Listening…


“Much silence makes a mighty noise” – African proverb

I always thought I was a good listener. When I was studying to be a child & youth counsellor I was taught listening skills. But the older I get, the more I realize I’m not…always. I’m not good at listening to my body when it says I need to slow down. And I burn cookies because I’m not listening for the timer.

I’m quick to finish others’ sentences (just ask Hubby). I have difficulty maintaining eye contact because the hamster in my brain is still running on the wheel. And I sometimes catch myself scrambling to answer someone’s problems as they are still presenting them.

Even as I was composing this post, I was wiping down the stove top and listening to Little Guy explaining his homework. It wasn’t until I noticed his blank stare that I realized I wasn’t listening. I made the conscious effort to stop what I was doing and give him my undivided attention, but I should have done that in the first place. The world wasn’t going to end just because there remnants of last night’s dinner on the stove top.

I could easily make excuses or blame the other person. Little Guy is a chatterbox and he tires me out. Hubby didn’t pick a time that was good for me to stop what I was doing to listen to his story about work.

No, I’m not always a good listener.

“The beginning of wisdom is silence. The second stage is listening.” – Solomon ibn Gabirol

Listening is an essential part of a conversation. It requires availability. It requires us to put ourselves aside, to no longer be the centre of attention. But listening may also be one of the greatest gifts we can give to another.

Listening can be exhausting and demanding. But think about how we are nourished and how we thrive under the gift of another’s attention. When we feel like someone “gets us”, we feel more comfortable expressing ourselves freely and are more apt to invest ourselves fully in the conversation.

When we focus on the other person, our voices soften and our demeanor changes. We lean in to hear better, and without knowing it, we are communicating with more than our words. We are giving the other our complete attention as a sign of love and respect for them. In fact, David Augsberger wrote that “being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable”.

We are investing in another human being. We are giving them our HEART. Or to put it another way, the “Art of Hear-ing is the Ear of the Heart”. – David Henderson

Last night when Little Guy got home from Awana, I was watching the last 2 minutes of a very important wedding on Downton Abbey, and working on this post. It was already past his bedtime and the expectation is that he head straight upstairs to get ready for bed. But he had “exciting news” to share…so I paused the wedding, put down my laptop and gave him my full attention. His “news” took less than 30 seconds to share before he happily bounded up the stairs…I saw the wedding, I finished this post, and I listened. I’m not always good at it, but I can get better, one conversation at a time.

(Oh, and the big new? Little Guy used the “money” he earned to buy something special for us to share…that was “news” worth hearing!)

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top


“And the streams are all swollen with winter

Winter unfrozen and free to run away now.”- Rich Mullins, Green

 

I was amazed at how much water was rushing over the Falls – the spray at the bottom and the deafening roar. Usually I take photos from the bottom of the Falls but this time I tried it from the top!

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“On top can be a feeling, a perspective, or a physical location.” – Sarah Rosso To see more “On Top” Photos, click here.

Wild Turkeys and Chocolate Bunny Psychology


I may need a few days to recover from Easter…1) Little Guy and I headed to my parents for the weekend, and Big Guy joined us the next day. Normally it is a 2.5 hour car ride – it took us 4 hours. I wonder how many hours it will take us to drive home?

2) I was nearly killed by a flying turkey. Yes, wild turkeys do fly! I saw it with my own eyes driving home from the nursing home yesterday. It was flying so low, we thought it was going to hit the hood of the car and we instinctively ducked. Our ducking prevented impact – I’m sure of it. Of course, I could have gone for a fresh turkey dinner…

3) I ate too much and stayed up too late – home-made hot cross buns with Rush Hour 1 and 2 (a mini movie marathon).

4) I ate too much chocolate…Ok, there’s no such thing as too much chocolate!

“Your hand and your mouth agreed many years ago that, as far as chocolate is concerned, there is no need to involve your brain.” – Dave Barry  Every year I have created a post devoted to Chocolate Bunny Psychology…and surprisingly, they are my most popular posts, even at Christmas! So here we go again!

So tell me, how do you eat your bunny? Ears first? Toes? Tummy? The majority of chocolate bunny consumers admit they start with the ears…I’d venture to guess that if you start to feel guilty, you can stop eating the bunny and the bunny will still “be alive”…or that with no ears, the bunny can no longer hear you sneaking up behind it, or lying that you weren’t the one to eat it! Some sites say that those who nibble from the ears down are logical, determined, not overly sentimental and complete things quickly. Ear nibblers make no apologies. But if you eat your bunny feet first, then you hold things dear, wear your heart on your sleeve, as well as possess a wonderful, child-like sense of curiosity. Tail-eaters are either competitive and seek power, or are kind-hearted and unrestricted.

If you can’t bear to watch as you slowly cannibalize your chocolate bunny, what about melting it, or freezing it and whacking it with a heavy object. I’m just saying – you could avoid a lot of unpleasantness that way. It can be stored in the freezer, but if you can’t eat all your chocolate, there must be a serious problem.

And finally, if you have chocolate melting on your hands, you’re eating too slowly! To take a bunny psychology quiz, click here!

Happy Easter!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument


“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” – Winston Churchill

Limestone Court House

A cenotaph is a monument to commemorate those who died in war. This one sits in front of the courthouse in my home town. Among the names is my great-uncle, who died following a plane crash in France.

To see more Monument photos, click here.

Capture Your 365 (April 8-14)


Our toilet overflowed last night….I’ll spare you the mental images, and share these ones instead. Happy Thursday!

 

Whinge to Winter


Whinge: To complain persistently and in an annoying way.

Yesterday, it was 21C. The sun wasn’t shining but it was warm & humid!

Today…

Return to winter, wheelbarrow

If it keeps on, I may have to do more than whinge and complain. I may be forced to do something drastic…

Eat gluten-filled toast in the bathtub! I’m not suicidal…just whinging!

Spring Cleaning (with a little jazz?)


The snow has finally melted on the back patio (that we never use) and the evidence of my laziness is exposed. Rather than climb the stairs to dump the guinea pigs’ water in the toilet (when it was full of soft, soggy shavings), I developed the unfortunate habit of taking one step out the back door, and chucking it…

Consequently, my back porch and patio looked like a cotton field ready for harvest. In addition, the sun had dried the soaked stuffing to the concrete and it couldn’t just be swept up. I had to scrape my toe across each and every fleck of fluff to loosen it before flipping it into the dustpan…and since I’ve been too lazy busy to go buy a pair of runners, I had to do it in my new sparkly $7 Mary Jane’s. It quickly became a dull dance, so I decided to try and make it more interesting by adding a few jazz steps: Rond de jambe, step, rond de jambre, step, chassé, chassé, chassé, smile…By the end, all I was missing was a spin and some spooky fingers…and something to throw at the robin that was chuckling loudly from the apple tree. Surely he had more important things to do that watch this old bird bust a few moves….

Saturday was even nicer, and just like every year since we moved in, I vowed that this would be the year that I would wage war on the weeds and win! So I slapped on some sunscreen and put my booty in action. I spent hours cutting and laying garden cloth, shovelling cedar wood chips, cutting down small rogue trees, and generally just getting down and getting dirty. It was not as much fun as Mud Hero…I was rewarded with a Baconator Burger for dinner.

By Sunday, my back and my booty were both bargaining for a whole morning in bed, boasting aches and pains. They both lost and I battled my way to church, a little late. They were both rewarded to most of the afternoon on the couch…

There are still days of Spring cleaning to do outside, but it will have to wait until my back and booty bounce back…that, and it’s supposed to snow tomorrow… (I may need more bacon!)