a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Learning to Forgive

Forgiving is not forgetting the act, for that is usually impossible; nor is it pardoning or condoning or justifying. It is forgiving. Nothing more, nothing less.

            Today my post is an article written by my husband Dave and published in Desert Saints, a Las Vegas magazine, 12 years ago. I know it is long but I believe it contains insight and help that cannot be measured in time. I ask you to trust me on this.

The Old Testament refers to forgiveness numerous times, showing the Lord forgiving His children. During that time period, man's relationship to man was one of retribution and vindication.

With the advent of the Savior on earth, one of those relationships changed. No longer are we justified in striking back at those who have offended or harmed us. The imperative from the Lord is to love one another. And our obligation is to forgive one another.

We are told we are to seek forgiveness for our "debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matt. 6:12). It is interesting to note that the only subject in the Lord's Prayer which Christ chose to elaborate on was that of forgiveness. "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matt. 6:14-15).

We might be offended or injured in a myriad of ways, physically, emotionally or spiritually. But our duty is always the same, to forgive.

The question is --- How?

The answer starts to form as we examine our frame of mind.

Are we holding a grudge, grievance, or resentment?
Is the offense real or imagined?
Was it personal or general?
Was it purposeful or unintentional? (In many cases the offending party is unaware they have given offense.)

Could it be possible we have done something deserving of criticism? Or perhaps, we have misconstrued or misunderstood someone's words or actions?

Whatever the case, no matter whose fault, the Lord tells us we must not hold onto these feelings. Hanging on causes us to blame others for the way we feel and begins to drag us down and embitter us.

We must "get over it."

While it is usually appropriate to tell our version of the story to a select few, when we repeat it endlessly, we paint ourselves as the victim and begin to justify our feelings. It becomes a search for sympathy, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Forgiving is not forgetting the act, for that is usually impossible; nor is it pardoning or condoning or justifying. It is forgiving. Nothing more, nothing less. Forgiving may not always bring closure but we still need to get over it and move on with life.

Again the question --- How do we do that?

We cannot take personally the act or word that has offended us. There is a difference between having something "done to you," which we take as a personal affront, and done "about you," which is an act performed or words spoken because of something we may have said or done. An example might be what we do when our children misbehave. We may tell our children we do not like what they have done; we must never tell them we don't like them. This is the mind set we need to have to forgive someone.

We must hold ourselves responsible for how we feel today, living in the here and now.

We must get rid of "old news." No one wants to hear it. We can do that by thinking of the many good things in our lives. As the old song says, we can "accentuate the positive."

We must realize that no one makes us feel a certain way. 

We are the only ones who control the way we feel, so we can only blame ourselves for negative feelings.

We must create a positive "rewrite:" how we can overcome the harm that was done to us. Many of us can tell of situations where we harbored resentment that festered in us like an infection.  We must tell "the rest of the story" --- the forgiving part that allows us to move on without the heavy burden of bitterness. Thus we make "building blocks" from the situation.

Forgiveness has nothing to do with who is right or who is wrong. I has everything to do with releasing ill feelings. 
It has to do with saying, "I am sorry for my anger. Forgive me." We are commanded to forgive, whether or not we have been asked for forgiveness by the offender. Also, we are commanded to seek forgiveness for offenses we have committed, and the bad feelings we have harbored.

So many of us cling to an offense as if it were a valued friend. We must realize that in fact, it is a subtle enemy that can destroy us spiritually. Like an addiction, we must ultimately determine that this cancer be removed. Then we must turn to the ultimate physician for our cure.

Not surprisingly then, the formula is a familiar one.

By turning to the Lord in prayer, we are calling on the power that can remove all ills. If we remember that our Savior has experienced every pain and hurt and anxiety, as well as the sins of all mankind, we know He will help us when we ask for His help.

We must pray for the strength to forgive, even though it is difficult. 

Even as He was being crucified, Christ asked his Father for forgiveness for His tormentors. By comparison, what a little thing we care called on to do when we are commanded to forgive.

