I’M FINISHED WITH IT!

You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, “I forgive. I’m finished with it.” ~ Maya Angelou

The reason I love this quote is because it both embodies what love truly is and the real benefactor from forgiveness.

Ms. Angelou got it right. Love isn’t sentimentality or mushy feelings. It is respecting, valuing, and honoring. It is doing the right thing even if it is hard or goes unnoticed.

Dovetail that with forgiveness. I used to think forgiveness was to benefit the offender. This understanding of forgiveness made it hard  for me to forgive because I didn’t feel that person deserved to be forgiven. I felt like I was giving that person a pass. It was the same to me as saying, “What you did was okay, you are not to blame.”

However, now I realize forgiveness is for me. It is for me to be free. I needed to respect, value, and honor, myself! And I couldn’t do that while holding a grudge, wanting justice, and wanting that person to suffer as I had. Just as Maya Angelou said, I had to say, I forgive. I’m letting it go from myself. I’M FINISHED WITH IT! And I did.

That said, for a couple of years the person and the offense replayed in my mind and I had to remind myself, I’m finished with it. After a while, it no longer played in my mind.

I’m free! DSC_0025-9

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NOTES ABOUT QUOTES

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I’ve always loved words. Especially those that inspire and encourage. Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to quotes. I use them everyday on my Facebook page to encourage my FB friends. I’ve done this for years and although well-received by most, there are times the quote is totally misunderstood by some, especially those from other countries who are not familiar with our culture. Believe me, those who misunderstand the intent of the quote are quick to let me know exactly what they think. This sparks those who totally got the meaning and they are quick to let those who misunderstood know it. Thus, the whole purpose of the quote is forgotten in the fray. At the beginning of this year I noted on my page my purpose and goal for the daily quotes and also warned if anyone’s comments cause a misunderstanding of the intent of the quote I reserved the right to delete the comments. I’ve only had to do this a couple of times, thank goodness.

So, Linda? Why are you telling us this?

Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve written blogs for YEARS, and frankly, my ‘blogging well’ is dry. While driving today I worried over my dilemma, knowing I didn’t want to give up blogging, but I hate putting words in cyberspace that meant very little to most. That’s when it hit me! I love quotes. Quotes are often misunderstood. Why not share a quote and what it means to me? This ideas gave me new energy!  So each week I will post a quote and write a little about it. AND I will open it up to discussion. If you agree or disagree, there will be no deleting. (Unless the rudeness level is off the charts, of course)

Quotes are like powerhouse vitamins, small, yet nourishing. They are composed of a few words, yet they speak volumes. Therefore, with this new inspiration, I will change the direction of my blogging to using quotes that give health to our present and our future!

For now, I will close with a quote by Mark Twain. It perfectly summarizes why I love quotes and my reason for using them. I look forward to this new blogging venture!

A drop of ink may make a million think. ~ Mark Twain

Next blog’s quote is from the amazing Maya Angelou!

WHY I WRITE

I do not have dreams of grandeur as a writer. But I do have purpose. My core value is communication, so writing is a given. Maybe, one day, if my books fall into the hands of the right person, I may make it to the lists. Well, one can hope can’t she? But even so, I write with purpose. Whether it is fiction or non I write to send important messages about life that will endure the test of time. I write for future generations.

This is something we all can do, even if you do not consider yourself a writer. Our stories matter. I have a diary of daily happenings that belonged to my great-grandfather. It was for the year 1870. Through the decades that little diary went through a lot of abuse. It lost its cover, some grandchildren scribbled in it, no one paid much attention to it, except to keep it. Thank goodness. By the time it came into my possession, that little rag-tag diary was a treasure. I keep it in a safe place and treat it as something priceless. Because it is. When I read it I’m visiting with my great-grandfather. I’m learning about him and what was important to him.

One day the stories I made up or writings of family experiences will be my great grandchildren’s treasure. You hear about leaving a footprint on the earth? By writing, we all leave a footprint on our future’s heart.

WHAT I’M WRITING ON MY 2015 SLATE

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To me New Year’s Day is like a clean slate. Before I write on it, I look back over the previous year and evaluate what I wrote on it. I ask myself, “What did I do, think, or say that backfired on me, that caused me sorrow or pain, even worse, caused someone else sorrow or pain? I do this because I don’t want to fill my clean slate up with the same bad scribbling. This week before New Year’s Day is perfect for reflection. I will take a hard, honest, look at 2013 and determine what things need to be erased from my life. When New Year’s Day 2014 dawns I will be ready to write on my clean slate and hopefully I won’t be ashamed during my week of reflection as I prepare for 2015.

                                                                                                                                                     ~ Linda Apple, December 2013 

I wrote the above quote one year ago today. And I can honestly say I’ve achieved this goal. The most rewarding achievement is learning how to forgive. For years I held myself in a prison of bitterness because I wasn’t willing to forgive someone. But this year I reached a point to where I couldn’t continue living with unforgiveness and animosity, so I released the person I had held in this state. Now there is peace between us . . . even friendship.

Of course, where there are people there are hiccups, times when misunderstandings arise and the temptation to hold a grudge happens. But this year I’ve practiced flinging these temptations from me as fast and far as I can. I do this by practicing gratitude.  A grateful person is a happy person, a person at peace.

