“I might forgive but I’ll never forget.”
Forgiving someone who has wronged or hurt you is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make. This might surprise you, but you don’t have to forget. What you want to do is take the pain out of that memory. However, if you don’t forgive, you will be the one who keeps on suffering.
Someone has wronged you.
The important thing to remember is that forgiving doesn’t mean that you have not been wronged. On the contrary, if you believe that you have been wronged you are going to feel it. You will know if you feel hurt, insulted, or rejected. What that person did may have been entirely unintentional. Or it may not have.
Acknowledge to yourself that you believe you have been wronged. What that means is that you believe that someone owed you something and did not deliver. It can be that you are owed respect, but were treated disrespectfully. You may feel that you were owed kindness or understanding, and received cruelty or meanness instead.
The reasons for being wronged vary from the simple, such as a snippy comeback, to the horrific, such as physical or emotional abuse. It might surprise you to realize that it doesn’t matter the intensity or character of the wrong. What matters is your response to it.
Bitterness takes root.
Unforgiveness begins like a tiny seed that sprouts into anger, resentment, and offense. If allowed to grow it puts down roots and those roots are bitterness. When bitterness takes over your soul, it grows its friends, hostility, cynicism, scorn, contempt, and all manner of negative visitors. This is where the danger lies.
Science is only just beginning to admit what your grandma probably told you years ago—that negative emotions have a direct impact on your health and happiness. You see, not forgiving someone who has hurt you prolongs the pain for you long after the perpetrator has forgotten all about it. For the sake of your own health and peace you must forgive.
How do you let it go?
Try this method of forgiving:
(You understand that if someone has also broken the law, the appropriate action must be taken.)
The Bible says that vengeance belongs to God, not to us. By forgiving others, we free ourselves from the sentence of suffering for someone else’s wrongdoing.
Remember those summer days when you played outside until long after the sun went down and came in smiling and worn out? After you mom made you wash and get into your summer pyjamas you flopped into bed and instantly fell asleep between crisp cotton sheets. You woke when the sun came in your window and hit the ground ready for another fun day.
That was then, you say, and this is now.
Stay with me for a moment. What happened along the way that robbed us of the delicious experience of a good night’s sleep? Our date books are crammed with commitments; we’re on call for everyone and the dog, and after another exhausting day, we fall into bed only to be wakened by snoring mates, full bladders, or the thought of tomorrow’s schedules.
We really need to re-learn the art of the wonderful sleep. For sleeps to be luscious and satisfying, we need to put aside the cares of the day early in the evening. If the cares of the day are so numerous that it is not possible to retire them early, then perhaps it is time to re-think how much we are trying to cram into our days.
Not long ago, I felt caught in the constant swirling cycle of too many things to do and not enough time to do them all. I stayed up too late, woke in the night and lay awake thinking about important every detail I must remember to circumvent some crisis. Eventually falling asleep just before dawn, I then spent my days like a flag at half-mast. I was neither awake nor asleep but dragged through my days too foggy to accomplish much at all. Anxiety and fluctuating hormones were ruining my life. Finally, I went to see my doctor. He prescribed a rather benign drug whose side-effect is that it makes you sleepy. I re-entered the world of the childlike sleep.
Once I began sleeping well again, I had the clarity required to see what needed to change to make my life simpler and less stressful. I realized that there are some things that I will not be able to do, that I must choose one main course in life and focus on it. My evenings have become quieter and calmer. I spend more time with my husband. And I look forward to going to bed, sliding between my pale yellow sheets and reading, or snuggling into my puffy pillow and drifting off.
Sleeping luxuriously means giving your whole self to the process.
It may not seem easy to go back to those delicious sleeps of childhood, but it is possible to improve your sleep life. By endeavouring to make the experience a luscious one, you improve your chances of being well-slept.
Surround yourself with beauty
One day I sat down to make a list of some of the things that make my life feel rich and full. There were very few things on the list that I didn’t already have and appreciate. But one item on my list was to buy fresh flowers regularly. For me, buying flowers had fallen into the category of money frittered away since flowers soon die leaving nothing to show for the money spent.
So buying flowers and having them around my home is a sign to me of my prosperity and luscious living, a sign that I have enough money that I don’t have to concern myself with such a small expense. With that exercise, I realized how very little is often required to feel rich and prosperous. Very often the problem lies in not identifying what gives us that delightful sense of joy, because we can be too busy to look.
