Peace & Perspective

Living in Peace by having the right perspective. Peace – ˈpēs Noun: Freedom from strife; a state of tranquillity or serenity. Perspective – per·spec·tive – pərˈspektiv – Noun: A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.


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The Culture of Offense

I admit it. I am easily offended. I am that girl. Am I proud of this? No. I wish I weren’t this way. I wish I didn’t take snide remarks, rude behavior, and people with no filter to heart. Truth is, I do. And, I know exactly why. It’s a combination of harsh environments, abrasive people, and incomprehensible ridiculous injustices I have experienced peppered throughout my life. And, quite honestly, people are offensive.

As I wrote in my blog, “The Culture of Me”  we are living in a time when everyone’s first and foremost concern is themselves. It’s easy to get offended simply by going out in public and interacting with people. Offense is easily triggered when kindness allows the car in front of you to effortlessly enter traffic – with no wave or thanks in return. Grace holds the door open and allows someone else to walk through first – with absolutely no acknowledgment. Self-control says nothing as distracted shoppers bump into you – while they turn back and give you a dirty look.

What happened to us as a society? I can never remember living in a time such as this. It’s not just public interactions either. It’s family, friends, and acquaintances as well. Blatant rudeness, disrespecting personal boundaries, zero filters, sarcastic or demeaning comments, and my favorite, initiating and provoking conflict. Yet, all become bewildered – and offended when the offensive behaviors are held accountable.

It won’t stop until one person steps up to be the bigger person. Either the offended person lets it go without incident or the one who has done the offending takes accountability for the offense. Rarely do we have a situation where both parties do their part in keeping the peace. Typically, it’s the offender who expects others to not be offended by their offensive behavior.

As a follower of Christ, I know we must show the love of Jesus to everyone including people who offend us. Most people who offend us don’t even know they’re offensive. They lack the social cues and missed the opportunity to learn and gain what is necessary to be a giving and selfless individual. For those who have a desire to grow, this can be remedied by discipline and a teachable spirit. However, some see no need to change as their self-centeredness is all they know and care about.

At times, I wonder if showing the love of Christ will make a difference in the lives of others. Will they even recognize my effort to overlook their offense or simply see it as permission to continue the offensive behavior because I did not oppose. I know that the hope is they will learn from it and show the same grace to others as well as recognize their own offensive behavior, however, it is not the reason why I should show the love of Christ. Showing the love of Christ to the unlovable does a work in me because it suppresses my fleshly desire to react naturally. This cannot be done without humility. It disciplines me on how to react on a supernatural level depending solely on the help of the Holy Spirit.

So, how do we navigate past another’s lack of self-awareness and insensitive offenses? By understanding that we are all dealing with some type of past hurt in our lives and a great majority of us are living with unhealed wounds. These internal wounds of offense that we all carry are sure to surface outwardly by our demonstration of offensive behavior or by our reaction to offensive behavior. Basically, we’re all a ticking time bomb of emotions ready to explode.

That’s where grace comes in as we discipline ourselves to stop our natural reaction and instead pause and do something unnatural – show love in return. Love can be as simple as practicing patience or it could be bold by overlooking the offense entirely. It sounds impossible. It even feels impossible. But with Christ, all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

Let’s start being better humans to one another. Next time someone is kind to you on the highway or holds the door open for you, stop and give them a wave, a thank you and a smile. It will make their day and I guarantee you’ll feel good about it too! Then next time, you be the one to go out of your way for someone with a selfless act of kindness and begin to plant seeds in them of what selflessness truly looks like.

Proverbs 19:11

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

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Drop The Rope!

Did you know you have a choice of how to respond in a conflict contrary to your instinctive reactions to participating in it and making it worse?

Seems like a silly question, but I think that many of us feel that when conflict arises we must initially fight back at the same level, contribute to the nastiness, and participate in the escalation in order for our viewpoint to be heard. How refreshing to know that we don’t have to do this.

Before I even heard the term, “drop the rope,” at times, I was already doing it without being aware of the concept.

