Forgiveness

7126401473_485dd2cd75_c

I’ve been participating with the Cleveland Clinic’s Stress Free Now for Healers online program. It’s a wonderful program that offers meditation as well as different strategies for dealing with stress. I love the program and came across a piece I want to share with you. It’s titled The Science of Forgiveness. I believe we can all struggle with unforgiveness from time to time. Although I embrace forgiveness for my sake, I’ve had to give myself a talking to every now and again. I do hope the lesson on The Science of Forgiveness from The Cleveland Clinic blesses you as much as it has me.

The Science of Forgiveness

You may wonder why we are including an article on the benefits of forgiveness in this week’s lesson about how to improve your relationship with yourself. It’s because forgiveness is something we do for ourselves.

When our thoughts turn to people who have wronged us or to situations where we got hurt, the story those thoughts tell can be powerfully compelling and quite painful. We often become preoccupied with repeatedly reliving the details of how we were wronged. It’s like a gripping Hollywood movie. No wonder these story lines can, and often do, last a lifetime. Unforgiveness is stressful: Reliving negative past events in our minds and harboring anger and resentment toward others comes at a great cost to our health and well-being. When we are willing to let go of resentment, we reclaim our power from these past events and choose to move forward with our lives.

Three Types of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is experienced on a continuum. How deeply we are able to forgive determines the benefit we receive when we let go of resentment. Moving from lowest to highest, the three types of forgiveness are:

    1. Unforgiveness: In this state, we spend time and energy ruminating over the hurt we suffered. The thoughts that arise as we dwell on what happened often cause anger, resentment, hostility, bitterness, fear, depression and a quest for vengeance. All of these emotional states trigger a stress response in the body.
    2. Decisional forgiveness: Often the people who wrong us are people who are part of our lives—friends, family members and coworkers. In this instance, we can decide to set aside the resentment and forgive in order to keep the relationship functioning smoothly. This tactic reduces our hostility, but it doesn’t necessarily cool the stress response, because there are still negative feelings toward this person floating beneath the surface of our actions.
    3. Emotional forgiveness: Only when we can acknowledge our troubling emotions and then let them go can we get to this third stage of forgiveness. In this state, we create an emotional shift and are able to develop genuine compassion for the person or persons who wronged us. We can see how the situation may have looked from their point of view, and we can genuinely forgive them for how they handled things. Once here, we create a positive emotional state when we reclaim our power from the past and let go, freeing our mind and heart to focus on the present.As we discuss this topic, and as you consider where in your life you need to forgive, it’s important to keep in mind that forgiveness is not the same as forgetting an offense or condoning it. This is an especially important truth for people who have experienced a traumatic event inflicted by someone else.The Importance of Self-Forgiveness
      It’s important to note that forgiveness doesn’t just extend to other people. Being able to forgive yourself for your mistakes and missteps is just as important as forgiving your mother-in-law for criticizing your parenting style. In fact, without being able to develop compassion for and extend forgiveness to yourself, it’s much more difficult to do so for other people. Interestingly, studies show that there’s a connection between self-forgiveness and health: Higher levels of self-forgiveness were directly associated with improved mental health status, lower levels of chronic pain and higher levels of healthy lifestyle choices.

      The Cleveland Clinic’s Stress Free Now for Healers Program.

Ciao!

Savannah J.  providing a place of tranquility away from the stress of life. 

Http://www.thesavannahjpublications.com 

Follow Savannah on Twitter   http://bit.ly/1tBBC6o 

on Google Plus http://bit.ly/1pnq9sP 

and on Facebook http://on.fb.me/10p1o32

Savannah is the author of The Prey now available in eBook on Kindle http://amzn.to/1xg0pgM and on Google Play Books http://bit.ly/1q5hncz

Also look for Raising Tristan on Google Play Books http://bit.ly/1pL4GqN and on Kindle http://amzn.to/1AlHl6g

Making a Difference

7126401473_485dd2cd75_c

It’s easy to sometimes look at our lives and feel we are insignificant because we aren’t in the “lime light,” if you will. Okay, perhaps I’m dating myself with the term “lime light.”  For those unfamiliar with that colloquialism, it refers to persons who have positions that place them at the center of public attention.

I can remember wanting to complete music school and take Broadway by storm. But because of a series of unfortunate events and poor decisions on my part, I didn’t make it to Broadway. I thought my artistic contribution to society and those close to me was insignificant as my name wasn’t in lights. I wanted to travel and sing before thousands; I wanted to make a difference. What I failed to see was, I had made a difference.