If you were to create your own list of delights, it may not include buying flowers. Beautiful music, pleasing colours, pretty things give most of us a lot of pleasure, and surrounding ourselves with these delights makes life so much more lovely.
Our surrounding have a powerful impact on how we relate to other things in life. So it is important to fill our surroundings with objects that lift the spirit and soothe the soul.
Surrounding yourself with beautiful things is an act of self-care. When you treat yourself well, you are acknowledging that how important you are. You are one of a kind and very special. Take the time and care to add more beauty to your life to give your own soul delight.
Ask yourself if your home gives you pleasure to be in? Is your bedroom an expression of your beautiful self? If not, then take the time to identify those things that need to be removed, replaced, or revitalized. Adding beauty to your surroundings it can be as simple as placing a violet on your kitchen windowsill, to as elaborate as redecorating your whole house.
Whatever you choose, remember that our souls are nourished by beauty, so if you want a well-nourished and satisfied soul, be sure to surround yourself with more of it.
Believe you are beautiful
Recently I attended an event for women in business. It was a banquet with a cruise theme and there were more than two hundred women present. I marveled at how beautiful all the women were with their great hair, striking eyes, nice clothes, and lovely smiles.
We are all beautiful yet are often so hard on ourselves. When we look in a mirror, instead of seeing our own loveliness, our eyes are often drawn to every little imperfection.
Interesting word, isn’t it – ‘imperfection’? Who are the arbiters of perfection deciding that we are flawed, who insist that we compare and find ourselves wanting? Can we afford to have these people in the offices of advertisers dictating this much of our lives? I think not.
We need to appreciate our own bodies and ourselves. We can begin by wearing clothes that make us feel happy. Choose your style to please yourself.
Choose to stop living by the concept that anything old thing is good enough for you. If what you are wearing doesn’t make you feel or look fabulous, get rid of it and replace it with something that does.
When I shop I try to only buy things that I absolutely love. If it doesn’t make me feel great to be wearing it, I don’t want it. Imagine how delightful life is when you always feel wonderful in your clothes.
Take good care of yourself. Love your beautiful and wonderfully made body. Eat great, healthy food. Get the junk out of your diet. You want your body to last a long time so it is important to look after it well. Beauty is not just about your outside appearance. It is also about the inner workings of the beautifully crafted body that you live in.
The images of beauty that the media presents to us are just that–images. Often those images have been so digitally changed that there is no way that figure exists in real life.
We should never consider a fashion model a role model for physical beauty. We need to look at our own beauty and appreciate it. Do you have kind eyes, nice hair, strong hands, a smooth walk, or great taste in clothes?
Does your body come through for you when you need to climb stairs, cook a meal, or swim a length of the neighbourhood pool? When you dress up for an evening out, admit it, you look lovely. When you step from the shower and towel dry, look at that woman in the mirror and tell her she is beautiful, because it is true.
Know that you are beautiful in whatever shape or size or form you come in. Know that you are beautiful because God created you and sees you as beautiful.
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Eat Chocolate for Breakfast
Several years ago while travelling in France, staying at hole-in-the-wall hotels and eating at small cafes, I had breakfast at a tiny bakery with a few wooden tables. The morning sunlight streamed through the windowpanes onto the tiled floor as a round woman with smiling eyes served miniature cups of espresso and pain chocolat (pronounced pan shocolah). Similar to a croissant but with layers of rich dark chocolate rolled in swirls of buttery warm bread, eating a pain chocolat for breakfast is like starting the day with a little bit of heaven.
The French are famous for their joie de vivre, but you don’t have to live in France to indulge in wonderful treats for breakfast or anytime. Living with lusciousness means choosing to include sensual delights as often as you can and not settling for less than the best of what you want.
Try this: Go to a chocolate boutique and buy yourself some fabulous truffles, one or two for each day of the week. If you can make them last all week, good for you. If you can’t, just buy enough to give yourself a happy, sensuous moment of bliss. Then go back another day and do it again. It won’t be enough to blow your diet, just enough to give you a treat. Even if you do not live near a great chocolate boutique, you can buy really fine chocolate at your grocery store.
The main point here is, take the time to include those small things that make your life more pleasant. If it is harmless, painless, and won’t break your budget then go ahead and add to your life those experiences that make it better, more fun or just more luscious.
You can apply this delicious concept to anything that gives you a morsel of delight in your day. Take time to give yourself luscious little treats. Don’t postpone living. Try taking a bubble bath in the afternoon or have your morning coffee before anyone else in the house is up so you can savour the silence. Use your favourite coffee cup. Buy yourself flowers.
