Tag Archives: forgiveness

forgiveness

Why are you poisoning yourself?

A lesson on forgiveness

I was hurt – very hurt. Someone had said an untruth that bothered me tremendously. I felt angry, betrayed and resentful. Everything I said and touched started to turn to stone. My heart became hardened. I wanted to feel the anger – conversations always led back to how hurt I felt. I knew it was wrong. I felt torn in two, worn out. I was stuck in “unforgiveness”.

What could I do?

I recall those feelings now. I don’t have them anymore. I was able to forgive and find peace.

How? How did I do that?

forgiveness

Here are 6 things you need to know before you can start on the road to forgiveness.

  1. Let Go.

Yes Let go – Forgiveness means a decision to let go of resentment or anger. It does not mean a denial of what happened or that the act is justified.

But we need to LET GO.

How can we do that? Did you hear that the definition says that we don’t condone what was done? But we let go of it. It is something that will happen supernaturally as you follow through these steps. But you need to keep it in the front of your mind as I go through the steps. Remember Let Go.

2.  Ask yourself – What are the pitfalls of not forgiving?

You may ask what if I do forgive – how will that help me? I want to stay angry. I feel like I deserve the right to be angry.

I’ve been hurt and want to feel the pain.

My answer is, you do have that right to keep the anger. We have free will. But what does anger do to you – to your body, mind and soul. It does everything you don’t want it to do. It makes you sick. You may ache physically from tenseness. You may have headaches, fatigue, weight gain, weight loss, or depression. These are things that could happen if you keep the anger.

Listen to Proverbs 14:30 in The Message:

A sound mind makes for a robust body,

but runaway emotions corrode the bones.

That doesn’t sound too delightful does it? Corroding of the bones – brittle bones, disintegrating, useless.

3. Check out what you may be missing without forgiving.

There are good things that happen to you when you forgive. Besides better health your face changes, you smile more often. You see goodness around you (by the way it was there before).

And as a Christian how do we want others to see us – as angry, or as loving, peacemaking people? God wants us to forgive others and He says that unless we do so how will God forgive us of our sins (and we do have them, don’t we?).

Listen to Matthew 5:8 in The Message:

You’re blessed when you get your inside world – your mind and heart – put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

We lose touch with God when our minds and hearts are out of whack. (Tweet this)

When we are fraught with anxiety, fear and anger we can’t find God.

“Unforgiveness” does that – it blocks the goodness around us.
It blocks our relationship with God.

4. Get Over Yourself and Think of Others

Be kind to your friends and become a loving person once again. If you are truthful you will hear how you are acting around others. Remember we all sin. So if someone has sinned against you – be a peacemaker and forgive them so that when the tables are turned you too will receive forgiveness.

 

forgiveness

 

5. Don’t fret the small stuff

We are not perfect – not one of us.

How do you know when you are going to go down that path and do something to someone else? You may not even know it – and they might be upset with something you said and did. So really – don’t fret the small stuff. There are many other things that will happen and this area that is upsetting you now will seem trivial in the future. Remember the saying, Do under others as you would have them do to you.

 6. Ask God

This really should be step one but you had to find out why you needed to give up the “unforgiveness” before I gave you this step.

Ask God for help.

Yes He can’t change your emotions but He can help you change them, He can help you find peace, He can help you know Him and His ways which are higher than any other way.

If God says to do it – Do it. And do it right now.

Don’t wait because God says we are to do it right away – not to let the sun go down. Get rid of it – now. Ask God to help you get rid of this “unforgiveness” – and then release it to Him – right now.

Listen to Ephesians 4:26-27 from The Message:

Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.

I will be praying for everyone who is harbouring a grudge or living in an unforgiving state.

Give yourself a break and give it over to God.

May I pray for you and me?

Lord, this “unforgiveness” is one of the hardest things we face in our life here on earth. You talked about it in Your Word. You said we have to forgive. Period. So Lord I give over any feelings, emotions, or hardness of heart that I have resting in me. I ask You to cleanse me of all of it. Even the stuff I don’t know about. Give me a clean heart before you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Until next time read Colossians 3:13. Remember to bear with each other and let the world know we are Christians by our love for one another.

