Sunday, February 25, 2018

Choose Your POV


Writers know POV stands for Point of View. But everyone deals with it.

Take people who wear glasses, for example. That’s me. In my last prescription I skipped the bifocals because I can read things close up.

I forgot what a hassle it is to change my point of view when trying to read labels in the grocery store. Off come the glasses, or at least they get pulled down on my nose.

I’ve looked at myself in the mirror like that and I think I not only look old, I feel old. Next time I’m getting bifocals. When it comes to buying glasses I’ve definitely changed my point of view.

A Photographer's POV 

I belonged to a camera club when we lived up north on the Canadian border. I learned about close up lenses versus wide angle options.

Wide angle gives the beauty of the big picture, but close-ups allow you to see the veins in a single leaf, or pollen on stamens in a flower.

In life maybe that's tunnel vision versus peripheral vision. In relationships, tunnel vision can be quite narrow. It could be describe as “all about me.”

Peripheral vision, however, is wider. While focused on me, I’m also aware of you. I see life as “us,” not just “me.”

POV for All Ages

I got a kick out of a conversation between two ladies at a retirement center. It was bowling day, something my friend always enjoyed. She said, “I’m so glad we don’t have teams for bowling. This way if I mess up I only hurt myself.”

A few minutes later another lady came by and said, “I wish we had teams for bowling.” As I listened to their discussion I thought I’d hate to have to manage this place, but I do see the wisdom of the ‘no teams’ rule.

On another visit my friend commented on the center’s monthly activity calendar. She said, “We are always reminded that people are facing different challenges. We have to make allowances for each other.”

That sounded like a healthy POV, not only for a retirement community but for life in general.

POV Can Create Peace or Problems 

Using our point of view to judge others can be a problem. It’s easy to think we have a wide-angle view when, in reality, our view is quite limited. Jesus understood this and gave a caution in Matthew 7:1-5.

He said, “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” Judge your personal viewpoint before you try to judge others. Be sure you are not suffering from obstructed or limited vision.

It's easy to focus on the shortcomings of others while being unaware of our own. The Message Bible describes this as seeing the “smudge on your neighbor’s face” while being “oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own.” Ouch!

The Challenge

Choose your POV. Awareness is bound to improve your life and relationships.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Who's In Charge of Your Time?


The memorial for my best friend was today. It was out of town and I was unable to go, but she will live on in my heart.

Our long-term friendship lasted over fifty years. Very few of them were lived in the same town. Most of our connections were made over the phone. Like she once said, “We can talk about anything and everything.” We encouraged each other, but were non-judgmental.

Her son commented, “She was just like her mom. She was ready to go and expected on a certain night that she would be gone. She was surprised when she woke up in the morning. She said, “I tried, but I’m still here.” When he said that, I remembered the incident about her mom.

A similar thing happened when my Dad went on hospice care. He was very thin and weak and I called my brothers to let them know his situation. They and their wives came and we said our goodbyes. Dad even called me into his room that night and told me he appreciated my care and that I had been a good daughter.

Just like my friend and her mom, he was surprised to wake up in the morning still with us. When it was his time to die, he had care in a hospice center for three days, unresponsive to any communication.

The Bottom Line

My friend and my father were both prepared for their moment of death. They did not fear it, but neither were they were in charge of it.

Wise King Solomon wrote there is a time to be born and a time to die (Ecclesiastes 3:2). The beginning and ending of our life is not time under our control. But in between those two events our time, long or short, is under our command.

What do you do with the time that you control? My friend’s obituary reminded me that time choices are made as we play various roles in our lives. Whether with family, on the job, at church or in the community, time flies as we choose how much we will invest or spend on each one.

A Life Well Lived

My friend had a good sense of humor and enjoyed life. She was a woman of faith and lived her life to please God. She cared about people and willingly invested in them the time under her control. She had many long-term and loyal friends besides me.

God is in charge of time at the beginning and ending of our lives, but He’s left us in charge of the time in between. Just remember: It’s not how long you live but for what you live that counts.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Just Make the Call


When we were on vacation in Utah, I was fascinated by long flat-topped bluffs. I know I had seen them before, because most of my vacations have been in the west. But this time they reminded me of old western movies and Indian smoke signals. High places have long been important to communication.

