Seeing the best in life's challenges

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell isn’t just a former military policy.  I would argue that more people than we’d like to think, live their lives according to this mindset.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a great description of what I call denial-based reality.

Here’s a really simple, universal example:  When you greet someone, and say, “Hi, how are you?” are you likely to get an honest answer?  Mostly, you will get, “Fine, how are you?” despite the fact that the other person may or may not have major or minor issues that they are dealing with.  It’s not REALLY asking and it’s not REALLY telling.  It’s how our society runs so much of the time, on the surface.

Realistically, some of this is necessary.  If we tried to deal with all the problems that there are out there, all at once, it could be really overwhelming.  There is an unspoken agreement not to dump all of our problems on others, without having really been asked.

Moving beyond Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a gradual process.  It’s a change in mindset that I believe is a positive step, and it’s not as hard as you think.   But we have to be aware of the dynamics of our communications with others.

So, when do we really ask?  How often?  How many times are we aware that a friend seems a little “off”, yet we don’t “go there”?  Why?

Part of the answer is probably that people aren’t used to being asked.  When is the last time someone actually asked about you, with the intent to really listen and understand, without judging?


Found this later:



We don’t feel safe telling, opening up, or being authentic, so we are afraid to tell.

Too often, if we start to open up, the other person isn’t really listening – rather, they are busy forming an opinion about what we “should” do.  Then, instead of being heard, we feel judged…..and we shut down.  If we have a lot of experience with Askers who have an agenda, we will be defensive, which will prevent us from really telling.  Sometimes, it is our own self-judgment, guilt and shame, that prevents us from opening up.

Honest communication has to have both sides – sincere asking and honest telling.

I believe that people WANT to be authentic.  Deep down, we all desperately want to be understood.  But we are so used to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell game, that breaking out of it is scary and uncomfortable.

Truly authentic communication requires us to develop some level of relationship with the person we are interacting with.  We can’t just spew all of our problems at someone. We have probably all met at least one person who is an expert Teller –someone who will tell you way more than you want to know, who doesn’t have a clue, that is really just dumping on you.  Their inability to also be an Asker/Listener precludes a healthy dynamic.

We have to be able to play both parts – Asker and Teller – to gain a level of trust and understanding, to be truly heard and to truly listen.  It’s a two-way street.

The Asker has to have the intent to listen, and the Teller has to be authentic and honest with the answers.  This is a dynamic that is very different from the norm.

So, for my part, I can strive to care enough about others to ask them real questions and listen to them without judging.  I can create an environment that lets them feel safe in sharing their thoughts, questions, and insecurities.  I don’t need to tell them what to do, or decide what the answer should be.  I can practice being a good listener.

On the other side, I need to be willing to take a chance and be authentic when someone asks me a question.  Sometimes this backfires, when the Asker isn’t really interested in your answer or isn’t really listening.  But you can start out slow, and you can tell pretty quickly whether you have an opportunity to really share or not.

What I have found, though, is that if you can be a good questioner and listener, it is very easy to have this kind of deeper conversation with others.  It’s a very natural way of being – as soon as the fear is gone, we all know what to do.  We just have to feel safe, both asking and telling.

Each of us can work on being a better asker and listener, a little at a time.  And each of us can strive to share our authentic selves when asked, again, a little at a time.  It’s a process.

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A Great Lesson — Fred Rogers

A newsletter I subscribe to included the following today.  I always have loved Mr. Rogers.



     One summer, midway through Seminary, I was on a weekend vacation in a little town in New England.  I decided on Sunday to go hear a visiting preacher in the little town’s chapel.  I heard the worst sermon I could have ever imagined.  I sat in the pew thinking, “He’s going against every rule they’re teaching us about preaching.  What a waste of time!”  That’s what I thought until the very end of the sermon when I happened to see the person beside me with tears in her eyes whispering, “He said exactly what I needed to hear.”  It was then that I knew something very important had happened in that service.  The woman beside me had come in need.  Somehow the words of that poorly crafted sermon had been translated into a message that spoke to her heart.  On the other hand, I had come in judgement, and I heard nothing but the faults.

It was a long time before I realized it, but that sermon’s effect on the person beside me turned out to be one of the great lessons of my life.  Thanks to that preacher and listener-in-need, I now know that the space between a person doing his or her best to deliver a message of good news and the needy listener is holy ground.  Recognizing that seems to have allowed me to forgive myself for being the accuser that day.  In fact, that New England Sunday experience has fueled my desire to be a better advocate, a better “neighbor,” wherever I am.