Other Resources to Help You

http://www.joycemeyer.org/articles/ea.aspx?article=the_poison_of_unforgiveness

The word forgive: Forgiveness can be defined as the decision to let go of resentment, anger, and thoughts of revenge as a result of a real, or perceived offense, hurt, or wrongdoing against you. Forgiving someone does not mean denying a person’s responsibility for hurting you, nor does it mean minimizing, or justifying the act. (http://www.essentiallifeskills.net/forgiveness-and-letting-go.html)

 

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Am I Responsible?

Am I Responsible?

by Susan Hitchman

Am-I-Responsible

Wikipedia picture

A twinge of conscience pricked my heart as I walked past the older woman. The street was thronging with people coming and going from Seattle’s Pike Street Market, and panhandlers were everywhere. But as I stepped past her and stood with my family waiting for the crosswalk light to turn, I saw her wearily rest her head against the light pole.

Was it a ploy?

The other panhandlers were bold, flaunting cardboard signs linking love for God with supporting their marijuana habits. It was easier walking past them than her. But as our walk light lit up, I stepped out and crossed the street with my family. I was a visitor to Seattle.

Was I responsible?

The next morning as I sat reading my Bible and praying in a quiet corner of the hotel lobby, the picture of the street woman kept filling my mind. I saw myself doing what I should have done, my arm reaching across her shoulders as I simply asked, “Are you O.K?” I was looking into her eyes, granting her the dignity of comfort in human suffering.

I was overwhelmed with the awareness of my selfishness.

As I inwardly moaned in repentance, I asked for forgiveness. That opportunity to show God’s love to an aching heart was gone. Would God’s mercy grant me another opportunity to do it right?

The young King Josiah was in a predicament not unlike mine. Upon hearing the recently discovered ‘Book of the Law’ read to him, he too was overwhelmed with an awareness of sin. Visions of the idolatries and cruelties his kingly forbears had committed rose in his mind.  He was more expressive than me, tearing his robes and weeping, taking steps to inquire through a prophetess the LORD’s verdict.

In this story we’re given an incredible glimpse of God’s perspective. We’re told that God observed that Josiah’s “heart was responsive and (he) humbled (him)self before the LORD”.

“Because you…wept in my presence, I have heard you”, God declares (2 Kings 22:19, NIV).

We’re not told that Josiah had actually prayed in so many words, yet God heard him. Josiah had wept in remorse and repentance. He had been responsive to God’s Spirit revealing Himself and His commands through His Word. He had humbled himself and took steps to repair the situation.

Perhaps you too have wept a tear or two over your awareness of failings in your life. Take heart. That is one form of prayer. If your heart is responsive to His convicting Word and you humble yourself in repentance, there is great hope. God has heard you and is willing to help you turn your tears into actions of obedience.

“Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5, NIV).

Go ahead and cry; it speaks volumes to God.

Tweetables:

Go ahead and cry; it speaks volumes to God. (tweet this)

I was overwhelmed with the awareness of my selfishness. (tweet this)

Sue Hitchman

Susan Hitchman

Sue  seeks to integrate the adventure of following Christ with her roles as wife, mother of five, co-leader of a women’s Bible study group and parent prayer group, and retreat speaker.  She is a member of The Word Guild and NCWA. Outdoor pursuits (cycling, gardening, hiking, & kayaking) remind her of God’s creative bent and constant presence. She writes to encourage others in their journey of faith in God.  Visit her blog at: Word Made Flesh

What Does ‘Anything Against Anyone’ Mean?

What Does ‘Anything Against Anyone’ Mean?

bevere-quote

by Jen Cudmore

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:25 , NIV).

What did Jesus mean when he said, “anything against anyone”?

I believe he wasn’t just talking about big issues like being badmouthed, lied to, stolen from, or physically injured. He also meant those little barbs that annoy us. I heard a preacher say recently that holding onto an offense is the beginning of bitterness and unforgiveness. The small issues will eventually compound into bigger issues that are harder to deal with.

