Ordinary Hamburgers

 “This is just an ordinary hamburger. Is that okay with you?” 

I was invited to eat lunch with a few friends and they were bringing the food.

“Of course, I love ordinary hamburgers–I love all hamburgers!” 

And it’s true. I was not lying to my friends, blowing happiness and sunshine their way to be nice.

Ask anyone who knows me well: I’ve never met a hamburger that I haven’t liked. If I had to choose between a salad and a hamburger, a hamburger will win every time.

What got me thinking was the phrase “ordinary hamburger.”

My friends and I had a great conversation over ordinary hamburgers.

I loved every minute of it because I was secretly thrilled to be invited to eat an ordinary hamburger on an ordinary day for the sake of connecting with someone else.

I am a big fan of ordinary. 

If I had to choose between big, magical, once-in-a-lifetime moments and small, ordinary, yet repeatable moments, that choice is a no brainer to me. Ordinary wins every time.

Because 95% of life is ordinary. Chasing the extraordinary 5% is costing us big time. 

So, please, invite someone over for an ordinary experience, like coffee or dinner, and have some fun!

Happy Father’s Day

If your dad is still around, be sure to visit or call. 

It’s weird to think about my parents and grandparents passing away…

As a young adult, I have a hard time picturing life without my family around, but I know one day it will happen. 

Several of my friends have already lost their fathers. They don’t talk about the difficult times and their differences. 

What they talk about is how much one more day would mean. 

Nothing else matters. 

This Father’s Day I’m reminded again about the power of forgiveness, reconciliation, and love.

Hard times come–disagreements happen–but do what you can to make amends. 

Decide to forgive instead of holding a grudge. None of us knows if today is our last. 

When the end comes–for you or your loved ones–wouldn’t you rather know that you’ve done everything you can? 

Regret is a bully. 

You don’t want that hanging over you head. 

 

Cultivating friendship

My friend Michelle and I set out to visit a deaf church tonight. 

Another friend, a fellow Rhema student, told me about this church a few weeks ago, but it was during the week of Winter Bible Seminar. 

We drove around for 30 minutes looking for the church and when we finally found it, no one was there!

After our wild goose chase, Michelle and I decided to get a pizza at Mazzio’s. 

It was the first time we’ve had a chance to really talk off the clock (we work together) and there was so much I didn’t know about her. 
One of my goals for 2016 is to make time for important relationships. 

How do you do that?

Intentionality. 

Go out to dinner, grab a coffee, go for a walk…

What you do doesn’t matter. Just spend time with people. 

Developing friendships–or any relationship for that matter–will not happen without time and intentionality. 

And here’s another key: don’t spend half the time on your phone! 

Pay attention. 

Nothing will shut down a good conversation like fiddling with your phone. 

The goal is not to be BFFs with everyone. But if you never hang out with others, close friendships will not happen. 

A life with no strings

unityPeople know when you’re a phony.

I know that I can tell when someone’s treating me more like a project or a prospect. It’s the fastest way to shut me down.

And it’s also an area where I have to be careful…

One time, my friend Holly Beth called me out on my general distrust:

Not everyone is out to get you, Audra.

Her comment helped me see that I was approaching situations all wrong. I had allowed things from my past to warp my perception of others.

The change wasn’t overnight, but it got me going down the right path. In fact, my problem with perception was something I discussed with my counselor last year. Her suggestions helped me even more to change my view.

I used to only see the strings attached to what others were saying or asking of me. My counselor wanted me to identify every string that I saw in a conversation.

The assignment was to give a name to each string. Then I had to examine it and see if there was any truth to it.

I saw a lot of strings that week and many of them were only my perceptions. The other person’s motives were pure! It was me with the problem.

 No matter the filters you have to set up to protect against faulty judgments, sincerity is easy to pinpoint. Finding out you’re nothing but a project or prospect is the quickest way to lose what little influence you may have in someone’s life.

In a world of posers, you don’t get many do overs.

This is why it’s important to be yourself. Period. When you’re okay with you are, you won’t get caught playing pretend.

 

 

 

 

Open doors

I know we all want to have conversations about more than the weather, celebrity gossip, and sports.

Deeper.

More meaningful.

Heart matters.

All of these phrases are used to describe the genuine, intimate relationships we desire with our friends and family.

I have some bad news though….

Small talk about the “trivial” things of life leads to open doors into the lives of others.

I’m speaking from experience–and if that doesn’t convince you then I’ll appeal to your reasoning.

Small talk helps you gain trust with others.

Trust comes with time.

Trust comes in small moments (or conversations).

Because there’s nothing worse than sharing something with an untrustworthy person.

Trust is like the roller coaster ride where you shoot straight up into the air and then the ride stops at the tip-top. You don’t know when it going to drop…..and then it does!

Whoosh!

As you drop back down, your stomach comes up into your throat.

The experience splits in two at this point:

  1. You get off the ride feeling a bit dizzy, but you’re still standing.
  2. You get off the ride and immediately hurl everywhere.

(You’re smart enough to see which situation involves a trustworthy and untrustworthy person.)

And this is the best illustration I have about trust, which leads me back to conversations.

Don’t give up on small talk. It’s a crucial part of seeing who is trustworthy and who is not.

I look at small talk as the opportunity to spot open doors.

Get to know someone, build up trust via small talk, and they will open the door for you to talk with them about the things that matter.

Don’t forget your manners either.

Busting the door down means you might not get another invitation.

Why don’t you try knocking first?

 

 

Fences versus Prisons

“I’m cool with whatever. You decide.”

My friend looked at me with gracious (and patient) eyes as I sidestepped her question.

“I wish you’d tell me what you’re really thinking.”

The comment took me aback.

I am terrible at telling people what’s really going on inside of my head.

Never giving your input isn’t the ultimate form of humility and self-sacrifice.

You’re really hiding by slamming the door of trust and connection in someone’s face.

And you’re driving the people you love crazy.

I don’t care.

It doesn’t matter to me.

If that’s what you want to do.

We say these things, but deep down we do care and it does matter and you have wants.

It’s impossible to not care about everything.

(Can all of the exasperated people on the receiving end of these comments say, “Amen!“?)

I’m the world’s worst person at being an overly passive, peace loving person….

This is a real struggle for me.

My (un)natural tendency is to keep things buried deep down inside.

Another friend recently told me that standoffish nature in college held me back in many ways–and it’s true.

I kept people at arm’s length.

She expressed her thankfulness when I became a more open person. The change opened a lot of doors of opportunity that remained shut in years past.

Let me be very clear:

We all need to have boundaries and to guard our hearts. Prison bars and barbed wire fences, though, are a bit much.

Now, I’m building a nice fence that looks less like a maximum security prison and more like a simple property marker.

My challenge to you is to honestly answer the next question asked of you.

Can I get your opinion?

What do you prefer?

Is this something you want to do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grace and Restoration, Part 1

The video project has begun! 

My dad was able to edit and upload the first video of our project today. 

I’m including the link below:

Grace over Abandonment Series, Part 1
We still have two more videos to record, so let me know of any questions you’d like for us to answer. 

Also, I plan to type out the transcripts soon. I’ll post them here on my site when I share the second video.