2019 – Three Words to Live By

A year ago, I posted my three words to live by for 2018.

Frugality (updated to minimalism). Grace. Truth.

I will continue to live by those three words in 2019 and I will be adding to those words three new words. I wrote this post three weeks ago on November 26th, but after reading what I had written I posted the following on The Blogging Owl Facebook page:

“Sometimes you just have to remove your hands from the keyboard and allow what has been written to marinate for as long as it takes be become tender.”  – The Blogging Owl

While my three words to live by in 2019 are the same, this post is much different than the one I wrote on November 26th.

Wisdom (seek)

The world demands our immediate response because of the fast pace of technology. My three words to live by in 2018 – minimalismgracetruth – have taught me to slow down in mind, body, and spirit.

How often have I given an opinion or posted a comment here, elsewhere or in person that didn’t legitimately seek to understand but resulted in derision and divisiveness?

While owls are supposedly known for their wisdom (I don’t include myself here), I have chosen my first word to be – Wisdom.

To seek knowledge of what is true or right, coupled with just judgment as to action, discernment, or insight. (Dictionary.com)

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.”  – e.e. cummings

In this owl’s opinion, if a person does not feed the brain, the person becomes greedy. If a person does not feed the heart, the person becomes needy. And in both cases, the person becomes self-serving in spirit.

Proverbs 2:6-11 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
6 The LORD gives wisdom.
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He has reserved priceless wisdom for decent people.
He is a shield for those who walk in integrity
8 in order to guard those on the paths of justice
and to watch over the way of his godly ones.
9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—
every good course in life.
10 Wisdom will come into your heart.
Knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Foresight will protect you.
Understanding will guard you.

Honor (speak)

My second word to live by in 2019 is – Honor. Honor goes hand in hand with wisdom.

“To speak with honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions.” (Dictionary.com)

Bold convictions do not require me to be unkind, but rather with emotional intelligence to reach understanding. There is a difference between understanding and acceptance that must be said. We are all made by God and I accept that person. Period. My goal is to do my best to understand that person or circumstance.

The best place to be at in any given moment is when I am surrounded by people who support me and lift me higher in mind, body and spirit whether they are family, friends, church, community or where I am employed. Even so, in or out of that cocoon, they and the world will challenge my opinions and even my heart. I accept, and I understand that reality.

Proverbs 4:6-8 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
6 Do not abandon wisdom, and it will watch over you.
Love wisdom, and it will protect you.
7 The beginning of wisdom is to acquire wisdom.
Acquire understanding with all that you have.
8 Cherish wisdom.
It will raise you up.
It will bring you honor when you embrace it.

Joy (share)

For. The. Love. of. Scotch!

JOY! Is all around us if we just take the time to look for it, believe it, and feel it.

“To share happiness caused by living in the present, of finding delight in what is good.” (Dictionary.com)

“Self-confinement makes joy impossible. Feed my fears and my faith will starve. Feed my faith and my fear starves.” The Blogging Owl

Feeding my faith every day in mind, body and spirit helps me to find joy and share it even when it is purely the simple act of sharing a smile, opening a door for someone, or  just listening to someone who is struggling in mind, body and spirit.

The smallest act of kindness toward someone maybe the biggest part of that person’s day. Be the biggest part of someone’s day. – The Blogging Owl

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Looking forward to 2019

There was a reason for taking my hands away from the keyboard 3 weeks ago. God still had much to teach me with my words to live by in 2018 in minimalism, grace and truth. After attending two separate funeral visitations of people who left this earth too soon, I have been called to write something very special in 2019 and to share that joy will take those 3 words to live in 2018 and plenty of wisdom and honor.

Words to Live By 2019.jpg
“Your profession is not what brings home your weekly paycheck, your profession is what you’re put here on earth to do, with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.”  Vincent van Gogh

Writing is my calling.

In the words of the poet, June Jordan,“As I am a poet, I express what I believe, and I fight against it whatever I oppose, in poetry.”

In minimalist fashion, may I write with grace, truth, wisdom and honor and with the understanding of sharing my joy with you.

Peace,

Sheri Head Shot
The Blogging Owl

Whether it is here at The Blogging Owl, on my poetry site TheOwlPoet.com, on my journal site, ThePrayerJournals.com and on a new blog, TheCorkedOwl.com, I hope you will follow, share, and comment on all of the Owl blogs.

 

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved – The Blogging Owl – SL Prielipp-Falzone

Finding Joy – The Message

Have you wondered, “How can I learn to get through to this person?”

Have you wondered, “Gee, I thought I knew this person, but I don’t think I do anymore.”

With the advent of social media in recent years with old friends and family reconnecting, have you wondered, “I don’t remember them this way back then.”

There is a whole lot of friending and un-friending going on these days and I have not been immune to it. In a world that is becoming more divisive and hostile, I have wondered, “How can anyone find joy in the messages these days?”

