Does creativity lead to happiness? Are we as happy as we choose to be?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Happiness is not by chance, but by choice. Unknown

Creativity feeds our souls. We have to continue to feed our souls throughout our lives. Our best garden will need to be replaced by our next one. When we look at some people’s body of work we wonder how they are so prolific, it is because they keep creating.

There is something about the process of creativity that enlivens us. We expect elation at the completion of our projects but completing that project leaves us with emptiness in our life we aren’t sure what to do with. We were consumed with the project. We let other things slide in our life while we worked on it. We had dreams and nightmares about it. My mind is percolating but not at full speed like it was the last couple of months of the project when I was busy completing it.

Is this why we sometimes don’t complete things? If it is never complete we will never feel the emptiness. We also won’t feel the sense of accomplishment, we made a bargain with ourselves and we kept it. This emptiness can only be replaced by something else.

We always need to have another mountain to climb, another painting to paint, a song to sing. If I wasn’t working on a series I think the emptiness I feel after putting out When Can We Get A Puppy would be greater. I had planned to visit Mom after the book was published but visiting her in August worked out beautifully for everyone and didn’t impact my writing as much as I thought taking a break would.

We often don’t expect the feeling we get after something is completed, or we thought it would feel differently. We thought satisfaction upon completion would be as great as the joy of doing, and it isn’t. The joy is in the creation.

It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project. Napoleon HIll

This is where we get things wrong. We think getting acclaim for our accomplishments is worth more than it is. We think famous artists get more out of their art than people who paint in their basement. We think we will be happier when we publish our work than when we are creating it. We think it matters if someone likes our work.

It matters if someone likes our work if we are reliant upon the income from that work. This is why in the book “Of Human Bondage” the character was told by his art instructor if he wasn’t of independent-means he should find another way to make a living.

That sounds like harsh advice but struggling to make a living is not something we should set ourselves up for if we have other choices. As artists, we can make a living and still do art. We may think we would enjoy life more being in a successful band, or if we were a successful author, but there are always prices to pay.

In the book “Stumbling On Happiness” we are told no matter what happens to us, good or bad, we will be about as happy in six months as we are now. Win a million dollars or get into a terrible accident the happiness level in six months is the same. How can this be? Happiness is an inside job. Situations outside of ourselves have less impact than we think. Wow, that means our attitude is all up to us. That’s a scary thought; this means if I get lots and lots of sales or few sales it won’t mean much to my state of happiness. Can this be true?

Once our needs are met for housing, food, and security extra doesn’t add that much to our life. Yet, we spend our lives waiting for the next thing we acquire or the next rung on the ladder we reach to make us happy. It is the doing that makes us happy not the end result of the doing. There is satisfaction upon completing something, acquiring something, or accomplishing something but it opens the way for our next acquisition, accomplishment, or project.

Perhaps what we need to be doing as we are nearing the completion of something is to be planning what we will do next. Instead of waiting until we are finished and left with a hole where our project or our work used to be, we have the beginnings of something else in mind. This is why we are told to prepare for retirement.

True success is not a project but a journey. Myles Munroe

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open. John Barrymore

I don’t expect to retire. Every man must work, that’s his natural destiny. Henry Ford

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 archives 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 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.

Happy Thanksgiving Day! Can we count our blessings every day and live each day with a grateful heart?

Can we count our blessings every day and live each day with a grateful heart? Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. Eckhart Tolle.

Happy Thanksgiving Day. We have so much to be thankful for. We all have some problems, sometimes they can be overwhelming but if we can find and focus on what we have to be grateful for instead of the problems, life is better.

We are more fun to be around when we see the sunny side of life. Gratitude magnifies the good in our life and ingratitude magnifies the bad. If we get what we focus on then choosing what we focus on is very important.

Is it easy to be grateful when we live in a land of peace and plenty? I hear a lot of grumbling and even grumble myself some days.

The opposite of lack is abundance. Having a grateful mindset doesn’t mean we have everything we want, it means we are grateful for everything we have. How often have we said we can’t afford something when we mean we don’t choose to buy it? Are we grateful we have the choice? I’ve heard people lament over the amount of choice they have in the marketplace. Really, this is a complaint because with all that choice we don’t know what to choose.

