Posts By Wendy Harris

18 Jul 2013 WendyHarris

Prayer – Monologue or Dialogue?

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Regent University - theatreMy daughter has begun memorizing a monologue for her theatre class. As she started this effort, we had a brief discussion about the difference between a monologue and a dialogue. It made me think back to my prayer times and wonder if this was more monologue than dialogue. Having a dialogue with God can be a difficult thing.

It is my belief that humans are culturally programmed to fill the void. I see this in my occupation when conducting corporate training sessions. As trainers, we refer to the ‘7 second pause’. If I ask a question, it is intended to create discussion and interaction, but occasionally, audiences can be more difficult and resist the interaction. However, I have found that almost without exception, if I can hold myself back for 7 seconds, someone will eventually respond. After doing this a few times, I find the audience warms up to the idea of the interaction and there are fewer hesitations. Read more

07 May 2013 WendyHarris

Have a Safe Trip!

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Regent University - Summer bikingHow many times have you heard or declared this phrase? Yet, how many times have we seriously thought about what that means? As an occupational safety professional, I can say that I frequently think about the specifics of having a safe trip, as we want all of our employees to travel safely. Naturally, I want the same for you. Now that summer has arrived, Regent students will drive home to families, take cross-country road trips and study across the country and globe.  In this post, I want to share some tips from a National Safety Council Safety and Health Fact Sheet, on preparing for your next getaway. Read more

14 Feb 2013 WendyHarris

Give the Gift of Listening!

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Regent University- young couple in kitchenWith Valentine’s Day coming up soon, there has been a lot of talk in my house of gifts. Our girls have already learned to drop hints, but we also talk about what to get our friends. My oldest daughter is even considering what to give her boyfriend. The other day, I heard a radio spot that really made me think about what I give (or don’t give) on a regular basis: the gift of listening. Read more

05 Dec 2012 WendyHarris

Do You Believe or Support the Belief of Others?

1 Comment Church, Home

This post is not intended for young children.

This past summer a church leader in my 9-year old daughter’s Vacation Bible School class abruptly revealed the truth of Santa Claus in the name of honesty. While I don’t believe this individual intentionally set out to disillusion her entire class of children, she has historically taken a stand against lying in this manner.

I confess I don’t know the right thing to do with this dilemma. I agree that systematically lying to our children seems wrong. However, it also doesn’t seem right to rob children of this fanciful myth. Additionally, aren’t these great opportunities for our churches to engage our neighborhood children?

Regent University - children

On top of this overarching dilemma, I have the issue of dealing with this church leader. It’s not that I intend to confront her in any way. However, I have a younger daughter who will continue to be invited to Vacation Bible School at this church. This happens to be the church where my mother attends and I grew up. The church family is full of aunts, uncles, and cousins. I would love for my daughters to continue attending this Vacation Bible School while spending the week with their grandmother.

So I ask for your help! How did/do you handle the concept of Santa Claus with your children? Has anyone found a good way to integrate the two while staying faithful to the Bible? In addition, of course, would you continue to let your children attend this Vacation Bible School?

Thank you in advance for sharing your wisdom and experiences!

26 Sep 2012 WendyHarris

First Impressions

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Regent fountainI must admit to some internal struggles that I’ve been going through recently. It is nothing earth shattering- just wrestling with the idea of first impressions.  I recently visited a commercial website and was somewhat put off by the spelling and grammatical errors I noticed.  I’m not the grammar police but I do notice common mistakes. I try to remain gracious though as I recognize that I don’t have the best grammatical skills around (I’m often corrected). However, some of the more common problems such as the correct use of “to,” “two,” and “too” and “its” vs. “it’s” will drive me crazy.

We recently went through a due diligence process for selecting a vendor at work. We set up demonstrations with several vendors who had made it through the first cut. During the demonstrations, one vendor in particular had a very poor showing. In discussions afterward with my team and boss,it became clear that this was a fatal error on the vendor’s part. No amount of coercion was enough to get my selection committee to reconsider this particular vendor.

Around the same time, we experienced the first day of school. Outfits were picked out with great care to ensure an accurate first impression. Especially for my oldest daughter who started middle school this year with many students she has never met before.

Coincidentally (well not really – I believe God was speaking to me here), our Sunday morning sermon touched on moving past first impressions to invite others to church. We saw an excellent video short you can find at this link.

Overall, I can certainly imagine there are situations that warrant the use of first impressions and gut instincts. I can imagine walking into a new doctor’s office and immediately leaving if I find the waiting room filthy. I can imagine the necessity of listening to your gut during police work or battle. However, other than for health and safety reasons, is there ever really a good reason to judge a book by its cover?  (See, I used the correct word. :) )  More importantly, what does God expect from us here?  What are your thoughts?

