and their kids, their bosses and their employees.  In a lot of cases you are closer to them than some members of their own families. And you have the benefit of a little fresh air and a little exercise. (very little) Maybe you have a beer in the 19th hole.

My mother had a long-standing relationship with a bunch of girls she formerly taught school with.  They’d get together and play bridge every week.  None of them were championship bridge players, but that wasn’t the point.  The reason they got together was to share their lives with each other. When they were down they could call each other on the phone and get a little encouragement.  When they were up they could have a special meeting to celebrate.  You know it’s a great thing to have a husband and some kids to share your life with, but the girls in the bridge club are an indispensible part of a full life too.  There’s just some things you can’t, or don’t want to, share with your husband.  LOL Continue reading

SMALL GROUPS FOR JESUS.110915

Group Of College Students Sitting And Talking Together

Where I come from small groups (especially ones for Jesus) are a relatively new phenomenon.  I guess when I was younger, we had small groups, but nobody called them that, and most of us didn’t recognize the benefits that arise from being members of one.  My first introduction was when I went on a “Walk to Emmaus”, and they talked about being a member of a “Reunion Group”, which was defined as: 3-5 people who meet together once a week to review how they’re doing in their walk with Jesus; to answer one or more of seven questions about things like: 1] Closest moment to God; 2] Discipleship denied, 3] Discipleship confirmed, and a few others.  They called it an “accountability” group.  That always sounded like you had a list of things you were supposed to be doing, and the other members of the group were supposed to hold you accountable, if you fail to live up to your duties as a Christian.  I almost didn’t join a Reunion Group because of the crushing weight of being held accountable.  However, it turns out to be a lot more about love, and a lot less about accountability.

I’m a member of three “small groups” now.  Two of them would loosely fall under the umbrella of Emmaus Reunion Groups.  The other one I’ve been having with my daughter (and a few others) early on Saturday mornings for more than 10 years.  Now that group includes my favorite son-in-law. It’s the best of the lot, even though the others are truly a blessing as well.  Continue reading