Choosing the channel our life is set to. It isn’t the circumstances but how we view them that sets the tone of our lives.

It isn't the circumstances but how we view them that sets the tone of our lives. Choosing the channel our life is set to.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Happiness depends on your mindset and attitude. Roy T. Bennet

My son came down to my art studio the other day and was disappointed at my art process. He saw my lightbox for tracing and my reference material. We have an idea that if people are really creative they make things up. I’m painting a church. I didn’t make this church up, I’ve used reference material and I believe most artists use reference material, often even in abstracts. Then we moved on to talking about writing and how there are only a few plots that fit all stories.

In “Save the Cat Writes a Novel” by Jessica Brody based on the books by Blake Snyder there are ten plots.

Whydunnit, detectives, deception, and the dark side.

Rites of passage

Institutionalized, join em, leave em, or take em down.

Superhero, being extraordinary in an ordinary world.

Dude with a problem, surviving the ultimate test.

Fool triumphant, victory of the underdog.

Buddy love, the transformative power of love or friendship.

Out of the bottle, a little bit of magic goes a long way.

Golden Fleece, road trips, quests, and heists.

Monster in the house, more than just a scary story.

There you have it; every story ever told fits into one of those genres. There are also various types of compositions we can use in art. It isn’t originality that makes things great it is how we use what we know in writing, art, or creating anything that gives us our finished product.

What if life is much the same? In a book I’m reading, “A Course in Life” by Joan Gattuso, she asks what channel would we say we have our life tuned to. Are we tuned to the Discovery Channel, Playboy Channel, Suffering Channel, Heartache Channel, Poor Me Channel, Bad News Channel, They Don’t Treat Me Right Channel, Adventure Channel, Family Channel, Creative Channel, Horror, or Happy Channel?

Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. Joshua J. Marine

What if just like TV we turn our life channel to what we want. On TV a walk in the woods on the adventure channel will be different than a walk in the woods on the horror channel. There is enough going on in the world that we can choose to focus on what is good or what is bad. When we interact with people do we remember the slights or the kindness we are shown? Do we look for what is bad, or what is good? Are we positive about the future? Do we focus on injustice?

If we focus on the good we can be called naïve, wearing rose-colored glasses, entitled, and that we don’t care enough about the problems others have. We can seem insensitive if we aren’t getting into the pit of despair but when we are all in the pit of despair, who is left to pull anyone out of the pit?

Jim Rohn said, “If we complain about everything and everything isn’t good enough, it’s all we have.” We have whatever circumstances we have in our life; we might not like all the choices before us. If we look at the circumstances, opportunities, and choices in our life like paint on a painter’s palette. What we do with that paint and those choices color the canvas of our lives. Will it be bright and pretty, dark and somber, mostly dark with a few bright spots, mostly light with a few dark spots? will it become something we can’t believe we created?

When we are painting it is intuitive, structured, happy little accidents, and unexpected results as colors play against each other. A good metaphor for life I think. We don’t control every facet of our lives; we don’t know what is coming, but our view on life, our mindset, this we have some control over. Wayne Dyer says, “When we change the way we look at things the things we look at change.”

What channel are we tuning our life to? Is there a better channel to choose? Did it ever cross our mind as Shakespeare says, “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so?”

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. Stephen Hawking

Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. George Bernard Shaw

Mindset is your rudder in the boat of your life. Shan White

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

Thank you to everyone that reads my books. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link and make a purchase I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Anger is an acid doing more harm to those that carry it than those on who it is poured.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Anger doesn’t solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything. Unknown

What makes us angry? We can go from zero to sixty very quickly.

Seneca broke anger management into three parts. First, we must avoid becoming angry. Second, we must learn to control our angry feelings. Third, we must find a way to express our anger to others in an appropriate way. This was in 45 B.C. and is still our anger management model.

A threatened animal is a dangerous animal, a threatened human is a dangerous person. In our anger do we sometimes overreact? Are there good reasons to be angry, and good ways of handling our anger? If we can’t discuss why we are angry we sometimes bottle it up inside which can lead to high blood pressure, increased stress, depression, and even more anger.

We have a psychological response, a heightened sense of power, but a lack of reason, clarity, and judgment; a physiological response that causes a surge of adrenaline, increased heart rate, and other physical manifestations; and a cognitive response, when we express or repress our anger, or we can calm ourselves.

