Six Communication Tips (Help Me Remember!)


Communication is so important. I am drawn to think about it this week since I have been twice (that I know of) in situations where my communication was less than sufficient or completely missing, forgotten. In my world of “communication rain”, it was pouring!

And if I could just read people’s minds, and they could read mine, miscommunication would not be an issue. But I guess, or assume, and things go awry.

I forgot to invite a family member to a family gathering. And when I did contact them late, I neglected to find out if they knew where the gathering was. I neglected to exchange cell phone numbers in case plans changed. I spent half of the family picnic feeling worried about why they weren’t there and wondering if they had gotten lost. I couldn’t call them to find out. I felt the guilt. It was the hardest thing ever to pick up the phone later that evening and find out what had happened.

The very next day(!) a series of late decisions and wrong assumptions led to disappointing some friends and leaving them waiting at a restaurant for us to meet them for dinner. Mom was in on this one and her observation was that her aversion to talking on the phone often kept her from necessary communication. We could have just made a call, earlier than we did.

Realizing that I have caused someone inconvenience or emotional pain/upset is stressful for me. I don’t need more stress! And I don’t want friends, family, or anyone for that matter, to feel confused, unloved or unimportant. That is stressful for them. So, thought and prayer brought some things to mind. From now on I will tell myself:

Shirley, listen now,

1. If you are in doubt, pick up the phone and find out! People don’t have to answer if they are busy. They will know you cared and will call back when they can.

2. Let people know that you don’t mind being called. They might have that phobia or aversion to calling. I always feel cared for, not bothered.

3. Text, if they use texting enough to be familiar with it. Be sure to SEND the text after writing it. (Yes, that one is for me.)

4. Call sometimes when there isn’t a pressing reason. This is how to make sure you have the correct contact information, home phones and cell phones.

5. Realize that it’s hard to over communicate. Talk plans through if you make them in person, and agree to confirm later if needed.

6. Probably the most important thing, pray about any plans, that they would be under God’s direction. Even if things seem to be going wrong, if he’s in charge, he is working something out and he isn’t expecting you to worry about it.

All in the Details

Details, details

I know what a gateway and an alcove is. I have an idea what a portico is. Parapet, maybe? But really, trying to come up with a picture that looks like a building from the description in Ezekiel chapter 40, I just can’t do it. They are all mentioned over and over again, complete with measurements, in all four quadrants of the compass, and oh, throw in several sets of stairs, some courtyards and miscellaneous openings too.

Mom and I were sitting in the airport restaurant with some time to spare and this chapter was today’s reading from the Old Testament, NIV Bible. What was troubling to me, was verse four of the same chapter where our prophet Ezekiel was told that all this detail was important for some reason. He was supposed to “listen closely and pay attention” so he could tell people everything he saw. Trying to figure out stuff like this has always been part of what makes Bible reading problematic for me.

Later, on the way home from the airport, I started thinking about it again – which is always a good thing to do if you have asked God to help you understand something. Here was a man who had a vision of some kind. It could have been a dream, but I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone dreaming with this kind of detail and then remembering it. He’s inspired to record it and it is somehow preserved for a loooooong time for people to read later and wonder about the detail in it. I know people who would say there is great significance in all the measurements and numbers and that may be. For me, what jumps out is that God was clearly caring about a lot of details.

You know, just maybe he wanted us to know that about him. Maybe he is a “detail guy”.

Perhaps, when he’s asked to help plan, he is able to arrange events and time them so that over the summer I am able to travel four different areas of the world with just enough energy and finances to suffice.

Perhaps he is able to move people in and out of my life to allow for me to be helpful, but not overwhelmed by all the stress and travel.

Perhaps he can bring me together with family members for some significant relational time, even though the arrangements are complicated.

Perhaps he can make possible a stay at a cottage by the beach for mom and me, when my remodel project isn’t finished yet.

Perhaps he can handle a delayed flight (maybe he even arranged it) that ended up with mom getting a better non-stop flight home, with the window seat she kind of longed for. And maybe he put the right person in front of us, apparently waiting for us, who was able to come up with that idea and make it happen. (Thank you Delta!)

I wanted more pictures of mom and me together and we had time for one more lame “selfie”. (Mom says I don’t really look like that. Would someone please take some candid pics of us doing something besides looking at a cell phone camera?)

We do this.
We do this.
And this...
And this…
And this.
And this.

And how we enjoyed the extra time that allowed us to eat a leisurely breakfast together and read Ezekiel 40. I’m just sayin’, God is pretty detail oriented and this is not the first time I’ve noticed.

Scary Plans

I like to plan. Really, why not? The future is like this blank canvas on which something will be painted, or the blank sheet of paper on which something will be written. Why not choose what I’d like to see there and then have something to work toward? And I like plans that are a […]