This and that November 29, 2021

At this moment, I have to share the encouragement I’m needing and enjoying tonight.

This last week has been busy with house guests. I’ve loved having them. Now I’m going through withdrawal being alone again, although in spite of it I’m feeling upbeat. At the same time I’m experiencing annoying physical evidence of the stress of it all. It feels weird because I have been happy having people around. To have itching skin rashes and aches and pains that only appear when I’m stressed just seems so wrong when I’m feeling good about life.

To help me get through this season I discovered a new music video in my feed, it has favorite lyrics that settle me. It’s actually a compilation of several videos I’ve owned for some time. This is very cool because I know all of the songs so well. It adds an extra dimension to my emotional settling when I can close my eyes and sing along. The words slide deep down into my heart and bring healing.

The theme of the video is Thanksgiving, what could be more uplifting than that? I’ll share it at the end of this post.

The other cool thing that happened today was the experience of tackling a task I’ve been dreading. In the end it turned out to be a positive part of my day.

The challenge was to write a piece for reading and critique at our writer’s group this coming Saturday. The theme was to be Christmas memories. The trouble is, there are not many good memories coming out of my childhood. I couldn’t imagine how I could find enough material to write something with any sort of a positive vibe.

It turned out so much better than I could have imagined and I felt upbeat and grateful having such a good writing experience. After it has been critiqued I will share it with you all.

Here is the video I’m listening to as I write this. It features a wide variety of favorite and talented award winning artists.

Life is looking up and I’m grateful.

Now I’m going to grab supper while this video finishes.

A good evening to you all. I hope you are experiencing some bright spots as well.

Enjoyed, current, and possible next, November 28, 2021

Enjoyed and current read are both in the same series.

Not Until Forever: A Christian Romance (Hope Springs Book 1)

As she focuses on her career, Sophie doesn’t let herself think about what she gave up when she declined Spencer’s proposal five years ago. So when she’s called home to say goodbye to her dying grandmother, she goes out of her way to avoid seeing him. Of course, that means he’s the first person she runs into. Much as she fights against it, being near him stirs up old feelings and makes her question old decisions.

Leaving college to help on the family orchard cost Spencer the woman he loved. But he couldn’t turn his back on his family. Now that Sophie’s back in town, Spencer’s determined to protect his heart. Only he senses something new in Sophie—something that makes him think maybe they could have a second chance. But when his family needs him again, he feels like he’s repeating the past. Only this time, he’s not sure what choice he should make.

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Book one was a pleasurable read and I am looking forward to more enjoyment as I finish Book 5. Those in between these two have been previously read and enjoyed.

Not Until Christmas Morning: A Christian Romance (Hope Springs Book 5)

Leah has always been a fixer. That’s why she decided to foster a troubled teen. And it’s why she’s determined to give him the perfect Christmas. It might also be why she feels compelled to reach out to her grinchy, reclusive neighbor Austin. But she’ll have to be careful that reaching out doesn’t turn into something more—she’s been hurt by crossing the line from friendship to romance once, and she’s not willing to let it happen again.

After losing his leg, his friend, and his faith in Afghanistan, Austin figures he’s about as broken as they come. Hope Springs is simply a stopping point—a place to rehabilitate his leg, get over the burden of his PTSD, and get back into shape to redeploy. He has no desire to get to know anyone while he’s here, least of all the meddlesome—if sweet—woman next door. But when she calls on him to help her make Christmas special for her foster son, something compels him to relent. Soon, his heart belongs to both of them.

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Under consideration for next in line, there are two.

Non fiction – Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition.

Fiction – The Bridge

Final notes on Love Like You`ve Never Been Hurt November 28, 2021

Chapter Six is about Loving-Kindness.

To catch the full impact of the chapter you need to read the book. My notes are never comprehensive, they are short quotes that capture the essence of a thought standing out to me. Something that grabs my heart.

Page 102

If you want to love like you`ve never been hurt, get rid of bitterness and start being kind.

Being kind means treating people with respect, apologizing sincerely, and stop criticizing. Doing this all the time.

Page 162

Forgiveness is important in loving but the other side of it is “I`m sorry.“

If you want to reconcile a relationship, you must be willing to say “I`m sorry.“

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This book has many good things to say to us, they are just not always on topic. That`s why skimming to the end for the sake of the topic seems like a good idea for now.

I`ll share a few of the relevant thoughts outlined on Page 226

Key Principles Designed to Help You Love.

  • Love never fails. Choose love over hurt.
  • It`s never wrong to love people who have messed up.
  • It`s unforgivable to not forgive.
  • We can begin to love others when we love ourselves.
  • We are called to be kind.
  • Instead of fanning the flames of discord become a peacemaker.

And a little more.

Page 228

Offenses are inevitable. No one is exempt.

Some of us look at opposition as a bad thing.

Opposition can cause you to face things and do things you could not have done, had you not had the opposition.

Bottom line.

Never give up.

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That is the end of this book.

As mentioned earlier, many helpful things were shared in this book and it has been a good read even though it strayed off topic a fair bit. It was written by a pastor with real life experiences not a psychologist so that explains why the perspective is different.

