Friday, January 5, 2018

What Do You Think About the Most - Your Future or Your Past

A new year is usually the time we reflect on our past.  It is quite normal to wonder what would have been different if you had or not done something.  If the past year was traumatic, we might wonder what would have happened if we had made a different decision.
This is a blogging challenge called Secret Subject Swap and I was asked to answer this question posted by Minette at Southern Belle CharmIf you could go back 20 years for one hour and change the rest of your life, what would you change and why?

I thought about this at great length and came up empty.  My life has been a tumultuous one.  Often the storms would come one after the other but many times they would be happening at the same time.  Every year had turbulence and it would be impossible to attempt changing anything in the course of one hour.  Complicated.  Exhausting.  

To be clear, I cannot think of any decision that would have had a different outcome because most of the traumas were not the results of my decisions -- rather they were things that happened TO me; i.e. cancer, theft, abuse.

One of the questions I am asked most often is "How did you forgive the people who did those terrible things to you?"  My answer is always the same.  "I chose to forgive.  Choosing not to forgive would only hurt me more."

After writing my memoir, Battered Hope, my podcast was launched.  On Never Ever Give Up Hope my guests share how they overcame trauma in their lives.  This show and my book have touched the lives of thousands globally.  Without the experiences I had overcome, I would never have been able to be an encouragement and a voice for those hurting.

Isn't this the reason we on put on earth?  To learn, to grow, and to help others?  As painful as my life has been, I could never have replaced the lessons learned any other way.

I have consistently maintained the attitude that tomorrow will be a better day.  No matter what happens today, tomorrow is the opportunity to change what might have gone upside down today.

Last month I shared my post THIS IS NOT THE END OF YOUR STORY.  No matter what goes wrong or how difficult things may be -- it is NOT the end of your story.  We all have the right and the ability to make a difference to the end of our own story.

Consequently, the answer to the question would be:

I would not choose to change anything

Here are the other contributors this month -- check out their stories -- make a new friend!  You will be glad you did.

Baking In A Tornado
Cognitive Script
The Lieber Family Blog
Part-time Working Hockey Mom
The Bergham Chronicles

My Brand of Crazy
Southern Belle Charm
The Blogging 911

Friday, December 22, 2017

This is NOT the End of Your Story

Grands with Santa
As beautiful as the Christmas season is, it can be very difficult for many people to enjoy.  There are those of us who have lost someone close, perhaps a family member or dear friend.  It has been said that the 'first' Christmas after such a loss is especially challenging.  There are so many triggers to the memory of that loss.  

But we pick ourselves up off the ground and know that each year it will be a bit easier.  Or is it?  For some, it is still a serious emotional struggle.  They may hide it well and few people know or understand the pain of that loss.  When my son and his family walked away from our family five years ago, I maintained an attitude of hope that he would return before the year-end.  I will continue to maintain that attitude although sometimes that thread of hope gets thinner - I still hang on.  I will never give up.  I know it is not the end of the story.

What that loss has done is make me more empathetic to those who have lost much more than I have.  We cannot measure the bereavement for anyone other than ourselves because each of us process pain differently.  

But the season of Christmas is a reminder that we have much to be thankful for, to be joyful and enjoy the good memories and new ones we are about to make.
What memories we will make this
Christmas with these precious ones

I did a considerable amount of traveling this past month.  Each day on the road I spoke in a different city which meant a great deal of driving, packing and unpacking my car, and sleeping in a different bed each night.  

Yet, it was one of the most rewarding times of my life.  Sharing with the audiences could not have been more gratifying as I challenged them with the message, "This is NOT the end of your story."  No matter what you may be going through, things will change; they will improve and you will be that much wiser, stronger, and happier than you ever thought possible.

The comments I received underscored the reason I do what I do.  I am seeing lives change, people encouraged and inspired.  It is worth every ache and pain while traveling.  I draw from what could have been many negative experiences in my life to help them understand -- it was NOT the end of the story.  Sometimes the only way out is walking through the fire.  After getting through the tough times, we gain understanding as to why we had to endure some pain in order to accomplish our ultimate goal.

