Category Archives: Uncategorized

Change your bookmarks!

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My See throughe life has moved!  My blog is now located at:

www.michellegeorge.net

Much easier to remember! Click on the picture or the link to come on over…remember to change  your bookmarks.

I have included subscription options on the new blog so that you can sign up and receive my updates in you inbox, or in your RSS feed reader.

Come on…don’t be shy 🙂

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Please be patient…

I am in the process of transitioning to self-hosted and moving all of my content over to the new site…it’s taking longer than I anticipated to iron out the kinks…please check back shortly…if you need anything…email or twitter me 🙂

My new blog can be found over at:

michellegeorge.net

If you would like to comment on a post, please do it over there….I’m still ironing out the theme and navigation, but you should be able to find what you need via the search box on the sidebar.

thanks for your patience 🙂

Making conversation // I didn’t know how!

998524_tranquility_4I have always found it hard to talk to people that I don’t know well, and more specifically to initiate a conversation. This difficulty is multiplied when there are strangers involved, either in a social, or work situation, or in a completely random encounter at a shopping mall or on a plane.
I think this is probably because I am reasonably shy, and  part of it has been because of my introvert tendencies and not wanting to engage in meaningless conversation for the sake of filling in a moment of silence.

Why bother having conversations?
As I discussed in my earlier introversion posts <you can find them here> I believe that we humans are purpose-built for community and connection with other people. Conversation allows us to make these connections, to learn from other people, to be enriched, to be encouraged, to influence, to encourage others, to minister, to provide comfort, to develop relationships.

For years I avoided making conversation and making these connections. Over time I forgot how to do it, until I was rescued by my friend Andrew who attended a Caleb Ministries training course and learned about the conversation stack, which is a very simple system for initiating and developing conversations. Andrew’s a great, natural conversationalist anyway, but he knew I’d benefit from it, so he shared this tool with me and as I’ve experimented with the conversation stack over the past couple of years, I have learned a secret…people love to talk about themselves or about things that they are interested in. If I can get people talking about themselves, it takes the pressure of me and I don’t have to talk so much.

Here’s the stack (For most general conversations I rarely get past the tennis racquet.). The left column is what you can picture in your mind to remind you of what’s coming next, the right column is the basic question to ask (you’ll need to modify it to your own style otherwise you’ll sound like you’re working through a list…you want it to feel natural, take some time to practice on your family and friends if you like.)
NAMEPLATE                            What is your name?
HOUSE                                         Where do you live?
PEOPLE IN HOUSE                  Do you have family?
CLOCK                                         What do you do with your time?
AEROPLANE                             Travel?
TENNIS RACQUET                  Hobbies? Sports?
LIGHT BULB                              Ideas, points to bounce off
GOAL POSTS                              Do you have goals, dreams?
QUESTION MARK                    Problems? Frustrations? Concerns?
TROPHY                                       Achievements?
SUNSET                                        Inspirational people?

Here are a couple of points to remember when you’re using the conversation stack:

Respond, don’t interrogate:: Don’t just ask lots of questions and don’t get creepy…you’ll come off like you’re interrogating the person and they will more likely than not become defensive and clam up, defeating the purpose of using these kick-off questions. Respond to what the person shares, interact. Share about yourself a little.

Open ended questions :: Don’t ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Ask questions that require an answer that will allow the person to elaborate about their answer, and provide you with material to ask follow on questions.

Listen:: Don’t sit there thinking of your next brilliant contribution to the conversation. Really listen. Look out for gems, or places where your stories can intersect and you can connect.

No agendas:: Don’t go into any conversation with preconceived ideas of what the outcome will be. If the person thinks they are being manipulated they will shut down.

Don’t force it:: If they don’t want to talk…move on. Some people just really don’t want to talk (I’m betting you know how that is LOL)…don’t force them to.

I’ve found this system so helpful in getting past the awkward small talk that can plague so many social situations. I hope it helps you too.

Have you ever used a conversation stack? How does it work for you? Are you a natural conversationalist? Do you have to work at it like I do?

Do you like Pirate Flashmobs?

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Louise dressed as the main character, Salty

Christian children’s author Louise Curtis is writing a two-month-long twitter tale that you can read online in bite-size pieces or receive on your phone. These stories are designed to create buzz around her writing, which is similar to the Narnia series (but with pirates) — exciting adventure stories that have a deeper meaning for Christians.

Follow the blog of the stories on twittertales.wordpress.com
Follow the tweets by following Louise at http://twitter.com/Louise_Curtis_ (You will need to join Twitter. This is free)

You can be a part of the launch!

The story begins Saturday August 1, and to celebrate the launch Louise invites families to dress as a pirate and be at the Lyneham shops in Canberra between 2:00 and 2:30pm (near the secondhand bookshop). Free short-short stories and lollies will be given out. More details (including who is safe to accept lollies from) are on the blog twittertales.wordpress.com.

Louise Curtis rates her books PG for some piratical violence.young fel copy
Louise playing pirate as a young girl

Round and round and round we go // the labyrinth

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This post is part of my adventure series…click here to make sure you catch the whole series.

Before I went away on my retreat weekend I asked for ideas about things I could take away with me to help with my spiritual boot camp. My good friend Ron suggested that I check out labyrinths and gave me a link to check out. I had heard of them before, but had never had any experience with them.

