The Power of Forgiveness

1385621_3516175440282_2062940749_nWho deserves your forgiveness?  Do you forgive people easily or hold onto whatever hurt they caused you?  How long do you hold onto it?  Why?

As you read this post, remember that you and I are not all that different.  I’m not sharing this story so you think I have huge self control or anything like that.  I have just come to realize a few things about life and myself that perhaps other people have just not come to realize yet.  Life is a learning process and is gradual.  We all learn things in our own way and in our own time.

The other day I was reading my Sister-In-Law’s blog post and it really resonated with me.  I wanted to share my response to her post with you (I have edited it so it becomes complete as a stand alone post however.)

If would encourage you to check out her blog as well.  Here is the link: Mastering Forgiveness | Peggy Bell Nolan.

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On the 5th of November, 2012, I noticed that it was getting late and my 17 year old son, Austin, was still out with friends.  I was getting concerned about the time since he had school and work the next day.  I tried his phone and it went to voice mail.  Perhaps he was ignoring me.  I left a message that it was late and I would like him to head home, a message he would not actually hear until more than a week later.

About :30 minutes after I left the voice mail there was a knock at the door.  I answered and it was a police officer.  “Ma’am, is your son Austin Bell?”  My heart sank.  I don’t remember answering him.  “He was in an accident and the charge nurse needs you to call the hospital so they can get permission to transport him.”  He couldn’t give me any other details except that I needed to call the hospital.  I shut the door on the policeman and yelled for my husband as I collapsed onto the stairs.  I remember my oldest son staying out with the cop, us quickly grabbing a few things and the three of us heading out the door as we called the hospital.

I was extremely grateful to learn that he would eventually be OK but he needed to be transported to a hospital in Boston where they specialize in youth medicine.  He had a compound fracture of both bones in his left leg, below the knee and it needed to be reset.  The hospital he was in didn’t specialize in that.  It took us more than an hour to get to the hospital, then another :15 to find him.  When we walked in, the first thing he said was, “Mom, please don’t cry.  That won’t be good for either of us.”  His face was twice it’s normal size, swollen from all the glass that was embedded in his face and all the open lacerations from it and he was wearing a neck collar,  I will probably never be able to lose that image in my head.

I stayed at the hospital until he was released many days later, except for a 3 hour break to drive home and vote before returning to be by his side.

I learned Austin had been a back seat passenger in a car driven by a junior operator who illegally had people in her vehicle, unbeknownst to the passengers that it was illegal for her to drive with them in the car, and she drove into a tree.  She could have killed all 4 of them,  He had his seat belt on but just before the accident the car hit a bump in the road and the driver was driving too fast.  When they hit the bump, Austin grabbed the back of the seat in front of him, preventing the seat belt from locking.  The car swerved into another lane and was headed toward an oncoming car.  She jerked the car back into her lane, causing Austin to move from the area of the back seat where he was toward the middle of the backseat.  As almost with the same motion, the car was stopped dead when it hit a tree head on and during the impact he smashed his leg into the metal bar of the drivers seat and caught all the glass from the windshield that was deflected from the two front airbags, directly into his face.

I had never met the driver before and when he told me about the accident, I didn’t even know who she was.  I knew most of Austin’s friends, at least by name.  The moment she called him on the hospital phone to see how his surgery went, (He had a rod inserted into his leg to stabilize the bones to help them grow back together,) I told her that I was not angry with her.  I knew I couldn’t be.  If I was, that anger would consume me and where I needed to be emotionally was there for my son.  It was the only way we could heal quickly through that.

Austin didn’t need me to be angry, neither did she.  She already blamed herself and we later found out that a lot of the students in her school turned against her because of the accident.  She didn’t need me to add to that.  There wasn’t alcohol or drugs involved, just poor judgement.

I remember the first time I met her.  She had come to our house after he was out of the hospital.  It was hard for me.  I realized the forgiveness had not been 100% but I didn’t let on.  I reminded myself that it would not be good for any of us.  She was still healing too.  She shattered every bone in her face and had to have reconstructive surgery.  She hugged me and cried when she left.  I later received an incredible text from her thanking me for letting her into my home and welcoming her and she stressed how healing it had been for her.

Why do I share such a graphic story?  I’m hoping this may help you in some way.  I feel it is very important to forgive.  It’s not about the other person, it’s not about payback for something they did.  YOU don’t need to hold a grudge.  It is truly damaging to your own health much more than theirs.  The reason?  YOU need to live with these feelings of hatred or the feeling you need to get them back for whatever they did, a need for revenge.

It was easier to forgive this when it was done immediately. I didn’t let the negativity consume me before hand.  It was easier to move past this.  Austin is healed now and can actually run again. Tonight is his first night trying MMA and Kickboxing, 11 months after the accident/surgery.  Time healed the bones in his leg, the glass is gone, leaving him with only a few scars on his face and leg.  There are a few things he can’t do, but not many.  His recovery took about 8 months and he missed a great deal of his senior year.  He too, forgave, or perhaps, he never even blamed in the first place.  He was an inspiration through this.  This accident made him a stronger person and gave him the chance to prove who he was and just how strong his character is.  We would never want to repeat it but are grateful for what came out of it.  His recovery would not have been as quick and the emotional healing would have taken much longer if he had chosen not to forgive.  He could have chosen a “pity me” attitude but he didn’t.  He looked at this as what it was “an accident,” something he had no control over and could not change once it had happened.