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. Willie Nelson

We are told to focus on what we want and be grateful for what we have. Living this way makes the best of what we have and the future. This makes sense. There are times in my life when I wanted to be a writer but I didn’t want to focus on it because then I had to act on it. I would be accountable for the amount of writing I did or didn’t do. We can’t call ourselves a writer if we don’t write. I don’t feel bad that I focused on the kids and not my writing because now I focus on my writing and the kids (adults) can focus on and manage their own lives.

It is a joy to have art and writing to focus on in this stage of life. Creativity may be an antidote to some of the negativity that is being focused on. Is it good to live in our own little bubble of positivity? Dealing with only what is ours to deal with? If we do our civic duty and vote then isn’t it the job of the people voted in to run the country to the best of their ability and if we let them do that it may be better for everyone. Why wring our hands over decisions that aren’t ours to make when we have so much of our own business to manage. Business, that often doesn’t get managed when we are trying to manage everyone else’s. What if we each got our own house in order before criticizing others? What if we are thankful for all the abundance in our lives?

Don’t we feel grateful every morning when we turn on the tap, flush the toilet, make coffee, or cook something? Just think what it would have taken for all of those things to happen not that many years ago. Many of us haven’t lived with having to haul water, go to an outhouse, or start a fire before cooking. It isn’t that many years ago that was the reality of life. Most of us don’t have to kill something before we can eat.

Sometimes we worry about what the future holds, but the future for many of us has gotten better and better? We are problem solvers and if we each solve the problems in front of us and let others solve the problems in front of them, we will continue to move forward making life better.

Worrying doesn’t do anything but being grateful for what we have, that’s a game-changer.

It is better to light a candle, than to curse the darkness. Chinese Proverb

When you focus on what you lack you lose what you have. When you focus on what you have you get what you lack. George McKeown

The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us. James A. Faust

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 for reading 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.

Finding inspiration, do inspired people inspire others? When we see what others can accomplish do we think we can do it too?

When we see what others can accomplish do we think we can do it too? Finding inspiration, do inspired people inspire people?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you want to succeed, focus on changing yourself, not others. Unknown

Tonight I am to give an inspiring speech at Toastmasters. What makes an inspiring speech? How are we inspired and how do we inspire others? I’m beginning to believe most if not all of this is an inside job. We don’t inspire others. If we are inspired we find inspiration in others and it inspires us more.

When I think of the kind of inspiration a lot of us would like to be able to give, we want to light a fire under people who need a fire lit underneath them. We want to change those who do not, will not, or cannot change. The inspiration they need will not be pushed on them by someone. They will search it out, stumble upon it themselves, or see a light in the darkness they can move toward.

Part of this seems like terrible news, but part of it frees us to realize we are the change we need to see. When we are inspired we might inspire someone not because we are lighting a fire under them but because we are like a lamp that has turned on, and they can see possibilities in the darkness, possibilities for them. When we see someone like ourselves, achieve things we think maybe we can do it too. We have to come to that conclusion, no one can make us see that we can do it, or should pursue it. Inspiration then is not a push, but a pull toward something someone wants, not a push toward something they should do. We spend a lot of time trying to control others to get them to do what we want, what we know would be good for them, or what would be better for society.

My speech tonight is about what I am going to say in an artist statement video. I’m going to give a speech within a speech asking for feedback. Will it be an inspiring speech? It is not an, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” speech.” It is not a folksy Jim Rohn, inspirational speech. It might not come under inspirational speeches at all. I have an opportunity to ask, what do you think of my sixty-second artist introduction?

Don’t be ashamed of your story it will inspire others. Unknown

I’m thinking about what is inspiring. My parents moved to Northern Saskatchewan as kids during the dirty thirties. Their parents were homesteaders and there were no schools in those early days. They grew up and went their way and then they each went back, met up, and got married. When I was a kid it was an area of prospering farms, we were bused to school in town. We had opportunities my parents couldn’t dream of when they were kids. If anyone, anywhere has an idyllic childhood we did. It was an inspiring time of growth and opportunity.

We need to find inspiration where we are to make things better, to help ourselves, and to help others. We shouldn’t as the bible says hide our light under a bushel. We need to be inspired to find inspiration in others. Remember the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” The answer may be to find what inspires ourselves and by being inspired we may inspire others.

The question we should be asking ourselves might be what do we find inspiring? When do we feel inspired to do, to change, and to reach for something? Are we cursing the darkness, or lighting a lamp?

What you do has a far greater impact than what you say. Stephen Covey

You don’t need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections. Wilson Kanadi

Be the kind of person that makes other people want to up their game. 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, or see archives of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

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

Go with the flow. Stumbling on happiness and trusting the process of life.

