Being Kind? With a Teacher and a Computer!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, August 9, 2014

yoga illustration  from dreamstime.com

yoga illustration
from dreamstime.com

Being Kind? With a Teacher and a Computer!

This being a Saturday, I went to the YMCA this morning for yoga class.

Have I mentioned that I just love my yoga class? And I love my yoga teacher. Awesome, helpful, patient. Her classes usually fill the large room, yet she keeps an eagle eye on all of the class members. In a good way, though. Three weeks ago, I moved up from the beginner class to the intermediate level. (I feel very much at the low end of the class. But, I can do almost all the poses now!) The class was doing the plow pose. On your shoulders, arms supporting the back perpendicular to the floor, and legs straight as you can make them, over your head. It’s only the second time in my life that I have ever done a plow pose.

As the teacher walked about the room, she came over and assisted me to try a variation. And then she continued to lead the class in the next poses. I exchanged a few words with her outside of the locker room, after the class. She encouraged me in continuing with yoga, and said she had noticed my improvement. (Such a kind thing to say!) She also said that I needed trust in myself and my own body. I responded, and told her what a tremendous teacher she was. I mentioned, “How important it is to have trust in a teacher. Like you,” I finished, with a big smile. And—I meant it!

I needed to stop by my work after I left the gym. I swung by to pick up my daughter, on the way to do several other errands. We drove out to the church, admiring the forest preserves on the way, too. It’s August. School time will be upon us before anyone knows it. My daughter is going away to college in less than two weeks, so I am glad to be able to spend what time that I can with her.

After I talked with another church member for a little while, I turned on the computer at the office manager’s desk. I don’t appreciate Windows 8, and unfortunately, that is the operating system installed. The church member and I were commiserating about Windows 8, and he mentioned that he was going to try to install Windows 8.1. I had a sudden idea. My daughter—the maven of computers and social media—was in the next room. (She was sitting in my office, on her laptop.) She obligingly downloaded the 8.1 update! Both the church member and I thanked her so much. I truly appreciate those who have comprehensive and extensive knowledge about areas where I am—at best—an advanced beginner.

So, people are kind to me each day! And I try to be kind, too. It certainly helps to make things run more smoothly. In terms of communication, operation, and personal interaction. God, thanks for showing me more great examples of kindness today.

@chaplaineliza

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Being Kind—with Dessert!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, July 5, 2014

Pattern_Baked_Goods_Unice_Kim

Being Kind—with Dessert!

I love dessert. Honestly, I do! Cake, cookies, pies, other baked goods. Ice cream, sherbet, jello, pudding. It doesn’t matter. I enjoy them all. (Well, almost all of them. Not marzipan. And I’m not wild about butter pecan or butterscotch. But other than that . . . )

I need to be careful of what I put in my mouth now, especially since I’m getting older. My metabolism is slowing down. (How slow? I’ll tell you—if my metabolism were any slower, it would be going backwards! Ba-dum, ching!) But I still indulge, on occasion. This weekend, being a holiday weekend, I called my oldest daughter. I offered to bring over some dessert, and stop by and visit for a while. My third daughter came with me, and we all had a great time! Oh, and we brought over some key lime pie and fruit sorbet, too.

On a warm summer evening, it’s a lovely time to have some refreshing dessert. Mmm, sorbet . . . and key lime pie!

I enjoy baking, too. I love to make Christmas cookies—all different kinds! And, I make a mean banana bread. So moist! I’m not a bad hand at homemade pies made from scratch, either. If I do say so myself, my apple pie is superb. (It’s the tart apples, and a little less sugar than the recipe calls for. Mom said so. My mom always used Granny Smiths, too. So do I.) There is nothing like bringing someone some home baked something. Even if I didn’t have too much money, or was pinching pennies in some other way, I always found a way to continue to bake. And make some kind of baked dessert.

When someone takes the time to bake or make something to eat, people are touched. They so often respond with, “Thank you so much!” or, “How did you know I really liked—“ , or even “This is great!”

Why not make a wonderful idea even better by sitting and talking? And, my less-anxious presence often goes a long way toward making people feel at home and relaxed. This helpful service works in congregations, works with long-time friends, even works with acquaintances and casual friends.

God, the verse I’ve chosen for the month of July is James 1:22, the part where James admonishes the congregation he is presently serving. I know this position can be somewhat unkind. Try to be kind, anyway! The verse also describes communication between God and God’s representative, and then some!