We must treat ourselves kindly and well and we must also treat ourselves to luscious moments, morsels and delights. These self-loving gifts are the materials of everyday sweetness.
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Now that summer is here, it's a great time to get outside and have some fun. It might have been years since you've done "kid" things like flying a kite, but there is no rule that says you can't do it now, no matter what your age.
You may want to go kite flying with children, but if you don't have any handy, just go get your own kite and find a field or beach where there is a breeze and get going.
Here is a short video I found to get you started.
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Or, How to Find a Good-fitting, Comfortable Bra in 100 Tries or Less.
I live in a village where the shopping options are minimal. So, when it became painfully obvious that I needed some new bras—something about gaining some weight (don’t ask)—I have to get in my car and drive to the next town down the highway.
No problem, I’ll just pop into town later in the afternoon, go to my favourite bright-coloured, tiny-clothes store and pick up a couple of my usual style bra.
Thus began “The Quest”
First, the style I like has been changed so the size I need no longer fits right. Second, my shape has changed, again. (Isn’t that the bane of a woman’s life?) And third, my skin has become more sensitive thanks to some hormonal tempest that is perpetually brewing.
While perky young things brought me bra after bra (about 23 different ones) and inquired about how I was doing (feeling queasy, thanks for asking), I ended up with two well-maybe-these-won’t-be-pure-torture choices, which I had them put away for me while I checked out the department store down the mall.
Yes, No, Maybe
There, another 27 styles graced my luscious curves. On, “no”, off. On, “no”, off. Meanwhile, the skin on my sides and back felt like it has been gone over with a cheese grater.
The problem is that when you’re looking for comfort as well as fit, any bra that feels better than the instrument of agony that you just ripped off feels like a great big, “Aaaaah!” But don’t be fooled because it’s a matter of unrealistic comparison.
I bought two of one style that seemed almost comfy. After I got home and my skin stopped throbbing, I put one of the devices on to wear it for a while. It lasted about 10 minutes before it went back in the bag with its twin, and the receipt.
Next day, back I went to the store, returned these bras, and started again. This time I tried on another completely different group of about 31 bras, though a couple were repeats from the last trip. I wondered what I saw in them the first time around.
I’m sure you can tell by this list that I’ve just talked myself out of the bra market altogether. Which would be fine with me but well, no. I might have a perky mentality but I’ve got a push up reality. When you’re 50+ (she said coyly), you have to take the cumulative effects of gravity into account. Moving up another weight class doesn’t help either. (Thanks, low thyroid.)
I bought two more bras, twins again, one beige, one black. Again, I went home and gave my shredded skin some TLC (meaning that I went bra-less for the rest of the day) then tried on this new bra. I wore it for 15 minutes (a new record) and removed it, with relief, hence to yonder bag. These too went back to the store, and I on to Round 3.
Next came the boxed bras, (as opposed to the ones on those impossible little hangers). Before that, though, I had spent several hours searching the Internet for the perfect comfort bra. Basically, that got me nowhere, since one woman’s (or manufacturer’s) comfort is another woman’s torment.
I’ll spare you the details, except to say that by now I’ve tried on nearly 60 bras, not including the ones I tried on more than once to check against each new hopeful possibility. This time I bought only one bra, which between when the quest began and now had gone one sale. This sale price could be called the one bright spot, if not for the fact that the bra actually works.
So here is what I ended up with. It’s not glamorous or sexy. It can’t stand up by itself like so many ultra-structure (read, “body cast”) bras can. It’s not even a pretty colour, more’s the pity. And perky? Well, that stopped being a consideration days ago. But it sure is comfortable.
If I find the need to be trussed up like the Thanksgiving turkey I’ll just have to dig out one of my old bras, hook it on with safety pins and bale twine, and suffer for whatever offenses I may have caused in my past. In the meantime, don’t mention the words, “bra shopping” to me for at least six months. Give me some time to forget.
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I took a little trip to the seaside last week, stopping in Coupeville, WA, where I snapped the photo of these sail boats bobbing at anchor in the afternoon sun.
After a little shopping, I even had time to make a small watercolour sketch to add to my collection for an upcoming book project I'm working on.
For some time I have been a member of a social group that meets periodically. While I have enjoyed the group and the people in it I was finding myself frustrated by the lack of depth in the relationships and the lack of support when I was going through a difficult time.
After one meeting in particular, I seriously considered leaving the group. I went home feeling like it was over for me. Yet, many months later, I am still a member of the group and I enjoy the interaction more than ever.