The Lord's instruction to us is clear. "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men" (Doctrine and Covenants 64:10).

Let's not try to fix the blame, let's fix the relationship.

(Dave took some of the material for this article from the book Forgive for Good, by Fredric Luskin)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

102 Hopefully Helpful, Simple, and Cheap Posts . . .

gleaned from my previous 2603 weeks of experiences . . . 
are coming directly to you over the next 51 weeks.

I never make New Year's resolutions. Yet, each new year's beginning finds me reflecting on back then and what  now ---- where I've been and the direction I am heading.  This year, probably because we just celebrated our 50th anniversary and Dave and I are both past the Biblical time allotted to us, there has been more reminiscing and introspection than usual.

Those of you who have followed my blog along its way, know that 16 months ago I didn't even know what a blog was nor did I care to learn.  I certainly didn't have the time nor slightest interest in writing one and dismissed  the idea as crazy when daughter-in-law Cheri suggested it.

I have no idea why but almost immediately following that exchange several things happened over a period of about 10 days that led me to know that writing a blog was what I was supposed to do.

Three weeks ago, just before Christmas, I discovered  The Creative Cheapskate passed 10,000 hits!!! I am not sure exactly what that means or how they are tracked but it was exciting and helps me feel that I am somehow helping some of you.

It has been mostly fun trying to share things that I have learned, most often out of necessity and much by trial and error over the past 50 years. I hope it has been mostly helpful, as well as fun for you.

Besides first of the year reflection, many of us try to regroup.  Or at least regroup (or maybe even group!) our s t u f f ! Where to fit what where.  

I am sure he means this nickname  in the kindest possible way,
    and not as a shortened version of  Squirrelly! 
Dave has begun calling me "Squirrel"  as I keep trying to stock up so we are as prepared as possible in this
increasingly nutty (pardon the pun) and uncertain world.

Except, unlike squirrels, I am not shaking a tree to gather the nuts, I am shaking the house trying to find niches for what I have gathered.

Many of my posts have addressed this subject in one form or another but here are a couple of other storage ideas for your tree house.
  • If any of your furniture allows for it, utilize the shallow space under it. Our couch has a wood frame that reaches the floor. Ninety-six individually-wrapped rolls of toilet paper repose under there.
  • If you have room, place an entertainment center or bed at an angle and you have not only added visual interest, but created an instant triangle of storage space behind.
  • Turn a closet into a pantry. Ours is located in the guest room closet. Our freezer also shares guest room space and sports a lighthearted note explaining the two close-at-hand snack sources for super hungry visitors. 
  • Stack your extra supplies of hand soap, tissue, etc. in the back of, or along the sides of, your bathroom cupboards, linen closets, etc. 
  • Place #10 cans or other storage items in the back of deep cupboards or closets, and/or place a layer on their floors.
  • Use a dish drainer as a handy and portable "filing cabinet" for often used papers, bills, receipts and postage supplies. I have a file folder for each family member I accumulate things for, including one for the box tops and labels I gather for a grandchild's school fundraiser.
  • Cut a circle in the side of a gallon milk jug and stuff your plastic grocery bags in the through the hole. Since there will be even more uses for plastic bags during hard times, you can cover the hole of a full jug and keep it with your emergency storage.  A gallon jug holds a lot of bags!
  • Place empty tissue boxes in a drawer to contain reusable  folded bread and zip-lock bags.
  • Use pint and quart canning jars for storing left-overs in the refrigerator. They are easily obtainable (garage sales and thrift stores), take up less room than bowls and the contents are always in sight so there is less chance of waste.

On a final note: It is probably 1) a good idea to make lists of these squirreled away items and 2) put the list where you will remember it.

I need to close now and attack the flat surfaces in our guest room.  It is basically a rat's nest of odds and ends in there that need to be squirreled away somewhere somehow.

Remember, the most important thing you need if you have the need to shake your tree is ----

a thinking cap!