In the bible, it says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. Proverbs 15:18

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. Proverbs 14:29

Obviously, we are to have some control over our anger. Lives are ruined because of uncontrolled anger; people are killed in fits of passion (anger). We may feel justified in our anger and still have it ruin our lives. We cannot take back words said in anger. We cannot fix relationships ruined by anger unless we can deal with the anger.

A small study in the Journal of Psychology and Aging suggests anger, much more than sadness, is linked to negative health effects in older people. This is believed to contribute to inflammation and chronic disease. Does this mean if we get our anger under control we live healthier lives?

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Buddha

Studies show us anger makes us more impulsive and makes us underestimate the chances of bad outcomes. Anger also influences group dynamics. When we are angry we feel more negatively and in a more prejudiced way about outsiders. We tend to blame negative traits on a person’s nature rather than their circumstances. Angry people tend to look for someone to blame. This can make an angry person even more enraged with offending persons or groups and perpetuate a spiral of irrational rage.

Seneca pronounced anger, “Worthless even for war,” and wrath is one of the seven deadly sins.

A study at Southwest Missouri State University surveyed 200 men and women, suggested that women are as angry and act on their anger as frequently as men. The main difference they identified was men felt less effective when forced to control their anger, and women seemed better able to control immediate impulsive responses to anger.

As a society do we romanticize anger and aggression? A study found people with violent childhoods could discriminate between good and bad strangers in an experiment. But they were less likely to trust people, even when they behaved generously. “It shapes them so fundamentally that they’re not able to easily discriminate who they can trust. That constant feeling of threat means aggression can be triggered far more easily, in the future,” said Baskin-Sommers.

It seems we control our anger, or our anger controls us. People who were brought up in violent households may have a harder time, but we hear all the time about people who changed the course of their lives by staying away from what ruined their parents’ lives. Our choices shape our lives. Are our reactions to the things that make us angry, and even the things that make us angry something we should take a hard look at?

When angry, count to ten before you speak; if very angry count to a hundred. Thomas Jefferson

If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow. Chinese Proverb

You have power over your mind – not outside events realize this, and you will find strength. Marcus Aurelius

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come again and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

Thank you to everyone that reads my books. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you purchase an item through the Amazon link below I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Choices determine our life. We are free to choose but all choices have consequences.

We are free to choose but all choices have consequences. Choices determine our life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you. John C. Maxwell

We always have opportunities and choices. Opportunities to be the best we can be, make the best choices, and go forward. When we look back are we always proud of our choices? How many of us think if we could have a do-over at some point in our life we would make a different choice. We got to a crossroads and we were presented with choices and we took the wrong one, or we think we did because we can’t know what the consequences of the other choice were?

There was a time around 1980 when a friend was moving to Calgary and I would have gone with her but I was dating my husband. We got married, built a business, have two adult children and life has been terrific. I count it as one of my good choices.

I talked to a friend who told me she has a connection to Chilliwack, British Columbia because her father saw a restaurant/ gas station for sale and wanted to buy it with her and her husband. He lived in Switzerland and they lived in Mississauga.

Lots of us could be living somewhere else but we made a choice and may still wonder where the road not taken would have led us. We can’t travel both paths we have to choose one. I became a city girl but the country girl remains a part of me. I never became the world traveler I longed to be. That could still come.

There are still choices to make even when we have built a life in a certain locale and reared our family. The choices our children make may impact our own and ours may impact theirs. Still, when we get to a crossroads it is our choice we have to live with. The choice may mean we see our grandchildren more or less.

There are choices that impact our lives in big ways and ones we think will not that do. We don’t always know what will reverberate down through our life. Living life with courage is a great example to have set for us. We all know people who lived their lives with courage, they took advantage of opportunities or they handled situations the best they could. They faced adversity with a good attitude. They forged ahead when others might have been brought to their knees and never gotten back up. We all hope we will be the people who are strong in the face of adversity, accept the challenges, make lemonade out of the lemons that show up in our life.

I was reading a book last night and the author was saying in his church there was a couple who made the other parents feel inadequate in their parenting.  The children were in the early years and he alluded to the fact that they were great parents for a particular stage in the children’s life but not necessarily above average parents when it came to the other stages. Some of the parents looking on may have excelled in dealing with teenagers, but they hadn’t reached that stage yet.

