What Dates You? Let People Define the Times

So much has changed.

I was looking through old photos for a #ThrowbackThursday Instagram post. (Check out this #SpringPhotoADayChallenge; it’s not too late to join in. My posts are here.)

I came across this picture from 2010.

I do still wear the shirt.

  • But the laptop has since died and been replaced.
  • The glasses became too weak and had to become stronger.
  • The Kindle beside me stopped working and got upgraded to a Paperwhite.

And the house? It was where I grew up until I got married and left home in the 1980s.

But in March 2010, we were back spending lots of time sitting on that couch across from Mama. Daddy had just died a month earlier on Valentine’s Day 2010.

Mama’s Alzheimer’s was picking up speed after Daddy’s death. We siblings and spouses and grandkids were taking turns staying with her.

It was a hard season. But one I don’t want to forget.

Some seasons seem to move so slowly. Yet looking back, they rushed by.

While we don’t want to get stuck in time, sometimes we also don’t want to move forward.

  • We don’t want to forget the people we once lived with.
  • The experiences we shared.
  • The graces God brought us.

But it is safe to release the past. Because the past has done its work. We won’t forget it.

Who we once were has become part of who we are now.

Maybe our hairstyles change and our clothing modernizes and our technologies update. But the people we once knew? They stick.

Who we were with then? They’re also part of who we are now. They’re embedded in us.

Today is my dad’s birthday. If cancer hadn’t overtaken his body (or something else by now), he would have been 81 years old. We likely would have sat across from him today on that same couch in the same living room. I miss him and my mom.

But because I’m still here, a piece of them is still here, too.

God wove our paths together when I was conceived. And our paths stay forever braided together, whether here or there, even while I live attentive in the present, and grow forward into the future.

Our dates and times remain preserved in God’s hands.

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Who are you missing? Do you still feel their presence with you? Please share in the comments.

sharing with Lori, Crystal, Brenda, Debbie,
Jaime, HolleyKristin, BethanyJennifer

Does Your Mourning Feel Blessed?

When We Cry

“I’ll give you something to cry about!”

I hope you’ve never heard those words said to you in an outburst of anger.

When we’re sad and in pain, we don’t want more sadness or more pain.

When Jesus sat down on a mountain two thousand years ago, crowds of people gathered around Him. People who knew sadness, people who knew pain. They’d been living under foreign Roman tyranny for years. Their religion was under ridicule. Their health care options were unspeakably bad.

Yet within the first five minutes of His talk, Jesus tells them this:

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Matthew 5:4

What did He mean? How would they interpret that? How do we interpret it?

Read it all – “How Is Your Mourning Blessed?

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We’re looking at the Beatitudes all month at Do Not Depart. Will you join me there to discuss mourning and comfort?

sharing with Lyli, Maree, Deb,
DawnLori, Crystal, Brenda, Debbie

Your Enneagram Type and Mine – Book Review of “The Path Between Us”

“You can’t change how you see—you can only change what you do with how you see.”
– Suzanne Stabile, The Path Between Us

Know Yourself, Know Others

While relationships can bring us great pleasure, they also can bring us challenges. Especially when our differences seem greater than our similarities.

One way to bridge the gap is to learn more about ourselves. The Enneagram is a helpful personality tool not only for understanding ourselves better, but also as a roadmap for improving ourselves.

But the Enneagram also helps us understand other people better, too. While we can’t necessarily type another person in the Enneagram system, we often can know enough to recognize patterns.

Along with Ian Morgan Cron, Suzanne Stabile wrote a primer on the Enneagram, The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery. It’s an excellent introduction to learn your own number and how to grow within it.

But now she’s back with a new book of her own, The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships. This one is unique among Enneagram books. As you can tell by the title, it’s not about gaining just self-knowledge; it’s more about interacting between Types.

And how to improve those interactions.