06 Sep 2012 WendyHarris

How Many Hours Do You Give Away?

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Let’s talk about work-life balance. Who doesn’t struggle with achieving balance in this area either as an employee, professional student, or otherwise? I have been thinking a lot about this lately and have come up with some reasons why I think work-life balance is so difficult to obtain.

Regent University Library

1. We identify ourselves by our occupation. Think about the last time you introduced yourself or met a new contact.  How did you identify yourself? Typically we start with our occupation and end, maybe, with a little of our personal information. Even when we are asking for introductions, we often ask “so what do you do?”

2. There is typically no ‘boss’ at home to approve requests for ‘time on.’ Most jobs have some type of official tracking system to identify how much time off we use throughout the year. Who tracks our “time on” during personal hours? Furthermore, there is typically no permission required to answer a few emails or take a phone call.

3. It is easier to cheat ourselves than others.  It is so easy to work through lunch, stay a little late, come in early, or answer a few messages from home.  In many cases, you can even do this without cheating anyone other than yourself. So if you don’t mind it, why should anyone else care? However, in the end, you are cheating yourself from the downtime needed to recover from the stress of work. Our bodies need relaxation and downtime to maintain good health, attitudes and energy levels. As a result, you may be cheating your family of the healthy, happy spouse, mom, or dad they need.

4. Being a good parent or spouse does not usually get us a promotion. Aside from our performance ratings at work, we often have other opportunities for bonuses, stock options, promotions, salary increases, new challenges or even a certificate and a handshake to recognize a significant contribution. What compares to this in the home environment? While it is true that our wonderful families are all the reward we need, human nature craves recognition.

So I go back to my original question – how many hours do you give away? You cannot get them back. Think about the little things you can change to make work-life balance easier to achieve. Here is what I plan to do: I commit to introduce myself personally before professionally; get my job rating for being a mom; ask permission for ‘time on’; respect my personal needs for downtime; and look for opportunities to reward my husband’s outstanding contributions. What about you?

08 Jun 2012 WendyHarris

Got water?

2 Comments Community

Regent University Bible PageI am that peculiar girl who lugs in a gallon of beverage to work every morning.  I’m not incredibly picky when it comes to beverage choices, but apparently I am very Southern in my desire for iced tea instead of soda or coffee.  I even stretch my peculiarity a bit further by toting a big insulated glass with me throughout the day.  Apparently I stay very hydrated although it’s more about the drink than the result for me.

At the same time, I am that girl who provides cash and change to panhandlers when given the opportunity.  And Houston has plenty of opportunities.  I’ve had many discussions with individuals regarding what my donation is funding.  My argument has steadfastly been that this is between the panhandler and God.  I can’t always control the end result but I can faithfully act as the hands and feet of God.  However, I do realize many disagree with my efforts.  I also admit to moments when the cynicism in me creeps up and I question if my actions are truly helpful to these individuals.  So, I’m excited to explain how these two particular sides of my personality recently collided.

The other morning I flipped on the news as I got ready.  In a very distracted state, I heard an interview with the founder of a charitable organization that focused on providing drinking water to the homeless.  In my hurry, I finished my task, turned off the TV and moved on to my next activity.  However, the seed had been successfully planted…providing drinking water to the homeless.  What a great idea!

So at the next opportunity I purchased a six-pack of bottled water and placed it in my car.  I have to admit to being excited to encounter a panhandler after this preparation.  I developed a keen eye as I waited for my first opportunity to hand that precious water out.  How fun this was going to be!  And I was not let down.  My first distribution of water was around 4 p.m. on this year’s first day of 90 degree heat.  The woman was so appreciative that she asked, “If you come back around, bring me another.”  Dispensing the second bottle of water was less eventful.  However, I look forward to many happy provisions going forward into the hot summer months.

Once I decided to write on this topic, I researched the charity mentioned on the TV.  Without much difficulty I found the website for the I Am Waters Foundation — iamwaters.com.  A quick review of their webpages identifies former fashion model Elena Davis as the founder.  I urge you to take a minute and explore their website.  Not only do they have information regarding their mission of providing water to the homeless, they also put a face to these individuals through video interviews, pictures and quotes.

I also urge you to consider how you are the hands and feet of Christ.  Our education at Regent University teaches us many things but among them is how to “change the world.”  With “Christ-centeredness” as one of Regent’s values, identifying effective ways of ministering to our community is critical.  According to Matthew 25:40, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”  What an awesome privilege we have to love on those in need through a simple drink of water!

What other ideas do you have for loving our community in God’s name?