Feb 27, 2017 by


Last summer we went on an “adventure” with three other couples. We all happened to be parents of girls who played travel softball together over the years. We stay in touch and appreciate the friendships we have built.

The “adventure” we went to was an escape room where we were placed in a locked room and the only way to “win” was by finding and decoding clues to allow us to unlock several locks on the door to “escape.” Admittedly some of us were not convinced before beginning how we would like this experience, but we will say, everyone went in with a very positive attitude.

We all were glad to be with one another and enjoy the connection of the relationships. But, again, we learned much by the adventure. Some thoughts from this experience:

1. We just loved being with each other and catching up on our families. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner after the adventure, shared stories, and plenty of laughter.

2. We could only accomplish the goal by working together. Some of us were strong and relentless in not giving up on finding clues. Others were very gifted at deciphering difficult equations and symbols.

3. We had a unified effort and humble spirits to say, “I am not good at this. Who is and who can help?” What great attitudes and humility. No one forced their way to take anything away, rather to watch different ones take leadership at different times was great, and several strong personalities graciously gave leadership by stepping aside or stepping up when needed. Attitude makes a difference.

4. We had FUN!


Stay connected: Every team must take time to connect. If you don’t know what is happening in the other people’s lives, you can’t relate to them in the work environment as effectively. What joys can you celebrate with them? What heartaches are they suffering through? Not everyone will open up to you every time. But you need to make the effort to connect and then listen carefully to what is said and what is not said to gain insight into others’ lives.

Work together: It never benefits a team for members to go rogue. It’s in the collaboration where the magic happens. Each person is created with individual abilities and learned skills that they can contribute to the whole. Allow everyone to be a part — encourage it. You may be surprised what nuggets of gold come out of listening to each contribution made.

Leave your egos at the door: When walking into a team project, you must remain humble in the process. There may be times where your point is important enough to fight for, but those are rare times. Pick your battles. Allow others to win. Everything does not live and die on your idea. Value the input of others. Just because it isn’t the way you would do it, does not mean it’s a bad idea. Step away from always putting in your two cents and celebrate the creativity of the people on your team. You will learn to value others, and they will get a win. The path to a goal has many roads. Take someone else’s road with a supportive attitude and win.

Have fun: Now hear us, we believe in a strong work ethic. If you have an assignment, you do everything in your power to complete it with excellence and on time. But it doesn’t have to be a drudgery. Make room for laughter and sometimes even shenanigans. There are too many serious things to face in life without having our jobs be one of them. Laugh, dance, joke, take breaks, go run around the building if you need to. Take a long lunch or go bowling. It really doesn’t matter what level of fun you do; it matters that you are having fun together. Be productive with joy.

What about your team? How are you doing at becoming a unified unit with others, working together to accomplish a common goal? How can you make the experience enjoyable, while getting results? How will you set aside your ego to allow others to step up and take the lead in an area of expertise?

It’s all about relationships!

~ Jim and Jerolyn

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The Cupcake Olive Branch

Mar 17, 2014 by


The other day a friend of mine shared this story with me.

Let’s call her Sarah. Sarah is recently single and in her early 30’s. Last fall she came to our church, received the Lord, and we have been getting to know each other and studying the Word together. I’ve met her sister and niece, but knew she had a very strained relationship with her parents. I didn’t know the reason, but they basically wanted no contact, and Sarah believed she had done nothing wrong to cause such a break. Her dad had cut her off so far that he threatened to divorce her mother if she had any contact with her daughter. To make this all worse, Sarah works at the same small company as her dad.

As Sarah grew in her relationship with God, she became more and more aware of the Holy Spirit’s promptings. When Valentine’s Day rolled around, she decided to make cupcakes for her co-workers despite a complete dislike for that particular holiday. When she got to work and began passing out the cupcakes, she sensed that she was supposed to go give one to her dad. She found his cubicle empty, so left a cupcake on the desk. As she walked back to her office, she met him in the hallway.

“I left a cupcake on your desk for you,” she said in passing.

“Oh, okay. Thanks.” These were the most words they had spoken to each other in years.

A few minutes later Sarah’s dad stepped into her office. With tears streaming down his face, he wrapped her in a hug and thanked her again for the cupcake. Then he asked her to join the family for Valentine’s Day dinner that night. Sarah agreed, but asked if they could make it a surprise for her mother.

That night, Sarah sat at the dinner table between her mother and her father for the first time in three years. A simple act of obedience and a cupcake had been the olive branch they needed to begin the mending of their family relationship.

There are many events that can break up a family. Sometimes they are major breaches of trust. Other times it can be as simple as a misunderstanding. But whatever the reason for the broken relationship, there are some steps we can take toward mending that break.

1. Accept Your Responsibility: You may or may not be the one in the wrong. But we all must analyze every broken relationship and accept our part in it – whether we know what that is or not. Your part may simply be the other person’s perception of something you did or did not do. However, we must all remember that it takes two to have a relationship.fatherdaughterhug

2. Humble Yourself: Whether in the wrong or not, it is always difficult to be the one to take the first step toward reconciliation – especially if you don’t believe you are in the wrong. However, when we humble ourselves to reach out to another, we are placing a higher value on the relationship than we are our own “rightness.”

3. Realize that the Relationship May Be Different: Not all relationships can return to their former state. People may have changed. Boundaries may need to be set. And in all honesty, we must acknowledge that there are some relationships that just can’t be redeemed. That does happen. But family is second only to our relationship with God so every effort should be made to restore peace. It may be different than before, but we can have relationship in a new kind of normal.

Sarah and her dad are still trying to figure out their new normal, but they have begun by taking the first steps.

How about you?

~ Jerolyn


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