Tag Archives: listening

Day 30: The Beauty of Stories (31 Days of Simple Truths)

Image: Death to the Stock Photo

Image: Death to the Stock Photo

I believe in the beauty of stories more than I ever have.

This morning, we woke up to a chill in the air and steady rain falling. It felt like it should be a holiday. Even though there was school and work and other things to be done, the kids and I snuggled up on the sofa with a pile of books and read them all before we did anything else. It was magical.

Since mid-August, life has been hectic with moving and all the other chaos that comes with transition. Our reading rituals have been interrupted, and we’ve all missed it. I’ve been fighting for that time again this week, both reading to my kids and my own favorite winding down ritual of reading before bed.

Stories always move us beyond ourselves, even if they are also revealing our hearts. If I listen—truly listen to understand—I cannot help but be changed, shaped and softened by your story. If I find myself becoming cynical or discouraged or frustrated, I know I haven’t been listening to enough stories. Even the hard and unpleasant stories have the power to bring transformation, compassion, insight, righteous indignation, and so on.

The moment I narrowly focus on my own immediate story, I begin to lose connection and empathy with the world at large.

We need stories—good ones, bad ones, make-believe ones, challenging ones, hard ones, romantic ones, impossible ones—all of them. We need your story.

Goodness, I think if everyone resolved to make space to absorb even one story very different than their own, the world would be a much better place.


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Filed under 31 Days of Simple Truths, Stories

Day 8: Listening to Understand (31 Days of Simple Truths)

Death to Stock/Foster & Asher

Death to Stock/Foster & Asher

There is listening to understand and listening to defend.

If I am listening to understand, then I will hear the entirety of what you have to say without cutting you off to interject my own opinions.

If I am listening to understand, I will not be dismissive of your reality, even though I may have had a different experience.

If I am listening to understand, I will not automatically counter your thoughts with all the reasons you are wrong.

If I am listening to understand, I will not make assumptions about your heart, character, or personal convictions; instead, I will lovingly seek clarity where it’s needed.

If I am listening to understand, I will respond with thoughtful questions that show my desire to draw out the essence of what matters to you.

If I am listening to understand, I will take time to ponder what you have to say instead of promptly brushing it aside and moving on.

It’s not easy to listen this way, especially if you are challenging me, convicting me, or calling me into territory I am unfamiliar with or uncertain of. It’s not even a little bit easy.

But it’s necessary if I want to establish trust with you and if I want to walk alongside you. It’s necessary if I want to value your heart. It’s necessary if we ever hope to make a positive difference in this world.31daysOfSimpleTruths

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Filed under 31 Days of Simple Truths, Covenant Relationships, Love


I was so excited to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug with my husband today.  I can’t remember the last time I got to see a movie the day it came out, or even within the first few weeks (that’s life as a parent of littles)!  And while the literary purist in me really wanted to dislike a character that wasn’t in the original book, I was surprised how deeply my soul resonated with things I saw in her.

As part of my 40 Days of Poetry class with Story Sessions, we’ve been encouraged to really lean in and listen to our souls.  And this began to pour out of me as soon as we left the theater. (Don’t worry – no spoilers here!)

Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


My soul –

she who walks among the starlight

of faraway lands –

has no fear of laying down her life.

It is a better fate

than the eternity of being unseen.

“See me,” she whispers,

warrioress armored with grace.

Can you behold beauty

without deeming it weak?

She who drinks in the starlight

of faraway lands –

her heart is on fire with the knowing

she is meant for more than the familiar –

the way things have always been.

Breathing deep the towering trees,

she is propelled higher, further –

passion on a quest for adventure,

something more immortal than herself.

Never fiercer than when she loves,

there is strength in this soul –

healing, beauty,

fight in this soul.

My soul.


Filed under Passion, Poetry, Writing