Category Archives: Inspiration

Discover Challenge: “Forgive and Forget”

I have received many pieces of advice in my almost sixty years of living here on earth, and not only that, but I was raised in a family of seven children. And believe me, my mother and father had plenty of advice to give out during the time that I was living at home – not only to me, but to my other six siblings! I heard it all – from “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” to “Treat others as you want them to treat you,” which I must admit is one of my all-time favorites. And in those days, sometimes the advice was given simultaneously with a spanking, so you never forgot it!

But I must say that the best advice I have ever received came from my dear mother. Because there were seven of us children, naturally we didn’t all get along all the time. We had our little arguments and we had our big arguments, too. And of course there were hurt feelings. And our mother told us that the best thing we could ever do would be to forgive and forget and not to ever hold a grudge. She said that when you hold a grudge it just festers inside you and makes you dark inside and all you are really doing is hurting yourself and the person you are holding a grudge against. But if you forgive the other person it will heal that grudge inside you and make you lighter and you will feel better.

Some years later after my mother passed away, I felt as though one of my sisters had done something wrong against me and we didn’t speak for quite a while. I was holding quite a grudge against her and I was finding it very difficult to forgive her. I knew in my heart that what I was doing was wrong, but something was holding me back from doing the right thing. I just couldn’t forget what she had done to me.

It was the day after Thanksgiving, and it was our tradition to decorate the house for Christmas. As I was unpacking a box of decorations, I found my Mom’s caroler bells. This was my special family heirloom. At that moment, her words “Forgive and forget” rang loud and clear through my head. I knew then that the healing inside me had begun. I could feel the grudge that I had been holding against my sister begin to slowly melt away.

I called her, we made amends, and things have been good between us ever since.

Forgive and forget. And never hold a grudge. It will only eat you up.

 

This is in response to the Discover Challenge: A Piece of Advice

 

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My Temple

 

my temple

When I think of my body as a temple, it gives me pause to consider how much care and attention it truly deserves, for I believe that is what my Creator intended. He would not have allowed me to inhabit this temple if He did not think I would care for it in the manner that He intended. There are many different parts to my temple, and each one deserves my ministrations.

~ My head is the center of my intelligence. It holds the ideas which are borne from my creativity and imagination. It conjures up all the dreams that I dare to dream. And it contains every thought which directs my actions.

~ My eyes are the windows through which I see the world and all the beauty that it has to offer. My eyes can also shut out the world if I desire to do so. And if I wish, I can shield them from the ugliness and hatred which sometimes resides within the souls of mankind.

~ My ears are the amplifiers of the sounds surrounding me. With my ears, I can hear all the sounds that the world has to offer, such as the birds when they sing their morning song, the wind as it whistles through the trees, and the rain as it pounds on my roof during a heavy shower.

~ My mouth is my instrument that allows me to communicate with the world. It helps me to grow closer to those around me through the art of conversation. With my mouth I can speak volumes or whisper sweet nothings. I can also sing praises to my God and King.

~ My nose allows me to smell the delicious aroma of freshly baked cookies, the aromatic scent of pine trees in the forest, or the sweet fragrance of a newborn baby’s head.

~ My hands allow me to touch those that I love. With my hands I can tend to my loved ones when they are ill, I can cook the meals that sustain us, I can write the stories and poetry that I love to write, I can create the music that I so dearly love by playing the piano, and I can reach out to others in need.

~ My feet allow me to walk the path of life, no matter where it takes me, following wherever my God will lead me, trusting in Him and Him alone.

~ My heart and my soul are the center of my being, the part of me in which faith, hope, and love reside – faith in my God who sustains me, hope for a better tomorrow, and love for my family, my friends, and for all mankind. This is the very best part of me.

My temple is my own, given to me by my Creator, and only He can take it away from me. Until He does, I will reside in it, and I have vowed to love it and care for it until the day comes that I must leave it and finally enter my heavenly home.

Then You Found Me

Prompt:

FOUND

 

I was
broken,
hurting,
and full of despair.

I was
lonely,
isolated,
and desperate for company.

I was
hopeless,
despondent,
and needing a purpose.

Then you found me…

I am whole again,
no longer alone,
and full of hope.

Tomorrow will be better.

 

 

poetry 101 rehab

 

This post is presented as part of Poetry 101 Rehab  If you’d like to be part of this great activity, please click here:

Poetry 101 Rehab

 

 

 

 

Age is a Work of Art

I enjoy the summer with its plentiful sunshine, warm breezes, and gardens overflowing with green plants and colorful flowers. I love to sit on my backyard deck and listen to the birds as they sing their cheerful songs from the branches of the trees overhead and watch the squirrels as they chatter among themselves and scamper through the yard. It’s often a welcome relief from the cold winter months of Minnesota. It’s also a time for family gatherings like graduations, weddings, picnics, and backyard barbecues.cake with candles 1

There’s one other event that the summer brings to our family, and that’s birthday celebrations. During this time, our family celebrates three birthdays in quick succession, each one only a week apart. And my birthday happens to be one of them.

