Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Help’

It’s OK to…


  1. It’s OK to… Not to Have All the Answers

When Bob & I first moved from California to Montana back in 2006, I was a recently retired educator with over 30 years of teaching/administrating under my belt. I was not really ready to “hang it up.” You know, “Once a teacher, always a teacher.”

So, when I joined the Friends of the Library and received a message from a young man who was seeking help to earn his GED (I think that stands for: General Education Diploma, but it might be Graduation Equivalence Diploma) … anyway, I was all in.

Zahid was a 19 year old from Pakistan whose English was sketchy enough that he had trouble understanding the questions, let alone knowing the answers. I agreed to help him with the English/Language Arts/History areas while a good friend worked with him in the areas of Science and Math.

His host mom would drop him off at our house at 7:30 AM three times a week, and after an hour of study, I’d drive him to his place of work, just five minutes away. During our hours together, one of my greatest challenges was teaching Zahid that it’s OK to say, “I don’t know.” He tried to bluff his way through answers. It was often quite amusing!

Once Zahid learned to say, “I don’t know,” and admit to needing help with the answers, we made great progress. He eventually passed and got his high school equivalent diploma. Hooray!

2. It’s OK to… Feel all the Emotions

Zahid tried to hide his lack of knowledge and his feelings of discouragement. He tried to hide his frustrations. He attempted to bluff his way through the quizzes. It didn’t work. When he learned to let his emotions show, when he opened himself to being “real” with me, we made great progress.

3. It’s OK to… have Bad Days

Life is not always fair. Even with hard work and the best of intentions, our dreams don’t always pan out. The first time Zahid took his test for the credential, he failed. Without encouragement and a shoulder to cry on, he might have folded. He might have said, “Give it up! I can’t do this!” But, we didn’t let that happen. His host mom and dad joined our Positivity Club – and together we helped “Z” keep at it, learn from his mistakes, try again, and ultimately pass.

4. Its OK to …Let Yourself Cry

Once “Z” passed his GED, the next goal was to pass his driver’s behind-the-wheel and written tests and get a driver’s license. He worked hard at it.

My husband, Bob, is a retire teacher. (If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you know he also is a retire beekeeper. But before he went back to the family bee farm, he taught driver’s education and coached wrestling for nine years in California.) So, Bob was a natural to help “Z” get his driver’s license.

Once that goal was accomplished, the next step was to buy a car. Zahid had saved the money he earned working at the local grocery store. He had enough to pay for a good “starter car.” But the problem that emerged was that he had no idea how to take care of a car. That’s where the “It’s OK to let yourself cry” comes in. He burned up the car’s engine by not checking the oil, the water, etc. The tears were real! It was a sad lesson in the reality of truth #5…

5. It’s OK to …Ask for Help

Bob would have been more than happy to help “Z” learn the basics of car maintenance, but Zahid never asked. It was a tough, expensive lesson. But “Z” learned it. He asked Bob to help him find a new engine. He did… and “Z” learned to ask for help in car maintenance in the future. That car gave him several years of reliable service and actually made it from Montana to Alaska when “Z” moved there for better job opportunities.

6. It’s OK to …Make Mistakes

Looking back over our experiences with that young Pakistani, we know we made mistakes, just as he did. We backed off when we should have moved forward and been more assertive with him. He tried bluffing and exercising independence when admitting his lack of knowledge and asking for help would have served him better. But, he learned – and so did we.

As long as we learn from our mistakes, it’s OK. In fact, making mistakes is sometimes the ONLY way we learn. Knowing what doesn’t work helps us eliminate some options and seek better solutions.

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com
  • Don’t try to have all the answers.
  • Don’t be ashamed of your emotions. Be real. Let them show!
  • Don’t let the bad days get you down. We need valleys in order to appreciate the mountain tops!
  • Don’t hold back the tears. Let them flow when they need to. Let them cleanse you!
  • Admit your ignorance. None of us is an expert at everything. Ask for help when you need it.
  • Don’t let mistakes get you down. No one is perfect. We need to make mistakes in order to learn and move forward.

It’s OK to … select friends who lift you up, encourage you, and give you a shoulder to cry on when you need it.

It’s OK to … BE one of those friends. Happy, warm, genuine. Even long-distance, over the miles, through cyberspace, you can reach out and be the positive friend others are seeking.

Just do it! It’s OK…

Thank you for your visit,
your comments and
your friendship,

I appreciate you!

See you tomorrow.

Helping Grieving People


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

While perusing FaceBook this evening, I came across this article that I thought was so well written. The author, Nancy Guthrie, said what many of us know, “… for those who’ve recently lost someone they love, the holidays can seem more like something to survive than to enjoy.”

Nancy Guthrie is a guest writer on the FB page, desiringGod.
She goes on to write,

“While those of us who surround grieving people
can’t fix the pain of loss,
we can bring comfort
as we come alongside
those who hurt
with special sensitivity
to what grief is like
during the holidays.
Grieving people wish
we all knew at least five truths,
among others, at Christmas.”

