friends

10 questions that reveal surprising memories. Ask away.

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My father grew up on a farm. During annual harvests, he was often promised a bicycle for his hard work. But season after season that bike never showed up. Then one day he came home to a shiny bicycle sitting in front of his father’s county store. His brand new bike had finally arrived.

Now, you have to hear his excitement when he tells this story. He’s 10 years old all over again.

“Oh man, it sure was nice! It had everything – chrome AND tassels!”

This story sticks out for me in the context of his life. His mother died when he was 9 years old. I’m amazed that this happy story managed to stay so prominent during that time. This story reminds me of what I admire about my father. He has an inspiring ability to quickly forgive the pains of life and return to joy and peace.

I’m glad I know this story. But it took me asking a question to uncover it. Oddly, it just never came up over the years. Now it’s a memory neither of us will ever forget.

10 questions that reveal surprising memories

Here are 10 questions that may uncover new stories about the lives of those you love. We all yearn to be known better and more deeply. Taking time to ask questions can be a service project on its own. And there is always more to learn even about the people we think we know best.

  1. What was the best gift you ever received?
  2. As a kid, what was an average weekend like in your family?
  3. Who is the first friend you can remember making?
  4. What things do you remember about your first love?
  5. If you could relive one year of your life which year would it be?
  6. Have you ever cried tears of joy?
  7. Who was the teacher that had the most impact on your life?
  8. Have you ever witnessed a life beginning?
  9. Have you ever witnessed a life ending?
  10. Have you ever witnessed a miracle?

What are some others?

 

Life’s hidden gems. Five people to add to your circle of friends if they aren’t there already.

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Gem

Like many, I often find myself thinking about how to use my time better. Arguably time is our most precious and most limited resource. So it only makes sense that we’d try to be more thoughtful about where and with whom we spend it.

Here are five people that definitely deserve some of your time. You may only have a few of these friends in your life right now. And that’s perfectly fine. But be on the lookout for each of these people. Each will make you a better server in unexpected ways.

  1. The friend that you want to be more like. This isn’t about competition or envy. It is about motivation to be a better version of you. This friend helps make your growth goals more clear as you see traits in them that you want in yourself. The growing you will be a better server. Keep this friend around you.
  2. The friend that always shows up. It is wonderful to have people that you can call or text at any moment. But there should also be someone in your life that shows you why actions speak louder than words. This friend physically shows up for the things that matter to you. Your first book signing – check. Your wedding – check. The day your son was born – check. They remind you to move beyond good intentions when you seek to serve. Keep being grateful for this friend.
  3. The friend that tests your thinking. This is someone that helps you test your assumptions and theories for logic and bias. This isn’t someone that thrives off being smarter or wiser than you. They care deeply for your best interests and help you see where your blind spots might be. Knowing you’re not always right will make you more open hearted and accepting of others. Service thrives in an accepting heart. Keep this friend close.
  4. The friend that supports your spiritual journey. It isn’t uncommon to have very close friends that don’t discuss their spiritual life at all. Make sure one of your friends supports your spiritual journey. No matter what your belief system is you can be sure it will change, develop and deepen with time. It is a mighty friend that walks with you on this path. Most spiritual journeys will lead you back to service. Keep this friend close to your heart.
  5. The friend that needs your service. I can’t seem to remember a time when I didn’t have a friend that was going through a rough patch in life. Which friend it is changes, but life’s challenges come and go for us all. Protecting and serving others teaches us more about love than looking out for ourselves. Always have a friend that you’re lending your strength to and sharing their load. Keep this friend in your prayers.

Are you looking for one of these people?

If so, which one?

What to do with unexpected free time and a cell phone

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Watch

These days, our lives are more scheduled than ever. But sometimes we find ourselves with unexpected free time. For example, I drove 40 minutes into my office on Saturday (my day off) to catch up on things that weren’t getting my attention during the week. If I’m being honest, it was hard to give up my Saturday morning in favor of my work routine. It got even harder when I arrived at work and a technology issue prevented me from gaining access to my office floor. But I decided to keep trying and not let the badge reader defeat me. I called building security and waited over an hour for them to work on the issue. They eventually “suggested” that I go back home. It would take them several hours to fix the problem.

My story is not unique. Unexpected free time often presents itself as a problem at first. Maybe you tried to drive into work, but your car had a flat tire. Maybe you planned to go to your daughter’s soccer tournament, but it was cancelled because of rain. Or maybe you went to get a new driver’s license and saw that the wait was several hours long.

Welcome to unexpected free time.

What often limits our service to those we love is a lack of free time. Not just a lack of time to do things for loved ones, but often we don’t even have the time to think about what they might need. This is why unexpected free time is such a great opportunity. Here’s one easy way you can put this rare free time to good use.

Serving with your cell phone

  1. Take out your cell phone and go through the list of your 25 most recent texts.
  2. Look at the names there. These will likely be a large portion of the people you interact with most often and care the most about. Granted some family and friends won’t have cell phone or maybe they don’t text, but this is a good list to start with.
  3. As you pass each name, stop for 30 seconds and consider that person for a moment. What’s going on in their lives? What could they use encouragement on? How will this message serve them?
  4. Send them a two to three line text. DO NOT copy and paste messages or mass text recipients. Each message should be custom and serve the recipients unique needs.
  5. Hit send and move to the next name on the list. 

