Archive for the Pain Pleasure Category


Posted in Communication, companionship, Conflict, counsellor, God' Love, Good Marriage, love, Making Wise Choices, messes, Pain Pleasure, Pleasure, pornography, Prayer, secrets, SEX, technology, Valued with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Hidden HeartWe all have a dark side. Sexual scandals are rampant. Anthony Weiner, a former U.S representative and candidate for the mayoral race in New York is now called a “Sexter”. This was the second time he was caught in a sex scandal and it has probably ruined his reputation and career. Bob Filner, the 35th mayor of San Diego just stepped down, in disgrace, from his office after eleven women came forward and alleged he was a “serial sexual harasser.” Jerry Sandusky, the retired football coach who was an idol to thousands of young boys and men, is now in jail for being a “convicted serial child molester”. What a tragedy. Lives ruined forever.

These men were exposed for their dark side. Many people are still seeped in their secret, destructive, addictive lives. If this is part of your story in your marriage…run for help.

None of us can be self-righteous and judge. Every one of us is probably just a movement, sentence or step away from something that could potentially destroy any one of our lives. We need to have the eyes and heart of compassion of Jesus to help each other, especially the spouses, who are caught in the chains of their own prison.

The world and social media makes it to easy and accessible to receive free drugs. The next pleasure is just a click away. Violent games and gambling are at everyone’s fingertips. Any addiction is destructive but there is help and new hope for everyone. Every one of us is God’s creation and He will help us if only we turn to Him.

My heart aches for husbands and wives who are living the secret lives of a spouse who is battling a secret addiction…whatever it is. Please don’t despair. But you can’t do it on your own.

The bible tells us over and over again that we are to “help each other.” The first thing you need to do is break the darkness of the secret and seek help.

1. Tell someone. There is no shame in this, we are all broken people.
2. Get help. I read just recently that there is now a Rehab home for people with computer game addictions. There are programs, counselors and people who are willing to help.
3. Pray and ask God to direct you to someone who will help you, walk with you and cover your back.
4. Something happened in your past that triggered this addictive need inside of you. Find out what this is and ask God to heal you.
5. God is in the “heart transformation business.” You cannot change yourself. Only God can heal your broken heart and restore your health.
6. Don’t condemn our spouse. Help him/her. But also don’t enable them in their addictive patterns.
7. This will take time…don’t despair.

Yes, there are horrific stories of addictive behavior that has destroyed lives. But there are also stories of victories, of families restored and lives healed. I pray that you will have a story of new hope and victory.



Posted in Beauty from the Inside Out, Beauty through Boldness, Commitment, Communication, counsellor, Encouragement, Expectations, Forgiveness, Friendship, Good Marriage, Intimacy, Life of Jesus, Making Wise Choices, messes, Overcoming Struggles, Pain Pleasure, Power of the Tongue, sabotage, secrets with tags , , , , , on April 27, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Hidden Heart
CNN stated that Katherine Tsarnaeva (Russell), the wife of the deceased Boston Bomber, claims “she was completely in the dark about her husband’s alleged plan to bomb the Boston Marathon.” Katherine’s lawyer also stated: “Reports of involvement by her husband and brother-in-law came as an absolute shock to them all.” As you and I read these excerpts, we must wonder how it is possible to be married to someone who carries such dark and insidious secrets. Yet we must recognize that there is a dark side to all of us.

Secrets are destructive and toxic. They will not evaporate over time and free us from their claws, in fact; they will grow their sinister barnacles into the fabric of our soul. Anything that is kept in the dark holds power over us. Especially in our marriages.

This is a tough topic because no one wants to talk about their secrets. The reason I got brave enough to tackle this issue today is because I was engaged in yet another story of where a family secret set out to destroy all family relationships. Let’s not kid ourselves…secrets will come out and they will destroy. They will have a similar effect as the Boston bombs, shrapnel piercing the hearts with betray and rejection. Sometimes the destruction is final. Non-repairable. Destroyed. Finished.

