Iron Sharpens Iron

xemenia and her mom 026.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” or one friend sharpens another.

I take this to mean – we need each other.  We can technically go through this separated from everyone, living like a hermit, but, what a lonely life.  We need each other to sharpen one another.  We can help one another.  We can strengthen one another.  Think about those friends, family members, teachers, mentors who have spoken into your life and made a huge positive impact on your life.  And think about those whose lives YOU have spoken into.   Sometimes we need that loving “kick in the pants” or that encouraging/uplifting word to keep going or to push us onto greatness.  Let’s face it my friends, you and I were made for greatness.  And that greatness takes on many forms.  It doesn’t necessarily mean ‘greatness’ in the form of great corporate success or Hollywood fame, though it CAN mean those things.  However, ‘greatness’ can be you quietly impacting others in your sphere.  Or greatness can involve being part of a grass-roots effort to incite change.  Greatness can be the way you raise your children to be responsible, loving human beings.  It can be a novel  you write that impacts its readers to make a difference.  Or maybe greatness can be you standing up for those who don’t have a voice.  But, be great! God has given you the ability AND he has given us community.  Let’s sharpen one another and move forward to impact the world, showing the love of Christ not only through what we say but how we live, and more importantly, how we love. Blessings.

Quote – Proverbs 27:17
Photo Credit – HERE

Being Human

Isn’t being human fun? Haha. I know some of you rolled your eyes…and others laughed. Define “fun” you say. Well, let’s just say that being human is definitely an adventure. We are unique and complex beings.  We are able to experience the world physically and emotionally.  We’re able to interact with others and express thoughts, ideas and feelings in various formats.  We’re able to create things.  It’s really quite amazing! What’s not fun about being human?  Disappointments, death, hurt/pain, sadness.  But, without the yucky parts of life, it’s harder to truly appreciate when things are really good.  When something good happens, you feel joy, relief, elation, etc.  Whether  you realize it or not, you mentally compare the good moment/experience/event to the bad one(s), and you’re extra thankful for the good.  Life is full of challenges.  Situations are challenging.  People are challenging.  Sometimes there are misunderstandings. Sometimes there is blatant harm.  But, whatever you’re going through or whatever you’ve been through, please oh please, allow it to make you better, stronger, more patient, more loving, more COMPASSIONATE, a better listener, a better giver, etc.  Bless others. 
 
To inspire you, I recently saw Alicia Keys perform a song on Katie Couric’s daytime talk show (I couldn’t find this clip but I found another performance).  The song is called “Brand New Me”.  It’s on  her new album “Girl On Fire”.  The song stopped me in my tracks.  This melancholy melody blossomed into a chorus of strength.  It seems to be about coming out of an unhealthy relationship, but, can be related to other things as well.  Please take the time to read the lyrics below and listen to the song here –> “BRAND NEW ME” (note: She does a piano solo at beginning.  If you want to skip this, the singing starts at approximately 2:50 minutes)
 
Brand New Me – by Alicia Keys
 
It’s been a while, I’m not who I was before
You look surprised, your words don’t burn me anymore
Been meaning to tell you, but I guess it’s clear to see
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of me
Can’t be bad, I found a brand new kind of free
 
Careful with your ego, he’s the one that we should blame
Had to grab my heart back
God know something had to change
I thought that you’d be happy
I found the one thing I need, why you mad
It’s just the brand new kind of me
 
It took a long long time to get here
It took a brave, brave girl to try
It took one too many excuses, one too many lies
Don’t be surprised, don’t be surprised
If I talk a little louder
If I speak up when you’re wrong
If I walk a little taller
I’ve been on to you too long
If you noticed that I’m different
Don’t take it personally
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of me
And it ain’t bad, I found a brand new kind of free
 
