Wednesday, May 20, 2015

No Matter What...I Will Trust You

                                  Fear not, for I am with you.

It just seems that this is a time of great change. I'm not a big fan of change under any circumstance, but when multiple changes happen simultaneously, well my boat can be rocked a bit. Or rocked a lot.

I've felt fear creep in, from time to time recently. I've felt like I am sitting back and watching
things happen that I would rather not see happen. And I have no control to change things.
And that is the truth . I have no control.

God does. But I don't.

What I do have control over is how I react to all of it. Those changes that I might assume
are changing in ways I don't like, I can pray about them. I can turn them over to Him, the God I know and love and serve.

And no matter what, I can trust Him.

I gave my life and heart and mind to God when I was 14 years old. I was at Malibu, a Young Life camp.

I knew then, and I still know now, that God loves me. He is here with me. I can choose fear or I can choose trusting God.

I've been processing these changes with my beloved Bert. I told Bert yesterday that I just kept praying all day. In between classes. When I first got up. When I ate something. When I walked down the hall. When I greeted all the students in my classes. 

It's almost the end of the school year. Graduation is soon upon us. Some of my students are fearful they may not graduate. You can almost feel the fear in my classroom.

So I just chose to pray all day. To turn their fear and mine over to the God who loves me.
I gave it to Him.

And suddenly, in the midst of the turmoil at school, a palpable calm descended on me.
I could physically feel it. On my face and in my heart and mind.

I just kept praying and saying these words. 

I will trust You God. I will choose right here, right now to trust you.

And then a song I heard awhile back came to mind.
As I listened to it again, the tears flowed. 
I felt more calm.

I can trust you, God. I will trust You. No matter what.

If you are struggling with fear this morning, you might want to listen to this song.
It's a great reminder of God's love!

God Bless!
Much love!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Only Meaningful Thing We Can Offer One Another...

The only meaningful thing we can offer one another is love.
           Not advice
           Not questions about our choices
           Not suggestions for the future...
                       Just love.
                           -Glennon Doyle Melton, Carry On, Warrior

If I had a t-shirt, and the saying on the front depicted one of my greatest growing edges, the phrase greeting all on-lookers would read...
                                   "Ms. Fix-It!"
The sub-script would read...
       "she optimistically thinks her well-meaning
         suggestions and advice are what is needed."                    

For as long as I can remember, when someone shared a problem or concern with me, my first instinct was to try to fix it and solve it for them. Oh my intentions were honorable, and in some way I imagined I was helping, but truthfully giving advice
can sometimes be a very selfish way to communicate.

"Why is it selfish?", I hear you asking.
Thanks for asking that question.
Here's my answer, short and sweet.

Sometimes when I give advice, the focus of the communication shifts from you, who has a problem, to me... who mistakenly thinks she has the perfect answer.

Okay, not so short and sweet.

Often when I give advice to you it sounds like I don't think you are smart enough to solve your own problem. I am almost instantly disempowering you by subtly letting you know that I have all the answers.

Which I don't.

Truth be told, I hardly even know what the problem is or why you have it when I rush in with a solution.

This has never been more obvious than in my parenting of my daughters, Jessi and Amy.

Our family used to have "family meetings" where we discussed issues, shared appreciations and tried to solve problems. There was a "Family Meeting Agenda" on the refrigerator and any family member could pencil in a topic to be discussed at the next meeting. One week, when the girls were about 8 and 10, I glanced at the agenda only to find that Bert, Jessi and Amy had all written in my name as the topic for that week's meeting.

I was shocked. I tried to pry out of each one of them what the agenda item was about, and I'm a good pryer.

No dice. I had to wait, painfully I might add, until Sunday's meeting.

All three of them were there and Bert turned the floor over to Jessi and Amy. They eloquently expressed how much they loved me and how much they knew that I loved them.

Good and tactful start, I thought...knowing full well that there would be a "but," followed by a comma.

