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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

 

 

 

 

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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.

I don’t know what it is about me.  Introvert though I may be, I seem to invite intrusive questions and comments from strangers.  I’m amazed at how many of them are about my son. When I was pregnant, people would ask me what he was going to be. “I don’t know. I haven’t met him yet.” I know it sounds rude but I was mystified. And it’s probably just as well that I didn’t try to guess because it is clear that God is the one that chose his talents. Me?  I’d have done a few things differently.

In many ways, we’re a lot alike.  We’re both introverts who genuinely like people to a point.  When we’ve had enough, we’ve had enough.  We both love movies and books and super heroes and gaming and animals and science and history.  That’s a lot of common ground, but God also gave him interests and talents that are entirely his own.

One of his all-time favorite Scouting experiences was Pack and Paddle, a leadership training course that required him to spend a week backpacking and canoeing.  Me? I have a house. Why would I sleep outside? After the zombie apocalypse fine, but for fun?  No, thank you.

Then there’s swimming. He adores swim team and the sense of camaraderie. Water is his element and he’s actively swimming from early June until mid-November. Although parents are required to work only one swim meet, I usually work more like 6.  I’d rather be on deck and close to the action in spite of everything.

This summer, someone told my son that he’s lucky I love the water.  “She’s always here.”

These assumptions may confuse me, but my son laughs. “You’re kidding right?  She hates water.”

The thing is God created us as two very different people.  My son loves things I don’t — swimming, camping, and rock climbing. But that’s okay. You will never find him knitting, crocheting or writing. We each have our God given talents.

We just need to remember that God knit him together to be one person and He knit me together to be another. The key is remembering that our Creator loves us in our diversity and we need to do the same.

–SueBE

If you’ve read this blog for any time, you know that I love music and singing is a huge part of my individual worship. Like anyone who finds joy in something, I want to share it with others.

Recently, I invited someone new to join the choir.  “Oh, no.” She shook her head.  “I can’t read music.”

Why do we so often avoid using an imperfect talent?  I’ve seen parents pull their children out of sports because they didn’t win enough ribbons or trophies or zoom from one level to the next.  I actually had one friend tell me that if God wanted her child to play this sport, she would be better.

The funny thing? Like the person I invited to choir, I don’t read music. I know treble clef vs base clef, EGBDF and FACE and middle C. I can tell the difference between a whole note, a half note and a quarter note.  On a great day, I can tell you how many beats each note has. But hand me a piece of music I’ve never seen before and I have no clue how it should sound. It might as well be Sanskrit.

Hand this same piece of music to one particular choir friend and she can sing it. Yes, she has to look at it for a minute but then she’s ready to sing.  That said, if we have an accompanist who doesn’t keep a steady tempo, it drives my friend crazy. Heaven forbid we have someone who improvises.

Me?  I just close my eyes and listen. I have a good ear so I can follow along.

Neither of us is perfect, but God has put song in both our hearts. What slightly imperfect gift has He put in yours?

–SueBE

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