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Multitasking or Disconnecting?

 

I just dropped my IPhone in my soup. I think it might be time to tone down the multitasking. (Emma Watson).DeeEngland2014-1 2922

There is a cost to multitasking disconnect.

You are with someone and chatting. Their phone rings. They answer and suddenly you are ignored. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever done that to someone else?

 

Multi-tasking is a common scene today, and even expected in many settings. The definition is to complete several tasks at the same time. It is assumed that all tasks are completed with the same intensity or success, but really? Statistics show that humans are not as smart as we think, and often most or all of multi-tasks are only partly or insufficiently completed. We’ve become a culture satisfied with as-good-as-I-can while doing something else, but – When trying to do more, we accomplish less. (Jeff Goines). Haven’t you experienced being waited on in a store when the phone rings, and suddenly the clerk has lost the focus and is trying to answer the person on the phone, while caring for your service. Neither of you gets full attention and neither action gets completed as satisfactorily as they should.

 

Most multitasking is an illusion. You think you are getting more done, but in reality you are wasting time switching from one task to another. (Bosco Tjan)

 

Then there is the social cost of multi-tasking              2181

 

Loss of friendship is a potential cost of multi-tasking CHOICE. Yes, I did use that word. If I am talking with my friend, half-listening if truth were known, because I am thinking about how I will respond, or worrying about that last text from another friend. The phone dings. I CHOOSE to turn from my in-person friend and look at the text. Then I CHOOSE to read the entire text and think about how to respond to it. The first friend continues to sip their coffee or walk beside, waiting for my return, but they are lost to me. I am now in conversation with the texting friend. Has this happened to you?

 

If I did that I would have chosen to DISCONNECT with the in-person friend and telling him or her as boldly as if I put up a sign – this text is now the priority – it is more important than whatever you were communicating. When I continue to text and ignore the in-person friend, I am communicating to my in-person friend – this message and person is more important than our friendship, and more important than you.

 

Ouch.

A bit strong? Most likely we do not mean to convey such painful conclusions, but if you care about your work, BE there, complete each thing thoroughly. When you divide your focus neither gets the full attention it deserves.

When you care about someone, when you are with them BE with them – as much as you like others to listen to you and BE with you!

Gary Keller, in The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, sums it up with three little words:

“Multitasking is a lie”
― 

Ecclesiastes 4:6 ESV

Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.stop

Prov. 7:24 So, friends, listen to me, take these words of mine most seriously.

 

 
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Posted by on 08/21/2014 in All Four Sides of Me

 

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The Honey-Apple Pie Cure

Everyone in our little town of 500 knew enough to keep away from Mr. Wendell, but despite warnings, our dad oldpic0001 bought the house right next door! I was 11, unwillingly carting boxes in our new-to-us home, all the while keeping one eye watching to the right; fearing the scowling old man picking apples from the trees beside the tall wire-fenced wall that separated our yards. All the town kids are scared of him, and call him Mr. Nasty because at Halloween he put a big sign on his door that read GO AWAY. The next Halloween some big boys put a bucket of water over his door, knocked and ran when he came out and got dunked. I think even the grown-ups don’t like Mr. Wendell because I heard Mrs. Weaver complaining about him one day in the store, and Mom told her “Hurting people hurt others.” All afternoon I wondered how Mr. Wendell got hurt, and how it helped for him to hurt others. It was a riddle that kept me up that night and had me worried if Mr. Wendell would hurt Dad as he went over to the fence to introduce himself; but Mr. Wendell just yelled at him to keep away, saying “don’t you dare take apples from my tree.” Some welcome. Dad just shrugged his shoulders, and went in the house.

A year later I still trembled at the memory of that unfriendly greeting, and kept my distance from the fence, but one day reasoned that some apples that had fallen in our yard from a branch hanging over the fence was fair game. Boy was I wrong. Mr. Wendell came out just as I’d picked up the 5th apple, yelling that I was a thief. I froze to the spot in fear until Mom came to the door and he finally removed himself and his red face from my view, releasing my feet to safely run into the house. Dad was home for lunch and listened as I sobbed my story to Mom, vengefully wishing ill on our nasty neighbor. “You catch more bees with honey than vinegar,” Dad said, and went back out to his truck to work.

