Thursday, July 30, 2015

Decisions

I was thinking the other day about forgiveness. I realized for me forgiveness is not a question of “if.” Of course, I will forgive the person who hurt me. The decision about forgiveness was already made in my mind. The “if” is a given but the “when” or “how often” has the question mark attached.

There are times and situations forgiveness comes quickly. Other times not so much. The deeper the wound the longer it takes to come that conclusion for me. I find it especially hard to forgive when it happens to Tom or my kids. I want to forgive that person for the hurt, but when I watch the outcome of their hurt in someone that means the world to me, it’s not easy. 

I’ve learned to make a point of forgiving people because it’s not for their benefit that I forgive; it’s for my benefit – my spiritual, emotional and physical benefit. It takes too much out of me to stay angry. Anyone can have a bad day. They can say something they don’t mean or say it in a way that’s harsh or disrespectful. I get that. They may never ask for me to forgive them but that’s not the point of forgiveness. It doesn’t require action from them – because let’s face it sometimes that’s just never going to happen.

It requires action from me, for me, to benefit me. So today, I choose to forgive, which doesn’t mean I trust that person or persons, but I forgive them. (I’m not saying here that to forgive someone means you stay in relationship with them. Some relationships are toxic.)

There is freedom in forgiveness for me. It helps me to move forward instead of being tied to something in the past that can hold me back. Forgiveness is a process, but the first step is a decision, at least for me.

© Nadine Zawacki 2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hope

I’m about to admit something, so please don’t judge me. I watch “Girl Meets World.” It’s a show based on the original show “Boy Meets World.” It’s a Disney show so the acting is campy, the kids are adorable and each show ends in a lesson. I watched last night’s episode this morning while I ate breakfast. What I didn’t expect was to weep by the end of the episode titled, “Girl Meets Hurricane.”

The lesson was on hope. One little girl who always hoped for the best and her friend who didn’t dare to hope because life let her down – every time. Watching the episode unfold struck me in a way I hadn’t expected.

I usually don’t cry after watching a 20-minute sitcom. Hope was missing and I hadn’t realized it was gone.

Nadine means hope. I’m someone who usually hopes for the best in situations. Because of my faith in God, hope was something that I held onto in tough times. It was part of my DNA. It’s a best friend who comforted me in bad times.

Hope is a powerful tool. Proverbs 13:12 says this:

When hope’s dream seems to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing. But when at last your dream comes true, life’s sweetness will satisfy your soul. (The Passion Translation)

Since hope is part of my DNA, it hadn’t really gone away completely, I just wasn’t using it. It doesn’t matter what I’m hoping for, it matters that I don’t give up.

© Nadine Zawacki 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015

One Woman’s Weed is One Little Boy’s Flower


Last Sunday after church, one of the little boys picked me a “flower.” It was a dandelion weed. I said thank you and then placed it on the bench beside me. I got up to leave and honestly, I just forgot about it. He called out to let me know that I left my “flower” on the bench. I picked it up and thanked him. It just made me smile.

This sweet boy wanted me to have a flower and the adult me knew it wasn’t a flower. Of course, I took it anyway. His heart was pure and precious. I realized at that moment what Jesus meant when he said in Matthew 18:3; Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you’ll never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

That innocence and ability to look at a weed and see only a flower is priceless. That’s what God does with us. As an adult, I lost that. I know that it is a weed and it plays havoc with my lawn. I know a lot of things and sometimes that gets in the way my seeing the innocence and purity in life. My own earthly wisdom gets in the way.

In times when hope and faith are needed, that’s when innocence and purity comes into play. I’ve prayed and seen mountains move and I’ve prayed and seen nothing happen. Why? I don’t know. But today I pray, I can see people, the way this little see weeds. Thank you Lord for a sweet lesson from a sweet boy.

© Nadine Zawacki 2015

Sunday, June 07, 2015

34th Wedding Anniversary

Today is my 34th wedding anniversary. I have the privilege to be married to my best friend. Tom is a kind man who makes me a better person. He is loving, kind hearted and a wonderful husband and father.

Today, I celebrate you, Tom. I thank you for your love and patience. For your goodness and kindness. For the adventures we faced. For the quiet times and for the excitement life brought us. For the joys and the sadness. For the good times and the bad. For through it all, you were there.

