BUILDING BRIDGES INSTEAD OF WALLS

IMG_2088.jpgThe greatest communication skill is paying value to others. ~ Denis Waitley

If I wanted to help someone go from point A to point B, but there was a great divide separating A & B what would I do? Build a wall or build a bridge? The obvious answer is to build a bridge. The person may decide to stand his or her ground on point A, but, this person also has the option to cross over to B. 

Now, say I wanted to help someone go from point A to point B and I build a wall, what happens? I’ve created a barrier. 

I’ve seen a lot of wall builders lately. And if these people honestly wanted to help others to see the other side, they would build a bridge of reason, not a wall of anger and hyped-up fear. I also see wall-building in relationships. Friends who have everything going for them except for one thing—politics. And yet they sacrifice that friendship on the wall. People are actually devaluing their friends for a temporary situation. 

Listen folks, Trump isn’t the only wall builder in this country!

OUR STATE OF MIND? OUR CHOICE!

Watch your manner of speech if you wish to develop a peaceful state of mind. Start each day by affirming peaceful, contented and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful. ~ Norman Vincent Peale

Every election year the same thing happens. If the Liberals win the Conservatives bemoan the end of the world and the coming of the Antichrist. If the Conservatives win the Liberals bemoan the end of the world and the coming of the Antichrist. The four years that follow, the losing side posts divisive things on Facebook trashing the elected president and elected officials who are not of their persuasion.

I get so sick of this cycle and want to scream, “STOP IT!” We are all a part of this country. We need to pull together no matter who is president! What Norman Vincent Peale said in the above quote may seem simplistic to some, but it is true. We need to focus on peaceful, contented, and happy attitudes. AND we need to do this for our fellow Americans. If we must post on social media, then post affirming things. NOT repost hateful, divisive, fear-mongering things that may not, and probably is not, entirely true.

Let us be an instrument of peace to both ourselves and to others. Let’s guard our minds, focus on what we are absolutely certain is true (not rely on the media for truth for Heaven’s sake) and be grateful.

2017. What will our attitude be about it? It is our choice.

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TELL YOURSELF THE TRUTH

Do not walk in the path of human reason, and resist the pressures that would project you into conjectures about the future. Live one day at a time! ~ Frances J Roberts

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Imagine with me a moment. Let’s say you are unhappy with the election. Let’s say you are downright livid, frightened out of your skin, worried, unconsolable. You and like-minded friends talk about all the horrible things that are going to happen to this and within this country. You talk about the might be’s, the what if’s, and the I heard’s. Let’s say you spend the rest of this month and the better part of the next in this stew of emotions.

Let’s say you die on December 12th.

Is this the way you would have  wanted to fill your last days? Anger, fear, worry, depression? The irony of it all is that the misery you and your like-minded friends on Facebook and around the coffee table feared might happen, would have actually happened in your life by your own hand.

We are all given one day at a time. And in that day, we need to tell ourselves the truth about that day. DON’T TRUST THE MEDIA TELL YOU THE TRUTH! Why? Because they have a vested interest in keeping things stirred up.

Stay in the day you are in. If what you fear actually  happens in that day, then you have reason to fret. However, I suggest you find beauty in each day. Instead of contributing hate, anger, and fear on your FB page and among friends, choose to be an instrument of peace, spark kindness, and be a source of life.

Do yourself a favor and tell yourself the truth.

LET THEM KNOW

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The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone. ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

This year has been one with way too many funerals.  Precious souls who have been wrenched from our lives. Sudden. Untimely. Unfair.

At each service while listening to friends and family share how the departed enriched their lives, I’m reminded of a song that states, “Give me roses while I am living.”

Am I doing enough of that? What would I say about someone, about what they meant to me, about their character, and what I really appreciated about them, during their funeral service that I’ve not said to their face?

Now, while they live, it is time to let them know.

TELL ME A STORY…about you!

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The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling. ~ Cecil B. DeMille

When I encourage people to write down their stories the usual replies are:

  • My life is nothing special
  • I haven’t done anything worth writing about
  • No one would be interested, who would read them?