However, at times I didn’t drop the rope. I felt compelled to continue on with battles filled with utter nonsense. Battles which should have never been battles to begin with and I fought them until the point of mental exhaustion.

In healthy relationships, dropping the rope is easy as neither side desires for a conflict or disagreement to escalate to the point that it threatens a friendship or relationship. Each side attempts to practice innate self-control and would never overstep boundaries to intentionally hurt the other person. They understand that whatever is being discussed is certainly not worth jeopardizing a friendship or relationship. Disagreements end when both sides respectfully agree to disagree and the moment is over.

In healthy relationships, both sides are subconsciously “dropping the rope” because it’s a natural instinct in good, decent people who do not want to fight and understand people are allowed to have a different viewpoint.

Is important that you quickly recognize when you are in a situation that is unresolvable. Not because you are unwilling to resolve issues, but the other party is unwilling.

So, what exactly is dropping the rope? It’s a beautiful mental tool to utilize when conflicts arise and how to keep yourself peaceful. Think of the old-school game of “tug of war.” If one team should “drop the rope” in the middle of the game, what happens? The game is over. In the case of tug of war, the team that dropped the rope loses. However, the exact opposite is the case when you drop the rope in any conflict. The person who drops the rope wins!

The concept of “dropping the rope” simply means you refuse to continue to engage in an argument that is bouncing back and forth with no end in sight. You assess the situation and determine that is not resolving and getting too heated. Rather than escalating the conflict further by continuing to contribute to it, you calmly and respectfully diffuse the situation by changing the subject or ending the argument altogether. You do your part to achieve peace for both you and the other party.  In healthy relationships, everyone wins and there are no demands. You walk away with the same level of relationship as when you entered into the discussion.

Notice I said your goal is to achieve peace for both you and the other party. It’s not meant to be a demonstration of your dominance over the disagreement. When done correctly and lovingly, it is good for both parties.

So yes! You are winning because by dropping the rope, you have just achieved peace for you regardless of whether or not the other party does their part in dropping the rope! You have sent a clear message that you wish to no longer engage in a conversation going nowhere and your relationship and your peace are more important than proving a point.

Understand that it’s okay that if you dropping the rope and walking away for your peace makes them think they won. Make it a goal to get to the point where winning means you are secure in your convictions, you no longer need to provide extensive explanations for your beliefs and peace is your ultimate goal.

Dropping the rope is not complying or submitting, it’s recognizing you’re in a no-win situation and your peace is more important.

So my friends, when you are involved in your next conflict, whether it is disagreeing on political opinions or a difference of opinion on any hot topic, do yourself a huge favor and drop the rope! The best way for you to win is to not play.


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An Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!

January 1st. It doesn’t matter what year it is. This is the day we are all prompted to make our New Year’s Resolutions. A cognizant awareness along with a list of criteria that will better ourselves in the new year.

Resolutions are done with great and determined intentions. At the time we create them, we are absolutely 100% sure that, “This is the year I’m going to stick to them!” That’s good. That’s tenacity. It’s certainly better than the alternative of giving up before we even started. It shows we are desiring growth in whatever area we feel we need to improve. It also shows our humility in admitting that we are always in need of improvement. Resolutions signify new beginnings and perhaps making some necessary changes in your life all in the spirit of improving ourselves!

Flip the calendar several pages. It’s March. That excited feeling of accomplishing great things on January 1st has been forgotten. We’ve returned to the same habitual lifestyle that we had all intentions of changing and improving. Our resolutions turned into failed attempts, lack of willpower, and laziness. We are deflated and perhaps even feel like a failure.

That is why I no longer make resolutions. I don’t need a calendar or a special day to motivate me to better myself. Here’s the great thing. We have 365 days each and every year to do this. Yes, it’s true! We can better ourselves every single day. And, if we fail one day, the next day is filled with just as much promise to try again. We don’t have to wait an entire year to commit to bettering ourselves. There is no holiday needed and no milestone to wait for. Simply, commit to live a life of intention every single day.