 

Mom smiled in that “I’ve got a secret” way and said, “I think we’ll just give Mr. Wendell his apples back.” I worriedPiesinwindow at the “we” but watched as she pulled out the honey and a couple of ready-made pie crusts from the freezer. Honey-apple pie – yum! I tried to forget Mr. Wendell as Mom let me mix the streusel and measure out the spices while she peeled the apples I’d picked up and others she had on the counter, then mixed them with the spices and honey. I held the brown paper bag while mom slipped in the finished pie and let it bake while we cooked up dinner.

 

I would never tell my friends that I hid behind my mom like a baby when she rang Mr. Nasty’s doorbell. He looked like he could chew nails and I couldn’t get out the apology Mom wanted so Mom nodded at me and said, “She made this honey apple pie from the dropped apples”. He stared a second, then grabbed the pie, turned, and pushed the door shut with his foot. Mom swears she heard him say, “Edith! It’s honey-apple pie!” How strange, I thought as door closed, because Mrs. Wendell died years ago.

 

Dad told us at dinner that we’d done the right thing. I wasn’t so sure until an hour later as we were finishing off our pieces of honey-apple pie. Mom answered the door and we were all shocked.

 

There stood Mr. Wendell holding a basket of apples! I backed to the safety of the dining room doorway. He cleared his throat and looked around the room till his eyes latched on to me and he kinda whispered, “Girlie I’m sorry I been such a grouch. Haven’t had pie like that since Edith passed on.” “Uh,” he stuttered, “You can take all applesthe apples from my trees you want, but only you. Don’t you go bringin’ a bunch of rascals with you.”

I felt all teary and couldn’t answer so I just stood there and nodded once, and then he turned real quick and walked off fast toward his house. I just stood there for a minute, kinda shocked, you know, and then we all smiled when dad chuckled, his mouth full of some of his second piece of honey-apple pie.   “Good job,” he said – “glad you made two pies.” Then he added thoughtfully, while licking the sticky syrup off his lips,

“Honey is a healer, you know, and I think your pie might just have begun healing a broken heart.”

Prov. 16:24     Gracious speech is like clover honey—
good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body.

 

Option 1 – Refrigerated Pie Crust

If using Refrigerated Pie Crust -place one crust in pan, add apples mixed with honey, cinnamon and vanilla.   Dot with 3 tsp. butter cut in six pieces and add second crust.  Slice a few air holes..  Place on cookie sheet and bake at 375 for about 35 minutes, until golden brown.

  • Mix Together: 5 cups sliced apples, peeled, 1/2 cup honey, 1 tsp. Ceylon cinnamon, 
  • Dot with 2 tablespoons butter

For “Mile High” pie cook 7 cups of apples and cinnamon, in honey water (1 cup of each), drain and add to a single full size pie crust and top with butter and second crust and bake.  It makes for a fuller pie when filling is pre-cooked.

Option 2 – Individual Honey Apple Pies with Puff Pastry -

Put sliced apples in pan.  Barely cover with honey-water (equal amounts of 1 Cup honey and 1 Cup water) Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute.  Drain and add cinnamon. Cut puff pastry into 6 square sections.  Fold each section into triangle and pinch two sides together, forming a pouch. Put about 1/3-1/2 cup into each pouch, top with 1/2 tsp. of butter and pinch together.  Bake at 375 or 400 (depending on your oven – I like lower temps) until golden brown – about 15 – 20 min.

 

enjoy!

 

 
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Posted by on 08/10/2014 in All Four Sides of Me

 

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Powerful Words – Invisible Wounds

 

You’ve heard the bluff before – Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

 

Uh uh. Not true. All wounds are not visible.  hurtfeelings

 

Some friends have been shocked over the years when I tell them about our engagement pact. It was sort of an emotional prenuptial agreement (before we were aware prenuptials existed)

 

Here was the deal – I’d been wounded growing up, and I’m not proud to confess that I also hurt others with words, but I’d graduated, left home, and guided by my sister, Marlene, had made a determination. I had a choice. I did not have to be like that anymore, and I did not have to allow anyone else to use words as weapons to hurt me.

