Getting through the hard times, one day at a time. Dealing with what is.

Dealing with what is. Getting through the hard times, one day at a time.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time. Mina Murray

On Saturday I stopped in at my favorite Indigo store and saw an author sitting at a table with no one visiting him. I talked with Darcy Patrick for a short while and learned he is a runner, author, speaker, and his topics are running and mental health. One of his books is Creative Writing for the Mind, Body & Soul.

He told me that writing helped him through depression and he is hoping to help break the stigma behind depression and mental illness. Writing is one of the keys that helped him, by letting others know what helps he is trying to give the keys to other people.

When we find our voice we find our self. We may find our voice through writing journals that no one but us will read. We may write poems, songs, short stories we never intend to do anything with. Getting our thoughts out of our head is good for our mental health.

Telling our stories to each other may be even more beneficial but if we can at least put them down on paper or a computer we can see what we’ve written with some distance between us and our thoughts.

Making money from our writing may be a laudable goal, but writing for its own sake is important. In fact, once we bring money into the mix we may no longer say what needs to be said. We may no longer write what is important, how could we say “that”? It is the hard things we must write about, not that they need to be shared. We don’t have to write our story, we can put distance between our self and our story by writing fiction. In fiction, we can write “the lie that tells a truth”.

At Toastmasters some people give speeches that are very personal, vulnerable, and powerful. Other people never touch on anything that is personal and we don’t have the same kind of connection to their talk. There is no right way to do this.

The page listens and does not judge. Therefore you can tell it anything without fear. Unknown

Many people find when they are willing to speak the truth about their life; other people are touched because they also felt the same insecurities, made mistakes and had to get back up after a failure.

When we hear or read about how other people got through the hard times in their life we feel we too can get through the hard times in ours. Often we have the misperception that everyone else has better relationships with their spouse, kids, in-laws, friends, and family.

Long marriages aren’t long because it was necessarily easy. They are long because two people got through everything that came their way. Our lives go through seasons and we may look at the spring in someone else’s life when we are going through the winter in ours and think how lucky they are. Our spring is coming too if we hold on, and work through whatever we need to work through.

Writing can help us do that. When we write down our thoughts, dreams, desires, hopes, fears, failures, vulnerabilities, and angst about the world we can find a measure of peace.

Sometimes in life, we have to be willing to say “just for today”. All we can manage is getting through today. If we get through enough today’s we get through the situation we couldn’t see the outcome to. Maybe the worst actually happened. Someone died, a divorce that was threatened became reality, we have to deal with the disease, loss of a livelihood or relationships that are severed. Maybe the worst didn’t happen. Either way, we are on the other side of it.

When we take life a day at a time, we can deal with “what is”. We can write, we can pray, we can meditate, and we can talk. A lot of life is putting one foot in front of the other, and doing the next thing there is to do. Can we be kind to our self and others, and do it with gratitude, joy, and love? Is there is anything else to do but deal with what is?

If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present. Lao Tzu

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Creative Writing for the Mind, Body & Soul Paperback – Dec 21 2017


Laugh and the world laughs with you. Humor is the best medicine.

Humor is the best medicine. Laugh and the world laughs with you.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand. Mark Twain

Laughter is the best medicine. Laughter is good for our health. There are times in our life when if we don’t laugh we’ll cry. Both laughter and crying are outlets for our emotions but most people don’t know what to do when they see us crying.

When we laugh a good hearty laugh our body is physically relieved of tension and stress for up to forty-five minutes.

Laughter boosts the immune system. Stress hormones are decreased and immune cells infection-fighting antibodies are increased, increasing our resistance to disease.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, our natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote a sense of well being and can temporarily relieve pain.

Laughter protects our heart by improving the blood flow and is thought to protect us from heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.

Laughter burns calories and laughing for 10 to 15 minutes per day can burn 40 calories which over the course of a year or a lifetime might be significant.

Laughter lightens angers heavy load. A shared laugh diffuses anger and conflict. When we can look on the funny side problems can be put into perspective and we can move on without holding onto bitterness and resentment.

Laughter may help us live longer. A study in Norway found people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who rarely laughed. This was especially noticeable in cancer patients.

