Forgiven

MULLING OVER IT

Have you ever laid in bed at night or taken time out of your day to think about someone who has hurt you and what they’ve done? Do you review a situation over and over again in your mind?  I think that many of us do this.   We might think of how we could have responded differently, said something differently, or even wished we had walked away before saying something we might have regretted.  I’ve even been known to royally tell someone off— after the fact and to myself when they’re not there to hear it, of course.  I picked up the habit of talking a situation over out loud (whispering quietly of course) from my Mom.  I remember hearing her go over situations to herself repeating what she would have or should have said as she thought it through.  I love my Mom dearly and she’s an amazing woman, but that’s one habit that I picked up that I’m trying very hard to drop… and not pass on to another generation.

I’ve been sick for a few days and I’m having a hard time sleeping tonight.  So, what did I find myself doing?  Two nights ago, I was laying in bed going over, in my mind – not out loud, some situations that happened 7 years ago that I hadn’t thought about for a long time.  I usually don’t come across unkind people.  In fact, I can count on both hands (during my entire life) and personally name (meaning I know them well enough for them to hurt me) people who have deliberately been nasty, unkind, and/or arrogant.  So, with much less than even 1% of everyone I know, you’d think I would have plenty of wonderful things to think about.  But, not that night. Someone I know had, at the time, kept taking the things I said the wrong way and would respond in a nasty, arrogant way.  He got angry at me for something I wasn’t even thinking, let alone actually saying.    He never apologized and when I called him on how he had responded, he said not to shoot God’s messenger as if he was God’s personal messenger sent to tell me something nasty.  Clearly, he didn’t think there was a need for apology.  Has that ever happened to you?  Something similar happened to me again several months ago with someone else.  I’m sure that if it (a misunderstanding that perpetuates a problem) has happened to me, it’s happened to other people, too, so I wanted to write about it.

WHEN IT HURTS

Don’t you hate it when people misunderstand you?  It hurts when they respond badly toward you based on their perspective of what you said and not on what you really said.  It’s as if they’re determined to think/assume the worst of you instead of actually having a conversation with you to find out what you really meant or simply trying to think the best of you.  And, if you’re like me, their unkind response and assumptions make you angry.

Well, I had enough of laying in bed rehashing all of that old stuff so I got up to wash dishes that hadn’t been washed while I was sleeping the day away.  Sadly there is no dish fairy or genie who comes and does the dishes for me, even when I’m sick.  As I was washing dishes, I asked myself why in the world I was bringing all that 7-year-old nonsense up again.  I thought I was past that.

Do you want the answer?  Even if my story might impact you?  OK.  Here is it…

LACK OF FORGIVENESS

I was bringing it up again because…  I had never forgiven that person.  I didn’t even realize it until now.

So, tonight I asked God to forgive me for my “unforgiving spirit” and to help me completely forgive that person in my heart.

Forgiveness isn’t only for the person being forgiven.  In fact, sometimes it’s not for that person at all.  He or she may not even be seeking forgiveness.  Maybe they’re no longer living.  Maybe they’ll never see life the way you see it and always look at you as if you’re the cracked clay pot and they’re the gold one.  Maybe they’ll always be the kind of person who assumes the worst of you.  That part doesn’t matter when it comes to forgiveness.  I believe that forgiveness is primarily for the person doing the forgiving.

What does it mean to forgive?  I looked it up in the dictionary for the purpose of writing the dictionary definition in my blog and there are a couple of definitions that apply specifically to forgiving an offense against you as opposed to forgiving a financial or other kind of obligation.

FORGIVE
1. To grant pardon for or remission of an offense or debt, to absolve.
2. To cease to feel resentment against.

SO, WHAT DOES HANGING ONTO RESENTMENT DO TO US?

Last night, as I was thinking through this it was pretty clear that I still felt resentment against this person and that my experiences 7 years ago have made me look at him in a totally different way ever since.  When others praised him or spoke highly of him all I could see was arrogance and a nasty manner.  When he was trying to be pleasant in social situations, all I could see was hypocrisy.  After all, he was always pleasant in public, but had been unkind to me in private.    But, was my perspective reality?   I don’t know.  When I called him on his nasty arrogance I tried to explain what I had meant, that I hadn’t even thought what he said I meant, and then said something like, “I don’t believe I deserve what you said or how you said it.”   His response:  “Don’t shoot God’s messenger.”  It was as if he felt that he had not only not misunderstood me but, also, that his manner was completely acceptable… labeling himself as God’s messenger.   I do believe that my later perceptions of him came out of my hanging on to those offenses and letting resentment built up.  Have you ever experienced that?  Resentment can blind a person toward reality.

