Who Are You Guiding

I never thought of myself as a guide. Sure my mother would say I needed to set a good example for my younger siblings, but in no way was I their guide. That was mom and dad’s job.

Then one day a few years into my marriage, my husband said to me, “Theresa, have you seen how you inspired Ann to go back to school?”

“What?” I said. Confused.

“You know she went back to school when she saw you going to grad school. You inspired her.”

Well that was a new thought. Me inspiring others through my actions. I thought we inspired others primarily through words.

But what he said, stuck. And soon I was realizing that I was guiding my young daughter in my daily actions. Sure my words carried weight, but my actions also spoke volumes. She was watching me to see what I was doing, how I would react, what my next step was.

Now realizing that others are watching you, and that you may be guiding them can feel good. And then you think of the responsibility, and you realize the weight of your decisions.

All of us have people watching us. Sometimes they see us only once. Sometimes they wander in and out of our daily life, and sometimes they see our daily life in all its glory and mundane. And who knows who you are guiding? Who you are impacting? Who you are turning off or on to Christ?

You are guiding others every day.

In some way. Big and little.

Everywhere we go we leave an impact. An imprint.

We will never know the extent, I think, until we get to heaven. And someone comes up to us and tells us that because of us, they went back to school. Started writing. Stayed in their marriage.

So go forth guides, and guide well. Guide armed with truth, courage, and humbleness.

Speak to Me

My husband will say to me, “Speak to me, Theresa.”

This means for me to tell him about my day, my feelings, what’s going on. Just speak about this or that.

That is what we bloggers are called to do. To speak to our people. To speak truth into their hearts, encouragement into their souls, love into their cracks, and hope into their dryness.

But if you are like me, sometimes I clam up and don’t know what to say when my husband says, “Speak to me.” Or when the audience is waiting for my words.

Recently I attended the Five Minute Friday Conference and it was fun to get to know the other women. One thing stood out to me as I talked to them, listened to their readings of the writing prompt, heard bits of their stories at the lunch table. We are all different and unique. Each of us has a different story to tell. Different words to speak. And different ways of telling the same truth.

One word is given as a writing prompt. When the five minutes is done, each writing is as different as the women and their stories and background. Poetry, humor, poignancy, tales, truth, and words pour forth. Yet each is different. Each has a different focus.

If we were all to write a book on love, each one would be different. Each one telling a story from a different angle and different perspective, getting to the truth in a way that is unique.

That is why we must all continue to speak in our blogs and writings. Each of us is speaking different words, telling the truth is a way our people will resonate with. In a way that their ears and hearts can hear.

Don’t get discouraged. Be encouraged. Speak!

Playing At Life

Young children know how to play.  

They laugh and smile and are so unconscious. They flip lopsided cartwheels through the air, totally unconcerned with their form. They chase after a bunny, laughing in sheer delight. They talk about meeting a bear in a cave, before entering a little cavern. They laugh when you pinch their piggies and tell them which little piggy went squealing all the way home.

They are not thinking about their outfit. Their hair. Their sports equipment. The bills that need paying and laundry piled on the floor of the laundry room.

Little one is looking out the window as we cross town and suddenly I hear her laughing. At what, I don’t know. It could be something she saw out the window. It may be her own thoughts, which delight her, more often than not.

We get to my house and I am making pasta. I ask Little One if she wants some parmesan cheese. Yes, she likes to try anything, and I know cheese is one of her favorites. I hand her a sprig of parmesan. She laughs. Never has she seen such stringy, thin white spaghetti style cheese. I laugh with her. Really it is cheese, I tell her. Try it.

She tries a stringy taunt piece and wants more.

Life is a game. It is fun. Something new is always on the horizon.

Playing all day is part of the job of childhood, and children do it well.

I love being around young children because they are playful. And if you open up your arms and heart just a little, you will become more playful. More silly. Less concerned about your to-do list and more living in the moment.  

It is not something they schedule in their busy day, because it is part of their day. Their attitude is one of playfulness and curiosity. Awe and wonder are all around them and they are going to find it.

What about you? Can you pause and find your playful attitude?