Thanksgiving & Forgiveness

Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving Day is only a week away, I wanted to share all the wonderful blessings that I’m thankful for. Being thankful is much easier than forgiving, but I felt the need to write about both, because many times they come hand in hand.

The definition by http://www.dictionary.com of the word forgive, is to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); to absolve or to give up all claim or account of; remit(a debt, obligation, etc.) The definition by the same website, for thanksgiving is the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgement of benefits or favors, especially to God. The definition of the root word, to thank, is to express gratitude, appreciation or acknowledgement to.

I’m thankful for many things, but the number one, is Jesus Christ and his love for me. He died a horrible death on a cross, for my sins, not for his, because Jesus was without sin and therefore not needing forgiveness himself, took on all of our sins and died, so that we could be forgiven. He was the ultimate sacrifice for all of our sins.

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Forgiveness is more about the condition of our own heart, because we do ourselves a dishonor by not forgiving. If you’ve ever held  a grudge against someone that has done something against you, you know that it hurts your heart and stays with you, much more than it hurts the person you need to forgive. In the Bible (NIV), in Ephesians 4:32, it states, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus said, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” The words, in these verses, make it very clear how important it is to forgive. Whenever I have a difficult time forgiving someone, I remember these verses and I recall, Corrie Ten Boom’s personal story of her forgiveness to the former Ravensbruck camp guard, who had been known as one of the cruelest. She said, “she was reluctant to forgive him, so she prayed that she would be able to . She wrote: “For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensly as I did then.”

Even though we are living in very difficult times, let’s remember this Thanksgiving, to give thanks and forgiveness.

 

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The Drop Box

 

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This is definitely a movie you want to see! If you like to be inspired, this movie really makes the top 10 list! Anything about adoption and special needs children always gets my attention, because my husband and I adopted twin boys with multiple disabilities from Ukraine in December of 2000. These subjects are near and dear to my heart. This story is not fiction, it is very real!

Pastor Lee and his wife live in Seoul, South Korea. Women were dropping their unwanted babies at their church doorsteps and they knew that the babies didn’t have much of a chance to survive, especially outside in the winter. To keep this from happening, Pastor Lee made a box, where the women could leave their babies, anonymously. This box was heated and made with a doorbell, so whenever a baby was dropped off, it would go off and let the Pastor know a baby was there and in need of attention. Many of these babies are disabled and because of the culture and the poverty, the women feel that they have no choice, but to give them up. This man is a man after God’s own heart!

As a bonus to this movie, it includes a panel discussion, a musical performance by Steven Curtis Chapman and a behind the scenes featurette.

For more information on this movie, you can go to: http://www.TheDropBoxFilm.com

PROMISES

Proverbs 16:3 (NIV Bible)-“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”In order to do this, we must first look at what we’re doing and make sure it lines up with the Bible and/or the laws of God. In other words, if we commit our drug selling business or our career choice of prostitution, for example, to the Lord, he will not help you to succeed in these, because they are sins and go against what the Bible says. In Proverbs 16:9 (NIV Bible), it says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”The Lord makes many promises in the Bible, but he also gave us a free will to decide which way we will go. This decision is yours to make, but remember you also will reap what you sow.

SINCERITY

The definition of sincerity is freedom from deceit, hypocrisy, or duplicity; probity in intention or in communicating; earnestness. by Dictionary.com
None of us are just christians, bloggers, entrepreneurs, spouses, mothers or fathers, among other titles that we may hold. All of these are intertwined and we really shouldn’t try to seperate them. Our past, present and future make us who we are. All of our experiences become a part of us and can either be used to help us or hinder us in our life. You must be yourself, which is always original and truly who you are. People can usually see through people who either put on airs or try to be something that they’re not. If you are sincere with others, you will draw others to you. Remember this: “You are the only one who has your talents and abilities.” by Mamie McCullough

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THE 3 D’S

Dealing with disappointment, discouragement and depression can be really difficult. Our lives are filled with these, but we also have joy, excitement, surprise, love, accomplishment and happiness. We really don’t have to think much about what to do with these positive emotions. It’s much harder to know what to do with disappointment, discouragement and depression. I’ve had to deal with all 3 of these and I’ve learned over the course of time, that you can let these 3 D’s take over your life or you can be proactive and plan for these things to happen. I have depression and take medicine for it and I want you to know that depression is a chemical malfunction, so I’m not saying, as so many people do, to just stop being depressed and be happy! I understand that is not possible if you have depression. With that said, there are things we can do to help ourselves with the 3 D’s. One thing that you can do, is to “stay positive and know what your happiness triggers are.” by Andy Andrews Simple everyday things in their lives that make them happy. Everyone has things in their life that make you smile or feel better. Spending time petting my cats brings my blood pressure down and I enjoy it. Another thing that we can do is to have something in the future that you can look forward to. For example, a trip that you’ve wanted to take, a movie that you’ve wanted to see, dinner out instead of cooking at home, spending time with family, etc.