My goodness.  I got to thinking about myself.  What if I had a bad day and said something I shouldn’t have said.  (I’ve done that before… on more than one occasion.)  Will the person I spoke to think of me in light of that unkindness forever?  I hope not because that’s not who I am in reality.

 WHAT IS THE POINT?

Regardless of the situation, regardless of whether someone is intrinsically unkind and arrogant or sweet, but just had a bad day, forgiveness of offenses against you lays firmly on your own shoulders.  There’s no point in going through life being resentful of others.  You’re the only one who is harmed by hanging on to your resentment.

If you choose not to forgive and let it go, you’re letting that other person rent space in your head… and for what purpose?

Don’t waste any time thinking about it further.   Forgive.  Let it go.  Experience freedom and peace about the situation.

 

Look for an upcoming post going further into forgiveness and why it’s so necessary.

The Flood and the Plumber

I hadn’t realized how long it had been since I had logged in and posted something, let alone answered people who responded to my blogs. It’s so easy to get swept away by the activities in life like one can get swept away by a river. it’s time to be far more intentional…

I woke up just before 4 am this morning. (I’m not a morning person and that certainly wasn’t on purpose.) After laying there for about 15 minutes, I decided to get up and have my quiet time, catch up on Facebook, plan my day, and log into my blog. It has been a very positive start to the day. So, this morning I have a story to tell you.

On Christmas Eve Day I went to put clothes from the washer into the dryer and heard the oddest noise. It sounded like water spraying, but that couldn’t be! I listened closely and opened up the door to the hot water closet. Water was spraying out of one of the bendable copper pipes. How does a copper pipe break when it has been a couple of years since anyone touched it??? (Our landlords installed the water heater.) My husband was gone for the day (shopping with the kids) and wasn’t taking his phone into the stores with him. I couldn’t get ahold of him. There was no shut off valve to the water heater. (Why wasn’t there a shut off valve???!!! I’m not a plumber, but that would be a logical thing to install when one installs a water heater.)

I didn’t have a clue how to stop the water. I called our landlord and, of course, couldn’t reach him. I called every plumber in the book. Most didn’t respond because it was Christmas Eve. A couple said they didn’t have anyone to send over and couldn’t tell me how to shut off the water. Meanwhile, water is spraying from the pipe. I called my sister-in-law (a 45 minute drive away) to see if she could try to reach my husband by phone and let him know what was going on. She suggested I go to the neighbor up the hill. (Now why didn’t I think of that?) I got in the car and drove to his house, telling him I had an emergency and needed help. He came down and checked our well. No cut off valve there. Finally, he told me to shut off all of the breakers because he couldn’t find the cut off valve in any accessible spot. None of the circuit breakers seemed to work, so I just shut the whole house off. THANK GOODNESS, the water stopped spraying.

I was beginning to think we’d have to go through a freezing winter night (or however long it might be before a plumber can come) with no electricity/heat. I also felt badly. Our neighbor is over 80 years old and crawling around under our house to find a shut off valve. He finally found it so I could turn the electricity back on again. I thanked him profusely.

I finally reached my husband and he suggested I call a business associate of his who is a plumber. I did and, bless the man’s heart, as soon as he got my voice mail (later that night), he called and said he’d be there first thing in the morning. He took time from his family’s Christmas morning activities to fix the problem and then came back a week or so later to put shut off valves in appropriate places.

Then this last week, we had problems. It turns out there was another leak, but this time under the house. The landlord and his wife came (he has a 2 or so hour drive) to fix the problem themselves. So, all day Saturday they were working on it. With everything they did, another part of the plumbing would burst. They kept going back and forth to Lowes to pick up more supplies. But, it was finally fixed.