I remember him saying, “there’s nothing I can do about it, might as well make the best of it.”

Forgiveness is for you.  It helps you heal and move on to a happier, healthier life.  You deserve that.  Holding on to the negativity can send you into depression and make you hold onto the initial feelings of emotional hurt and pain you felt from the situation.  You will re-live it over and over again.  Your ultimate goal should be to move on from whatever it is.

Are you ready to heal?  Are you ready to forgive?  If you don’t know where to start and talking to the person is not an option, write them a letter, releasing them from what happened, releasing your feelings of it and letting them know that you will be moving on, no longer carrying the pain of the situation with you.  Whether you send it or not is up to you.

Thanks for your thought provoking post that inspired this one Peggy!

If you are interested in reading more that will help you reduce stress and increase happiness, see the sidebar for more titles and categories.  Feel free to visit my other blog,Where The Ghosts Live – The Haunted United States.

Missy Bell

How Well Do You Know Yourself

Have you ever caught yourself labeling yourself in a negative way?  I did that this weekend.  It has been a struggle for me, even after all these years.  I had gastric bypass almost 6 years ago.  It seems like yesterday and yet, other times it feels like it’s been a lifetime.

I used to be about 160 pounds heavier than I am now and very inactive.  I was one who would drive around the parking lot and wait for someone to leave so I could park closer.  It was more than that though.  I would actually think about every step I had to take.  It consumed me.  I remember Christmas shopping being a nightmare.  I could never find a spot close enough and then, I knew if there was more than one store I had to go to, I would have to walk too far.  I hated walking, let alone exercising.  That was completely out of the question.

Even after the bypass I wasn’t very good with activity.  It became a lot easier and I did it but I didn’t like it.  I used to roller skate when I was young, EVERY DAY, sometimes for 8 hours total.  It wasn’t as if I always hated exercise.

I seem to fall back into the same patterns as before the bypass at times.  Don’t get me wrong, I can’t eat like I used to, but I find myself eating too much for my body to handle at times.  I know better.  I also find myself getting complacent, lazy.  This is where it gets bad.  I am very big into teaching others the benefit of watching their self-talk and staying positive and being good to themselves but I seem to forget to take my own advice sometimes.

This weekend my husband and I went to Killington Mountain.  I’ve been upset all week about it.  Allow me to explain; two weeks ago, he and I participated in the Spartan Sprint at the mountain.  This was our second Spartan this year, having finished the one in Amesbury just a month prior.  The Killington one took us twice as long, as we climbed the black diamond to the crest and watched every step back down.  Somewhere just after the 3 mile mark, in the woods, my left foot slid in deep mud and I landed on my left knee and it bent the wrong way.  I made it out of the woods and through another section, determined to finish.  We got as far the last water station before I was transported back to the medical tent.  So close.  “NEVER AGAIN,” I said, “NEVER!” (I said this about the previous Spartan Sprint 6 weeks prior but, there I was.)

Diagnosis: sprained knee.  But what did I want to do for my birthday?  Go back and hike an easier trail at Killington.  For my birthday!!  Who am I?  I had to laugh.  I am the one who calls myself lazy, still, out of habit, after all these years.  I am the purple belt kick boxer who has been having withdrawls from not being able to go because of my sprained knee.  I am the one who went to the gym Friday to use the elliptical to try to loosen up my knee to see if there was any way I could still hike on Saturday.

We arrived at the base of the mountain on Saturday and I limped up to the counter and, being mad at myself, ordered 2 round trip tickets for the gondola ride so we could at least enjoy the colors of the leaves and the scenery from the crest that we saw during the race that we were unable to take pictures of.  I could see the trail to the right of us that we had planned to take as we took the 10 minute ride to the top.  The view was breathtaking.  As we neared the top, the mist settled over the mountain and the view was no longer clear.  By the time we got off the gondola my stubbornness had kicked in and that was it.  We were hiking back down the mountain.

It wasn’t as easy as I envisioned in my head and I was grateful for that.  There were a great number of times I looked at the steps I needed to take in front of me and wondered how I would get to where I needed to be without falling or slipping again.  My fear of falling was intense at times, as was the pain in my knee in the beginning.  But I took baby steps where I need to and we made it to the bottom.  My knee popped several times and I’m not sure why but by the end, it no longer hurt.

My calves and thighs were stiff this morning but I don’t have any regrets.  I’m glad I did it.  It was my birthday present to myself.  So, what is my point with this story?  Why did I just bare my soul for all to read? Because I came to the realization that we tell ourselves things all the time that are not true about ourselves.  I’m not a lazy person anymore.  Sure, I have my moments and I make excuses at times when I shouldn’t; that doesn’t make me lazy, especially on the scale of where I used to be.  So why am I so hard on myself?  Why do I choose to see myself that way?  Perhaps it’s habitual.  I told myself that for so many years that it just carried over.  So, now that I’ve realized that I do it, imagine what I could do now that I no longer believe it?  If I have come this far, I could definitely go further, and I intend to.

