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Spend Holiday Time Together!

5 Dec

This is one of my (Dawn’s) favorite LOL’s in our book, LOL with God … and I remembered it while my husband and I were out to dinner … both using our cell phone calendars to plan our Christmas holiday events.

At a restaurant, a waitress told my brother- and sister-in-law, Tom and Janice, that two days earlier, she was waiting on a table of 10 people. After a short time, the manager asked her why she hadn’t taken their order yet.

“They all have their hands close to their chests, and their heads are bowed,” she said. “They’re praying, and I don’t want to disturb them.”

“No,” the manager said. “Look closer.”

To her surprise, the waitress realized the people weren’t praying; they were all on their cell phones, texting people! (1)

I had to laugh when I saw this Christmas card on a friend’s Facebook page!

That’s almost too true to be funny, isn’t it?

We can be right next to each other during the holidays, and completely miss spending time with each other. We can get so caught up in the activities of the season or in preparations  for big events that we don’t take time for significant, daily communication with those we love  ~ and by that, I mean chatting about more than, “What should we buy Uncle Jake?”

Good communication skills are often overlooked at Christmas when family members feel pressured and busy.

Remember these communication tips:

  1. Listen carefully to what a person is actually saying, not what you think he or she is saying.
  2. Make eye contact. Interaction is more personal and successful when you look into a person’s eyes.
  3. Think a moment before you answer. You’ll never regret something foolish that you didn’t say (Proverbs 18:13). It helps to think so you can give a wise answer (Ecclesiastes 5:2a; Proverbs 15:2, 28).
  4. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Listen to understand, not to judge (Proverbs 17:27). Especially during the holidays with its added stresses, be forgiving, not quarrelsome (Proverbs 13:10; 17:142 Timothy 2:23a)
  5. Respect the person, even if you don’t agree with his or her opinion or perspective.
  6. Build trust by being open and honest (Proverbs 24:26; Ephesians 4:25-27). Admit when you don’t know an answer, but offer to help the person find an answer or solution.
  7. Speak with kindness, gentleness, and love (Proverbs 15:1; 16:24; Philippians 4:5; Ephesians 4:15a).
  8. Voice your appreciation … often (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Along with practicing good communication, plan some quality time together. Sharing experiences is a gift that keeps giving. It creates warm memories and closer bonds.

Here are some fun Christmas ideas ~ Continue reading

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Coffee, Anyone?

19 Sep

I (Pam) am pretty sure there are a few coffee drinkers in our audience. Here are a few humorous coffee mug slogans I have come across:

  •  Instant Human, Just Add Coffee
  • Coffee and Love Taste Best When Hot
  • Sleep is a Symptom of Caffeine Deprivation

In my new book, 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband,  I highlight ways to wow, surprise, please, 52 Ways to Wow Your Husbandand love your man ~ even if something about him drives you just a little nuts! For example, my husband, Bill, loves his coffee. But along with Bill’s love of coffee, he also has a habit that could be very annoying, that is his aversion to get the coffee mugs into the dishwasher. I find coffee cups every place imaginable: in the garage, in the car, in the truck, in the closet, on the sidewalk, on the deck and patio, in the shop, in the office, on the stairwell, in the bathroom ~ you name it, and I have likely found a coffee cup there.

It is a good thing that we are authors and speakers because we love collecting the coffee mugs from all the churches we speak at and all the TV and radio shows we appear on ~ and we need everyone of them!

In  my new book, 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband, I share how to make this year the best year of your man’s live by giving some ideas on loving and living with your guy.

How did I handle the mugs issue? I am not a coffee drinker, really. I might drink a non-fat latte, but for the most part coffee makes my heart race, and I prefer that only Bill makes my heart skip a beat! Bill says that I am naturally caffeinated by God, and it takes Bill drinking three cups of coffee just to keep up with my energy. Bill has an internal homing device that helps him spot a Starbucks green awning! 

Bill&Mug

One of Bill's many mugs!

