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I bought a dress once for $1.32. Brand spanking new. Of course, it was on clearance, but I didn’t know why I got it for such a good deal. It was so cute!  I came home and wore it to church the next Sunday. I was going about my business before services when one of the ladies at church looked at me and said,

“Your sailboats are upside-down!”Startled, I looked at my dress and said, “They are, aren’t they?”

I had never noticed because when I looked down at my dress everything seemed perfectly normal.  And now I was wearing an upside-down sailboat dress and I had to be at church for three services, up front in the choir. No wonder it was so cheap. I actually prayed that no one else would notice it, even as I laughed a little bit, seeing the humor in it all.  I had been so proud of my clever purchase. God has a sense of humor.

A little later a friend complimented me on my dress and I quietly asked her if she had noticed the problem.  She looked surprised and said no, she had just seen sailboats. We had a little laugh about it, and I moved on.  I asked my husband if he had noticed it, and he said no, he thought they were diamonds.  Diamonds?  I tried looking at my dress the other way around, and my worries vanished.  Diamonds. And in the pattern of the dress, I honestly couldn’t tell if they were diamonds or upside-down sailboats. 

So what do you see when you look at people?  Are the first words out of your mouth usually noticing something wrong, a back-handed compliment, or something kind?

I had a friend once who told me I looked tired almost every time I saw her. I began to expect it to be her greeting to me. Another would tell me almost every time she saw me that I looked a little healthier than I used to, and  I would almost laugh, because nothing had really changed. I did begin to wonder if something was wrong with me though!

Step back and take a look at the way you greet people. Is it the same joke every time about their name, size, or habits? Is it noticing something awkward or wrong about their appearance? (Clarification: broccoli or any other green substance in the teeth is probably okay to quietly and subtly point out)

So this Monday, let your words be filled with grace and kindness. Scratch that. Don’t let it happen, make it happen. Make a conscious effort to speak love and encouragement to the people around you today!

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