Usually I enjoy celebrating birthdays. It has never really bothered me what age I was. I always believed that age was just a number, a state of mind, and that you were only as old as you feel.

But this summer I’ll turn 59. For some reason, the thought of turning 59 bothers me. I suppose it’s because it means that next year I’ll be 60. My apologies to all the sexagenarians out there, but 60 sounds old to me! I still can’t get used to the idea that by all standards, I’m already considered a senior citizen. I don’t feel like a senior citizen. As far as I’m concerned, my brain still thinks like the 25 to 30-year-old woman who I once was. And when I look at my reflection in the mirror, I can see that I truly don’t have that many wrinkles and I can only find three or four gray hairs. As a matter of fact, when people find out that I’m 58, they always tell me that they would never have guessed that I was that old.

But maybe I should look at this from a different point of view. Perhaps I should leave my emotions out of the picture and instead of thinking about all the negative aspects to aging, maybe I should consider all the benefits to growing older.

One of my favorite quotes is by Stanislaw Lec and it goes like this: “Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.”

I think that says it all. It’s true that when you’re young, you have the whole future before you. You have high hopes for tomorrow and so many dreams to chase. There’s so much to look forward to and you never give a second thought to growing old. But as we grow older, as we mature, I believe that we have so much more within ourselves than we had in our youth.

For instance, we have the knowledge and the experience to live our lives even smarter and better than when we were younger. We know what to do because there’s a good chance that we’ve been in similar circumstances before. We make wiser decisions and hopefully, smarter choices. Not only that, but we can help others to benefit from our experiences – those we love such as our children and even our grandchildren if we’re lucky.

Our emotions are more finely tuned and usually we can deal with those emotions better (not all the time, but most of the time). We can enjoy other people’s company more because of the experience we’ve gained from our past relationships.

And I think we can love others more fully and more deeply than ever before. And that’s the best part of all.

Do you remember that old jingle: “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better?” I believe it’s true.

So maybe turning 59 won’t be so bad after all. And before I blow out those birthday candles, I’ll think I’ll make the wish that next year my 60th birthday will be even better.

 

Where Your Treasure Lies

 

Where your treasure lies 100

 

What lies in Heaven? you may ask.

The answer’s not an easy task.

But ponder this before you part:

“Your treasure lies where there’s your heart.”

 

The heart is in the midst of all,

And we must beckon to its call.

Do you choose riches from the start?

“Your treasure lies where there’s your heart.”

 

A life of wealth has such appeal,

But you must choose to love with zeal.

This wisdom to you I impart:

“Your treasure lies where there’s your heart.”

 

The most important thing is love.

We learned this from our God above.

From ev’ryone you’re set apart.

“Your treasure lies where there’s your heart.”

 

Perform good deeds just as God said,

Do acts of love – you’ll be ahead,

For loving hearts are works of art.

“Your treasure lies where there’s your heart.”

 

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [Mt. 6:19-21]

 

Joy in Suffering

joy 1

As you read the title of this piece, you may be thinking to yourself: How can there be joy in suffering? It is a contradiction in terms. I’d like to tell you that there can be joy in suffering. I know because I have experienced such joy in my life. Please let me explain.

I have been medically disabled from working since 2004. My problems started out small, and then steadily grew in proportion. I was diagnosed with medical conditions, one after another. I have many medical problems but I will not bore you by listing all of them here. Suffice it to say, I suffer every day. I suffer from pain; I suffer from depression; and I suffer from loneliness.

But I do have joy.

How can this be, you may ask? I am most eager to answer this question.

Before I became ill, I was a full-time working nurse, wife, and mother. I didn’t have time for any outside activities of my own. It was all I could do to come home from work each day and at the same time take care of my husband and children. But I was happy. I loved my life.

Then I became ill. Suddenly I was no longer the caretaker; I was the one being cared for. There are days when I’m in so much pain that I can’t even get out of bed. I’m confined for long periods of time to my bed or reclining chair.

I used to feel sorry for myself until one day I realized that I should be rejoicing instead of crying.

I’ve come to understand that God has blessed me with the most loving and understanding husband I could have ever asked for. I realized that when my husband took his wedding vows – the ones which state: “in sickness and in health” – he took those vows very seriously. He has proven it by taking on the roles of nurse, helper, friend, confidante, and lover.

Because I couldn’t work any more, our financial situation was in dire straits. So my hard-working husband took it upon himself to find a second part-time job just to help make ends meet. My dear husband works so hard that sometimes it makes me cry. But he never complains about it. He has never blamed me for it, even though at times I have blamed myself.

My husband also does all of the household chores and again, he does not complain. He does the cooking and the laundry, all without complaint. When our children were still in school, he was the one who attended the parent-teacher conferences. He was the one who drove our children to whatever practices or activities they were involved in for the day. He took my place at all the necessary social functions which I could not attend. He has done all these things, besides making sure that I have everything I need – sometimes giving those things to me before I even realized that I needed them myself.

