Today, September 27, 2015, is my first blog post. I created this website/blog last December to share pictures that inspire me and hopefully inspire you and also to share my events. I have read that it’s important to post an actual written blog, however. So, I set about trying to figure out my niche audience. I write children’s books for 7-11 year old’s and they are not typically going to read a blog. I know my audience then is parents, but I have struggled with what to write to/for parents. I met a nice woman on Facebook (another blogger) who helped me think this through and I’ve come up with writing about how to help parents develop good character in their children. I’m not saying I’m an expert and this certainly won’t be “preachy,” just one person with some professional knowledge sharing with others.
My first book, The Lilac Princess, is about an adventurous Princess who longs to go outside the castle walls and be amongst the lilacs. But, there are wars in the land and she is told not to go. She manages to sneak out with the help of a friend. She meets a dragon who appears nice but really he’s not. The dragon tries to kill her and her friend. They narrowly escape with their lives. But, then, they are asked to forgive the dragon. They struggle with that issue knowing that they themselves have done some things that need to be forgiven as well. Forgiveness is a difficult topic. When I say I wrote a book on forgiveness, people are nice, but not that interested. I get it. It’s not my favorite topic either. But, it is my life story. I have dragons in my life that I have needed to forgive just to get my own life on track.
I struggled with forgiving. I wasn’t going to forgive because I “should.” One day when I was going through my divorce, I read a daily meditation book that gave a definition for forgiveness which was, “forgiveness is giving up all hopes of having a better past.” I could buy into that definition and worked at applying that to my life. I realized I had “hamster wheel” thinking, as I call it. I would grind over the past, and grind over what happened, and grind over everything that happened after that, because of it. I was stuck. But, after I read that definition, I was able to eventually give up all hopes of having a better past.
Then, I worked through another level years later. I was able to forgive but not forget. That’s important because when one feels unsafe, they can work at forgiving the person but not forgetting that the person is unsafe. When don’t want to be stupid and just forgive like nothing ever happened and not actually learn from the event and not protect ourselves.
But, then, I heard a story, it changed my life completely. It was about a woman and her husband and a few other couples who were going to a village of cannibals to witness to them. The cannibals wound up killing all the husbands and presumably eating them. The women were devastated and went home. But, one woman, found it within her heart, because of her relationship with God, to forgive. She forgave so completely that she went back to the village. Because of her ability to forgive, the whole village was saved. You may or may not be a Christian or believe in salvation but that story is powerful. I decided I wanted that kind of forgiveness. I called it restorative forgiveness. I knew I didn’t have it within myself. So, I prayed. I believe because it was something I wanted and asked for, that I received it. I forgave restoratively. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t sometimes revert back to those old patterns of thinking but I can go back to that day where I received restorative forgiveness and I’m able to forgive again. Forgiveness is a process and it’s not just a one-time thing.
The above story is just a little background information about me. Here’s a little more, I am a licensed mental health counselor in the State of Florida and I worked for 10 years in a local community mental health center counseling adults. I love counseling and believe it helps people. But, I moved from that job into being a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. I love being a Guidance Counselor! I get to help kids! I also co-lead a group for teens that have lost a loved one through an outreach program with Hospice.
I do feel counseling is my “calling” but writing is my gift. I have written since I was a little girl, maybe 7-ish. I wrote books, poems, journal entries. I took 4 classes in college on Literature. I had wanted to become a writer but didn’t think I could make a living so I opted for Psychology. If you’re in the field of Psychology, you’ll know that it’s kind of funny to think you can make a living from Psychology. You can but it’s not that easy either. Anyway, I finally realized my dream of publishing my first book last October (2014), the year I turned 50! I’m excited to be entering this phase of my life and that I finally realized my dream. Dreams do come true! I plan to continue to write and speak and encourage children to write and read. It’s important and I feel passionate about it. I also feel passionate about helping to bring up the next generation with good character.