 

I accepted the engagement with Ken with the understanding that we would not jest or call each other names, that could be understood by us or anyone else as anything other than respectful or affectionate. We also promised one another to only use the words always and never in positive ways. We agreed because saying you always, or you never was really a negative exaggeration and because of love an impossibility.

 mad

Ken told me that as a man (human) he would likely disappoint me and possibly even hurt me, but he would never do either intentionally. That helped me to scratch some of my Cinderella expectations, to realize he had feelings just as I did, and to say, “How about if we just forget that ever happened.”

 

It wounds us to listen to some folk who regularly call each other dumbbell, old man, or whatever, and tell us they are just playing. I’ve actually heard some couples tell me their profanity was ‘love talk.’

I asked a wife if her and her spouse’s “name calling and playing with words” was ever hurtful and she said yes, it was. To cover her hurt she would just hurl back an equal or bigger insult and it would always escalate. Later they made up, but she often wondered if he’d really meant the things he said. mean

 

How sad. Words are a gift. They are to build up one another.

 

  1. Ephesians 5:4 says -“there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks” I like how The Message explains this verse saying “Christians have better uses for language than that”

 

So what should our dialect be? Speaking in such a manner that the other’s response can only be good – they are left with nothing bad to say about us.

 

Three passages come to mind as good tests of what our words convey

 

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another.
  • Titus 2:8, 9, and 15 In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us– These things speak and exhort (encourage) and reprove (correct in such a way to put them back on the right path) with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Speak these things in such a way that others will not disrespect you, and do not allow others to speak disrespectfully to you)
  • I Corinthians 13 – Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self.

       Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head,

      Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle,  OS02027

       Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

       Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth  – Puts up with anything,

       Trusts God always, Always looks for the best.

                                Who can you build up today?  Who will hear your powerful words?

 
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Posted by on 08/05/2014 in All Four Sides of Me

 

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Courage – The Gift of Fear

I recognized the fear in her eyes when she acknowledged mine.

 

I’d eagerly began the stair climb down into the warm Mineral Bath at Bath, England, when I realized the pool depth was not graded. It was all one depth. A childhood almost-drowning incident and my lack of swim skills rose to challenge me.  BathspaRoof

 

“I’ll stay right here,” I told my nephew’s wife, Sheree, who was hand pulling my sister across the pool. “We’ll see,” she answered with a gleam I knew meant trouble for me, when three other ladies entered the pool.

 

The three generation group identified themselves by calling the silver-haired woman “Mum” and “Nana.” I turned to see her reaction to the pool and it was that moment fear recognized fear. Someone once said that misery loves company and she jumped on the thought, telling her daughter and granddaughter that she would hang with me and I chorused that it was a great idea.

 

Sheree, however, had returned and had other ideas. She reaffirmed her swimming skills, and the fact that she could touch bottom. I turned to my new friend, Jane, to help me convince Sheree that we could enjoy ourselves on the pool stairs, when Jane turned tables, saying, “I will go… if you will.” England2014Dee 567

 

Rats. I did not want to, but how could I not go and leave someone else to battle what I deep down knew was a mostly senseless fear? She was asking me to have courage for her. Left alone, I would never have considered it, but Sheree’s friendly assurances on one side, and my new friend Jean’s wistful glances from the other did me in. I would trust.

 

I am big on words. I know courage means to have fear but to do something anyway, despite the fear. I also know there is a vast difference between believing and trusting in someone. Did I believe that Sheree would not let me come to harm? Yes. Did I believe she could haul me across the pool to the horse-shoe shaped whirlpool area? Yes, my sister Marlene waving from there was proof she could. But trusting her? Letting go of the handrail and placing both hands in hers? Whoa! That was hard. I thought of the illustration I’d so often shared of how many people believe Christ existed, but to rest ourselves in his grip – truly trusting – was a giant leap of faith.

