TAKE IT BACK! (WOW! Write On Wednesday!) Read in < 2 minutes

Behind every

  • Disagreement
  • Argument
  • Mean spirited word or action
  • Abuse
  • Murder

are maybe 5-10 things that COULD have been changed if we were to trace it back and TAKE IT BACK to make a new and different decision along the way. We watch the news, our families and friends, and things happening in our work place or community and realize a few wrong decisions lead to (sometimes) very bad places!

I won’t belabor your time with examples of how this works. i actually want YOU to find YOUR own. Think of your most recent (and likely hurtful) argument or disagreement. Trace it back to who said what until you see where the confrontation/difference started. Then, recognize and OWN UP to YOUR PART and TAKE IT BACK. TAKE IT BACK as you go back in time and then also as you ask forgiveness of the person(s) you hurt.

What could you (and/or the other person) have said or how could either of you responded differently? Was it:

  • an action
  • a look
  • a remark
  • a sigh
  • a rolling of the eyes
  • other? _________________

that got it all started? Well…then TAKE IT BACK. Apologize. Make things right.

If we’d stop “in the moment” and make a different and better decision, we’d have less arguments, less crime, less divorce, less of all the things that tear up individual lives, families, and communities. TAKE IT BACK to the next right step and make a new, better, and right decision.

We might just find, if we TAKE IT BACK that we’re:

  • making more responsible decisions
  • not blaming others for OUR errors, sins, and mistakes
  • better off at work, with the family and in all relationships
  • happier in our marriage
  • supportive in our communities instead of hostile
  • forgiving one another
  • working together instead of tearing apart

If you’re not sure about this….TAKE IT BACK to the top and read it again!
If you’re ready to go, TAKE IT BACK!

And HAPPY NEW YEAR to all!

 

 

What We “Take” After our Parents Die – None of the STUFF Matters

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As a little girl I remember RIBBON CANDY setting on a corner table at Christmas. It was Grandpa’s table; not fancy table; not really great of wood, but I remember viewing it at eye level and admiring the candy. It wasn’t just the candy. It was the people. I remember the kitchen being busy with that ladies cooking and as a little girl getting to help “dry” dishes. I remember all the laughter and conversation. I remember eyeing that ribbon candy and being so excited when Grandpa offered a piece of it to me. It didn’t taste as pretty as it looked….but I loved it! Year after year until my grandfather’s death, there was ribbon candy on that table at Christmas….and it eventually the table wound up in a corner of the dining room of my own parents home. Each time I saw it, I saw the ribbon candy…..in my mind.

I’ve watched many families implode after the death of one or both parents – and not because of how much they miss them or the grief that overtakes them. Kids want the goods and the money, and will often fight each other for it to the point of destructing what’s left of the family unit. (This happens in divorce, too, even though they “think” it’s going to be amiable.)

My parents died 5 days apart from each other 13 years ago just before Thanksgiving – seems like only yesterday. Mom, the well one died of a massive heart attack ending the 6+ years of caring for my dad with Alzheimer’s. He was already fading fast and died 5 days later, shocking us once again within a week!

My sister who had lived with my folks all those years sat my other sister and me down to discuss what we wanted. Honestly, the thought hadn’t crossed my mind – I figured it was all hers. Where most stories turn to the “I WANT THIS” with bitterness and raging, we actually sat down and discussed it. She was to re-decorate to her tastes, and wanted us to “take” the things we might like for ourselves.

I thought about all the furniture, jewelry, and household trinkets, but it was the memories of laughter and fun that really came to my mind, and the memory of that table. I pointed to it, “And if you don’t want that table in the corner – I’d love it….but it’s not something I have to have.”

Without evening knowing the “why” of wanting that table, my sister soon delivered the table. It was then, that I unfolded the story of the ribbon candy to her. I now grace the table with ribbon candy at Christmas. Sometimes no one eats the candy and I have to through it out, but I never discard the memories.

 

The memories are the relationships; somehow memories translate to “things” but we can’t let things override relationships. When marriages fail or when people die, none of the STUFF matters in the same way anymore. It’s the memories….and I’d rather enjoy the old table in the corner of anyone’s house than even my own if I had to exchange bad memories of nasty words and bitterness because I had to fight for it. I’d rather fight for strong healthy relationships; I’d rather have my folks than that table; but I’m grateful for all they gave me in memories over the years, and for the little table that now reminds me of them and Christmases and holidays we all spent together.

I hope we’ll all find one fond memory from this year that we can take with us into the New Year to enjoy in all the years to come!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

No You Wouldn’t….(WOW! Write On Wednesday! read in <2 min.)

“If I win a million dollars I’ll give more to my church.”

“If I get that raise, I’ll treat  “so and so” to dinner.”

“If I could get a day off, I’d try to spend some time with my folks.”