~ Mr. Rogers / Fred Rogers  ~


The Fifth Dimension

While doing my own seeking over the past couple of years, I kept running into references to other dimensions.  That we live in a 3D world, but that we are moving toward a 5D world.  This didn’t really make sense to me, I didn’t know what that meant… but I kept coming across the idea.

Apparently, cutting-edge physicists are working on this mystery as well.  (I started out as a physics major in college, but it’s mostly beyond me.  Still, I am curious.)

After reading as much as I could find, I concluded this is yet another metaphor.  You can think of the different dimensions as paradigms, ways of approaching life, as levels of consciousness.  These descriptions aren’t The Way It Is, they are merely an attempt to explain, a context in which to see two different approaches.  What I can say is this – the way you choose to see and interpret life, defines what you think of as reality.  You choose the reality you live in by the way you see things.

The characteristics of a third dimensional approach are as follows:

3D is survival-based living.  It is a fear-based existence.  Competition is the norm.  Avoiding pain is a priority. 

3D thinking is controlled by the Ego.

It is based on linear thinking: step-by-step logic, cause and effect. It is all about following The Rules.

It is characterized by drama, separation, doubt, fear of abandonment, victimization and blame.

It is defined by Duality – a world of opposites: dark and light, right and wrong, good and bad, male and female, etc.

It is all about solving problems, fixing things, judgment.  Rather than accepting reality, a 3D thinker will fight reality.

In 3D thinking, a person sees their Life Purpose in terms of doing things.

A Fifth Dimensional paradigm is defined by the following:

A 5D approach focuses on living in the moment, being aware and present to what is happening NOW.  Time becomes a reference point only, because the only time that is real is what is happening right now.

Guilt and shame are not relevant, as they only pertain to what is in the PAST.  The past is for informational purposes only.

Worry is not relevant, because it is about the future, which is not in the NOW.

(Here’s something to think about — is The End of Time really a transition to this way of thinking, rather than The End of Existence???)

A 5D perspective is based on love, compassion, empowerment, connectedness, oneness, trust and faith.

In 5D, a person can take a detached view, rather than judging.  The focus is on understanding, recognition, accepting.  There is no good or bad, no fighting reality, it just is. 

Thinking is conceptual, not linear.

Rather than relying on outside sources for information and decision-making, a 5D approach relies on Inner Knowing and Intuition. 

The purpose of life is about learning lessons, experiencing, allowing and observing.

Rather than being ego-based, it is about acceptance, healing, and letting go.

A person living with a 5D perspective will be happier, more joyful, and more likely to laugh at life.  They will see their Life Purpose in terms of their way of being.

The thinking in the circles that are talking about “multidimensionality” is that humans are growing and evolving, and that humanity as a whole is currently transitioning from a 3D paradigm to a 5D paradigm.  This seems reasonable for some people, who already see life from a 5D perspective, and at the same time, it is very scary for someone who is comfortable with and attached to the old, established paradigm of 3D.  Think of old vs. new ways of running a large corporation, educating children, running a political campaign, or handling family dynamics.

For those who try to stay away from all this mumbo-jumbo stuff, before I lose you, let me ask this question:  Which approach to life is closer to the teachings of Jesus and the Bible?  So, what’s so scary?

I can’t help but mention the song Aquarius (1969) by the band “The Fifth Dimension”.  Do you find the words precient?

When the moon is in the Seventh House           

And Jupiter aligns with Mars           

Then peace will guide the planets           

And love will steer the stars           


This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius           

The Age of Aquarius           

Aquarius! Aquarius!           


Harmony and understanding           

Sympathy and trust abounding           

No more falsehoods or derisions           

Golden living dreams of visions           

Mystic crystal revelation           

And the mind’s true liberation           

Aquarius! Aquarius!           


The World is our Playground

Let me tell you a little secret……when you get to the top of that mountain (see my very first post from November 2011) and you look down at all of it, what you are going to realize, is that the entire mountain was actually a playground.  An amusement park with the most amazing variety of rides – some scary, some thrilling, some kind of boring, rides of more kinds than you could ever imagine.  You may have missed some, but others who are looking down with you will be able to tell you about them.

“So, wait,” you might say, “then what is all this serious stuff you have been talking about, then?”

