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Today I am working on a rewrite.  For those of you who aren’t writers, let me explain.

With every new story, poem or article, we have an idea in our head.  It is golden and glorious because it is new and fresh.  A first draft never lives up to our expectations.  Many people never get past that.  Writers who manage to publish live on hope.  Maybe just maybe the next draft will fix whatever needs fixing.

Hope and determination aren’t limited to writers.  We just get to pair them together on a daily basis.

Pair them with your own God-given talents and see where they take you!  You may not get it right the first time, but that’s okay.  Be like this little guy and hold on to your hat and head for tomorrow.

–SueBE

 

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I love this image – dreams like a kite.  Dreams soaring into space.  Dreams taking us to who knows what.

But notice the beginning.  Dreams thrown into space.

Don’t think of this as thrown as in thrown away.  Think of it as launching, freeing, and allowing to soar.

So often we hold our dreams tight.  We clutch them close.  We guard them.    That can be tempting given how bad we human beings are at picking about other people’s dreams.  We call them impractical or ridiculous.  But clutching our dreams like this is the equivalent of burying our talents.

But if a dream is going to take us someplace new?  We need to launch it into space.

–SueBE

I’m an idea person.  Give me a problem, whether you need to find a specific type of story or a solution to a household problem, and I can start pitching out ideas.  I know they aren’t all good, but that’s okay.  Leave the lesser ones behind and choose the good.

But every now and again, I can’t think of an idea to save myself.  Most often, this happens when I’m just barely hungry, or not hungry yet, and someone wants to know what I want to eat.  That’s when I have to honestly answer either “I don’t know” or “I don’t care.”  And if I say I don’t care, trust me.  I don’t.  I care about all kinds of silly things – how the towels are folded, what color you paint the porch, and more.  If I say I don’t care, take it as fact.  I simply don’t care.  Pick something and as long as I’m not allergic to it, I’m along for the ride.

Imagine my surprise the first time I had to deal with a suggestion nay-sayer.  These are the people who consistently say or vote NO.  Your dinner suggestion? Not good enough.  The proposal for how to use the memorial fund?  No.  The idea for a new Bible study?  Ridiculous – no, No, NO.

Sometimes I think they do this simply because the number of ideas an idea person like me can generate overwhelms them.  Sometimes I think they do it because they are genuinely concerned about the situation.  Other times?  I think it is all about power.  It’s a form off passive aggression.

Our society is in a place where we need idea people.  We need people willing to solve energy problems and racial problems.  We need people with ideas about education and feeding people effectively.  We also need people who are good at dealing with the nay-sayers.  This, unfortunately, is not among the talents that God gave me.  Maybe it is one of yours.

–SueBE

Some things are definitely worth extra effort.  I love doing handwork whether you’re talking embroidery, cross-stitch knitting or crochet.  My mother found embroidery and cross-stitch tedious beyond belief but could sew a man’s suit or a wedding gown.

God has gifted us each with a unique set of talents and interests.  I’d like to encourage each of you to put one of these into use this year.  Maybe you can pick an old pass time back up.  Finish that project on the top shelf of your closet this year.  Or you might want to explore something new like the new type of journaling that I’m working on this week.

Whether your talents are in the areas of making (creation), teaching, observation or something I haven’t considered here, they are gifts.  Celebrate Him gave them to you but doing something well.

–SueBE

Sometimes the tasks that God sets before us seem impossible.  The job is too big.  There are just too many things demanding your attention. The possibilities of failure surround you.

But He has given us all talents.  Sometimes the talents in a group overlap.  PrayPower?  Look at us and you’d think the world was all writers but even our talents are diverse.  Miss Ruth’s ability to tell it like it is while inspiring others to believe knows no equal. Lori’s talent in spinning a poem in tough times about tough topics astounds me.

The task may be great.  But believe in yourself. You have mighty talents and God will send you helpers.

Believe.

