The Marriage of Honesty and Tact

I’m discovering in my limited experience with blogging, and with  keeping up with others’ blogs, that being “real” online is challenging. We tend to blog about things that excite us or that we take interest in, so the sparkly aspects of us really shine, but the real parts of us are obscured in the shadows. And that’s all good to a certain extent because there are parts of me that you just really don’t need to know about. I’m sorry if you are offended by it, you may just skip on to the next blog.

Being real in today’s world is more complicated than it should be. We are friends with people we have never met on social networking sites. It’s fairly easy to make our online identity completely different than who we really are. And since they are none the wiser for it we somehow feel better about ourselves.

That’s the scary part of blogging, along with the fact that anybody can read what I write. I do have this really neat site meter that tracks people on my site, telling me their latest splurges and how much they weigh. Well, I do have a site meter. I guess it sorta stops there.

Honesty and tact has been on my mind a lot lately. How can one be tactfully honest? In our North-American culture, we beat around bushes. Oh, YES we do! I thought I just heard somebody say that they really, for the most part, and most of the time don’t. Really, it’s amusing at times, how we tiptoe around the obvious. And I say that because I’ve spent 4 years of my life with the most honest people group I’ve ever met, Liberians. There were times I cringed inwardly and wished I didn’t understand the Liberian English. They said things the way they were. And they didn’t say it in four different languages to soften the impact. At times they lacked tact.

And then I come back, and everybody knows there’s a problem with something, and nobody talks about it. They speak of it in vague enough terms so it’s not too obvious, but everybody knows what they are talking about. We lack honesty.

Somehow, I think the union of tact and honesty should be possible. It was in the life of Jesus. He was honest even when it hurt but there was a certain dignity and tact that accompanied it.

I love southern-style honesty. Our neighbor from a few houses back came to us soon after we moved. In her high, sugary voice she said, “Ah brought you a key-lahm pah and ah do make a good key-lahm pah.” For those of you not acquainted with this language, it translates as “I brought you a key lime pie and I do make a good key lime pie.” And we are thinking !!!!!!! The neat thing is that they are quick to acknowledge other people’s good points. And if they do have to say something not-so-complimentary about something or someone they tack “bless her heart” at the end. As in, “Mrs. Lotus painted her house a most unusual apricot color, bless her heart.” That phrase covers a multitude of sins down here 🙂

I think if we would all make honesty a lifestyle, it would be easier. And when I say honesty, I mean facing issues and confrontations head-on. I

Confrontation and conflict is not pleasant. But avoiding and dodging it doesn’t take care of it. It won’t go away. There is where the marriage of tact and honesty should take place.

Being real and honest is not about letting everyone know whenever you are upset or having a bad day. I’m talking about a sanctified kind of reality. We all know what it’s like to be around someone who is constantly bemoaning something or another. That is honesty, I guess, just not the right kind.

Today I heard the most wonderful message about confrontation and forgiveness. It wasn’t about forgiving and forgetting. It poked right down to the nitty gritty of forgiveness and attitudes. I may write more about it later but the thought most impressed on my memory was:

(in regards to forgiveness)

We need to remember that we stand between a King to whom we owe a debt we cannot pay, and a person who owes something that we can forgive.

 Forgiveness is absorbing a debt and then releasing the person who owes it without making sure they realize how much they hurt us.



Of good books and stuck cookies

After perusing the book aisles at several Goodwill stores today, I was rewarded with several potential good books. I love the feeling of picking up a never-read-before book. It could quickly become a favorite, or it could be thrown out, never to come in contact with my life again. It’s hard at first glance to tell a good book from a no-keeper.

I love reading and my books quickly become old friends. When I move into a new place I feel at home when my books are on their shelves, not when the curtains are hung. Case in point-my bedroom now. My stash of books was set up the day we moved and I have yet to hang curtains. Actually, I have yet to get curtains. And we’ve been here nearly three months.

I confess to being a lover of old books and old authors. Give me books by Harold Bell Wright or L. M Montgomery. I like Francena Arnold and Gene Stratton Porter. Another favorite is End of The Spear. You gotta love the old gentleman from the jungle who came back to the States with Steve.

 I like books that don’t just entertain me. I like when they move me and unconsciously push me to become a bigger person. I like reading a book and then thinking about it for the next couple of hours.

Occasionally I can get into a newer book. But somehow the newer ones don’t have the “old acquaintance” feel.

My problem now is I feel stuck in a rut. And your solution to my problem is to tell me who/what you enjoy reading. I love recommendations.

And since I love recommendations, here’s one for you. Visit for a wide variety of books and better yet, FREE SHIPPING in the U.S. Prices start at $3.95. I can handle that 🙂

I’ve got about 25 in my wishlist and when I finally start making money, you probably won’t find me on here very much 🙂

So, don’t be shy and do tell. I would be so very obliged.


P.S. To any thriftbook executives reading this, A-HEM! This is what a lot of people call advertising.

P.PS. I’m having issues with posting pictures on here. “It” says my browser cookies function is turned off. Whatever. I know nothing whatsoever about browser cookies and what to do to make them stick. I’ll stick with macadamia nut, thanks.