Laughter is more than a respite from sadness and pain; it gives us courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Laughter is contagious and just hearing someone else laugh primes our brain and readies us to smile and join in the fun.

Is there a better way to bring people together than sharing humorous stories? When we take the time to engage with other people there is usually lots of laughter. We feel recharged after an evening spent in the company of people laughing and having fun. We feel closer to people when we laugh together. Laughter allows us to look at the funny side of life, not just the heavy, tragic side.

Always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine. Lord Byron

A Georgia State University study found incorporating bouts of simulated laughter into an exercise program helped improve older adult’s mental health and aerobic endurance. Hearing others laugh even for no apparent reason can trigger genuine laughter.

We can bring laughter into our life by watching funny movies, TV shows, YouTube, Facebook is a good place to get a chuckle or two.

We can invite friends, relatives, or co-workers to a comedy club. We can host a game night with friends. We can collect jokes so we always have a funny joke or story to share.

Our pets are often funny and playing with them can make us laugh and put a smile on our face. Children make us laugh. Listening to the children walk to school or play in the schoolyard always makes me smile.

We need to learn to laugh at ourselves instead of taking ourselves too seriously. When we can laugh at situations instead of bemoaning them we can see the irony and absurdity in life. We can try and take negative situations and see the humor in them.

Some people may think, how can we laugh with all that is going on in the world? Is the world helped if we walk around with drooped shoulders and sullen depressed looks? Or is the world helped when we see the humor and irony of situations and do our best to fix what is going on in our circle of influence? As we work within our circle of influence it may widen until we have more to offer to the wider world.

Humor can’t fix the things that are broken. Humor can’t make wrong things right. What humor may do is give us hope, strength, and perseverance to carry on when we’d rather give up, keep going when things look bleak.

Wouldn’t we all rather be around someone with a sense of humor? If we can find the humor in life we will have a better life than if we feel mired in what is hard, wrong, unjust, and must be changed.

Grim care, moroseness, and anxiety – all this rust of life ought to be scoured off by the oil of mirth. Mirth is God’s medicine. Henry Ward Beecher

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Eating together. When we eat together we nourish our bodies and our souls.

When we eat together we nourish our bodies and our souls.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations. Oscar Wilde

When family gets together and the laughs just keep coming we feel filled up with joy. A family dinner last night was one of those. When we can come together and feel the warmth and togetherness it is worth the bother of two days of preparation.

Getting together to share a meal is one of our most ancient traditions. Through food, we share ourselves, time and attention. Family stories are shared, memories are created, we relax in the warmth at the table and it is believed the family that eats together stays together.

Anytime families get together it usually involves food. It may be a family picnic in a park taking up several picnic tables and barbeques. It may be more formal in a restaurant, or in a home.

It doesn’t matter what is served, it doesn’t matter how large the family is. What matters is that someone bothers to bring the family together and they reconnect and bond.

Usually, someone is responsible for hosting, inviting, and setting things up. It may be a position they jealously hold, everyone feels they would be hurt if anyone else tried to host. The problem with relying on one person like Grandma, Mom, or Aunty is what happens when something happens to Grandma, Mom or Aunty?

Family dinners may be the glue that holds us together. As young families, we talk with our children about their day. It may be the only time we have together, where all we concentrate on is food and each other.

If we don’t create these times when we talk and laugh we may miss the closeness that develops through family dinners. Do we have anything that can take the place of the family dinner for bonding and closeness?

All great change begins at the dinner table. Ronald Reagan

A study from a team of South Korean researchers suggests that frequently eating meals alone may lead to poorer food choices and eating habits. The study found men who eat alone more than twice a week have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

When children eat with their families it is not only about preventing bad outcomes – it is also about developing good ones. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development looked at data from nearly three-quarters of the world’s countries. Among its findings were children who shared a main meal with their families were less likely to skip school. Family dinners are strongly linked to children less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. Teens that have frequent family dinners are more likely to say their parents know a lot about what is going on in their lives. When teens feel closer to their parents they are less likely to use drugs or alcohol.

