Monday, September 15, 2008

Making Connections

Making Connections

Everyday, as we go about our routine activities, there are opportunities to connect with people, if only we are aware, pay attention, and make the time. Following are reports of some of my occasional, happenstance, but meaningful encounters with strangers.

Every day, in every way, bless everyone you meet.


A group of us were in Houston for a conference and I was driving. We pulled into a parking lot, attended by an elderly African-American man. As he handed me the ticket, he asked about what time we would be back to get the car.

I answered, “Oh, about quittin’ time.”

He looked up quickly, responding to an expression reminiscent of a southern, rural past, the same as mine. Our eyes met. Wordlessly, we connected.

Reaching Out

My husband and I stood in a long line at the cafeteria on Sunday, a little after noon. Two women entered, one older, one younger and were obviously mother and daughter. The older woman took a seat on the padded bench between the rows, while the daughter got in line behind us. I observed the older women as she sat, her shoulders sagging, her head tilted a little to the side. Looking down, she seemed to take no notice of her surroundings. I imagined that she was recalling times and places long past. Making a guess, I commented to the daughter, "Your mother is grieving." Yes," she replied. "My father died not too long ago and she misses him terribly." I went over and sat next to the woman on the bench, gently touching her hand. I said, softly, "I hear you've lost your husband. I'm so sorry." She put her other hand over mine and held it there as we sat together quietly. It was a precious moment between strangers.


A group of us were in Houston for a conference and I was driving. We pulled into a parking lot, attended by an elderly African-American man. As he handed me the ticket, he asked about what time we would be back to get the car.

I answered, “Oh, about quittin’ time.”

He looked up quickly, responding to an expression reminiscent of a southern past, the same as mine. Our eyes met. Wordlessly, we connected.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Problem with Giving Advice

There are three problems and risks that go with giving advice, especially that which is not solcited.

1.We may not have all the facts; in fact, we probably don’t have the whole story. For that reason, we don’t know what’s best for the other person because we don’t know her or his wishes, values and goals in life, unless you have asked.

2.The argument for not giving unsolicited advice is that it puts us in a superior position, which the receiver may resent, feel “talked down to." He or she may seem to agree, just to please us, but not follow through. If we make a habit of giving unsolicited advice, that person may soon avoid us because he or she feels uncomfortable.
The risk of giving any kind of advice is that it makes us responsible for the outcome. If he follows our advice and it falls flat, we are to blame because it was our idea.
But what if someone comes to us for advice? Beware of the same trap! The blame will be ours. “After all, it was your idea in the first place,” he may say. Here’s a suggestion: Ask questions.

What's happened? Tell me, "What is the problem?"
What kind of outcome are you looking for?
What can you afford? What bothers you most about this?
What have you tried? How did it turn out?
What are your alternatives?
How strongly do you feel about it?

Then listen thoughtfully, without interrupting.
Listen to feelings. Now is the time to sum it up, “What I’ve heard is that you…”
Would you like a suggestion?

Now is the time to ask if she would like some information that may help her make a wise decision. It may be a phone number, people to contact.
It it’s a situation that can’t be changed, just offer concern and try not to place blame.

3.Let’s let others make their own choices. What works best is to give people information that may be helpful, allowing them make their own choices. They are more motivated if they act on their own ideas. We can help motivate others by asking about what’s happened, what is the problem and what’s important to them, not by telling them what to do.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Never Say ,"I told you so!"

Are you wondering why your sister, your child, your spouse or a co-worker reacts negatively to you?
Are you one of those people who love to see someone else mess up? Are you the first to say, in a triumphant tone, “I told you so!" One of the cruelest things you can do is to kick someone who is down, who has made a mistake, or otherwise made a mess of things. Perhaps, deep down, this is the good feeling we get when we discover we were right. But the good feeling only precedes the sorrow that comes with broken trust and damaged relationships.

