{ Just Listen. }

listen“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” —Bryant H. McGill

I knew I needed help with my listening skills, so I picked up a book by Michael P. Nichols, PhD. It’s called The Lost Art of Listening.

He says, “Listening is so basic that we take it for granted. Unfortunately, most of us think of ourselves as better listeners than we really are.”

Listening is key to connecting, understanding, and knowing another person.

Why is so hard to listen to others; to be totally engaged while another person speaks?

This is especially true:

–If we don’t agree with what they are saying.
–If their words make us angry.
–If they are taking lots of time to say it.

Listening requires true patience and unselfishness, which can be lacking in the best of us 🙂

Experts agree that good listening makes all the difference between poor communication and healthy conversations.

With that in mind, here are some things I want to work on to be a better listener:

  • Watch body language. When I focus on the talker and look at someone’s eyes, it shows I want to listen.
  • Cut out distractions. And don’t squirm, roll my eyes, tap my fingers or look at my phone while someone is talking to me. Don’t act like I have something better to do, even though I might….

[Okay, what about if your little boy wants to tell you the (lengthy) dream that he had last night? It’s okay to say, “Can you wait a few minutes? There’s a fire starting on the stove…” or…”Why don’t we sit down and write this out later? Then you can read it back to me and you’ll have it forever!”]

  • Listen the talker have his say. Resist the strong temptation to interrupt with a similar story or disagreement. There will (hopefully?) be time for your side later.
  • Ask thoughtful questions.  Before taking your turn, make sure you have understood her point of view. 

Finally, here are some inspiring quotes about listening:

There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.~ Simon Sinek

Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery. ~ Joyce Brothers

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.~ Doug Larson

You can’t fake listening. It shows. ~ Raquel Welch

It’s not a coincidence that God gave us two ears and only one mouth. ~Epictetus

Word Prompt of the Day: Coincidence“>

{ Lavish Loops }

priscilla-du-preez-101759 (1)Loop: a structure, series or process, the end of which is connected to the beginning.

This is the word prompt of the day, and I read a fitting verse in my Bible today.

It’s a verse that makes me think of a loop; a reward given that is connected to action that came first:

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness and honor.

Proverbs 21:21

This is a common principle in the Bible —and in the natural world.

  • What we sow, we will reap.
  • What we plant, we will harvest.

It’s a worldwide idea found in folktales, fables and culture.

But I love how God’s Word takes it to a new level.

Take the above scripture. When we pursue righteousness and kindness (two things), we will find life, righteousness and honor (three things.)

We gain interest– a bonus.

Another amazing Bible promise:

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

Here’s one more looping verse:

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed.

Proverbs 19:17

Our God is a generous God. He makes our cup run over. (Psalm 23)

He doesn’t ration His love, His forgiveness or His blessings.

Walking in obedience with the Lord is one lavish loop after another.

 

©  Lisa M. Luciano 😊

Loop“>

{ Soul Food }

aaron-burden-113284I talk to myself.  Do you?

Sometimes I am not very kind or truthful.

David (the B.C. songwriter, animal handler, dancer and king) talked to his soul.

He encouraged and reminded it. He fed it healthy soul-food.

Like this-man-after-God’s-own-heart wrote in Psalm 103, I want to re-fuel my soul with refreshing words:

  • Bless the Lord! Bless His Holy Name!
  • Don’t forget all the Lord’s benefits!
  • He has forgiven all your iniquity!
  • He has healed all your (soul) diseases!
  • He has redeemed your life from the pit!
  • He crowns you with steadfast love!
  • He crowns you with mercy!

Not from the inspired Word of God, but still humanly inspiring are words from Catherine Von Schlegel’s 18th century hymn Be Still My Soul:

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

 

©  Lisa M. Luciano 😊

Relieved“>Daily Word Prompt

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

{ Create & Re-Create }

I have always loved to create things. Why?  Because I was designed by a creative God. I am made in His image.

Lately, my joy is to gather discarded, recyclable clothing.  Then, I make and sell new and usable items, such as:

  • cozy stuffed critters
  • warm wool mittens
  • useful market bags
  • soft scarves

This mirrors my gracious Creator as well.  He is constantly reworking clay-like raw material (like me) and crafting something useful (and even soul-beautiful) that will point people to Him.

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. — Isaiah 64:8 

cashmere cozy scarf
Cozy neckwarmer made from a cashmere sweater
hearts
Kids heart mittens constructed from wool sweaters
download
Tooth fairy pillow made from a vintage tablecloth and cashmere sweater cuff

Create“>

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

{ Triumph }

 

alexander-s-kunz-116989

Sin-stung at birth, I'm 

Waiting for a makeover 

And timeless triumph


©  Haiku ♥ Lisa M. Luciano 

1 Corinthians 15:54-55
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, 
and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying 
that is written: 
Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? 
O death, where is your sting?"