Each person should get roughly 2-3 minutes of your attention. If you don’t have the time to do everyone simply wait until your next unexpected free time comes up. And it will come up.

How do you use your cell phone to serve?

14 awesome people you may have forgotten to thank

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Thank You

Service and gratitude are like a happy marriage. Each can exist on their own, but combined they make each other grow and thrive. If you’re trying to live a life of service you will find yourself drawn to gratitude too. One can’t help but cultivate the other.

The 14 people below are just ideas of people you may owe a thank you to. See someone you know? Reach out to them and share how they impacted your life (assuming that is still possible). But either way, take a moment to feel the gratitude because it will grow your desire to serve.

14 Awesome People

  1. The person who showed you what a good leader looks like.
  2. The person who taught you how to teach others.
  3. The person who listened when you couldn’t hold it in any longer.
  4. The person who taught you that laughter has the power to heal.
  5. The person who forgave you when you didn’t deserve it.
  6. The person who always had time for you.
  7. The person who gave you that compliment you’ll never forget.
  8. The person who believed in you when you couldn’t believe in yourself.
  9. The person who made it harder for you when you hadn’t learned your lesson.
  10. The person who waited when you needed time to mature.
  11. The person who had a good reason to judge you, but didn’t.
  12. The person who played a small role in your major life decision.
  13. The person who served you when you definitely weren’t serving them.
  14. The person who prayed for you.

Have any of these people served you?

Remember this website when difficult times come to those you love.

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Pinkflowers

How can I help?

Recently, a friend’s young and insanely full of life husband passed away suddenly. I was with her the day before he died. It still runs through my mind every insignificant thing we talked about that day. Even writing this now, it is hard to believe this isn’t a fictional story. When truly awful things happen to people we care about we want to help them. We want to be doing something (anything) to make them feel supported.

I came across the Lotsa Helping Hands website when offering to deliver food for my friend following the funeral. Someone had set up a private community page for her. Once accepted into her community, I could sign up for days to do tasks and deliver food. These communities can be used for shorter term support like during the early days of grieving or when someone is recovering from a medical issue. It was originally designed to provide longer term support to care for caregivers. These are the people that provide daily assistance to another person like an aging parent or a special needs child.

The possibilities to coordinate and serve each other through these sites are endless. I just wanted to pass this on as we are all likely to need it some day. Please tell everyone you know.

You can find them at www.lotsahelpinghands.com.

Would this have helped you during a difficult time?

Seven ways to serve your friends on Facebook. Starting right now.

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Device Love

Do you think of Facebook as a place to serve? If not, check out these seven ways to serve your Facebook friends more. This is just another way to weave more serving into your day.

  1. If you really like it – Like it. Sometimes I read a funny status update and literally laugh out loud. Then that’s the end of it. I don’t like the post or engage with the poster in any way. The same goes for interesting shared articles. I enjoy the message and then quickly scroll on to other updates. It’s a missed opportunity to send a small positive message to the poster. And let’s be honest – it takes half a second of effort. This isn’t about liking every post that comes our way. It’s just about giving others more genuinely positive interactions.
  2. Broaden your circle of commenting. Most of us limit our comments on Facebook to things posted by our bestie, our family, and the people we talk to offline anyway. Facebook is a great place to interact with our close friends. But we may miss a chance to strengthen our broader social networks. Think about the last 10 comments you’ve posted and consider if they were all to one group of friends. If so, maybe it’s time to give others some love.
  3. Support the dreamer in your life – Share their content. If you have someone in your life that is trying to get a new community service or business venture off the ground consider sharing their posts. This is a simple act of support. It shows that you want to help them spread the word. It also sends information to your network that could be useful to them.
  4. Consider compassionate online celebrating. When you get engaged, most people in Facebookland will be happy for you. The same goes with when you get pregnant, when you have a baby, when you celebrate an anniversary, when you get to go out with your mother on Mother’s day (because she is still alive and vibrant), when you take that trip to Paris, when you lose 20 pounds, and when you realize you’re gorgeous and that everyone should see your face frequently so they can appreciate just how gorgeous you are. When these things happen, most of us on Facebook are genuinely happy for you. Please don’t censor happiness out of your posts. Just try to consider the feelings of those in your audience that may be wishing for what you have in that exact moment. Try to post with humility and with compassion. This isn’t a science. I don’t know exactly how to do it. But if merely thinking about it makes our posts more compassionate then I hope we will be serving someone.
  5. Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know. It opens all of us up to privacy issues or something worse like pictures of discount sneakers routinely showing up in our Newsfeed. Please don’t do this. You’ll serve us all. Thanks.
  6. Write unique Birthday messages. Someone recently told me that writing only “HB!” on someone’s Wall was an appropriate birthday message. I thought it seemed a bit impersonal. Try to take an extra minute and craft a sentence or two that expresses a unique message for that recipient. Our online friends are worth it.
  7. Defriend your ex-boyfriend and anyone else you might use Facebook to make jealous. Does defriending them seem too mean? Then create a list that sends your updates to everyone but them. Sure making them jealous was fun the first few times. But you’re better than that. Plus it is probably making your posts less authentic. This makes it harder for your real friends to experience the real you. Do yourself and the defriended person this favor. It will serve you both.

Agree?

Disagree?

What did I miss?