Archive for the ‘relationships’ Tag

In the Center   Leave a comment

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I was looking today at a display that I have on my office door.  It actually is a combination of a few different gifts which I have received over the years.  One piece is a wreath celebrating my favorite college sports team.  In the middle of the wreath are a few hanging items which were gifts.  While I looked at my door, it made me think about what was in the middle of the wreath.  These thoughts led me to a question…. “What is the center of your life?”

As I pondered this question, I began to think of responses which I might make.  I came to realize that my responses reflected what I found to be important in my life at this time.  I think that this says a lot about what we place in the center of our lives.  For me it involved relationships, my faith, and my hopes.  Others might include career, home, family, activities, financial security, or some possession.  I find that what I choose to place in the center of my life are those things to which I devote my time, energy, and resources.  I would venture to guess that this is true for others as well.

So that leads me to ask you the same question….. What is in the center of your life?

Correct Foundation   Leave a comment

rockfoundationYesterday the Department of Transportation closed a major highway coming into our community.  The reason that they had to close the highway was because the road was falling apart due to unstable soil below it.  This road underwent a major reconstruction and paving last year and earlier this summer they were working on a section to stabilize the hillside on one side.  That section is now the area that is crumbling so the road has been closed.   This new reality prompted a conversation this morning regarding why this issue was not apparent when the reconstruction was done a year ago.  What has become clear is that there is not a correct foundation for this road at this time and it has become unsafe.

As I pondered these events, I was drawn to consider the importance of the foundation of my life.  Without a solid foundation, life can be much like the road mentioned above.  Life can begin to crumble, fall apart, and become unsafe.  As a person of faith, I was reminded of the following passage:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27, NIV)

Jesus is speaking of the importance of the foundation upon which to build our lives.  Here Jesus is referring to his teaching as the foundation we should have in our lives.

I think that in addition to Jesus’ teaching, there are some important pieces which need to be included in  the foundation of our lives.  Jesus’ teachings undergirds all of the foundation but we can add relationships, personal care, our faith and community involvement.  We need to make sure that we have a solid foundation so that we can withstand the storms of life and not crumble under pressure.

Thank You God   1 comment

New Orleans: Thank you message in the grotto o...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is a day that I continue to have thoughts of gratitude.  So I decided it was time to create a list of thankfulness:

  • I am so thankful for the warmer weather that we have experienced lately.
  • I am thankful for the greening of creation.
  • I am thankful for new life both in the world and in the organization that I lead.
  • I am thankful for friends who make me laugh.
  • I am thankful for the people who express love to me.
  • I am thankful for people to love.
  • I am thankful for opportunities to make a difference.
  • I am thankful for serious conversations.
  • I am thankful for light-hearted conversations.
  • I am thankful for the life that I have been given.
  • I am thankful for hope when things are difficult.
  • I am thankful for peace in the midst of chaos.
  • I am thankful for the privileges that I have.

So thank you God.  Thank you for giving all of this to me.  Thank you for opening my eyes today to why I should be thankful.

Open Door   Leave a comment

Open Door Policy

Open Door Policy (Photo credit: lyricsboy)

Many leaders and managers tell people that they have an “open door policy“.  The intention of making this statement is to present the idea that if someone needs to come to discuss an issue, they are more than welcome to stop by the leader’s/manager’s office at any time.  While I believe that many individuals truly mean to operate in such a manner, it is not always a reality.

As a leader, I have been recently reminded of the importance to make every effort to be able to respond to an individual when they need to talk.  Sometimes the timing of things makes it very difficult to be available but it comes down to the philosophy that a person uses in their leadership.  Now, I know and experience that there are times when it is absolutely impossible to sit down and have a conversation at the exact time another person indicates the need.  However, if at all possible a leader should rearrange her/his time to make it a reality.  If it truly is not possible, I think it is important that the leader tells the other person why it is not possible and establish a time to have the conversation as soon as it can be possible.  Most people will be understanding if an explanation is given and an alternative time is agreed upon.

The reason that I believe this is so important is a reality that I learned a very long time ago, people and relationships are really what life is all about.  This reality propels me to place people and relationships high on my list of priorities.  I have experienced that when someone approaches me to sit down and talk about a matter and I take the time to do that, the time spent with the individual produces great rewards for me personally and benefits those I am striving to lead in a very positive way.  I have never regretted when I have taken the time to sit down and be in conversation with an individual.  I have regretted the times that I have let the opportunity pass by.  Yes, it may mean that I have to stay at the office later.  Yes, it may mean that I have to apologize to someone else for being late on a commitment.  Yes, it may mean that I have a little more stress in my day trying to meet the commitments of the day.  But in the total picture, I have seen it is the right thing to do.

