Blog: decisions

The Ugliness and Beauty of Pruning-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: August 10, 2020

Last year I told myself, “I’m not doing this again…ever!” But there I was again with clippers in hand, on the hottest day of the day, ready to prune all the dead branches from my five-foot tall, decorative rose bushes. For two hours, with sweat running down my face and back, those thorny branches attacked me. Long sleeved shirts and pants don’t protect me from those nasty, long thorns, which manage to grab and rip my skin until the blood spurts out. Then when my wheelbarrow is full, I have to push it up the rocky incline on the left side of my house toward my green container.  With the sun beating on me I sit down and collapse. I’ve been doing this for 24 years. Same story every year. This year my daughter Michelle and I were sitting on the lower patio encircled by the rose bushes and she…

Posted in: beauty and joy, beauty and pain coexist, celebrate instead of compare, decisions, disgard ugliness, do the hard work, fresh joy, happiness, new growth, Overcoming Struggles, pruning

Read More



I Feel The Earth Move Under My Feet-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: June 14, 2020

I knew there was trouble the moment I woke up and set my feet on the floor. The room was spinning and the earth moved under my feet. I’ve had dreams where I’m stuck in a wobbly elevator or trying to walk over an unsteady foot bridge, and I intensely dislike the feeling of my body being out of control. If you’ve ever had vertigo you know the feeling.  Hanging onto walls while walking from room to room and fighting the nausea. When you turn the wrong way you spiral into a dark, black hole. I know many people feel like they are in “vertigo” mode right now. With Covid-19 nothing feels solid and trustworthy. We’re trying to hang onto what normal we had, but find ourselves venturing into bottomless unknown territory. How do we stop the spinning? To find what is solid, good and true we have to be…

Posted in: ask for help, ask God, companionship, Covid-19, decisions, disappointments, Faith, Fear, Finding Truth, focus, Friendship, God's promises, Making Wise Choices, new normal, Overcoming Struggles, thankful, trouble, trust, vertigo

Read More



Think You’ll Go Back To Normal?-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: May 10, 2020

Once we’ve experienced trauma or crisis, there is no going back to “normal.” When a brick wall falls down or a vase breaks, even though we repair it to make it look like new, it will never be the same. Hopefully in the near future we’ll be back in our stores, restaurants and churches and even though everything might look the same, we will perceive life differently. If we have a propensity to being fearful, we will become even more fearful. Because …”you never know what might happen next.” If we’ve hunkered down and trusted God for His daily emotional, physical and spiritual provisions, going forward we will learn to trust even more. We will perceive life differently. Hopefully we’ve become more resilient going through Covid-19. You see resilience is being able to go through difficulty such as misfortune or change, and become even stronger. We’ve all been thrust into an…

Posted in: Covid-19, crisis, decisions, Families, Fear, focus, happiness, hugs, Jesus, joy, new normal, resilience, resilient, thankful, trauma, trust Good, Uncategorized, unfortunate disaster

Read More



Covid-19 Will Not Wreck Me-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: April 19, 2020

In the last month Amazon has run out of bread makers, we’ve pulled puzzles out of our closets and even stopped scoffing at paint by number projects. In my own family my granddaughter has taken to painting rocks, we’re learning German, canning pickles and there’s heated bread-baking competitions. During this harshly imposed isolation I am left to live alone.  I’m an extrovert and I love being involved with people and events, and within a week all my speaking and travelling events were cancelled.  My calendar was wiped clean.  After gasping for air and realizing none of this was a joke I made a deliberate choice. This Covid-19 would not wreck me. First, I had to settle some truth and facts. In our family when there is an unexpected or unpleasant turn of events we use this phrase, “accept and allow.” To “accept” the Covid situation I had to be real…

Posted in: accept and allow, adversity, all alone, alone, anxiety, ask for help, be creative, Christ, companionship, Covid-19, crisis, decisions, Encouragement, Expectations, Faith, Families, Finding Truth, friends, heart of God, homes, isolation, Jesus, loneliness, love, make your bed, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, temporary, trouble, trust, trust Good, we need each other

Read More



My Silver Christmas Ladder-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: November 24, 2019

I’ve known her for forty-two intimate years and call her “she.” By the skin of her teeth I saved her from being discarded and thrown into a dumpster.  This beat up, rickety, paint splattered ladder became an important part of our family’s life. After I cleaned her up and gave her two coats of dazzling white, she was the focal point at Christmas. Covered in garland, treasures and gift bags she stood out as the “belle of Christmas”.  Two weeks before Christmas in 1994 when my first husband Dick died playing basketball we ran out of spots to place funeral flowers. Friends used the rungs of the ladder to place flowers, and I was horrified so see “her” being desecrated as a reminder of darkness and pain instead of Christmas joy. After I was remarried to my beloved Jack, it was time to face the reality of reviving Christmas and…

Posted in: Beauty from the Inside Out, Christmas, Christmas joy, Christmas ladder, circumstances, decisions, from glory to glory, God's love, God's promises, God's promises are true, Jesus, joy, recapture your joy, refined like silver, refining process, suffering, transformatin, transformation, trust Good