You are free to choose, but the choices you make today will determine what you have, be, and do in the tomorrow of your life. Zig Ziglar

This is why we have to be careful comparing ourselves to other people. They may shine brilliantly in a stage of life we don’t, but that doesn’t mean all of their life they will shine or all of ours we won’t. We won’t all shine with the same kind of brilliance because a celebrity has a shine that usefulness doesn’t. We can live without celebrities but living without the people that make life work, plumbers, farmers, teachers, doctors, dentists, storekeepers, repair people, salespeople, doers, and makers. They are the ones we can’t live without, they make the life we have possible.

Sometimes we choose between good choices, sometimes we make the best of bad choices. Once we choose we have set ourselves upon a path. We may find choices we made in the past have come around again. There was a time when we had to choose where to raise our family. Now with a family raised we may face the choice of where to live as we go forward. Do we keep the house, do we move? Each choice impacts the rest of our life. When I left the farm I choose a path completely different than had I stayed and built my life in Saskatchewan.

If we expect we will always make the right, best choices we probably won’t. We have to forgive ourselves that we made a choice we later regret. We may have thought it was a good choice, or sometimes we knew it wasn’t but did it anyway thinking we would get away with it.

Life is about choices and taking responsibility for them. There is an attitude some people adopt of extreme ownership. The more responsibility we take for our life, the more we can change it. No matter how extreme our ownership is, life can hand us situations beyond our control, floods, disease, pestilence, and accidents. They are ours to deal with and making the best of the bad is all we can do.

The man of decision cannot be stopped! The man of indecision cannot be started! Take your own choice. Napoleon Hill

You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours. Colin Powell

You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice. Unknown

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

Thank you to those that read my books. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Forgiving ourselves is that the antidote to shame? We will make mistakes we have to own them, forgive them, and move forward.

We will make mistakes we have to own them, forgive them, and move forward. Forgiving ourselves is that the antidote to shame?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Shame corrodes the very part of us that believe we are capable of change. Brene Brown

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. Martin Luther King Jr.

What we focus on grows, is part of a comment left on my blog by my cousin. Her daughter just had a baby girl. She said, “I forgot how much I love babies.” It is a joyous event when a baby arrives. We don’t know the hope and promise that a new little being brings.

My husband showed me a YouTube video yesterday of young people on the streets of Philadelphia not looking so full of promise. Yet some of those young people, will turn their lives around, and make incredible contributions to our society. We don’t know who is who. We don’t even know what contributions will end up being great ones. What small invention makes a big invention possible? What small improvement is the catalyst for others?

Being a woman of a certain age I may be jaded, but I don’t think my adult children feel as much hope and promise as my husband and I did. Not only on a personal level, but the world has changed, the population more than doubled in my lifetime and some people in 1986 thought it was a problem.

Growing up on a farm was a wholesome experience, and moving to the city was the choice I made. I am happy I live in a society where I had the choice to move. I made choices; my life wasn’t prescribed for me because of where I was born or who I was. I believe in freedom but when I see those young people in Philadelphia or anywhere else I don’t see their freedom as a celebration of life. When I look at them I think, if your parents had a little more control, you had better judgment, maybe faith in yourself to live differently, or would this still be the choice if you got to choose again?

The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward. Dr. Steve Maraboli

Just because we don’t agree with the choices we see others make doesn’t mean our choice for them would be better, but sometimes it is hard to see how they could be worse.

Living a good life is about choices. How do we live our life so the choice ahead of us is between two good choices instead of two bad choices? We watched a video the other day about a hairdresser asking a woman living on the street if he could cut her hair. The transformation was amazing. The video has a huge number of views. There was an update; she came home one day and people told her, her grandson sold her house to them, and they showed her paperwork. She couldn’t get a hold of her grandson. Then she was robbed of her belongings, money, and cell phone. The hairdresser lived beside her when he was a kid and knew her grandson was looking for her, but couldn’t find her. The people were scammers who said her grandson sold her house. The grandson sued them and got the house back, but although he looked and looked couldn’t find her. She was too embarrassed to turn to people she knew and went to live on the streets, accepting her fate, and believing her grandson was the scumbag instead of the scammers. Through this hairdresser, she was restored to her former life.