You can click on the link below to see the full article,
learn what those five truths are,
and learn a little more about Nancy Guthrie.

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-grieving-people-wish-you-knew-at-christmas?fbclid=IwAR2buan3Tk0KSKt7VSpZt5F2mooNoXdrXSFY1xekAcI2jxvg-svWkBOn3DQ

If you know someone who recently lost a spouse, a child, or a close friend, you may be interested in passing this article along to their loved ones. I found it very helpful.

Photo by Wallace Chuck on Pexels.com

Do not suffer alone.
Do not let your loved ones suffer in silence.
Reach out in love.

Have a beautiful week.

Let me know if you found this FB article
on desiringGod helpful.

See ya tomorrow.

Be Ready!


Today’s sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley
at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT
was based on the story of Zacchaeus.
Do you know the story?

If not (or even if you do),
here it is in a nutshell:
https://youtu.be/Fe7dTNID6h8

(When you click on that link
and hear the story creatively told
in delightful, child-like cartoon format,
be sure to click the back arrow and return here!)

Find Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10

Pretend you are short (I don’t have to pretend).
Pretend your name is Zacchaeus and you are hated.
You are hated because you are a lying, cheating tax collector.
You are lonely.

Then you learn that Jesus is coming to your town.
You’ve heard about Him – and you want to see Him.
But, to do so, to see above the crowd, you have to climb a tree.
Pretend you are up in that tree … looking down at Jesus.

Get in the mood for today’s message!

Be Ready!

There is a growing epidemic
Of loneliness in society today.
Surprisingly, the loneliest are young adults.
Next are empty-nesters, they say.

A third group are the elderly
Who are often seen sitting alone.
Checking an empty mailbox,
They nurse their ailments and groan.

People out there in our world are lonely.
Often it’s for a reason they can’t control.
Other times, it seems to be choices they make –
Like Zacchaeus, who chose his greedy, tax-collecting role.

Loneliness affects all kinds of folks, good and bad.
We cannot overcome loneliness by ourselves.
It takes the love and compassion of someone else
Who notices our empty emotional shelves.

If you are struggling with loneliness,
And you have come to church to heal it,
Look around and know the love of Christ
Is in the hearts of those around you. Can you feel it?

Zacchaeus climbed a tree so he could see Jesus.
This lonely, short, little man wanted a view
Of the man he had heard so much about.
Would you climb a tree to see Christ? In faith, will you?

Be ready – if you are lonely and you look
For God and love by goin’ somewhere strange.
Be ready – because God will find you there.
He’ll find you where you are; and you will change!

Be ready!

I’m lookin’ up to find you!
Reach out to the lonely.
Reach out in prayer, in hugs,
in compassion.

Have a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Look up!!
See ya tomorrow.

Everyone Needs Help Sometimes


This is the end of National Suicide Prevention Week,
But it is not the end of our need to reach out and help.

Everyone needs a little help sometimes –
And some of us need more help more often than others.

So print this chart of help providers
And have it ready to give to a friend in need.

We are told that the best help we can give
Is just to be there, to care, to listen.

No one should be left to feel unloved, unnecessary,
Unwanted, unappreciated. Every life matters!

You matter. I matter.
Don’t doubt it for a moment!

See ya later.

N = Neighbors


Day #14 in my A-Z series of “What Makes Me Happy?”

N = Neighbors

photo of four persons uniting hands

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Who are my neighbors?

When I think of my “hood,”

I think of the nearby folks

Who are friendly and good.

.

They make me happy

With parties and sharing;

They call and come by

To show they are caring.

.

But my circle of friends

Doesn’t end on my road.

Neighbors are the folks

Who share in my load.

.

When I’m sick or downtrodden,

They call or send a card.

They offer food or flowers

Or say they’ll mow my yard.

.

But my neighbors and friends

Aren’t defined by when I’m needy.

To limit neighbors to those

Would certainly be quite greedy.

.

Neighbors are around the world.

Some faces I’ve never seen.

But, we meet in blogs or on Facebook

And we share a common dream.

.

We want to bring light to darkness.

We share a need to live in love.

We want what’s best for one another,

And we take our clues from God above.

.

As neighbors, we are looking

For ways to bring new hope

To others feeling hopeless.

We share ways we’ve learned to cope.

.

So when you’re feeling overwhelmed

By the bleakness that you see,

Turn to caring, compassionate neighbors

And change discouragement to glee.

.

Create a network of compassion

That goes round the globe and back.

Be the neighbor who brings help

And happiness to those who lack.

.

What neighborly act can you do to spread caring and compassion today?

Forge friendships through common work… and be a part of the solution.

We all are neighbors. We all need one another. Thank you for sharing –

– and caring.

 

 

 

 

Facing Trouble


Are you facing TROUBLE in your life? Today’s scripture caught my attention as I was writing daily reflections in my “Love Journal.” The scripture for today in the journal is Psalm 32:7 “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble.”

Is it true? Is God your hiding place? Will God protect you from trouble? In my experience, it is not that trouble doesn’t come my way. It will and it does! Trouble finds us – even in our best hiding places! So what comfort can I take from Psalm 32?