It turns out it wasn’t fixed. For the third time since Christmas Eve, we are without water. Yesterday before dinner we lost all water pressure. My husband went under the house and there was a river under there. The plumbing the landlord had fixed broke. We got in touch with him and he called the same plumber who was so willing to respond quickly at Christmas. So, the plumber will be coming this morning to professionally fix the plumbing. What a blessing that he is so responsive. (In the meantime, there are half washed dishes in the dishwasher and soaked clothes in my washer. We’re pouring water we’ve bought into the toilet tanks so that they can be flushed and are brushing our teeth in drinking water.) I am sincerely hoping this is the end of it, but the house is 19 years old. So, I’m wondering what else will happen.

I am determined, however, that no matter the circumstances, this will be a good day! And I wish the same for you.

Going to the City

We live a 12-minute-drive from the closest city.  The word city is relative in people’s minds.  Folks like me who spent years in places like Vancouver, San Diego County, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, New York or any other big city… well, we might call this a very, very small town, indeed.  However, its articles of incorporation as a city were filed in 1855.  So, a city it is.  (As a point of reference, the entire population of our little city, according to the latest census, is equal to the membership of the church I attended in San Diego County.)  For the purposes of this little post, I shall call this a “town” and the closest bigger city a “city”.

Our little town has its own charm, but it is missing the conveniences of the city.  Many of the people I know go to the city to see a doctor, go to stores like Costco, drop off at the Good Will or Salvation Army, go shopping in a mall, go to organic food stores, or to even have a choice of restaurants at which to eat.   (The selection in our town is very small, although slowly growing.)

The closest larger city from our house is 45 minutes away… driving to where we want to go in that city takes longer.  Most of the big shopping we need to do is done there and certainly, if we want to do a good deal of organic shopping, we need to go in to the city.  So, we have to save up and combine all errands that are city-related to do in one day.  Unfortunately, it is often an all-day proposition.  Today was a “going to the city” day.

It’s been a LONG day.  I’m so tired right now.  So, tonight we’ll simply have polish sausage and potato soup with toast for dinner.  It’s the easiest thing I can think of with the ingredients I have on hand.  (It’s simmering right now… potatoes and polish sausage cut into bite sized pieces and thrown into chicken stock with diced carrots, diced onions, peas and corn.  I also added a bit of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  The stock I’m using has no gluten or MSG in it, but has big flavor and doesn’t need a lot of seasoning.  The sausage and veggies will flavor it up nicely.  In the meantime, as soon as I’ve finished writing this I’m going to sit down and start watching a Christmas movie.  I’m not going to do one more thing tonight… except dishes.

The Adventures of Owning a Puppy

Day 2 at our house

Several months ago my sons and I were driving up a highway near our home when we saw two little puppies dragging themselves along the road.  They were skin and bones.  There were no houses close by.     I stopped the car and got out.  One of the puppies saw me and made a dash into the undergrowth in the woods by the road.  I couldn’t get to him.  But, the other puppy looked like he didn’t even have the energy to do that.  He hurried away, but I just talked to him in a soft, gentle voice so he stopped and turned to look at me.  Little by little I got closer, talking to him the whole time.  When I got close enough I crouched down closer to his level and held my hand out, gently talking.  He came close and I picked him up.

We put him in the car, drove home, and put him in the fenced in part of our back yard.   We didn’t have any dogs.  The only food I had was cat food.  I put some in a bowl and while he was scarfing that up, I called the vet.  They let me come in that afternoon and gave him an examination.  The vet said he was severely malnourished.  (When they did a test for worms, there was nothing in his intestine to even do a test.  He hadn’t eaten in who knows how long.)  The vet thought he was around 12 weeks old that first day.

Day 1 — 05-13-13

We came back home armed with puppy food and snacks, toys, a collar and leash, and medication.  After such a traumatic day (being “captured”, going to a strange home, visiting the vet and all that riding in the car), the puppy ate and immediately fell asleep in a box lined with a comfortable blanket.  We didn’t know if we were going to find a pet recue/shelter for him or keep him ourselves at that point.

It took about three days of eating and getting his energy up before he actually started playing like a puppy.  He was a tiny thing, but the vet said to feed him four cups of food a day.  Wow!  I spread it out throughout the day so he wouldn’t get bloated and be uncomfortable.