This shame of letting people know the situation is part of how scammers get away with what they get away with. We are scared to look foolish, taken advantage of, and that we were preyed on by predators. We take our lumps and carry on as best we can. This is happening to older people who have people take a conservancy over them.

When I look at the young people on the streets, I wonder if shame isn’t part of what keeps them there. They made mistakes, got in with the wrong crowd, trusted a boyfriend, or a girlfriend. They took drugs, but if they would turn to family and friends many of them would not be turned away. They could redeem their lives, but they feel ashamed for getting into the situation they are in so they stay there. I could be wrong, but I imagine it is something like that. When people prey on our insecurities, when we are afraid to stand up because we worry we’ll look stupid we often end up being even more victimized, but we have the power to change it.

In the Tarot Deck, the devil card shows people with chains around their neck, but those chains can be taken off at any time. We think we don’t have the power to change our lives, but most of the time there is something we can do to make it better. There is someone we can turn to.

We can turn over a new leaf, and lead a different life. We have to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made. We have to learn from our mistakes not live in shame because of them. Everyone makes mistakes, and we have to deal with the fall out of those mistakes, but we can go forward better.

Do we have things we need to forgive ourselves for, mistakes we’ve made that still haunt us?

It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you. Tyler Perry

There is no sense in punishing your future for the mistakes of your past. Forgive yourself, grow from it and then let it go. Melanie Koulouris

If you are looking to turn over a new leaf and be more kind and forgiving. I suggest starting with the person you see in the mirror each morning. Charles F. Glassman

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

Thank you to everyone that reads my books. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link below I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Positive prophecy can give hope to the hopeless. What does negative prophecy do? Are we choosing to look for the positive in all situations?

Are we choosing to look for the positive in all situations? Positive prophecy can give hope to the hopeless. What does negative prophecy do?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Chinese Proverb

On Tuesday I went to a conference hosted by the Art Gallery of Mississauga. It was an incredible event. One of the panelists mentioned a prophecy about the 8th fire of the Anishinaabe.

On a post called Spirit of the 8th fire. I find.

Hopi Prophecy

When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, creeds, and classes. And who by their actions and deeds shall make the Earth green again. They shall be known as the Warriors of the Rainbow.

A friend and her husband have been evacuated because of the flooding in British Columbia. Yesterday on the news someone said cattle were up to their chests in water and they didn’t know how to evacuate them. People being evacuated had to their livestock behind.

Our hearts go out to people who are being evacuated but if we are too far away to help we can only pray and donate to help the cause. Our prayers are with you, sounds trite but it is something we can do when it seems we can do nothing. The resilience of the human spirit in times of challenge is remarkable. Often through crisis, we see strength in people we and they might not have known they had.

The wise man accepts his pain, endured it, but does not add to it. Marcus Aurelius

This is why when I read the Hopi Prophecy, the 7 Fires Prophecy of the Anishinaabe, and what Crazy Horse said I am heartened that we will find ways to come together and deal with what must be done, and we will make things better. Will we all agree on what needs to be done, of course not? Will we always make the right and best choice, I doubt it? It will be a crooked path we walk, but chances are the prophecies will come true because the human race has flourished throughout history facing challenges, overcoming hurdles, and continuing to build.

We need to have hope in our hearts that we will overcome the challenges that present themselves. Even though we know our time here is limited we leave behind people to carry on. We all know we don’t build a civilization for our generation. We all want our grandchildren to have as much hope and promise as we had. It might be part of getting older that makes us less optimistic but we have to watch being too negative about the future. We can’t believe and teach our children and grandchildren there is no hope and that the end is nigh.

The end is nigh for us, the fight may be getting to an end for us, but we need to teach our children and grandchildren to accept the challenges of their time. Every time has had challenges, and for the most part, society has moved forward and today we live lives of unbelievable richness, bounty, and beauty with a few hard times and challenges thrown in.

Men inspired by prophecy will attempt any foolishness in the knowledge that the fates have ordained their victory. Bernard Cornwell

Many a prophecy, by the mere force of its being believed is transmuted to fact. Unknown

You can’t let something that’ll probably never happen ruin your life. You’re only helping to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Raymond Khoury

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Thank you to all who buy and read my books. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link and make a purchase I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Getting better not bitter. Do we declare we are blessed, talented, healthy, and strong?