In 1874 a young man kept a day planner. In it he recorded the weather and something he did that day, like picking cotton, going to the cotton gin, or sitting up with a sick friend. He wrote about going to church or eating supper with family. If someone had told him his scribblings would one day be treasured, he would have thought that person was nuts. When 1875 rolled around, he threw his the 1874 planner in the drawer. Over the years the little planner was passed on until it landed in the hands of his great-granddaughter in 2010. She opened it and ran her finger over his writing while reverently reading what he had to say. This was her touching point, her connection, with a long-dead relative. To her, it wasn’t day-to-day ramblings. It was a treasure.

That great-granddaughter is me.

Writer Page Lambert once said, “We cannot change the pain of our past, but we can give health to the future.” We can do this through writing. The difference between what my great-grandfather did and what I do is writing with purpose. Writing to give health to the future. And good news! You don’t have to be a writer to do this. Just tell your stories.

Write about:

  • Mistakes you made, what you learned from them, and how you overcame.
  • Influential people in your life, why they are influential, how they have inspired you
  • Your observations and epiphanies from the historic events that have taken place in your lifetime. Things that have changed or influenced the way we live in the USA, or even the world. Natural disasters, the social media explosion, or modern inventions.
  • Memories made or lessons that can be taken from your hobbies.

You may not think anyone will be interested. But from experience let me say, yes, your stories will be treasured. They are threads in the fabric of humanity.

Your stories matter.

THE BEST GIFT OF ALL

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When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back.Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time. ~ Rick Warren

When I think back over my life, I remember moments more than things. Do you? Things gather dust, grow outdated, break, get lost, sometimes sold in garage sales, or are given away. But when I give my time, moments are created. Those we keep for a lifetime. Giving time gives me rewards, like laughing with my dad. Or the fun I have taking my mom to Mississippi to visit her sister. (My beautiful mom is on my right side in this pic. Her sister is on my left). We talk, we laugh, and solve the worlds problems during that ten-hour journey.

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Watching my children grow into adults and having children of their own are like daily diamonds—a lot of pressure while they are forming, but are sparkling jewels in my memories. Remember that Amanda! Elizabeth is a diamond in the rough!

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And let’s not forget friends. When my soul-tank is empty, they fill it back up. I always want to make time to do the same for them.

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I gladly give the gift of my time to others. because the rewards received back are rich moments that will remain with me throughout my life and grow more valuable with each passing year.

Stuff is stuff. Poof! It’s gone. But moments? They are everlasting. And in the giving is the receiving.

THE LITTLE THINGS

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. ~ Robert Brault

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I remember visiting my grandmother, Cladie Mae Leslie, in Durant, Mississippi. She taught me how to shell purple hull peas and speckled butter beans. What a thrill it gave my child’s heart to discover purple splotches on the creamy white flesh of the beans. How I loved sitting with her on the porch swing on warm summer evenings, swaying back and forth while listening to the rise and fall of cicada and tree frog song. Magnolia blooms perfumed the humid night air. It was a little thing.

In Jackson, Mississippi, the first thing my grandmother, Molly Belle Lowe, would do when I arrived for a visit was to bundle me up and take me to the grocery store. There I could buy anything I wanted to eat during my stay. She taught me to love flowers and trees. I helped her water her gardens. My favorite was her mint patch because the refreshing tang of mint exploded when the spray hit it. I helped her pick figs and after supper we’d enjoy them with sugar and cream. It was a little thing.

At least two weekends a month we visited Granny and Grandaddy Diehl’s farm in Vilonia, AR. Granny let me pet her chickens and gather eggs. Grandaddy encouraged me to help him in his garden, only truth be known? I probably made more work for him. At five in the morning I followed him to the barn to milk the cows. He wore striped overalls and heavy work boots. I wore shorts and flip-flops. I can still feel the cold, dew-covered goose grass slapping my bare legs on the way to the barn. While he milked I hunted for nests of kittens in the hayloft. It was a little thing.

Now that I’m in my early sixties, I look back and realize these experiences were actually big things because they made me who I am today. When I pick up my grandchildren we visit the grocery for treats during their stay. We sit on my porch in the evenings, petting my cats and listening to the frog and night bug’s song. We shell peas or speckled butter beans together and they excitedly exclaim when they find a purple splotched one. They pick fruit from my garden and make cobbler with their grandfather. We visit my hens and after giving them a good petting, the grands gather eggs.

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These are small moments in their lives. Time spent together. Little things. But when they are in their sixties, they will realize, just as I did, how big they actually were.

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