We are allowed to be sad, to cry, and to wish things had been different -- but as long as we know this is NOT the end of the story, we'll make it.  

Never Give Up and Watch What Happens!

Remember how the rat infestation in our store drove us out?  We tolerated the incompetence of our landlady for 11 months and then said "Enough!"  It took over three months to build a new store and we opened the doors a couple weeks ago.  

The other night at dinner my husband asked me if I ever say how beautiful a store is when I go into it.  After thinking about it, I couldn't remember a time when I had said that.  Yet, that is what 90% of the people who walk into our new store say.  The layout is unique.  A shopping area in the front......

Then a 30-foot art gallery -- all from local artists

Then the main store at the other end


We still have finishing touches to do but essentially we are ready.  It is thrilling to have people come in and not want to leave because they are appreciating the artists' workmanship and, of course, all of our custom-made jewelry.  

These pics give just a glimpse so....... you have to use your imagination.  

The rat infestation, as devastating as it was at the time, was not the end of the story!  That story here!

One of the pleasures of being in a blogging challenge each month is to gain new friends.  I love reading about each of these bloggers' lives.  Take a peek into their lives -- you will enjoy their stories as well.

Baking In A Tornado
Menopausal Mother
Searching for Sanity
Spatulas on Parade
Bookworm in the Kitchen
The Blogging 911
Go Mama O

Friday, December 15, 2017

What does for better, for worse mean?

November 24, 1997, was our 25th wedding anniversary.  Anyone who has been married that long usually has questions and reflections about their relationship.  

Over the years, there were moments when I wondered if we would make it another year.  Although our relationship was strong, the circumstances we endured over the course of those years were horrendous.  Our lives were battered, often bruised, and broken more times than I can count.  Yet, we survived.  Yes, we grew stronger.  But as some people have said, "I'd take weakness over all the struggles you had to endure to make you stronger."

When you start your life together as a couple, you concentrate on a bright future.  You talk about all the hopes and dreams you have together and individually.  When trials come, you work through them -- together.  Rarely does anyone anticipate that almost every year would bring a major trauma into your lives.  But, in our case, that is what happened. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

What Would You Like Your Superpower to Be?

In a monthly blogging challenge called Secret Subject Swap, I was asked this question:  "You think your neighbors have secret superpowers.  Do you spy on them?  Bribe them?  Become friends with them?"

This is extremely difficult for me to answer because I have never enjoyed fantasy - of any type.  I don't watch it on TV and I don't read books written in that vein.  You get the picture.  I am a realist by nature and practical in all areas of my life.  So I struggled with this question.

However, as an interviewer on my radio show, I have learned how to ask questions.  Hubby says I can go into a room of 25 strangers and in less than an hour I know each of their life stories.  That's just it -- I love true life stories.  Always have.

But the challenge is that I must answer the question - so here's my best shot.  I can be sneaky.  I worked for a detective agency in my youth and learned a trick or two about finding out the truth.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Do You Need To Speed Up or Slow Down?

Every time I think things will start to slow down, they seem to speed up.  Why is that?  Maybe it is because I have more jobs than I can count on one hand and it is pure craziness.  Someday......I'll slow down but not anytime soon.  When I think of the alternatives, I wouldn't have it any other way!

Nitestar JewelersAs of this weekend, we are opening the doors to our new store.  But, in my craziness I forgot to take pictures so will post them next month.  Something really interesting is that people who are walking in/by to say "Hi" are commenting that they had no idea we had such a variety of art.  In our last store, it was displayed on the walls behind the jewelry showcases.  In the new store -- part of the store is set up as a gallery - and all the work is done by local artists.  
Nitestar Galleries

Nitestar Galleries



A close friend of mine who used to live in our town moved away fifteen years ago and I have not seen her for seven years.  I miss her terribly and she surprised me this month with a quick visit passing through town on her way back from California.  It is wonderful to visit with old friends -- you have history and that cannot be replaced.