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Listen Up

This blog has devoted a lot of time to the topic of listening.  I am just reminded over and over and over again how important it is to learn the skill of active listening.  I've sure you've noticed, as I have, that it is in drastic decline.  When someone is talking to us, do we in some way let them know we’re hearing while giving them time to complete their thoughts.  I hear it all the time, "I have to jump in “while it’s on my mind."

I have to confess that I’m not the best listener in the world. I’m good for the first few minutes…wish I could say I’m able to listen actively, engaging in the communication in such a way that the other person knows they’re in a safe spot to be honest and transparent. I guess wishing isn’t enough, though, is it? I can wish all day, but until I take responsibility for my less than great listening skills, nothing changes. In other words, saying “well, that’s just the way I am” doesn’t really work, right?

We all deserve to be heard. Of cours…
Recent posts

Commitment to Thankfulness

About 20 years ago, Mark Lowry and I found ourselves on a flight from Texas to Nashville after a weekend of Gaither Homecoming concerts.  Somewhere way up there, Mark randomly said to me, "Ann, let's make a commitment to each other that we will write down five things we're thankful for each day."  We went on to talk about the importance of being specific, writing down more than just, "thankful for a beautiful day".  We agreed they should be things more like, "Lord, I'm so thankful for being able to get out in my yard on this beautiful day," or "Thank You, Father, for the rain that's sure to be a great blessing to those flowers I've just planted."  You get the idea.

Since that day in 1997, I've purposely written down 5 specific things I am thankful for.  I admit that sometimes they would probably sound lame to others if they read them, but to me, this has been a great faith builder... a great prompter to never forget those …

Christ-like Consistency

In thinking of the weather the last few days, I've been reminded that it's truly symbolic of how we can be in our walk with the Lord.  If we're not careful, we can be hot cold hot cold hot cold hot cold.  Not at all how we're supposed to be.  When we are saved, we take on the identity of Christ.  One thing Christ definitely is not is inconsistent.  So why are we?  Food for thought.

Face Forward... with Confidence

Have you ever found yourself about to come face to face with something (or let’s be honest… someone) you’ve been dreading? Is there a scripture that races through your mind in the moments immediately beforehand?
I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to be frozen with uncertainty and frankly, fear. I also know it can be extremely difficult to let that special, reassuring scripture apply to me…to the moment. In these moments, I have found it helps to personalize the scripture to the circumstance. In other words, when He says, “Fear not, for I am with thee”, I, in faith and by sheer determination, pray it as, “Fear not, Ann, for I am with you as you make plans for speaking with that pastor about something that could be controversial”. Maybe being specific isn’t all that important to you, but I have found this helps me go forward with confidence to handle whatever the not so enjoyable task may be.
Today, I felt you might be struggling with this…a way to face those giants of the day holding…

Procrastinating Change

I’ve never been much of a procrastinator.  I am uncomfortably aggravated with folks who routinely are causing others a lot of standing around and waiting, waiting, waiting.  It’s rather rude, in my opinion. 

With that said, I’ve been one this early part of 2017.  I’ve put off, and repeated putting off, the job of taking down my Christmas decorations and stowing away….partly because of busy-ness, but mostly because, frankly, I’d become attached to those pretty little things!  And a bit of non-motivation creeped in, too. 

Now that most of my decorations are in boxes, bags, closets, wherever, I’m not missing those snowmen, favorite ornaments, the wise men or their friends so much.  I do dread finding a place for those “normal” dust-catchers to be displayed for the next 10 months or so.  Why am I always dreading something?  Well, mostly because change is like a death to me, in a way. 

This revelation came to me a few minutes ago.  Change will be.  Dread will come.  Procrastination can become…

Please Him.. He's the Only One Who Matters Anyway

My Christmas decorations are still up this February 10, 2017!!  They’ve been up since early December, 2016!

Yes, it bothers me sometimes when I dare let myself become aware that red and green are the primary colors in my house in February!  It’s supposed to be red and white for Valentine’s, right?  But since I don’t decorate for Valentine’s…have never had any red hearts, pictures of pink roses or boxes of CHOCOLATE to display, maybe it’s ok that red and green are still dominating the scene?

I know some may be wondering why it’s important, but my point/question today is:  How many things do we do just because we feel we’re SUPPOSED to do them?  How many hours of our week do we spend trying to DO the “right things” because we are consumed by “what they’ll think”?  Whoever “they” are.

Jesus was most always controversial in the eyes of a lot of people, but He was never controversial to His Heavenly Father.  I need to remember that at least as well as I remember not to let anybody into my hou…

God Looking In

"When we sing, when we pray, when we praise when we sing, He blesses again, and's just God looking in". Aren't you glad He chooses to "look in" on what’s happening in our days as we journey towards Heaven?

Years ago I was in a beautiful church in Corpus Christi, TX...Sunday morning. It was a gorgeous day. In pastor's opening comments he said, "God, it's so obvious that You're looking in on us today.” Just as he said that, my eyes were drawn to a skylight just over the platform area…sunshine was pouring in, and the thought came to me that He IS looking in, and is that evermore something to celebrate? I think so. Thus, Dwight Liles and I wrote that song--GOD LOOKING IN.

I admit that in looking back over my life, there were times I would have probably preferred that He not be looking in on me.  You know, those times we blow it big time and know our attitude isn’t anything akin to having the mind of Christ.  Those times when our action…