Stumbling on happiness and trusting the process of life. Go with the flow.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Go with the flow. Force nothing. Let it happen… trusting that whichever way it goes. It’s for the best. Mandy Hale

My flurry of work on “When Can We Get A Puppy” is finished. I hit publish on Friday and on Saturday the print edition was live on Amazon. I can’t wait to get a printed copy in my hand.

In order to have the printed edition available when I said it would be I published it without seeing a second author’s proof. When we finish a project it leaves a void in our life. Do we take a break or do we start another project right away? Taking a break is scary because it is working on a project when the creative juices flow. I have a rush of ideas now that I have been working so hard on creating the paintings for “When Can We Get A Puppy.” If I take a month or two off will that inspiration dry up?

I have a feeling it will. I am in motion now, but if I stop, inertia sets in, and it will take a lot more to start up again once stopped than to stay in motion. When I took the break to go see Mom in August it didn’t interfere with my work because I was still engaged in my projects, but taking a long break at the end of a project I think would be different.

It is why when I published Secrets and Silence I started working on Secrets and Sorrow without a break. Once I get into a project it seems I can take some time off or slow down. I’ve found through my years of painting that completing a project and cleaning up the studio without starting something new often led to a longer break than I planned. Get the next one started. Starting is sometimes the hardest part.

Don’t over-think things. Go with the flow. See where it takes you. Love is unpredictable, you know.  Unknown

Over the weekend I archived the paintings for, “When Can We Get A Puppy.” At Michael’s, I was told wax paper is suitable to separate the paintings. I made a wax paper sleeve for each painting and have a 14-inch x 14-inch plastic box used for scrapbooking to store them in. This way I can sort through the paintings without touching them. The paintings, even the ones I didn’t use will be stored together and I will put a copy of the printed book in the box. Creating systems is one of the things we have to do to keep our lives organized and storage of crafts, art, projects of any kind is a challenge.

I went looking for a Liquitex product I love but when I looked at the array of products on the shelf it didn’t seem to be there. On Google I found out the product’s name has been changed but not the product itself. When I bought it at the art store the young man at the cash said he didn’t know that, and he uses the product as well.

When we find products that work it is sad if we can’t find them again. I made the mistake of using another product and wasn’t as happy with it but in the middle of a project, I didn’t want to change in case it would be noticeable. Starting a new project with Liquitex Gloss Medium which used to be called Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish gives me a lift. Fighting to get the results we want makes things harder.

I learned a lot creating this children’s book and one of the biggest lessons is we don’t know what we can do unless we do it. There are a good number of beloved children’s books illustrated by the author. When you think you are finished you might only be partway and you don’t know what it will look like until you call it finished. At some point, we have to say it is done because there is always one more painting to make or one more line to change. Setting a goal is powerful. Meeting a goal is one of the best feelings in the world, but when you put your work out into the world you are left with a void you might not expect. There is a bitter-sweetness to ending a project you’ve poured your heart and soul into. I didn’t expect that, I thought it would be all joy.

I feel the best in the midst of creation that is when I get into the flow. Ending that flow is when the emptiness comes. It is why starting a new project is important and soon I will be in the flow again. Writing and illustrating bring my two loves together and my husband said to me, “I think this is your better book.” I think it is too.

Life is a journey, we learn as we go. Often we stumble upon our happiness. We didn’t know what we were looking for until we are in the midst of it. It is one of the reasons life plans don’t work out, we don’t know what is around the corner or the next bend, but if we ride the waves of life it can be a wild ride indeed.

Sometimes in life, there’s no problem and sometimes there is no solution. In this space – between these apparent poles – life flows. Rasheed Oguniaru

Not everything will go as you expect in your life. This is why you need to drop expectations and go with the flow of life. Unknown

We can learn a lot by watching how water relates to the world around it. It goes around any obstacle in its way. It flows downstream rather than struggling to push upstream as many of us are doing in life. It just goes with the flow. Perhaps that’s why watching the action and rhythm of water is so peaceful. Unknown

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 bottom.

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

Finishing what we start. It will be what it will be, and we have to be okay with that.

It will be what it will be and we have to be okay with that. Finishing what we start.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

Do you cringe when you see a picture of yourself? On Tuesday I had an interview with the Art Gallery of Mississauga and they were taking pictures. The photographer said he would send me some I could use as the picture for my new book.