“First, please don’t use your Enneagram number as an excuse for your behavior. Second, don’t use what you’ve learned about the other numbers to make fun of, criticize, stereotype, or in any way disrespect them. Ever. Third, it would be great if you would spend your energy observing and working on yourself as opposed to observing and working on others.”

How Fives Interact

I am a type Five (I’m fairly sure anyway) on the Enneagram, the Observer. I learn from Suzanne that Fives are often misunderstood. As a result, I need to spend more time verbalizing my way of seeing and sharing my needs, to reduce misunderstandings.

“Fives want adequate resources so they never have to depend on someone else. They manage fear by gathering information and knowledge.

Fives have a limited, measured amount of energy for every day so they are careful what they offer to others and when. It is extremely brave of them to show up for relationships because it costs them more than any other number.”

But how do Fives interact with other numbers?

  • Ones can benefit from the objectivity of Fives.
  • Fives can learn more about social relationships from Twos.
  • Fives can help Threes remember that image isn’t everything.
  • Fives and Fours can be opposite in many ways but Fives with a Four wing (which I think I am) can easily connect to each other between head and heart.
  • Fives are most comfortable with other Fives.
  • Social anxiety in Fives can be exacerbated by a Six in unfamiliar territory, but a Five can be rational about a Six’s unwarranted fears.
  • Sevens offer Fives a lightheartedness that can keep them from taking themselves too seriously.
  • Eights learn from Fives the value of pulling back, observing, thinking, and then reconnecting.
  • Nines are a challenge when they don’t just go along with what Fives say or think. But that’s good for Fives.

Relationships Require Translation

One by one, Suzanne goes through each Type, assessing how they relate to each other Type and ways they can improve those relationships.

While none of this is exact science, it does give positive starting points for how to grow our relationships.

“All relationships—those that truly matter and even those that don’t—require translation. And if our interest in relational growth and transformation is sincere, then the Enneagram is one of the most helpful translation tools available.”

All Nine Types

Here are some specific suggestions from Suzanne about each Type and how we might best relate to them.

Ones, the Perfectionists – Things could always be better

“In a relationship with a One, honesty is essential, but telling them that they are good in ways that they can hear it is the greater gift. Do it as often as you can in all the ways you can. Ones appreciate equity—they work hard and they expect the same from you.”

Twos, the Helpers – Your feelings or mine?

“In an intimate relationship, Twos need to hear you say ‘I’m here and I’m not going anywhere. There’s nothing you need to do, there’s nothing you need to be, and there’s nothing you need to help me with. I love you for you.’ Don’t trust their answer when they say they’re fine or good. Press a little deeper.”

Threes, the Performers – Being everyone but myself

“Since their orientation to time is to the future, Threes are often distracted during conversations. Don’t take the distraction personally. They won’t be interested in rehashing things from the past. Know that Threes want your approval and praise, and they really like it when you verbalize it.”

Fours, the Romantics – Go away but don’t leave

Fours long for what they don’t have and they are comfortable with longing. It’s not something for you to fix. Don’t tell Fours to ‘cheer up.’ They are usually neither sad nor depressed. Fours are comfortable with melancholy.”

Fives, the Observers – Fences have gates

“Be forthright and direct with Fives, but don’t use too many words. If you have a problem with a Five, agree on a time to discuss it. Give the Five time to think about your concern and then limit the length of the conversation.”

Sixes, the Loyalists – Question everything

“Worst-case scenario planning is comforting to Sixes, so take them seriously when they talk to you about the possibility of what could go wrong. Telling them they don’t need to worry and that everything is going to be fine they will feel patronizing, disrespectful, and dismissive. Sixes like friends who are emotionally mature, honest, and not too needy.”

Sevens, the Enthusiasts – It’s all good

“Don’t try to get Sevens to commit to specific routines and schedules. They need spontaneity and flexilibity. If you want to share your feelings with a Seven, by all means do that. But do not process your feelings with a Seven. You will need to do that with someone else. Be attentive to their stories. The telling of their stories is often the way they express and share their feelings.”