As a christian, I can spend time in prayer and reading the Bible. Listening to christian music is also encouraging. I, personally keep a prayer list and a list of prayers that have been answered and how and when. I do this to remind me of the faithfulness of God, so when the 3 D’s come, it’s easier to find encouragement! I’ve also found that if I reach out to others in need, at a time when I’m down, it gets my mind off of my problems and makes me feel good that I’ve helped someone else. In Matthew 19:26, in the New International Version Bible, it says, “Jesus looked at them and said, “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” This verse is a great reminder of what we can do with God. I know that in life, there will be times when these tips won’t take the pain away and that is normal.

An entrepreneur has to deal with the 3 D’s often, but we can do things daily that will help. Read and listen to encouraging stories and inspirations everyday. Stay in touch with other entrepreneurs, so that we can encourage one another and also know that we’re not the only ones feeling the same way. Step away from the computer or your business activities for a short time and do something else you enjoy. Talk to others, who are successful and you will probably find that they went through and still go through the 3 D’s.

So, let’s control how the 3 D’s affect us and not allow them to control us.

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Empathy & Sympathy

The two words, empathy and sympathy are similar, however anyone can say, “I’m sorry you’re sick or I’m sorry you’ve lost a love one”. It takes personal experience, to be able to be empathetic. Empathy is much more sincere and heartfelt; as much as a sympathetic person  wants to be, it just isn’t possible. Empathy takes personal experience and turns it into a wonderful connection with another person, who has been through what you have. This is really a true gift and it’s unique to each person.

In life, when we go through difficulties, the human reaction would normally be, “why me?” The Bible states that we’re to embrace the difficulties that we face and even look forward to them. I Thessalonians 5:18, NIV, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Also, in James 1:2-4, NIV, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance, Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I’ve personally been through a lot in my life and it’s made me a better person, but at the time I was going through it, the difficulty was hard. The more experiences we have in life, the more empathy we can have for others. We can understand others, like nobody else can.

In order to be successful in marketing, you must really get to know your target audience, so that you can empathize with them and therefore connect. If you understand what they need or want, you can meet those for them. The 3 universal feelings that people need to be motivated to do business with someone, are trust, confidence and a feeling of being taken care of.” -Renee Houston Zamanski You really need to be able to step into your target audience shoes, so that you can reach them and help fulfill their needs or wants. So, in life and business, let’s always strive to connect with others!

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PAY IT FORWARD

I just watched the movie, Pay It Forward, for the 3rd time. I really love this movie, it’s sad, but so inspirational. If you haven’t seen the movie,I don’t want to ruin it for you. You really should see it for yourself! It came out in October 2000, it’s rated PG-13 and is 123 minutes in length. Some of the stars in the movie are: Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment. If you want all the details, you can go to http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0223897/ A young boy attempts to make the world a better place, after his teacher gives him that chance. It really makes you think about life. We don’t know how much our actions touch a life/lives for good or bad, depending on what the action was. We’re all on a path in our lives and we don’t know how long that path will last. What do you want people to think and say about you, when your path is over? Everyday in life and business, we make decisions. We can choose to do things that make a negative impact on our world or we can choose to make a positive impact. I know we all have days when we feel sick or down. On our normal days, let’s make the decision to make a positive impact on our world, whatever that looks like.

Being a christian, I know that I must do my devotions; reading the Bible and spending time in prayer everyday, to be successful. I must also remember to be patient with others and think of others above myself. I also need these things to be a good wife and mother, especially with special needs children. We must not only read the Bible, but also do what the Bible says and tell others what Jesus Christ has done for them.

Being an entrepreneur, I know that I have to make sure that I’m working on myself, to make sure that my mindset is right to be successful. An entrepreneur has to do things that most people don’t want to, to sacrifice things that most people aren’t willing to sacrifice. Things that might seem trivial, but make all the difference. There is a saying, I’ve heard many times that you have to be willing to do what others won’t do, so you can have what others want. We have to know our strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I have to stay in the right mindset, by reading and listening to motivating authors and speakers everyday. I also have to be around positive people and get the encouragement to keep on working. I must be persistent doing the things that make someone successful. Be persistently consistent. You must be willing to do all these things, without the promise of reward, which is the hardest part. The young boy in the movie did things that most people won’t do and he did get to see some of the rewards from his hard work, but most of the rewards showed up after he was gone. We’ll always reap what we sow. So many positive things happened as a result of what the boy did when he was alive. It really is amazing what we can do, when we make the commitment to do them and follow through. The boy affected so many people, positively by the things he did. He taught so many to do the right thing and because of this, he changed lives. How many lives can we touch and change positively?

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