Triumph“>

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

{ Upside-Down Adventure }

IMG_20170528_074110.jpgThis is how we encourage writing with our kids:

1. My child has some event that seems worthy enough to tell mom about. It could be a happening with other kids, a sad movie he saw, or a dream, etc.  I tell him to write it down, and I will type it out.  We do this often.  Sometimes, I re-write it as a news report, poem, or article. (Good writing practice for me.)

2.  At the end of the school year, I collect these informal pieces, plus the reports and essays they have written for school.  We deliver these to Office Max, where they assemble the papers into a spiral bound book. It’s cheap: $3 – $4, depending on the book thickness.  The result:

  • a record that we have accomplished something for the school year
  • a memory book of stories, dreams and events
  • a way to show student progress in writing ability, year by year
  • something special to set on their graduation open house table.
  • a reason for grandparents to smile
  • a feel-good addition to our homeschool

My son’s recent tree adventure prompted this writing activity:

Marco’s version:

One day, I climbed a tree.  The tree was tall. It had a lot of branches. I was getting a view of the house and the road.  When I was getting down and my foot could not reach the branch, then I slipped.  And I was hanging upside-down.  I yelled for help.

Ava came first. She saw my leg, stuck in the tree.  She held onto me, so I would not fall into the stinging nettles.  Soon Gino came.  He pushed me back up into the tree and I got my foot unstuck.  I climbed out of the tree and put my shoes back on because they had fallen off.  Then I said “thank you” to Gino and Ava and I walked back to the house.   The End.

Mom’s version:

A nine-year old boy narrowly escaped impact yesterday when he hung upside down from a tree branch until rescued by siblings.

Marco regularly climbs the same tall basswood tree on his rural Midwest property.

“I like it because I can see the whole house and the highway when I’m way up there,” he says.

From an upright position, Marco doesn’t fear heights.  But yesterday, when he fell head first and dangled by a caught foot, he was afraid no one would hear his cries for help.

“I started to climb down, but I slipped. I yelled for help, but no one came at first.”

Ava, his eleven-year-old sister, was the first to hear him.  She ran over and held on to him, so he wouldn’t fall into a patch of stinging nettle plants. Gino, 16, followed, lifting Marco’s foot clear of the branch.

The relieved boy gathered his fallen shoes, thanked his siblings, and ran back to the house.

Shaking, Marco told his story to the rest of the family.

“I’m thankful I didn’t fall into the stinging nettles. God protected me.”

~ Lisa

Survive“>

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

{ Impression }

 

thoughts

Impressions aren’t necessarily truth.

According to the dictionary, an impression is:

  1. A strong effect produced on the intellect, feelings or conscience.
  2. The first and immediate effect of an experience or perception upon the mind; sensation.

I had a conversation with someone yesterday. My impression was:

  • This person is being negative.
  • This person is being insensitive.

I chewed on this impression as a cow chews its cud. Chew, swallow, bring up, repeat.

As the day wore on, this thought-food was getting sour.

So, after much chewing, I decided to focus on what I know for sure:

  • This person loves me.
  • This person wants me to grow.

I can choose my food-for-thought. I can choose what I chew.

So —

  • When I read a *cold* e-mail or text–
  • When I hear a tired comment from a family member —
  • When I am the recipient of an abrupt remark —

— I won’t chew on the impression. I will dig down to find truth. I will give the benefit of the doubt.

Because impressions aren’t necessarily truth.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8. –written by the Apostle Paul, who was imprisoned at the time.

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

Impression“>

{ A n c h o r e d }

IMG_20170521_220338.jpg

It feels liberating to say, “I’m the captain of my soul. Unmoored. Free.”

But feelings deceive us.

There is good reason for a ship to have a captain. There’s a good reason for a ship to have an anchor.

What happens when a pounding storm assaults your life?

The answer to that question will tell you if you have an anchor that will keep you from sinking.

Priscilla Owens wrote the Christian song, “We Have An Anchor.” It asks a series of thoughtful questions. God’s Word gives us answers.

  1. Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

  1. Will your anchor hold in the straits of fear?

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” –2 Timothy 1:7

  1. Will your anchor hold in the floods of death?

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” —I Cor. 15:55-57

  1. Will you anchor safely by the heavenly shore?

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” — John 14:3

 We have an anchor that keeps the soul

Steadfast and sure while the billows roll;

Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,

Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

If you are anchored in Jesus Christ, you are anchored in the perfect place.

“…we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope…” — Hebrews 6:18,19

~ Lisa

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

Unmoored“>