 

The mineral waters held us up somewhat, and there was a current pulsing around the horseshoe area. I was more than content to be left clinging to the inside edge of the whirlpool while Sheree went back to get my new friend, Jean.

 

A friendship was begun in those few moments and bonded over the next several hours as we commiserated and compared our stories. I am thankful for the experience that I would never have had except for Sheree’s gentle trustworthiness and Jean’s challenge. DeeEngland2014-1 2924

 

Many of us find our faith through the example of God’s trustworthiness in another’s life. Similarly, Sheree’s keeping her word to bring Marlene safely across the pool was as much a part of building my trust as was Marlene’s faith to go first and her smiling victory wave from across the water. Trust had been exemplified before our eyes by people who had proven they were trustworthy.

We trusted that God was with us through them. How good it is to have trustworthy friends.

1Th. 5:14 And we urge you, brethren. . ., encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.

Isaiah 41:10     ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

 

 
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Posted by on 07/29/2014 in All Four Sides of Me

 

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Life’s Best Accessory

They were at it again.   1-sisters

 

Our two daughters, only 17 months apart, had gone from being best buds delighted to share a room, to fashion estrangement. Their own groups of friends, we’d expected that. Their own interests and talents, we’d expected that. What we didn’t expect was that clothing issues would be enough to warrant full separation; but they had progressed well beyond my generation’s imaginary “line down the center of the bed” that you didn’t dare cross.

Laurie dressed simply with straight lines, classic styles and a preference for denim or flannel. Cheri, on the other hand, is, as a Sears’ ad stated, our “softer side.” Lace, ruffles and femininity created her trademark. Even though the same size, their growing individuality resulted in a rapidly shrinking stash of shared items.

 

Shopping became a challenge with our limited budget, but of more concern was the constant friction, and developing dislike as evidenced by raised voices, cold shoulder treatment, and doodling on sermon notes “Lord, help me love my sister.” At least that was one desire we as their parents could join with and encourage!  lace3

 

Turning the sewing room into another bedroom seemed like a good solution as they could decorate their spaces individually. Foolishly overconfident, we smiled that they were at-least mutually focused on the same issue, when they began dividing the clothes they’d previously shared.

 

Their sense of humor vanished overnight.   Clearly, our pattern – family conferences doling out freedoms and responsibilities according to individual behaviors and maturity – needed a new twist. Ken buckled to my argument that since the girls were unified acting selfishly I could treat them as one. In return, I conceded that after the “announcement” of my plan was made, the males of the household could do what they do best when confronted by three PMSing women in crisis, and they prepared to flee.  Jeans texture

 

We closed the French doors to the dining room for effect and Ken explained the decision: the girls had to negotiate both of their wardrobes simultaneously with a single budget.   No shopping until cheerful compromise was reached. Their eyes widened into stares, then seeing we meant business, their jaws dropped open. The full two minutes of record-breaking silence allowed the guys to back out of the room.

 

Once the initial shock wore off, I distributed a list of items typically purchased each school year, catalogs showing expected prices, paper, pens, a calculator and the budgeted amount. Then I left the room, closed the door, and waited for an eruption. First, silence. Then low mumbling (I couldn’t hear much through the glass against the door) followed by total silence as hubby pulled me away from the room entirely, before really leaving the house this time (the sneak!)

 

The guys had long returned from their escape when two slightly smiling girls cautiously exited their “summit” several hours later with their results. Utilizing similar sizing, their desire for a broadened wardrobe had apparently overcome hostility. While agreeing to continue to disagree over what was attractive, and that most of each others clothing was still off limits, they had made a desperate compromise – of sorts. Our next shopping excursion turned into several “convertible” discussions… not the cars mind you … but basics like jeans and more importantly, the accessories.

 

Wisely, the girls had decided they could expand into two wardrobes if they purchased some accessories that both could use with a little ‘personality adjustment’. Scarves were a big issue, and they bought several. Laurie wore them in her classic style — straight, smooth, unaffected; and when Cheri wore them, she knotted with style and made a totally different look. It worked great for months; the only problem was that Cheri frequently ‘forgot’ to untie the knots after wearing a scarf, and to replace it in the smooth and unstructured way Laurie had left it.