Read More



Learning To Live Alone-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: October 7, 2019

Living alone is hard, especially if you’ve always had someone by your side for a long time. Your body is jarred when your heart is exploding with joy and no one at home to share it with. Or, an unexpected bill arrives in the mail and now it’s up to you to handle it. You need to turn on the irrigation but don’t know where the knobs are, or you need to learn how to barbecue or change the filter in the furnace. In the almost three years of living alone, I’ve overcome all those frustrations and solitary adventures, but the aloneness is always there. I’m facilitating a group called Grief Share, where once again I’m confronted with the reality of people learning how to live alone. Some for the first time after fifty or sixty years. I ache for them and cry for them because this is hard. Now…

Posted in: alone, ask God, Christ, companionship, decisions, empty chair, Encouragement, Expectations, feeling good, friends, Friendship, happiness, havens, homes, hospitality, laughter, loneliness, Overcoming Struggles, pray, recapture your joy, relationships

Read More



My Resentment Box-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: June 23, 2019

We want to be nice girls so we stuff our feelings, paste on a plastic smile and carry on. Inwardly the heart churns and toxic fumes accumulate as we drink our own poison hoping the other person will die.  Resentment is the number one killer of relationships, especially marriages. I’m a beaten up expert on this topic as I learned how to recognize and survive this toxic crisis in my first marriage.  I recall how each time I felt resentment, I wanted to pick up a rock and throw it toward my enemy.  But because I tried to have harmony in the home I hid the rock (my anger) and put it into a pretty little imaginary box where it would be nice and safe. I was clueless about the dangers of ultimate explosions. I did not know that resentment was: Feeling heartbroken after exerting a great deal of effort…

Posted in: Communication, Conflict, confront conflict, decisions, Expectations, faulty thinking, Forgiveness, Friendship, grief, happy, honest, intimacy destroyer, listen, Making Wise Choices, personalities, Resentment, suffering, Tension

Read More



Three Lies that cause Unnecessary Suffering-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: February 12, 2019

I know you can relate when I tell you I’ve caused myself a lot of unnecessary suffering because of lies I believe. For example: Lying awake at night because I made a mistake, did something where I didn’t measure up, said the wrong thing again or misinterpreted a comment.  Imagine what joyful and fruitful lives we could experience by overcoming some of the daily, debilitating lies. We know all our shortcomings and foibles so it’s easy to condemn ourselves.  God’s truth seems so perfect and unreachable. The reality is that we live in a world of truth and lies The list of lies is endless but I will tackle three. This is my personality. Really? Your personality was shaped through all the imperfect script, images, information and your environment. Yes, a large portion of it was passed through your family genes, but God is in the people transformation business. You’re…

Posted in: adversity, angry, ask God, Beauty from the Inside Out, Christ, decisions, disappointment, disappointments, Expectations, Faith, False Belief Systems, faulty thinking, feeling bad, Freedom, God's love, grief, happiness, healing, joy, lies, love, messes, needs, Overcoming Struggles, pain, personalities, pray, self worth, self-esteem, suffering, temporary, Valued

Read More



How To Feel Good When You’re Feeling Bad-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: December 9, 2018

We’re a generation that’s not good with feeling bad.  Yet there are those days or seasons where life just feels bad.  I’m not talking about a depression or severe anxiety that needs tender loving counselling or therapy; it’s the dailyness and sometimes ruggedness of a certain season. Like sadness or loss of something precious and valuable, or the month of December known as…Christmas. Christmas is difficult for many people.   Christmas is the season where you are supposed to feel good. We all want our life portrayed like the magical Holiday movies of people skating at Rockefeller Center, houses covered in lights and Christmas presents with huge, perfect bows. It’s the magic and pleasure we all hope to experience.  But sadness or grief confuses our expectations and priorities. On one hand we want all that goodness and fun, yet somehow it seems wrong and too much work. Both my husbands…

Posted in: adversity, alone, Beauty from the Inside Out, care, Christ, Christmas, could, death, decisions, Encouragement, Expectations, Faith, feeling bad, feeling good, Freedom from Busyness, gifts, God's love, grace, grief, happy, Hope, joy, Laughter, Overcoming Struggles, presents, shoud, should, trust

Read More



I’m Not Afraid Anymore-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: November 14, 2018

When the balance of gravity in your life shifts, and the familiar and comfortable is taken away, it can paralyze us with fear. How do we calm our hearts and stop the anxiety when there are more questions than answers and we have no idea how we’ll survive tomorrow? Fear is a monster that has the potential to destroy us. November 15this the second anniversary of my beloved Jack’s death and I can honestly say: “I’m not afraid anymore.” Fear no longer has its grip on me and assuredly I tell you that through Christ I have become more than a conqueror. How did that happen? Let me explain. I admit I was afraid in the months following Jack’s death. How I would live out the rest of my days…alone? What would happen to my speaking and writing ministry?  Would I fit into my circle of friends as a single…

Posted in: Christ, death, decisions, Faith, Finding Truth, God's love, God's promises, grief, Jesus, joy, love, Making Wise Choices, satan

Read More