No You Wouldn’t. And probably I won’t either. Here’s why:

If we’re not GENEROUS now, with the little we have, having more won’t make us more generous. Generosity is a matter of the heart not just the wallet or the ticking of time on a clock. If we want to treat others to something special, maybe we can’t go to the fancy-schmancy place, but we can treat to something….how about pizza!? Taking time from our busy day to talk with someone who needs a listening ear or to visit someone who’s lonely is a matter of priority not minutes on the clock.

It’s clear that generosity isn’t just about money; it’s about time, talents, treasures, listening, caring, etc. If our attitude is that we can’t do things for others until something else happens, we’ve already shown a wrong attitude. It’s an attitude and habit developed over time, not just when the time is right.

We’ll all fail from time to time, but how do we normally operate in our day to day living? Are we willing to stop our busy day and meet a need? Are we willing to reach a little deeper into our wallets and share with others?

Are you willing?

Would YOU do it?

 

 

 

 

I Like my Ducks in a Row, but….

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I don’t alphabetize my soups in the pantry nor does the house have to be in perfect order (if you saw the layer(s) of dust on my furniture, you’d see I’m not OCD.) But with this disclaimer being said, I do like my ducks in a row.

I like to plan my days, order my steps in running errands, make phone calls when I’m not rushed, pay bills on time and like correspondence (emails, texts, notes, blogs, etc.) kept up. I don’t like getting behind with the mail or having a ton of magazines around because they just seem to call my name for me to look through them. I do like to have a place for everything and most of the time I like everything in its place. I like order.

But then the grandsons come over. I am quickly taken back to the days when our kids were small and we used to push all the toys to the wall and make sure there was a clear path in case we had an emergency. The counters are once again filled with plates and cups and I wonder why I can’t get them into the dishwasher.

The reason? We’re spending time with our grandsons as we color big papers on the kitchen floor; we’re playing dodge ball in our ministry room (I’m still finding little soft baseballs and soccer balls under drapes and in bedrooms); having “running races” all around the house; throwing things from the balcony and finding ways to retrieve them so we don’t have to run up and down the stairs.

And then…we get our ducks in a row again. When we sit (collapse) on the couch we wonder when we’ll get the kids, the chaos, and the clutter back….at which point we’ll look forward to getting our ducks back in a row…but I know this time with them is short….and I’ll take the clutter over order, knowing in between it all, my ducks will be in a row again!

 

Why Celebrating “Fall” (not Halloween) Works for Me – WOW! (Write On Wednesday! Takes 1.5 minutes to read)

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Forget…

  • ….how Halloween originated (most people don’t know; the ones who do don’t seem to really care; and the ones who do know and really hate it make it known.)
  • .….the candy (most of us say we love that part).
  • …..costumes: most people just like dressing (and acting) differently than which (or is that witch?) they really are. It actually seems to be more of an adult celebration these days….doesn’t it?
  • …..the sugar highs and headaches the next day!

But don’t forget what I’m about to share with you….please.

Having known a few families (including my own) who’ve endured some very deep and devastating hardships, it’s really hard to laugh at, enjoy, tolerate, or even look at some things that are portrayed in yards, storefronts, and on many costume counters and people who “dress up”.

If you’ve known someone who’s taken their own life (suicide) or someone whose life has been taken from them (murder), these displays and costumes are difficult to view with humor. Death, physical or emotionally harm, and their results are tragic. Some things one never forgets.

Honestly, it’s hard for me (and no, I won’t share why) and many others to view blood, guts, and heads lying on the ground – even if it’s pretend. Memories – whether imagined from a situation that was real or from viewing something really awful happening makes this time of year a bit of a challenge.

We won’t ask you to take anything down or dress differently….but just recognize that we’re out here. We aren’t laughing….we’re just getting through this season.

So what works for me: fall scents, pumpkins, fall leaves, gorgeous changing colors….and then a big dose of Thanksgiving (in part) because celebrating Halloween is finally over.

What are WE COMPLAINING about?!?!? (WOW! Write On Wednesday! Read in 2 minutes)

 

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Do you know someone who doesn’t complain? It’s not me, and it’s few people I know.

Someone in my life seldom – if ever complains. He is happy with little; seldom requests extra things; is happy with whatever food is put in front of him (and eats it!) and with few exceptions ever even asks for much. He doesn’t worry about his clothes. He wears what he has – and it’s a slim wardrobe. That guy is our son Joey.

While he has special needs, I find it quite intriguing that he is (for the most part) really content with the very simple things in life. He doesn’t seem to notice what he doesn’t have, can’t do, or what others have or are doing. Sometimes when he must join me in going places I realize how much his life is “led” by me and in some ways how few choices he has; yet he doesn’t complain about it. He just seems to take life moment by moment without complaint about now or worry about tomorrow. What lessons we learn from him!