A study from the University of Montreal found that children that eat with their families experience long-term physical and mental health benefits. These children were in better physical shape, drank fewer sugary drinks, had better social skills, and were less aggressive. Family meals may also help children with social interaction, discussion of social issues and better communications skills as they learn to discuss day-to-day concerns.

Staying connected is one of the big challenges of our time. It is easy to lose connection with our loved ones if we don’t make time to talk. Eating together is the easiest time to talk and laugh. It is worth it to try to eat more meals together. Getting together for celebrations with our extended family is a way to keep our bonds tight. We all have to eat, eating together may be one of the easiest things we can do to create connection, impart values, and bond.

I applaud everyone that has family dinners. Your family is probably reaping the rewards. If our families could do with more closeness, maybe we can fit in a family dinner here and there. If life is what we make it, making dinner and eating together may be the best thing we can do for our family. We all have to eat, why not eat together more often? Could it be the change to make the world better?

Taking time for each other is the key for harmony in the home and in marriage. Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Dinners are defined at the ultimate act of communion; men that can have communion in nothing else can sympathetically eat together, can still rise into some glow of brotherhood over food and wind. Thomas Carlyle

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Growth is our purpose, pleasure, our everything. Where there is growth there is life.

Where there is growth there is life. Growth is our purpose., pleasure, our everything.

Painting by Marion Wilson Kinnunen

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing. William Butler Yeats

In One Door Two Locks author Dr. Jim Muncy gives us the 7 keys to success.

Discernment: Judge the seed by the harvest.

Optimism: Be realistic, see what you can be.

Responsibility: Think results, not reasons.

Initiative: Favor action over endless contemplation.

Perseverance: Be persistent but not stubborn.

Purpose: Be unique, but not average.

Sacrifice: See wealth, not riches.

As a University professor teaching sales techniques he began to realize he wasn’t teaching the students how to succeed, and he couldn’t put his finger on what it was his students needed to be successful that they weren’t getting from school or anywhere else in life.

What he realized is the secret to success is not hidden or maybe it is hidden, but it is hidden in plain sight.

King Solomon said, “Wisdom calls aloud from the streets. She raises her voice in the public square. At the head of the noisy street, she cries out in the gateway to the city, she makes her speech. Doest not Wisdom call out? Doest not Understanding raise her voice? On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand. Beside the gates leading into the city at the entrance, she cries aloud.”

Dr. Muncy decided he would teach a class on success but he didn’t know what to teach. He set up his class on success and told his students to find a book on success and read it. The only requirement was they had to read a book that would improve their life in some way. In class, they discussed what the students were learning through the books they chose.

Many of his students told him this was the best class they had ever taken. What he and the students explored and learned together changed his and their lives.

His students varied in age, accomplishments, sex, where they came from but despite the diversity in the students and the diversity in the books they chose to read, a few key concepts always emerged. These key concepts aren’t difficult to understand, or hard to discover or even hard to implement, but putting them to use changed these students lives.

We all have access to the books and it is up to us what we use, and what we ignore.

Growth and comfort do not coexist. Ginni Rometty

Getting everything we desire is not the road to happiness. Michelangelo perhaps the greatest artist in the world prayed, “Lord grant that I may always desire more than I can achieve.”

Dr. Muncy says there is only one way to enjoy life – to have a willing desire. There are two ways to be miserable one is to not desire anything. When we don’t desire anything we don’t sit around completely satisfied, we are bored and useless. The other way to be miserable is to have a desire but to be unwilling to do what it takes to reach that desire. Unwilling to take the steps needed to reach our desires creates frustration.

Happy is the person that dreams and is willing to pay the price to make them happen. We must be willing to work, risk, delay gratification, endure pain, and be willing to grow. According to Dr. Muncy growth isn’t a key to success, it’s the door.

The one thing we must be willing to do to achieve success in our lives, make our dreams come true, and reach our goals is growth. The real pain in desire is not that we want something but don’t have it. The real pain is that we want something but are unwilling to change to get it. If we can have everything we want with who we are we don’t want enough. As we grow we change into the person we must become to achieve whatever it is we desire. We will grow in knowledge. We will grow in wisdom. We will grow in understanding.