How well do you know yourself?  What things are you telling yourself that need to be reevaluated?  What do you believe about yourself that could use a mental makeover?  Consider what you say to yourself.  Listen.  You could be completely wrong.  What you believe about yourself is up to you.  The choice is yours.  Stay the same or change it?  It’s up to you.  Be kind.

You can check out other inspiring posts here that will cause you to think, decrease your stress and increase happiness.  You can also check out my other blog site, Where The Ghosts Live – by Missy Bell.

Thank you for stopping by!!

Missy Bell

What Do You Mean, You Don’t Like Me?

It should never be our goal in life to please everyone nor should we ever expect everyone to like us.

There will always be people who do not agree with our views or what we say, do or act around them, just as we too come across people we don’t like.  Everyone acts differently around different people.   Some people bring out the best in us and we can relate to them easily.  Some have an easy-going personality and aura, others do not.  Some people will make us uncomfortable or may offend us (sometimes unintentionally and sometimes intentionally.)  There are others who engage in lifestyles that we just don’t agree with and that may cause us to feel uneasy.  For whatever reason, we were not all meant to get along.

It is usually the people we don’t get along with who don’t like us.  There are others who will not like you and you have no idea why because you enjoy them.  If the friendship, or even business relationship is important to you, it never hurts to ask if there is a reason for (their actions that make you think they don’t like you or words that they say that are indicators.)  It’s then on them to be honest or glaze over the subject.  The way they are acting may just be a part of their personality and you were just taking it personal or they may reveal a true issue, in which case, you have a starting point to work with.  This should only be done with people you truly care about or enjoy being around.

For those who are just acquaintances who you don’t particularly plan on having in your life, it’s not important that they like you, at least, it shouldn’t be.  There’s no need to waste your energy worrying about it.  I’ve watched and heard people, and even been guilty of, wasting hours of time that could have been spent being productive, happy and positive instead, being disappointed and racking my brain trying to figure what I may have done wrong for them to dislike.  Let it go.  As long as you are being your authentic self, it doesn’t matter.  You shouldn’t try to change who you are just to please someone else.

One of my favorite says is from Eleanor Roosevelt, “What other people think of me is none of my business.”  Let them think what they want.  You, go on living as you normally would.  One thing I like to point out often is that we are with ourselves 24/7.  We are the only ones who are.  The most important person we should care about liking us, is ourselves.

If you are interested in more tips on how to decrease your stress and increase your happiness, please see the sidebar for categories or titles that may be of interest to you and feel free to follow this and share it with others.  You can also visit my newest blog site, “Where the Ghosts Live – The Haunted United States,” for all things paranormal.  Check that one out at http://www.WhereTheGhostsLive.WordPress.com.  Thank you for stopping by.  Please leave a comment to show your support.  ❤

Missy Bell

What is Your Passion – 10 Ways to Discover a New Passion

What is your passion?

What do you do that makes you feel the most alive?

How often do you spend doing it?

Have you found that one thing in your life that makes you smile from ear to ear?  I’m not talking about about a person, not your children or your significant other.  I’m referring to that something that comes from within you.  That something you, and you alone can do to contribute to the happiness and the quality of the way you live your life?  This could be your talent or your heart’s deepest desire.

Perhaps you haven’t found it yet.  When you do, I’m sure you will know.  If you haven’t found it yet, get out there, try new things.  There are so many things that you could find passion in that the list would be endless.  The road to discovery will teach you a great deal about yourself.  Once you find the passion, don’t let go.  Learn more, make it bigger, but never give up on it.  Create new goals around it, feed it.  You can include those you love in the process.  Perhaps along the way they will find their passion.

Here are some top ideas of things you may like to try.  See if any of them resonate with you.  You may give it a shot and find that it leads you to where you are meant to be.  Follow your heart.  Think about what you liked to do or were interested in when you were a child or teenager.

  1. Get out in nature and explore
  2. Listen more closely to music, the beats, the lyrics
  3. Pick a destination that is safe that has always interested you and walk from point A to point B within it or to it
  4. Research something you think is interesting
  5. Visit a museum
  6. Take an online class or a non-credit course
  7. Make a video or photo album
  8. Try a new sport
  9. Pick up a good book or write one
  10. Work with your hands to create art of any kind

These are just a few examples.  I’ve learned that I am not as happy when I put off doing what I love for things I dislike.  Take charge and make time to do what you love.  You will shine brighter than you ever thought you could.  Life will actually seem easier because you have something positive to focus on.  There will be that escape to something wonderful when you are down that will lift you out of a bad mood.

I know where I would be without writing and without pursuing my passions.  I’ve been there and it’s not much fun. Everyday life can seem mundane and boring; the slightest things that go wrong can seem like something so major.  But when I can escape into one of my many passions, I’m alive again and I even find that I learn more about myself.

Take the time to find your passion if you haven’t already.  You deserve time for yourself and you deserve to feel fulfilled.

If you know your passion, please share it below.  Give others some ideas of things that might interest them.

Thank you for stopping by today.  I hope you will visit a few of my other posts on this site.  They are all geared toward reducing stress and increasing happiness.  Let me know when you find something that resonates with you.  You can also check out my latest blog site, “Where the Ghosts Live,” at http://www.WhereTheGhostsLive.Wordpress.com.