If we live the truth of Psalm 16:9 and we “are always thinking of the Lord,” then the scripture promises, “…because He is near, I never need to stumble or fall.” God will help me overcome trouble. He will help you, too! I truly believe that. Do you?

Psalm 16:10 says “Heart, body and soul are filled with joy.” How can we have joy in the midst of trouble? It helps me to focus on the fact that the Lord is in control. God is the Captain of my ship, the Driver of my vehicle, the Lamp that lights my path. If I remember that, then God will not only lead me through the trouble and help me overcome it, but He will strengthen me by it. He will bring me joy. I truly believe that, too.

“Protection” from trouble is not the absence of trouble, but it is the inability of trouble to take away my joy. With God’s help, I can hold my head high, walk through the hard times, and emerge stronger and more faithful. You can, too. Take JOY, my friend. Take heart; take God’s hand – offered by a loving friend – and walk right through that trouble with His Strength – to the other side. You don’t need to hide. He will protect you. He will show you The Way. God bless you. Walk on!

Stuck on Stupid


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A friend sent me an e-mail with a collection of church marquees and billboard signs. This one caught my attention because my husband, Bob, and I had just spent a few days with dear, long-time friends who laughed with us as they shared a story of about an occasion when some mutual friends were “Stuck on Stupid.”  Their story soon was overshadowed by the event that occurred around the next bend.

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Yup, that’s us! We were headed up a narrow, one-way mountain road. It was posted with a sign at the bottom that said, “Road Crew at Work.” My friend and I, sitting in the back seat, tried to convince our driver (my dear husband of 50+ years) NOT to go up that road. But did he and my friend’s husband listen to us? No, they took a vote.

Results? No surprise!

Two to two! Carolyn and I said, “No way! Stay off!”

Bob and Jerry said, “Heck, the road crew has had time to fix the problem by now. This is a scenic route. Let’s go for it!” That was about 2:45 on a smokey Montana afternoon. Forest fires in Idaho were sending billows of smoke into our usually pristine, scenic valley. I was as anxious as they were to climb the Gravelley Range and get above the polluted level. But, not that way! 

Sure enough, about two miles up the road, we encountered a Forest Service gravel truck coming down the road toward us. In that situation, someone has to give the right of way. Yup, it’s the one going uphill. So, we began to back down, looking for that wide spot where we might turn around – or tuck in to allow the truck to pass. The river was down a ravine to our right. The mountainside was to our left. Hug the left, of course. Don’t chance that drop into the river! A bend in the road – – – hug the hillside. Ooops! A slimy, slippery, black mud ditch on the left grabbed our truck tires and pulled it in. Clunk!

The Forest service driver was assured that we needed his help – and we’d certainly not hold him liable if his efforts failed to get us out. He complied (dear man) and hooked up a chain, trying to pull us out. We ended up farther in the mud with the back of the truck jack-knifing into the hillside and the back fender and tail light crushed against a rock.

Jerry and Carolyn’s story came back to me loud and clear. “Stuck on Stupid!” Yes, this was the perfect example. Our friends headed on foot down the mountainside to see if they could find help at the main road junction – about two and a half miles of rocks and dirt on a pretty steep decline. We were outside of cell phone coverage. A storm was brewing. The driver of the gravel truck was able to reach his Forest Service headquarters on his radio system. They called the Forest Service in Ennis (our home town – more than an hour away). A call to the local auto repair and tow service sent them on their way to the rescue. It was after 5:00 PM by the time the tow truck arrived.

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Pulling us back in the direction from which we were already pulled was just going to bury us deeper. I couldn’t stand to watch! I prayed for divine guidance – for Bob and Paul, the driver of the tow truck. I prayed for safety for our friends who had walked down the mountain. I prayed for a miracle. I began to walk down the mountain, too, but the thunder and lightening sent me back to Bob and the stuck truck. As I rounded the corner, the scene startled me! The right rear tire was air-bound!

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That had to represent progress, right? More see-sawing back and forth for what seemed like hours. Bob encouraged Paul to connect the chain from the back of the truck rather than the one closer to the cab. Also, back the tow truck up closer and connect to the pick-up in a place that would allow the greatest angle. I held my breath for an eternity! Clunk! It bounced out almost as sharply as it had slid in! Nearly 6:00 PM by now. Lightening and thunder drawing nearer. We thanked Paul profusely as he dug muck out from the wheel wells and tire crevices to prevent brake damage. Then we followed the tow truck – down to find our guests. Just as the large Montana raindrops began to pound the windshield, we rescued them from the roadside. Our guys weren’t taking a vote on which direction to go from there. No artificial intelligence needed. We headed to the nearest restaurant with a bar. Three cheers for answered prayer, for Paul, for the Forest Service, and for being Unstuck on Stupid!

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If you’re on a one-way mountain road and the sign says “Road Crew at Work,” I don’t think you need a vote to decide to take another route. You’re not Stuck on Stupid!

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