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Another Year, Another Birthday

I really do love my birthday. (on Wednesday). It’s just the older I get, the less I like it. And yet, I still wanna celebrate it. About seventeen years ago, while Mother was living with us, she’d had a medical reversal and didn’t even know when it was my birthday. I didn’t push the subject with her. We just celebrated in a much downplayed fashion that year. #anotheryear #anotherbirthday

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Family is All Relative––Part III

Last week, I talked about my friend Darla. How I’ve known her for about 24 years, and we’ve been through a lot together and apart for a while. This week, I want to share Melanie with you. She’s another close friend, and it’s possible she and I have been through more in a shorter period of time, than Darla and I have. #familyisrelative #friendsascloseasfamily

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Family is All Relative––Part II

My friend Darla

When you think of “family,” what comes to mind? Mother, father, siblings, grandparents. Aunts, uncles, then cousins. Interesting what some of the synonyms of family are: intimate, household, personal, private. #familyisrelative #friendsascloseasfamily

To me, family can be anyone I’m close to. I have extended close family. A brother, sister-in-law, and great-niece in California, a brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece here in Pennsylvania. They’re part of the family. And they have other parts of their family.

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Family is All Relative––Part I

Wow! This year is a year of “family” for me––in all kinds of ways…the family I grew up with, and new people in my life, whom I call my “Biologicals.” You’ve heard a bit about them already. #familyisrelative #cousins

Last week, I visited with some of my cousins…ones I grew up with on Mom’s side of the family. The occasion was my Aunt Donna’s 95th, yes ninety-fifth birthday. I haven’t seen my Aunt Donna for twelve years, since my mom died. A few of my cousins were at Mom’s funeral in 2005, and a couple of them were there last weekend (the weekend of July 1-2). Aunt Donna has outlived every other Whitwam, she’s a very special and amazing woman. Two of the cousins present are not in the “official” photo – Eric Roembach and Joyce (Beard) Jackson. They were present at cousin Kim’s house on Saturday.

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Square Dancing with Jesus

This is the first of a series of guest posts by friends of mine. These posts will be inspirational and encouraging. This one’s very sweet. #MissingGrandpa #SquaredancingwithJesus

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Revelations & Friendships––Part III

Thank you all for reading this blog. It’s my hope that the Tuesday post will be encouraging, uplifting, and inspirational. I’ve got some guest bloggers coming soon to the Tuesday post. But for today, I’m sticking with Revelations & Friendships. A friend encourages and supports. Be a friend today and strengthen the feeble knees and weak hands. Click to tweet #friendships #revelations

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Revelations & Friendships––Part II

After posting two weeks ago the first in this “series” (because who knows how long it will be), a friend called me to encourage me to show some “fight.” Bless her heart. Good friends are like good medicine––they help heal. Click to tweet #friendships #revelations

The flip side to that is that friends can wound with their words. That’s better than kisses from an enemy. Proverbs 27:6 “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” Why is this true? Because friends are for us and should have our best interests at heart.

I was speaking with my editor who will help me publish my novel this year. She’s now beginning to work on it. I told her of another friend who rushed to publication without prior editing, and how the poor quality of the self-published book kept me from reviewing it. Because I didn’t want to give a bad review. I’d rather give no review at all than a bad one––especially to a first-time author who doesn’t have a large writing support system.

What I want to focus on this week is “how” to give encouragement and/or exhortation.

First, check your own heart. What’s your motivation? Job 4:3–5 says, “Surely you have instructed many. And you have strengthened weak hands. Your words have upheld him was stumbling. And you have strengthened the feeble knees. But now it comes upon you, and you are weary. It touches you, and you are troubled.” The speaker, Eliphaz, was one of Job’s three friends who came and sat with him for days in silence when they saw his condition. This is a lesson in how not to give encouragement.

If you read the whole book of Job, you’ll discover Eliphaz is one of the three friends whom God corrected. The only person God did not correct was the younger man, Elihu. Elihu kind of rebuked the three older, wiser friends.

What does it mean to “strengthen weak hands and feeble knees?” I believe in our modern context, that words of encouragement that meet the person where they are emotionally and lifts them up––those strengthen the person.

In the case of my friend who published herself without having anyone look at her manuscript, I sent her a long email, explaining to her how I used to be that way. I didn’t want anyone to see my novel before it was published. But, that’s so unwise. In the case of a book, the more eyeballs on it, the better it will become, because your friends and people who care about you will have your best interests at heart. It’s possible I wounded her with my email, but I wanted to make sure she understood how much I was trying to help her. I was constructive and instructive with my criticism, at least I tried to be. I even offered to edit future works of hers for the only fee of a breakfast out.

One more thing: I was being “real” in my post two weeks ago. Some of my frustrations came out. I’m a human being on this journey of life. When encouraging someone, remember verse 3: “…your words have upheld him who was stumbling.”

When someone is hurting, you don’t judge their wound. You try to heal it. They need uplifting, positive words that lift their spirits. Click to tweet #friendships #revelations