Oh, it took a long long road to get here
It took a brave brave girl to try
I’ve taken one too many excuses, one too many lies
Don’t be surprised, oh see you look surprised
Hey, if you were a friend, you want to get know me again
If you were worth a while
You’d be happy to see me smile
I’m not expecting sorry
I’m too busy finding myself
I got this
I found me, I found me, yeah
I don’t need your opinion
I’m not waiting for your ok
I’ll never be perfect, but at least now i’m brave
Now, my heart is open
And I can finally breathe
Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand new kind of free
That ain’t bad, I found a brand new kind of me
Don’t be mad, it’s a brand new time for me, yeah
 
Toodles ♥
 
 Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 
© “Being Human” by KD Corner 2012

Make Time

Today’s post is short & sweet. Make time for those most important to you. So much of the time we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off, keeping up a very busy pace, always going-going-going. We go to work, meetings, social events, etc. But do we take time to make time for those most important to us…our families and those closest to us?

When your child asks you to play a game, or watch a show with them, or go to the store with them (a store you may not like)…. When your spouse, boyfriend, girl friend or best friend asks you to go to a certain event, or spend some time, but you’re not in the mood…. When your parents or grandparents want you to call or come by to visit, but, you’d rather not…

What do you do? Now, I’m not talking about going into any unhealthy situations. I’m talking about healthy, normal relationships. Are you going to look back on your life and say, “Wow, I wish I had gone to another meeting instead of spending time with my son/daughter.” or “That TV show was waaay more important than spending time with my friend/spouse.” Or “So glad I let my excuses keep me from seeing Grandma before she passed away.” No! Of course not.

Life is a gift and life goes by quickly. I just want to encourage you to make some time for those who matter most to you. Sometimes it takes a sacrifice on your part, perhaps doing something you don’t enjoy, but the other person loves. But when you look back on your life and the choices you made to spend quality time when it counted, you won’t be disappointed. 🙂

Toodles

Image courtesy of: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Listening…A Lost Art

 

How many times has a friend or loved one come to you with a problem, issue or life situation wanting to just vent, and the Dr. Phil in you rises up to “fix” them or their problem and give unwanted advice? Guilty.

I think by nature we want to fix things and put in our “2 cents” so that we can feel like we contributed or brought some relief to our friend in some way. In short, we want to help, but sometimes over-talking or interjecting advice where it’s not necessarily wanted can do more harm than good.  Sometimes a friend really just wants you to LISTEN. Not easy, especially if you have more of a “fixer” personality. But it’s possible to do.

Practice listening. Many times our friends or family members really just want a sounding board. And if they DO want advice or your opinion, they’ll usually come right out and ask you. But, even if they do, tread carefully…unless they tell you to “bring it”, at which point you can let loose and go into your unprofessional diagnosis of their problem.  Still…be careful. Think how you’d want someone to “bring it” to you.  Make sure it’s seasoned with “love”. 🙂

I’ve become fairly good listener. But, I’m continuously working at it. Sometimes people just need your compassion or your presence.  You know how when someone’s talking to you, you’re having a second conversation in your head simultaneously?  All of your unfiltered opinions and reactions are unbridled in this “head” conversation.  RESIST the urge to blab out your opinion. Instead, really listen to the person who’s talking. Try to empathize. When judgemental thoughts arise, push them back down, and just listen. If you’re hearing something that you know is particularly bad or harmful for that person, still just listen. Let them get it all out. Remember to engage the person while they’re talking to you.  Look into their eyes, or give the occasional heart-felt “yeah” or “uh huh” or “really?”  Give a nod of the head and let your facial expression show that you care.  Be genuinely interested.  If talking on the phone, they cannot see your face, but give verbal affirmations that you’re listening to let them know you’re there and engaged in what they’re saying. Nine times out of ten, once the person has vented, they’ll want some kind of input. Begin gently with your input and try to gauge how much feedback the person wants, needs or can handle. Sometimes you’ll know instantaneously how much feedback is desired. Sometimes the person may shut down or block you out if you’re saying something they’re not ready to hear. If that happens, back off. Maybe at a later time the environment will be more conducive for more in-depth conversation.

