Sunday, February 6, 2011

Eight Gifts for Valentine's Day ( that works great on any day!)

I have been thinking about 'what to blog about next' and wouldn't you know came to me by another blog!  I wanted to write something related to Valentine's Day.  When I read another blogger's blog, she had listed 8 gifts on her blog (I think she may have borrowed it from someone also.).  Ofcourse, I will put my personal spin on these 8 gifts, not simply copy her post.  I will blog 1 gift per day leading up to Valentine's Day.

The first gift is THE GIFT OF LISTENING.  There are times when people just want to be heard.  They are not asking us to 'fix the problem', but rather just be the ears to let them vent.  Not everyone has the luxury of trotting off to the therapist for an hour, so they look for a good friend who will listen to them.

I believe that in order to be a good listener, one MUST be able to contain that knowledge.  No one wants to tell their problems and secrets to a blabbermouth!  How many times have you felt betrayed by someone that you had confided in because you later learned that individual had shared your inner thoughts with the whole garden club, staff, church, or whatever the case may have been?  So to be a good listener listen without repeating.

Set your purpose for listening.  When listening to an individual's problems, give them your full attention.  Make eye contact and head contact.  Don't be writing your shopping list or texting or even answering the phone (that's why we have 'leave a message').  You have time to get back to that business later.  Listening means we listen with our whole being.  We let that person know that they are valued.  We care about them and what is hurting or troubling them.  We listen with heart.

 Take time today to practice your listening skills so that the next time a friend calls upon you to be a good listener, you can get the job done efficiently.  Maybe your child is trying to relay to you what so and so said today at school.  Put down that dishtowel or tv remote, look your child in the eyes, and listen.  Now maybe his/her story is not one of the most dire situations, but it will give you an opportunity to sharpen your listening skills.  Who knows you may even learn some valuable insights into your child's friends and everyday occurrences when he/she is away from you.

Who do you know that is a good listener?  When you have troubles (and we all do), what friend is always there for you 'with a good ear'?  Keeping with the spirit of Valentine's Day, wouldn't it be a thoughtful idea to send that friend a special card?  Let that individual know just how much he/she is appreciated. 


          5 egg whites               2 cups white sugar           1 teaspoon vanilla           chopped pecans (optional)

          Beat egg whites until they form a stiff peak, but don't over do it.  Add sugar, a little at a time. Add vanilla and stir in pecans.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet.  Bake at a low temperature (250 degrees) for an hour or until kisses are light brown in color.
                                                                Adapted from"Best of the Best Mississippi Cookbook"

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