Do we declare we are blessed, talented, healthy, and strong? Getting better not bitter.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Be happy for everything that happens in your life; it’s all an experience. Roy T. Bennett

How do some people get old and bitter and some get old and better? Some are wonderful to be around. They have the best stories, make us laugh, and are encouraging, uplifting, and kind. We love to spend time around them. When we call them we are willing to talk to them as long as they will talk to us.

Other people are like storm clouds, raining down criticism, complaints, and ready to erupt into thunder and lightning at the slightest prompt. I feel blessed that Mom and Dad were of the former, not the latter. Although as my sister and I chatted on the weekend we talked about how Dad could erupt and we were shaking and walking on eggshells when he was back to smiley and happy.

Everyone can and maybe even should lose their temper on occasion. There are circumstances that call for reactions that are more than raising eyebrows. What we don’t want to be is in a constant state of discontent.

What did we think our life would be like at our stage in life? Some people appear to get more out of life at every stage. They don’t seem surprised when winter comes, they prepared for it, and when spring comes they are prepared for that.

I have enjoyed Joel Osteen’s book “The Power of I Am.” Is there anything new in this book, of course not? It seems to me we find new ways to destroy our lives but not new ways to build good, happy, productive ones. That is old knowledge, widely available to all who will listen, search, and read. People might not think they have the choice to be sweet or curmudgeonly, but I think it’s a choice. I hope I’m making the right one.

Dad lost most of his right hand in a farm accident. He could have been bitter, but I believe he was grateful knowing he could have died. When we live with gratitude we look at things differently than when we live without gratitude. If nothing is ever good enough, no one is honest enough, or does the right thing then as Jim Rohn says, “That’s all you’ve got.” I don’t think we should overlook when things are going in the wrong direction but complaining about them doesn’t do anything.

Start each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart. Roy T. Bennett     

We need to know what we can do, who we can influence, and then we have to get out of the way and let them do it.

There are periods in history that would have been horrible to live through. There must still have been people who lived with a cheerful heart, and a grateful spirit. Our choice to take charge of our life with our thoughts, behavior, and attitude is what we can do.

Sometimes the only thing we have power over is how we react to things. We may have to be okay with not seeing things the same as other people. Can we be content where we are even if it isn’t where we thought we would be? We may have to be content with the person we married, not the fantasy of who we thought they were, or who they would become. We have to be content with ourselves, our faults, weakness, and foibles.

If we live with a curmudgeon, it is a challenge, and if we are the curmudgeon we are a challenge for them. They are one of our challenges in life, and we are theirs. What if living with a grateful heart and a good attitude is how we pass the tests of life? What if every dream we have were to come true, and it affected our happiness quotient by zero? More money, fame, children, grandchildren, and our party getting in power wouldn’t change how happy we are? That’s a sobering thought. If nothing changes our degree of happiness except ourselves then we could choose to be happy any time in any situation. We have to deal with what we have to deal with but does worrying do anything but steal our joy.

How much joy do we have in our life? Are we taking every opportunity to bring joy and wonder into our lives? Do we see every sunrise, sunset, shooting star, rainbow, and the Northern Lights, as opportunities to be inspired?

When we look in the faces of those we love, do we realize how lucky we are to have them in our life? Does our fear we could lose them spoil that? We don’t all have the same blessings in our lives. Maybe we all have the capacity to feel blessed regardless of what those blessings are. What if that is what is important?

Do we look at our lives and see what is right, or what is wrong with it? When I draw and it doesn’t look right I have to adjust my perspective, when I get the perspective right the picture comes together. Our attitude is our perspective. The only person that can adjust our attitude is ourselves. What if the words we put after I Am can change our life? Are we getting better or bitter?

The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are. The more present you become. Robert Holden

The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today would be to start being grateful for what you have right now. Oprah

Let a series of happy thoughts run through your mind. They will show on your face. Norman Vincent Peale

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back again and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture.

Thank you to those who buy and read my books. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link below and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

We think we know dogs, and we think we know people. Both can surprise and wound us.

We think we know people, and we think we know dogs. Both can surprise us.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Dogs bark at what they cannot understand. Heraclitus

Today is Remembrance day! We owe a debt of gratitude to those who fought for freedom and still continue to fight for it.