Last summer, when I was upset over a mistake I had made, a cousin said, "Well, Peggy, if you had done like we told you, you wouldn't be having this problem!" In other words, she used the old, invalidating, blaming words we have all heard to many times, "I told you so!" It was often the favorite of our parents.
I seemed to me that my cousin was gloating over my misery and her opportunity to feel superior. How we love to be right! The truth is, sooner or later, we will make a mistake and be on the receiving end of such heartlessness.

How much more loving it would have been for her to say, “I’m sorry you are having this problem; I know you must be disappointed, or better, yet, “How can I help?”

Love and blessings,
Peggy G.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Be Like an Empty Cup

Did you ever notice that, when a cup is full, nothing can be added? One who has all the answers, who knows everything, who has it all figured out, can't learn anything new. He is like the cup that is full and needs to be emptied. What ideas, notions, and prejudices would you have to give up in order to be like an empty cup?

Love and blessings,
Peggy G.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Problem of Being Owed

The Problem with Being Owed

Feeling “owed” exacts a high price.

It’s easy to feel that someone or “the system” owes us something. We’ve had such a hard life. We’ve worked hard, sacrificed and, perhaps, have been mistreated or neglected. “After all I’ve done for you,” or, “After all I’ve been through,” are our favorite plaints. Surely “they” owe us.

What’s wrong with that?

It leads to resentment. Hanging on to resentments is called “gunnysacking.” If you don’t know what a gunnysack is, ask an “old-timer” who used to pick cotton. Ask him about the burden he pulled along behind him, between the rows, and how exhausting it was.

Maybe we feel so special that the fog of resentment blocks our appreciation for our good fortune and gratitude for what has been given us.

Sometimes, feeling “owed” gives us license to take back what we believe “they” owe us. We begin to infringe of others’ property or rights in order to even the score.

Perhaps we wait for what’s owed us. We’re stuck in the muck of inaction and not getting anywhere. We’re waiting to get on with our lives until we get what we’re owed—an apology, an admission that they were wrong, a thank-you for what we’ve done, or an acknowledgement of how hard it’s been for us.

Perhaps we’ve given so very much that there is no amount of appreciation that can repay our sacrifices or heal our wounds. Perhaps the hurt and sacrifice happened so long ago, that the offenders no longer exist. Who is left to make amends on behalf of those who harmed or used us? Can it ever be enough? Or is this hurt so much a part of us, so precious, that we can’t let it go? What does it take for us to “get off it,” get over it, let it go, finally?

We wait and wait. We wait until we decide that what we’re waiting for is not worth our very lives. We make a choice between existing and living. We get tired of "feeding on straw when a banquet awaits us on the other side of the fog."

We begin to experience energy and peace we haven't known.

Love and blessings,
Peggy Grose

How to Communicate

How to  Not Be Opinionated
Tom was known as being opinionated, often expressing his views in a rather overbearing manner. Others who may have agreed with him may have wanted to respond but he didn’t give them a chance. Tom made his statement in a way that precluded any further discussion. “I’ve had my say and that about covers it,” appeared to be his attitude, “Nothing more needs to be said.”

Sam, who disagreed with him, took the bait, expressing an apposite view in an equally aggressive way. Neither heard the other and neither learned a thing. They both became hostile and agitated and, possibly, experienced a rise in blood pressure. The hostility was nothing more than fear, the great barrier to effective communication.

How do you know when you are being opinionated? When you confuse what is simply your opinion or belief with what is fact. Opinions and beliefs change; facts do not. Why not try to present your opinions and beliefs as what they are, not as facts? They go down easier.

Opinion: That’s a boring class.
Fact or belief: I’m bored with that class.

Opinion: MacArthur was a bloodthirsty general.
Fact or belief: My college professor said that MacArthur was blood thirsty general.

Opinion: God doesn’t care about us as individuals and doesn’t get involved in our daily lives.
Fact or belief: I don’t believe that God cares about me individually or follows me in my daily life.

Here are some examples of ways to express your opinion without being offensive:
“It is my opinion that…”
“I’ve been thinking…”
“I was reading the other day about…”

If you tend to throw your opinion around, try to be more of a listener. Instead of stating an opinion right off the bat, try asking about the other person’s views first.
Here are some examples:
“What to you think about…”
“I’ve been wondering about…What do you think?”
“Have you heard about…?”