What happens when we grow? When we grow our life improves, our relationships improve, we find our passion and purpose, we make a difference. Too many of us feel “Success” is all about money. Money is important only as much as it is useful.

A rich character in a novel whose title I can’t remember says, “Money is a byproduct not a product in itself.” He likened it to the peel left over from his wife canning fruit. When he died he didn’t leave his wife any of the riches he’d accumulated, he left her an old house and a life to build. If he left her his wealth, would she have grown into the person that builds her own life?

We are all somewhere on our life path. Growth is always ahead for us. We are like the buds in Spring waiting to burst forth in leaf or flower. What growth is our life calling for? What change needs to be made? Is growth our purpose?

Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead. Morihei Ueshiba

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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One Door, Two Locks: The 7 Keys to Unlocking the Door to Success in All Areas of Your Life Paperback – 2009

5 out of 5 stars   3 reviews from Amazon.com |

Time is the secret to a long marriage. We win when we don’t give up on life, love, relationships, goals, dreams, each other.

We win when we don't give up on life, love, relationships, goals, dreams, each other. Time is the secret to a long marriage.

A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other. Unknown

Is you being you really narcissistic? In the fable of the frog and the scorpion, the scorpion asks the frog for a ride across a river. The frog hesitates and says, “But you’ll sting me.” The scorpion says, “No I won’t because then we’ll both die.” The frog agrees and in the middle of the river, the scorpion stings the frog.

We need to recognize the frogs and the scorpions in our life. It doesn’t make sense to volunteer to be stung. It doesn’t make sense to be so careful not to be stung that we eliminate people from our lives. We need to find a balance in our lives and relationships. If we think we will always feel loving, never feel jealous, never feel insecure we are fooling our self. We have to deal with what life hands us, but we don’t have to make friends with the scorpions. Chances are we didn’t marry a scorpion. As I write this I have to see the humor in the fact I am a Scorpio.

We need to be ourselves and we need to let others be themselves. Some of us are so fearful of the scorpion stinging us we don’t take chances with people we should take chances with. People who have proven they are worth the chance.

Forgiveness is important in our relationships, but if we constantly pick people we will need to forgive there might be more going on, do we need to be a victim? If we never give people a second chance because we can’t forgive anything isn’t that also a problem?

We need to find the balance somewhere between victim and martyr. One of the things we may learn is there are worse things than feeling jealous, insecure, and unloved. It is worse when we are so numb, and withdrawn from our lives we don’t feel anything at all. When we see an attractive woman eye our husband and we feel a little, whoa, what’s that? We are normal. If we just shrug it off too easily or carelessly we may be in withdrawal. If we get too jealous we need to ask ourselves why? Why are we thinking our partner would be interested in someone else? We know why other women are interested in our partner, he’s a great guy.

A great marriage doesn’t happen because of the love you had in the beginning but how well you continue building love until the end. Unknown

We may feel our partner should never make us feel jealous. Is our partner making us feel jealous or are we going through things in our lives where jealousy rears its head? We may be feeling everyone is younger, prettier, more fun, more everything and why wouldn’t our partner dump us for them? We can’t blame our partner for our thoughts, inadequacies, feelings of inferiority, and feeling sorry for our self.

We all need to appreciate the people in our lives, especially our spouse who we spend our time with, make our plans with, dream our dreams with, and share the parts of our self we share with no one else. If we would rather fight with and for our partner than be without them that’s a good thing. Feeling “Oh well, whatever,” is surely worse.

We may be uncomfortable with our feelings, but not having those feelings is worse. Feelings make us feel alive even our uncomfortable ones. Sometimes we stuff down our uncomfortable feelings with food, alcohol, drugs, gambling, and any of the isms.

If we aren’t afraid to feel even our uncomfortable feelings we will live a fuller life. People can and will hurt us, but we can’t be afraid to love, make friends, take chances and build relationships. Life is not about being safe; people who play it safe and didn’t take a chance on love are not the happy people.

