Don’t Tell Me, I Don’t Want to Know

11191097_sOnce you know something, you can’t un-know it.

I’ve just been sucker-punched.

A friend, we’ll call her Lippy, stopped by our house to take a peek at some work we’re having done. We laughed about the joys and challenges of home maintenance and repairs. So far, so good.

Then, this friend erupted with a juicy tidbit about a mutual acquaintance. Lippy just couldn’t wait to share something dreadful about our acquaintance. A very juicy morsel of gossip. It all happened so fast that my husband and I didn’t have a second to stiff-arm the gossip with the words–don’t tell me, I don’t want to know. 

I so wish we could have seen it coming and halted it before the words left her mouth and slapped us both across the face. Violated. I felt violated. I felt sick about what this acquaintance is going through and the sheer torment she must feel because of it. I would be devastated in her shoes.

And now I know too much about her.

This event prompted me to create a Don’t Tell Me List:

Don’t assume because I attend the same church, work with, live near or simply know someone that I want to know their drama. I don’t. Please don’t make me the unwilling keeper of someone’s secret.

If you’re just dying to tell someone, don’t tell me! When a fiery bit of gossip is burning a hole in your tongue, it’s a good sign to keep your mouth shut. Cut off the oxygen and put the fire out!

If it’s personal and you don’t have expressed permission to share with me, don’t tell me! How do I look this acquaintance in the eye knowing what I now know about her personal life? We are not confidantes or she would have told me herself.

If the subject of the discussion has not (or would not) post this information on social media, don’t tell me! It’s private for a reason. The person may feel ashamed, humiliated, hurt or even devastated by the situation she faces. She doesn’t need to wonder who knows what about her life.

If this is a person I know, don’t tell me! Please don’t include me in the “in the know” crowd. I’d rather be blissfully ignorant of the gossip. That way I can keep my relationships untangled and on the up-and-up.

If this is about a person I don’t know, don’t tell me! It’s none of my business. Unless you’re telling me about a situation because you need advice or prayer on how to handle it, don’t tell me. If you do need my counsel or prayer, tell me as little as possible, omitting names and identifiable details.

If you wouldn’t share this in front of the person it’s about, don’t tell me! When my kids were little, I was part of a play group. We met weekly at a local park. I dreaded having to miss park days — not only because my children napped better, but also because any mom who didn’t show up was severely talked about! The last time I went, one of the moms was going on and on about an absent mom, sharing private things that would not have been shared in the mom’s presence.

I piped up and asked the gossip-spreader (who happened to be the very best friend of the person she was dishing about), “Hey, aren’t you two friends? Does she know you talk about her like that?”

Yeah, I was that mom. I’m sure I was the topic of conversations for a few weeks after I packed my kids into their little green wagon and took them home to play on our own swing.

Please, keep your juicy tidbits to yourself!


 

We’ve all fallen into the gossip trap. I have no stones to throw. My personal goal is to live gossip-free. How about you? What do you do to keep from getting caught up in gossip? Would you say something to a friend who shared inappropriately with you? 

Want to know what the Bible says? Check out these scriptures about gossip.

De-Cluttering on the Path to Peace

As soon as I plunged into the pages of Clutter Free, I zealously tackled a few easy areas of clutter in my home–the spice cabinet, hall closet and bathroom drawers. I was determined to create order. I’d clear out the excess “stuff” my family and I dragged with us on our last move, and free our home to be more functional. A worthy goal, right?

Those first few spaces were a cinch to de-clutter. I mean, I have no emotional attachment to expired spices or that expensive moisturizer that makes my face red and puffy. I tossed them into the garbage bag without the slightest resistance or regret. Those miniature lotion samples went in the give-away box.

Those super-easy tasks had an immediate effect. My cooking efficiency improved. And I really enjoy working in a beautiful, tidy kitchen. My morning routine was streamlined, because there were no unusable products to slow me down!

So far, so good!

What I didn’t know yet was that the external clutter reflected and compounded the internal clutter. I didn’t expect that eliminating the physical clutter would be the catalyst for purging emotional clutter.17415485_s

Until I took on my closet.

I have three closets in my bedroom (don’t hate me!) Though I have ample space, I needed to remove items I don’t love or wear. If I wouldn’t plunk down my debit card to purchase that item again—it needed to be re-homed. Into the give-away box it went.

Each morning I read from Clutter Free, then dedicated a small block of time for clearing out the clutter. My closet cleaning coincided with reading Part Two: Why We Buy Stuff and Part 3: Why We Keep Stuff. I was forced to look at the motives behind my purchases.

I came face-to-face with the fact that I really don’t have much to wear! My closet was filled with clothes that don’t fit—but might someday. Clothes that don’t work with anything
else I own—but might if I found just the right piece to pair with them. And clothes that I don’t really like—but with tags still hanging on them, I’m reminded of the investment I’ve already made to each item.

I had to look at my purchasing/keeping motives as a reflection of my heart. I didn’t like what I found there.

I had the illusion of a lovely wardrobe. And it would be if I were a size or two smaller. It was a closet full of items that might someday fit. Every time I stepped into my closet to get dressed, I felt the accusations: You’re too fat for me. You wasted money on me. You’ll never be able wear me again. The external clutter was tormenting me. It constantly reminded me that I don’t measure up. Literally.