We decided to keep him.  My husband wanted him to be an outdoor dog, but I told him that I can’t be out in the heat a lot and he needs to be with us in order to be trained.  So, I brought him into the house for 10 minutes at a time.  Sigh.  Every time we had him in the house (without fail) he’d pee on the carpet.  We couldn’t get him to pee on the pee pads.  So, I had my handy dandy steamer carpet cleaner ready for accidents… and used it often.

(By the way, I saw the other puppy several times and each time I’d try to coax him close, he’d go into the underbrush where I couldn’t get to him.  Then he disappeared and I haven’t seen him since.  I’m hoping he disappeared because some other family took him in.)

Taking a Nap

He was used to being an outdoor dog.  But, in order to house train him, we had to have him inside a little more than I was allowing.  His dog house is inside the screened in porch.  But, he seemed to prefer to sleep on the chairs or sofa out there as soon as he was big enough to climb up.  Otherwise, he liked the fluffy blanket behind and under the love seat.  (Everything is dirty from his digging in the yard and then coming and sitting all over the furniture.  It all needs a good cleaning.  He’s also chewed our furniture and ruined it.  I suppose this is one of the no so pleasant parts of having a puppy.  I’ll be glad when he stops chewing on everything.)

My son was totally enamored with the puppy.  He spent practically every waking moment that he could with him… and some sleeping moments.  But, then the puppy started to grow and get aggressive.  He’d growl and bark at my son, going right up to him and acting like he was trying to herd him and control him.  It’s almost as if he was saying to my son, “No you can’t go there.”  Or, “No, you can’t do that.”  So, we have had to work on that behavior.  I talked with the vet about that and she said that was normal behavior.  Hmmm… it’s not normal to me.  I don’t like any dog growling and barking at my children, even if his tail is wagging while doing it.

He also bites and nips at me, dashing at me to bite and jumping away.  But, the whole time he’s doing it, his tail is wagging like he’s trying to play.  From what I read, this is also normal aggressive behavior and has to be trained out of him.

Second day we had him

He’s a mix.  The vet initially thought beagle and fox hound.  But, he’s now bigger than either of those dogs.  His face looks a bit like a lab.  He also has very big eyes and is now about 45 pounds at 7 months old.  When something gets his attention, he lifts up his right, front leg (like a pointer) and his tail points… sort of…  Instead of going straight back, it curls up over his back with the tip pointing toward what he’s looking at and it’s very cute.

This little guy, sweet as he looks is stubborn as a mule.  He knows commands.  But, he only obeys when he wants to do so.  For example, if he knows I have treats in my hand and I say sit, he’ll immediately sit.  But, if I don’t have a snack in my hand, he simply is not going to obey unless he feels like it.   He knows come, stay, sit, etc.  He also knows “drop it” as he gets into things he shouldn’t and we have to take them away.  “Down” is another one because he keeps jumping on us.  All of these behaviors need to be addressed and we’re still trying to figure out what works when a puppy is stubborn and doesn’t WANT to obey.

Sept 20 2013
Oops, I woke him up

The nights are getting cooler and I just don’t like the idea of him being out there in the winter.  So, we bought a crate and, at 7 months, started crate training.  (By the way, he is now house-trained and spends a lot more time in the house.)  We have cats.  We can’t just let him roam in the house at night because he barks and barks at them.  For two nights I was exhausted as he would whine and cry.  About 2 in the morning, I’d let him outside.   On the third night, again around 2 am, in desperation I put a cover over his crate.  He settled down.  So, ever since then, when I tell him “night, night” I cover the crate and he sleeps through the night.

Little by little he’s settling down.  There are plenty of things to still work on, but we are discovering together what it’s like to own a puppy and have to train him.  Hopefully, we’ll be training him and not the other way around.

Finishing the Race Well

I have a friend who has been battling cancer for 5 years. Through it all, she has had an amazing, godly attitude.  She has touched the hearts of many people and impacted their lives.  Any struggles she feels, she takes it to the Lord.  Any anxiety, she lays at His feet.  Concerns for her family who will be left behind are brought to God and left with Him because she knows that she and those she loves are in His hands.

She looks forward to seeing God face-to-face. She looks forward to meeting her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  She knows, without a doubt, where she is going when she dies and that gives peace in the midst of pain.  And her life and testimony have been incredible through this whole ordeal.  There is no fear.

