I read, therefore I quote.
Today’s quotes come from Well Connected, Power Your Own Soul by Plugging Into Others by Dianna Booher.
“. . . in times of tragedy, even total strangers come to others’ rescue. but what about the tragedies that aren’t apparent to an onlooker – internal, emotional upheavals in our lives? And what about times of “ordinariness?” How closely do we connect with people on a day-in, day-out basis? How often do we get below the surface of our “Hi, how are you?” and “Fine, thank you.” interactions? . . .
. . . Why is connecting with people so vital to our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being? Because a woman fells more like a woman when she builds and enjoys relationships. Her contentment comes from connecting with other people. As a result, that inner connection makes her more creative, energetic, persuasive, and powerful in the lives of those she can influence for good – her family, her coworkers, and her community. (I believe the same is true for men, by the way. – by JSM)
But the typical woman has so many things vying for her attention that she often misses hearing God’s voice through her relationships. In other words, they compete with, rather than reflect, Gods’ truth. For lack of reflection time, we miss the opportunity to connect others to God’s love and resources. And the most important “connection,” our daily interaction with God, becomes the source of our power to inspire, mold and nurture others . . .
The connecting process is much like photosynthesis. As plants take in sunlight to create nourishment, we take in the behavior and words of people. We filter them through our psyches and systems, drawing nourishment and insight from them while discarding the unusable. As plants need the sun, so we need each other.
As we talk, work and play with others around us, our interactions can lead us to valuable insights about life in general and ourselves in particular. And certainly God can speak to us about our direction and decisions in such encounters . . .
. . . God can teach us much through our daily interactions with other people IF – and that’s a big if – we take the time to listen, consider, learn and obey.”
Both my kids are in school these days. FavoriteSon is in 8th grade and PinkGirl is in 2nd grade. But it wasn’t that long ago that PinkGirl was with me nearly 24/7. I remember. I remember how isolating it could be. How overwhelming it could get. Thanks to my journal, I remember quite a bit. I remember asking myself, “Did I take a shower today?” or maybe even, “Did I take a shower yesterday?” I remember how difficult and overwhelming it was to accomplish even the slightest task. The fragmentation was debilitating. I remember. My house wasn’t fit for visitors, much less inhabitants. My freakish organizational plans often remained just that – plans. When you are so completely responsible for another person (or persons) to the point of bathing and feeding and carrying them everywhere . . . it was a totally different life. (Sometimes resulting in what you see here:
Now, I drop the kids off at school and have at least 6 hours a day to throw at all I want and need to accomplish. Now that my daily life isn’t reactionary (reacting to what my children do), my focus is to make sure I’m spending this newly granted time and energy on the stuff I believe is important. Stuff that supports my personal, spiritual, family and professional goals. I guess my biggest goal is to figure out what I believe is important.
Sure, I work a little more (outside the home) and I clean and I cook and I take care of my family’s “stuff.” More recently (for the last two years), I’ve also begun putting myself on the list on a regular basis. I’ve finally come to a place where I actually BELIEVE that I’m a better wife and mother when I take care of myself. I finally BELIEVE and am motivated to ACTION by the understanding that I don’t want my kids to adopt my previous habits of caring for myself. I want to model and proactively teach my kids to make good nutritional choices and to “move their body” every day. I very much want to have the energy and ability to participate in my family’s activities without physical limitation. But that’s another post.
When my friend was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, I realigned my vision. As I became involved in the care group supporting her and her family, I started to see – really see – others. Over the last year, I’ve begun trying to reach outside my own life more. To pay attention to opportunities to serve. To respond to opportunities to serve.
So today, I called my neighbor two doors down and offered to watch her baby while she took some time to get ready for visiting family. I knew she had a lot on her plate today and I had an unexpected, easy, flexible day.
Last night, I had no plans to do this. I picked FirstHusband up from the airport around 11:30 p.m., we got home after midnight and went to bed just before 1:00 a.m. When I got up this morning, I had no plans to do this. I drove the kids to school and took FirstHusband to pick up his truck from the shop (We had some maintenance work done while he was out of town.). When I sat down to the computer this morning, I had no plans to do this. I came home, had some coffee, blogged a little and then, as I was thinking about walking (because, I put myself on my list, remember?), it occurred to me that I could take BabyK on my walk with me.
It was a spur of the moment thing. But I had a nice morning, I think BabyK had fun and I know my neighbor benefited – she flat out told me so. Even though it was a slower pace than normal, I got to walk two miles, Baby K got to touch trees and giant furry spider Halloween decorations and her mom got some stuff done around her house – stuff that is difficult to do when a baby is constantly demanding attention. I even got to do some light cleaning myself. It was a good day.
“By connecting with others, we gain insight, we feel contentment, and we offer comfort and hope for the future.”
It wasn’t the day I planned. But I believe I responded to God’s prompting. So it was a good day.
“. . . therefore I quote” Thursday: If you have a quote to share from something you’ve read recently, feel free to comment and/or include a link to your own “quote” post.
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