We can’t be guaranteed a happy ending, we can’t be guaranteed we will never feel betrayed, or hurt. If we are willing to deal with what is, the messy situations, what needs to be rebuilt in our lives, what needs to be overcome, what needs to be endured, we are living our lives. We will get to the end of our lives, and if we have been brave and looked everything in the face and dealt with it, however painful we will feel better about our lives. If we give up, run away, don’t take the chances life presents we will feel we didn’t really live.

Can we live through all life has to offer? Can we accept the challenges as they come? Don’t we have to get through the difficult winter to get to sun-kissed spring? If we don’t give up on our self, others, our dreams, goals, life, we will get through the hard parts. If we can realize life isn’t easy for anyone, we all make mistakes, we hurt others without thinking, life is what we make it, and what we might regret the most is giving up too soon.  We will look back on our life, the hard times, the loving times, the sad times, the bleak times, the building times, the whole of it and be glad we had tenacity and perseverance.

So that thing you were so excited about turned out to be harder than you dreamed. Things that matter always are. Endure, harvest will come. Beth Moore

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Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell | Dec 23 2003
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Wealth and scarcity. Having more isn’t always the answer. What we do with what we have is.

Having more isn't always the answer. What we do with what we have is. Wealth and scarcity.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship. Buddha

What does it take to consider ourselves wealthy? Is wealth just money? According to Dr. Jim Muncy author of One Door Two Locks, wealth is having what we need to fulfill our purpose in life.

If we go with this definition then adding things to our lives that don’t help us achieve our purpose is not necessarily a step in the right direction. Everything we add takes a chunk out of our life. When we go to the gym that’s a chunk of time we can’t spend somewhere else. Belonging to community groups, taking roles in the Church, starting a side hustle, hobbies, time spent with family, friends, watching TV, going to sports events everything takes time away from something else. Owning a larger home, a second and third property, these take chunks of time to maintain.

I’ve watched parents spend so much time coaching a sport after their child no longer plays it that their child appeared deprived of the time they needed with their parent. The parent was so busy being the volunteer of the year they didn’t see how much their child needed them.

It is easy to be so busy helping others we deprive our families of what should be theirs. The other day a pastor was talking about how his marriage was falling apart because he was looking after the Church flock but his wife felt neglected and last on his list. The members of the Church always needed him, and he was always there. When his wife needed him he wasn’t. Even when he set aside time for his wife the members of the Church would need a ride somewhere and they were going that way so the date or weekend they planned had a parishioner in it. The Pastor’s wife never complained because she was a Pastor’s wife. His wife signed up for a shared ministry but she was on the sidelines.

Jim Muncy says wealth comes from having what we need and not being distracted by what we don’t need. Poverty comes in two forms. There is a poverty of scarcity, which happens when we don’t have what we need. There is also a poverty of bondage when we are tied to things we don’t need.

True wealth is not of the pocket, but of the heart and of the mind. Kevin Gates

There is a book I picked up in Indigo one day and I can’t remember the title. The author was talking about abundance and scarcity in relation to hornets and honey bees. When you look at the hornets’ nest they have an abundance of materials to make their nest out of so they are not elegant. The premise of the book is how we live more elegant lives with less, and cluttered wasteful lives with more.

We live in a wasteful society because we have an abundance. When we didn’t have abundance people did more with less. If we watch documentaries of the Victorian Age everything was used. Even bones were sold after they had been used in every way within the household.

There’s a blog called The Zero-Waste Chef she asks how can colonizing another planet that cannot support life be easier than mitigating a crisis on a planet that can and does support life?

It is an abundance that is causing most of our modern problems. It is abundance creating the plastic garbage disaster in our oceans. It is the abundance of food around our waistlines causing most of our health problems. Our healthcare costs are skyrocketing because we are killing ourselves with our knife and fork.

What would it take to consider ourselves truly wealthy?

Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. . . . Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. ” — Robert F. Kennedy

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One Door, Two Locks: The 7 Keys to Unlocking the Door to Success in All Areas of Your Life Paperback – 2009

5 out of 5 stars   3 reviews from Amazon.com |

Setting goals, changing plans. Perseverance and stubbornness.