To keep marriages healthy and intimate, a person cannot be living a double life or keeping secrets. It might work for a short while, but do not be deceived, the story will emerge at one point or another. The question on the table is: “Do you need to divulge everything that transpired in your life BEFORE your marriage?” I believe the answer is: “Only if it has a present power to sabotage your marriage from being healthy and loving.”
So what now?
1. Acknowledge secrets and that they have destructive powers.
2. Admit that they will one day be revealed. The bible says this about our secrets: “For He will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives: (1 Corinthians 4:5).
3. Secrets need to be brought out of their dark places and into the light of God’s healing power
4. BUT, use Godly wisdom to know if you need to discuss this with your spouse. Not all things need to be blurted out especially if you know it will destroy all aspects of your marriage. Sometimes there are things that need to be confessed to a very trusted friend, our counselor.
5. They need to be discussed so that your soul can be free from the hooks of the power of that secret.
6. Our God is a loving God and always ready to embrace us when we run to Him with our messes, mistakes and secrets. He is not waiting to punish us, but willing to forgive us and give us new freedom for living the abundant life.
7. Learn to live an authentic life that brings freedom into our marriages and all aspects of relationships.
When we are honest with each other, we don’t have to lie, make us stories, edit our conversations and be ready to dodge bullets. There is something incredibly beautiful about authentic, honest and trustworthy relationships. We may not be able to find it in the rest of the world, but we should be able to find it in our marriages. May yours be the one.

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – The Brilliance and Power of Seeds

Posted in Beauty from the Inside Out, Beauty Unleashed, Communication, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Friendship, Good Marriage, Hope, Intimacy, Making Wise Choices, Pain Pleasure, Power of the Tongue, power of words, Prayer, Respect, Understanding each other with tags , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Girl Holding Plant


Every time I open my mouth I plant a seed.  There are days I wish this was not true, but there is no escape from this spiritual law. Surely those subtle, sarcastic remarks when I am standing in a tedious, long line-up can’t have much power. After all, I will probably never again encounter the people who heard them. But I have come to realize that you and I hold an astonishing power that can be absolutely brilliant or beastly.  It’s the words that come out of our mouths.

My son-in-law Tim runs a huge farming operation in Southern Alberta. I love to drive by his fields and see the yellow canola, the rich beans, barley or the thirty other seeds he may have planted that year.  Whatever seeds he plants…that is what will grow and be produced. When he plants flax he does not get peas. When he plants canola he does not get barley. There is no getting around this.

Imagine the influence and brilliance of the words I speak in my home to my children or my husband.  I have the staggering power to bring hope, joy and peace into my home simply by opening my mouth. But unfortunately that same concept works with my ugly words. When I blame and accuse; blame and accusations will come back on me. When I criticize; criticism will come back on me. This may occur in the next hour, day, month or year. We may think we got away with our ugly words-but we do not.

None of us can get around this spiritual law no matter how hard we try. The bible says it this way: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction, the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 5:7, 8 NIV).

Life is too short to play around with this kind of dynamite. I am serious about planting great seeds in 2013. I choose to have my words give life whenever I open my mouth.  The bible puts it this way: “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose” (Proverbs 18:21 MSG).

How will I do that?

1.         Be fully aware that every time I open my mouth I have the power to evoke  life or death.

2.         Stay immersed in God’s word (the Bible) so that the Spirit of God can have full access to every part of me…every day.

3.         Our minds can only have one thought at a time. I must STOP and pray and ask God to      help me control the ugly words before they escape my mouth. By the time my prayer is     finished, God will have helped me to overcome that momentary feeling.

4.         God has given me this space of time in the history to do something significant with my    life. I don’t want to miss this glorious moment.  

My dear friends, in our homes are the most important people in our lives. We literally have the brilliant power to make them feel respected, valuable and cherished. Or, we can destroy their spirits by crushing them with our words. The choice is always ours.


UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE-“What my 2 Husbands Taught Me” (Part 1)

Posted in Beauty from the Inside Out, Beauty Unleashed, Communication, Encouragement, Expectations, Finding Truth, Forgiveness, Friendship, Hope, Intimacy, Kindness, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Pain Pleasure, Pleasure, Respect, Uncategorized, Understanding each other, Valued on October 22, 2012 by hmclaughlin

Intimacy unleashes unexpected and strange gifts. At this juncture in life I consider myself mature enough to be able to look back in my marriages and realize how these sacred unions have made me a better person. But, this learning curve was not without some excruciating, self inflicted pain. Fact is, when we take the time for some self examination of our weaknesses and ugliness, it is never pretty. Marriage can be like the sandpaper that rubs off all our pretenses to reveal our true self.

