Category Archives: relationships

Permission to Rest

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“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…”” Psalm 46:10, NIV

I am closing down my office till Tuesday. Did not work much this week, but it was very important to spend a few days with my mom before she leaves for Ukraine.
I finally realized it is ok to have time off to spend with family and friends. We get so busy! For years I did not give myself permission to relax, delegate chores and just be and breathe.😥

Often we need to be reminded to slow down, unplug and be fully present with the ones we love.

I came to realize that at least one day of rest per week has to be a nonnegotiable. For me it is usually Saturday. Regardless of my busy schedule I need this day of rest like a day of fresh air. I need to unplug completely, no email checking or FB posting. 📖

Do you have a day of rest you keep? Do you unplug on occasion? Do you spend time in nature, at the park, 🌳by the ocean, river or lake?

When was the last time you got lost in a good book? Would you like to share your thoughts on this matter?

Blessings 

 

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Love is in the Air

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It is all about love! We should remember it not only on February 14, but every day.

We were created for love, but somehow we still get lonely, resentful, frustrated, and pessimistic. What is wrong with our perception? How can we refocus on what our ultimate calling is? How can we remind ourselves that loving others as ourselves is  the first and foremost task for every single person?

The answer is in capturing our negative and distractive thoughts and in renewing our minds daily. Even though it takes a lot of concentration and quite a bit of work, it can be achieved.

Practice daily purification of the mind, begin each day with focusing on love. Ask yourself how can you experience love today. Whatever you focus on you bring into your life.

STRESS-FREE HOLIDAYS

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A splendid California day in Malibu, with it’s bright December sunshine was a wonderful winter treat. Beautiful sunny day, blue skies and shimmering ocean—ahhh.

After going to church my girlfriend and I chose to spend this day at the beach, doing nothing “important”.  It was time to catch up after not seeing each other for months. We  both have been extremely busy lately, as it usually happens around the holidays.

It was time to cancel shopping and running errands. It was time to talk “soul to soul” instead. It was time to slow down and spend time connecting, not consuming.

With children all grown-up, and us making our own schedules we can easily go for a stroll on a beach and drink hot tea on a porch overlooking the ocean— uninterrupted. It felt so good to give ourselves permission to just be, not running errands and daily adding to stress. We talked about what we both have been up to, our families, friends. We talked about stress that usually is a “normal” condition for most of us during this time of the year. We became conditioned to be superwomen, run multiple errands, attend and host endless parties and buy “perfect” gifts. It is all good if it brings us joy, but we have a tendency to overlook importance of slowing down and “recharging”, with a book, a good movie, or by spending time with a friend without going shopping together and multitasking. Many of my girlfriends slow down in December only if they get sick…

At times we have to be reminded to slow down, spend some quiet time in prayer and meditation, nurture our bodies and our most important relationships: with our Creator and loved ones.
Some women spend days and weeks planning and trying to throw “perfect” parties, especially during this season of festivities. I think it is a true gift—to be able to pull together a great gathering and enjoy all aspects of the proses. I am not writing about those, who breeze through holiday preparations with ease and grace. Not that many women do. Majority are trying to prepare for the holidays while juggling careers, kids and running regular household tasks.
Often the idea is great—it will be so nice to get together with friends and family. But somehow, regardless of initial good intentions of having a great time with friends, many ladies exhaust themselves in preparation, while making sure guests have a wonderful time. Occasionally they even force their family members out of their comfort zones in order to impress others, sacrificing peace and joy at home to please guests. Hospitality is important, spreading good cheer and happiness are important, but we need to ask ourselves: what are the true reasons for all our actions, especially in holiday preparations? Do we try to buy gifts, attend events and host people at our homes to enjoy each other’s company and please God, or do we try to fill up our need to be loved by pleasing people we barely know? Do we ever switch from doing things to bring joy to those around us, to doing to much and becoming overwhelmed?
What are our true priorities and motives? Is it God, our families and “other people”- in that order? We can enjoy the holidays to the fullest when we focus on joy, not our todo lists. Planing and writing down what needs to be done helps to give us a sense of control. Writing down on our lists why we are doing all those things and how we want to feel in a process is a good reminder of why we are scheduling all these activities. In my line of work as a life coach I help women to handle stress and challenging situations. I encourage clients to write down motives for their action, which helps to reflect on true reasons we do things.
When we are willing to carefully examine our motives for various actions we take, we can learn to break old patterns of wrong priorities and toxic overthinking in our lives. With enough practice it will become easy to focus on what means the most for us. For majority it is happy loving family and healthy caring relationships. We can start each day by praying and quietly asking: Dear God, how may I please you today in my actions and my words, how can I fulfill my purpose?