During my senior year in high school I was privileged to tour five European  with a choir and jazz band as the lead soloist. I didn’t sing before thousands in Europe but I’m sure I touched the hearts of those who heard me as I received standing ovations. At my home church and in school, I was often the featured soloist.

After graduation from high school, my mother came to me with a story of a gentleman who was bedridden and close to death. This gentleman was the father of a family friend. My mother told me he and his wife were sitting with the windows open on the day of my graduation to get some fresh air. They lived only a short distance from my school. Our ceremony was outside and so, the gentleman and his wife could hear our festivities.

I led the choir that day in a song titled The Omnipotence by Franz Shubert. It’s said, the gentleman told his wife my voice sounded like the voice of an angel. The couple told their daughter, who told my mother the story of how my voice blessed her dad on that day. It’s been forty one years since I graduated high school and that story still makes my eyes fill with water.

You see, I now realize our names don’t have to be in lights or on the tongues of every household to make a difference. If we are going about God’s will for our lives and touching those around us with His love, our deeds are significant in His eyes. Our accomplishments in Christ, however minor they may appear in our opinion, matter. We don’t have to be rich and famous to touch lives. We don’t have to reach millions to have an impact. Just as my voice blessed an ill gentleman and brought him a bit of joy, so do all our acts of kindness because, God notices every one.

I’ve included the link to The Omnipotence by Franz Schubert as sung by the Morman Tabernacle Choir for your enjoyment. And remember “great is Jehovah the Lord!”  The Omnipotence

Ciao!

Savannah J.  providing a place of tranquility away from the stress of life. 

Http://www.thesavannahjpublications.com 

Follow Savannah on Twitter   http://bit.ly/1tBBC6o 

on Google Plus http://bit.ly/1pnq9sP 

and on Facebook http://on.fb.me/10p1o32

Savannah is the author of The Prey now available in eBook on Kindle http://amzn.to/1xg0pgM and on Google Play Books http://bit.ly/1q5hncz

Also look for Raising Tristan on Google Play Books http://bit.ly/1pL4GqN and on Kindle http://amzn.to/1AlHl6g

Rethinking Our Way To Success

7126401473_485dd2cd75_c

As a child, I, as were others was programmed to think a certain way. This morning as I was walking to my car, a thought ran across my mind prompting an epiphany, if you will. The thought involved my son and I realized the context of it, was clearly influenced by my upbringing. It was at that moment, I said to myself, self you need to work on retraining your thought pattern.

Some well known motivational speakers call negative thinking, “stinkin’ thinkin’,” others call it “ruminating”. Now, the essence of my thought about my son wasn’t negative but it wasn’t affirmative either. My focus was more on what he hasn’t accomplished instead of on what he has. Now, I’m a firm believer that our thoughts have as much power as our words.

This is why I believe we should be cognizant of what we say as well as what we think. My son is a gifted photographer. When he was a teenager, I used to tell him he’d call me one day from the Amazon Rainforest as he sat swatting flies, waiting on the perfect shot. In retrospect, I decided to rethink that. It’s my dream for my son to work for National Geographic, but not necessarily his.

How many times have you inadvertently said something or thought something only to have your thoughts or words manifested. I’ve heard countless successful individuals state how they professed what they would one day accomplish. They spoke and believed what they wanted for their lives. I’ve begun to work on this process. I have affirmations I read aloud on a daily basis and I’ve added a in couple for my son. I now see myself where I’d like to be in 3 – 5 – and even 10 years. It’s a matter of retraining myself to think on the outcome I desire and more so the outcome God wants for me. I’m learning to rethink my way to success.

Many people have already mastered the art of positive thinking, perhaps you’re one of them. If however, you’re like me and still working on it. I invite you to join me as we rethink our way to success. For the most part, I’m a pretty positive person, but there’s always room for growth!

P.S. As for my son, I’m focused on the fantastically creative photographer his is and applauding his growth. I’m rethinking my role as mom and cheerleader. It’s my place to offer kudos from the sidelines and only come into the game when invited. By the way, my picture for this blog is one of his. It’s a shot of the bridge over the Mataponi River in King and Queen County at night. If you’re interested in knowing more about my son and his work, just let me know.

Ciao!

Savannah J.  providing a place of tranquility away from the stress of life. 

Http://www.thesavannahjpublications.com 

Follow Savannah on Twitter   http://bit.ly/1tBBC6o 

on Google Plus http://bit.ly/1pnq9sP 

and on Facebook http://on.fb.me/10p1o32

Savannah is the author of The Prey now available in eBook on Kindle http://amzn.to/1xg0pgM and on Google Play Books http://bit.ly/1q5hncz

Also look for Raising Tristan on Google Play Books http://bit.ly/1pL4GqN and on Kindle http://amzn.to/1AlHl6g

Amazing things happen when men of God pray.