After 28 years of marriage with my first husband, before he tragically died on the basketball floor 2 weeks before Christmas, and now 16 years into my new marriage, I believe I have gained some crucial insight into who I am and what will make me a better, nicer and more loving person. Here is what I have learned:

  1. Cut the drama. Men can’t handle a lot of tears, blabbering, emotions and too many dramatic words. They will try to stop the drama by coming up with a quick fix. On the other hand, I just need to talk, vent and explain everything in great detail. I have learned that I need to find the right time and place to discuss a problem with simple, logical words and sentences that are clear and make sense.
  2. Tolerance of other people’s irritating habits. It’s hard to believe that I do things to annoy other people…but I do. Being fully aware of this has taught me tolerance for other people’s quirks.
  3. Carefully pick the mountain I’m willing to die on. After experiencing tragedies and painful obstacles in my life, I realize most of our difficulties are “small stuff” that will someday fade away and become meaningless. I need to know my values, purpose, situations, and people I am willing to lay down my life for. Everything else is wasted energy and time. 
  4. Be authentic at all times in all places. Marriage has knocked the pretense right out of me. Who better to keep me accountable than the person who knows all the good and bad in me? Men, being the born “fixers”, will quickly remind us when we start to exaggerate, twist the truth and make situations look better than they really are. Being “me” at all times and in all places has in fact, given me the gift of incredible freedom.
  5. Stay interesting . Stay current in sports, politics and world affairs so that I can carry on an intelligent conversation. 

I believe with all my heart that God puts two unusual people together so they will allow themselves to be “sandpapered” into more beautiful creations. I continue to be on a learning curve…I hope you are too.


Posted in Balancing life, Beauty Unleashed, Communication, Encouragement, Expectations, Finding Truth, Forgiveness, Friendship, Good Marriage, Intimacy, Kindness, Life of Jesus, Listening, Making Wise Choices, Offenses, Overcoming Struggles, Pain Pleasure, Pleasure, Power of the Tongue, Resentment, Respect, Tension, Uncategorized, Understanding each other, Valued on October 1, 2012 by hmclaughlin

Past hurts make us say crazy things. Hurtful words can be like an ugly misguided scud missile that has the power to rip apart our tender and easily wounded hearts. I have been the receiver and giver of those “miss”-guided words.

Our wounds MAY cause us to misinterpret the intent of someone’s words to us. This is so true in a marriage where we carry on conversations every day of the year. Imagine the “miscommunications” that can occur on a daily basis.


I am very familiar with the story of a wife who wanted new blinds for the bedroom. She asked if it would be OK if we spent XX dollars on new blinds. The husband immediately responded No.


Wife:  She is a home-maker who loves to create a beautiful home. The sun shines into the bedroom at uncomfortable hours of the day.  She wanted to solve the problem.

Husband: He works hard to earn a good income for the family so that the wife does not have to work. He has given in to similar requests in the past and it seems quite frivolous, and a waste of money. Things are tight at work, he is working hard to make a good living for the family but right now the budget cannot afford something as unnecessary as blinds.

Wife: Receives the NO as a hurtful response. Something in her past triggers a wound of not having her needs met and her father sharply saying NO for no reason.

Husband: Feels he works hard and no one seems to notice that he gets no respect or gratefulness for all his hard work. He feels the NO is perfectly justified.

So we are dumbfounded when another missile hits our hearts. We feel unheard, angry, overlooked, rejected and unloved. What actually happened is that there has been another “MISGUIDED  REPRESENTATION” of what was really happening. The wife’s heart becomes more wounded, and the husband feels even more attacked and less respected.  The misguided missiles have hit a vulnerable target and it is another step to a full out war.

Our words have the power to bring hope, healing, understanding and LOVE. But…they also have the power to destroy, crush, wound and…DEATH to our soul.  We need to be aware of the past hurts in our life that cause us to perceive and formulate our own perceptions of the words that we hear.  We are all guilty of that.  It is especially true in our marriages where we have opened up our hearts and made ourselves vulnerable to unguided missiles.

 I have to remember that we live in a sinful and harsh world. All of us have past hurts, and wounded people wound other people.  Now I know there is only one antidote for all our wounds. That is the healing power of grace. Grace in the human form of Jesus Christ who went to the cross to die for all our ugliness and to shed the blood of forgiveness over all our sin and wounds.  The bible puts it this way: “Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 NLT).