12447624-red-scarf-isolated-on-white

Thus: this morning’s bickering. Muttering, “I’ve had it” while once again ironing knot-wrinkles out of a favorite scarf, Laurie tossed it on and slammed out the front door for school. I didn’t realize her desperate humor – even when her usual after-school greeting was replaced by running footsteps and, “I’ll be down in a little bit.”

 

Not realizing she had purposely beat her sister home; I continued preparing dinner, with Laurie’s somewhat distracted assistance, until we heard Cheri come in and run upstairs to change. I noticed Laurie glance uneasily toward the ceiling. She was rewarded quickly as the last footfall silenced and we heard Cheri burst into gales of laughter. Laurie’s smug knowing smile met my raised eyebrow and curious glance as we both ran upstairs to her still-laughing sister.  10164557-beautiful-bright-scarf-isolated-on-white

 

Spread out on her bed, chair and floor, and hanging from every lamp, door jamb, open bureau drawers, and even the curtains was the cause of Cheri’s laughter… almost her entire wardrobe was spread out displaying every appendage – with every few inches tied in knots!

laughing_cat

We laughed till we cried, then like shampoo, repeated the application when their dad got home.

 

It was so good to all laugh together again through dinner and after when best friends came to view the cleOS02048ver remedy!

 

 

 

Though our daughters’ personalities and fashion choices remain different they still sometimes share or remake wardrobe items for each other, like the ruffled denim shirt Cheri got one Christmas from her now wiser and more understanding sister.

Our new family motto: Denim and Lace together? “Knot” a problem!

 

Gal. 2:17  Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect? (No great surprise, right?)

Col. 3:14 And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

 

 

 

Psa. 100:2                  Bring a gift of laughter,sing yourselves into his presence.

 

Rom. 12:15 Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy;

 
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Posted by on 07/20/2014 in All Four Sides of Me

 

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Through The Storm

We were halfway there when the wind picked up and the van began to rock and shudder. Only the thought of my granddaughter Kristin’s call for help to vacate a troublesome apartment situation in another state kept my son-in-law, Frank, his family and I (her grandma) from turning around once the storm had moved in. Fear IMG_0078skittered across my shoulders.

The Lord and I are in almost constant communication so I’m sure He wasn’t surprised to hear me silently calling to him for protection and guidance, especially when the radio confirmed tornado activity in our path on the divided four-lane freeway. The chorus of Precious Lord, Take My Hand ran through my mind as I prayed, “Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the Light…”

Rain spatters came faster, pelting the windows with staccato warnings and flash after flash of lightening lit up the sky. The darkness and fierceness of the wind and rain kept the road hidden and only in those moments of lightening could Frank see the white line marking the edge of the highway. The tenseness in his shoulders and tight, silent grip on the steering wheel told me he also was greatly concerned, but determined not to frighten his three children. Together we silently searched each bright slash in the darkness for some ray of hope. Suddenly Frank leaned ahead and exclaimed, “What on earth…is that?” then I too saw the unusual twin red lights in the darkness ahead of us.

These taillights were not like anything we’d seen before. Rising above the trunk of the sleek black car, these car-photo-rearlight-mlights, Frank guessed, were at least 1-1/2 feet tall. “Thank you Lord,” I whispered, as Frank’s shoulders relaxed and we continued to follow the two red sentinels. Still the storm continued to rage.

The rain became so heavy we could not see the lights, and Frank had to slow the van to a crawl. We grew silent until the patch of wind and rain subsided, and then were amazed to see the sleek roadster on the shoulder to our right, easing back onto the road directly in front of us, as though he’d been waiting. We pondered this and Frank wondered aloud if the unusual vehicle was some kind of “storm chaser”.

