Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Innies and outies"...how to navigate the season with introverts & extroverts

Decking the halls at your house yet?  Planning your December festivities?

It's good to consider that you most likely have two types of people in your life....extroverts and introverts.  If that is so, they probably have different ways they prefer celebrating special occasions.  

Extroverts love the glitz, socialization and excitement of activity.  Did you know introverts enjoy all that too, but on a smaller scale?  While an extrovert may love a full calendar of places to go and things to do, an introvert likes periods of "down time" in between so they can reflect and refresh their energy level for the next event. 

Before you give in to the things you always do this time of year, why not ask each member of the family what they would like to do to celebrate?  It's always good to tell them you are open to new suggestions and that just because "we always do that" doesn't mean we have to do it every year.  You might be surprised by the responses.

Ask each member of the family what 3 things they would like to do as part of celebrating Christmas this year.  This allows everyone to have input.

What things do family members enjoy doing together with just your family? What activities do they enjoy as part of a larger group or community?

"Giving" outlives "getting" when it comes to contentment.  Is giving to someone in need a part of your family celebration? 

What activities energize them?  What drains them?

Create an environment where every member of the family is heard.  Then put together activities that honor each family member's style of celebrating with some time in between for a "breather."  It's a good life exercise for all of us to consider each other.

I'm going to be on the radio this weekend!

Listen in on Saturday, December 3rd, 10AM PST to KGNW.com.  Or if you are in Seattle, KGNW 820 AM. I'm the featured guest on "Coffee with the Coaches."  Hosts Suzanne, Laurie and I will be talking about meaningful celebration and how to make sure to include introverts in the action.  I'll be doing a give-away so you'll need to listen in and find out how to enter.  You can even call into the show to ask a question.

Hope you'll be listening in on Saturday morning!

Photo:  istockphoto.com/Nathan Jones

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Thank you" is more than a polite expression.

The blessings we recount usually revolve around the people in our lives and the basic necessities such as water, food and shelter.  I don't know about you, but I'm always surprised that in a world of so much "stuff" our true gratefulness seems to be focused on the daily blessings we often take for granted.  We see this concept in news interviews with families who survive natural disasters.  They talk about losing everything material, but being thankful their loved ones are still with them.

I've been wondering if gratefulness changes us.  When people survive a catastrophic event, I think it marks them in some way.  Some people are resilient and recover.  Others may be resentful.  I've never experienced a natural disaster or catastrophic event, but I still long for survivor-like gratefulness to change me from the inside out.

There was a woman in the Bible named Hannah who had gone through years of infertility.  In her culture infertility meant she was the object of ridicule and rejection.  After many years of asking God for a child, she finally gave birth to a boy she named Samuel, meaning, "God has heard."

Hannah's gratefulness was so overwhelming she decided to give him back to God for a life of service.  So after Samuel's young boyhood years, probably at about 12 years of age, she took him to the temple to be cared for and mentored by the priest, Eli, for a life of service to God.  Since the temple was a part of daily Jewish life, no doubt Hannah continued to spend significant time with her son.  And she gave birth to five more children so she had a busy life as a mother.  But Hannah was one grateful woman!  She didn't just say 'thank you." She expressed it through her actions.  Her thanksgiving was lived out very intentionally.

While I'm not advocating parting with your first-born child,  I do know that I want my thankfulness...my appreciation, to be reflected in how I demonstratively love God, my family, friends, and the strangers in need around me.  As we pause to be grateful this month, may the reflections on our blessings be life-changing for all of us.