When I stop and remember Jesus’ grace to me in the form of forgiveness, a gift I do not deserve,I have to take inventory of my wounded soul. I need to ask myself: “Heidi, how many times did you send a misguided missile into someone else’s heart? How many times have you hurt your husband, mother and children with harsh words that left them feeling condemned instead of loved? What emptiness and unresolved pain in your soul leaves room for feeling “mis”-understood and “mis”-taken?  And now…how will you exercise grace?”Then I have no other option but to fall on my knees and ask for God to help me understand the real intent of the words that were spoken. Then I need to offer forgiveness for any misguided missiles that I have allowed lodging in my heart and infusing anger and resentment. I must do go through these heart checks and make a deliberate choice to forgive, because if these missiles are not detonated with the power of grace, they will eventually explode with resentment and destroy my soul.

Let’s be on a soul mission to apply grace and forgiveness in every area of our lives, especially where there is “miss”-understanding or when we “miss”-treat our husbands and children.  I know that I want God’s grace to permeate every area of my soul…but especially my mouth. I don’t want any of my crazy words to “miss”-fire and accidently cause misery to my husband’s soul. Once words are spoken they cannot be taken back.


UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE- “What I’ve learned So Far-Part 2″

Posted in Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Encouragement, Finding Truth, Good Marriage, Intimacy, Kindness, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Pain Pleasure, Prayer, Resentment, Respect, SEX, Understanding each other, Valued on July 2, 2012 by hmclaughlin

I went into my first marriage as a young, insecure nineteen-year-old expecting my husband to love me, fulfill all my desires and complete me as a woman. I was in for a painful discovery that he expected the same from me. I am now in my second marriage and I learned some powerful life changing concepts from my first marriage.

When the policeman stood at my door 2 weeks before Christmas in 1994 to tell me my husband died suddenly while he was playing basketball; I felt like my life had also ended. My future seemed endless and meaningless and when I read in the bible that: “I will turn their mourning into laughter and their sadness into joy” (Jeremiah 31:3), it almost irked me. Well, that’s fine for somebody else, I thought, but I can’t ever imagine feeling joy again.

Looking back I also realize that through our deepest pain, we learn how to have a different happiness…called “Joy”. You see there is a difference. In my first marriage my happiness depended on how my husband treated me. But through the pain that I have experienced, and now that I am in my second marriage, I have learned one of life’s greatest lessons: “Only God can fulfill me and make me joyful.” Happiness depends on my circumstances, but joy comes from the spirit of God. So now that I am in my second marriage, here are some of powerful and life changing lessons I have learned:

1.         I can’t “expect” my husband to make me happy. None of us are wise or strong enough to meet each other’s needs. Most of us are broken people looking for each other to completely love us and fulfill those empty places in our soul. Only God can provide that kind of love. Our spouses cannot possibly be all things to we need for our personal development, and emotional and spiritual health. Our spouses are not the “savior of our soul”. If you and I are not a happy person, nothing in this world will make us happy. We are all responsible for our own happiness.

2.         Let go of resentment…immediately.  We become resentful when we have “unfulfilled expectations” of things we want our spouses to do to make us feel loved, validated, accepted and beautiful. It’s quite easy to keep smiling and let the toxic bile of resentment build in our soul. Yet we have to be aware that resentment is the #1 destroyer of relationships. Immediately we have to confront our own heart with the situation and decide if we are going to let the hurt go, or if we are going to confront it. More detail on how to handle this complicated and painful emotion, is found in my book SAND TO PEARLS: Making Bold Choices to Enrich Your Life (Chapter 5 – Resentment or Sweet Reasonableness).

3.         Men need respect. This is a huge part of being in a loving and successful marriage. I have written about this before in many of my blogs because it is so important. Yet I know it is controversial because many women feel that their husbands don’t deserve respect. But, for men, knowing they are receiving your respect is even more meaningful and powerful than sex, or knowing they are loved. When we know it is so crucial; we have to orchestrate our actions to give our husbands the respect they need. Women need to feel loved, and it is the man’s responsibility to do that for his wife.

4.            Create Story. (This is explained in detail on my blog “Create a Story”). Our marriage is like a book, if the book becomes boring, we put it down. We must create adventure, fun, laughter and stories in our marriage to keep it fresh, and interesting enough to want to be a part of it. We also need to keep ourselves interesting by staying fit, healthy, reading and personal growth. That doesn’t mean when life gets tough and uninteresting we walk away. Absolutely NO! It just means that we all want to enjoy life, and what better place to enjoy it than in the most beautiful union on this earth: marriage.