Missy Bell

Every Scar Carries a Fascinating Story

Every scar carries a fascinating story.  We have to remember this when dealing with other people and respect their individuality, even when we do not know what they have been through or cannot see those scars.

Most scars are often thought of as being visible on the body but there are many internal scars that people carry that are invisible.  Everyone carries some sort of internal scar on their heart or soul; each one is different and as unique as the person themselves.  You will not see these types of scars and have to remind yourself on occasion that they exist.  Most people don’t care to discuss them because they obviously bring up bad memories.  Discussing the reason for the scars causes them to recall that pain all over again. 

These scars are a part of that person.  They will often act in a certain way to avoid the very situation that caused it in the first place.  Think about that very carefully.  You may often wonder why people act the way they do and claim that you just don’t understand them.  If you keep in mind the invisible scars it will help you to realize that they may be acting in a certain way to avoid future scars of the same nature.

Let me give an example; if, when you were a child, you were screamed at every time you spoke up for yourself or every time you crossed someone’s path or got in the way, after a while, you would stop doing those things to avoid the confrontation.  Perhaps, you would do everything you could to avoid confrontation all together.  This could be a character trait that carries with you into adulthood and may perhaps, last a lifetime.  Other people may not understand why you are like that.  There is a great possibility that you don’t even understand why you do it or realize the cause of how it developed. 

There are many scenarios that could cause scars, even much deeper than this.  Since we are the only ones who are with us 24 hours a day, every day of the week, you may not realize what even your best friend or significant other went through during their day or what they have going on in their own head that causes them to act the way they do.  Some scars are formed by the things we say to ourselves.  These can be just as detrimental as anything someone else says to us.

We all need to be patient with others and realize that they did not experience the same things we did in our lives.  They come from different backgrounds, experienced different events and had different ways of interpreting situations.  No two people will ever be the same, even twins.  We need to have acceptance for that.  Once we do, we will relate better to those in our lives and not everything will be a struggle.  When someone acts differently from us, we will understand that there are underlying reasons.  It is not important to conform everyone to be just like us.  That would actually be detrimental.  It is not a battle we should even entertain.

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If you’d like a visual, look at a still photo of a group of people who are experiencing the same thing. The attached picture here is of my kids with their friends simply looking in the mirror for a photo.  Each and every one had a different expression on their face.  It’s because each of them were creating their own experience, their own way of interpreting something that simple and their own way of expressing their individuality.  It’s fascinating really.

So, the next time you notice someone acting differently from how you would and you find it strange, remember that there are reasons that you may never know, based on scars they may never be able to speak of.  Don’t point out that they are wrong or try to change them, merely try to understand that they are just different and they have their own reasons.  Acceptance goes a long way.

I encourage you to comment below with your feelings or examples of this and what you got out of it.  Please let me know if this helps you in any way.  Feel free to share with your friends or follow the blog.

I have started a new blog as well.  If you are interested, check out my other page, “Where the Ghosts Live,” which is about all things paranormal, at http://www.WhereTheGhostsLive.wordpress.com.”

10 Quotes That Will Truly Inspire You

I have been writing inspirational status’ on Facebook for several years now.  These status’ are about what I am personally learning at any given time in my life and I word it in a non-specific way so that other people can benefit from what I am learning.  Often times I write them just for me, as a reminder of where I need to focus my attention, as if it is advice to myself.

The fascinating part of doing this, and another reason I have continued for so long is because I received such a great response from my friends who happened to be struggling with something and my quote put into words what they were feeling or exactly what they needed to hear that day.  I became addicted to helping others at a young age and so when I learned this was helping others, it was only natural for me to continue.

I went through some of them and gathered them together to share with you today.  I will not stick with one subject though because, chances are, if I vary the topics, you may have a better chance of finding something that resonates with you.

Please keep in mind, these are my quotes.  I did not take them from the internet or from someone famous.  I wrote these.  I would be flattered if you share them, but if you do, please be sure you put it in quotes and include my name at the end for credit.

  • FEAR:  “Identify one of your fears that is stopping you from doing something you want to do. Evaluate that fear and question whether or not it stems from your past and if it’s even a valid fear in your present. Your fear may be outdated and no longer serving its purpose in which case you need to eliminate it and move on to accomplish what you hope to accomplish.” ~ Missy Bell
  • WORRY:  “Worrying about something you have no control over and hasn’t happened yet is like trying to shovel the driveway before it snows!” ~ Missy Bell
  • FACING LIFE’S CHALLENGES:  “Challenges are placed before us so we may learn more about ourselves and to give us practice in learning how to overcome them in the future.” ~ Missy Bell
  • MAKING A CHANGE:  “It is so much more important to change how you think than to change how you look.”  ~ Missy Bell
  • TRUTH:  “Want to know the truth? You already do. Whatever you believe to be true is your truth but not necessarily everyone else’s.” ~ Missy Bell
  • PERCEPTION:  “We experience disappointment, sorrow and a heavy heart in order to be able to appreciate joy, bliss and enlightenment.  Without having felt the negative emotions, we would not be able to recognize or appreciate their opposites.” ~ Missy Bell
  • SELF-ESTEEM:  “You are awesome and amazing. Don’t ever listen to anyone who tries to contradict that statement, especially yourself!” ~ Missy Bell
  • RAISING CHILDREN:  “Teach your children well for someday you will need them to reteach you what you’ve forgotten.” ~ Missy Bell
  • AFFIRMATION:  “Today is a new day and I choose to be happy in it.  I will see by the light of love, not by the spotlight others are shining upon what they want me to see.  I will focus on what I can control and not stress over what I cannot.  I will dance to the beat of my own drum and make beautiful music in the process.  I will be who I am an only apologize when I am not.  I will not worry about what others think of me as long as I am happy with my own actions.  I will accept others for who they are.  I will live for now but plan for a brighter tomorrow.  I will not settle for by falling into false beliefs that this is as good as it gets.  I will start each day accepting the day before as it was and asking myself how I can improve myself today.
  • SUCCESS:  “Define your success not by the success of others but by your ability to achieve the goals you have set for yourself. If you feel unsuccessful, create new goals.” ~ Missy Bell

