Encouraging Words

I was in bed that day with the flu a few years back. I’m guessing that you all know how that feels. I don’t remember how long I was sleeping, but when I woke I found 2 notes that my twins placed next to my pillow. At that moment, I started feeling better. I don’t know if somehow my antibodies were encouraged to start kicking the bacteria in my body, but I know that their encouraging notes lifted up my soul and adjusted my attitude to bring me steps closer to a full recovery.

Many of us experienced the power of words in this past presidential election. The rhetoric was negative. (When is it not?) The name calling and mud-slinging continues on and instead of uniting a nation has further divided it. You don’t even have to leave home or bed nowadays to get bombarded with negative words. All you have to do is turn on the TV or look at your connected world from the convenience of your phone.

Think about your children. Growing up can be a cruel experience at times. Because our connected world is bombarding our children like we have never experienced before, we should make it our highest priority to make our home the true “safe” place.

Parents, we should be always building our children up. When you first held your child do you remember the dreams you had for him? Do you remember what you promised her? Your words are what steers your child towards his hopeful future. You won’t be able to shield your her from the negative words that will come her way, but you can help her overcome malicious words do tear down. Show them they also have responsibility over their own words.

It starts with you. Your child listens to your conversations about your spouse, your parents, your siblings, your in-laws, your boss, your coworkers, your neighbors, etc. How do your speak to your child? What do you tell him about himself? What do you say when she needs to be corrected about her attitude? When he is asking for acknowledgement about something he has accomplished how do you respond?

I say that the majority of your words towards your children should be with intentions to build and heal. I can think of Jewish Proverbs that comment on the power of words. Proverbs 12:6 (NLT) says, “The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives.” Proverbs 18:21 (NLT) says, “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”

After looking at the picture of these cards, I’m challenged to go beyond the daily conversations I have with my kids and going to send cards to them. Encouraging me kids via text messages are many times timely and convenient. Yet, nothing beats a card sent via air mail. Do you remember the last time, other than Christmas and the local real estate agent, when you received a greeting card in the mail? How did that make you feel?

 

 

Teaching your children about friendships

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” ~Helen Keller

Teaching your children about friendships can be difficult because many of us adults are still trying to figure that part out. I have 3 brief thoughts to get the conversation going, even if it is in my own head.

No one is perfect. No one is perfect except Jesus. Everyone has faults and blind spots in their character. Everyone has a personality traits that can be charming and irritating at the same time… or just irritating. Which brings me to the next thought.

Friends will fail you. They will. No one bats 1.000. All-Stars in baseball bat a bit over .300. That sounds about the right number in friendship. Friends will every now and then make a decision that won’t go your way, like playing with someone else at recess. Show your children their worth. When they know that they are God’s gift it will help them create those boundaries for themselves and how they look at others.

Focus on being a friend. Instead of focusing on what can your child can get out of the relationship and screening classmates and neighbors for the perfect friend, help your child focus on being a friend.

I’ll post part 2 later on in the week. What are your thoughts?

Simple gestures can go a long way

She entered her apartment full of doubts. Doubts about herself. Doubts about everything. Her mind replayed the rejection and unkind words from those who roamed in her hostile world. Disappointment wore heavy on her like a straight jacket. Yet this downward spiral would end before it would rule the rest of the day. Her eyes gazed on the single object on the table. A long unloading exhale and a hopeful smile expressed her renewed hope even if it would be for just a few moments. He left her flowers in a cup.

Simple gestures can go a long way. Think about the ones you love in your house. Sometimes we don’t know what they are struggling with. Spouse had that rough day at work, kids have friendship issues at school. A kind gesture like a note or small gift and even flowers in a cup reminds that person that someone cares. It’s not a “random act of kindness” as the bumper sticker says. It is thoughtful, deliberate, and personal.

Anyone with ideas or suggestions on the simple gestures we can do for our family?