We often tend to look at the little things as no big deal and brush it aside without really letting go.

If we weren’t truly injured, just a bit annoyed, then what is there to forgive?

For example, we may be annoyed that the preacher doesn’t use the King James Bible or that the music leader incorporates too many hymns, so we contemplate leaving the church. We don’t like that a parent snapped at us when picking up their child from Sunday School, so we stop being loving to that child, or even stop teaching the class altogether. A coworker didn’t follow through on a project and we had to pick up the slack, so we avoid them for the next week because they were so rude. We just can’t believe good people would behave in such horrible ways!

But it’s not just about forgiving. It’s about applying grace when others make mistakes and truly letting the issue go. Don’t give it another thought. Or if you do think about it, not feeling a catch of negative emotion in your spirit, such as irritation or hurt.

The Bible is clear that we are to live at peace with those around us.

Accept what happened and honestly move on.

A friend, at the prompting of the Lord, showed me a book last year that changed my life. The author discussed the trap of offense and encouraged the reader to dig deep. Each day I had to do some soul searching and write out a prayer. God showed me several areas where I’d been holding onto little things that I didn’t realize were causing me problems. A neighbor who judged me as being a liberal parent, a boy who said something despicable to my son, a classmate from church who for years hasn’t bothered to acknowledge me – small things I should’ve just let roll off my back.

So how do we keep from being offended, so we have fewer issues of ‘anything against anyone’ that must be forgiven? During this study, God showed me:

    • I was much too quick to be offended and pass judgment on others when they messed up. I asked God to show me how to apply grace and let the small issues go.
    • I had high standards and expectations of others. I asked God to help me realign them with His standards and expectations based on His Word.
    • It is ungodly to assert my rights. I asked God to teach me to choose to be treated badly rather than stir up strife by demanding what I deserve.
    • I complained too much about situations that didn’t go my way. I asked God to teach me to guard my mouth and speak only positive words.

So the challenge is this: Before you pray, search your heart and see if there is anything hiding in there that doesn’t belong. Ask God to show you things you’ve brushed aside but never dealt with. Choose to let the little things go so they don’t grow into bitterness and unforgiveness.

Be sure that when you pray, you no longer hold ‘anything against anyone.’

Tweetables:

What did Jesus mean when he said, “anything against anyone”? (click to tweet)

Be sure that when you pray, you no longer hold ‘anything against anyone.’ (click to tweet)

Jen Cudmore

Jen Creek small

Jen grew up on the Columbia River Gorge and currently lives in Alaska with her husband, two children, two boxers, and two cats. Her goal is to write novels that encourage women to look for positive qualities in a life partner, and to foster an environment of real romance, rather than fantasy, as they grow old with their spouse. For more, visit her website at http://www.jencudmore.com/. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads.

Who Invited You?

You Invited Who?

by Brenda Wood

Who invited you?

So Uncle Joe (or Aunt Martha or Cousin Peter) won’t be invited to the holiday party this year because of what they said about us at the last one.

I felt justified in such decisions until I read the following verses.

Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: for oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others (Ecclesiastes 7:21-23, KJV).

And if you think the King James Version is a little foggy, try The Message on for size.

Don’t eavesdrop on the conversation of others. What if the gossip’s about you and you’d rather not hear it? You’ve done that a few times, haven’t you—said things behind someone’s back you wouldn’t say to his face (Ecclesiastes 7:21-23, MSG)?

I guess I have some praying, forgiving and inviting to do. (tweetable)

How about you?

Prayer:

Father God, we are just as guilty as the other guy. Sort out the differences between us and help us make amends. For Christ’s sake. Amen

Brenda J. Wood

A popular motivational speaker, Brenda, of Barrie, Ontario is known for her common sense wisdom, sense of humour and quirky comments. Brenda especially enjoys speaking at women’s retreats and conferences, community events, Mops, World Day of Prayer, and Stonecroft Ministries.

