{ 3 Things About 3 Things }

shumilov-ludmila-59388One.

I am writing weekly, short spotlights on amazing missionaries, composers and church leaders. Here’s what I *taught myself* as I wrote this week:

  1. Be brave and fearless like Mary Slessor. Care more about loving people than what people think of you.
  2. Have faith like John G. Paton. Press on in your work, even though people around you doubt that God can answer prayer and do miracles. Faith, combined with sweat, dirt and hard work, will be worth it.
  3. What you have been doesn’t mean that’s what you will be.  With God’s touch, people can move from being purposeless jokers to daring, adventurous life-changers, like Brother Andrew. 

Two.

If I had to choose a keyword for 2017, it would be “Listen.” Reading a few books about better listening skills has improved me and ruined me at the same time.  I now have goals when I sit down at a gathering to talk to someone.  The talker doesn’t even have to be interesting.  They will become interesting when I give them the gift of my time and attention; when I immerse myself in what they are saying and see the soul behind it.

But, reading these listening books has opened my eyes. It bothers me now when I make the “listening mistakes”, or…when I feel people aren’t listening to me.

I’ve learned that most people don’t really listen. They often just wait as they get ready to talk at you. It takes self-control and self-denial to listen to someone.

Here are three things I want to remember about being a good listener:

  1. Don’t disengage while someone is talking to you.  Don’t ask someone a question, then drift off or look around. That hurts.
  2. Ask thoughtful questions. It lets people know you are listening, keeps you engaged, and actually makes their spiel more interesting.
  3. When you listen, you learn — about everything. “Everyone is an expert on something.” And, when you actively listen to people, you learn something you never knew before.

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Three.

This is the most difficult. After years of calling myself a Christian, I realized I don’t have enough of the one thing that is supposed to mark a Jesus-follower. Yes, I have the quiet time, the doctrine and the lingo. But I want to love people like Jesus showed me from the Bible. Hating sin is the easy part (when it’s someone else’s sin.) And Christians are good at hating the sin, but sometimes not-so-good at loving the sinner…

  1. Look at people (all made in God’s image) with a Godlike, eternal, loving perspective.
  2. Love God and love people. Show I love God by loving people. Show people I love God by loving them.
  3. Expect God to show up every day in my life.

So…thanks for listening.

Lisa 🙂

Three books that have prompted me to write parts of this post:

  1. The Lost Art of Listening 
  2. We Need to Talk
  3. Why Nobody Wants to Be Around Christians Anymore: How 4 Acts of Love Will Make Your Faith Magnetic.

Photo credits:

Pears — Shumilov Ludmila

Hearts —Jessica Ruscello

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{ Monday: Prayer & Coffee }

dan-gold-195891.jpgMonday means:

  • prayer and....
  • tackling Mt. Laundry
  • corralling everyone into routine
  • cleaning the bathroom with gusto
  • a new homeschool spelling list,
  • geography words,
  • history review and
  • rewriting in my planner the things I didn't get done last week
  • no time for fluff and...
  • lots of coffee.

Fluff

Photo credit: Dan Gold

{ Bravo! }

ron-manke-20667Bravo, God, Bravo!

gods and all angels shout, "Encore!"

In awe before the glory,

In awe before God's visible power.

Stand at attention!

Dress your best to honor Him!

Psalm 29, the Message Bible (paraphrase)

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I sing the mighty power of God, that made the mountains rise,

That spread the flowing seas abroad,

and built the lofty skies.

I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;

The moon shines full at his command, and all the stars obey.ganapathy-kumar-306285

From the hymn: I Sing the Mighty Power of God

lyrics by Isaac Watts, published 1715

based on the scripture Jeremiah 10:12-13

Word prompt of the day:  Gratitude

Photo credits:

Moon– Ganapathy Kumar, unsplash.com

Sky–Jason Wong, unsplash.com

Mountains–Ron Manke, unsplash.com

 

{ Experiments & Eternal Eyes }

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Note in code to my son.

Little boys and their dreams.

His face lights up, telling me about drones, magic tricks, or how he wants to begin a new business fixing things.

This won’t go on forever; someday he will be doing instead of dreaming. So instead of zoning out, tonight I prefer to embrace his experiments and enthusiastic chatter.

My little boy said, “Can I borrow some liquid soap?”

“What for?”

“I want to isolate some DNA.”

Pretty impressive, and found on page 62 of Show Off: How to Do Absolutely Everything. One Step at a Time.

It’s the perfect book for little boys to “amaze, investigate, create, explore, cook, and move.”

Now, they need a mama with plenty of patience and applause as they try, discover, build and do…

Oh Lord, please give me eternal eyes, patient eyes, to remember that my little guy will be little for a very short time.  Help me to nurture his dreams and encourage the gifts You have given him.

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{ Orange You Glad? }

boris-smokrovic-146294I looked up the word of the day, as I always do

(even though the word was ORANGE.)

I looked up its synonyms and its antonyms

(there were no opposites.)

While browsing, I noticed an opportunity to click on something

(which I hardly ever do.)

There were six words to avoid in writing

(and, I guess, in speaking.)