When I saw the pictures I thought of the line in the song, “The sun in your face really shows your age.” It might not be possible to get a picture of myself I like because maybe I want to look like someone else.

They say smiley author’s photos are for less serious authors, and who wants to be thought to be one of those? Resting bitch face is a real thing and when I see it on my own face, wow! How do people take beautiful pictures even when they are not young and beautiful? Would black and white photos work better?

Getting professional photos taken is something I’ve been putting off. I need to get them done but this book will have the same photo I used for Secrets and Silence. My husband read it yesterday and he pointed out a verse I left out. How did I not notice that? My soon-to-be daughter-in-law noticed a name not capitalized.

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 sticker outlasts the sprinter. B.C. Forbes

It feels good to complete a project. Something that’s been simmering for years finally comes to fruition. What I’ve realized in this whole process is the biggest challenge was to make the decision to set a goal and work toward it. We may not know how we will get to that goal or what the finished product will look like, but we have to keep trying this and trying that, seeing what works. Serendipity works in our lives and the course with the Art Gallery of Mississauga came at the right time for me. Being part of a class, seeing what others were doing, what the facilitator and speakers she brought each week were accomplishing encouraged me greatly to continue with my project, and meet what seemed like an impossible deadline.

In my interview on Tuesday, I got emotional as I talked about what I got out of the course. I struggled with the demise of the collaboration between who was to have been the illustrator and myself. If I was doing the painting then there was nothing to offer him, but he invested quite a bit of time and effort into the project. We’d been meeting for months and he helped clarify my vision. I felt bad after investing all that time and effort he got nothing out of it.

The project was once again all mine, could I do what I set out to do? Then when I thought I was finished my daughter told me I needed more paintings. I’m glad I listened to her. I’m blessed she was honest and didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear. “I love it, it’s great,” isn’t as good of feedback as, “You Know what would make it better?”

We aren’t the same person when we complete a project we were when we started. When we started we didn’t know if we could complete it. We didn’t know what it would look like, but if we keep working toward our goal it will become something.

It started out as a story about a dog that ended with a family losing their beloved pet. It ended up being the joyous event of getting a puppy. A series is being born in my mind as the puppy and family have many, many adventures. The goal of publishing a children’s book was a challenge set last year. It has turned out to be one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve ever completed. It brings together my two loves, writing, and art.

We don’t know what we can accomplish until we set out minds to something and work at it until it is finished.

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

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

The strength and clarity of the picture you envision at the start will tell you when you are done. You are finished when you have said what you wish to say, when nothing added can make it better. Richard Schmid

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 picture below and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Collaboration is powerful. Two heads are better than one even when partnerships don’t work out.

Two heads are better than one even when partnerships don't work out. collaboration is powerful.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Teamwork is the secret that makes common people achieve uncommon results. Henry Enoch Onuoha

Going for a walk this weekend required a jacket. The crisp air, blue sky, and the company of my daughter and our dog made it fun. We have a little pond we love to walk around. There are benches if we want to sit and watch the birds. We love walking but don’t make time for it often enough. A walk by myself is enjoyable but with others, it becomes even better.

Yesterday I painted the last painting for my children’s book. As I patted myself on the back and was wrapping things up for the evening  I decided I will paint at least one more to replace the painting that was to end the book. When I finish this one will I look at others and think I should repaint, compose differently, change the colors, or refine the details?

There are some really great blogs on illustrating children’s books and one of the things they are telling me is don’t depict exactly in the pictures what the words say. Use your pictures and your words to tell a bigger story. In small picture books of only 32 or 36 pages, this makes sense. I looked at a picture book of my daughters and in it, the author says a new puppy and the old dog touched noses and that is what the picture depicts, but I think it works. The new puppy is a tiny Dachshund and the dog they already have is a huge Great Dane.

We might not even know what makes our kids or ourselves gravitate to certain books. My youngest sister tells me she tried to get her daughter interested in Pete the Cat books when she was younger. Her daughter wasn’t interested in them even though my sister was.

I’ve taken a few trips to Indigo and some of the children’s books are beautiful. Can books be too beautiful for us to want our children to handle? Well-loved books will end up looking like well-loved toys. To see what books parents are buying and kids are reading I go to Value Village.

