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Anyone who has read my posts for any length of time knows that I heavily recommend taking action.  And, no, liking something on Facebook or forwarding a video doesn’t count.  Do something concrete. Be Christ’s hands on Earth.

But how do you know what to do? How do you know what someone truly needs?  First, you listen to the person you want to help as I recently learned.

One of our church friends is dealing with stage 4 bone cancer.  She’s doing okay. Yes, I know it seems like a contradiction but if you know her you understand. She tires easily and she doesn’t get around as well as she’d like but she’s hanging in there.

Our women’s group wanted someone to take her flowers or some other gift and I volunteered. I’d been meaning to go see her and this would get set me in action.  Still I wasn’t convinced flowers were a good idea.  “But everyone likes flowers!” one of the women crowed.  Um, well, I’m not entirely fond of them.  I like them outside but inside . . . not so much. They don’t last and that always brings me down.  Still, I went ahead and bought a bouquet, found a vase in a cabinet at home and went on my visit.

Sure, she thanked me for the flowers and had me put them in the kitchen. But it’s pretty obvious that she’s spending her days in the recliner in the living room. While we visited, she told me about how much she missed reading.  The cancer meds have goofed up her blood sugar and her diabetes and her vision is off.  So now she can’t read.

But she can listen.

For our next visit, I brought her to audio-two-go books from our library.  They come loaded into the player and my husband scrounged a set if head phones from here in the office.  So now she’s got a romance and a mystery to occupy her mind while she recovers from her treatments.

Flowers might work for a lot of people, but this time around they weren’t the best choice.  And learned that when I listened.


1I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of his glories and grace. I will boast of all his kindness to me. Let all who are discouraged take heart. Let us praise the Lord together and exalt his name.

Psalm 34:1-3 (The Living Bible)

When my son was younger, I’d sit with him and his friends in our sunroom and we’d chat about whatever was on their minds. Sometimes, it seemed as if this was the only time in their lives an adult had ever asked them, “So how are you doing, son?”

Once, during “Sunroom Time,” one of my son’s friends plopped down on the couch and started flailing a long, sharp stick around. “Honey, put that down. You might hit your brother by mistake,” I said. Problem was, as someone with ADHD, he really wasn’t able to stop. His brother, sitting next to him, grabbed his hand and held it down. Even while restrained, the stick was madly moving around, making “whooshing” sounds.

“Wait, let him go,” I told his brother. “He’s not being heard. He’s speaking through the stick.” For some reason, it seemed that his body was telling him it was urgent to do this, and that he must not stop. I told him to aim it away from the others, which he did. Eventually, the flailing subsided and he was able to calm down.

Communication comes in many different forms. Earlier this year, my cat woke up one day unable to “meow.” He’d open his mouth and no sound would come out. His furry face looked so sad. After a visit to the vet, his voice was restored. That night, at 3 AM, when KitKat “meowed” to wake me up so we could play the Stealth NinjaCat Game (barrel roll into bathtub, dash down hall, slide under rocking chair and zoom up onto bed), I wondered if I’d made the right decision to give him back his voice!

People also speak without words. Waking my son in the morning, I am greeted with a fair dose of “side-eye,” as if his body is communicating: This is madness! You’re trying to wake me up?!? It’s summer, for Pete’s sake! Have you lost your mind, woman?

This picture of Warren Harding’s mistress and their “love child” says more than the entire article. I can only imagine she had a hard life and never really felt the “love” as a child.

Sometimes words can say too much. This neighbors’ dispute over barking dogs lead to an obnoxious sign. I was amazed to read that the couple hoped that writing disparaging remarks on a posted sign would make their neighbor apologize – even though he appears to have done nothing wrong. That sign doesn’t communicate, it exacerbates.

Often, words are merely ill-chosen. When I read this headline on Yahoo News, I was certain that an announcer had been shot during a football game, but it was just a very poor choice of words.

It seems like the Tower of Babel in the world today, with everyone talking a different language, and many with forked tongue. Not everyone has the best intentions when they speak, but here are some words you can count on: God said it. We believe it. That settles it!



Have a Mary Little Christmas

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