There is a sad story here of a boy bit in the face by a dog. Why did the dog bite him? When I was a kid my Uncle bought a farm and with the farm came the dog and all the livestock. We would go over to his new place and play with this friendly black lab. One day my brothers and I were looking at what the old owners had put in a garbage pit. I picked up a pill bottle and bam he bit me in the face.

Dogs who bite back home at that time paid with their life. He was already dead by the time they told Mom, “We want to know if he had rabies.” He didn’t have rabies, he liked us kids and we had been over numerous times and played with him, but I touched something that was his old owner’s, and that is why I think he bit me. He couldn’t protect them, he could protect their stuff and he paid with his life.

What else can you do with a dog that has bitten a kid in the face? You can’t keep him and you can’t give him to another family. We later had a dog we gave too many chances to. He bit a woman who went to pet him when he was chained up. I’ve always been told never to go near a chained dog. It was a little bite, and we didn’t do anything. One day I took him for a walk and the neighbor stopped his truck for a chat. As I was standing at the side of the road, for no reason at all the dog bit the back of my leg above the knee.

It wasn’t a bad bite so we let that one go. Did I even tell Mom and Dad he bit me, I can’t remember. Then I was training him to be a sled dog, we were taking off from the top of the driveway when two neighbor kids turned into our driveway. He took off racing to the end of the driveway and bit the youngest kid on the hand. This was a pretty aggressive bite and the dog was put down. They say once a dog bites he’ll bite again, and this one did, and each bite was worse.

The kid who was bitten is worried about scars. I hope his face heals as well as my face did. There is no noticeable scar. No one has ever said to me, “What happened to your face?” There is some controversy over whether the dog is part “Pitbull.”  The sad story is the owners fought to get him back and have him not deemed a “Pitbull.” Now he has bitten a kid in the face. What will they do with him now?

My husband and I worried our Scottie would be too aggressive with our kid’s friends so when they were over he was in his room. He was a lovely dog but we don’t know what makes a dog bite. We trusted him with our kids, and our kids with him. Our little Cock-a-poo, Lulu, I don’t think she would bite, but she surprised us on Halloween chasing the Halloweeners that knocked on our door down the street.

She’s a strange little dog in that she still barks at our son-in-law even though my daughter and he have been married for over three years. She barks when any of us come in the house most of the time, but she barks if he comes upstairs, or when she hears him in the bathroom downstairs. He didn’t meet her when she first came to our house and perhaps he will always be an outsider in her mind. She treats my soon-to-be-daughter-in-law like she is the missing piece of the family when she comes over. She was there when we got her and went with us to pick her up. In Lulu’s mind, she is part of the family.

We think we know our dog, we think we know people, but both can surprise us.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous. He will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. Mark Twain

My goal in life is to be as good as the person my dog already thinks I am. Unknown

Barking dogs seldom bite. Don’t be afraid of dogs that bark or people that threaten you “saying, they will do something bad to you” – in both cases they rarely take action. English Proverb

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Thank you to those who read my books. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Forgiveness and acceptance. Life is how it is, not how we want it to be. We can change the future, but not the past.

Life is how it is, not how we want it to be. We can change the future, but not the past. Forgiveness and acceptance.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

I learned that true forgiveness includes total acceptance. Catherine Marshall

On Saturday night, I was in my studio painting, frustrated, because my painting wasn’t tuning out how I wanted it to. As I got ready for bed I thought of a painter whose work evokes love, hope, home, and family, Thomas Kinkade. The art world didn’t recognize him as a great painter but the public loved his work. On Sunday morning I was searching for articles, on Thomas Kinkade’s painting techniques. I found out he died in 2012 at age 54.

In his book Lightposts for Living, it seemed he had an idyllic life, he’d found God, and said, God was his art agent. That appeared to work well for him, but there is no idyllic life, no matter how it is portrayed in a book, Tik Tok, Facebook, etc. We all have problems, challenges, lapses of faith in ourselves, others, and even God.

It is easy to think other people have things figured out we haven’t yet figured out. When we see them we think they still have magic in their relationship. We hear about their children and they always seem to be doing well. Often there is another side to the story. Even if it isn’t a bad side, reality, and perception aren’t the same thing. If someone spends all their time building an empire their family may feel like they aren’t a priority.

If someone spends all their time building a family they may feel the empire is lacking. The wild single life may seem more exciting than being married and raising a family. Raising a family may feel more joy-filled than being single. We have to watch what we think we see in other people’s lives. We have to watch our expectations.