Authors are not encouraged to illustrate their own books. Some publishers don’t want books that rhyme. When my daughter gave me advice on my book as someone who reads a lot of books to preschool children she said to include lots of pictures, lots of colors, and make it rhyme. When she looked at what I put together, she said,” Mom, you need more pictures.” I’m also getting feedback from my son’s fiancé a teacher who reads books to her students.

I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things. Mother Teresa

Creating this children’s book has been fun and very intimidating.  I didn’t know where to start until I started trying to tell the young man who was going to illustrate it in Illustrator what I wanted. I could clarify my vision when trying to tell him what to do, but when it was only me I struggled. In the end, our collaboration fell apart, but I owe him a huge debt and without our collaboration and monthly meetings it wouldn’t be where it is today.

I can see the value in a more talented illustrator doing the illustrations. Illustrators aren’t cheap. Of course, no one knows what kind of sales a book will receive so making back that investment is a gamble. I understand with the big publishers the writer and illustrator don’t meet and the writer doesn’t have control of what the illustrations for their book will look like.

This may make for a better book. The illustrator’s concept may be much better than what the author would come up with. I like the idea of collaboration and I’ve seen firsthand how powerful it is. When we put our heads together who knows what we will come up with. It is hard to bounce ideas off of a wall. When another person bounces ideas to us and us to them, clarity emerges, and something small can grow into something bigger.

What is the role of co-creation and collaboration in our daily work?

Collaboration divides the task and multiplies the success. Unknown

Collaboration allows us to know more than we are capable of knowing by ourselves. Paul Solarz

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. Desmond Tutu

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. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

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

Don’t worry and be happy. Making the best of where we are, enjoying the good things in life as they come.

Making the best of where we are, enjoying the good things in life as they come. Don't worry and be happy.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Happiness is a direction, not a place. Sydney J. Harris

Another season is officially here. Whether we had an eventful or uneventful season it is just a memory.  Another season presents itself for us to make the most of, enjoy, make memories, and experience life. I have to make plans to get out and enjoy nature with those I love.

As I bring my current project to a close my husband looks at me, “Then what?”

“I start another one,” I cheerfully reply. I do need to understand my immersion in my projects may seem like I am excluding others. I’ve missed a few lunches to get more painting in. When I set my goals a couple of weeks ago I cut down what I thought I could accomplish because in the midst of writing and art there are other aspects of life to enjoy, relationships to nurture, and experiences to be had.

All work and no play make us dull girls. We have to watch once we have an accomplishment that makes us feel good under our belt, we don’t just chase after that feeling again to the detriment of other parts of our lives.

How much time spent doing our own thing is too much? How much is too little? Sometimes I think I’m a slow learner and maybe this comes from being self-taught through books. I have so many books on art that tell me to paint a series. I’ve always struggled with what a series would be about, now I have a subject, a dog, and his family to paint over and over again, as new adventures arise.

The same goes with “Showing and not telling” in my writing. I received an email from Jerry Jenkins, yes, that Jerry Jenkins, the author of the “Left Behind” series. I signed up for his newsletter and he sends me emails with my name at the top. I know the same email goes to thousands if not hundreds of thousands or even more writers but still my name is at the top and he gives good advice.  He’s offering a course. I don’t have time right now, or is that an excuse. Regardless, I’m passing up the opportunity to take his course because I have to get my own writing out.

Through the internet, we can have mentors we will never meet, who give us advice. We can read books from people long dead. We can read the books of wisdom from every culture and religion. We don’t have time to read everything. The opportunities to create a life we love have never been easier. Relationships with real people have never been harder. It is as easy to get into the negative side of the internet as the positive. The negative side may suck us in as we start to think about the negativity, the wrongs that have been done, the greed, the ignorance, and how badly people have treated other people throughout the world and in our own countries.

Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them. Steve Marboli

I don’t think we should wear the wrongs done by our group or the injustices done to our group as if they are our own. We can’t atone for what was done; we can’t make right what was wrong. We all need to build a life where we are, with what we have, and make the best of it. We need to love those close to us and realize they are not perfect, we are not perfect, but we are here.

We sometimes think life would be so much better when… When we find someone to love, when we have a baby, when we start a business, when we retire, when we win millions… No matter what happens in our life, in about six months that is now our reality we take for granted, and we will be no happier than we were before, the author of “Stumbling on Happiness” tells us.

That’s a sobering thought. If everything we can dream of won’t make us happier than we are now, then don’t we need to be happy where we are and if we get what we want, be happy then as well?