I think Zach Gill puts it best:


It’s a crazy, mixed-up world, full of contradictions,

And that’s why it hurts so bad sometimes

But that’s also why it’s fun.       –Plastic Bubble, ALO


Just another reason I love ALO – they combine seriousness with silliness, all wrapped up in love.  They are four of the nicest guys I have ever met.

We all need fun and silliness to balance the seriousness of life.



What’s more fun than a uke?



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The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino

The Greatest Miracle in the World, by Og Mandino, is a story of the friendship between the author and a wise old man.  It’s a rather short book, just over 100 pages.  My copy is yellowed, with red pen marks underlining the places that must have spoken to me 30 years ago.  I don’t remember how or why I got the book back then or exactly when I read it.  Reading it again today, I was amazed (ok, not really) at how consistent it is with where I am, still.

The wise man’s apartment contains stacks and stacks of books.  I love what he says about his collection:

“They are an accumulation from many years of pleasant hours in second-hand book stores.  Still they have a common theme which makes each volume very special.”


“Yes.  Each in its own way deals with and explains some aspect of the greatest miracle in the world and so I call them ‘hand of God’ books.”

“Hand of God?”

“It is difficult for me to put into words…yet I am positive that certain pieces of music, certain works of art, and certain books and plays were created, not by the composer, artist, author, or playwright but by God, and those whom we have acknowledged as the creators of these works were only the instruments employed by God to communicate with us…”

“You mean you believe that God still communicates with us as He did during the days of the ancient Jewish prophets?”

“I am positive.  For thousands of years this world witnessed a countless parade of prophets pronouncing and explaining the will of God:  Elijah, Amos, Moses, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Samuel, and all the other marvelous messengers until Jesus and Paul.  And then…no more?  I cannot believe that.  No matter how many of His prophets were ridiculed, chastised, tortured, and even murdered, I cannot conceive that God finally gave up on us and turned His back on our needs, causing some of us to finally assume that He must be dead since we hadn’t heard from Him in so long a time.  Instead, I truly believe that He has sent, to every generation, special people, talented people, brilliant people…all bearing the same message in one form or another…that every human is capable of performing the greatest miracle in the world.  And, it is man’s most grievous fault that he has not comprehended the message, blinded as he is by the trivia of each succeeding civilization.”

This is a book well worth reading.  At the end, the wise old man shares with the author the wisdom that he has gleaned from all of his reading of these great works, in the succinct form of Four Laws of Happiness and Success.

They are simple, and worth finding.


The Liebster Blog Award

I am so happy and humbled to have received the Liebster Blog award from David of Eduspire . Thank you so much!

The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers and is a great way to bring attention to other worthwhile blogs and bloggers.  This is a pay-it-forward award and the rules are:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to his or her blog

2. Copy and paste the “Liebster Blog Award” icon into your post

3. Pass the award on to your fellow bloggers and let them know you did so

[Liebster, by the way, is German (n.) and means: sweetheart, beloved person, darling.]

Here are the  blogs I am passing the award to:

Conversations With My Soul  Lynda is a beautiful, thoughtful writer, and most definitely a beautiful soul.

Book Addict  Leslie is a dear friend and avid reader, who is always willing to be my partner in crime.  ‘Nuf said.




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Why God Loves Google

Want to find the answers to life’s burning questions?  Why are we here?  Why does God let bad things happen?  What is my purpose?  Why do these things keep happening to me?  What’s the meaning of life?

Here’s what you do:  Ask, Seek and Knock.

Luke 11:9-10  Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (NIV)

“Ask and it will be given to you” is not about seeking material success.  Jesus gave this advice when he was teaching the disciples how to pray.  It’s where he introduced the Lord’s Prayer, which is not about asking for stuff.

My paraphrase for this verse goes like this:

Ask for guidance and it will be given to you; seek the truth and you will find it; knock on the door to God’s kingdom and that door will be opened.

Want to understand God better?  Asking, seeking and knocking are all active verbs. One thing I find interesting is that in verse 8, Jesus urges them (and us) to be bold and persistent.  And if we are supposed to be bold and persistent, that says to me that we have to actively work at asking and seeking.  We have to be deliberate.  You have to tell God that you want to start the process.

If we choose to sit around passively and lament the fact that we don’t understand why life is how it is, that we don’t understand why things have to be the way they are, and we don’t understand how life can be so unfair…..we shouldn’t be surprised when the answers don’t come to us.  If you don’t ask the question, why should you expect an answer?

When you do ask the questions, then you have to be open to the guidance.  You have to be paying attention and listening.  Because God is EVERYWHERE.