Acceptance and tolerance and forgiveness, those are life-altering lessons. Jessica Lange

My oldest sister always said if we put our troubles on the line when we had to choose someone else’s troubles we would take our own back. It’s a good way to look at things. She’s been married fifty years. It is funny her husband and mine have the same birth date but are seventeen years apart.

One of the things that make marriages last is perseverance. If we take the attitude that there will be challenges in relationships, and it isn’t only dependant on the person, then perhaps we’ll think sticking it out with our first choice is better than picking a second and third choice. As they say, “Time” is the secret to a long marriage. Stick-to-it-ive-ness is getting through the thick and thin in life. Knowing spring follows winter but winter also follows fall. No one gets only good times and no one gets only bad.

Change is coming. No matter how much we loved periods in our life. We move on to new stages, new highs, new lows, different gains, and losses. We may have loved being an active parent but adult children need us to stay out of their lives, not insert ourselves in. If we are lucky we become grandparents and a new cycle begins.

When we are in a period where it seems there is nothing to look forward to we need to look forward with hope, a new spring is coming. Sometimes we need to grow and change our expectations because if we can only be happy if certain things happen, and they never happen, that’s a sad way to live a life. We may feel hurt by something and it colors our life, no one can change what happened, not even the person that caused the hurt. We can forgive and go forward or carry that hurt the rest of our lives. Our life might look blessed to others but we can’t see it because we can’t get over the past.

If we forgive ourselves, and others we can deal with today instead of carrying the burden of yesterday on our back. We did the best we could, or we didn’t. We have to go forward because no one gets to go back. Learning to be okay with what is, maybe what we most have to learn in life.  

Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace. Mel Robbins

The best way to escape from the past is not to avoid or forget it, but to accept and forgive it. Unknown

The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person. Louise Hay

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, or see categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

Thank you to those who read my books. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Pro Writing Aid is a tool I recommend. Finishing what we start is epic, and finding tools to assist us gets us there faster.

Finishing what we start is epic, and finding tools to assist us gets us there faster. Pro Writing Aid is a tool I recommend.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you’re brave enough to start. You’re strong enough to finish. Gary Ryan Blair

Starting and finishing are two parts of the same thing. We can’t finish what we don’t start, so starting is the most important part. In fact, it is said, starting is half done, but we still have to do the other part.

One of the problems writers have is being able to evaluate their own writing. A program like Pro Writing Aid solves this problem. Most of us can’t afford the many rounds of editing a good editor would require before they pronounced our writing publishable. This program can help us make our own writing better, and teach us to become better writers for a reasonable cost. It tells us what goals to strive for, and tells us what percentage we made it better.

I’ve started putting my second novel Secrets and Sorrow through Pro Writing Aid. The many and varied reports highlight where our writing is good and where it needs improvement, and give us goals to aim for. For example, it tells me how often I’ve used a dialogue tag and what most of them were. Do I use said, which is recommended the most, or are my characters, laughing, smiling, whispering, and threatening throughout the book?

The program compares our writing to the writing of published author’s in our genre, and to about forty famous authors we can choose, although I haven’t found how to choose the author I want my work compared to. The program is chosen for me. The idea according to the creator of Pro Writing Aid, published writers fall in line with guidelines and if we get our writing to fall within those same guidelines, it will be considered better writing, than when it doesn’t fall within the guidelines.

Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you. Unknown

To get my novel through this edit by the end of November I have to get two and a half chapters edited per day.  By breaking it down into small daily goals I can keep on track. I didn’t start using the program until November 2, so I was already behind but I’m on track now. I joined a zoom call on Tuesday where the creator discussed how to use Pro Writing Aid. They have these zoom meetings every month. This is the first one I’ve attended, but it won’t be the last.

Pro Writing Aid does not eliminate the value of a good editor, but what it does do is give us a tool to make our writing as good as we can before we pay someone to help us with more important parts of our writing. The editor can point out plot holes, inconsistencies in the story, parts we should cut, or elaborate on.

Everything in Pro Writing Aid is available in books. Having a program underline the problems, explain what the problem is, and how to fix it, is very helpful and it teaches us more than reading it in a book. It is a tool that helps us become better writers.   