What I most notice is that he is content; content with little; content with life.

So what about us? What if we simply paid attention in the next 24 hours to see how much we complain? AND THEN, what if we stopped complaining for the next 24 hours?

What if we simply looked to the good, shared positive things, complimented (sincerely) others, thanked others for things they did for us, praised others for worthy things, praised God for the day and how he provided for us? Instead of complaining to or about a waitress or sales person – entered into uplifting and helpful conversation or perhaps in the midst of poor service asking, “How is your day going?” (And really caring to hear the answer.)

Want to join me in a 48 hour experiment? Take whatever 48 hours you choose between today and next Wednesday….and share with me (on my Cindi Ferrini – Author/Speaker Facebook page or here on my blog) just what happened in your 2 days that is different, new, and nice…and maybe life changing!


I’m in and I’m not complaining about it! Please join me!

 

Brain Groove – WOW! (Write On Wednesday!) Takes 2 minutes to read!

Visiting a dear elderly friend who has short term memory issues (likely dementia/Alzheimer’s) recently was a little challenging because I’m pretty sure she repeated the same thought and story in one way or another 50 times in our hour visit. I know her mind, her brain, is in a groove she can’t get out of. She doesn’t have a clue she’s repeated herself. I was totally fine with responding 50 times with the same (hopefully) tender response. I’m used to it. I have a son with special needs, and some days he just gets in his own groove and can’t get out of it. It might be the days of the week, or where he’s going with Aunt Susie, or some “idea” in his head I can’t even understand. I try very hard not to get frustrated, but it IS different when you live with the person who can’t get out of that brain groove versus only spending an hour with someone!

However, in true fashion, I caught myself saying something the other day….and I realized it was MY brain groove. It’s a particular issue that bothers me about dealings with people; but the difference is this: I know I say it, I know I’m repeating myself, and I know it must really irritate a few people! As a result, I’ve made it a point to limit my brain groove comments! I don’t need to keep repeating the same old thing….I need to make some changes. So my changes have become saying what I need to briefly or not at all, and only to people who either understand or care! I know my brain groove issue could also become a sin issue – especially if I attach a name to my frustrations and make sure everyone knows about it! If I can do something to make a change, then I should, otherwise it becomes an issue for which I’ll likely have regret.

How about you? What’s your brain groove issue? For some it’s gossip; thoughts; for others pornography; for others eating more than they should…it’s whatever we keep doing without even giving it much of a second thougth…it just happens because we let it. While we’re mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually able, we should get “hold” of that issue and make sure we’re not making it our brain groove.

That’s my story and I’m not going to keep repeating it!

 

 

 

 

My Idea of an ldeal Friend – WOW! (Write on Wednesday! takes < 2 min. to read!)

Ferrini Special Needs Cards 6My father-in-law used to say that if we end this life with just 5 (he’d hold his hand up and count on his fingers) friends, we’re most blessed. But in a day and age where we have hundreds and even thousands of “friends” on social media, we have to wonder what real friendship means to each of us.

Social media (for me) is so much fun. I love it! I feel connected to old and new friends and enjoy hearing what they’re doing! But there is nothing quite like a FACE TO FACE friendship. Consider what you want from a friend as I share what qualifies as “and ideal friend” for me:

  • Has a good sense of humor – laughing with me; not at me. Finds humor in everyday life – both in the struggles and victories.
  • Knows when to be serious and when to lighten things up.
  • Willing to listen to my day and ask questions about the routine and usual things, without getting weary.
  • One who will take the initiative to “draw me out” when I might find it is easier for me to hide.
  • Available when I have a “real” need. Shows up without being asked to meet a need and knows when to leave to give space.
  • Will walk with me through challenges and struggles not just fun times.
  • Helps me sort through goals and dreams – keeping me realistic without bursting my bubble.
  • Encourages me to succeed.
  • Sorrows with me when I fail or grieve.
  • Keeps me accountable in my walk with the Lord – willing to call me on things I’m not doing right…in a loving way confronts me when needed. Holds me to a biblical standard.
  • We bond spiritually – know, love, and serve Christ.
  • Enjoy the special-ness of our friendship but are not exclusive.
  • Prays for me and my family.
  • Understands that I want to be the same for them in all of the above ways, but that we will both fail at times…and that we’ll offer each other grace and forgiveness – as often as needed.

I do believe I have a “handful” of these friends. They are treasures to me. I hope you can name 5 friends that you can count on and that can count on YOU!

 

STOP TALKING-START COMMUNICATING (Cross the Track!)–(WOW! Writing on Wednesday:@ 3.5 min. to read)

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I love social media – connecting with others…but that is at one level.