A prolific author, her current books include:

The Big Red Chair: a children’s book dealing with the loss of a grandparent.
Meeting Myself: Snippets from a Fractured Mind:  the author’s recovery from abuse and eating disorders.
Hearts Under Construction: A motivational cookbook designed to feed both body and soul
Heartfelt: 366 Devotions for Common Sense Living.
God, Gluttony and You: a Bible Study dealing with our relationship to food.
Read more at:
http://heartfeltdevotionals.wordpress.com
facebook – www.facebook.com/brendawoodspeaker

Prayer for Our Enemies? Really?

Pray for Our Enemies? Really?

by Janet Sketchley

prayer_requests-1024x768 www.teampossabilities.org

With permission from Team Possibilities

Do news stories cause you to pray for people? For the hurt, the poor, the oppressed? Even just a quick “God, please help them know Your presence”?

Sometimes the need is so great.

When I hear about an accident or crime, as well as praying for the victim I often pray for the one who did it. In some cases I relate to the fear of “what if I messed up and something awful happened?” Other times, the deliberate offender and offense are so bad that if God doesn’t get through to the person, he or she is lost.

The human response is “S/he deserves it. Good riddance.” But Jesus would pray for them all. He didn’t come to save the “pretty good” and let the “rejects” go to eternal darkness. We were all rejects.

So sometimes I pray for the bad guys as well as the good guys. It’s easy when they’re locked away in prison somewhere, or when we’re safe at home watching the news. We don’t have to meet their eyes, hear their venom, risk emotional or physical danger.

But what if we did meet them face to face? The Bible does say to demonstrate  Christ’s love even to our enemies, but could we?

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44, KJV).

What if? This came to me as a story idea, almost 20 years ago: a woman abducted by the serial killer she’d been praying for. I didn’t want it in my head, so I wrote it out. Over time, it expanded, changed, and became my novel, Heaven’s Prey.

In the novel, Ruth and Tony Warner are devastated when their niece, Susan, becomes the victim of a serial rapist-murderer. Ruth only survives her grief through prayer: first for Susan’s family and for the families of the other victims. She refuses her pastor’s advice to pray for the killer, Harry Silver. Who wouldn’t?

But a string of nightmares push her to pray for him, and that’s where the healing really happens, as she learns to forgive. Not to forget, but not to let the hurt keep poisoning her. If you met Ruth as the story opens, she’d tell you that God led her into prayer for this killer for her own healing. She hopes Harry will somehow open his heart to the Lord, but that’s out of her control.

She has no idea that God is preparing Harry’s heart and is also preparing her to meet him. In person. Alone.

Heavens_Prey_Front_Cover 302x468

Heaven’s Prey is about a villain’s last chance at redemption and a vulnerable woman’s obedience to pray for her enemy—not the gentle inspirational read many associate with the Christian genre. Even though the subject matter makes it pretty intense in places, at the core it’s about God’s tenacity—in reaching out, and in holding onto His own.

Tweetable:

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you ~ Matthew 5:44

Janet Sketchley

Janet Sketchley facebook 180x180

Janet writes about the tenacity of God. Her novel, Heaven’s Prey, released November 1, 2013 from Choose NOW Publishing. You can find her on her website, Janet Sketchley.

Do You Have Shadows?

Do You Have Shadows?

by Patricia Day

Onions on a neutral, mostly white background

Onions on a neutral, mostly white background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I needed onions for a recipe I was preparing, so picked out two that looked perfect for the job.

Sunlight was streaming through the kitchen window and as I began removing the outer layers from the first onion, I noticed a shadow. Holding it up to the light, I could see it was a bad onion. I promptly discarded it. Then I repeated my action on the second onion; held it up to the light and this time I was rewarded with an onion good enough to use in my recipe. The recipe turned out well, because the ingredients were good.

I wonder if, when God looks at us He sees the same.

God can discern the shadows of badness in our hearts. (tweet this)

And, if we call ourselves Christians, would we really be without blemish, when held up to His light of accountability?

Would we be kept and relished or would we be tossed aside as being unfit for use?