These intentions are different for everyone. Some may intend to commit to being more thoughtful, kind, or selfless. While others are striving to lose weight, eat healthier, or tackle their finances more responsibly.  Regardless of your personal intention, find something that you are in need of improving and focus on it every day.

So, if you are going to make a New Year’s Resolution this year, make only one. Strive to live intentionally every day of your life and forgive yourself if you fall short of your expectations because tomorrow is always a new day!

Happy New Year – Happy New You!


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Share Your Story!

Everyone goes through different types of trials. They are all for a greater purpose. When we go through trials, we come out with two things, experience we never asked for and wisdom we can’t help but obtain. Whether the end result of the trial is good or bad, we still come out with experience and wisdom. I often share my various trials with those close to me who are deep into their own trials or those who are brave enough to reach out to me for help. I offer the wisdom I learned through my experiences in order to show a different perspective now that I am able to look back at the lessons each trial has taught me. I do this to provide hope to those in pain and an open heart and an open mind will receive this gesture as such. How do I know this? Because I was on the receiving end of those who loved me enough to bravely share their stories of pain with me in order to give me a hope for my future. What a difference they made in my life. I am forever grateful for their demonstration of love to me for the sole purpose of my healing. Those people are a friend for life!

Many times, we are too stubborn and it’s not until some form of tragedy hits, heartbreak ensues, our spirits are broken, uncertainty lies ahead, and emotional and/or physical pain consumes us that we are propelled into wanting, needing and desperately desiring more in life.

My trials were the driving force for my thirst for wisdom, knowledge and much-needed understanding in order to comprehend and learn how to cope with issues I never thought I would have to face. Sadly, my years of a normal, predictable, and blessed life mostly filled with joy and happiness with a few bumps in the road peppered in never urged me into any self-reflection of who I was and what my priorities were nor did they prompt me to seek anything more or desire to change. It was entirely due to my despair and devastation that prompted me to want more in life and change my priorities.

This is why I share my stories with others. Horrible trials are all for a beautiful purpose. Lessons. If we are humble enough to learn the lessons through our trials, and if we are brave enough, we will share them with those we see going through difficulties to provide hope to them during their pain. If received, they will, in turn, do the very same when they see others struggling in their trials and we will have created a beautiful ripple effect of positive influence by simply sharing our stories of pain and triumph to those who are in need of hope.

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The Repercussions of Denial and How to be Free From it

Denial will:

  • Allow you to continue to stay in a pit of darkness indefinitely.
  • Rob you of your peace.
  • Promote a delusional way of thinking where you believe your own lies and justify unjustifiable situations.
  • Eventually cause you to self-destruct.

Denial will not:

  • Bring resolution to any problem.
  • Change the facts of a situation.
  • Improve your life in any way.

Are you using denial as a coping mechanism? Denial falsely allows you to believe that if you don’t accept and deal with an unpleasant or painful situation, you don’t have to accept the truth and reality of it and therefore, it doesn’t exist. You blindly go about your life pretending everything is okay when it’s not masking your pain with the facade of joy and peace. This results in living a life of deception and will catch up with you as deception opens the door to more pain and difficulty to take root in your life.

By not facing truth and reality, the only thing you are accomplishing is holding yourself prisoner in your very own jail. You alone hold the key to escape out of your prison.

Soon you will see that avoiding whatever it is you don’t want to accept and burying it further and further inside you will only manifest into dysfunction in all other areas of your life. The more you prolong acceptance, the more detrimental denial is in your own life.

It will manifest into your mental state, your physical state, your relationships, your marriage, your home, your family and your overall peace.

Why not consider taking a new approach? There is a way out. Simply accept what is and face it head on!

Easier said than done, I agree. But once you begin by taking the very first step toward acknowledging that the denial must end and that you must now learn to cope with what placed you there to begin with, you are on your way to freedom! My advice comes from personal experiences resulting in many successful final outcomes motivating me to share it with you.