We are encouraged to take this verse seriously. “Be doers of the Word.” How can you be a doer of God’s Word, today? How can I? By a simple thing, like making a dessert? Good thing to think about!

@chaplaineliza

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Scattered, but Still Trying to Be Kind

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, April 10, 2014

God's plans far exceed

Scattered, but Still Trying to Be Kind

God, so much to do, so many things to remember. I think I remembered just about everything. Except my power cord for my cell phone. But that’s okay.

Among other activities I did, I happened to meet with a new friend today. We talked about a number of things. And, I did one of the things I happen to do reasonably well: I listened. Active listening (again!). Again and again, I’ve found myself in recent situations where I fall back on one of my strong suits. And listen I do.

I had another meeting today, which was great. A good deal of information was passed to and fro, and I feel really positive about it. Isn’t it wonderful when something happens that you know—intuitively—was deep down good? That’s how I feel today. Good! Positive! Satisfied.

This reminds me of the verse that I chose for the month of April: Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Here in this verse, the Apostle talks about working with all my heart. Not half-hearted. With enthusiasm! Positive! Satisfied! Encouraging, too.

I know I sometimes think about what other people are going to say. I suppose that’s natural. However, I need to redirect my focus. Take my focus off others and place it on the Lord. I suppose I need to remind myself that God is my Boss, my Manager. And with God in the highest supervisory position/role, I can relax. God is not going to be dictatorial, or arbitrary, or downright mean to me! (And believe me, I have had bosses who have been all that, and more!)

Yes, today held a great deal of work, but there was some fun in there, too. I hope and pray I was an encouragement for the people I met.

Gee, I wonder what tomorrow will bring? God, hurry up and show me! I can hardly wait.

@chaplaineliza

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Being Kind? Be Patient.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, January 23, 2014

baby and butterfly

Being Kind? Be Patient.

Sometimes it’s easier for me to be patient. For example, when life is going smoothly, when everyone in my family is healthy and happy, I feel more relaxed, and things are generally on an even keel. Then, I find it easy to be patient in my relationships. But during certain periods in my life, that hasn’t been a very large percentage of time. Specific, stormy periods come to mind, where I could easily compare my life to sailing through crashing, stormy, wind-tossed seas. And this has been a good portion of the time. What then?  How can I be expected to be patient, with all heck breaking loose?

I am reminded of a scripture passage from the New Testament on patience. James 1:2-4, where James talks about patience and how the believer receives it. James’s letter was written to a small group of believers in Jesus the Christ (or, Messiah). James wrote it so his readers could be encouraged and comforted. When James puts down in verse 2 “Count it all joy when you fall in various trials,” I can relate to the “trials” part. However, I’m still working on considering the “joy.”

Patience can be both a blessing and an encouragement, in my experience. The first big place I particularly exercised patience was years ago, when I had babies and small children. I loved being a mom, and I loved the time I spent with my children. I enjoyed the slower pace that child-raising necessitated. (Ever take a leisurely stroll with a toddler or preschooler, and see the world through their eyes? Or dance, or sing, or just be silly? Great fun!) But even in the midst of that time with small ones, my life was not all peaches and cream. Worries and concerns, long periods of economic stress, times of personal struggle. Those were definitely not fun.

Going back to James, I’ll mention verse 1:3, “knowing the testing of your faith produces patience.” I understand the word translated “testing” can also mean “challenge.” Another way of thinking of this challenge called life, it produces patience. I know the refining of precious metals requires heating over a steady, consistent flame. Heating the molten metal causes the impurities to rise to the top, where they can be skimmed off. This leaves the precious metal all the more pure and valuable. However, I’m afraid I don’t want to be “challenged” too much more. Ever feel like crying out to God? Telling God to quit it, already? Enough with the steady flames, the fiery furnace. I know this makes the impurities in me rise to the surface. But with the regular fires I’ve been through, my precious metal must be really pure by now. Either that, or there were a whole lot of impurities and dross to skim off.

I used patience today, and yesterday, too. It’s easier to be patient when things are okay. I honored God by showing some amount of patience in my life. I think God is pleased, especially since patience is not one of my preferred gifts of the Spirit. Thanks, God, for helping me show patience to others.

@chaplaineliza