The second time the wind and rain enclosed us was near an exit, and Frank pulled off the freeway to a well-lit gas station where we waited 10-15 minutes, hoping the weather would let up. Back on the road, the wind had died down but the fierce rain resumed, and this time we were all leaning forward looking through the darkness, jokingly wondering if the black car was ‘waiting’ for us again. We gasped with surprise to see it this time easing out from the left shoulder. We’d never seen anyone pull over on that side before.

How ironic was that – to think that specific vehicle would have had to stop the same length of time as us, even though it had gone before us to be where we needed it! Our guide led us through the rest of the storm, easing out before us from the side of the road through each wave of a now not-as-scary situation because instead of watching the storm, we’d eagerly scan the darkness for the tall red lights. At last the storm tapered off just as the big sign welcoming us to Davenport, Iowa was visible ahead. Lights over the bridge revealed our shiny black 1-a-modern-and-elegant-black-car-illuminatedguide stopped again on the left shoulder! We felt like he was letting us know it was safe now, we could go on. I glanced back over my shoulder as we passed the special car, memorizing details to the “music” of our collective sigh of relief and amazement at such a unique answer to our frantic calls for help.

The taillights were off, I’d noticed, and tinted glass hid the guide who had led us through a frightening time. I was thoughtful but not surprised as we climbed out of the van at Kristin’s apartment to realize the melody I was humming was the same chorus, “Through the storm, through the night, …”

And I wondered as we received Kristin’s relieved hug, if she knew guardian angels drive sleek black cars with tall red taillights.

Psalm 93:4         Stronger than wild sea storms,
Mightier than sea-storm breakers,
Mighty GOD rules from High Heaven.

Psalm 121:5     GOD’S your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you—

 
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Posted by on 07/17/2014 in All Four Sides of Me

 

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The Hat That Helped Me Grow Up

I burst into tears after the first sentence I heard from Marv Hegle – “Why are you wearing a rug on your head?”

Crochet Cap

I raced to the car, reasoning through tears that there was no way he could have known what an oppressive and abusive atmosphere I’d been raised in – where nothing I said or did was “good enough”. Still it was difficult to resist the spiral of old taunts returning with a perceived insult, not just to the result of my newly-learned craft of crocheting, but to me as a person.

 

His wife rushed after us, the newcomers they’d just met at a large metropolitan church, apologizing. “Don’t take his comments seriously,” she urged – “It’s just his weird sense of humor.” And then she invited us to their home. I wasn’t sure I wanted to subject myself to more “weird humor” but felt obligated, and surprisingly found out it was exactly what I needed.

 

Marv had an effect on me. Laughter emanating from his home when we approached the front door was at first a OS02023missed clue, as I self-consciously wondered if he was again joking about my crocheted hat. Warily, I’d left the hat in the car and was relieved I’d done so as I saw him glance at my bare head and then turn with twinkling eyes toward his mate to receive an obvious message. “My wife thinks I may have hurt your feelings by commenting your hat looked like a rug,” he began. Chagrined to have all eyes turned toward me, my mind raced for an appropriate response when he finished his statement with a laughing, “but it really did look like a rug to me.”

 

Startled, I stared at the short balding man we’d just met, then at his wife, twinklingly remonstrating him with a drawn out “Marrrrv.” and shaking her head hopelessly.   His young son simultaneously moaned, “Daaaaad”, and I suddenly realized they had apparently experienced this situation many, many times before. Instead of feeling hurt, I suddenly felt challenged to one-up him, and my husband gasped as I retorted in kind, that Marv was perhaps subconsciously longing for a “rug”, referring to his almost bald pate, and followed with an offer to crochet one for him. But Marv was laughing uproariously, his eyes twinkling in approval, and the rest of the afternoon was spent in lighthearted banter.

 

Our friendship grew as Marv mentored us in our faith-walk – challenging me especially, that I could continue to choose to allow life’s offenses to wound me, or I could deflect them with humor and grace. I’d never known I had a choice.

 

He toughened me up weekly, saying things like “Never try to teach a pig to sing – it wastes your time and annoys the pig.” My childhood-trained insecurity would question if he was near me as I sang and meant it personally, but looking directly at him, I got the message, and quickly learned to enjoy his OS06062simple humor instead of analyzing potential hidden meanings to every joke. He taught me to laugh at myself when my first attempt at baking French bread turned out slim loaves, hollow and hard, by offering to buy a hundred loaves – and contribute them to the local police station as billy clubs.

