Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “relationships”

The People Factor

Relationships. They seem to make or break our happiness. Van Moody, a pastor serving the Worship Center in Birmingham, Alabama, understands the importance of relationships and provides a compact guide with his The People Factor.

The People Factor addresses the vertical (our relationship with God) and the horizontal (our relationship with others) aspects of relational skills. As a pastor he found a lack in ready resources when he counseled people. “There was nothing to put in the hands of people who left my office after sharing their deep pain over a relationship that would teach them beyond-the-basics lessons that could help them in highly practical ways.”

In each chapter, Pastor Moody weaves sound advice around his provided relatable examples, ending with “Relationship Reminders” and “Raising Your Relational IQ” which serve as personal checkpoints or could be used as discussion points in a group study.

The book is filled with points of reflection:

“We must realize that discrepancies between words and actions are serious warning signs.” (p.7)

“In relationships, commitment to integrity must take precedence over mutual comfort or shared enjoyment because integrity is the foundation of a person’s life.” (p. 47)

“You cannot erase your past. It will alwys be part of your personal history, but it does not have to define you.” (p.75)

Divided into three sections, the book explores the dynamics of relationship.

Part One: The Critical Laws of Relationships delves into the essentials of relationship such as agreement, understanding how the past influences relationships of today, and the importance of loyalty.

Part Two: How to Make the Most Difficult Choices, investigates unhealthy relationships–how to cope with them and how to let go of them.

Part Three: Essentials of Great Relationships promotes the understanding of the process of how healthy relationships work.

Finding happiness can come by losing weight, redecorating the house, or changing up the wardrobe, and there are plenty of books that help a person towards that measure of happiness. Yet, finding joy in relationships, that supercedes any temporal happiness.

The People Factor provides sound advice to promote sound relationships.

Dandelion Summer

It’s always a pleasure to discover a new author, especially one who is prolific. Such is the case with my discovery of Lisa Wingate and her novel, Dandelion Summer.

Set in contemporary Texas, this is a character-rich story  with two polar opposites.  Imagine Henry Fonda from his role in On Golden Pond and a teenage Queen Latifah, you then would have Norman Alvord and Epiphany Jones, better known as J. Norm and Epie. Thrown together against their will, they reluctantly form a truce of temperaments as they launch out on a journey of discovery together.

One of the more delightful aspects of the novel is how Wingate swings the viewpoint from J.Norm’s to Epie’s, allowing the reader to fully realize the entire picture. Norman is a recent widower, ailing not only in health, but in regrets.  He is at odds with his only child, Deborah, a resentful professional woman who believes her efforts to run her father’s life is merely a way to honor her promise to her deceased, beloved mother. Epiphany is a troubled biracial sixteen year old who has it tough at home and at school. Both Epie and J. Norm want to break free of their circumstances and solve the mystery of who they really are.  The varying viewpoints provides the balance of age and youth, and it isn’t long before it’s clear that no matter a person’s age, status, or experience the basic need of family is foremost.  Epie and J. Norm form a family bond of sorts and what could have become oversweet in outcome turns into a realistic story of two hurting individuals who learn to rely on someone they least suspect of being a means of help to their situation.

My biggest takeaway from the novel is Norman’s letter to his daughter, Deborah.  He knows he wasn’t there for her when she was growing up and his letter is an apology, yet it is also an instructive that all fathers can learn from.  I plan on slipping this to my sons someday (never mind there aren’t married, or even have serious girlfriends yet), and maybe I can convince my pastor to read it for next Father’s Day. Here is an excerpt:

Dear Deborah,
Words do not come easily for so many men. We are taught to be strong, to provide, to put away our emotions. A father can work his way through his days and never see that his years are going by. If I could go back in time, I would say some things to that young father as he holds, somewhat uncertainly, his daughter for the very first time. These are the things I would say:
When you hear the first whimper in the nights, go to the nursery and leave your wife sleeping. Rock in a chair, walk the floor, sing a lullaby so that she will know a man can be gentle.
When Mother is away for the evening, come home from work, do the babysitting. Learn to cook a hotdog or a pot of spaghetti, so that your daughter will know a man can serve another’s needs.

The letter continues with sound advice and lyrical admonition to be all a man can be by being the best father a daughter can have and remember.  I read this to my writing compadres and the “oohs” and “aahs” circled around the table.

Dandelion Summer is definitely a book for perfect for the summer read list, yet  its warmth resonates long after the last word is read.

Why We Say: #3

Why We Say #3 looks at

Going against the grain or being rubbed the wrong way?

History: As long as there has been wood or furry animals there has been the need to go with the smooth side of things

A carpenter working with wood runs his hand along the board and immediately picks up a sliver or two because he has gone against the grain, likewise petting animals against the fur gets immediate snips, snaps, and scratches.

The saying “go with the flow” absolutely has solid connection. If we rub something or someone the wrong way we end up causing injury to both parties.

My Thoughts:
I have been guilty of not looking first and have often gone against the grain or sometimes out of ornerniness have gone ahead knowing the consequences. Be it splinters, growls, or causing friction with other people it is always wise to go with the grain to keep things going smoothlyin life.

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