For myself, I know I lapse. Not in big ways – but, nevertheless, I wonder if I would pass the light test. We can all make mistakes. We are not perfect. Our failings can cast shadows on our integrity and our daily lifestyle but with the promise of forgiveness, and the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ, we can relinquish our sinful ways. Will you?

 — for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever (1 Chronicles 28:9c, NKJV).

Prayer:

Abba, I know I disappoint You at times because of the things I do, or the way I live. Please help me to remember the sacrifice that Your Son, Jesus, made for me. He died, so that I could live eternally. You accept me just as I am. You never discard anyone, when they seek forgiveness and are truly sorry. Forgive me and show me the right way to live. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Patricia Day

Patricia Day

Writing has always been a passion of Patricia’s. She believes that she expresses herself better in writing. Patricia enjoys creating short stories and devotionals. Other favourite past-times include family-time; gardening; reading; walking and listening to good music.

Patricia is married and the mother of two sons and stepmom to a son & daughter. Best of all, she is Nana to ten grandchildren. Look for her devotionals at Pepe Prays  and her blogPatricia E. Day .

Patricia recently completed her first novel – Eleanor, A Stolen Childhood . she is currently at work on second novel, Priscilla – Hidden in the Shadows.

HOW DO I FORGIVE?

Father, Forgive Them

by T. L Wiens

As we forgive those …

I was assaulted two months ago. This month, I face my attacker in court. I have a lot of mixed feelings as I contemplate all that has happened in between these two events in my life.

How could someone hate me that much? The attack was unprovoked.  But then I think about Jesus Christ facing the charges against Him. How could they hate Jesus Christ? They did.

How did Jesus react? He prayed for them. In Luke 23:34, we have this prayer:

“Then said Jesus, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’” (Luke 23:34 KJV).

And in this action, Jesus shows me where I need to be, what my thoughts must focus on as I sit in the courtroom facing my attacker. I will pray for the strength to love her and thank God for the opportunity to show the love of Christ by forgiving.

Tammy Wiens

Tammy lives in Saskatchewan with her husband. They have four children. She enjoys gardening, walks along the beach and being on the farm. She has a passion for her faith, studying the Bible and prayer.

She has published two books; Where a Little Rain Comes Down and Making the Bitter Sweet. A short story, “May’s First Christmas” appeared in Christmas Chaos, a collection of stories about Christmas experiences that don’t make the fronts of Christmas cards. “Careful What You Whisper” is another short story about Tammy’s experiences after breaking her back. It can be found in A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. Visit T. L. Wiens for more information about Tammy’s books and workshops.

UNABLE TO TRUST

Unable to Trust

by T. L Wiens

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”    Matthew 5:43-48

Be perfect. Now that is a high place that I can’t say I’ve attained.

Loving our enemies is hard. But what do you do when the “enemy” is the church? Our local church has shunned me, asked our family not to return and spread awful rumours about us. Before this, I spent more time in ministry activities than our pastor and I did it without a monetary incentive. Why do these people hate me and how am I supposed to love them?

My prayers start out with good intentions but often take a turn towards begging God for justice. Then I must ask for forgiveness and the circle keeps going round and round.

Then I changed my prayer—I stopped trying to pray for them and asked God just to let me love them. Even though there are still a lot of raw emotions, my heart is starting to change. I’m a long way from perfection but I am on my way.

There are many people who have been crushed by the church. Men hungry for power, church governing rules that come ahead of the word of God and protecting those in leadership at any cost are just a few of the things that have sidetracked the church from loving. Please pray for those of us that have been pushed aside and discarded. We are broken and hurting. Some have abandoned the faith all together while others struggle to trust any church because of the actions of one body. And Jesus weeps.

Tammy Wiens

Tammy lives in Saskatchewan with her husband. They have four children. She enjoys gardening, walks along the beach and being on the farm. She has a passion for her faith, studying the Bible and prayer.