I wish you to have truly amazing holidays filled with love, while surrounded by true friends God put in your life.

Merry Christmas!

Lena Giffoni

 

True friends

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“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”. Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)

 

Spiritual desert of a laundry room

 

 

 

 

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It has been a long day and you are very tired. You cooked and fed dinner to your family, cleaned up the dishes and checked kid’s homework. All you want is go to bed.

You spend your days working, taking care of a family, cooking and cleaning, checking homework and running errands. It is the evening now, almost everything is done and the house is quiet. You are in your laundry room, pairing the socks. Somehow there always a few loose ones… Resentment is building up inside of you, you feel angry, helpless and sad all at once. There you are, in a quiet house, feeling so sorry for yourself. It is late at night and you are exhausted. You are physically, emotionally and spiritually spent…

Does it sound at all familiar? At times like this you may just want to sit down and cry, feeling sorry for yourself. Or you may get angry, harboring resentment towards ungrateful or innocent members of the household. You may begin questioning: ‘Lord, why do I have to do it all by myself? Why there is no help? I know, nobody can do this job better than I can… If I decide to ask someone to help me with laundry or house cleaning, they probably will mess things up! Very likely my sweaters and delicates will be shrunk and my carefully sorted whites will end up being washed with a red t-shirt. Whatever someone else puts away will take me hours to find… That is why I don’t delegate… Yes, I do feel resentful for doing everything by myself and I can’t help it!”

Is there anything wrong with this picture? Do you see any contradiction here? What do you think can help you to begin enjoying your life?

Is it possible you can you get help by delegating the chores? Can you learn to be patient with other people’s mistakes when they are trying to help and contribute? Unfortunately, a common reaction for most of women is to negatively react and unleash anger at the person, usually a loved one or spouse, who was trying to help.

When a person who was sincerely trying to help gets scolded for doing things in a wrong way, he may not offer to help for a long time. This in turn can make you even more resentful and feeling sorry for yourself.

It is never too late to re-focus and get out of this downward spiral of misery. Do you punish a baby when she is making her first steps and falls again and again? My guess is, you just lift her up, encouraging and praising her with smiles and cheering. Why don’t you do it with older children and grown-ups in our lives? Why don’t you smile when looking at a burned dinner someone tried to help you to make and simply say: “Thank you”. It may be worth it to bite your tongue and silence any mocking comments.

Why don’t we allow others to help us even if we know they are not going to do a “perfect” job? Why don’t we kindly ask for help when no one volunteers? Can we communicate love instead of hurt and resentment? How can we accomplish this? How can we become happier and cultivate loving and caring relationships? We should realize achieving positive changes takes work and continuous effort. Sometimes we should ask ourselves are we just generally lazy? Even worse, are we tempted to leave everything as is and resort to unleashing anger at times to the people we love. Is that the kind of life we should be living?

Changes happened when we get to the point where we want them to occur. You can be happy if you use the right approach. Change your perspective. Don’t attempt to change others or make their lives miserable. Establish a new habit of gratitude that leads to happiness. Focus on love. When you feel resentment and anger towards someone try to remember what you appreciate about this person. Focus on what you like about him or her. Meditate on love.

It takes time and effort to build a mutual loving and caring relationship. For a garden to flourish it not only needs to be planted, but fertilized, watered, weeded and pruned. It is our choice to be together with someone. It is our choice to work on connection and partnership. It is our choice to sow kindness and love with generosity of heart to reap joy and peace.

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 

 

Love…

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Often a woman goes into a relationship, thinking that there is a prince charming in this world who can complete her. That famous phrase from “Jerry Maguire”: “you complete me” is misleading, to say the least. You are God’s complete creation, you are special and unique. Another person can enhance you, but not “complete” you.

To grow in a relationship you first need to know who you are. Learn to like and respect yourself. Then you will be able to receive and give love equally, in strength, confidence and maturity.

Many people think that contribution in a relationship should be a 50/50 deal. There is a slight problem, though: everybody’s idea of 50% is different. In math it makes sense and 50%+50%=100%, yet in real life it does not always add up this way. We can give 100% of love to the ones we trust. There is a freedom in giving in love, without expecting to be met in a middle. As we are reminded in the most beautiful Bible passage about love:

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 

… Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-7, 13, NLT

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