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.

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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.

WHAT MY OLDER SELF WOULD TELL MY YOUNGER SELF ABOUT LIFE

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Do a self-evaluation often. Things will happen in your life, giving rise to harmful emotions, which will have the potential of destroying relationships, causing you to make bad decisions, and could be harmful to your health. Evaluate the things causing you stress, making you angry, or offending you and ask yourself, will this really matter to me this time next year or will I be kicking up dust about something else?

It is not important that everyone agrees with you! If you feel the need to argue, then you, yourself, are not convinced. Peace and confidence comes from a made-up mind. You know where you stand and the opinion of others does not shake you.

Focus your mind and energy on things that really matter. To do this you must know you. What is your core value? What is it that you would miss the most if you lost it? Imagine yourself at the end of your life, looking back, what might you have done that would make you feel most fulfilled? What memories would bring you joy?

Make a list of these things and then do the things on your list. Don’t waste your time debating about things, which, in the end, make no positive impact on your life. Be very careful about politics. Be water. Reflect on all opinions. Give grace to those who have points of view different from yours. Go with your core value.

Regret can be good if it is a turning point in your life. Regret is unbearable if at the end of your life it is your constant companion whispering “If only.” “I wish I had . . .”  Life is fragile as fine crystal, but we treat it as if it were tempered steel, careless and without thought when we drop it. When you are young you think you have all the time in the world, but age doesn’t matter in the game of life. Death takes all at every stage. What would you regret if someone you know was suddenly taken from you? What are you putting off that you know you should do?

Fix it now! Do it now!

In the end, I pray you will be rich. Not necessarily with things, but with what you have done to help others. Be like a dandelion seed head. When someone blows on you, spread seeds of inspiration.

As the saying goes, we cannot take things with us, but the things we have done for others will take root and flower. And that is what really matters.

Patience with Their Journey

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Life is a journey. God is patient.

As a young man C.S. Lewis abandoned his Christian beliefs and became an avowed atheist. His lifestyle was one that raised more than a few Christian’s eyebrows. They shook their heads, pronounced judgment, predicted his destination, and then added, “I will pray for him.”

What they didn’t know was his heart. They didn’t know his pain. They didn’t hear him pleading in the night for God to spare his mother from death. And when his mother died, in his pain he decided there was no God.

But life is a journey and God is patient.

The life-path of C.S. Lewis led him back to God and he became one of the greatest Christian apologists of our time.

There was a young man, Denny Ezell, who did not live the conventional life. He had a hard time fitting the mold society made for young men. As he struggled to fit into that mold and not being able to, he made a lot of bad decisions. These decisions affected his family and friends. His mother cried herself to sleep many nights. More than a few Christian’s eyebrows went to their hairline. They shook their heads, pronounced judgment and predicted his destination if he didn’t straighten up. Of course adding, “I will pray for him.”

What they didn’t know was Denny’s heart. They didn’t know his conversations with God. They didn’t know his struggle to be the man God created him to be.

But life is a journey and God is patient.

Denny’s wife and four children had moved to a tiny community in Louisiana. Denny joined them and in that little town he found God’s path. In the short time he lived there, he impacted the people of that small town with his love for God, people, and life.

Less than two weeks ago Denny died from a heat stroke.  He was only 32. But in his short life, his love for God and people triumphed over any bad choices he had ever made. At his funeral, the little church in his community burst at the seams with mourners. I attended his memorial in North Little Rock, expecting around 75 people give or take. There were 550 people. 550! You see, he loved others without judgment because he understood their pain. Denny could relate to their frustrations, disappointment, and struggles. He was a trophy of God’s love and grace.

Denny offered hope.

Why am I writing this? Because there may be someone in your life who has been consigned to the hottest part of hell because of the way they are currently living their lives. I know I do. And I suppose that is why I’m so sensitive to this. Even though the scriptures teach the opposite, it is so easy to put sin on a scale making one worse than the other and from that we shake our heads, pronounce judgment and predict the outcome, never forgetting to say we will pray.

But do we? Really?

Two of my sons made very insightful observations. Charles asked me once, “Aren’t you glad that God released us from the burden of judging others and instead told us to love them.”

I am glad. Very glad.

But Linda, you may be thinking, we are to expose sin. What I have to say about that is there is a fine line between judging and discerning. In judging the attitude is one of self-righteousness. In discernment, we are truly concerned, our hearts are heavy, our mercy is tender, and yes, we DO pray—earnestly.

My son Rob reminded me that we are on a journey in this life and it is up to God when He intersects that journey and sets us on His path. Pastor Dick King said, it is all about God’s love and His love story for us. We are all a part of God’s love story.

So remember, life is a journey and God is patient. May we grasp this truth and be patient with those we don’t understand, those who walk to the beat of a different drummer, or whose lives are offensive to us. And for those of us who have someone in our lives who are the cause of eyebrows arching, may we find hope in this truth.

My Source?

This spring started out dry. Oklahoma-dust-bowl dry. I’ve been soaking the garden, and my flowers, herbs, and veggies have hung in there instead of wilting like Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West. That said, it didn’t thrive either. Thank goodness the temperature hasn’t been hot.

This week it began to rain. It thundered. Lightning flashed. And my garden? Looks like a jungle. So what is it? Water from a hose helps it limp along. Water from the Heavens makes it grow lush and fruitful.

The source makes all the difference. The same is true in life.

In times of struggle, I have to ask myself, from which source am I drawing from? This earth or from the Heavens?