I had to hit the brakes!

I decided to give myself copious doses of grace. I pulled everything from the closet and laid it out on my bed. Then I stood next to the mountain of accusers and prayed. One by one I picked up each item and put it to the Kathi Lipp three-question test: Do I love it? Do I use it? Would I buy it again?

The only things I put back into the closet are the items I can currently wear and feel good about wearing. It’s slim-pickings, but my wardrobe no longer accuses me as I make my daily clothing selections.

I donated the business clothes I’ve held onto “just in case I ever need a real job.” They’re now helping women transition out of joblessness.

Eighteen (18!) pairs of shoes, that I haven’t been able to wear since breaking my foot several years ago are off to beautify new feet.

I donated the adorable ruffled orange blouse with the tags still hanging. Someone has the perfect component to make an outfit from it. God knows I never did!

This morning when I stepped into my closet to choose my outfit for the day, there were no accusations flying. No self-condemnation for past wasteful purchases. No assaults on my self-image. Just a wardrobe that reflects my current reality and the peace that comes with it.

What about you? Are there areas of clutter in your home? Any that create emotional obstacles for you?

The Unbreakable Boy: A Father’s Fear, A Son’s Courage, and a Story of Unconditional Love (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

UnbreakableBoy-262x400This story was so much richer and lighter than I expected. I knew before I read it that the author and his family would face hardships and challenges, so I was prepared for that. But I never expected that they would face those challenges with such tenacity, hope and humor!
It was fun to follow the LeRettes’ adventures and see how their trials shaped them and forged unbreakable bonds among them.
I often gauge a book by how I feel when I’m reading it. How I interact with my own world in light of the thoughts entering my inner space via the written word. Reading The Unbreakable Boy increased my joy! I never really felt pity for the LeRette family. Instead, I silently prayed that I could face my own challenges with similar tenacity, hope and humor. And that along the way, I might grow up to be the parent my children need and the wife my husband needs.

 

March with Someone Different Than You

MLK 1

Racial reconciliation is one of the most important conversations taking place in America in this generation. Our family wanted to add our voices–and our feet to this conversation, so we took part in today’s Capitol March for the Dream.

We marched with about 29,000 people as did many others from our church and churches across the Sacramento Region. Organizers encouraged participants to strike up conversations across racial lines. We enjoyed meeting several people we might never have met otherwise.

The celebratory atmosphere and the joyful interactions made the event a lot of fun. I observed parents explaining to children the importance of the day’s events. Why all these people were out in a drizzly cold morning carrying signs and singing along with Pharell William’s “Happy” and Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.”

 

We heard snippets of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech as the crowd erupted in cheers. We heard a local pastor sharing that true freedom only comes through reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. When the Son sets you free, you are “free at last” indeed.

 

 

This group of marchers carried signs that said, “Black Lives Matter,” “Young Lives Matter,” “Latino Lives Matter” and along with the more specific signs was this one that sums it up perfectly: “All Lives Matter”

 

One of my favorite signs of the march read, “March with Someone Different Than You.” And that, in a nutshell, was the goal of the day.

It’s easy to walk with those who are just like me. Those who think like I do and share my values and beliefs. It takes courage and empathy to walk with those who are different, who don’t believe what I do or hold to my values.

Today we celebrated the life and passion of a man who believed it possible for people of all races to live together in harmony and equality, not just tolerating but embracing diversity.

I hope I wake up tomorrow in a world that has moved just a little closer to seeing Martin Luther King Jr’s dream come true.

Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space (Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 2015)

Clutter Free“Clutter builds a barrier between you and the rest of the world. But when clutter is cleared, you have more space for everything–activities you love, people you love.” Kathi Lipp

If you’ve ever attempted to organize your cluttered home, you know your efforts are futile. Organized clutter quickly becomes disorganized clutter. Kathi Lipp’s new book Clutter Free provides simple steps to eliminate the clutter. It helps readers stem the tide of future clutter into our homes and lives, by unraveling the mysteries behind why we purchase and hold onto items we don’t love or use.

Kathi writes like an encouraging best friend, and makes you wish she lived next door so you could have her over for coffee. If, like me, you’re not fortunate enough to have Kathi for a neighbor, you can do the next best thing: join her 21-day Clutter-free challenge. 

Are you ready for a clutter-free 2015?

Happy New Year!

32505474_sWe’ve closed the book on 2014 and we’re opening a new one titled 2015. I can’t help but wonder what secrets 2015 holds. What surprises are in store for the coming year. I’ve spent several weeks contemplating what I hope to achieve in the new year. Making plans. Setting goals. Seeking a word from God that will permeate the days and weeks of 2015. The word he gave me is GRACE. And, oh how I need it!

Already 2015 promises to be a year of change. I’ve committed to cutting back on some of my responsibilities with Inspire Christian Writers. I’ll be homeschooling one of my darlings and refocusing on my personal writing. Those are a few of the knowns. The unknowns will have to unfold as the year progresses.

As part of my re-focus on my personal writing, I’m launching this blog. I have big plans for it and will be tweaking it quite a bit in the coming weeks, but I wanted to launch it today–New Year’s Day 2015.

So, Happy New Year!

I hope your year, and my year, will be filled with grace.


What are the knowns for you in 2015? What are you hoping the year will bring? Do you have a “word of the year”?