When you discuss issues, what is your goal, to gain an understanding, or to win an argument?

Be careful; by listening, you may learn something, or even change your mind!

Telling equals talking.
Asking equals listening.
If you are doing more telling than asking,
you are doing more talking than listening.

love and blessings,
Peggy Grose

Monday, June 9, 2008

How to Handle Rejection

Being rejected is hard. It's one thing we all dread and we take it personally.

I recently was turned down for a job I had applied for. Because it was the first time I had ever been turned down for a job, it was a blow to my ego but good for my character.

I once did consulting for a small company that installed metal doors, with the hardware, in commercial buildings. I helped them with communication and general management problems.

Todd was a dear young man whose job was to contact contractors and ask permission to place bids on jobs. Todd's problem was that he just couldn't handle the rejection and used any excuse to avoid making the calls.

I remembered, from one of Dale Carnegie's books, how he handled rejection. If he was turned down in trying to enroll someone in the Dale Carnegie Course, he would say to the prospect, "Thank you so much. You have helped me in making one more step toward the person who will agree to register for this course."

I gave Todd this assignment: He had to turn in a quota of at least ten "no's" for each day, with names and phone numbers. Now, each "no" was a success, rather than a rejection. It worked.

When you hear a "no," just realize that you're one more step toward a "yes."

Love and blessings,
Peggy Grose

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

'How Not to Irritate People"

"How Not to Irritate People"

Mary’s husband handed her the newspaper and said, “You really ought to read this article.”

John said to his brother-in-law, “You should try my barber. He does a great job.”

“You ought to listen to this radio talk show,” Richard told his next-door neighbor. “The host is great.”

If I were Mary, John’s brother-in law, or Richard’s next-door neighbor, I would not have welcomed that unsolicited advice. How can another person know what I need?

All of this advice would have gone down more easily if made in the form of a suggestion:
Mary’s husband: “Dear, here’s an interesting article that you may want to read.”
John to his brother-in-law: “I get the impression you’re not happy with your barber. I’d be happy to give you the name of my guy. He gives a really good haircut.
Richard: “I’ve enjoyed listening to Henry Livingston on talk radio. You might want to try him out.”

Love and blessings,

"How to Talk so They'll Listen"

How to Talk So They’ll Listen

When we need to confront someone about something they do or have done that hurts, it’s best to front it in with a “cushion” that softens what you want to say and that acts as a buffer for you.

Susan complained about how her mother constantly criticized her in subtle ways and, sometimes, in not so subtle ways. The mom would say, “I don’t see why you need so many pairs of shoes,” or, “Why don’t you do something with your hair?” Susan, feeling resentful toward her mother, usually reacted in a hostile way that made matters worse.

I coached her to do it this way: “Mom, I love you more than I can say and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate what you do for me. And, there’s something else I need to say. When you criticize me and run me down, I can’t tell you how it hurts.”

I haven’t heard from Susan how it turned out.

I had a supervisor once that reacted negatively when I brought up an issue between us, or requested something from him. One day, I said, “Sam, I am a self-starter, as you know. I work hard and am dedicated. But, once in a while, I’d like a word of thanks or a nod of appreciation.”

He lunged forward in his chair and, glaring at me. said, “Peggy, just what is it that you want from me?”

The next time I needed to confront him or ask for something, I began with this remark: “Sam, I need to bring up something, but I’m not sure that I won’t be sorry.”
It worked. He listened and we got the problem solved.

Love and blessing,

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Making Excuses

I have learned that, as long as I make excuses for my behavior, I'll continue that behavior.

Years ago, I showed up for the second day of the EST training five minutes late. The monitor at the door stopped me and asked, "Peggy, are you late?"
"Well, yes,I said,"but I was with my friend, Anne, and she..."
The monitor interrupted, "Peggy, are you late?"
"Well, yes, and that's what I'm working on..."
She stopped me again: "Peggy, are you late?"
Finally, I got the point. "Yes," I said, "I am late."
"Go right in."