Mom always tells me, “There’s no point worrying.” What will be, will be. Can we live with the realities of life making the best of where we are? Can we live by the motto “Don’t worry and be happy?”

The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. Victor Hugo

Happiness consists more in conveniences of pleasure that occur every day than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom. Benjamin Franklin

A great obstacle to happiness is to expect too much happiness. Bernard de Fontenelle

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. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

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

Deadlines and motivation. Finishing what we started.

Finishing what we started. Deadlines and motivation.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The artist has one function – to affirm and glorify life. W. Edward Brown

How often have we seen revised books with chapters, not in the original? The author thought of something that should have been included. I received the proof of my children’s book. I knew when I ordered it that it wouldn’t be published the way it was, but I wanted to see how the colors would look, the type, the background, etc. Extra pages were added so I have more to work with than I thought I did. Deadlines motivate us. How often have we waited until the last minute but we get done what we need to do? Some things can only be done last minute and sometimes we think we are done when we have only just begun.

It is stamped not for resale. I’ve noticed other authors objecting to this but I love it. I hope to get another author’s proof before final publication, but I am running out of time.

I’m swapping out five paintings and adding two so I am busily painting and composing paintings in my head. The more I’m thinking about it the more ideas are coming. Finishing a project is exciting and nerve-racking. It is tempting to think things can be better than they are. When you actually see something complete it is what it is and you have to accept the quality produced.

Creativity is allowing oneself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Scott Adams

When my daughter told me, “You need more pictures, Mom.” She was totally right and some of the best ones are coming from this last-minute push to get everything done. “You don’t need to rush,” she tells me.

“I have to meet this deadline,” I tell her. No one is taking me out to the bush to shoot me if I don’t, it’s true, but I am committed. Working furiously to complete something is not the same as working furiously and continuing to move the deadline so you don’t actually get the feeling of accomplishment for finishing it.

“But, don’t you want it to be the best it can be?” That’s a tough question to answer because I do want it to be the best it can be. I also know I could always make something better. Instead of making this the best it could possibly be by repainting every picture and rethinking every word, forever. I will put it out and it will be what it will be. I will write another one using what I learned and maybe it will be better. We can rework things so much that even if they are technically better they lose some of the sparks they initially had.

There comes a time when we have to let things go. We’ve kept them to ourselves long enough. This story has been with me since our beloved dog died in 2012 and I wrote a little story about him and put it on my bookshelf where it sat for years. What is being published and what I initially wrote have gone through many iterations. The first one was sad because, in the end, he died. Instead of putting fifteen years into one book, I’m putting snippets of his life into each book.  When I found the “Pete the Cat” series based on a real cat I began to imagine something bigger than I’d originally thought. 

We don’t know where something will go when we start it. It can’t become anything until we finally release it into the world. When that deadline is approaching does it give us motivation and ramp up our productivity?

Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end of the day. Winston Churchill

Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art. Leonardo da Vinci

Creativity belongs to the artist in each of us. To create means to relate. The root meaning of the word art is “to fit together” and we all do this every day. Not all of us are painters but we are all artists. Each time we fit things together we are creating – whether it is to make a loaf of bread, a child, a day. Corita Kent

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. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

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

Faith in ourselves, faith in life. Without faith can we have a vision?

Without faith can we have a vision? Faith in ourselves, faith in life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Have enough courage to start and enough heart to finish. Jessica N.S. Yourko

I found an interesting blog post on The Bob Angle he was asking the question do writers who believe in God write better novels? I’ve never thought about this but I do think faith gives a writer something deeper to delve into as they probe the human psyche for their stories.

How much does faith play a role in our lives? We need to have faith in other people because in the early years of our life we depend on others so much. We have all found at one time or other people have failed us, and we have failed others. It is the human condition to want to do better, be better, and falling short. When we have faith in a higher power that does not let us down, that gives us strength and it seems this will help us even if somehow we find we are mistaken and there is no higher power.

When we feel we get inspiration from something outside ourselves, that we don’t know where it comes from, but it is there, we tap into something greater than ourselves. We don’t question we accept the gift. Many people call this their muse. If we don’t do our part of sitting down and writing the muse doesn’t do their part of showing up. One of the mistakes I’ve heard writers make is waiting for inspiration.

I know for myself that would be a mistake. Showing up is when inspiration happens. Going for a walk in the midst of a creative project an epiphany may happen but would it happen if we weren’t already in the middle of a project? Our brains work continuously but they need to be working on something.