As a believer, I have come to realize that the Lord gives me many opportunities to be a witness for the Lord through my life.  I believe that one of the greatest ways I can demonstrate what the Lord is about is by keeping my door open to the conversations that can occur in my day.  So when someone contacts me and asks to have a conversation, either by a message on social media, a phone call, or just dropping by my office, I do everything in my power to accommodate that conversation.  If I am not able to do so right at that moment, I make sure that I schedule a time for the conversation to happen sooner rather than later because I have no idea what the Lord might want to accomplish in that conversation.

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Being Available

Disconnected   Leave a comment

In the days when everyone had land lines for phones, you would occasionally run into situations where a phone was disconnected.  Remember the message that you would get?  “This number is disconnected or no longer in service.  If you feel you have reached this message in error, please hang up, check the number, and dial again.”  Today with many people using cell phones, we run into the issue of “dropped calls.”  This seems to occur when you hit one of those cellular signal dead zones.

These things are on my mind because I have been thinking about what happens when for whatever reason, the conversation ends.  I feel that when individuals consciously or unconsciously stop communicating, there is a strong possibility that the relationship is doomed.  This can happen for a variety of reasons and in all types of relationships.  As I have observed individuals and groups, I find this to be a fact that plays out itself over and over.  Even when the dialogue becomes heated and disagreement is clear, if the dialogue continues, the relationship(s) continue(s).

For me, this reminds me of the importance to keep the dialogue open.  It also reminds me of the importance of learning how to keep a conversation going even when there is strong disagreement between the parties involved.

As I watch many situations in my profession, in the community in which I live, in our nation, I am reminded of the great importance to promote civil discourse.  It is becoming vital that voices speak out and that we raise the expectation of encouraging individuals to remain in conversation with one another.

This is also true in my faith life.  I have to remain in conversation with the Lord on a daily basis if I am going to expect my relationship with the Lord to continue to thrive.  I have to remain in conversation with fellow believers since in those conversations I am challenged and encouraged.  If I truly believe that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord, my God, and the second greatest is to love my neighbor as myself, then I must be committed to maintaining relationships with my Lord and my fellow believers.  If I am committed to maintaining those relationships, then I must be committed to remaining in dialogue with them.

When communication ends, relationships end.

With A Little Help From My Friends   Leave a comment


Image via Wikipedia

Today I have been thinking about the great value friends bring into our lives.  The Lord did not create us as creatures intended to be in isolation.  Instead, we are created to interact with one another.  There is a desire inside each one of us to be in relationship with others in some form.  Some of us are extroverts and reach out to others very readily.  Others are introverts and limit our connections to only a few individuals.  Either way, we need others in our lives.

This hold even truer when we are faced with a multitude of life’s challenges.  Whether it is an important decision that we have to make or a crisis that we are experiencing, the value of friends is abundantly clear.  Having someone who you can bounce ideas and questions off of.  Knowing that there is someone there that you can lean on or will just hear your thoughts and feelings.  These are valuable tools for facing life.

I don’t know how I would manage through life’s twists, turns, mountain tops and valleys if it were not for my friends.  Thank you to all the friends that have given me advice, that have listened to my joys and trials, that have just been there when I needed someone present.  Thank you to the Lord for continuously bringing these valuable people into my life.

Make it your goal today to reconnect with a friend, make a new friend, or at least show your appreciation to your friends.

Posted November 15, 2011 by thoughtfulbeliever in Life

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Worth waiting for   Leave a comment


Today as I volunteered at the Living History Farms in the Agriculture Building, I was able to watch the never ending line of people waiting to see the butter cow.  It made me stop and think about what we may determine is with waiting for. 

What is it in your life that you are willing to wait for?

I think for me one is a combination of relationships and seeing people achieve the potential I can see in them.  I continue to work on building relationships that I feel will give me the opportunity to help the person grow toward their potential.

Another thing worth waiting for is the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises.  The Lord has not failed me yet so I will wait as the Lord continues with the fulfillment of all that he has promised.