One last thing.  If you have a friend who can talk to you for hours and hours on end and wear you down to a puddle of mush by the time they’re done talking, protect yourself. Lol.  You want to be there for that friend, but, you also know that if you let them, bless their hearts, they would keep you in the conversation (on the phone or in person) for hours and hours rehashing the same details over and over.  Yet, you care for them and desire to “be there” for them.  Set a time parameter.  Tell them you have “x” number of minutes to talk, up front.  When that time comes around, interject with kindness in your voice and let them know you have to go, but would be available later or perhaps you can talk to them via Instant Messenger or text or on a particular day that YOU specify.  Sometimes “listening” via IM is an option.  It gives the person a chance to write out the problem (which can sometimes help on both ends – the talker’s and the listener’s).  And with writing you have to take a bit more care and be more thoughtful as typed words don’t share the emotion behind them.  Stick to the point.  If your friend’s main gripe is that they have an issue with a coworker, but, they keep wandering into other topics, as you’re listening, keep that main topic in mind.  If/when they ask for your input, OR when your time limit has come and you have to end the conversation, focus on the main issue.  Be warm, yet succinct.  Get right to the root of the issue with your input (with compassion).  Hopefully this will prevent further wandering from the main topic at hand.  And if you’re chatty friend wants to discuss ‘war and peace’, gently yet firmly remind them that you have to go, but suggest that perhaps you’d could further your conversation on the next topic of choice on another occasion.  Hope these hints are helpful.

Have a great day!
Toodles ♥

The Power of Song – part 1 of 3

This is the first of a 3 parter where I’m going to share 3 of my favorite songs. Why?  Because their melodies & lyrics are examples of the power songs have to give us hope, courage, faith…to lift us up when we’re down or put a spring in our step.  You know how it feels when you hear your favorite song on the radio!  It feels amazing!  You crank it up, you sing along, maybe a little air guitar or air drums are being played.  There is music to fit all of our moods.  We listen to happy music when we’re happy, or listen to a mournful tune while sad, or a party song when we’re getting ready to go out on the town.  Music is so powerful. I love all kinds of music from classical, classic rock, R & B, reggae, latin, alternative, jazz, old school rap, pop…and something I thought I’d never, ever in a million years like…yep, country. I cannot tell you how I used to loathe country music as a child. But, as an adult, I have gained an appreciation for it. Much of it is heartfelt, and wholesome. They’re not afraid to mention God and faith in their songs. And many of the songs are about life, and they many times tell a story.  My selection today is from a more modern country group, Rascal Flatts.  Before you skeptics roll your eyes (Lol) , just give it a chance. 🙂  This song is about how people give of themselves to help, save, bless, encourage others. I personally sing this song to God, because I feel like everyday God saves my life – helps me through the tough times, keeps me encouraged.  And there are plenty of people who come to mind as I listen that have been a blessing to me.  I only hope I am a blessing to others as well.

Here’s the link to the video:  Every Day
And here are the lyrics.
Feel free to follow along:

You could’ve bowed out gracefully, but you didn’t
You knew enough to know to leave well enough alone, but you wouldn’t
I drive myself crazy trying to stay out of my own way
the messes that I’ve made, but my secrets are so safe
The only one who gets me, yeah you get me
It’s amazing to me

How every day, every day, every day
you save my life

I come around all broken down and crowded out, in your comfort
Sometimes the place I go is so deep & dark & desperate
I don’t know, I don’t know

How every day, every day, every day
you save my life.

Sometimes I swear I don’t know if I’m comin’ or goin’
 But you always say something without even knowin’
That I’m hanging onto your words with all of my might
And it’s alright
Yeah, I’m alright
For one more night
Every day

Every day, every day, every day
Every day, every day, every day
You save me, you save me ..ohhh
La, la, la… (every day, every-every-every day)
Every day, you save my life.

*Be blessed. 🙂

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net