She has published two books; Where a Little Rain Comes Down and Making the Bitter Sweet. A short story, “May’s First Christmas” appeared in Christmas Chaos, a collection of stories about Christmas experiences that don’t make the fronts of Christmas cards. “Careful What You Whisper” is another short story about Tammy’s experiences after breaking her back. It can be found in A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. Visit her website for more information about Tammy’s books and workshops.

SIMPLY SATURDAY – Forgiveness

Simply Saturday – Forgiveness

This is the day that I have given myself five minutes to write on a topic. Today I have chosen forgiveness.

I listen to John Maxwell ‘s daily one-minute talks. The other day he talked on forgiveness. I have put the link at he bottom of this post.

To me forgiveness is necessary to get close to God. As long as I harbour any resentment there is a barrier between us. I remember a passage in the Bible.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14 NIV).

A friend of mine found herself in a situation that required her complete surrender to God. She knew she had found forgiveness from God. But she still had unforgiveness in her heart because of the circumstances that happened. When I told her that she needed to forgive those people who had wronged her – she said: “No”. It felt good to feel angry. But it destroyed the peace that she sought. When she decided to try to forgive them, it took much courage. The result startled her. In that act of forgiveness she felt a freedom she never had before and a peace that passeth all understanding.

My time is up.

How do you feel about forgiveness? Have you had a weight lifted from your shoulders when you decided to forgive someone?

John Maxwell – forgiveness

POOL CLOSED

I read this post last month and I really liked it. Hope you do too.

Jan

Pool Closed

by Brock Henning (reprinted with permission)

“Pool Closed.” My wife and I and our three children huddled around the sign with wide mouths and a beach bag full of goggles and squirt guns. We had strolled by the hotel pool just ten minutes earlier, smiling as another family laughed and splashed together. And now it was—closed?

It had been a rough week. We needed this winter weekend getaway, even if only to the next town for a one-night stay, a nice meal, movies, and…swimming.

Pool. Closed. The sign was mocking us. With heavy hearts, my wife and kids returned to the room. I huffed over to the front desk.

“So what’s wrong with the pool?” I asked the manager.

“Maintenance guy can’t get here. On another call,” he replied, bouncing his eyes between the computer screen and paperwork.

“I called this morning and you said the pool was open. That’s why we chose this hotel.” My ears were heating up.

The manager glanced right, then left, and leaning forward he quietly said, “Sir, I’m really sorry. A child just vomited in the pool.”

Son of a gun. One of those kids barfed in the pool. Our pool. Thanks, other family, for infecting our chlorinated blue lagoon. Thanks, other family, for ruining my family’s weekend. Thanks.

On our previous getaway, I opted for a cheaper hotel to save money. That bought us a dirty room and an outdoor three-man pool nestled between two parking spaces. This time I paid for a superior hotel with an indoor pool paradise, and I still lost.

With no flip left in my flop, I trudged back to the room. On the other side of the door I could hear bathing suits being shed, suitcases zipping, and television channels flipping. I thought about phrases I’m always imparting to my children, like Count your blessings and Make the best of it, or Could be worse. And lest I forget, At least the room doesn’t smell like smoke! My adages always seem to pass right through their little heads, and on this farcical day, the words almost passed right through mine.

Brock, this starts with you. I forgave that other family for ruining my weekend. Actually, I forgave myself for blaming them—their aquatic holiday had also turned rancid. And, like a butterfly freed of its cocoon, the words left my lips—make the best of it. I opened the door.

All four were seated on the double beds, watching television, and to my surprise, wearing bathing suits.

“Sorry guys. Pool’s closed.”

“Daddy, we can swim in the hot tub!” shouted our 11-year-old daughter.

“It’s too small,” I replied, “plus it’s cold outside and the water will be too hot to swim very long. And it’s probably closed.”

“We can ask the manager!” she said, reaching for the phone.

“Yeah, Dad!” said our youngest son, jumping from one bed to the other. “Let’s make the best of it!”

For the next thirty minutes, we sat outside, neck-deep in a hot tub—floating, splashing, laughing at winter’s chill.

Image by jeinny. Sourced through rgbstock.com.