 

He allowed me to laugh at him too, and to discover that his humor was a hard-fought victory through many physical and personal trials. Marv did not come by this knowledge without pain.

 

Needles, surgeries, medications were evidence of the diabetes that would eventually take my mentor, but to Marv they were more opportunities to share his faith by being a living example. I never left his home without feeling uplifted – by his attitude, a devotional he shared, or the lesson behind a silly joke that would remind me of the hope that still remained in my life.

 

The baggage I’d stored from years of childhood abuse was no longer evidence of an overwhelming burden, but opportunities for growth and encouragement to others. The weakness of a childhood authority who rationalized that if a person failed they were a permanent failure, was now replaced by realizing I was not only human, but had the opportunity to choose to not allow whatever happened to come between me and another person. Relationships grew astoundingly once I realized that forgiveness was an expression of a choice to love – and was something others also wanted – from me.

 

An extremely rare disease caused Marv’s two middle sons to be born blind – and though he and his wife wept, those feelings of pain were re-channeled by choice as Marv determined to teach his boys that same emotional freedom he was teaching me. Pity was not going to suffocate their possibilities – nor mine. So life was hard. If you look beyond the hairstyle, the clothes, and the home – outward wrappings – as Marv put it, which “are all going to burn”, I would see that everyone had burdens. Today those all four of Marv’s boys have found employment, have precious families and are a joyful reminder of a legacy I was privileged to have as part of my life.

Instead of thinking, “if only” as I observed people, I began to trade places by wondering what mysterious thing they imagined me to have that they could possibly long for. I was surprised to identify the things my mentor had verbally affirmed – a writing skill, compassion for the wounded, a good memory, a sense of drama, and a 1FaceBKcoverdefense for the unjust.   I was astonished to find myself auditioning for and receiving small parts in local theater, and having articles of life lessons and stories accepted for publication. Like forgiveness, courage had also been a gift of love.

 

Courage was also a choice for Marv as his disease controlled more and more of his life and hospital visits became frequent. I still crocheted, and scraps of every color yarn filled a bag on the way to each hospital visit – resulting in unique hats he wore like a crown, even though they all still looked like rugs to him.

 

He proudly told me he even wore them to work – and then humorously invited me to his classroom. He’d changed his career to teaching at the vocational school for the blind, and the fact that the classroom had no windows, and no reason to turn the light on except for sighted visitors, was not an insult to my creativity, he quickly assured. Laughing, I knew these students also “saw” much of what I’d missed most of my life as he introduced me as the friend who made his wonderful hats. I felt more love in that dark classroom than I’d felt in any I’d attended as a student. He was not a perfect man and often reminded others that God did not use us because we are good, but because He is. Because of that self-effacement, I trusted Marv, and he knew more 24189about my imperfections than I wished he did, but loved me anyway. I knew that because of the choice he made in how much truth to expose.

 

It was a merciful thing not to have to endure the embarrassment of full exposure. Our “audience” was not led to see or be informed about the imperfections or flaws in the hat nor any of the faulty motives or petty unkindness that its maker may have had at the beginning of the hat story. Rather Marv chose to expose only the result of the choices he taught me to make.

 

Living on purpose is one thing – dying on purpose was also a choice. One of the last things he asked me to do was to feed him chocolate, joking that it could be his ‘kiss of death’ while thanking me for choosing to be there. HkisszThat may sound macabre to some, but he knew I understood him by now, and could hear the love behind the choice of words and actions.

 

Thanks to Marvin Hegle, I choose to raise to my full 5 feet in height, and to find humor and hope in every life event, that others might also experience the forgiveness, love and courage that began with Marv – and a hat that looked like a rug.

1Pet. 1:8  You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing.
Isaiah 54:13     All your children will have GOD for their teacher—
what a mentor for your children!

 
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Posted by on 07/08/2014 in All Four Sides of Me

 

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