–SueBE

Even when I was a little kid, I was the one who’d find a way. “You just couldn’t stand to be told no,” my mom would say.  “You’d tuck your chin and just stare.  I knew you were trying to figure out how to get around it.”

And that still describes me today.  After my mom died, I wanted to work with one of her knitting patterns.  So I got a book and taught myself to knit.  That’s the same way I learned to crochet.  Today this would be a lot easier because Youtube has so many great instructional videos.

Bureaucracy.  Tradition -don’t say that’s how we’ve always done it.  Technology.  There has to be a way to work around it.  It just might take me a while to figure it out.  The latest and greatest tool in my arsenal?  My eighteen-year-old.  Oddly enough, I feel a lot closer to my mom now.  Because I’m the one watching my kid try to work around whatever stands in his way.

But that’s okay.  Because sometimes, a lot of times really, things do need to change.  Not only is he spotting barriers that escaped my notice, he’s finding a way over them.  It’s no surprise to his father and I that he’s planning to work with Engineers without Borders.  National boundaries, social barriers, pfft.  God gave us all talents.  It is up to us to use them.

–SueBE

 

 

 

 

This quote by Arthur Ashe is one of my favorites.  Probably because I had a DIY mentality before DIY was a thing.  My mom always told me that even when I was little, she would tell me that something wouldn’t work X way and she’d look over to see me staring.  And staring. And staring.  She knew I was trying to work out a solution.

Not that I always had what I needed to solve the problem.  Sometimes I had to go my grandad.  Or my mom.  Or my dad.  Working together we had a whole different set of skills than I had working alone.

That’s something I have to remember as an adult.  God gave me talents and I need to use them.  When I do, I can accomplish quite a bit.  But God gave other people talents as well and they very often complement my own.  Working together?  We can do even more.

When I am faced with a task that is to great for me alone, I have to remember that one of the talents God gave me is the ability to ask for help.  What one cannot do alone, two or three or four may be needed to accomplish.

–SueBE

God will send you to scary places.  Use your talents on the way.

A little something to remember as so many young people move towards graduation.  Talents can take time to blossom.  What’s say we give them that time?

Everybody knows the story. The Three Magi came seeking the Christ child, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Practical gifts? Maybe not so much, though I’m sure the gold came in handy. (Raising kids is expensive.) Otherwise, the presents were more symbolic than usable; gifts for a king who would have to die for his kingdom. (Seriously…what’s a carpenter supposed to do with myrrh?)

We come bearing gifts, too. We might not always recognize their importance, but we should. Some gifts make themselves obvious — a fabulous singing voice or a knack with decorations, for instance. Others are subtler, but no less essential. A listening ear, a kind gesture, the giving of one’s time — these gifts are always appreciated, especially at this time of year, when so many are feeling stressed out or lonely.

As we approach Christmas, let us think about what gifts we might bring to Jesus and to one another. Don’t overlook the obvious, but do look deeper. A friend of mine always wanted to learn how to blow glass. She now makes prayer bracelets out of her gorgeous hand-blown beads. I bought a slew of them for Christmas presents. Gift. My dentist found a stray pooch who was too rattled to be left alone, so she brings the dog into the office with her, where this once insecure mutt brings comfort to those (and there are more than you think) who are rattled about going to the dentist’s office. Gift.

I often find myself thinking I haven’t got much to give. My little blog posts, read by a stalwart few, probably don’t have frankincense-level reverberations in the world. But I am good about praying for other people, and believe in the efficacy of prayer. Sometimes I think it’s the only real tool that matters. I try to listen to others, to smile at strangers, to reassure bumblers (like the lady who tried to get into my car outside the pharmacy last night thinking I was there to pick her up), mostly because I consider myself a bumbler. I care about animals and justice for those who don’t usually get any.

So what is your gift? What can you lay down beside the manger? What would you give if you could give anything in the world?

Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s as good as gold. And definitely better than myrrh.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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