Perseverance and stubbornness. Setting goals, changing plans.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Obstacles are put in your way to see if what you want is really worth fighting for. Unknown

We are all saddened in our household by the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. The closest we will get to see it is visiting sites showing pictures or visiting my son’s girlfriend’s sister and fiancé who got engaged in France this past New Year’s and see their pictures of Notre Dame Cathedral. As my daughter said this morning, “we all think the things we want to see will always be there.” In time the fire of 2019 will just be another part of Notre Dame’s history and the rebuild will be marveled at by those who visit it.

It’s a call to not put off till tomorrow what we can do today. Circumstances in our lives and the world can change in an instant. My oldest sister had an opportunity to visit the Holy Land a few years ago. The unrest made her and her sister in law cancel their trip.

I printed out a bucket list for couples last night from the blog Our Peaceful Family. If we don’t know where we are going how are we going to get there? As someone who doesn’t think I’ve planned enough, or set enough goals I applaud those who do. It is understood life happens while we are making plans. Our goals however we can keep even as our plans to achieve that goal are revised.

Seeing Paris has always been on my list. There was a plan once but that fell through. Another plan is in the works. This is one goal that may take almost a lifetime to achieve. It may be all the sweeter because going to Europe has been a goal of mine since High School.

You can’t just have faith and persistence, because if you don’t have adaptability, sometimes you’ll have faith and persistence turning into stubbornness where you’re envisioning and persisting in something that’s out of date. Tai Lopez

We need to hold onto our goals but our plans will change as life interferes with our plans. Perseverance is when we write our goals in concrete and our plans in sand. Stubbornness is when we write our plans in concrete and our goal in sand. If we just do the same thing over and over again without getting anywhere that isn’t persistence that is stubbornness. Persistence is when we have a goal we are working toward but the plans we made to get there aren’t giving us the desired outcome, so we change our plans.

It is persistence that gives us great rewards in life. We need persistence in relationships, marriages, getting through the ups and downs of life. Sometimes we need to change direction to reach our goals. Being stubborn and sticking with what isn’t working will not get us to our goal. This is where we need discernment to know if we are giving up on something we shouldn’t, or changing course is exactly what we need. Knowing when we are at this crossroad may be the biggest challenge of our life.

There are people who have persevered when everyone thought they should change course and reached their goal. Other people changed course and reached their goal. We need to be strong enough to accept the consequences of whatever choices we make.

Yesterday a discussion on the radio was of people who owned stock that reached heights they didn’t think it would. People were recounting how they sold that stock long before it reached its high. There are stories on the other side too, people hold onto stocks too long.

We make decisions in our life, and we have to be okay with our decisions. We have to figure out when we are persevering and when we are being stubborn. Do we turn right or left? Sometimes the cost of change is great, other times the cost is small. There is always a cost we must be willing to pay. It doesn’t matter what the opportunity is, there is an opportunity cost.

We regret what we don’t do more than what we do. Can we be bold, courageous and move toward our goals. Do we know what our goals are? Are we persevering, or being stubborn?

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other. Walter Elliot

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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We cannot reap what we did not plant. Our happiness doesn’t grow in someone else’s garden

Our happiness doesn't grow in someone else's garden. We cannot reap what we do not plant.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. Winston Churchill

Spring is here and yesterday was a cold wet day. We need the rain to see the lush beauty of spring that is just starting to pop up out of the ground. On my walk the other day I was looking for spring flowers but I didn’t see one hardy blossom.  A little south of here near the lake flowers are springing up.

All winter the yards look the same, but in the spring we see who bothered to plant bulbs last year or sometimes twenty years ago. Last fall the bulbs didn’t get planted and so this spring they will not bloom. They sit where they have sat all winter in my garage. Our lives are sometimes like our winter gardens, there are things going on but no one can see it yet. Later in our lives, we see if something was planted or if we were fooling our self and others.

We may beat ourselves up as thistles grow bigger than what we planted. We need to weed our gardens, we need to edit our life, we need to water and fertilize. Plants like people have companions they prefer. If we learn what plants do well together we will have a better garden than if we think it doesn’t matter.