Eights, the Challengers – Vulnerability is not weakness

“Don’t beat around the bush with Eights: they want communication to be brief, straightforward, and truthful. Be aware that Eights are controlling in relationships simply because they don’t want to be controlled. Even though Eights are strong and assertive, don’t forget that they still need care.”

Nines, the Peacemakers – Risking conflict for connection

“Don’t interrupt Nines when they are talking. Make room for them to meander a bit—they will get to the point.  Nines don’t like confrontation, but that doesn’t mean you should never confront them. Encourage Nines to share their grievances with you.”

While this book isn’t necessarily a Christian book, it is definitely a spiritual book, and one that you can apply to your Christian faith. Suzanne Stabile is cofounder (with her husband, Rev. Joseph Stabile) of Life in the Trinity Ministry, a nondenominational ministry for spiritual growth and formation.

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My thanks to NetGalley
for the review copy of this book

Do you recognize yourself in a Type? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Read more on the Enneagram

I Can Do It Myself—But Should I?

The ladies at Manna House had cooked and boxed the meals already. They were ready to be delivered. I had a shopping cart of 50 of them to load into the back of my car Wednesday afternoon. It rarely takes long. I can do it alone if no one is around to help.

I used to think being self-sufficient was the nice thing. Do it myself. Don’t let anyone help. It might inconvenience them.

But if someone asks if I need help, I’ve discovered a better answer than my typical “No thanks—I can do it myself.”

When three young volunteers asked if they could help me Wednesday, I gave the better answer.

I’m learning now to say, “Yes, thank you! I’d appreciate your help.

It seems the greater gift. Because it’s not only about me.

I asked the three men where they were from. One was from Oregon. Another from Arizona. And the third from Mexico.

And yet they all ended up as friends and co-workers in Alabama, volunteering at Manna House, loading the car of a native Alabamian so I could carry the food to others.

I could have loaded my car just fine without their help.

But I would have missed out on their joy of friendship. And they would have missed out on the blessing of helping another.

Saying “Yes, I’d love your help” was a gift all the way around. I’m glad I’m learning to unwrap it.

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Do you overvalue self-sufficiency too? How do you break yourself of the “I can do it myself” habit? Please share in the comments.

5 Links, Books, and Things I Love – April 2018

What did you do in March? What are you looking forward to in April? We share once a month at Leigh’s.

1 Second Everyday

[If you can’t see the 1 Second Everyday video, click here]

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5 Things Around the Web

1. The Death of the Church Directory 
by Leslie Anne Tarabella

Does your church still have a picture directory?  Ours doesn’t. I miss it. But I also understand.

Death of Church Directory

Church directories were the unofficial yearbooks for our families of faith. (Leslie Anne Tarabella)

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2. How Does Chick-fil-A’s Drive-Thru Move So Fast?
by Sean Ward

I often do wonder about this. They’ve put a lot of research into it. No surprise they do it well.

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3. 9 Things that Quiet, Awkward Introvert Wishes You Knew
by Jenn Granneman

#4 and #6 really stand out to me. You?

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4. Having Your Smartphone Nearby Takes a Toll on Your Thinking
by Kristen Duke, Adrian Ward, Ayelet Gneezy, Maarten Bos

“Our research suggests that, in a way, the mere presence of our smartphones is like the sound of our names — they are constantly calling to us, exerting a gravitational pull on our attention. If you have ever felt a “phantom buzz” you inherently know this.”

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5. How All You Can Eat Restaurants Make Money

I’ll pay closer attention next time I’m at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

All You Can Eat Profitable?

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5 Things about Books and Podcasts

1. Print Books Still Reign
by Andrew Perrin

Sixty-seven percent of Americans read a print book within the past year. And nearly one in five Americans now listen to audiobooks. More interesting stats here about the state of reading in America.

