Archives for August 2008

Communicating Contentment

Summer days are lazy days for sheep. They eat and they lie around. They drink a lot of water. Then they eat and lie around some more. Such a life, eh?

This summer’s been pretty nice for my sheep because, in spite of recent dry weeks, their pastures have been lush and green the whole summer. I generally let them graze on one pasture for a few days. Then when they’ve eaten it down, I move them onto another pasture where new, thick grass tempts their palate.

This makes them happy sheep. Full. Content. And they lie around some more.

Anyone who knows sheep knows life is good when they see their flock lying around. As ruminants— animals with four stomachs—sheep will eat their fill of forage in minutes and then lie down and chew their cud for hours. This chewing is actually a regurgitating, rechewing and reswallowing of the grass they’ve eaten, creating a natural antacid, so to speak, which allows for better digestion in all those stomachs.

Isn’t that appetizing?

Well, I suppose not. But from a practical standpoint, a flock of sheep lying down and chewing their cud is a healthy flock. They’ve gotten enough to eat. They’re digesting in the proper manner. They are happy and content.

David, the Psalmist, is someone who knew sheep. When he wrote of lying “down in green pastures,” he wasn’t just penning creative prose. David knew sheep lie down when they are cared for and content. Using subject matter he knew best—the simplicity of sheep farming—David beautifully characterized the confidence he felt in God’s loving care.

I love to look out at my pastures and see my sheep. And as they look up at me, with jaws gnawing away, I know the good care I give them is fragmentary beside the complete care God gives me.

Pausing for a Breath

I regularly read Penelope Trunk, a career-advice columnist with the Boston Globe and author of the Brazen Careerist. While her subject matter is sometimes off the wall and her manner of delivery is even more so, I still find her informative, educational and applicable.

PT, as she’s often referred to by her blog followers, recently wrote on the idea of the pause. She wrote in regards to public speaking and how a pause adds impact to the important things a speaker has to say.

Here’s an example:

You’re listening to a speaker fire away, non-stop, on, and on, and on. He doesn’t give you time to replenish oxygen let alone absorb what’s being said. In a more effective delivery, a speaker would briefly pause after specific points during his speech. He would give his audience opportunity to laugh at his jokes, feel the emphasis of what’s important, or collect their thoughts.

The same can be said for our writing
The long, drawn out paragraph is like the rambling, non-stop speaker. There’s a major difference, however. The speaker, at least, gets a start with his message before loosing his audience. The writer, on the other hand, loses his audience before his first words are ever read.


Because we, the audience, are automatically scared away by big blocks of written text. In today’s world of blogging, twittering and news articles, this is magnified all the more.

“I encourage people to pause in their writing,” wrote an instructor, who commented on PT’s blog. “I suggest that they write paragraphs of two or three sentences. This may not be what you learned in school, but it works. A paragraph break in a written document is like a pause in a conversation.”

Pay attention to the writing style of quality newspapers. Take note of well-written blogs. Learn what people are reading today and keep that form in mind as you write your message of Christ.

Xsell Products, Inc., Watertown, WI

Xsell Products goes online!

Xsell Products is an independent sales agency representing power transmission and motion control industries throughout Wisconsin and U.P. Michigan. Owner Dan Rahfaldt wanted a clean, sharp web site that would showcase his company and the products he represents.

The result is a unique design that immediately says “Xsell.” It includes a pdf printable version of the products page and a vectorized flow chart of the companies he currently represents.