Thursday, February 25, 2016

Stepping into a new position

In a very short time, I will be moved up in the dental office I have worked in for the last ten years to the position of office manager. My dear, longtime friend and current office manager, Kathy will be retiring.

Thinking back to June of 2006, I remember being overjoyed at being hired in this office. The ladies I worked with, and even the female dentist all got along amazingly well. I made some of the best friends of my life here. We worked hard, but made time for laughter.

I'd come from a small town, and a very small dental practice that had been there for years. I worked for an excellent dentist whose work was impeccable. The patients in that practice were mostly elderly folks that I would come to love and care for in such a way, that when I moved away from my hometown and had to leave the comfort of the place I'd worked at for twenty-seven years, it would be with many tears that I would do so.

Kathy would make me feel welcome, she would believe in me when she taught me computer skills that I hadn't possessed at my old job. She would encourage and teach in such a way that I wouldn't even see her doing it. She had a warm, listening ear, and a sassy sense of humor. Though she was my boss, my superior, she never made her employees feel less than. Kathy had a way of building each of us up, stating our accomplishments and cheering us on when she believed we deserved it.

When she announced her retirement two short months ago, my first thoughts were selfish ones. Oh no, I thought. What are we going to do without her? And most importantly, who is going to step into her position, or who might we hire to fill her shoes?

When I was told it would be me, at first I declined. I'm not good enough, I thought. The words that have always been such a part of my vocabulary. And of course, I can't do things as well as Kathy can.

My next thoughts were worse. I've got to say goodbye to someone I really care about. A friend who has given me advice and counsel. A woman I've shared some of the deepest thoughts of my life with. I am going to miss her terribly. I don't want her to go.

Kathy has been teaching me all along even though I didn't realize it. The few more difficult tasks that I've learned recently are pushing me well out of my comfort zone. And that is a good thing. For when we get stuck doing the same things day in and out, not challenging our minds, we become stagnant and a little stuck. How on earth are we to advance in our lives if we don't embrace something a little harder than we've always done?

I'm ready to embrace a new title. And once again, we have a super team of co-workers and a newer boss whose enthusiasm is contagious and fun. I'm finally eager to take on more responsibilities with the same poise and grace my predecessor had done.

Oh, and the best news of all: Our dear Kathy has decided to remain with us one day a week. I will certainly look forward now to this special day, a day when we can catch up as friends, a day when we will have so much to talk about. I count myself blessed to have this lovely woman as one of the best friends I've ever known. And I'll take her words and sayings with me forever.

Here's to you, Kathy, for all you've done for us through the years. You truly are a very great lady.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Godly Marriage

Marriage. What a topic. We could write for hours about it. What works, what doesn't, and what just plain annoys the heck out of us. Two imperfect people in a perfect union. A union created by God. And He doesn't make any junk, my friends.

Take a moment to consider what you saw in your mate when you first met. Take a good long look back. It may not be easy remembering those things, but if you dig a little for them, you'll find them. Pull out an old photo album and savor the memories, the really good ones. Doesn't it feel different?

But now he's lazy, she thinks. She's not attentive to me, he thinks. He never surprises me with anything. She doesn't give me any compliments. The list goes on and on, doesn't it?

What if we were the ones to make the first move? Give that compliment, surprise your husband or wife with a small treat, even a candy bar you know they like. Tell them thank you for working so hard at their job for the family, especially if you are married to a workaholic type.

What about communication? For all the things you say he or she doesn't do any longer, or for the things you wished they'd do, did you ever really ask them about it? We expect a partner who has been with us for years to read our every thought, every body innuendo. It isn't so. Did you ever sit down next to your spouse, putting the cell phone away, the television set off for just a few minutes and say the words, "honey, I'd like to talk." Powerful little words that may open up a whole new world for you.

My husband and I are Italian, so we speak a lot. Communication is a big part of this marriage. We are not the strong, silent types, neither of us. We air grievances quickly, tell each other what we like or don't like about a particular situation, but we never keep one another guessing. Even when the topic may turn to something difficult, or perhaps something that means a little more to one partner than the other, it's best to give all the reasons, present your case so to speak so that your partner truly understands where you're coming from.

Do you want him to attend church with you? Did you ever think of saying "I'd really love it if you'd come to church this Sunday with me." What we often say is, "You never want to go anywhere with me." This sets our spouse up to make excuses and retreat into their own little world, when we really want them in our world.

What about, "Would you mind if I picked the restaurant, movie, or store that we shop at this time?" And not, "You never let me decide about anything." Try it. It's so simple.

Now for the biggest news. Did you ever pray for your spouse, really pray for them? I'm talking about crying out from your very soul when nobody else is around? Perhaps they have an issue from their life, or you two have been arguing for so long you've forgotten how to be kind to one another. Take it to the Lord. Speak it out loud, ask Him for answers, but not until you've prayed for that man or woman. Ask God to bless them, take care of them, protect them, and ask Him to help you to have a heart of love toward them. Even if your marriage has cooled, God can ignite the spark of true love once again if you agree with Him.

Prayer is not empty words. It is God's promise to us that whatsoever we ask....It's God's covenant with us, a direct line to our heavenly Father. He cares about the details. He cares about your marriage. He loves your spouse with an unconditional love, one we can't even begin to understand. And He will make a way in the darkest places when you do not give up and call upon Him to be your guide and Light.

May you rekindle love with open communication and prayer.