Concentrating on the message

Every person has a unique communication style, a way in which they interact and exchange information with others. Okay, so let’s look at the different communication styles.

There are four types of communicating styles.

1. Passive communicators often act indifferently. They yield to others, usually failing to express their own feelings and needs, allowing others to express themselves.

2. The aggressive communicator speaks in a loud and demanding voice, maintaining intense eye contact and dominating or controlling others by blaming, intimidating, criticizing, threatening or attacking them.

3. Passive-aggressive communicators mutter to themselves rather than confront a person or an issue. They have difficulty acknowledging their feelings, particularly anger using facial expressions that do not correlate with how they feel and even deny there is a problem.

4. Assertive communicators can express their own needs, desires, ideas and feelings, while also considering the needs of others. The assertive style is known to be the best communication style because it aims for both sides to win.

This is interesting because depending upon my mood, battle or if my bullshit meter has been activated, do I alter my communication style? Do I speak differently with my mother than with my husband? How about my co-worker versus my child? Do I communicate differently with a stranger than a friend? Does it depend on the topic? Are certain topics left off the table? Is that good or bad?

You see where I am going with this? No? Stay with me.

Let’s look at the different learning styles because our preferred learning style internally represents our experiences, the way we recall information, and even the words we choose.

There are seven types of learning styles.

1. Visual learners prefer pictures, images and spatial understanding.

2. Auditory learners prefer using sound and music.

3. Verbal learners prefer using words, both in speech and writing.

4. Physical learners prefer using the body, hands and the sense of touch.

5. Logical learners are mathematical. They prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.

6. Social learners prefer to learn in small groups or with other people.

7. Solitary learners prefer working alone in self-study.

I am primarily a visual learner, although verbal and logical learning is sometimes thrown in for good measure. So, how can I learn to become a better communicator? How can I become better at sharing my ideas, passions, views, and opinions, so I and the other person can each can be great in our own way without hurting or slamming one another in the process?

Are you listening? Yes? Maybe.

I believe to learn how to better communicate with one another, each of us needs to understand the types of listening styles.

There are seven types of listening styles.

1. Appreciative listening – listening for enjoyment.

2. Informative listening – gather information such as facts, directions, news, or instructions.

3. Critical listening – listening to examine and evaluate logic, truth, and value.

4. Empathetic listening – listening to another person’s feelings, or thoughts, with the ability to put oneself in the other’s shoes.

5. Precision listening – listening to single out one sound with exactness and clarity.

6. Discriminating listening – listening to distinguish all the sounds in one’s environment.

7. Social listening – listening just enough effort to give a response.

Oftentimes, we concentrate on the messenger rather than on the message.

In the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi there is a passage,
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;

To be understood as to understand is to first believe we are all human first and foremost. No other label necessary.

A few weeks ago, I watched the Netflix special, “Nanette” a stand-up comedy act written and performed by Australian comedian, Hannah Gadsby. Its original debut was in 2017 but I never heard of Hannah Gadsby or her special, “Nanette” before that evening. It is a work of social commentary, especially about LGBTQ issues and I have watched it several times since.

Hannah Gadsby had such a profound effect on me. Not because she identifies differently than I do, or that I have an issue with the LGBTQ community. What I found in her performance was the ability to connect on such a human level about dignity and acceptance. The look of terror, anger and sadness in her face as she described the ugly experiences in her life. That visual combined with her voice brought me to tears. I had childhood traumatic experiences, although different from hers, but just the same I saw my own face in hers. I just wanted to reach out and hug her. I hope to one day. To let her know the impact she has had on me to examine how I communicate, but more importantly how I listen. And to also to let her know she is loved just as God made her.

My message is in my control.

Today’s political landscape makes it more difficult, but not insurmountable to learn how to communicate and listen to others. It takes more than open eyes, ears and mind to effectively communicate and listen to others.

Yet the messages I hear may be surprising if I commit to learning to communicate and listen more attentively with my heart. If my prayer is the same as Saint Francis, then I can find joy in trying. And perhaps I may be understood too in the process.

Actions are the words of the heart.

Still the cautionary tale is in a person’s actions. Often, I need to silence myself and to the noise around me. Actions do speak louder than verbal words. And what makes it even more difficult is wading through those words and the actions to know the truth.

Each of us has a different communication, learning and listening style, as well as different life experiences. Yet, the one thing that is in my control is my message.

Have you heard yourself lately? How about the other person? I’m committed to learning to become better at it. You too?

Finding joy in today,

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved – The Blogging Owl – SL Prielipp-Falzone

2018 – Three Words to Live By, an update

Last December as I usually do I reflect on the past year and prepare to become better, if possible, in mind, body and spirit: 2018 – Three Words to Live By. This year I decided to review my yearly plan much like businesses do to stay on track to meet the goals and objectives for the new year.

My approach for 2018 or mission statement is to live by three words: frugality, grace and truth.

Frugality

At this stage in the game of life I decided I had no time to waste, no money to waste, and in reality; no creative cells to waste. In whatever time God has for me to fulfill the purpose he has given me. Earlier this year I adopted a mantra, I only want what God wants for me.”