Understand, that rather than facing the truth, I was dodging it. And, once I acknowledged the truth, stopped leaning on the reason I was late, I could finally take responsibility.

Love and blessings,

Friday, April 25, 2008

Say the Right Thing

For several years after my divorce, I bothered a lot of people by complaining about my ex-husband, telling tales of my difficulties and unhappiness. They were more patient than I deserved, but I’m sure they dreaded hearing it and wished I would get off it.

It was not until my therapist responded to my pain that I began to heal. He simply said, “I’m so sorry.”

I’ve noticed that, when some people think they need to say something and don’t know what to say, they open their mouths and say the wrong thing. This is especially true when someone has died. It doesn’t help to say, “Well, he’s in a better place,” “Look, you had your Daddy a long time,” or worse, yet, “It’s God will.” It’s better to say, simply, “I’m so sorry” or “What can I do to help?” Even better, go to the kitchen and wash dishes, bring food and sweep the porch.

Very often, when we don’t know what to say, it’s better to keep quiet than to say the wrong thing.

Love and blessings,
Peggy Grose

Goodness Is its Own Reward"


I have been thinking about goodness. Why should we be good? Perhaps goodness is its own reward. It feels wonderful to receive praise and appreciation for good deeds and we all need encouragement in our work and relationships. But praise coming from others can be conditional and unpredictable. Perhaps the very best reward results from the satisfaction of simply knowing we have done the right thing. If we do something kind or thoughful for someone-- anonymously--we will see just how pure our motives are and will receive the greater reward.

Someone has said that character is how we act when no one is looking.Just for fun,you may want to do something thoughtful for someone-anonymously.

Love and Blessings

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The One-Legged Veteran

I was waiting for my son Daniel at the VA clinic when an older man rolled by in a wheelchair. He had but one leg. I asked him where he served and he answered, simply, 'Iwo Jima."

I was overcome with sympathy and gratitude. "Thank you for what you did." I said.

It was the least I could do.


I was in a seminar with a young man who became argumenttive and hostile with the facilitator about some theological point. On the way to lunch, I put my arm across his shoulder and commented, "You know, I used to get ruffled when someone made a point about religion or politics that I disagreed with. It was as if that person was criticizing my very own children. As time passed and I became a little wiser, I realized that others' opinions are just that--opinions."

Opinions are not who we are. They are like things we possess and, in time we may get tired of them, see a different way, or find they are not useful and toss them out.

Try not to talk politics or religion unless it is for the purpose of understanding the other person's point of view. Otherwise, it's just an exchange of opinions and often leads to hostilities.

I am reminded of a comment I heard from the author of a book about Hospice. He said, "People in Hospice don't talk politics."

Love and blessings,
Peggy Grose

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

As many of you know, I often have a table at the SAMI show and occasionallyt at the Gun and Knife show, too. I usually set up my table like a little office, with three folding chairs in front of my matching 5' x 2 1/2' table. Shoppers come by, sit and begin looking at my books, Love and Lemon Pie, Recipes for the Body7 and the Soul and Celebration! A Woman's Story of Courage, Endurance and Transcendence.I show them the recipes for the body, emphasizing those for the soul. More often than not, my visitor tells me a touching story about her life.

At the last show, a young woman, in her late 30's, perhaps, stopped by. We were talking about the "recipes for the soul" when she paused, looked at me and said. "I have been rethinking my prorities this past year." I waited, knowing what was coming.

"I have cancer," she continued, "and everything that can be done has been done." She had a peace about her that I, myself, long for.

Friday, March 28, 2008

New Blog


Hello. This is a new blog which I will be adding to regularly. I'm sure that it was God that gave me the concept of Love and Lemon Pie, Recipes for the Body and the Soul. (I'm not that smart to think of it myself.) Likewise, He/She gives me a new recipe for the soul at least once a day, which I'll pass on to you. This is an interactive blog, so please let me hear from you with your respsonses.