I hope some or all of these touch your heart in some way or inspire you.  Please let me know if you have a favorite!!

If you are looking for more inspiration or tips on how to add more inner peace and happiness to your life, choose something else from the categories to the right of this post.  Please share anything that resonates with you. 

22 Years Of Marriage – Our Secrets Revealed – Part 2

Here is what you’ve been waiting for… Part 2 of Our Secrets Revealed.  Are you interested in knowing what has kept my husband and I together for 22 plus years?  The first part was published on Friday and can be found on the right by going to the category section.  I hope you find part 2 equally as helpful.  Please keep in mind that I will not be listing everything here.  I will be including more at a later time.

My husband and I have had our problems, learned from them and have been married for 22 years.  He asked that I go ahead and finish part 2 and after he reads it he has promised too make a comment with what he thinks I missed.  (He has one thing specific in mind and he thinks I won’t include it.  Let’s see if he’s wrong.)

These next 2 paragraphs should be repeated because they are very important…

I think the most important thing to realize is that love is not that “butterfly feeling” you get in the pit of your stomach.  If you believe that, you will never sustain true love.  Love is not a fairytale and (because you don’t want it to end), doesn’t have a “happy ending.”   Butterflies will come and go.  It is in the times when they are not there that the most rewarding part of love is found.  If you can keep this in mind, you are off to a great start.  Those butterflies may last for just a couple of months or maybe even a couple of years.  But as soon as things aren’t going as you planned, they may disappear.  It doesn’t mean you stopped loving the person and it doesn’t mean you can’t get those feelings back.  It just signifies a change in the relationship.

Love is found in your thoughts, not your heart.  It is constant work, as with anything worthwhile and it requires effort.  So, without further delay, on to those tips I promised:

  • Give the other person space and TRUST!  The guys need a guys night or time alone playing video games and girls need time with their friends and by themselves.  Respect that and trust them.  Don’t put ideas in your head about what could happen when they are out with friends, just trust.  Treat it as a great time to explore your hobby or spend time with the kids or your family or even do nothing at all.  Being together all the time is not good for a relationship either.
  • Do not take things personally.  This part took a long time for me to learn.  I had to unlearn a lifetime of personal self talk where I took things personally.  I learned that sometimes, who am I kidding, a lot of times we take things out on the people closest to us in our lives and this is our family.  It doesn’t make it right but we are conditioned in our professional life to hold our tongue and keep things in so when we get home, if we’ve had a bad day, we express it.  When we tell the stories we can tend to give them a lot of emotion and that could come across as yelling or being angry at our partner.  Be careful that if you are guilty of this that you try to curb how you say it and what emotions you give to.  That’s also important for you own health if you are a continual offender.   If you are the recipient. don’t take it personally.  They had a bad day and sometimes just having someone listen is all that is needed to get rid of the stress.  Try to respect that.
  • Never have one person in charge of disciplining the kids.  Again, yours, mine ours, it doesn’t matter, you need to both be the bad guys.  Remember you are the adult, not their friend, although there will be time for friendship.  You goal should be to raise those kids so they can be functional members of society.  That means that they should learn young that their actions have consequences, good and bad.  You must stick with the punishments you dish out and neither of you can be the “softie.”  As I mentioned above, write out that list of punishments to fit the crime and post it on the fridge.  Make sure it is reasonable so you can stick with it.  And never favor one child over the other, even with an age difference.  the punishment should fit the crime.  Being on the same page together will show unity between you and it will also ensure that your children will trust that what you say, you mean.  When you show unity, they will be more apt to gravitate toward having that in their own  relationships when they are old enough.  They learn from us.
  • Stay best friends.  Do not talk behind each others back.  If you have a problem with your spouse, don’t run and tell a friend before you talk it over with your partner.  It will get blown out of proportion and your friend will always side with you.  The friend will often times add fuel to the fire and bring up past times when your partner acted the same way or their own partner did.  Everyone has a story to add as well as an opinion.  It’s not advice you need, its a solution that has to come from the two who are in the relationship.  In the same respect, stay out of other people’s arguments.  Once you hear someone else’s complaints about what is going on with them you are sure to start noticing it in your own relationship.
  • Love and respect each other.  This should go without saying.  Respect their opinions, choices, decisions and ways of doing things.  Every one of us is different and we should not expect others to be just like us.  When you show love and respect, you will get the same in return.
  • Compromise.  Focus on the solution, not the problem.  As mentioned several times in part 1 and 2, you come from different backgrounds, of course you will do things differently and have different solutions.  Listen to each other.  Hear all the other has to say then come to a compromise.  You can either meet in the middle or realize the other person has a better idea.  Other times you will see that when you put both ideas together a third one will develop that was greater that the originals.
  • Know and discuss your coping mechanisms.  I’m the type that can only discuss something for so long in the heat of the moment before I have to leave, gain my composure then come back to talk rationally.  I am aware that if I stay I will make the situation worse and my walking away for a bit is not me giving up or running away, it is gathering my thoughts and composure so I can handle the situation more calmly.  My husband knows that and understands that when I leave, it is not a personal attack on him and I will be back soon.
  • Be intimate.  This is obvious in the first few years of your relationship but as time goes on, we stop spending as much time together.  The kids are always around and take up much of our time and energy or we get caught up in life or work.  Hold hands, flirt, joke, snuggle, and the rest is obvious.  But sometimes just getting back to hugging everyday with a sincere kiss can bring the spark back.
  • Talk about your future, your goals, where you see yourself as a couple in 3 years, 5 years, etc.  This is of course, after the relationship has gone past the dating stages.  This will give you common ground, goals to reach together.  When you invest in that, you focus on seeing the two of you together and that’s where the focus should remain.  Even if it’s a trip together or growing old sitting on a porchsipping lemonade; whatever that dream is, keep dreaming it together.
  • Don’t give up on each other – ever.  Depressions can set in and it can seem sometimes that the other person is being neglectful.  That may not actually be the case.  They may be holding something in that they need to find an outlet for.  Pay attention.  If you notice the other person becoming distant, schedule an event or outing that you both like to do, alone and talk.  Connect.  But never think it’s because they no longer care.  In doing that, you set the relationship up for failure.  Never give up on them.