Yes, my husband has brought me so much joy!

Our children have also been the bearers of joy for me. When I could not attend their school functions, they understood and never once did they complain about me not going. They only reassured me that it was all right, that they understood, and that they loved me. My children helped more around the house – doing things that I could no longer do. They have shown me nothing but love and understanding.

Yes, my children have brought me so much joy!

Since I’ve been ill, I’ve received so many telephone calls from my sisters and friends who check up on me, making sure that I’m okay, asking me what my needs are, and volunteering to fulfill those needs. Often times they’ll visit and spend time with me, just because they want to cheer me.

Yes, my sisters and friends have brought me so much joy!

Shortly after I became ill and was homebound, my husband thought it might be a good idea if I had a pet to keep me company during the day while I was alone so he bought me a little toy poodle. Her name is Lucy and she is my ever-faithful companion. She helped me through those long, lonely days and I believe she even helps to make me feel better. She always manages to put a smile on my face even when I am feeling low.

Yes, my little dog Lucy has brought me so much joy!

Because I have lots of time on my hands, I have been able to do some things that I never had time for when I was working. One of those things is writing. My illness has caused me to remember how much enjoyment I used to derive from writing. I’ve also discovered that writing is a wonderful form of therapy because it helps when I write down my thoughts, my fears, my hopes, my dreams, and my memories.

Yes, writing has brought me so much joy!

I have also discovered that when I’m in severe pain, if I pray and speak with my Lord, then my pain is lessened. I have come to know my God better than I have ever known Him before. To be with our Heavenly Father in prayer is a blessing.

Yes, God has brought me so much joy!

As a matter of fact, I have more joy in my life now than I ever did before.

So you see, there can be joy in suffering! You just have to know where to look for it, be grateful that you found it, appreciate it once you have it, and never, ever let it go.

 

 

 

 

The Cellist

She was thirteen and just starting middle school. She felt out-of-place and disliked. It was plain to see that she had no friends. There was no one who would talk to her, no one who would eat with her during lunch time, no one who would walk with her to class, and no one who would sit with her on the bus. It seemed that no one liked her.

She struggled with homework and she had a difficult time when it came to taking tests. She felt like she couldn’t learn anything, couldn’t remember anything, and couldn’t do anything right. No one understood her, cared what happened to her, and it seemed as though no one even knew that she existed. And she felt sad as she wondered: Is this the way that it’s meant to be?

Then one day it happened. There was something new in her life, something exciting, something just for her.

A cello.

This magnificent instrument entered her life and she began to learn how to play it. She practiced and practiced and then practiced some more. It wasn’t long before she became a member of the school orchestra. Yes, it was wonderful, and her world became a better place.

Her cello became her constant companion and her best friend. This friend was always there for her, understood her, and never let her down. When she played her cello, she could be herself and everything was all right.

She began to make friends at school – friends who played in the orchestra with her. These friends introduced her to more friends. Soon, friends were calling her at home, walking with her to class, eating lunch with her, and riding with her on the bus. And she knew that life was good. She was filled with happiness as she thought: Maybe this is the way that it’s meant to be!

Three years passed and she entered high school. All the old anxieties came rushing back to her. She was sure it would be the same thing all over again – no one to understand her, no one to care about her, and no friends except for her faithful cello.

She auditioned for and subsequently won a place in the concert orchestra, which was quite a feat for a freshman because freshmen rarely were allowed to play in the concert orchestra. Surely luck played a part in her placement. It never occurred to her that it was her talent which had secured her position.

Then something wonderful happened. The other kids told her that she was good; as a matter of fact, they said that she was really good. As before, she made new friends, and those friends introduced her to more friends.

By the time she was a junior, she was the first chair in the cello section – the chair reserved only for the best cellist. At last she was really someone, someone of status, someone who played an important part in the orchestra. And she knew that life was good. With a feeling of great joy and hope she marveled: Yes! Maybe this really is the way that it’s meant to be!

Then came her senior year, the year that every teenager awaits with eager anticipation. It was a wonderful year; indeed a memorable year, and at the final orchestra concert, she and her best friend – her beloved cello – played a solo. She played for an audience of 500 people or more. The piece she played was a difficult one, but she played it perfectly, and her best friend – her cello – did not let her down.stephcello4

When she finished, there was silence. Oh no! she thought in dismay. They didn’t like it!

Then it happened – a thunderous applause! All those people were clapping for her! One by one, everyone in the auditorium stood up and applauded. She could hardly believe it – a standing ovation! This was a rare thing indeed! But it really was not that difficult to understand why this happened. The audience recognized the talent she had, they appreciated the beautiful way she had played, and they gave her the credit that she truly deserved.

She knew then that she had found her life’s work.

And finally she realized: I know this is the way that it’s meant to be.

 

* Author’s Note:  At the present time (May of 2015), our youngest daughter Stephanie has just completed her first year of studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison where she is pursuing her master’s degree in music performance on the cello. Her dream of being a professional cellist and some day performing with a symphony orchestra burns brightly.

 

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