Bullying, Christian Maturity, Confronting Our Differences, Life Lessons

CHALLENGING BAD BEHAVIOR

Winter Blues

The three doves arrived together. Attired in sedate grays, charcoal, and taupe, they reminded me of Victorian matrons gathering for high tea.

Doves

While one hung back on the rail–perhaps watching for a friend who was to arrive separately–the other two waddled directly to the bird feeder and happily helped themselves.

Happily, that is, until the larger bird began to stalk the other aggressively.

Who can say what started it?

Perhaps her companion told her the truth about that dress making her rear end look big. Or maybe she took the biggest sunflower seed–the very one the Queenie had her eye on. Continue reading “CHALLENGING BAD BEHAVIOR”

Authenticity, Blessings, Christian Maturity, Conversations, Life Lessons, Listening

LET’S DO LUNCH

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Do you like to go out to lunch with friends?

I do.

After I retired, I ate out a lot.

A. Whole. Lot.

During one period, I repeatedly ran into our new minister at restaurants all over town while he was getting acquainted with church members.

One day, he said, “Dorothy, you must eat out every day. Everywhere I go, I see you.”

I’m pretty sure he rolled his eyes when I laughingly quipped that was because I had a Lunch Ministry.

A MINISTRY OF LUNCHES

It’d be a big stretch to say I have a lunch ministry in the sense that I’m an all-wise counselor. I’m not. But in another sense, there are times, I’m a pretty good listener, and we all need a safe place to talk about what’s bothering us.

 We learn which people are safe–which people will keep our confidences–by experience.

ARE YOU SAFE?

I wish I could say I’ve always been a safe listener, but sadly, I remember two specific instances in junior high when I let friends down after they confided in me by telling another friend. Looking back, I think it was because in both situations what I heard was too much for me to handle on my own.

But I should have gone to an adult instead of sharing it with a peer, who unfortunately passed it on to someone, who promised not tell but did–you know how that goes. Offering apologies afterward felt inadequate.

However, I learned from my failure. After seeing the pain I caused–and having borne the brunt of other people’s loose lips myself, becoming a trustworthy confidant became a lifelong pursuit for me.

HEART CONNECTIONS

God seems to show up when we honestly share our lives and faith over a simple meal. And although we rejoice at one another’s victories, I’ve come to see that it’s seldom our accomplishments that bind us together. More often, it’s when we dare to share our fears, failures, and pain that we form strong heart connections.

642a7-heart2bchainThrough the years, I’ve been the recipient of encouragement and good advice as often as I’ve listened. Some of my most precious friendships grew from such times.

These days, I’m more likely to meet for coffee than go out to lunch. Oh, wait a minute–I did go out to eat twice this week and gathered for coffee once. So I’ll just say, it’s not what we consume or where we get together that counts as much as whether we offer one another a listening ear and compassionate heart. And I’m always up for praying for God’s answer to our problems.

What about you?

Do you like to go out to eat?

If you’re interested in doing lunch, give me a call.

 

The Lord God gives me the right words to encourage the weary.
Each morning he awakens me eager to learn his teaching;
he made me willing to listen and not rebel or run away.

Isaiah 50:4-5 (CEV)

 

Christian, Christian Maturity, Inspirational, New Authors

MEET THE AUTHOR

Today, I want to introduce you to another writer friend, Karen Jordan, and her first book, Words That Change Everything. 
Karen is a wife to a newly retired guy, mother of two, grandmother of seven, teacher, speaker and friend. When I met her in a local Christian writers’ organization, one of the things that impressed me most was her teacher’s heart and the way she encouraged us to write our own stories–even the one that might be hardest to tell. I love the way Karen practices what she preaches. 
As I read Words That Change Everything, I was touched by Karen’s transparency and encouraged by the way she turned to God’s Word to chase away the fears and negative emotions that surfaced during her most trying times. 
In the true teacher’s spirit, Karen gives us a blueprint for facing and corralling our own worst reactions to life’s trials through 
REST. 
  • Remember our great God and His promises. 
  • Exalt Him for who He is and His faithfulness. 
  • Surrender to Him completely. 
  • Trust Him.

The following is taken from an interview made available by her publisher         Leafwood Publishing. 
Author Spotlight on KAREN JORDAN
Words That Change Everything: Speaking Truth to Your Soul

Who is the book primarily for?
Women desiring true peace and relief from overwhelming worries and stress, who are tired of pretending all is well on the outside while silently suffering on the inside.
What do you love to write and what inspired you to start?
I love to write nonfiction, especially memoirs and devotionals. Reading Christian books that contained the faith stories of others inspired me to take a class on writing for publication while attending seminary. Then, when one of my stories from that class was accepted for publication, I considered submitting more stories for publication.
How and where do you write?
I love to write surrounded by nature outdoors or in a room with a view of the lake.
Where do you find inspiration?
Observing God’s work in creation and hearing or reading the faith stories of others. 
Who has inspired you most?
Besides the Lord—my husband, Dan. He has stood by me through the good times and the bad. He’s behind the scenes in most of the stories I’ve written. I know I can always get an honest response from him. I’m so grateful for his prayerful support and encouragement. 
Talk about mentoring and the creative process.
Since I’m also a writing instructor, I know the importance of getting feedback in the writing process. But I also know the value of gleaning wisdom from someone else’s experience and knowledge. Plus, I believe that God’s Word calls all Christ-followers to encourage others in the faith and share their faith stories.
What in your growing up years fed your desire to write?
I always loved reading autobiographies and biographies. [I know, weird, right?] And I always loved to listen to people tell the stories that mattered most to them, especially their faith and family stories.
How do ideas for books or storylines or characters come to you?
I’m also compelled to write the stories that matter most to me, especially my faith and family stories. And sometimes the ideas come when I least expect them—as I recognize a need that I might be able to address, discover an inspirational thought or truth, or think of a memory that I want to share.
What a-ha moments have shaped your life and writing?
At some of my lowest points in life, God Word’s has pulled me out of the trenches of negative thinking, despair, and hopelessness, as he guided me to the truth. And as I try to encourage other women with the lessons I’ve learned in the waiting rooms of life, his Word continues to speak truth to my soul when my own logic fails me.
What legacy would you like to leave?
I hope to leave a legacy of faith—that is why I write about my faith stories. I think this scripture best expresses the reason I write my stories: “Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God” (Ps. 102:18 The Message).
How do you want your reader to feel after closing your book?
As people read Words That Change Everything, I pray they will be encouraged and inspired to find REST and peace, as they seek the Word of God for themselves.
What deep underlying truth do you want your reader to know?
The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:5-7 NIV)
How do your readers encourage you? 
I love it when I hear that something I’ve written has encouraged someone. The writing life is a bit discouraging at times when I don’t get feedback. So, just one word of encouragement can make my day better.
Which form of social media, if any, do you enjoy using the most?  (Blogs, twitter and Facebook fan page)
I also love blogging, but I tend to sign up for more posts on other blogs than I can handle. I really enjoy Facebook—I have a personal page and an author page. I also share my posts on Twitter @Karen Jordan and LinkedIn. And I can get hooked on Pinterest! I also post on YouTube and Periscope @KarenJordan. 
I hope you’ll check out her book on Amazon or Lifeway. It will bring peace to your soul.

Write this down for the next generation so people
not yet born will praise God:

Ps. 102:18

Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge 2016. All rights reserved