I haven’t had the opportunity to see her for some time now, but I wanted to share her blog entry with you because I believe it is incredibly important.  It is powerful and rich!

Running to Home Base

Do you know what will happen to you when you die?  Will you be with God or forever separated from Him?  Have you made your choice?   We never know what will happen in life.  It’s important to be prepared.

Are you going through a struggle?  Are you in the midst of a battle with cancer or some other disease?  Are you able to take it to God and rest in His hand?  I hope that this blog entry is a huge encouragement to you.

 

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!!

This year has flown by.  It’s hard to believe that in just a few days it will be 2013.  Once again I ask, “Where has this year gone?!!”

In the last several years I have chosen NOT to make New Year’s resolutions.  It just seems pointless because I would make resolutions that I could keep for a month or two and then it would phase out.  No… I’m not undisciplined.  I just would take too big a bite (have too many things to work on at once) and not be able to chew that bite.

So, once again… I will not be making any New Year’s resolutions for 2013.  But, I have some general directions in which I want to head.   I have decided that I need to get rid of some old habits and create new habits.  It has been said that it only takes 30 days of doing something and it will become a habit.  I submit that there’s a lot more to it than that.  Habits are deeply ingrained.  Anyone can will themselves to behave in a certain way for one or two months, but if there isn’t an internal change and a change in perspective, they’ll go right back to the old, deeply ingrained habits.   So, I will be working on changing my perspective this year.   But, there are two areas in which I want to make improvements in 2013.

Weight Loss

Last year I started off the year with a bang.  I started losing weight and did quite well until I hit a plateau and couldn’t seem to get any further.  Then I got discouraged even though I was telling myself (and my readers) not to get discouraged.  I gained back some of the weight that I had lost and have been steady at that new weight for the past five months.  I still need to lose a LOT of weight in order to feel comfortable.  And…  I will.  But, I am going to go about it differently than I did last year.

Being Organized

I have discovered something about myself… something I didn’t like in my husband.  I always accused him of being an all or nothing kind of guy.   I would ask, “Isn’t there some happy medium?  Does it have to be one extreme or the other?”  Here’s just one example:  If he was working on getting healthy, he would overdo it by walking for two or more hours a day.  There was no 30-45 minutes of fast-paced walking for him.  That two or three hours would dig into his schedule and soon went by the wayside because it took too much time and he had so much else to do.   (He’s a pretty amazing guy, by the way.  I wouldn’t trade him for another model for anything in the world.  I love him dearly and he’s stuck with me.  )

It turns out, I have been an “all or nothing” kind of gal.  I would go at something with everything in me, and if I didn’t reach my goal I’d get discouraged.  What I’ve learned in 2012 is that it’s OK to take baby steps.  It’s OK to work on part of a program instead of taking on an entire program.  One of my links (to the right at the bottom) is to the Fly Lady.  She is amazingly organized.  I, on the other hand, have always been a “fly by the seat of my pants”, impromtu, “planning and sticking with a calendar is a pain in the back-side” kind of personality.  I’m not one of these people who will account for every minute of my time.  Nor will I set up a schedule that says, “for 15 minutes I’ll do this, and then I’ll do that for the next 15 minutes.”  That just doesn’t work for me.  That approach takes all of the joy out of anything that I do.  In the business world it took a lot of effort to make sure that I was organized enough to do well at my job… and do well, I did.  I always got excellent reviews.  So, I know it’s possible because I was able to control that natural tendency to be disorganized.  But, I also did the work in the way best suited to me so long as the results best suited my boss.  Thankfully, I always had bosses that allowed me that freedom.

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase.
Just take the first step. ” –Martin Luther King Jr.

Well, with the Fly Lady program I tried to do EVERYTHING all at once (despite the fact that she says to take it a step at a time).  I had a great, organized house… for a very short while.  And, while I was doing that I had no time to myself.  I was always working, never sitting down and watching TV or taking time to talk with my husband.  There was too much to do if I was going to do it all.  With everything going on, I couldn’t keep it up.

This year I will take just a few things and do them until they are so habitual that I don’t have to think about them.  Then I can add something else… take the next step… baby steps, as the Fly Lady calls them.  See her Baby Steps web page.  It’s a great place to start if you’re wanting to get the chaos out of your home over the next few months.