Happy Fall!
Isn’t fall just the best? The fresh, cool air is so delicious I could write odes about it. I wish I could can it in Mason jars and pull it out sometime around July. And the falling leaves and brilliant blue sky. I wish I could eat it on a spoon. Life somehow feels better, the spirit less stifled, and I feel just about frisky. Kinda like our dogs. I love watching this season turn our old, arthritis-ridden dog into a frisky acting young pup. I’m not sure if it accounts for our other, not-so-dear puppy tearing thirty-one (31) articles of clothing off the wash line during our daily absence at the store. Yep, you read that right. I’d write it in Vietnamese if I knew how, to make sure you’d get the point. Once you recover from that shock, lay on the floor to absorb the next. He did it all over again the next day, He did it all over again the next day, after a good spanking from his owner, aka, RuthAnne. That funny lookin’ stuff in that sentence was written in Marlett. Just so you’d get the point. I’m not sure what ethnic group speaks that language but maybe it’s that group over in Microsoft Fonts, I’m not sure about all that.
Someone should invent the phrase, “Dance in the Leaves.” It would make more sense than this lastest phenonomen of catchy phrases such as dance in the rain. Depending on your geographical location, couldn’t that be fatal? I’m thinking doctors don’t have this hanging in their waiting rooms. I really enjoy rain, I’ll just stay under the umbrella, thanks. Why not dance in a mud puddle, or in a snow drift. Then there’s Life isn’t measured by how many breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away. If I would get brave and dance in the rain, would that take my breath away?
And while we are being random anyway, I’ll throw out something else that wonders me. What does a Hawaiian sunset smell like? We have a candle with that scent and it puzzles me whenever I smell it. It smells really good. But why Hawaiian? Why not Liberian or Ohian? If that scent is unique to Hawaii, I’ll have to start saving airmiles. I could smell those kinds of sunsets for  a long time.
There’s other things that I wonder about too. Like how do the gas station billboards beside the interstate change the gas prices? I’m aware that it’s done electronically somehow but I didn’t think they make extension cords that long. And I didn’t think space satellites could pick that up.
Why does Sonic have drive-thrus ?

And I have body wash called Midnight Pomegranate. It also smells good. I wonder if it would smell better or worse during the day time.
Who comes up with this stuff? I know it’s called marketing but I still choose to be puzzled by it.

And this is just word stuff here, which I like, but recently in devotions in the O.T. we read about a widow lady whose husband had died. That just makes it very clear. 
Then there are the people who when talking to you start a sentence with, “Frankly,” and you think they are going to divulge how much they weigh and instead they say that they think gas prices are crazy high. So different than the Liberians who, when they said, “Frankly,” you want to curl up in a hole and close your ears tightly. Because most of their conversations occur in our “frankly” mode and when they get honest, they get really honest.
Which brings me to the greatest wonderment of all…..
How can the human heart contain so much joy and so great pain at the same time? I was sitting here reading over Liberia newsletters and VDRs from a couple of years ago.
  Torn between laughter:

I was going through some of my old stuff and came across the following prayer prayed by the lady on the left who I was teaching to read in Literacy Class. I had obviously given them cookies…..

“Oh, Lord Jesus, we thank you for this day. We give our whole country, Liberia, into your hands and all the countries all over the glove (meaning globe). Daddy Jesus, bless this little child (ahem!!) who has come to put knowledge into our heads. May you guide and protect her. We thank you for the cookies, Daddy Jesus. We know that this helps us live nicely with all men. May you bless Pastuh’s family so they can do it again sometime………”  She didn’t mean it to be funny, as I recall, but meant it from her heart.

and tears:

Something just squeezes inside of me as I think about leaving. I’m really going to miss all this. Interaction with children. Buying right off the street. Feeling comfortable enough to ask to hold a baby you’ve never seen before. Little voices calling my name. And little red blobs flying down the road to meet me.
Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m ready to go home or not. Little incidents like what happened 15 minutes ago make me question. I was walking down the road to a shop to buy some cough candy (cough drops) when I noticed in the distance a little blob of red start flying down the road at me. Fast. Throttle wide open.We have quite a few little friends down there so it could’ve been one of a whole group. I got closer and there coming as fast as her fat little legs could carry her, was little 2 year old Donna, alias, Cherry. She had a huge smile on her face and her look was one of pure joy.

 I miss and think about the most ridiculous little details. Such as the kitchen drawer that didn’t go in right and had to be coaxed in just the right way.
I miss sitting outside the gate and watching and interacting with vendors, children, neighbors, etc.
I miss our little Vashti. She probably doesn’t remember us anymore; doesn’t remember the afternoons spent at our place, all the cuddling and spoiling, the cookies and hammock rides. She’s a little girl of 3 and I’m guessing a  fairly independent one.
I miss church people and their unique ways of just being themselves.
……..our Security personnel and the good times we shared.
……. Stinker and Sassy and the hours of entertainment they provided.
……..the little formalities that used to frustrate me.
…….. holding the bright eyed, curly haired little babies.
………buying “twenty dollah bread”
……the taxis with their hysterical messages on the back
……. the ocean and palm trees

 Two weeks from now marks our two year anniversary for being back. It’s been a good 2 years-tough at times, but still good.  There are things that I definitely do not miss about Liberia. The frequent stomach aches and problems due to unknown causes. Pepto Bismal, it was a loyal friend. I don’t  miss the emotional tiredness. Seeing people’s needs and trying to meet the ones that we could was exhausting at times. Having people take advantage of us and our resources put extra stress on us. 

I still dream of going back. I’d love to write or design a curriculum for a young girl’s class and go back to our church and maybe some orphanages and work with girls. I’d love to see our church girls blossom into dedicated Christian girls who understand, first of all, salvation, and what it means to be a godly woman. Somehow, somewhere in their culture, there has to be a key, something that would make the whole salvation concept click with them. I think of Don Richardson’s stories of working with the Auca’s and using stories and ideas from their own culture to make salvation understandable.
 A good day and wonderful fall to you,
-*-* Vicki
P.S. The fall pictures were not taken by me, nor anybody that I know. It’s called clip art. Believe me, if I could take pictures like that I probably wouldn’t be painting shelves at an old tire store 🙂