Men praying

I’m blessed to have a small circle of men in my life I call friends. Each of them is special to me; some I’ve known my entire life, a couple I’ve known for more than 20 years. Theses guys are special because they are men of God and they know how to get a prayer through. I call them my heavy artillery. I call on them when my back is against the wall and I need some serious backup. Now, I also have strong women of God in my life as well but I believe something amazing happens when men of God pray.

Okay don’t get me wrong, I believe women can also war in the Spirit. My mother was one of the greatest prayer warriors who ever walked the face of the earth. I just think we as women can learn something from men who pray. I’ve found when I call on my guy friends, they listen quietly to my concern and only when I’m finished do they ask questions. They don’t interject or cut me off with what’s going on with them or their family. The focus is on my need only.

Sometimes we as women listen but we tie ourselves into the equation. As I said my mother had the gift of prayer. I can remember whenever someone would call her, she would listen and then, she’d pray. Not once did the situation become about her. How many times have you called a girl friend for prayer and end up interceding for them. As I said earlier, I feel we as women can learn something from men who pray. They know how to listen with their mouths closed and their ears open and then they go to war.

I’m doing a devotional on prayer and in it, I’m looking at different people’s prayers in the Bible. Today I was reading one of David’s and it dawned on me, he really knew how to pray. I thought about the Apostle Paul and his prayers and of course the prayers of Jesus. I’m learning to pray as these great men of God did. This blog is not to say women can’t get a prayer through, it’s to acknowledge a special group of gentlemen in my life.

There are those that say men and women can’t be just friends, well I beg to differ. I wouldn’t take anything for my guy friends. They teach me so many valuable lessons.  Above all they teach me that amazing things happen when men of God pray.

Ciao!

Savannah J.  providing a place of tranquility away from the stress of life. 

Http://www.thesavannahjpublications.com 

Follow Savannah on Twitter   http://bit.ly/1tBBC6o 

on Google Plus http://bit.ly/1pnq9sP 

and on Facebook http://on.fb.me/10p1o32

Savannah is the author of The Prey now available in eBook on Kindle http://amzn.to/1xg0pgM and on Google Play Books http://bit.ly/1q5hncz

Also look for Raising Tristan on Google Play Books http://bit.ly/1pL4GqN and on Kindle http://amzn.to/1AlHl6g

“Baby, you’re like a little bird singing in the rain”

8352_A-sweet-little-bird-on-a-rock-in-the-rain

When I was a young lady, my mother once told me I was like a little bird singing in the rain. It took me awhile to figure out what she meant. One day it dawned on me, she was telling me in her own way that I’m a worshiper. Have you ever had your attention drawn to a window because you heard a bird singing it’s heart out in the pouring rain? Most birds will seek shelter when it storms but every now and again, one will stay and sing; that’s my mother’s definition of a worshiper.

A worshiper will sing in spite of. In spite of their circumstances, their feelings, or their health to name a few. Like that little bird who raises it’s voice in song to our Creator in the storm, a worshiper will raise their voice with tears streaming down their face. I, like most people have had my share of hardships but when things become unbearable, I do what comes naturally, I close my eyes, throw my head back and I worship God. And above all, I trust and believe. I trust and believe in my brokenness like that little bird singing in the rain, that my prayers are heard.

One of my favorite praise and worship leaders and song writers is Michael W. Smith. I’d like to share one of his songs with you in hopes that it blesses you as much as it blesses me. Enjoy.

Here I am to Worship

Ciao!

Savannah J.  providing a place of tranquility away from the stress of life. 

Http://www.thesavannahjpublications.com 

Follow Savannah on Twitter   http://bit.ly/1tBBC6o 

on Google Plus http://bit.ly/1pnq9sP 

and on Facebook http://on.fb.me/10p1o32

Savannah is the author of The Prey now available in eBook on Kindle http://amzn.to/1xg0pgM and on Google Play Books http://bit.ly/1q5hncz

Also look for Raising Tristan on Google Play Books http://bit.ly/1pL4GqN and on Kindle http://amzn.to/1AlHl6g

The Art of Speaking Softly

Daybreak by Michael

Have you ever met someone who seems to be always on edge; ready to pounce on whomever rubs them the wrong way. It’s almost as if they seek any and every opportunity to argue. They wait for an offensive word or a tone of voice they don’t fancy and in their opinion an ill-spoken comment. I coin these persons as someone always looking for a fight. And then, we have those who are the exact opposite.

