Article by Dee DeWitt

 

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
-Paul Boese

                                      

All of us have been hurt by another person at some time in our lives.  We were treated badly, a trust was broken, a heart was hurt.  Pain from hurts such as these is normal.  Many times – too many times – the pain stays too long.  We relive the pain over and over, and have a hard time letting go.

 

The not letting go causes problems in the most basic – and important – parts of our lives.   It causes us to be unhappy, can strain or ruin relationships, distracts us from work and family, and makes us reluctant to open up to new things and people.  We become trapped in a cycle of anger and hurt, and miss out on happiness.

 

We need to learn to let go.  We need to be able to forgive, so we can move on and be happy.

 

This is something I learned the hard way – actually … I’m still learning – after years of holding onto anger at a loved one that stemmed from my early college years.  Recently, I finally let go of this anger (about a year or so ago) and I forgave.  And not only has it improved my relationship with this loved one, it has also helped me to be happier.

 

Forgiveness can change our lives for the better.  Forgiving doesn’t mean we erase the past, or forget what has happened.  It doesn’t mean the other person will change his behavior – none of us can control that.  What it does mean is that we are letting go of the anger and pain, and moving on to a better place.

 

It’s not easy, but it can be learned.  If you’re holding onto pain, reliving it, and can’t let go and forgive, try the following: Read More »

Posted on 17 December, 2009 in Happiness, Making the Day Count
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Article By Dee DeWitt

 

The only real security in a relationship lies neither in looking back in nostalgia, nor forward in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now.
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

 

From the time we are young, we are taught to plan out our lives, both for the long term and on a day-to-day basis.

 

We have daily, weekly, monthly planners and digital calendars that map out our lives, sometimes to the minute.  With plans like these, we feel we’re in control …

 

But we’re not.

 

We cannot control our lives to this degree, no matter how we try. Things always come up to change the best plans.  And the more detailed our plans, the more of a guarantee that something different – unplanned – will occur.

 

So what happens when the plans go awry?  We are stressed out, because things get out of our control and don’t live up to our expectations.  This is one of the greatest sources of stress for most people.

 

Think about how often your days actually go according to plan – they are pretty rare.  We have no way of predicting the future. No matter how hard we try. There’s always an email that will disrupt things, a last-minute meeting, cancellations and postponements, emergencies and fires to put out.

 

So if plans will almost always go wrong, and when they do we get stressed out, isn’t all the time we spend creating the plans a bit of a waste?

 

Instead … give yourself up to the moment. Read More »

Posted on 15 December, 2009 in Happiness, Making the Day Count
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Article by Dee DeWitt

The first observance of the Thanksgiving national holiday came one week after the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg, a harsh reminder of the sacrifice so many made for our country and our freedom.

Of the several themes that run through Make the Days Count, gratitude is probably one of the more central and important ones.  It’s sometimes tough in the times we are living to be grateful for the blessings that we are given.   Financial crises, family and friends off to war, business failures, wondering if we will still have a job (or find a job) next year, not to mention the individual challenges we each face on more personal levels.  As Thanksgiving approaches, remembering to be grateful can be tough for each of us.

 

Personally, I worry about what the impact of our many crises will have on my family, my church and business, and me.  It’s difficult sometimes to be thankful for the many blessings God has given me, most undeserved.  And He has given me many. 

 

Perspective is so important at this time of the year.  We are so much better off than others.  We are blessed to live in a country so rich in so many ways.  Putting Thanksgiving as a holiday into perspective is a humbling lesson.  President Abraham Lincoln obviously knew the importance of gratitude and giving thanks … even in the midst of what was the most severe national crisis our country had ever faced.  In October of 1863 Lincoln issued his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation that the holiday was established as a national annual event.  This was a time when our country and Lincoln were locked in the middle of our horrifying Civil War.  Victory was not yet in sight, and no one knew whether we would survive as a nation.  

 

Yet rather than despair, Lincoln choose to focus on the blessings our nation enjoyed during the Autumn of 1863, as he said “The year that I drawing to a close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.  To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come.” 

 

It is a lesson in gratitude and hope that we all can benefit from as we begin this holiday season and look to 2010.

 

Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1863:

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. Read More »

Posted on 25 November, 2009 in Gratitude, Making the Day Count
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Article by Make The Days Count Contributor Chris Bennett

 

Note: In the difficult times we’re facing with financial and job crises, the need for volunteers in every community is growing.  We’re tempted to focus on ourselves because of the fear and uncertainty in the news each day.  It’s our hope that after reading this article you will see that volunteering not only helps others, but it helps each of us.  Volunteering with gratitude leaves each of us feeling better and greedy for more of this feeling.

 

Even to most amiable of people, mental ruts seem to find their way to the forefront of any given personality.  Signs of such an impersonal emotion are strong amounts of irritability and discontentment mixed with downright ill tempered attitudes.  These traits more than likely do not represent who you are, hence the term ruts.  

 

For me, mental ruts are extremely frustrating because I am consistently on the go and my life moves very fast.  So I ask … how is it possible to not only find a simplistic way of relieving that unwanted crabbiness but also find a way to channel that off-putting energy to good use?  

 

The answer is helping others by volunteering your time. It creates a strong sense of self- worth and helps bolster your self-esteem.  Rest assured there are countless ways to get involved in any number of activities in and around your community. If you have a church, hen this is always a great place to start as most churches organize volunteer projects throughout their communities. Read More »

Posted on 23 November, 2009 in Helping Others, Making the Day Count
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Article by Mary Bea Sullivan

 

“… forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against … “  The whole “as we forgive those who trespass against us” deal can be like pushing a boulder uphill.  Praying for forgiveness … piece of cake!

 

For most of us, when we feel resentment, it resides in our guts. We relive an unkind word … years of abuse … a missed opportunity to be supported … and our solar plexus tightens as if trying to protect us from the pain.

 

But the pain is there, as real as the air we breathe; yet sometimes, all we breath is our pain.

 

Small transgressions can be easy to forgive, especially when the other party sincerely seeks forgiveness.  But the big ones … infidelity, a parent who seemed uninterested or uncaring, a trust shattered, a child who steals from her own mother … these can take years of hard work to move past. And if the one who hurt us shows no remorse, the challenge is even more difficult. Read More »

Posted on 6 October, 2009 in Balance, Happiness, Making the Day Count
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