So, as I mentioned, there are many more.  I wil write more on this. For now, I hope I have helped some of you or that you will pass part 1 or 2 on to others.

Please comment below and let us know which one is your favorite and why.  Remember, I have more to follow but you may also leave one of your suggestions that has helped you with your marriage.

(Please check to the right to read the first part of this by checking the post listings or categories and also look for other tips and techniques that will reduce your stress and give you greater inner peace and happiness.  Thank you as always, for stopping by and THANK YOU FOR SHARING!)  ❤

22 Plus Years Of Marriage – Our Secrets Revealed – Part 1

I have been thinking about writing this for a while now.  I have been asked by so many people what our secret is to being married for over 22 years that I figured now was a good time to divulge a few of those secrets.   I hope you will find these tips helpful in your own relationship.

I started writing this with the intention of sharing a few of my top favorites but the more I wrote, the more I added.  Therefore, I will make this part 1 of 2.  What I (we) have learned over the past 22 years could probably fill a book.  But today’s list will definitely get you started.  YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS PART 2, I GUARANTEE!!  Therefore, I encourage you to sign up to receive notifications of when I put up new posts so you don’t miss part 2.  I would also like to invite you to share this with everyone on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.  You can do so easily by clicking one of the buttons at the bottom of the post.  You never know who’s lives you may improve with this information.  I appreciate it.

I think the most important thing to realize is that love is not that “butterfly feeling” you get in the pit of your stomach.  If you believe that, you will never sustain true love.  Love is not a fairytale and (because you don’t want it to end), doesn’t have a “happy ending.”   Butterflies will come and go.  It is in the times when they are not there that the most rewarding part of love is found.  If you can keep this in mind, you are off to a great start.  Those butterflies may last for just a couple of months or maybe even a couple of years.  But as soon as things aren’t going as you planned, they may disappear.  It doesn’t mean you stopped loving the person and it doesn’t mean you can’t get those feelings back.  It just signifies a change in the relationship.

Love is found in your thoughts, not your heart.  It is constant work, and as with anything worthwhile, it requires great effort.  So, without further delay, on to the first set of tips:

  • Bring up any issues immediately.  There will be plenty of issues, I guarantee.  Both parties were raised in different environments, by different people who had different rules, values and parenting/role model techniques.  Therefore, expect to see things completely different from your partner.  When feelings arise, talk about them.  Don’t let them fester.  The more you dwell on something, the bigger it gets.  Focus on the solution instead.  Approach the other person with kindness with hopes of a resolution, not to lay blame or “call them out” on something.  This has been big for me over the years.  I think too much and sometimes assume there is an issue when there really isn’t.  I get it in my head that he feels a certain way and I’m usually wrong if it’s negative.  Getting it out in the open dispels those theories of mine or helps to come to a solution if I’m right.  The discussion is not heated when it is recognized immediately.
  • Listen!  If you have something that needs to be addressed it’s a good idea to “schedule it.”  I know, that sounds strange, but think about it.  Do you really want to bring something up when the other person is caught up in watching sports or their favorite TV show or perhaps in deep thought about a work-related issue?  Respecting that the person may need time to get to where they can give you their undivided attention goes a long way.  They are more apt to hear you, listen attentively and commit to the conversation and a solution.  If you are approached with something and it is not a good time for you, let the other person know politely that you need 5-10 minutes, even an hour so you can be sure the person has your attention fully.  Never bring something up in front of other people.  There is a time and place, and in public is neither of those.  Make sure you discuss this in advance so neither of you are angry when the person mentions they need time so they can focus on you.  You will really come to appreciate the honesty and the respect.  When that time arrives, make sure there will be little to no distractions (sometimes you may have to wait until you put the kids to bed.)
  • Forgive, don’t hold a grudge.  If you keep bringing up a situation that happened in the past, you will never move past it.  Forgiving, if necessary, gives you both freedom.  You no longer focus on the negative and the problem disappears.  It’s in the past, let it stay there, don’t revisit it.  If the same issue resurfaces, address it as a new situation, not a continuation.  Holding on to the negative will keep you in a negative state.
  • Have patience.  Jumping in with both guns blazing will set you up for failure before the issue is ever resolved.  If you’re angry, the other person will automatically get defensive and then it just becomes a battle over who has better come backs or arguing strategies.  When you show patience toward the other person, there are also less struggles.  You see the person with love and whatever the battle is becomes minor.  Remember that love is not war.  It is not about who wins; it’s about solving things and moving forward toward a better, trusting relationship.  Patience will also help you forgive faster.  One more thing, when you have patience with someone, they are apt to have more patience with you.  We all need that.  When we are patient with each other, there is more room for loving emotions.
  • Speak kind words daily.  Find something nice to say to the other person.  It’s easy to find the negative, like nagging over the toilet seat being left up or the toothpaste lid being left off.  After time, those little things turn into big things if you don’t let them go.  They are not important in the scheme of things.  Finding the good things in your partner will remind you why you are together, make the other person feel more confident in themselves and they will want to be that person for you all the time.  Recognize the little things they do and compliment them.  My husband and I will randomly write each other a poem or tag each other in a cute photo on Facebook.  If one of us accomplishes something, even small, in our day, the other one will mention it with a verbal pat on the back.
  • Find a common interest.  My husband and I used to have favorite TV shows.  We would set the DVR to record them so that we could watch them together, not separately.  This would give us quality time together and show each other that we cared enough to wait for the other person to watch it together.  More recently we started exercising together.  He took up kickboxing, which started to take up a great deal of his free time, and our time together.  So, after much encouragement from him, I tried it.  Now we go together.  It is a common point of interest.  We are spending time together, getting healthier together and it gives us time during the drive to discuss our day, our future and anything that is going on that we may need to get off our chests.
  • Be forever mindful.  Notice which situations set you both off and come up with a plan to catch it before it becomes out of control or ensues in a full blown argument.
  • Don’t place blame.  You are a partnership.  Seek to solve, together.  Placing the blame on the other person as I mentioned earlier, sets them on the defensive.  It will not get you any closer to a resolution.  If you are being petty, it will make you feel better in the moment but really, think about it, when you place the blame, then you become at fault for something.  Is that where you want to be?  As well as not placing blame, do not belittle the other person or throw shortcomings in their face.  They are who they are.  You fell in love with them for the good but agreed to accept the not-so-good.  I’m sure you can come up with a list of examples a mile long but try not to.  I’ll just give you one of mine so you get the idea.  My husband usually has a hard time waking up on his own.  He forever sleeps through his alarm or hits snooze for the umpteenth time.  He is due to get up at least an hour before me.  Do I enjoy being woken up to several alarms and being half awake for an hour longer than I need to be?  Not really, but I make sure I don’t let it affect how I treat him.  I recognize this about him and I have found that if I simply say his name, my voice is enough to wake him up so he can hear the alarm and start his day.  He also knows that if I sleep through it, he has to face whatever consequences there are for him being late.  He just deals with the natural consequences and I never bring it up.  I know he doesn’t do it on purpose to make me angry.  These are the types of things you need to understand will happen and you just need to come to a compromise or help the other person to the best of your ability.
  • Laugh together.  I cannot stress the importance of this.  Laughter is crucial.  We must be able to laugh together, laugh at each other and laugh at ourselves.  Finding the comedy in everything around you relieves stress and when you do it together, you share the lighter side of life and it seems a lot less serious.
  • Don’t try to change the other person.  Again, you fell in love with who they are.  Love them for that.  If there is something they are doing that could damage their health, then I would say, yes, that’s a change that may need some instigating but always approach with love and from the heart.  Otherwise, this leads back to you pointing the finger and finding fault with them.  No one likes to feel attacked for who they are or the things they do.  They are unique.  Support their differences and stand up for them if necessary to anyone else who may want to put them down.
  • Ask for help.  Have this conversation with your partner early on as well.  There will come a time when things will be overwhelming for one of you.  If you have discussed that this will happen before it does, no matter the circumstances, asking for help will be a lot easier.  Give each other permission in advance to ask for that help and assure them that you will not see it as a sign of weakness, but as strength to admit they are human and cannot do everything on their own.  Then agree to help in any way you can when they do ask so you maintain their trust.
  • Have preset rules with the kids!  Whether the kids are yours, theirs or both of yours, discuss each of your views on certain situations involving your children.  Lay guidelines.  Post rules on the fridge for all to read and clearly state what the consequences are for each infraction.  It may be necessary to have separate lists for different age groups.  That way, there is no running to the other parent for salvation.  The rules are the rules.  I have to admit; this is something we learned that we wish we would have done.  We never actually incorporated it and regret it.  It would have saved many struggles between us and with the boys.
  • Take turns!  We had our first child a year and a half after we got married.  Who was going to change the diaper next always turned into a screaming match for us.  Don’t let this happen for you.  It’s not something to fight over.  Be courteous and take turns.  No one likes it.  If you work as a team on this and other things that are not pleasant, they will get done and the teamwork will provide a stronger bond and a greater respect between you both.

