Monday, November 30


Proverbs 16:24 Gracious speech is like clover honey—good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body. (The Message)

Several years ago, I got together with a dear friend at a cozy little tea house. This shop was unique because in addition to the tea house, there was a section filled with rows of soft, colorful yarn and knitting books. The setting was quaint, and the menu included teas that sounded like decadent desserts, and exotic flowers.

Renee and I enjoyed catching up, and time flew as it does when friends get together. As we sat at our table, with our tea steeping in boiling water, we talked about life, marriage and other relationships. Our time was rich and memorable. Just as we were getting ready to leave, a woman walked out from behind a bookshelf next to our table. We were so engrossed in conversation that we didn't notice she had been right around the corner. She politely chimed in as we were saying our good-byes, and told us she had been listening to us talk the entire time. My first thought was to panic as I tried to go over the things we had talked about, however I knew that there was nothing either of us would not have wanted anyone to hear, but still, why was she listening? She went on to explain how she enjoyed hearing positive words, when it seemed like the norm was to hear people say negative, sarcastic things about people and situations. I can relate to this statement, as I feel like there is a lack of gracious speech in our world today.

This friendly eavesdropper must have knitted a pretty long scarf that day, as we were there for at least two hours! Her compliment stood out as such a poignant reminder that words can either be toxic to others including ourselves, or nourishing to many. Mine have been both. I do not get complimented daily on my speech. In fact, that was the first and only time someone has ever remarked on my conversation with another person. My natural tendency is to complain and to see the negative side of things. I justify my complaints by saying I am just a "realist", or that I am "venting", when in reality I like to whine. I will never forget how good that comment made me feel, and while people are probably not sitting around listening to what I say, I want my speech to reflect those things that would be characterized as gracious.

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Italy trip

I have been going through my pictures, and have enjoyed looking at this album of Italy. I was able to go over last year to attend a conference. This was the first time I have been back in twenty years. The pictures are made up mostly of places we lived as a family. My brother and I were able to go together, and we were graciously hosted by some friends of ours from language school in Perugia. I feel such a sense of nostalgia when I look at these pictures. I miss Italy so much. It was strange to go back as a tourist knowing I would be returning to the US after such a short time. Tonight I made cookies with Nutella in them, and I remembered how much I enjoyed the simple pleasures. Fortunately, you can find it here! Saturday, we are going up to my brother's house to celebrate a late Thanksgiving, only we will be making homemade tortellini instead of turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!