Jessi, being oldest, went first. She lovingly detailed situations where she had wanted me to listen and instead I gave advice, almost before she was done talking.

Then Amy, the truth teller in the family, took the floor. She quietly walked over by me and as she did a giant tear fell slowly down her gorgeous alabaster cheek. I will never forget what she said.

"Mommy, could you please just listen to me. Just listen. That's how I feel loved. Just listen to me, Mommy. Please."

Now for you doubting souls who may want to interject..."Aren't there situations where advice is a necessity, especially with a child?" Yes, of course there are. 

There are times when we have to make suggestions or put down a firm objection. There are times to question choices or look at alternatives. However, there are times when, if you are a really good listener, you can help someone discover those suggestions and advice on their own. 

When they discover that answer, and feel empowered to initiate it in their own life, then they will follow through and make it happen on their own. Or at least that has been my experience.

My girls taught me such an important lesson that listening, before giving advice, can make someone feel loved and cared about.

I wish with all my heart that Amy had never had to remind me again about listening, about not automatically asking questions about her choices or making suggestions for the future. But just as she did as a small girl, with that tear cascading down her sweet face, she again at age 35 reminds me with care and affection that the only meaningful thing we can offer each other is love. Not advice, not suggestions for the future, just love.

So today I make a new resolution. I resolve to honor others by just loving them and listening to them. Perhaps I should save all of that very valuable advice, and focus on improving myself! :)

God Bless!

Love, Linda


Monday, May 11, 2015

Thanks, Mom!

       You will never truly understand
                  who your mother was, 
                 or what she did for you,
                       until she is gone.

Yesterday was Mother's Day. In fact it felt as if this whole weekend was a celebration of being a Mom.
When you walked into Safeway there were balloons and flowers everywhere. People I didn't even know in stores wished me a Happy Mother's Day. 

We had grandchildren over this weekend, and I took them shopping for their Mom. Saturday night we went to a grandson's superhero birthday party, which was also a celebration for Moms.

I could feel my Mom's spirit all weekend. I could see her face in my grandchildren. 

I remember the mother-daughter dresses she always made for us to wear on Mother's day. I bought her a card, like I always do, and while I can't give it to her in person, I just can't break that tradition.

I miss her. I miss her every day. 

A huge piece of who I am came from Dolores Stanbury McColm. Here are just a few of the important things she taught me:

* My Mom had elegant manners. She didn't come off as being stiff and formal, yet she showed such dignity in how she thanked others and showed concern for them. She always sent anniversary cards to her friends, even after their spouses had passed away. She knew that was still a special date in their heart.

* My Mom was so unselfish. She would drop what she was doing to be of help, not just to me but even my friends. It wasn't unlike her to make a meal for the entire freshman Husky basketball team, since my surrogate brother, Mark Bantz, was part of that group.

* My Mom entertained and made it look easy. She decorated her table, often with a theme, had a meal that was both nutritious and gorgeous aesthetically, and she never seemed hassled or nervous to have friends drop in and eat with us.

* My Mom always kept promises. In all of the years I saw her in action, not once did she let me or anyone else down. If Dolores told you she would do it, she did it.

* My Mom put outfits together and always looked amazing. Just as she dressed up a table for entertaining, she put clothes together so they looked

stylish and fun.

* My Mom was smart, really smart. She ran my Dad's business and never missed a beat. Yet she never boasted about her intelligence, she just read everything in sight and had several college degrees.

* My Mom was my most loyal champion. She stood up for me, no matter what. She would have done anything to support me. She believed in me.

While my Mom and I had very different personalities, the core of how I treat people and conduct my life... I learned from my wonderful Mom.

I miss her. Every day. I had no idea, and I mean no idea, how my life was intertwined with hers until she was gone. I am grateful, so very grateful, for her love and guidance and teaching.

Happy Mother's day, Mom! And Happy Mother's Day to all of you Moms out there!

God Bless!

Love, Linda

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