How? Here are a few easy and doable steps to freedom:

  1. You cannot do anything to improve your circumstances if you act in pride. Refusing help, guidance, truth, and reality will only keep you right where you are forever. Give yourself ample time to process the difficult situation, but do not stay there! As you begin to drop your pride, you will find that you are now able to humbly ask for help. As you do this, the main focus should be your freedom and revelation that the weight of the issue on your shoulders that you have been carrying for way too long will now be exchanged with a healthier way of coping with the problem. It won’t change the situation you have to deal with it, but it will drastically improve your quality of life as you navigate and accept the truth and reality of what you’ve been denying in a more objective and healthy manner. It will make a huge difference.

Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

  1. Seek wisdom. It’s amazing what we learn when we seek and thirst for wisdom and are ready to grow and be tested. The scales on our eyes are peeled away and light appears in the form of truth and understanding. Solicit advice from those who tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear – those are the people who truly care about your well-being. Those that speak with such boldness do it with your very best interest at heart, otherwise, they would not put themselves in such a vulnerable position of the possibility of your rejection and anger. This is a sign of true friendship – hold onto it dearly. It means they love you and want what’s best for you at any cost. This is where your humility will be tested. Do you accept the advice or do you resist? If you’ve checked your pride before soliciting advice, you’ll be sure to learn, consider new approaches, see things in a different light and be on your way to better understanding and dealing with your difficult situation. You’ll also be able to remove all emotional pain associated with it and cope merely based on facts and solutions and hit it head on. This is the difference between being a prisoner and being free.

Proverbs 27:5-6  – Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

Proverbs 4:6-7  6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.  7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

  1. Now that you have dropped your pride and searched for wisdom, you are on your way to freedom. Be assured that God has recognized your obedience thus far and is orchestrating all things to work out for your good as He works behind the scenes to send blessings your way. As you pray, remember to come boldly yet humbly before Him and ask Him to shield you with his protection, make a way where there seems no way, and guide you on the path that is His will for you as you allow Him to use you as His vessel in whatever it is He wants to accomplish through you in your trial.

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

  1. Last but not least, wait for His timing. This is where He does a work in you and refines you like silver. He works on your patience, your trust, your faith, and your self-control. You cannot rush His timing. The level of your faith, trust and obedience will show God the true condition of your heart and whether or not you are ready to be promoted and blessed. Do not give up if you do not see instant results. The longer your situation lingers, the more you have to learn. Resolution only comes when God sees you have learned all the lessons He wanted to teach you. A willing and submissive heart will learn these lessons much quicker than those who stubbornly and defiantly give up before the lesson is learned. A failed lesson will only result in further testing.

Isaiah 40:31 – But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Zechariah 13:9 – And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested.

Be blessed as you accept what is and live in freedom!


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Inspiration. How I became a Blogger.

Where do bloggers get their inspiration? And what compels us to share our stories, talents, and passions with complete strangers on the internet? Some bloggers turn into authors and of course, many authors turn into bloggers.

Bloggers come in a variety of flavors and colors and are inspired for a multitude of reasons. Some are inspired by their desire to share their academic knowledge, their exciting adventures from traveling, or their hobbies, talents, and passions from everything from cooking to photography and everything in between. Some blog about their life of opulence and indulgence, while others blog about the mundane life of common folk. Then there are those who are emotionally motivated to blog about their life experiences and share their stories birthed from either immense joy or unspeakable heartbreak and tragedy, all contributing to some really great reads. We blog about our transformations, our expectations, our realizations, and our perceptions. We blog to teach, inspire, share, and for some, to heal. Regardless of why we blog, we all have a story to tell. I’m excited to have entered into this world of blogging.

But what makes us bloggers want to write and share our stories with complete strangers that we will never meet? What makes us want to connect with people with whom all we’ll only receive is that highly-hoped-for LIKE or if we’re lucky, a brief reply?? The answers run the gamut depending on who you ask. For me, it’s the possibility of connecting with someone who, after reading my blogs, has a new way of looking at and responding to situations in their life. Also, it’s a way for me to share what I’ve learned through the pain of my trials and testify that goodness prevails over evil, that there is light in the darkness, you can turn a negative situation into something positive, and ultimately how to live in peace through it all, despite what we endure.