What happened to change that?
In another instance, I was considering a certain program in my business and something just didn't sit right. Part of me wanted to move forward, yet I kept feeling like I was dragging my feet and wasn't sure why. I loved the concept and the planning but something in me didn't want to do it.
What was going on?
Once I gave both of these scenarios some thought, I realized that the problem was not with the group, or with the business plans. The problem was that my expectations of what I would get did not match what the situation had to offer. In the first instance, I was expecting a deeper relationship with the group members than anyone else expected or gave. Once I realized that I would never get the kind of support I had expected from these people, I knew I had to change my expectations of the group.
In the second case, I recognized that I had been looking at the business project as having to do it for the rest of my career, which I didn't want to do. When I saw that it was simply a means to an end that would support what I most want to do in my business, I changed my expectations and that foot-dragging feeling disappeared.
It's a bit like trying to get grape juice from a cow. No matter how much you want it or how hard you milk it, you're never going to get any grape juice from that cow. It's time to change your expectations and enjoy the milk for what it is then go to the vine for those grapes.
As much as we don't like it, adversity isn't always a bad thing. Without challenge there is no growth. Without resistance no strength is built.
Seeking a life of ease won't bring us happiness but choosing to trust God in everything will teach us how to be happy regardless of the situation.
Some people never learn the lessons of adversity. Some never grow through difficulty. We always have a choice how we will respond to any situation. I can choose the path of peace or I can go down the road to bitterness.
On the road to bitterness, there is no forgiving. The heart stores up the wrongs and feeds on them like vultures on carrion. The stink pervades the atmosphere and pollutes everything around it. On the road to bitterness there is no joy and there is no peace.
In contrast, all God's paths are peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Ask God how to respond in adversity. When you're faced with a difficult situation or must deal with a difficult, bitter person, God will show you how to stay on the path of peace in spite of your circumstances. I have found this to be true in my own life.
We have all heard it said that nobody likes change. This isn't true. We don't like change when we fear that it will make things worse. If we're convinced that the change will result in something better, the fear goes and we love change.
I've found that in order to move toward big dreams, plans, and goals in my own life, change is often necessary. But how to know what to change; that's the question.
Small things that require too much time and attention must fall away in order to make room for the new and big. I don't view these things as a loss since they interfere with what God has in store for me. If I measure things in terms of energy in and energy out, I can easily measure the value of things in my life. I must conserve energy, but not only that, I must spend my time on things that add energy.
Worry, for example, burns energy and adds nothing. Therefore, it has no value. Exercise uses physical energy but actually increases my energy for other things (provided the energy I burn is within reason).
I've discovered that God provides what I need when I need it. He knows what's going on in my life better than I do. I can trust him to lead me and to show me what I need to let go of to move forward.
In my novels, I write about daring adventures, people doing daring things, and daring to go where others might fear.
In my own life I sometimes live the same way. Not always, of course, since there is nothing particularly daring about going to the grocery store or doing laundry. However, sometimes the choices I make seem quite daring, even to me (and I'm pretty nervy).
In the spirit of encouraging daring you can...
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I thought I would share a few photos from the 100th Anniversary celebration at my family's farm. There are more here if you are interested.
Gathering for our program on Saturday afternoon. Perfect, hot weather with a breeze.
Words of congratulation from local municipal representative, David Bond. (We were in the same class at school.)
My mom did a great job of telling the history of the farm. Anyone who wanted to was invited to come and share his or her experiences relating to the farm.
Lots of great stories were shared.
Followed by good food, good company and good conversation. There is nothing in the world like a loving family. We are blessed.
This morning I had this thought: What if everything was free? What if everything we wanted was free, or had no cost? How would that change how we make choices - how I make choices?
When you think about the things that are already free; that you can partake of without cost - like a walk in the park or sitting in the sunshine - cost is never a factor that we consider when choosing what to do.
So if we viewed everything we want or need as already free because, as believers, God has already freely given us everything that pertains to life and godliness, then understanding and believing this will change our priorities about what we want. (Don't get crazy on me here and think that I'm advocating taking or stealing from others. I'm not, and you've missed the point.)
Realizing that, in God, I have everything I need is a bit like having a great big, mega gift card. With that in hand, I become more discerning about what is really important and cease to focus on what I don't believe I can have.
When there is no drive to acquire because I already have access to everything, the really important things in life come to the forefront - how I spend my time, whose life I touch and how I make the world a better place.
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