The first novel I wrote is a convoluted mess, but if I put the time into doing structural edits and ran it through Pro Writing Aid it might become something. It’s a daunting task and it may be easier and more interesting to write something new. It will have to wait, at least until my third novel, Secrets and Solace, is complete.

Pro Writing Aid is helping me complete what I started, and gives me a benchmark to compare my writing to. If you are looking for an affordable author’s assistant that will give you more confidence in your finished product check out Pro Writing Aid. There is a free version, that will evaluate short pieces of writing, but if you want to put your entire manuscript in, it is worth paying for.

Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started. David Allen

Starting strong is good. Finishing strong is epic. Robin Sharma

How you start is important, but it is how you finish that counts. In the race for success, speed is less important than stamina. The stickler outlasts the sprinter. B.C. Forbes

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

Thank you to those who read my books. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If you click on the Amazon link below and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon Affiliate Program.

Celebrating life. Staying active, interested, and positive may do more for our health than we realize.

Staying active, interested, and positive may do more for our health than we realize. Celebrating life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The wisest mind has something yet to learn. Unknown

Last night was Halloween and I was waffling over whether I should bother to buy any candy to give out. We haven’t been getting many kids and that means we eat what we don’t give out.

My husband encouraged me to pick up candy. When the kids were young he gave out the candy and I took the kids and our dog Krypto a Scottish terrier, out trick or treating. My part is long finished but my husband still enjoys his part.

It was seven o’clock and no kids came by so I turned off the outside light. “Why’d you do that?”

“I’m going downstairs.”

“We’ll look after it,” my daughter and husband said. I go downstairs and finally the doorbell rings. Our dog (Lulu a 12-pound cock-a-poo) goes running and barking to the door). I hear screaming and a commotion so I run upstairs. Our daughter has the dog in her arms and is coming up the walk. Lulu does not run out of the house when the door is open, but when she saw kids dressed up in Halloween costumes she ran after them like she was saving our daughter’s life. I’ve always thought our little Lulu is one of the best watchdogs, I hope her protective instincts won’t become a problem.

That she thought she needed to protect our daughter and chased after those she thought she was protecting her from is funny and not funny at the same time. My son-in-law came in and said, “The kids running screaming up the street were coming from our house?”

They were the only Halloween visitors we had. We didn’t give out any candy at all. I ate more than my share of little chocolate bars last night. When I was a kid we got to trick or treat in town which was fun and I got to take out my two younger sisters so it was fun longer. The years before trick or treating in town we went up and down our country roads.  It was fun, and it wasn’t just the candy we loved.

Watching the next generation of kids is fun whether it is children in our neighborhood or children in our families. Those shiny happy faces are our future and it is good to see them having fun.

We don’t stop playing because we get old… we grow old because we stop playing. George Bernard Shaw

It’s hard to believe how quickly time has flown by. If we still have thirty years ahead of us it will fly by too. At my age, if I still have thirty years ahead of me I am very blessed. Longevity is in the family on both sides so I do have a lot to be grateful for. Fortunately, painting and writing are great for older years. I was reading Joel Osteen’s book, “The Power of I Am.” They’ve studied the brains of older adults and by looking at the brain they would have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but the people had no symptoms. These people were hopeful, and they stayed productive. There is a study by neuroscientist Timothy Hohman of Vanderbilt University Medical Centre trying to figure out how 30 percent of older adults who have brains that would qualify for an Alzheimer’s diagnosis lived without so much as a hint of dementia.

This resilience they believe is caused by the cognitive reserve of their brains. Cognitive reserve is developed by a lifetime of education and curiosity to help our brain better cope with any failures or declines it faces. Being curious, creative, and reading, thinking, and questioning our way into old age may be the answer. We won’t find cognitive reserve in a pill, like exercising and eating right, it’s something we will have to do for ourselves.  

This is great news. It gives us something to do instead of worrying about what is ahead. Do we really care about the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s after our death, if we can live like we don’t have it?

Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning. John Ratey

Memory offers up its gifts only when jogged by something in the present. It isn’t a storehouse of fixed images and words, but a dynamic associative network in the brain that is never quiet and is subject to revision each time we retrieve an old picture or old words. Siri Hustvedt

Apparently there is redundancy in memory: You store the same memory in different parts of your brain for accessing at different speeds. That speed would depend on the frequency of use and the importance of the knowledge. Bill Nye

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back again and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

Thank you to those who read my books. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link below and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.