If I had a chance to go back in time, I would marry you again knowing all that I know. Thank you for loving me. You’re a good man and I’m glad you’re mine. I love you with my whole heart. Happy Anniversary.

© Nadine Zawacki 2015

Friday, June 05, 2015

The Five Love Languages

Gary Chapman wrote a book called “The Five Love Languages.” They are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, Physical Touch. I think there should be a sixth one – food.

My husband preached a sermon a few weeks back about this and you can listen to it here (just click on the title 5 Love Languages). You can listen to the message and also there is a downloadable test that you can take.

I took the test many years ago and always knew that Acts of Service was my love language. So I tend to show love through Acts of Service rather than in others ways. Learning the love language of those close to me was helpful because then I could express love in their language. It works so much better that way. I took the test again that Sunday and I was surprised that Words of Affirmation was my lowest score (I scored a one). It was by far the least important to me. For a writer, words not having that much meaning to me personally is funny.

I guess it goes back to the fact that I’ve had many nice words said to me in the past. The people who said them believed they were being sincere, but it turned out they would do the opposite of their words. For example, in the past when I heard someone say they had my back, I learned that it was wise to duck.

Words are important whether it's your love language or not. What you say, how you say it and to whom you say it carries a lot of weight. If you are a person of influence, what you say can sway others in ways you may not be able to see. When groups of people with the same mindset come together (good or bad) there is power in the momentum of their beliefs.

I learned a long time ago, that I try not to say anything about someone that I’m not willing to say to them in love. The in love part is the most important. Am I perfect at this? – not by a long shot. My mom taught me at a young age, if I've got nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. 

When it comes to words spoken about me, well my mindset is such that I don’t let it bother me. I like me. I’m funny, I can cook and I’m as loyal a friend as they come. I just don’t like it if I hear someone speaking ill about someone I love greatly. It’s a battle to keep the Brooklyn from coming out in full force. I’m working on it.

So what’s your love language? Were you surprised by the outcome?

© Nadine Zawacki 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cinderella

As a child, I loved the story of Cinderella. Let’s be honest, I still love the story of Cinderella. I mean what’s not to love; evil stepmother and stepsisters, fairy godmother, pumpkin carriage, beautiful gown and glass slippers. I think I’ve seen every version of the story. The latest one had so many great quotes that made me think. A couple of my favorites:

       Cinderella about her stepfamily:They treat me as well as they are able.

       Cinderella to the prince:Just because it’s what’s done, doesn’t mean it’s what should be done.

I loved the one about her stepfamily; “They treat me as well as they are able.” – wow. It dawned on me that when someone treats someone badly maybe it’s not because they are evil, maybe it’s because it’s as well as they are able. What a way to look at cruel behavior. It doesn’t excuse cruelty. I found I’m not responsible for how people treat me, but I’m responsible for how I react to them.

The other quote, “Just because it’s what’s done, doesn’t mean it’s what should be done.” – another wow. How often do I find myself doing something because it’s what’s done, instead of choosing not to do it because it shouldn’t be?

I love when I watch a simple movie that speaks to me in ways I hadn’t expected. As a little girl I wanted to be Cinderella, but not anymore. I’ve found my prince. Now, I just want to be the fairy godmother because she helps Cinderella to find her prince.

© Nadine Zawacki 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Just in Time for Summer . . .


Just in time for summer, I finished a crochet blanket for my king size bed that I’ve worked on for a good part of a year.  It matches my comforter set. To be honest I thought I wouldn’t see it completed. I started to wonder if one day my great, great, granddaughter would feel sorry for her ancestor who couldn’t finish a crochet blanket and it was up to her to bring back honor to the family name by finally completing what great, great grandma couldn’t. Here's a close up look at it.


As I worked on the blanket, it taught me a few things. Sometimes I needed to take a break from it. My hand would hurt or my old eyes got weary. If I took too long of a break, then it was hard to get back in the grove of things, but just enough of a break rejuvenated me. If I just gave up, it would still be there to mock me. I’m glad I never gave up.

I found that I sometimes need to take a break in life also. There had been time, it got too crazy and my mind started to hurt. I felt guilty if I took the day off and “goofed off.” Mental health days are important for my well being. Just like the blanket it helped to stop when I needed a break to rejuvenate.

Thank you Lord for teaching me to stop, relax and recharge. Thank you for making it better and helping me to see clearer.

© Nadine Zawacki 2015