I feel like I have taken up enough of your time for now.  I have written most of the second half of this and look forward to sharing it with you.  YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS PART 2!!  Please watch for it by signing up to receive notifications.  They don’t do anything with your information except use it to send you my notifications.  It takes very little time and effort.  In the meantime, while you await part 2, please share this with everyone you know.  Let them know part 2 is on it’s way.  My husband and I would love to hear that because of these tips, others have made their relationships into what they dreamed it could be.

Please comment below and let us know which number is your favorite and why.  Remember, I have more to follow but you may also leave one of your suggestions that has helped you with your marriage.

(Please check to the right to see if the second part of this has been posted by checking the post listings or categories and also look for other tips and techniques that will reduce your stress and give you greater inner peace and happiness.  Thank you as always, for stopping by and THANK YOU FOR SHARING!)  ❤

10 Famous Quotes On The Importance Of Your Thoughts

I have gathered 10 famous quotes below that are based on thoughts and how what we think can become our reality.  Read each one slowly and with thought.  Do not let their meanings or intentions pass you by.

Your thoughts have the power to change who you are, or enhance it for the better.  You can also spiral in the opposite direction if you are not careful.  Be mindful of your thoughts as often as possible, then, be even more mindful.  (Ok, that’s not a famous quote, I wrote that.  But who knows, it could be famous some day!)

“Change your thoughts and you will change the world.” – Norman Vincent Peale

“What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill

“To bring anything into your life, imagine that it is already there.” – Richard Bach

“Your imagination is the preview to your life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein

“The only limits in our life are those we impose upon ourselves.” – Bob Proctor

“A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master gardener of his soul, the director of his life.” – James Allen

“Your thoughts are the architects of your destiny.” – David O. McKay

“All that we are is a result of what we have thought.” – Buddha

Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thought that is forever flowing through one’s head.” – Mark Twain

“A man is but a product of his thoughts.  What he thinks, he becomes.” – Gandhi

(Thank you for stopping by.  If you wish to read more tips, hints and inspirations that will guide you to more inner peace and happiness, please see the posts listed to the right and search my category section.  As always, feel free to follow this blog or share it with those you care about.  I appreciate you!)

You Can Run But You Can’t Hide

Have you every just wanted to run away, escape your problems or pack your bags and go on a long vacation  so you didn’t have to deal with what was going on in your life and finally find that happiness you’ve been searching for?  Have you ever thought that perhaps you would be happier if you just left everything behind and started over by moving to another state or country?

Life can be a lot to handle.  It throws you some crazy fast balls, straight at your face sometimes.  Escaping it is only temporary.  Unless you solve the issues that are there, they don’t go away.  They will follow you wherever you go.  After close inspection, you will realize that it was not your problems you were running from, it was how they made you feel.  And, after all, your feelings go with you wherever you are!

Drowning your problems with a bottle of wine or binging on a bunch of comfort food may help temporarily but as soon as the alcohol or sugar is out of your system, there’s the issue you ran from staring you straight in the face.

The only way to get rid of a problem is to face it or solve it.  Although I cannot give you the answers to solving each of your issues, I can tell you from experience that the only way to be at peace is to search for it from within.  It is possible.  You have all the tools you need inside you.  You can even find happiness during times of tragedy.

You must first take care of what is in front of you.  Tackle or face the issues that have you stuck.  Know what is within your control.  It is important to remember that not everything can be solved by us.  Sometimes things need to work themselves out or require someone else’s effort to fix them.

What you can do on your end is find what it is that makes you happy.   Happiness is a state of mind, not a thing.  You can keep trying to fill your life with new “things” but things don’t bring you happiness.  The thoughts you give them do and eventually the newness wears off and the happiness will wear off too.

Choose happiness.  It can be found without spending money, consuming food or alcohol or moving to another state.  Find it in everything you do; spending time with family and friends, a walk in the park, memories, relaxation, exercise, yoga, writing in a journal, watching your favorite show on TV, engaging in a hobby, accomplishing a personal goal, finding gratitude for what and who is in your life or just sitting still focusing on something that makes you happy.

Remember, you can run, but you can’t hide from your problems.  You can however,  still find happiness where you are.  It’s a state of mind.

Where do you find your happiness?  Can you offer other readers ways to find happiness that doesn’t require running away, spending money or the quick fix of alcohol or food?  I would love to hear from you.  Please respond in the comment section.

(For further ideas, tips and videos that inspire peace and happiness, please check out the lists of posts to the right or search through my blog topics.  Please share with others who you think could use a little more peace and happiness in their lives.  As always, I appreciate you!)