Print books more popular

2. Podcast: How to Inspire Every Child to Be a Lifelong Reader
TED Talks Daily Podcast: Alvin Irby

I listened to the audio on the TED Talks Daily podcast, but you can watch the TED Talk here by Alvin Irby, a former kindergarten teacher. He is the founder of Barbershop Books, a wonderful project.

3. Podcast: How to Connect with Depressed Friends
TED Talks Daily Podcast: Bill Bernat

Or watch it here.

“Want to connect with a depressed friend but not sure how to relate to them? Comedian and storyteller Bill Bernat has a few suggestions. Learn some dos and don’ts for talking to people living with depression — and handle your next conversation with grace and maybe a bit of humor.”

4. Podcast: Hot Mess Room “Just in Case” Items
Organize 365 Podcast: Lisa Woodruff

Do you have a HMR too (a Hot Mess Room)? My laundry room is a hot mess. It keeps popping up on my to-do list for a major do-over, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. This podcast gives some helpful tips.

5. Three Books I Recommend – March 2018     

Recommended reading from two novels and one non-fiction book I finished in March. Reading time has reached a new low lately.

3 Books I Recommend March 2018_LisaNotes

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5 Things I Love

1. Grandbaby Is 2 Months!

I’m loving every second I get to spend with our first grandchild, even though it means putting LOTS of miles on the road back and forth. She’s growing and changing so quickly.

This bassinet has been used for generations in the Burgess family. Nowadays we mainly use it just for photos, one good one for each grandchild.

This is Riley’s turn for the bassinet photo. We almost waited too late! Her little toes are ready to escape.

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2. New Scripture Memory Challenge

This is Week 1 of our new scripture memory challenge with Do Not Depart. We’re learning Matthew 5:1-19 (includes the Beatitudes). I love having chapters I can go over in my head to chase out other crazy thoughts that pop in there.


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3. Chocolate!

I love chocolate. Probably too much. I’ve recently tried this Duncan Hines Brownie-in-a-Mug mix for the first time. It’s a perfect one-serving size when I just have to have something. Leigh Kramer shared her homemade updated Mug Brownie Recipe on her blog last week. I haven’t tried hers yet, but I will!

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4. This poem—to our bodies—“Dear Body, I’m sorry and I love you

I first heard this poem by Hillary McBride on the Liturgists podcast, episode Embodiment. It brought me to tears. Too often I do not appreciate my body, but rather see its flaws on a daily basis instead. This poem gives a better perspective.

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5. Tornado Cleanup

Alabama had tornadoes again two weeks ago. While it didn’t affect my neighborhood, it did hit within 20 miles. Our local disaster response team, PAR (Prepare and Respond), spent lots of hours helping clean up. So proud of their selfless devotion to help others.

PAR March 2018 Tornadoes

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5 Things on the Blog

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What was a highlight from your March? What are you looking forward to in April? Please share in the comments.

previous Links and Books

Have You Memorized the Beatitudes? Want to Try Now? {New Scripture Memory Challenge}

Beginning next week, April 2, the community at Do Not Depart is going to tackle a new Scripture Memory Challenge. You’re welcome to join in!


Our plan is to memorize Matthew 5:1-19, one to two verses per week. We intentionally go slowly so the words can sink into us as we can sink deeper into the Word.

The goal of memorizing isn’t to check off boxes on a spiritual checklist, but rather to swap words back and forth with God. It’s a conversation by choice.

The words in Matthew 5 are straight from the lips of Jesus. They include the Beatitudes (“Blessed are the…”), passages on being light, on being salt, and more. Read it all here.

See the full schedule here.

If you want to join in, sign up here.

You’ll then receive a link to resources you can download and print. And for each week we do the challenge, you’ll receive a short email on Monday mornings reminding you what the verse-of-the-week is.

We have an active Facebook group you also can join, Hide His Word. We meet there each week and share what we’re learning and tips to help each other along the way.

This will be good!

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Have you ever memorized the Beatitudes? Do you have a favorite chapter you’d like to commit to memory? Please share in the comments.