No time to waste

My husband, Vinny Sal and I decided to list our cottage in northern Michigan for sale on April 9th. We would take advantage of the seller’s market and decide where, when, and how to invest the proceeds. Invest in upgrades for our primary home, invest in a future retirement home, or bank it until later. We had no idea what development was coming our way only 3 days later.

“I only want what God wants for me.”

This mantra is what got me through yet another employer announcing their dissolution of the company in April of this year… 3 days after my birthday… On Friday, April 13th, the company made the news public.

My response was 180 degrees different when the same thing occurred in 2009. I was calm, cool and collected.  I knew that God was working on my behalf for a better opportunity than the one I just lost. That was my attitude. The evening of the company’s announcement, I updated my resume and immediately began my search.

Within days I had several interviews lined up. On April 25th, I was invited to interview for a position outside of the industry I was in which was my prayer at the time. I was “frugal” in my thinking… no climbing ladders… no compensation package that met certain personal requirements… no, it was simply, “God, place me where you want me.”

“God, place me where you want me.”

On May 29th, I started a new position earning less money but with advancement opportunities if I wanted to take advantage of them. Although earning less income for the time being, I am still able to continue having all my monthly obligations on auto-pay which I had setup in January.

While no company is above dissolving due to wide ranging economic factors or board of director’s view of “going in another direction,” I will joyfully serve where God has placed me for however long that may be.

No time to spend

I came across the blog, Frugalwoods and an article written by Mrs. Frugalwoods, 19 Reasons Why Frugality Is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me. 

Mrs. Frugalwoods spoke to my mind, body and spirit in her blog post of May 17, 2018. Since the beginning of the year, my attempt at frugality has taught me that Mrs. Frugalwoods was spot on in her blog post. Although I admit I am still working on her number 14 reason. I have Mrs. Frugalwoods 19 Reasons posted in my office and saved on my iPhone when I have that urge to splurge.

Grace

In my initial post on December 17th, 2018 – Three Words to Live By, I didn’t realize then how the quotes, my personal initiative, “The Watering Can – Helping All of God’s Creature’s Thrive” would become central to the first six months of 2018.

As I quoted then, and it bears repeating for many reasons:

God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it. God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10

As Thomas Merton was quoted as saying, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”

Grace in action is about serving those who need my gifts. Kindness in action is living the commandment,‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’’’ Matthew 22:39

I was happy to help a few of co-workers rewrite their resumes. I used to write resumes as a side-line gig after I lost my job in 2009. My small way of helping my co-workers potentially find their new career has blessed me as much as those who, like me have found employment quickly. I’m not suggesting my resume writing made the difference, but it is a confidence booster nonetheless when anyone can present their value and what they can offer to an organization without hesitation.

In March, our beloved Barkley blew out a disc in his back and required surgery. Frugality helped us being able to afford over $6,500 in medical costs so our fur-baby would not be paralyzed for life. He will never be a 100% in his walking or running abilities, but we are overjoyed that we still have our faithful companion. Sadly, many pet owners would have faced the tough decision of raising the money through other means or having to put their pet down because of the medical costs.

Truth

If there is one thing I am certain living my truth in mind, body and spirit has been the biggest blessing. I could not have reached this point in my life without faith through Christ because he gives me the confidence to live my truth each day.

A recent post on my Facebook page, The Prayer Journals, I posted: “Don’t worry about expressing your faith. Those who God wants to listen will hear. You may be someone’s angel.” There have been angels here on earth that I know God sent to help me to listen to him. And there are probably more angels that I didn’t even recognize helped me to feel God’s presence in my life.

Mind

Writing is my passion and I hope in some ways it is a gift. I have three blogs. The Blogging Owl, The Prayer Journals, and The Owl Poet. And I have convinced my husband, Vinny Sal to collaborate with me on another one which I think we will have fun doing together, The Corked Owl. We hope to be posting soon on wine, spirits, food and fun.

Reading, writing and poetry. It’s what keeps me sane… or going insane.

Body

I continue to struggle with my health and weight. Early this year, I went through a battery of tests and MRIs. There was a serious prognosis of MS, Multiple Sclerosis, gratefully, that would not be the case. Autoimmune diseases are tricky and mine, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can present itself in different and devastating ways. But I stay positive in prayer and with practice.

Spirit

Six months into 2018, Vinny Sal and I have not found our faith community with regards to finding a church we are eager to attend each week. I’ll be honest. We’ve been lazy. This is the most critical part of my 2018 mission plan and I am failing. God has been good… and patient… and I pray He directs us to where he wants us to attend and to serve.

My spiritual journey continues in my prayer journal in writing my spiritual memoir.

Spirit of Faith

In the remaining year

I succeeded and failed in the first half of 2018. Looking forward to living more successfully in these three words: Frugality, Grace and Truth.

Cheers!

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

 

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved