Why is it SO *$!@% hard to communicate?

I am tired. Today was good, but draining. Just typing this is making me yawn.

You know what wears me out? When grown-ups don’t feel comfortable confronting each other with an issue, so they talk to other grown-ups about it you. Is it just me, or does this kind of thing seem 7th grade? We should be mature enough to talk things out.  To communicate. Maybe in a perfect world.

That just doesn’t happen a whole lot. When it does, it’s refreshing, if the honesty isn’t brutal. I guess non-confronting and talking goes hand in hand with the female gender, wherever we work, play…live. Women talk. It’s what we do. I do too. I us’ly try to keep it between my boss &bitchfight1 me…my hubby & me…or my mom and me (since she’s so far removed from most people I know). Sometimes I need to “get somethin’ out” or “vent”.  Not that everything I say is necessary. I will justify gossip even to these three, by calling it “venting”. It’s no good, however we cut it…and bottom line? We need to just cut it out.

– Case in point, as I’m writing this, I was just interrupted by my son who told me my next door neighbor keeps threatening to call the cops on him because he’s climbing a tree (of which 1/8th hangs over her yard).  C’mon people. Let the boy climb a tree. Lady, walk your butt 50 yards over to my door, knock on it, and talk to me. How about we women grow a pair & get to the bottom of issues using ol’ fashioned communication between party A & party B?  WHY is that so hard? And don’t use the default answer, “cuz we’re just so sensitive, we hate to bring something up that will hurt feelings”. That might be an answer. But I think the answer sounds more like,

“cuz arguments and conflict make me uncomfortable. I can’t stand feeling awkward. They might take offense and I might even lose a friend. I need to avoid conflict, even if it means letting an issue get the boiling point inside of me, pretending it doesn’t exsist when they’re around, but when I feel safe to let it boil over, I let it – to whomever will side with me, because me feeling supported and right is more important than resolving the issue the right way…the ethical way…the hard way.”

OK, that’s like the long answer. But I think it’s pretty accurate. And by the way, if you’re reading this & you have a problem with me, call me, come over, or email me. I’d be happy to chat.

compassion is…touching childrens’ lives from across the globe

i’m writing once a month about a fave & trusted organization (compassion international) to help spread the word, so that we can spread the hope.

the first time i heard about it was years ago from mac powell himself, lead singer of third day (who just landed a gig on ‘the tonight show with jay leno’, on july 29th! -mark your calendars!!). it happened to be about when i remember praying, ‘enlarge my territories!’ from the ‘prayer of jabez‘. well, we finally got to trusting God enough to supply us the funds to support this cause, & it turned out to be pretty darn easy. we don’t even miss the $32…in fact, God has been really rewarding our efforts to give, in ways we never thought he would! i’m not kiddin’. we’ve seen major increase. you test it out & see for yourself! here’s all we did:

i just sat at the computer w/braylon, & together we picked a child his exact age. i signed up (choosing auto-withdrawal). soon we got a welcome packet w/the basics, wrote our 1st letter including a picture of braylon & a picture he colored for his new friend, & ba-da-bing! a few weeks later, how special did my little boy feel when opening a great lil surprise in the mail – his first letter back (translated from spanish by a tutor) & a picture drawn by his sponsored kid/penpal! it’s been wonderful.

today we get to send him a birthday package (we were able to choose a boy whose 6th birthday is the same week as braylon’s!) ~ ‘jhonatan’ will be opening up a gift: spiderman stickers & a card game to go with bray’s hand-written birthday wishes & verse. i am so thankful for this new way to share w/my kiddo how compassion & perspective can change lives.

eye to eye ~ the importance of showing love with your eyes

a cheerful look brings joy to the heart – Proverbs 13:30

braylon (5) was walking around a corner & decided he’d belly-push angel to the ground. ricky & i both just looked at him for 6 sec.s as angel cried. we were shocked he’d try this stunt after so many reminders. but i suppose we also did it as a way of showing our disappointment. what followed was interesting:

braylon’s look turned from satisfied to almost angry, ‘what. why are you staring at me? why is everybody staring at me?!’ he inquired. his lip started quivering. we looked a couple seconds longer & he exclaimed w/a tear dropping down his cheek, “why did you yell at me?!”

ricky & i exchanged a glance of revelation. we never said a word to him. it got me thinkin’.

an area in which i think i harbor a ton of pride, is my parenting. i think moms want to believe deep down that they’re the best. to be complimented as such by another mom is the ultimate up-lifter. conversely, to be called a bad mom or even if someone criticizes our discipling, this seems like the lowest, most degrading insult!

i had to face a weakness. i’m not the ‘bestest mom in the whole earth’ as bray would have me believe. there are things i can & should take more time to work on, but don’t. each day presents with it a new way to improve. it’s discouraging and challenging. i pray for the determination & the strength & the wisdom to become the best mom i can. like the wisdom my brain has soaked up from reading “how to really love your child’. dr. campbell wrote a whole chapter explaining ‘how to show love through eye contact’. with statements that seem so simple, i wonder why i need reminding. just take a look at a few excerpts:

The more a parent makes eye contact with his/her child as a means of expressing love, the more a child is nourished with love and the fuller is his emotional tank.

It is easy for parents to develop the terrible habit of using eye contact primarily when they want to make a strong point to a child, especially a negative one. We find that a child is most attentive when we look at him straight in the eye. We may do this mainly to give instructions or for reprimanding or criticizing. This is a disastrous mistake.

Remember that eye contact is one of the main sources of a child’s emotional nurturing. When a parent uses this powerful means of control at his disposal in a primarily negative way, a child cannot but see his parent in a primarily negative way. And though this may seem to have good results when a child is young, this child is obedient & docile because of fear. As he grows older, the fear gives way to anger, resentment, and depression.

An even worse habit parents may fall into is actually using the avoidance of eye contact as a punishment device. Consciously refusing to make eye contact with a child is usually more painful than corporal punishment. It can be devastating.

What we must understand at this point is that parents must use eye contact as a continuous love-giving route, and not merely as a means of discipline.

the Lord has gently shown me this week that I may not be the ‘most’ beautiful woman or the ‘bestest’ mom on the whole earth, but in me ~ is God’s image. in me ~ is the power to do all things. in me ~ resides beauty & strength (insert my girl, christina‘s song, ‘beautiful’ here).

seriously…i want God to help me use my eyes to communicate love, not disappointment! even yesterday, i started a new phrase to be a better example ~ i get up in my son’s face when i want to say something in love & i start with, ‘eye to eye’.

Lord, look at me in the eye & work out the kinks (psalm 139:23). forgive me. i need grace; new opportunities. show me how to show them that my love, too, is unconditional.

a call to action

i am on a small quest to let the Lord enlarge my territory by reaching out to those in need. he has given me too many hints in the last months or so, to ignore his voice. i am realizing that too much of my time is spent to better myself and my own family & not enough to bring encouragement, comfort & blessing to those whom we are all supposed to reach out…specifically the widows (or elderly), orphans (or at-risk youth), prisoners (or people in bondage), hungry & poor.

this week i’m focusing on prisoners. in matt. 25 Jesus said, ‘i was in prison & you didn’t visit me…when you refused to help the least of these…you were refusing to help me’. and hebrew 13:2 “Regard prisoners as if you were in prison with them. Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them had happened to you” (msg).

memories of the women ‘on the inside’ at coffee creek correctional facility in oregon keep coming back to me – their bright faces & eager spirits, as our little team visited them each month. how they looked forward to our coming. how they longed to share w/us what the Lord had done for them that month, what their plans were upon release, prayer requests for their children & their children’s caregivers. many didn’t quite get the idea that you don’t have to keep raising your hand to receive salvation over & over, each month. perhaps they thought their sins had brought them to a place where a once-&-for-all pardon was inconceivable. living out your punishment behind bars walls and wires, i can imagine, would make it tough to understand how God’s mercies really are new every morning…and how the blood of Jesus was all we have ever needed & will ever need for a clean record in His sight. yet in their circumstances, many would raise their hands with the faith of a little girl. some would sing super loud, some off-key; others would clap with no rhythm or speed up a worship song in anticipation of the next. none of that mattered. it was the heart.

they were just like me & you, but made a few more wrong choices & were caught. hearts pure & hopeful, & no less deserving of love and forgiveness than ours. i may not be able to visit them in person here in austin, tx, but i can sure write letters to one. if you’d like to join me in this endeavor, it would be so wonderful & God would surely bless it. i asked the director, beth if there were hundreds waiting for someone who cares, to write them, and Beth told me, no…thousands. in this nation’s prison system, thousands await (most for over 1 year) to connect with another in the free world. i urge to email beth & jesse michael, exec. directors of Christian Pen Pals at: cppnews@hotmail.com

take 6 min. to sign up via email, & you can make a ginormous difference in an inmate’s life (not to mention be blessed by them). ricky & i just started last night & can’t wait til we meet each of our new friends. lets make an impact & let God’s light shine in the darker places, together.

sisters

God winked at me again last night…let me know i’m loved. i called my sister, charity to just say hi, & next thing i know, 40 minutes go by. i’m laughing, crying, listening, pouring my heart out…it was the closest thing to a hug over 2k mi. apart. we must be a couple of elastigirls!

my sister is 34. beautiful inside & out. i used to steal her clothes out of her closet when she slept in. that was our biggest fight-fuel. in 6th grade, she called me ‘raccoon’ because my eyes had dark circles. in 7th grade she’d push me away from her in the car, saying stuff like, “start using deodorant!” she & michele smith would dance on the bed to cindy lauper & madonna & tell me to get out. she told her friends that i peed in the snow up by byrom elemenary, & would start off by asking, “did you hear about the ‘yellow snow’ story?” she humiliated me, i infuriated her & yet i think there was a part of us that always wanted to be like the other.

now… she is {to name a few characteristics} a dedicated wife, adoring mommy of 2, business-savvy, artistic, stylish, saved & sassy woman… & happy to say – my close friend. my heart breaks for those who don’t have that blessing of calling their sister a close friend. she is 34 ~ a very different person now, inside & out, & (did i mention?) more beautiful than ever.

∞ photos my dad took of us at about 5 & 7 ∞