In my experience, God provides guidance and answers in the places that I tend to be already.  It helps if my mind is not busy with nonsense, worry, drama, etc.  Say I’m in the bookstore, and a title jumps out at me from the shelf (that’s the guidance).  I have to be receptive to the guidance, and then I have to follow through with the seeking:  I have to buy the book and read it, and work to find the lesson or the wisdom.

God will use what you already love – maybe it’s art, sports, gardening, it doesn’t matter.  He will use your friends and family as well as strangers you “happen” to meet.   Pay attention to the things people say to you, especially when it seems to come from “out of the blue.”  It’s an intuitive sense you have to get used to and develop – kind of like learning how to play a new game.  Follow your gut.  It takes practice.  Your experience with the game will be yours alone, perfectly tailored for YOU.

I love music and lyrics, and I can’t tell you how much I have “heard” through Van Morrison, Jack Johnson, ALO and others.  I “discovered” Van when my friend Chuck was playing Poetic Champions Compose at his apartment back in the late 80s.  I started listening to Jack after my brother-in-law’s Navy buddy sent him a copy of Brushfire Fairytales.  I have so many stories of synchronicities and music.  I could fill pages with lyrics that are so full of wisdom and truth, that speak to ME.  But that’s just me.

This is why I have a sneaking suspicion that God loves Google.  I mean that to be funny, but I’m serious.  What better way to seek and find random information on any question you care to ask?  Sit down and see what comes to mind.  Type it in.  What pops up?  Which result are you drawn to?  Click and read.  See what link is embedded in that one, what grabs your attention?  If you do this with the intent to listen and learn, you will be amazed at what you find.

Not only is this a fun game to play, but you get to know God better.  And, at least in my experience, one of the best parts is that God has a GREAT sense of humor.  Oh, and for the record, I think God loves Facebook, too.


Judging vs. Evaluating

If we aren’t supposed to be judging, does that just mean that anything goes?  Everything is ok, we are just supposed to accept it?

My view is, not exactly.

I define judging as deciding whether someone or something is right or wrong, good or bad.  It’s nothing more than putting on a label.  It stops there.

Evaluating, however, seems close to judging, but I think there is a significant difference.  I believe very strongly that we are not to judge, but we HAVE to evaluate constantly if we are to grow and learn.

Evaluating means thinking about, observing, trying to understand, and contemplating, all with the goal of figuring out what you can learn and how you can make better choices.  Life gives us opportunities to evaluate all the time.  BUT if you get caught in the trap of judging, you assign a label and stop there.  You give up the opportunity for the lesson.

Evaluating is hard work.  To be really good at it, you have to recognize when your perspective is clouded – when your feelings are hurt and you have the urge to strike back; when you are feeling insecure or needy; any time your ego gets in the way.  You have to develop the ability to be open-minded, take a detached view.  You have to make sure you are not making assumptions that might not be correct.  At the end of your evaluation, your conclusion might be summarized like this:  “hmmm…..interesting.”

The only person you can control is YOU.  So it’s really a waste of time to decide what other people should or shouldn’t be doing or saying or thinking.  You can take all those other opinions into consideration, make all your observations, but in the end, YOU get to decide the choices you make and the actions you take.

There’s nothing wrong with expressing your viewpoint on a situation, especially if you have thought it through.  But rather than telling other people what they SHOULD do or think, I believe we should (haha, notice that?) just present our opinion as our opinion, and let others make up their own minds.

My observation is that, in general, people spend a lot of time focused on others, trying to control or change others.  And that takes away from the real work of focusing on YOURSELF.  Another way to look at it, is that people spend so much time fighting reality, they never deal with WHAT IS.

After you evaluate, then you can decide, for yourself, what you have learned and what you choose to do.  (You already know that my opinion is that the goal is to choose based on LOVE.)  This is not easy.  The easy way out is to slap a label on someone or something, get mad or indignant or self-righteous or feel like the victim, and avoid the hard part.

I’ve encountered many situations that have felt uncomfortable, that I did not “agree” with.  The way I look at these now, is that, after I have evaluated them, I just have to make choices consistent with what works for me, what “feels” right for me.  I’m not talking “feels right” in the sense of selfishness or ego, I am talking about tapping into that Inner Knowing that comes from Pure Intent.  In some cases, I choose “not to participate” even though others think I “should” do this or that.  I don’t care to label the situation “wrong” I just don’t give it my energy.  In this way, I instead surround myself (as much as possible) with situations and people that are consistent with my choices, but I do not waste energy or time trying to change those I am not comfortable with.