I enjoyed this exercise of sharing a non-fiction book with you.

There are still a number of unread books similar to this on my shelf and I`m planning to choose another one to continue on with this experiment.

It gives me the extra incentive needed to get with it and read instead of allowing them to sit and pile up.

My hope is that you will also find these books helpful as you travel on your personal healing journey.

P.S. as I read back over this post I`m reminded of a book I read years ago.

The flavor of this post is all about changes within us. This thought is reminding me of a book called Lord Change Me.

Really, in the end the only person we can change is ourselves. I know it sounds unfair but it is reality. Changes have to come from inside us, external pressures accomplish little most of the time. We cannot force someone else to want to change

Changing ourselves, especially in the areas of forgiving and loving, has a positive effect on the atmosphere of a relationship. Change begets change.

It pays to embrace change for ourselves.

Notes on Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt Nov 21, 2021

Last time we ended just before the topic… Changing the channel on our invasive words and thoughts.

Page 92:

There are a number of components and I will highlight a few that stand out to me. There is so much more to be said, reading the book would be helpful.

...how you can start: Change what you tell yourself. … Talk back to your inner critic.

The most important battles we fight, many times, happen internally.

The past can be healed in only one way: Forgive it. That is the one thing you can do for yourself that can change all of your tomorrows.

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Page 93 – 96

I’m going to deviate from the book here. The author is dealing with shame in this section and uses the example of the Prodigal Son in the Bible. He tells how the father, with love, received his son back home. Despite his “bad boy” lifestyle, wasting his inheritance, and returning home in disgrace.

The father is a picture of the way God loves us and receives us no matter what we’ve done or what has been done to us.

I’m deviating from the book, though, because I think it’s important for us to understand the difference between shame and guilt. The information I’m about to share I’ve seen expressed in many places over the years, but for today’s purpose I found it laid out on verywellmind.com under living with BPD.

I’m paraphrasing here for space sake.

Guilt is the feeling you have related to things you have done. With guilt you can take steps to make things right and move on.

Shame is the feeling you have related to you are, or who you’ve been led to believe you are, your whole self not just an event. Shame it is not as easily dealt with because there is nothing you can do to make restitution. It’s about who you are, not something you’ve done.

There is an excellent ten minute podcast on their website discussing the shame we have been hiding and the link is posted below.

https://www.verywellmind.com/the-verywell-mind-podcast-5113058

The important take away from the podcast was this: there are two things shame cannot survive. One is exposure, tell someone. The second is empathy, tell someone who understands and is supportive.

It’s very important to find the right person to confide your secrets.

If shame is an issue for you, and it is for those of us who have survived an abusive life, this is highly helpful information.

So, back to the book. Check it out for the larger conversation.

I’m not sure what’s next but we will find out.

Notes on Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt Nov 20, 2021

Continuing on from where we left off last time. A few more relevant quotes.

Self condemnation: page 84

When we let lies overrule love, it affects those around us. We tend to take out our frustrations, lack of self-worth, shame or guilt on those we love. We cannot possibly love like we’ve never been hurt if we do not love ourselves.

another very important quote, same page:

If you struggle with shame, you may have trouble extending grace to others. If you struggle with finding self-worth, you may find it difficult to trust those around you.

Page 88:

We wear all sorts of things that keep us in bondage. Shame. Condemnation. Brokenness. Fear. Anxiety. Anger. Unforgiveness.

We are living in a mental cage. Page 89

Imprisoned with painful memories, with failures from the past, with self-sabotaging thoughts, with fear of an uncertain future.

Page 90:

When you start believing the lies about who you are, you begin to destroy your destiny.

How to change the channel?

That will be tomorrow’s topic.

These quotes are not the whole story, we need to read the book to see the full picture.

Well, I’m reading the book. I’m sure you will find it helpful too.

Notes from Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt Nov 16

There is so much in this book. I’d have to quote the whole thing to share every shred of life giving wisdom. Since that is not possible, I’ll share a few nuggets. You will have to get the book to fill in the blanks.

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Page 16: When we seek to love God, love ourselves and love others, we can learn to love despite what happened in the past. We can mend brokenness that has plagued our families for generations.

Page 17: Many of us fail to realize that what matters most in life is relationships. (not power, fame, riches, social standing, things)

Page 26: To move forward you have to let go of the past. … If you will reach for a new day, God will begin, little by little, to release you from the past. … This means loving so intensely that it overrides all your natural instincts for bitterness and revenge.

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Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt: Hope, Healing and the Power of an Open Heart

I feel like the little bit I’ve shared from this book doesn’t begin to fill the need for explanation.

Love heals is something I’m hearing from many directions these days and I’ve found it to be true.

Love and hate can’t exist in the same body, at least not very well, it’s just not possible. As we work on growing the love portion in us the hate part will diminish and disappear. The best part of it is: the peacefulness of love makes life worth living.

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The discussion in this book is relevant to some of the conversations I’ve been in lately and that is very encouraging.

Enough so that I will be back looking for a few more nuggets to share next time.

Seriously, get the book if your life needs to hear these words, you won’t be sorry.

Wishing you the very best on your journey to wellness.