Gardens are a great metaphor for life. We get what we grow, and we reap what we sow. If we don’t watch it the weeds will take over, if we don’t tend it we won’t get much to harvest and if we didn’t bother we won’t have anything at all. We can plant crops that we can harvest this fall or we can plant crops that will take years to come to fruition but once they do they give us a crop every year for years to come.

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shalt never sit in. Greek proverb

We get to choose the type of garden we grow and the life we build. Every garden is different because the microclimate, the soil, the light, the moisture and the plants that thrive will be different. Some year’s one kind of crop may thrive more than another. In life it is the same, some talents, interests, and skills are more appreciated. If we chose the right avenue of study or business we can look like stars.

If we are growing our crop commercially we must decide in the spring what we will plant. We might not know until fall what the most profitable crop will be. Once we’ve bought the seed and planted the crop we are dependent on nature and the economy whether this was a good crop to grow or not. We may get a poor crop but the prices are high, we may get a bumper crop but the prices are low. We may get wiped out by hail, drought, or pestilence.

We need to deal with life as it comes, when we look at our lives we can see if we sowed the seeds of harmony or discord. Did we keep the weeds at bay or were some of our best plants (ideas) choked out. Did we water and fertilize or did we depend on nature? Did we plant something well suited to our soil and climate or are we trying to grow something unlikely to thrive?

What we get out of life we get from what we do, and everything we do comes from what we think. When we think better, we do better. Life is a garden our thoughts are the seeds, we can plant flowers or we can plant weeds. Unknown

We can be very hurt if someone tells us our life is a mess because of our thoughts and actions. But, you don’t know what we’ve been through, the disadvantages, the hardships, the unfairness, the injustice we say. It is true life isn’t fair, it isn’t fair when someone wins the lottery, or someone is in an accident why did one get something good, and one get something bad? The only thing we get to do is deal with the reality of our life, make the best of it. We admire the people who make the best of their life.

Often we would never want to be the people who make the best of things. Who would want to be Helen Keller? She didn’t look at what she couldn’t do because of what she didn’t have. She made the best of her life. We admire her for it. We use her quotes often. I have never heard anyone say they wish they were like Helen Keller.

We more often want to be like the people who made a mess of the gifts they had. They had a voice like an angel but ruined their life with drugs. We think we would love to be blessed with that voice. It isn’t what we get; it’s what we do with it. We always think we would do better with more, we never think we would do better with less. Yet the people we really admire in life often did better with less. What do we need to change in our garden of life?

Action is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits. James Allen

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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Find answers through walking. Ask questions as we walk.

Ask questions as we walk. Find answers through walking.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. Henry David Thoreau

Sometimes when nothing is going right in our life the best thing to do is go for a walk. Pierre Trudeau went for his famous walk in the snow. Walking is recommended for artists to work out their problems with their writing and art while they walk. I have found when walking, answers will come to me about art, writing, life, relationships, directions to take in life.

I’m working on a painting and nothing about it was doing what I wanted. Yesterday my dog and I went for a walk and I thought about the blues I was using and two of my blues Cobalt and Ultramarine are dried up. The thought came to me I should go to the art store and replace my dried up paints that adding those blues to my painting might be part of the answer.

One has to be disciplined in an art store, the array of colors is dizzying, and there are always colors that call out to me and I pick up but then put back on the shelf.

When I spent time in my studio last night I struggled less with the painting and I attribute that to my walk. Using the new blues created more harmony. It’s starting to come together.

Walking gives us room to think, making time to think can be the most productive part of our day. I can’t seem to manage meditation, but walking meditation is a thing. People will teach us how to do guided mindful walking. For now, I just want to walk more, enjoying the scenery, my dog, the rhythm of footsteps, the thoughts that float in and out of my mind.

The healthiest people on the planet walk. We think we should join a gym if we want to be healthier. We should walk. Walking is a proven method to stave of cognitive decline. This might be why my Mom is doing so well. At 94 she goes for a walk almost every day. Dad in his later years didn’t walk much. Mom says even in his early life he wasn’t a great walker. He got old a lot quicker than Mom. They were only a year apart in age but he aged more quickly and declined more rapidly.

