(Late-breaking news: Friday, August 19 (that’s tomorrow!) starting at 3:10 pm ET, I’ll be chatting about family reunions with host Chris Fabry on his nationally syndicated radio show on Moody Broadcasting Network, Chris Fabry Live! We’ll take callers from 3:35-3:55 pm ET. Call in and join the conversation! Find a station or listen online here: https://www.moodyradio.org/chrisfabrylive/).
Friends, you are amazing!
Over 70 of you emailed or left comments after last week’s blogpost to advise me on what NOT to wear at the national retail trade show in Kentucky where my southern alter-ego Miss Maggie was invited to sign books.
As you can see from the photos, I took your advice! Miss Maggie (in whose voice I wrote Life is Sweet, Y'all), sashayed into that arena in the outfit most befitting her humble mid-century origins: Sensible black heels, plaid housedress, pearls, and pink apron. (Ok, so I looked like the help but honey, I felt right at home.)
What’s more, you made my day when those of you who have purchased the book left Amazon reviews. We went from only 32 to 56 in just a few days! I am so very grateful.
Isn’t it a fabulous feeling when you know someone else has been blessed because of your words or actions? Unexpected acts of kindness or words of encouragement have the power to completely turn a day around.
Do you see what our granddaughter Jane is “riding” in this photo? This tiny bike was an unexpected first birthday gift from a family friend who has followed Janie’s medical journey closely. Our son chose this photo for Jane’s Caring Bridge page. Peg’s gift made our day!
Another example. Just last week, I met via zoom with this beautiful group of women – all related – who gather online almost every Sunday night. For the past year they’ve been discussing my first book, This Life We Share, and they invited me to join them for their final session.
As they shared what they’d like their epitaphs to be one day, I listened and took notes. But before we signed off, the matriarch – Iris - practically leaned out of the screen to grab me by my shirt as she poured words of encouragement and affirmation into my life. How could Iris have known that discouraging events the past few days had left me filled with self-doubt?
And then suddenly a male voice came from off-camera - the husband of one of the young moms in the group. He was listening to our conversation while bouncing a baby and wrangling a toddler.
“Miss Maggie,” he declared, “I overhear what these women talk about every week while I’m watchin’ the kids, and I tell you that book has changed things around here. It’s impacted our marriage for the better. And it’s taken a family of women who were already close and turned them into friends!”
After I logged off, I wiped my eyes and shared his words – so unexpected and gracious – with my own family.
Years ago, my mentor explained the difference between affirmation and flattery.
Flattery, Gail pointed out, is when we offer compliments without sincerity to gain something for ourselves. Affirmation is when we point out the positive in another’s skills, giftedness, or actions with no ulterior motive. Flattery aims to gain something for self; affirmation gives something to another.
“Affirmation is not flattery, and it is not a series of manufactured compliments designed to make people feel good or to gain their good graces.
"Affirmation is not sentimentality either. When Jesus affirmed Zacchaeus, the converted tax collector, by saying that salvation had come to his house, Jesus was not painting a needlessly rosy picture. He was letting the man know that because of his repentance he had a future. This was not groundless positive thinking. In fact, Jesus' words were offered at some risk.
"True affirmation often costs us something. A community of 'Zacchaeus haters' stood listening and could have turned on Jesus. But he was in the business of building people. And the moment called for identifying the good work that God was doing in a man who was turning from sin to love." - Gail MacDonald
You, my beloved blog community, excel at affirmation!
Here are a few simple suggestions as to how we can all brighten someone else’s day.
- Does someone in your neighborhood have a yard that brings you pleasure whenever you pass by? Leave a note on their door. Make their day.
- Is there an individual whose labor in your workplace often goes unacknowledged? Let them know that you’ve noticed that clean bathroom/efficient mail delivery/ timely accounting. Make their day.
- The next time you call tech support or chat with a customer service rep, stay on the line an extra minute or two to take the short survey about the employee’s performance. Leaving them a positive review can make their day.
- Was Sunday’s sermon or your Bible study leader’s lesson especially memorable? Drop your pastor or teacher a note. You’d be surprised at how few people do. You’ll make their day.
I’d love to hear how someone else’s kindness or an unexpected gift has blessed you lately. Please leave a comment below so we can rejoice with you.
Go ahead – make our day!
- Maggie W. Rowe, 2022