The bluffs that caught my eye were topped with modern signal towers. I know that wireless service companies look for high places to carry signals. We live on a hill and there is one in our neighborhood, but when I use my cell phone I never think about where the signal goes. I just make my call and expect to get a connection.

Unseen All Around Us 

Am I the only one who marvels at the innumerable unseen signals flying through the air? Can you imagine how many cell phones are in use world-wide? And what about radio and television? We enjoy the effects of those signals though we never see them at work.

I turn on the TV and expect to see programs of my choice. I turn on the radio and tune in to my favorite station. It’s amazing how I can settle on one signal though the AM/FM signals are many.

I’ve been thinking about these unseen powers this week. I’m so glad I can enjoy how they work for me, without having to understand or explain the exact process. I know enough to trust that they are there when I need them.

Power On Another Level 

There’s a similar principle at work when we pray. Prayer is simply talking to God and our words are the spiritual signals that fly through the air. Though many people are praying at any one time, prayers do not get mixed up any more than the signals of modern communication in our everyday lives.

Faith is an everyday thing. By faith I pick up my cell phone, dial a number, and expect an answer on the other end of the line. I trust the company, whose service I decided to buy into, will deliver as advertised.

Faith is also spiritual. Hebrews 11:6 says anyone who wants to approach God must believe two things: (1) that He exists, and (2) that He cares enough to respond to those who seek Him. This explanation is simple, but not simplistic.

It's Real 

I grew up seeing answers to prayer in our home and hearing of them at church. For years I read Guideposts magazine and marveled at how God answered people’s prayers. Biographies and autobiographies produced plenty more.

The testimony of many was similar to that of the Psalmist David. He said, “This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles (Psalm 34:6).”

Just Make the Call 

Action is required for both earthly and spiritual communication. Only those who put forth the effort to connect get an answer.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

How to be Right All the Time


When I say right I mean doing things in accordance with some reason or set standard.

My thoughts this week were inspired by reading an old book from my husband’s office. The blue, cloth-bound book is titled Will Rogers: Ambassador of Good Will, Prince of Wit and Wisdom by P.J. O’Brien.

I noticed the fly leaf contained an inscription from my husband’s grandmother to another family member, Christmas 1935. She must have bought it hot off the press since that is also the year of publication.

A Noteworthy Person 

I could not begin to list all the notable things about Will Rogers’ life, but here are a few things that impressed me:

He was an excellent roper by age fourteen. That skill enabled him to travel the world and gave him his start in showbusiness.

His wife said, “. . . he doesn’t change his own personality to suit others.” (Maybe he knew the old saying “To thine own self be true.”)

Rogers never signed a contract on Broadway, with Florenz Ziegfeld or anyone else. He said, “My word is good and the other feller’s ought to be, too.” He remained with Ziegfeld for ten years and always considered “Ziggy” the one who gave him his start.

He purchased chewing gum by the gross to keep the Ziegfeld girls from using tobacco, which he believed spoiled a woman’s beauty.

From New York to Hollywood

When he abandoned the stage for moving pictures, Ziegfeld warned him to “watch out for those movie cuties.” Will replied, “Shucks, if your gals couldn’t break me down in all these years, what chance has those in the movies got?”

He humorously commented on his Hollywood stardom by saying, “I’m not a real movie star. I still got the same wife I started out with nearly twenty-eight years ago.”

Hollywood is not the only place short on long-term marriages. And, in spite of current headlines, it’s not the only place that has exploited women for years.

We’re short on people like Will Rogers. It would help if more people set high personal standards and carried them out consistently. Now there’s a word to remember.

A verse in the Amplified Bible says the Lord declares “blessed (joyful and favored with blessings) the home of the just and consistently righteous” (Proverbs 3:33b).

A Big Challenge 

Naturally when I saw the emphasis on consistency, I thought of Rogers. Will consistently held onto his principles and put them into practice. He was blessed and blessed others with many unpublicized charitable works.

By being true to himself, he was right all the time. You can be, too. Follow his example and decide on your own personal standards. Then start putting them into practice and don’t let them go.