People need loving the most when they deserve it the least. -- John Harrigan

I do not know John Harrigan or the context of this quote, but it is a challenging thought.  It is so easy to love people who are easy to love!  Cute kids, loving spouses and lifetime friends are easy to love.  They make us happy; we enjoy being around them and loving them.  More challenging to love might be the demanding and unfriendly boss or the self-centered co-worker.  And then there are the homeless, the sick, the chemically dependent, and the criminals.  What makes them deserve love?  Possibly those who need it the most are those who we truly do love, but because of the current circumstances we might not feel them to be deserving.  Consider the misbehaving teenager, the angry friend, and the betraying spouse.  It may be the hardest to love those close to us when they have wronged us or misbehaved.  Biblically we are called to love, not just those that are easy to love.     


Wet Blanket Feeling

Four months into the pandemic and I have had enough.  We are just now seeing it peak here in Texas and I am so over it.  I feel like there is this wet blanket hanging over all of us.  It is depressing us in ways that we are unaware of and, making it worse, there is no end in sight. It is clouding our future plans and hampering decision making.  The negative impact on our outlook and mental health is something we have never dealt with before.  Sure, we are putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.  We are adapting and surviving. But, I feel like it is just hanging over us and weighing on us more than we know. 

Early in the pandemic one MMM was about the fact that it is okay to not be okay.  As the pandemic drags on and hangs over us, we need to be reminded of that.  There is a reason we may not feel motivated.  There are days we will be in a funk.  Until the COVID-19 wet blanket is gone we will not feel totally normal. 

We must peek out from under the blanket and take positive steps.  Don’t be suffocated by the circumstances.  We don’t know when, but there will be an end to this, and we will get there! 


Take a Breath Before You Speak

The strategy itself is remarkably simple.  It involves nothing more than pausing and taking a breath or two before you respond to someone who has just spoken to you.  At first, the silent gap may seem like an eternity, but in reality, it amounts to only a fraction of a second of time.

Observe the conversations around you, you will notice that many of us are simply waiting for our chance to speak.  We are not listening to others, but simply waiting for an opening and the opportunity to express our own viewpoint. Truly listening requires patience and discipline.  Don’t miss the opportunity to hear what is being said because you are planning what to say next.

This harried form of communication encourages us to criticize points of view, overreact, misinterpret meaning, and form opinions, all before our fellow communicator is even finished speaking.  No wonder we are so often annoyed, bothered, and irritated with one another.  With our poor listening skills, it is a miracle that we have any friends at all!  Are you listening?  Does this ring a bell?

No need to worry that you won’t get your turn to speak, you will.  In fact, it will be more rewarding to speak because the person you are speaking to will pick up on your respect and patience and will begin to do the same.  

Portions taken from Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, By Richard Carlson, Ph.D.


Happy Independence Day!

We live in a great country!  Sure, we are currently facing some challenges, but freedom, independence, and opportunity abound in the United States of America.  This past weekend we celebrated independence.  What does independence mean to you?  Obviously, we were not around when this country was under the rule of the British.  So, what does it mean to us to have independence today?  Consider the ability to speak your mind freely.  What about our freedom to worship as we choose?  We can also live, work and travel wherever we want in this great land.  These are fundamental liberties that we often take for granted.  You do not have to spend much time in other parts of the world to truly understand the meaning of independence and more specifically freedom.  The few freedoms that I mentioned above, are not available in many parts of the world and those are just a few that we enjoy.  We are free because of the foresight of our founding fathers 240 years ago, and because of the protection provided by our armed services for all those years.

I hope you enjoyed your Independence Day! Do not forget what it really means.