Appreciate the Difference: Coffee is a part of what makes Bill… well, Bill! One day, as we were preparing to move homes, I was doing that “last load of dishes” and I realized it was composed of all coffee mugs ~ 47 of them to be exact! It made me smile because years ago, I decided to pray for Bill every time I saw one of his empty, displaced mugs. I was seeking to apply the principle “love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

I have embraced the ever-reappearing dirty coffee mug with fond affection, because it reminds me of my hard workin’ man who requires caffeine to do all the wonderful acts of service that benefit so many, including me.

Celebrate the Difference: For Bill’s 50th birthday, we celebrated by having Bill select and then roast his own brand of coffee. It took one afternoon to visit a coffee farm, select the beans, roast it to perfection, and design the label. I knew I had a winning date as he sat, lingered a moment to savor the aroma of his Farrel Family blend of Mountain Thunder Vienna roast. He took a sip, and I watched a big grin appear on my husband’s well-caffeinated soul.

Integrate the Difference: I take note of when Bill’s “Farrel Family Roast” runs low as I know a mug Farrels Hugof his favorite blend, with just a touch a real cream, will endear his heart to mine ~  just like that empty,  dirty cup does when I discover it in the next unusual place.  Praying for Bill when I see a coffee mug, even when I travel and might be away from Bill, has become my life rhythm.

Today, take that thing that is driving you crazy about your man and make it a prayer, a celebration, or a date to WOW him!

And, if you are willing, sign up to make this HIS best year ever: Buy 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband and we’ll sign you up for this fun challenge and encourage you as “wow”!

Communication Skills for Leaders

11 Jun

Jethro visited the lumber yard and asked for some “four-by-twos.” Stack of Lumber

The clerk at the lumbar yard said, “You mean two-by-fours?”

Jethro said,  “Just a moment. I’ll check.” He went back to his car where his friends were sitting. They rolled down the windows and they had a short conversation. Jethro returned and answered, “Yes, I mean two-by-fours.”

Then the clerk asked him, “How long do you want them?”

Jethro said, “Just a minute. I’ll check.” He again conferred with his friends in the car for a couple of minutes, and returned to the merchant.

“A lo-o-o-o-o-ng time,” Jethro said. “We’re building a house.” *

Talk about miscommunication!

Poor communication can result in POOR RELATIONSHIPS. Bill and Pam Farrel, relationship specialists, write about communication in many of their books ~ especially communication in marriage. For example, in their book Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti (pages 35-37), they emphasize that Listening is not…

  • an attempt to understand the opposite sex,
  • an attempt to become each other’s counselor,
  • an attempt to fix your partner, or
  • a personality trait.

I (Dawn) highly recommend the Farrels books if you want to improve your relationships. They are a wealth of wise counsel. A list of their books is at love-wise.com.

Communication is also one of the Christian’s strongest tools in ministry (joined by compassion and commitment). Poor communication can result in POOR MINISTRY.

Kenneth Boa wrote about communication skills  in an article for Bible.org. Here are a few of his points about communication that affect leaders:

  • “A leader who cannot communicate will not lead well or long….. those who wish to be good leaders will develop [the] skill [of listening].” (Proverbs 18:13)
  • “Closely tied in with the skill of listening is the ability to express oneself in a nonabrasive and affirming manner.” (Proverbs 12:18)
  • “…wise leaders think before they speak; in so doing, they select words that nurture rather than destroy.” (Proverbs 15:1; James 1:19-20)
  • “Your degree of ability to communicate will either evoke trust or distrust in those you lead. It will instill either confidence or fear. It will determine to a large extent how eagerly your followers will follow you.”
  • “Effective communication involves more than just speaking and hearing. Real communication only takes place when both parties move beyond speaking and hearing to understanding.”
  • Proverbs 18:2 demonstrates that the one-sided communicator comes off looking foolish. But look now at verse 13:  ‘He who answers before listening ~ that is his folly and his shame.’ A leader must also hear before answering ~ that’s essential…. In order to be truly effective, that leader must also listen and respond with a mind that is open and searching for a fuller meaning. Then and only then can effective two-way communication begin to take place.” Continue reading
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