These persons have a knack for diffusing tense situations. They are by no means doormats or pushovers, it seems they’ve simply learned the art of speaking softly. Battles are chosen carefully, as are words.

I’ve been following a devotional study by Pastor Rick Warren on gentleness. In a couple of his teachings he talked about using a soft answer to turn away wrath or anger. The basis for his teaching is found in Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” NIV

He used the example of how when someone raises their voice at us, we raise ours back. Eventually you’ve got a tumultuous situation. Pastor Warren suggested as the other person becomes louder, we lower our voice and become quieter. Now that, my friends is easier said then done. However, I decided to give it a try one night at work. Just as I needed a something for a patient, I noticed someone from another department who could help me enter my area. When I approached her, she was curt and borderline rude. I kept my cool and refused to match her tone. By the time our conversation was over, we were laughing and she said she’d ensure I had what I needed and she wished me a good night.

I believe the challenge with speaking softly in the face of adversity is because we have an innate desire to defend ourselves. We want to let that person know, we don’t have to take their insults. But, do we really need to retaliate? What’s the worse that could happen if we don’t. Would it really matter at the end of the day, if the person bringing the offence sees us as defenseless? Now, let me pause here and say, I’m not speaking of bullies or abusers; that in and of itself is a different story. I’m by no means advocating allowing ourselves to be mistreated, so please understand.

That being said, I’m sure speaking softly in the face of rage may not always work. As I mentioned in the beginning, there are some who are hellbent on fighting, but as my mom so wisely taught me, they can’t argue by themselves. It wasn’t easy for me the night I used the art of speaking softly with the woman whose help I needed, however, I’m happy I did.

It’s my intention to master the art of speaking softly and with it the mindset of disregarding the opinions of the hotheaded toward me. As I mentioned in my previous blog, it’s been scientifically proven, those who reduce stress in their lives live fuller, richer and longer. And I purpose to do just that. I’d love for you to join me.

Ciao!

Savannah J.  providing a place of tranquility away from the stress of life. 

Http://www.thesavannahjpublications.com 

Follow Savannah on Twitter   http://bit.ly/1tBBC6o 

on Google Plus http://bit.ly/1pnq9sP 

and on Facebook http://on.fb.me/10p1o32

Savannah is the author of The Prey now available in eBook on Kindle http://amzn.to/1xg0pgM and on Google Play Books http://bit.ly/1q5hncz

Also look for Raising Tristan on Google Play Books http://bit.ly/1pL4GqN and on Kindle http://amzn.to/1AlHl6g

Leaving Those Things Which Are Behind, Behind.

MP900390480

There are times when I find myself rehashing events from my past. The memories aren’t always good. Occasionally, they are thoughts of persons who’ve wronged me or my son or my family or painful situations created my me or others. Whenever I catch myself dwelling on such times, I remind myself of the scripture in Philippians 3:13 where Paul says,  . . . “But I do one thing. I forget everything that is behind me and look forward to that which is ahead of me.” NLV

I’m sure I’m not the only person out here who’s guilty of such reminiscence. Now, the dangerous thing about dwelling on the past, especially instances where others have harmed us or created situations that caused us pain, is it breeds unforgivingness. I believe it’s okay not to forget as remembering can save us further heartache in that it protects us from repeating the same mistakes. But I’m huge on forgiveness. I feel an unforgiving heart is like cancer; it only harms us. It eats us up from the inside out. By holding on to painful memories and not releasing the person or persons who harmed us, we give that person power over us.

I pride myself at being a pretty happy person. I choose to be happy. Recreating painful memories takes away from my joy, even if just for a few minutes. And, it doesn’t solve a thing because the situation is in the past. It’s history. I do hope if you find yourself traveling down the memory lane of painful events, you’ll choose to let go. We all take that miserable journey from time to time but remember, there is a solution. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath and let it go. Release the thought and individual(s). I promise, you’ll be the happier for it and it’s been scientifically proven, you’ll add years to your life.

Ciao!

Savannah J.  providing a place of tranquility away from the stress of life. 

Http://www.thesavannahjpublications.com 

Follow Savannah on Twitter   http://bit.ly/1tBBC6o 

on Google Plus http://bit.ly/1pnq9sP 

and on Facebook http://on.fb.me/10p1o32

Savannah is the author of The Prey now available in eBook on Kindle http://amzn.to/1xg0pgM and on Google Play Books http://bit.ly/1q5hncz

Also look for Raising Tristan on Google Play Books http://bit.ly/1pL4GqN and on Kindle http://amzn.to/1AlHl6g