Getting Started

So this is where I am right now.  I am going to sit down before the 1st and write down what my priorities are, listing the first five only.  (I can tell you that my highest priority is my family.)  Then I’m going to set a couple goals for myself under each priority and start working on those goals using baby steps.  So, based on those priorities, I can make decisions/choices about my activities.  If someone asks me to participate in something, will it help or hinder my goals under my priority list?  If it takes me away from my goals or adds stress to my life (beause I would be saying yes to something for which I don’t really have time to give my best effort), I would need to say, “Thank you so much for thinking about me, but I won’t be able to do that this year.  I just won’t have the time to put my best effort into it.”

My Hope For You

I hope that, instead of just making a bunch of New Year’s Resolutions, you’ll take time to think through your prioritites and determine whether those resolutions will add stress to your life or make you feel like a failure because you don’t have time or energy to complete them once you start.   Only take on that which will help you reach your goals.  Only set goals for those things/situations that are your highest priorities for the year.  And most of all, make it a…

Happy New Year!

Happy new year

Tae Kwon Do

My son has been taking Tae Kwon Do for 10 months now.  For the last four months I’ve been thinking, “That looks like great exercise!”  I’ve wanted to join the class, but didn’t have the nerve.  All these young “whipper snappers” (including my son) are flipping over on the mat, doing 80 push ups, 80 crunches, and so many other things that I didn’t think I could do.  They’re going through their forms, leaning move after move.  I was rather concerned that I might end up on my back side trying to do some of that.

English: Rhee Tae Kwon-Do self-defence drill i...
Tae Kwon-Do self-defence drill in May 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, there are two families who have joined the class and are doing Tae Kwon Do together as a family.  My son has wanted me to join him.  One couple goes to church with me and they’re doing it as a family with their son.  That finally convinced me to try.

Thursday was my first day.  My son is loving this.  He’s a yellow belt who is close to getting his green belt and I, his Mommy and home school teacher, am just a beginner.  I don’t even have a rank… no cool white outfit, no belt level yet.  I’m simply working toward getting my white belt.   He can teach me.  He’s pretty excited about it.  (And, I have to say he is a good teacher… very patient with Mommy, noticing wrong stances and showing me how to do it right in a very nice way.)

Well, I had decided to see if I could even do push-ups before the class.  My legs are strong, but my arms are rather weak.  I managed to do three.  Great!  I’m going to look like a fool.  But, I had paid for the class and told my son I was joining him.  He was so excited so I couldn’t back out and the good thing is that everyone lines up by belt rank and age.  So, black and brown belts are at the front.  I am way at the back behind the yellow and white belts.  No one can see me doing the pushups because they’re all focusing on their own pushups, not facing toward me.

I surprised myself.  I actually managed to do 13 pushups while everyone else was flying through theirs and I did every single crunch that everyone else did… all 80 of them with legs in different positions.   I could hear my son (in the row in front of me) giggling, but I whispered to him after the warm ups that I had done 13 push-ups.  He was so excited for me that he shouted out, “Mommy did 13 push-ups!  Good job, Mommy.”  That put a smile on my face.  He has such a sweet and caring spirit.  OK… I didn’t have to flip over on the mat.  But, on Tuesday I will have to flip over my shoulder, roll down my back and land on my feet again.  I can see myself gracefully doing it in my head.  But, reality will probably be a very different thing.  I think I’ll stick with the graceful image that I have in my mind.  🙂  Maybe my body will follow suit.

Tae Kwon Do is fun.  I have a great instructor… a seven degree black belt who is also very patient and does a great job of explaining why we are doing what we’re doing, how to do it without injuring ourselves, etc.  I was right.  It’s excellent exercise.  As a beginner the class is 45 minutes.  When I get my white belt it will be 1 hour and yellow belt and above is 1 1/4 hours long.  Adding two lessons and five home practices to my routine will help me with my weight loss goals.

I highly encourage any of you who are reading this to sign up for a Tae Kwon Do class.   Go for it.  If I can do it (being someone who is overweight with back problems and headaches), you can!  My son told me, “Don’t be nervous, Mommy.  Just do your best!”  Great advice.

Have a blessed day.