Sometimes, there are consequences to this approach that might seem unacceptable.  But even if you make a different choice because you cannot bear the consequences, it is still your choice.

Once I started to take this approach, I became aware of how we are constantly judging and trying to control others.  I had no idea how much I was judging and feeling the need to control.  It felt strange, at first, because it felt like “giving up” my values, but it’s really not.  It’s me taking responsibility for those values, rather than deflecting them off on somebody else.  It’s the “working on the plank in your own eye” rather than the “speck in someone else’s.”  And it’s also having faith in God, that God will take care of everything – it’s not my job to play God.

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God Doesn’t Forgive?

Today I’m just copying a post from  Ernie Fitzpatrick always has thought-provoking things to say.  And I love the description of his “church”, especially the “adding a few crazy people” part:

God Doesn’t Forgive?

Published February 21st, 2012 

Talk about going against the grain!

We’re told by Jesus that we are to forgive 70 x 7 or 490 times, if you take that literally. We’re to forgive eternally, if you take that metaphorically. So, here’s the question. Why would God ask us to do that which he-she won’t or doesn’t do? When God kills tens of thousands of people (in the Old Testament) and assigns BILLIONS to an eternal hell, where’s the forgiveness? Where’s the love in that?

When Jesus forgave, the Pharisees were upset.

When Jesus told the Pharisees they could forgive the sins of others they were even more angry.

But, what IF, and this is a big IF indeed: what if God doesn’t forgive at all. Could that be a possibility? Well, for me it is. I embrace the concept that God does not forgive because God does not JUDGE. What’s to forgive when you don’t judge? Now, that’s truly something to chew on. Unconditional love is really what it says it is?

Can you handle such love?

About Life Revealing Community…

LRC is a community of people who are on a JOURNEY, both naturally and spiritually.

NATURALLY our journey began in the Patrick Thomas Bank Building on FM1960 in 1987. A year later we moved across the street into a strip center. A year later that we moved back to the South side of FM1960 in a free standing building what was once known as the Pep Rally. Two years later we bought an empty building at the corner of High Life Road and FM249: formerly a Walker Kurth Lumber building. Four years ago we bought six acres on Woodedge where we are now still building a community home.

SPIRITUALLY we began as reformed Baptists, took on some Catholics, and added a few crazy people. Slowly we shed our Baptist roots and became Charismatics with wild praise and worship. We slowly got our emotions under control and adopted an orderly apostolic culture. In 2007, the winds of change began to blow and we discovered that we really weren’t a church. Rules, rituals, dogma, and doctrine slowly gave way to relevant relationships and an intimacy with the Spirit that resides in all of us.

We’re still on the journey and always will be. Our CORE is Christian but we know God is too big to be confined to any one religion or denomination. We believe in unconditional love, not conditional love. We meet on Tuesday and Friday nights. There is no lecturing, no praise and worship, no sermons, just a community of people coming together to discuss how life can be lived more fully and abundantly.

Come and check us out. You’ll be surprised and I think pleased.

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Seeing the Pieces fit Together

I firmly believe there is A Plan.  Maybe a better way to say it, is that there is purpose to the things that happen in life.  You might not understand something at the time.  It doesn’t always have to be a life-changing event.  But those moments when the pieces fit, and you see it happening, well that’s just the coolest thing ever.

Yesterday’s blog post is something I had copied into a note on Facebook on Halloween 2011.  I don’t even remember where I found it, I just liked those “Twelve Rules for Being Human.”  I had no idea who Dan Millman was, I just made sure I put his name down to credit the writer.  Ok, fine.

On December 9, 2011, a Facebook friend sent me a message, saying that, based on the types of things I was posting, I should watch the movie Peaceful Warrior with Nick Nolte.  That has been in the back of my mind since then.  I’m not really the movie person in my household.  I had asked my husband the best way to watch it, and he said Netflix.  Finally, today, which is a quiet day with not much going on, I asked my daughter how to get on Netflix and she knew our password and helped me find the movie.

So I just watched the movie on the computer.

Took me a while until it clicked, like more than halfway through the film.  The movie is about Dan Millman.

Whoa.  I would be freaked out, except that I think that’s the most fun, hilarious “coincidence” ever.

When you start paying attention and listening, after you clear out the garbage in your head, you see this stuff ALL the time.

It’s an amazing, deep movie, by the way.

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