For my own reminder, I will list them here:

OBVIOUSLY

ACTUALLY

LIKE

HONESTLY

BASICALLY

LITERALLY

 

And, just so I don’t neglect the word of the day,

here is a poem about the word

ORANGE.

It’s inspired by one of my favorite poetry books: Hailstones and Halibut Bones, by Mary O’Neill.

Orange 

Child of red and yellow,

This unrhymable and eccentric

Showoff

Shines in the spotlight of

Autumn leaves

Neon

Sports team colors

And blaze orange

Hunting gear

A juicy-fragranced color

Like no other.

Orange.

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊 2017

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Photo credits:

Boris Smokrovic: Butterfly

:Clarisse Meyer: Pumpkins

{ Rainy Day Poem }

danielle-dolson-322889
This poetry challenge:  write a poem made up entirely of song titles.  It’s a rainy day today… that was my inspiration.
I hear thunder

Umbrella

Rain, rain, go away

Who'll stop the rain?  

Wouldn't it be nice? 

Impossible...

Hallelujah!

Here comes the sun

(You are MY sunshine)

Rainbow Song

The green grass grows all around

Tiptoe through the tulips

Oh--

Here comes the rain again.

Photo Credit:  Danielle Dolson

{ Release }

Those Maples.

Teaching me how to release

My grip on what is temporary

Or dying,

And accept life’s changes

With style–

And in a blaze of glory.

(C) Lisa M. Luciano 😉

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.~ 2Corinthians 4:16

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Today’s word prompt: Release

{ School, Senior Citizens & Substitutions }

It’s MEA week.  It’s the week that Minnesota public schools get time off for teachers to attend meetings.

Ava, age 12, asks if we have to do homeschool today.

“Yes.”

“Grandma gets to go to an apple orchard today,” Ava says.

“Senior citizens have all the fun, don’t they?” 

Instead of a trip to the apple orchard, we got a spelling test and the rest of the French and Indian War. And math.

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Practicing spelling words. At least a little more fun when you use neon scratch paper and markers.

Instead of the apples,  Ava (a budding pie-maker) might make a mock apple pie with the green tomatoes we rescued from the garden.

It won’t be such a bad day.

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Pie photo credit.

Express“>

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/express/

{ Humble & Brave }

David was a brave shepherd, an accomplished stone-slinger, and a victorious underdog champion.

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He was a beloved king and a stumbling sinner.
David was winsome, bold and good-looking.
He would have had his face pasted all over the internet if he had lived in this millennium.
But the most attracting and intriguing thing of all?

David was called “a man after God’s own heart.”

(I Samuel 13:14)

What does that even look like—when someone lives to do the things that God cares about?

When someone’s heart is patterned after the heart of a loving, holy God?

 

Besides all this, you would think that a brave, manly king and warrior would be too macho for poetry and a humble attitude toward God.

 

Not David.

 

Here is part of a song he wrote (and sang) after being pursued and saved from his enemies, including the extremely jealous King Saul.

(This is taken from the Bible, and re-written in casual everyday language—like a person’s unplanned, but heartfelt prayer) :

I love you, God—You make me strong.

God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight.

My God—the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout.

 

I call to God, I cry to God to help me.

From His palace he hears my call; my cry brings me right into his presence—a private audience!

They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me.

He stood me up on a wide-open field;

I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!

From Psalm 18, the Message Bible

Brave

Word of the Day: Brave

 

{ Warning: Snack Avoidance Can Lead to Snacking }

I left the house with a protein bar, bottles of water and a cup of coffee.  I was determined to eat light tonight.

I wasn’t even thinking of food while scurrying around GoodWill, trying on black boots. (I’m always trying to find black boots.)

The returns and the library stop kept me busy.

I even made it through every aisle at Aldi.  (I turned over a teeny package of almonds at the checkout, but resisted.)

I entered the doors of my favorite upscale grocery store.  This is a dream spot for anyone seeking to enjoy free wifi — a lovely area with tables and booths, virtually empty post-dinnertime.

You feel like you should buy at least a token item, if you’re going to sit there at a booth.

I pulled down a can of my favorite sugar-free sparkling water.

peach

It went downhill from there.

Peeking around for a small high-protein snack, I discovered the bulk foods section.

Yes, there were high-protein choices….but there were various other offerings…

  • …such as these delicious little critters: chocolate covered cinnamon bears. I finished off a very small bag. bears
  • I can never resist licorice Allsorts.

    allsorts
    I tried to scoop just a few of each kind, but got several more than I bargained for.

 

  • I needed something savory, so I added Asian cracker mix to my basket.

    asian mix
    The kind I bought included peas…so I got my veggies at least.

Tomorrow we’re going to make a stop at Trader Joe’s.

Just to stay accountable, here are the things I will not even look at!

  1. Those amazing dark chocolate-covered peanut butter cups at the checkout.
  2. Equally amazing dark chocolate covered almonds.
  3. Frozen mango mochi.  But if my daughter buys a box, you know I have to help her.
  4. Ditto with frozen chocolate-covered banana slices.

Feeling slightly defeated as I finish off my sugar-free sparkling water,

Lisa 🙂