5.         Praying together. This may be an awkward suggestion for many of you, but my second marriage has remained authentic, interesting, powerful and loving because of the power of prayer in our lives. There are so many struggles, pain and challenges in this life that we simply don’t know what to do with.  So we go to a higher power: God. For the past fourteen Jack and I get up each morning to meet for time of reading the bible together and the spending time in prayer. I personally believe this has been the most beautiful and powerful aspect of our marriage.

Jack and I both believe that everything God makes is very good. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31 NIV). We both believe that, when we allow God to teach us how to have a good marriage, we will find the JOY we are looking for.

You will find more information on second marriages in Chapter 6 in my book SAND TO PEARLS: Making Bold Choices to Enrich Your Life.


UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE-“Falling in Love All Over Again”

Posted in Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Beauty Unleashed, Communication, Control, Encouragement, Finding Truth, Freedom, Freedom from Busyness, Friendship, Good Marriage, Hope, Intimacy, Kindness, Life of Jesus, Listening, Making Wise Choices, Pain Pleasure, Pleasure, Resentment, Respect, Self-Control, Tension, Valued on June 12, 2012 by hmclaughlin

“Whenever you were in a crowded room, your eyes would lock into an almost shameful, blushing, intimate exchange. You laughed at everything. The hours couldn’t move fast enough before you could see each other again. He listened to every word you said and you felt beautiful, treasured and safe. Then he asked you to marry him and you couldn’t believe you would spend the rest of your life with this tender, loving, brilliant and caring man.”

For many marriages those feelings and memories seem like sepia prints of an old, long forgotten movie. Your marriage has become more of a business arrangement scheduling the next meeting, family gathering or appointment. “Who will pick up the children at day care?” “Can you stop and pick up some milk and eggs after work?” “When are you going golfing this week?” “Don’t forget we need to be at the Browns on Friday night at 6:00…try to be on time.” Now it’s all about requests, schedule and demands.  The lingering, intimate conversations have turned into impersonal staccato sentences.


We don’t just “fall out of love.” We have to understand that Love is not a feeling…it is an action. I don’t believe you fell out of love, I believe you fell out of “like.”  God is love, when we love, it is the essence of God in our life. It doesn’t come and go…it just IS.  Through our deliberate actions we can determinedly learn to love each other again. I know this for an absolute fact.

 I’m not going to give you 10 – 12 steps on how to fall in love again, but I will ask you some thought provoking and probing questions about both of you. But you have to remember that: you can’t change him, but you can change yourself so that he will again see you as the person he fell in love with. Bring the fun and excitement back into your relationship.

1.         What were your motives for marrying this man? Was it because you were afraid to grow old alone, or because you wanted to prove to your family and the world that you were worthy to be married? Or: did you choose to love him for the rest of your life?

2.         Now that you have him, are you still the fun, interesting and attractive person you were when you were dating?  Is he?  What happened?

3.         Have you become more like comfortable room-mates; letting the routine of life make you boring?

4.         Do you still have the kind of home that both of you enjoy coming “home” to? Or, is it filled with tension, anger and endless “to do lists?”

5.         Are you “not in the mood” too often?

6.         Now that you “have him”…are you still interested in his sports teams and the sports equipment lying all over the garage floor?

7.         Do you pursue YOUR passions?

8.         Does he not give you the attention you need and make you feel beautiful anymore? Don’t wait for him to unleash your beauty; YOU take the time to exercise and make yourself attractive so that you will feel beautiful again? When you exude beauty, you will feel better about yourself and he will start to pay attention to you again.

9.         When was the last time you asked him, “Are we happy? What can we do to make our marriage more meaningful, fulfilling and fun?”

10.       What are the things that used to make you both laugh?

11.       Do you pay more attention to the children than you do to him?

12.       Have you become the “macho wife” that controls everything because things “just weren’t going your way?

13.       Have you shut your husband out of your activities and conversations?

14.       When you first met, what were the values and goals that you both shared? What has happened to them?

You see, we don’t just “fall out of love”.  We get disappointed in the way things have turned out, we feel rejected or abandoned and start to nurture resentment. Then we build walls, start to carve out our own existence and perhaps become lonely.  It’s time to break down the walls, pick up the broken pieces and begin to rebuild and restore something that at one time was obviously quite beautiful. God is love, and when we ask HIM to help us love again, I know He will give you the wisdom and desire to help you “fall in love all over again.”