One More Dance

 The guests were long gone

So they returned one more time

And danced until dawn

Thanks for reading my latest haiku. A word to my younger friends getting or wanting to get married. The emotion of love can take you to the wedding, but it is the act of love that will keep you married. You both have to actually do the “I do” part. That involves a determination and commitment to selflessly give every day whether you “feel” in love or not. If the relationship is one-sided now don’t expect it to change… ever.

Sharing Hot Wheels

I showed my buddy, Mike my latest Hot Wheels find after I shot this (yes, I buy Hot Wheels.) When Mike said that it was the coolest Hot Wheels that he had seen in a while, I gave it to him. He responded with bear hug tight enough to make a bear pass out. When my 10-year old daughter saw this picture on my phone she asked where was that Hot Wheel, and I told her that I gave it to my friend. After a thoughtful pause, she grinned and asked, “You gave a grown-up a toy?” I had a similar thoughtful pause, smiled back and responded, “Yes, I did.” Maybe, I should do that more often. I could be like one of Santa’s little brown elves handing out toys to grown ups. “Sharing is caring” is what we tell the kiddos. There’s no age limit to that saying. Don’t you agree? Make it a great weekend everyone!

50

Every year, they sit in the same spot he found her 50 years ago. 50 years ago, they talked and smiled as they gazed over the waters and wondered about what could be. Every year, they return to the same spot to sit together. This day, 50 years after he found her at this very spot, they continue to talk and smile as they gaze over the waters.

Old story. New illustration. Thanks for reading. Your feedback is appreciated.

After the Bliss

I enjoyed watching my wife bring her floral designs to The Big Fake Wedding this past week. I asked the wedding party to pose with the bouquets and boutonnieres, and after I saw this picture I got to thinking about what happens after the bliss. Let’s face it. Marriage bliss is not 24/7 except for the rare few who reside in some fairy tale. (And even in a fairy tale there is an evil queen/mother-in-law messing things up for the couple.) For some, it is not even 24 minutes out of the 7 days of the week.

Those habits and quirks that were once “cute” become irritations.  Gravity mixed with eating over time become bliss killers too. So what is a person to do when the bliss has become more like piss? 

Some of us have issues that go way beyond what a blog post can fix, but at least try this one thing to get on the road to a healthier relationship. Take the “i” out of “bliss” and replace it with “e” to make the word “bless.”

Be good to each other. Do good to each other. When you were dating or engaged, I suspect that you went the extra mile for each other. You probably did more kind gestures. You were probably more generous with your time and money. You were very likely more patient and forgiving than you are now. There was never a reason to stop being that way you once were before. I am not saying anything new. If you want your relationship to change then the first thing to change is you. 

Give it a try. Give it time. Let me know. Ok, time for comments. Chime in and be heard. 

 

 

Walking Together


I see this lovely elderly couple almost every time I’m down here at the beach. A few months ago at this spot, I slipped into my wetsuit to surf, but my zipper in the back got stuck. I wasn’t flexible enough to reach my arms behind me to fix it, and the water was too cold to leave my wetsuit open. I walked towards the water looking for someone to help.

By the time I walked from the parking lot to the water, my friends were already surfing, so I saw the man you see in the picture walking along the beach with his wife.

I approached him and asked him to zip up my wetsuit. He quietly nodded with a hidden smile and zipped the suit up to the base of my neck. In his thick Asian accent he told me, “You need-a wife!” We all laughed at that moment, and his wife continued to giggle as they walked away. I watched them for a minute thinking about these kind strangers doing their daily walk together.

It was good to see them walking together this morning, and isn’t that the point of being married? Walking through life together? What does that look like for you?

p.s. Shelley, when you are reading this, I want you to know that I thoroughly enjoy walking this life together with you.

Notes: Shot with iPhone 6+ iOS camera and edited with VSCO E3. The pictorial version is on Steller https://steller.co/s/4k6typ7AVzS