My blog is about my life experiences from the half century I have been fortunate to live on this earth. 40 of those years were what I would call uneventful. Not necessarily boring or unimportant by any means because through those years, some amazing things happened in my life. I gave birth to two amazing children, watched them grow up to be amazing young adults, putting God first and inspiring others to do the same by their choices and lifestyle. I have lived through the ups and downs of marriage and survived them all with a wonderful husband who has been by my side through sickness and in health and demonstrated a level of loyalty to me, our marriage and our family that wipes away anything negative that tried to come in and destroy it. I have been very fortunate to travel with friends, my family and alone with my husband, making memories that will last a lifetime.

Indeed, prior to the last decade, my 40 years on this earth were pretty good, sprinkled in with some trivial upsets. I was living a typical, normal, somewhat predictable life. I was blessed in many ways. Reflecting back now, I clearly see that the “upsets” I once thought were difficult to endure, were so very inconsequential. They always resolved themselves quickly and never produced any roadblocks, detours, nor did they require or prompt me to change, grow or give me a thirst for anything more. I was just getting by on what I had always known to be what I thought was enough. I didn’t know any other way and had no clue that I was completely mentally stagnant and robotically enduring day to day life, never realizing how much more there was to learn and how much further I was able to grow.

I certainly wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t great either. I never sought to become better because it never dawned on me that I was in need of any improvement. Not out of pride, but out of ignorance. I had never known anything other than what I was living, a life of complacency. I was unaware that my level of wisdom was halted because I wasn’t seeking any for there was nothing that motivated me to pursue it. I was seemingly satisfied and satiated with my level of knowledge despite the fact that it was incredibly lacking.

It wasn’t until I began to reflect on the many difficult trials I have faced within the past decade that I truly felt inspired to write a blog about my experiences and my true perspective on who I am, what I’ve learned, and what I now aspire to be. I’ve grown more in the past ten years of my life due to pain and heartbreak than I had grown in my previous 40 years of life prior to experiencing the reality and despair of true darkness as I now know it.

Yes, frighteningly, it wasn’t until tragedy and turmoil hit my life this past decade, heartbreak broke my spirit, uncertainty and fear ruled my life, and physical and emotional pain consumed every ounce of my being that I was propelled into wanting, needing and desperately desiring more in life. They were the driving force for my thirst for wisdom, knowledge and much-needed understanding in order to comprehend and learn how to cope with issues I never thought I would face.

No, my years of a normal, predictable, and blessed life mostly filled with joy and happiness with a few bumps in the road peppered in did not urge me into any reflection of who I was and how I was living nor prompt me to seek anything more. It was entirely due to my decade of despair and devastation.

That my friends is what my blog is all about. Healing, hoping, growth and peace through trials, tragedy, and turmoil. My hope is to teach you how to turn your negatives into positives, bad situations into good, encourage you to never repay evil for evil, and learn how to relinquish control in situations where you have none in order to maintain your peace. I will share the knowledge that helped dig me out of a dark pit and enabled me to see the light again and who and what this light is that I now rely on and turn to when I’m in need of lifting up, guidance, and being an inspiration to others. It’s to teach that when trouble inevitably comes in its many unique and devastating ways, there is a time to mourn, to feel, to react, but there is also a time of healing and recovery and to understand that we are never meant to stay there.

This blog was birthed from my many revelations on so many issues and writing about them and sharing them is very therapeutic for me. This blog is my voice and my truth. It is the philosophies in which I live by, and the values in which I hold onto. It is what has been taught to our children and are the principles by which our family lives by. This blog is a representation of who I am.

With wisdom comes humility in asking God what the purpose is of our trials and what lessons we are supposed to learn from them. We must come to the end of ourselves and stop doing things our way with our own effort. We must allow God to mold and shape us through our trials into who He wants us to be in order to fulfill His will in our lives. It is only then that we will heal and grow and be equipped to lead others to hope through their darkness.