I wonder how many artists or writers knew exactly what they were creating when they started. By starting they put something in motion and if they continue and bring it to completion they have something. All of life is like this. Starting is the first step, we have to get through the hard slogging of middles, and finally, we reach the finish line.

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. Martin Luther King Jr.

Depending on the scope of what we have taken on it may take minutes, days, weeks, months, or years to complete. Some projects will test our determination and perseverance. We are not the same person at the end of a project – especially a long one that we were at the beginning. We learn things along the way. We are not the same person when we give our teenagers the car keys, we were cradling them as newborns. They have grown and developed and so have we.

We don’t think our children are ready to go out into the world and we may not think our writing or any other project of ours is either, but there comes a point when that is the next step. We have to have faith we’ve done our best, done enough, and let it go.

I was a writer that held onto my writing and now I wonder why. We often hold onto things because we are comfortable where we are, what if life changes so much we don’t recognize it. When our children leave home what will home be like without them? Writers mourn the loss of their characters when they put their stories out into the world. They had a close intimate connection with those characters they feel they lose when they call the story finished. It might be why we like a series. We can put a book out and we can keep the relationship going with our characters. If the audience likes our characters they may be waiting for the next book.

What faith in a higher power may give us more than anything else is the belief that we are unconditionally loved. When we feel loved we feel powerful. This gives us the courage to give our best to the world, deal with the setbacks, challenges, and whatever life throws at us.  

Courage comes from a heart that is convinced it is loved. Beth Moore

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Steve Jobs

Once you choose hope, anything is possible. 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. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

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 picture below and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Starting and finishing. Creating habits and moving in the direction of our dreams.

Creating habits and moving in the direction of our dreams. Starting and finishing.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The bookends of success are starting and finishing. Decisions help us start; discipline helps us finish. John C. Maxwell

Have you ever thought you have finished something and found you just started? We get people in our office doing a complete renovation and addition who say, “We were just going to renovate the bathroom.”

Some people start a weight loss and fitness journey that changes everything about their life. Starting something puts us on a path that may not lead where we thought it would. This works in negative and positive ways.

There is truth to the “Bet you can’t eat just one” potato chip line. There are people who start their fitness routine promising to do one push-up per day. When they are already on the floor they often do more than one. When we need an hour and a half for a fitness routine we might wonder when we will fit that in. One push-up, we can do after we brush our teeth before we get dressed. Even if we only do one push-up a day it is still 365 push-ups we wouldn’t have done.

In many areas of our life, we can make small changes and small changes lead to big things. The Fly Lady tells us to clean up our clutter in fifteen minutes. Set the timer and do what you can in fifteen minutes. She has us do it in a different area of the house every day. The idea is to develop a daily habit, that doesn’t take too long, fits into our lives, and makes things better.

Good habits make it so we don’t get up in the morning and wonder what we’ll do first. We automatically reach for the toothbrush. We could also do that push-up or a downward dog before we get ready for the rest of the day. A routine lets us not have to think about what we are doing next.

We don’t want our life so regimented we have no free time and we don’t want so much free time we have no routine. If we want to change our lives in a big or small way it will usually come in the form of a habit we develop or eliminate. Trying to change too much at once for some people might be hard other people might want to make a big change all at once instead of incremental small changes.

In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently. Tony Robbins

We live our life by what we do daily. When we want to change things it may help if we have something that triggers our new action. When I started writing I did it after I put the kids to bed. The “kids” of course grow up so that only worked in the early years. Now I write in the morning.

My leg is bothering me, I don’t know why. “Last night my kids said, “You haven’t been to the gym in a year and a half. Maybe that’s the problem.” It might be too much sitting. I’ve spent even more time sitting as I’ve gotten my children’s book ready for publication, and I have until the end of September to submit the final edition. But, I need to find more time for exercise. I think that is what my leg is telling me.

Having a deadline is helpful. Without a deadline, I aimlessly drift along. With a deadline, I accomplish more than I thought I could. Sometimes we set impossible deadlines because we want to cram more into a year than is possible. If we take a longer view we’ll find Bill Gates is right. We overestimate what we can accomplish in one year and underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years. Is this why we are told to have five-year, ten-year, and even longer goals?

Is there something we want to start? Is there something we need to finish? Are we a new habit away from moving in the direction of our dreams?

Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most. Abraham Lincoln

First, forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you are inspired or not. Octavia Butler

You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of success is found in your daily routine. John C. Maxwell

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. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

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