At another level, I miss out on real “face to face” encounters. Even in the “face to face” moments, though very important, I’m seeing that most people still miss a very important ingredient. I call that the “cross the track” ingredient.

Let me explain by way of an example conversation:

Person A: “I just got back from Italy.”

Person B: “I went to Italy in 2000. It was amazing.”

A: “I loved Sorrento.”

B: “I went through all of the country and loved Naples.”

A: “We had so much rain but it still was lovely.”

B: “We hope to go back and stay for a month in Tuscany someday.”

 

Did you notice anything? If you didn’t, go back and read it one more time. Then come back and read on…..

Both people were talking about their trips to Italy; they were on their own track talking about the same thing but but neither crossed the track to learn or care about what the other was sharing – they just wanted to share their thoughts, their ideas, their remembrances, their own information; but neither entered into or inquired about the thoughts, ideas, or information the other shared. They just talked about themselves and from their perspective. They never “crossed the tracks” to learn about, care, or show interest in the other person. If we were to continue listening in on this conversation it would most likely be more evident at how selfish it is. It’s a parallel conversation; same topic, moving forward, but never engaging or entering in to what the other person was expressing.

Perhaps you’re asking, “So how would one ‘cross the track’? I don’t see anything wrong with this conversation!” We cross the track by letting the person share and then asking them questions to enter in to their idea, to learn about them, to care about their life and story not just our own. They may or may not ever cross the track to our side, but here is how it might look:

Person A: “I just got back from Italy.”

Person B: “I loved Italy. What was it that you liked?”

A: “I loved Sorrento.”

B: “What was your highlight in Sorrento?”

A: “Definitely the lemon groves.”

And if Person A is at all considerate, at some point they’ll “cross the track” and here is how that might look:
A: “So, you’ve been to Italy, too? When did you go? What was your highlight?”

Do you see it? If we pay attention to our next conversation, we’ll soon and easily see who is caring and considerate (and wants to learn about us) by whether or not they ever cross the track. But we can start it. We don’t have to wait for them. Just remember that it isn’t until we “cross the track” that we really begin communicating (transferring or exchanging information).

FOLLOW UP if you’d like to read more:

A few months ago Joe and I were enjoying a meal with another couple for the first time. As we  finished, the other couple looked at each other and then to us and said, “This was so refreshing!” We said, “We feel the same!” And then I added, “And I know why! I’ll bet you are seldom engaged in real conversation…that you ask the questions but seldom get asked questions.” She said, “That’s exactly it! We seem to engage with others by asking them questions and before you know it the evening is over!” I likened it to “interviewing” rather than conversing with others!

What made that conversation refreshing is that everyone around the table took interest, cared, and sincerely wanted to hear more from the other person – not just sharing their own information. We all didn’t just listen, but got to share, too! It was, indeed REFRESHING to stop talking and really communicate by crossing the tracks.  Try it – it’s a lot of fun!

(Cross the Tracks with me on Facebook @ #Cindi Ferrini where I post a CONVERSATION STARTER questions @ 9:00 a.m [most] weekdays. After you read and answer it, you can use the question to stimulate conversation with others and engage with them! I’d love to have you join in the fun!)

Photo and manuscript ©Cindi Ferrini

“GOD JUST WANTS ME TO BE HAPPY” (WOW! Write On Wednesday takes @ 2 minutes to read)

166702_552665164755356_828459902_nIf we’ve heard this phrase once, we’ve heard it a million times. Usually it’s a husband or wife who wants out of their marriage. We have, however, heard it from people not happy in their jobs, their family, their church, their neighborhood, etc. You get the picture.

Joe and I have read the bible a number of times, and have yet to find where God talks about making us happy and/or where He even says it’s His responsibility to make us happy.

The only verse that comes close to something about God making us happy I found in Job 5:17, “Therefore happy is the man whom God corrects, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” If you’re so inclined, reading to the end of that chapter is quite eye-opening. What this is telling me is that it’s through God’s correction and discipline that we will be “happy” (i.e. find happiness.)

So, I’m just curious. If we took out the word HAPPY and inserted the word HOLY to our various scenarios, sentences, and conversations, I wonder how it would sound. Gary Thomas, one of my favorite authors, has suggested in his writings that God’s real desire for us is to be holy. Holy doesn’t always equate to happiness, but it can lead to joy; joy in knowing that we are living well, serving well, acting well, etc.

So let’s try it and see how it sounds: Instead of “God wants me to be happy in life;” we would say, “God wants me to be holy in life.” “God wants me to be holy in my marriage.”  “God wants me to be holy at my workplace.” Wow! That sounds different! And how different our lives could be if we started doing this!

Perhaps we’ll all try this exercise the next time we feel we deserve something more, better, and/or exciting. Perhaps we’ll please God (make HIM happy!) by doing so!