When you hear the word “disabled,” people immediately think about people who can’t walk or talk or do everything that people take for granted. Now, I take nothing for granted.  But I find the real disability is people who can’t find joy in life and are bitter. Teri Garr

Friends from Toastmasters climbed the CN Tower yesterday. I applaud them but hesitate to even think of joining them on this endeavor. Running and climbing stairs has in the past caused knee pain. Knees are so important I protect mine by not abusing them. Even at the gym, I don’t buy into the “no pain, no gain” ideology. Sometimes pain is telling us something and I listen. I’ve ignored the pain in the past and then dealt with the healing I wouldn’t have needed to deal with if I’d listened to my body in the first place.

It may be if I ran properly it wouldn’t bother my knees. There may be a proper way to take the stairs as well. All I know is if I run when my knee starts to hurt, I walk.

Yesterday we were talking about “runners high”. My husband says he’s experienced “runners high”. I’ve only ever experienced being grateful and happy I’ve quit running. I’ve watched people run with grace and ease I can only envy. I don’t think its something one develops, that seems like a gift one is born with, like being musical, having a great voice, or talents in any area.

Talent, of course, is not all it takes. The most famous singers don’t necessarily have the best voices. Sometimes their gift was promotion and picking great songs. I’ve heard the best writers aren’t usually great oral storytellers. Some people can have you laughing till you cry recounting their trip to the grocery store.

Whatever we do, whatever we want to accomplish, whatever we dream, taking a walk often will help us do it, accomplish it, dream it. If we don’t know what to do, maybe we should go for a walk. Answers may come, or at least we’ll have gotten some exercise, and fresh air.

The landscape painter must walk in the fields with a humble mind. No arrogant man was ever permitted to see Nature in all her beauty. John Constable

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, peace, and love.

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Beneath My Feet: Writers on Walking Hardcover – Apr 2 2019


Forgiveness sets us free. We can have peace, or we can be bitter.

We can have peace or we can be bitter. Forgiveness sets us free.

Forgiveness – painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Mahatma Gandhi

This is our life we have to make the most of it. At funerals and visitations, the point is brought home more fully. At some point, it’s all over. Whatever we didn’t do, fix, make amends to, make right, forgive, build, learn, achieve, see, or experience, the opportunity is gone.

The splits in families are evident if you are watching from the sidelines as I was. The woman who died is who I knew. She was one of the funniest, fun loving, full of life people I’ve met. She had a hard life with two marriages ending in divorce, raising six sons and losing one to cancer in his twenties.

At the funeral home, I was watching interactions between the attendees. A small group chatting and laughing was approached by a woman and immediately one of the members left. The one that left was I believe the deceased’s sister. At least there wasn’t a scene but differences can’t be put aside even in death?

It makes one wonder about one’s own family and how things will be handled? It is my belief that when we don’t handle things while someone was alive we have more to regret after their death.

When we got home we watched “The Shack” on Netflix. This was a book pick for the book club years ago. I didn’t realize it was made into a movie. If anyone is looking for a movie or book whose central theme is forgiveness this is the book or movie for you.

Holding a grudge doesn’t make you strong; it makes you bitter. Forgiving doesn’t make you weak; it sets you free. Dave Willis

The author’s wife encouraged him to write a book for his children, and that is who the original audience was intended to be. It was self-published and through word of mouth became a best seller on the New York Times bestseller list.

There is a part in the book where the protagonist Mackenzie meets Wisdom. Wisdom tells Mackenzie he is here for judgment. He asks, “What am I being judged for.” He is told he is not being judged, he is to be the judge. “Which of his two children does he send to heaven and which to hell?”

“I can’t choose”, he says.

“You must,” Wisdom says.

“Take me,” he finally says.

God has told Mackenzie earlier that she has seen what each person went through before they did whatever they did. She says that she does not condone what is done, but wherever there is evil the results will be felt. We all have free will and our choices lead us where they do. Forgiveness is what severs the chains that bind us to the hurt, betrayal, and loss that ruin the good that is left in our lives when something horrible happens.

We don’t choose what happens in our lives, we do choose how we react to what happens. Forgiveness can help us move forward better, instead of bitter.

Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace. Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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

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