My goal for 2015 is to  my slate with gratitude. I want to express my gratitude to those around me. There are those who flood my soul with life and never even know it. But they will from now on! And should hard times come, for as we all know life is famous for handing us those times, I hope to gather enough courage and still be grateful.

How about you? What do you plan to write on your 2015 slate?

LEARNING AT NATURES KNEE ~ Small Beginnings

 

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“Mighty things from small beginnings grow.” ~ John Dryden

This week my daughter, Olivia, and I started our heirloom tomatoes seeds and some have already pushed their thread-like stems through the potting soil. Each year when I see these little shoots I’m amazed at how such small beginnings result in plants taller than me, bearing tomatoes larger than my fist. When I first started learning how to start my own tomatoes, my friend, Connie, taught me a cool trick for strengthening the seedlings hair-sized stems, you pet them. Yep. You read it right. She showed me how to gently run my hand over the miniscule leaves to simulate the breeze blowing. I have to admit, it is kind of fun. In a few weeks of petting and watering my little plants, my little plants will face another hurdle, transplanting. This process will give them a little shock at first, but soon they will stretch their roots in the soil and and reach toward the sky, fulfilling their purpose.

As I write this I’m reminded of how much I can learn from nature. Just as the quote says, I should never despise small beginnings. Another lesson is when life blows over me, bending me to the ground, I have the choice of standing up and using that experience to make me stronger. Finally, if I’m uprooted and transplanted, whether it be my goals, dreams, or plans, I should keep an optimistic attitude, reach deep, look up, and grow into my purpose.

The lesson of my tomatoes? Never give up because of small beginnings, winds of adversity or change.

 

LOVE ACTUALLY?

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Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward. ~ Thomas Merton

Yesterday was perfect book weather. The steel-gray sky threatening icy rain gave me permission to curl up on the couch, sip hot coffee and indulge in a couple of books. I alternated between Normandie Fischer’s, Sailing Out of the Darkness, and Steven James’s, Sailing Between the Stars. Hmmmm, I wonder if my subconscious is trying to tell me something?

Any way, James made a point in his book that made me stop and think, (actually, he makes a lot of points that makes me stop and think). He wrote that the opposite of music isn’t silence—it’s noise. A sour note that ruins the harmony and distorts the melody.

After I read that I thought about what the opposite of love might be. Some would say hate. But I don’t think so. To me the opposite of love isn’t hate—it’s selfishness. It’s the what’s in it for me mindset.

The problem is with the English language. We say we love everything. We love our warm socks, our pets, traveling, chocolate, riding our bikes, our mate, our children. But does our use of love there mean the same thing for all the above?

No.

In the Greek language there are many words for love. Smart Greeks.

What they are passionate for they use eros. Whom they are fond of as friends they use phileo. Natural love of family is Storgeo. But the highest form of love— the sacrificial, unconditional kind— is agapao.

My daughter, Olivia, once said, “Hollywood film directors and producers are the prophets of our generation sending a false message of love.” I might add so do those in advertising. Most of what the media feeds us is created and based in eros. And we buy it, believing this is love.

No wonder so many relationships are built on toothpicks.

Erros says, “You look sexy, you make me feel good, you make me happy, you make me look good, you make my life easier.” Notice a trend here? It’s all about how others make us feel.

What does agapao look like?

In a word, sacrifice. It isn’t about us.  And the troublesome thing about agapao is sometimes it isn’t convenient, appreciated, and at times it even hurts our hearts. And yet, it remains. Agapao doesn’t depend on emotion, as does eros. Eros evaporates with the changing wind. Agapao cherishes, honors, accepts, is devoted and focused on others. It remains through the tough seasons of life.

This month is dedicated to love, so why don’t we give the gift of agapao—the gift of true love. And, when eros comes knocking at our door with candy and flowers—think. It isn’t our good it wants and we shouldn’t accept anything less than agapao for ourselves!

A FRESH LOOK AT A NEW YEAR

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I’ve often compared newborn babies to empty slates because they arrive innocent with only survival instincts, but as they mature they become what we write upon them. Unfortunately, we often write lousy things on these little slates without realizing it. Things like bad words, bad attitudes, anger, prejudices, the list goes on. Those little eyes and ears take in all of the aforementioned things and file it away in their little brains as the proper way to respond or react. Then when they do the things they have seen us do, we are horrified and let them know it.

How confused these little ones must be.

I remember a time when a little one used a cuss word. Her mother was more than annoyed and before she punished her daughter, she asked, “Where did you hear that word.” With innocent eyes, the small girl gazed up and answered, “You, Mommy.”

All too often I say or do things without realizing the consequences. These things are so ingrained in me that I’m often mindless of who hears me and how it affects them. However, when they do the same, I see it and am annoyed with them. How could they say such things? Think such things? Do such things? How could they? How? How?

“But you do it. Say it. Think it . . . Linda.”

 Ouch!

To me New Year’s Day is like a clean slate. Before I write on it, I look back over the previous year and evaluate what I wrote on it. I ask myself, “What did I do, think, or say that backfired on me, that caused me sorrow or pain, even worse, caused someone else sorrow or pain? I do this because I don’t want to fill my clean slate up with the same bad scribbling.

This week before New Year’s Day is perfect for reflection. I will take a hard, honest, look at 2013 and determine what things need to be erased from my life. When New Year’s Day 2014 dawns I will be ready to write on my clean slate and hopefully I won’t be ashamed during my week of reflection as I prepare for 2015.

How about you?