Friday, October 15, 2010

Seven Self-introductions Tips

I had a dog on a borrowed leash. My heart was pounding louder than my knocks on stranger’s doors.

This risk taking adventure all began with a yell from my husband calling my name from the garage. Then a chuckle came along with a wiggly tail and a long tongue hanging out the left side of a miniature doxie’s mouth. The bow legged dog started dancing at my feet. He charmed me at first glance.

My heart was lost forever when he raised on his back legs and put his front paws together like praying hands. He moved the front paws up and down with such enthusiasm that it looked like he was praising the Lord. I had to pick up the little chap.

After giving the little lost guy water and cold cuts, I started knocking on unknown neighbors doors.

My etiquette training and international protocol tutoring didn’t prepare me for this informal way of meeting neighbors in our community. However, I applied the basics of self introductions.

With a smile and looking to see what color of eyes the person had that opened the door, I told them my name and that I lived at the end of the cul-de-sac at the bottom of the hill. There aren’t too many hills in North Texas, so they knew where I lived. With a quick glance at my prancing partner, I asked if he belonged to them. This let them know why, I was knocking at their door and introducing myself. My mission made me memorable and gave us a topic to talk about that was non-threatening. The neighbors were nice.

As I sipped a cup of tea at the end of the day, I counted three blessings from introducing myself to strangers. First, Jake, the doxie was welcomed back to his home. Second, I made a life-long friendship with a neighbor that I had not met before that risk-taking day. Third, our daughter and her family gave us a doxie of our own.

Toby doesn’t walk on a borrowed leash. However, walking him in a new neighborhood does cause me to talk to strangers because of the way he dances at my feet. They are charmed and come over with a smile and a reason for a self-introduction.

Tips for Self-introductions:
1. Start with a smile.
2. Give full eye contact. Looking for the color of one’s eyes causes’ good eye contact.
3. Clearly and slowly state your name.
4. Identify yourself.
5. Tell the “why” you are there, your objective, or your need.
6. Repeat their name if they give it.
7. Ask a non-threatening question to get conversation started.

Self-introduction is an act of kindness in our personal, professional, and social environments. How enjoyable it would be if you would comment on a time when a self-introduction changed your life or someone else’s life? Or comment on your favorite way to introduce yourself. Uplifting blessings.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Unpacking My Heart

He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32

The mini-van was packed full even with the center seats removed. More stuff was packed in our daughter’s car leading the way to her future as a freshman college student.

We’d raised our daughter, Stacey for this moment. Her junior year in high school she was given her own checking account so she could learn, while still at home, how to be responsible with budgeting and handling her own money. Her senior year, I armed her books to read that would arm her for the challenges and temptations that she would face.

Two titles on the book list were: Fascinating Womanhood – to equip her in making a wise choice in choosing a mate and There’s a New World Coming by Hal Lindsey – to make her aware that we are involved in a spiritual war and to give her comfort in knowing that God has the final word.

Stacey and I had shopped garage sales for the extra furniture to make her shared dorm room feel cozy, comfortable and inviting. But these tiny treasures took up space in the mini-van with a full-size computer, TV, home made curtains, grandma’s home made white quilted bed spreads, clothes, and her stuffed bunny rabbit riding shot-gun in the passenger seat.

In her crisp calico dress, the stuffed rabbit sat tall with the seatbelt holding her in place. The rabbit and I just enjoyed music as the miles clicked by as we followed Stacey in her over packed car.

Then pride came in like a hot flash. Creeping up from the inside, rushing quickly to pour out of pores I didn’t even know I had. My mouth became part of the uncontrollable action.

I started talking to the rabbit strapped in next to me. I praised God for the gift of our daughter, for His guidance in raising her and for the expectations we had for her that she fulfilled so far. Then the depths of my heart poured out in words as tears poured down my face.

“How could your be so giving, Abba? You sent Your Son to earth to die. I’m only sending my daughter to college to grow.”

Words continued to pour from my heart. Miles upon miles sped by with Stacey leading the way and the Lord helping me let go of the child He gave me on loan.

When the campus could be seen on the horizon, cool calmness refreshed me as these final words gushed from my soul, “She’s Yours, may she fulfill Your plan. Thank You for the loan.”

Peace filled my spent heart. God packed it to overflowing with His love and joy in knowing that Stacey would never be alone or forsaken. The Holy Spirit would be riding shot-gun beside the Good Shepherd’s little lamb. Her Bible was the first treasure to be unpacked.