The particular labyrinth described on the website was set up in the year 2000 as part of the new-millennium celebrations in England. The organisers incorporated interactive and multimedia elements to lead the pilgrims through various stages of confession and focus. They used a recorded soundtrack with ambient music and narrative to lead them people through the stations in the labyrinth.

The website says this about them:

Labyrinths were a feature of many medieval cathedrals – one of the best remaining examples is found in Chartres Cathedral in northern France. Unlike a maze they have only one path – there are no dead ends. People walk the labyrinth slowly, as an aid to contemplative prayer and reflection, as a spiritual exercise, or as a form of pilgrimage.

The path has three stages – the ‘inward’ journey, the centre and the ‘outward’ journey. The theme of the ‘inward’ journey is letting go of things which hinder our wholeness and inner approach to God. The centre of the Labyrinth is a space of meditative prayer and peace. The theme of the ‘outward’ journey is relationship – with ourselves, with others and with the planet – seen in the light of our relationship with God.

I quickly discovered that I was able to download the soundtrack, and got it loaded onto my iPhone ready to go for the weekend. I intended to walk the paths around the resort and meditate. But then the rain set in, so rather than walk, I lay back on the bed and closed my eyes and relaxed for the hour-long meditation.

What followed was one of the most intensely powerful times of focus on God that I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. It has been a very long time since I was able to concentrate so completely on examining my relationship with God. Normally I struggle to last five minutes without my mind whizzing off on a dozen different tangents. The challenge to make changes in my life was clear and unmistakable…and hard work. The understanding that God loves me and has plans for my life was clear and unmistakable…and soothing for my soul.

I listened through the meditation again the next morning as I walked around the foreshore of Lake Jindabyne and savoured the snowflakes that I caught on my tongue. This time my experience with the Father was invigorating and energising. A gentle push to get me moving and ready to face the world again.

Have you ever walked a labyrinth? Do you meditate on Christ? How do you do it?

Michelle

What tools do I need to shove in my gear sack?

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This post is part of my adventure series…click here to make sure you catch the whole series.

My husband thinks I’m completely nuts…but I love to look at what’s in people’s bags  ( There’s a whole Flickr group of people that do this). How do they organise it, why do they carry what they do…is it functional? Is it geeky or all Hello Kitty?  For an afternoon of voyeuristic fun, pop on over. It’s addictive!

Back to the point…

I need your help…obviously…I’ve never done one of these solo retreats before. I have no idea what to “pack” into my gear sack for the weekend away…physical or otherwise…

Here’s the background…

This weekend I am off for a solo retreat to the Lake Crackenback Resort...all by myself…no kids….no husband….I’ll be engaging in some serious leisure activities to refresh my physical body (it’s the beginning of the ski season at the very edge of the snow line, probably won’t ski, but it will be cooold! I imagine lots of walking…), as well as really digging deep to see what God is wanting for me during this restoration phase of my adventure to a healthy life and recovery from Mad Church Disease. For this part I envisage lots of writing as I process stuff…and I don’t think it will be your stereotypical girly type retreat..I think it is probably going to be more like a spiritual bootcamp!

Here’s what I want to know…what should I “pack”? What scriptures would be good to meditate on? What spiritual disciplines do you think might be helpful in this situation? Have you done a solo retreat? How did you prepare?  How did you approach it? Would you share your story to help me on my way?

What should I shove into my backpack for the ideal weekend retreat to meet with God? What would you pack?

Thanks

Michelle

If you want to see all of the posts about my adventure click here.

Into Introversion #5 // Introverts and churches

Just as in the public life (politics etc), extroverts tend to dominate churches, and the cultural perception of how church people should behave tends to fit the extrovert mold. Bubbly, excitable, chatty, uber-friendly, going to every advertised event in the church bulletin. And I would venture to say that in many instances, this is as much an internal perception as it is an external perception. Historically there have been a lot of “expected” behaviours in churches, but I think that’s all changing with the rise of Gen Y (who have highly tuned BS meters and don’t tolerate fakes)…and the authenticity movement that is bringing a breath of fresh air and a healthy dose  of real-ness to modern churches. (In the words of John Burke…come as you are…no perfect people allowed!)

So what is an introvert to do? How does an introvert fit into a community that (whether they admit it or not) often judges your spiritual health by whether or not you come out to the whole-church potluck dinner, or by the number of other social events you attend?

I want to encourage you to NOT attempt to fit the cookie-cutter church-person-mold. Ultimately that will burn you out, you will be faking who you are to please people, and you will wind up resenting your community.

I want you to be who God created you to be, and to live up to the potential He has placed in your life!

I have found that there are two things that you need to understand to be able to be all that God created you to be and to function as a valued part of the body of Christ:

  1. understand and accept who you are as a child of God; and
  2. understand that God is in the people business. His whole plan for the salvation of humanity revolves around relationships.

Do not judge yourself according to what the people around you say or expect. Measure yourself against the standards that God sets. End of story. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

I have found that this approach has brought me a tonne of peace in my life. What have you discovered in your life?

Related posts:

The post that started it all

Into Introversion #1 // Do you know an introvert?

Into Introversion #2 // Introvert…Extrovert…Shy?

Into Introversion #3 //  Can Introverts and Extroverts Coexist?

Into Introversion #4 // What God can do with an Introvert?

Into Introversion #5 // Churches and Introverts