Celebrating our families, generation to generation. Our families are with us to the end and are our legacy.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Families are like branches on a tree. We grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one. Anonymous

Yesterday we celebrated my mother-in-law’s birthday in a restaurant. As a family, we haven’t been out to a restaurant in a long time. We debated which restaurant to go to but my mother-in-law made the final choice. There were nine of us and our four-month-old grandson. We worried about taking him to the restaurant. But, he was wonderful and our server oohed and aahed over him to the delight of his mother and the rest of us. He’s a beautiful baby but he’s ours and we are just a little biased. Another cute baby showed up at the restaurant with his parents. We had to know how old he was and were told he was six months old. He was also very good while his parents ate their dinner.

It is lovely when we can get together and celebrate milestones. We never know when it might be our last chance to celebrate with someone. We need to take advantage of these special moments in our lives while we can. It’s been a lovely year of celebrating for us. We have one more wedding to attend this fall, our friend’s daughter is getting married.

The circle of life continues and watching our younger generation take their place, getting married, and having babies, lets us know that we as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and society in general have done okay. We have challenges before us, every generation has its challenges, the generations before us will have their challenges but we hope they will meet those challenges and life will continue to improve for most of us.

My mother is not one who longed for the good old days. She and Dad grew up in tough times, the thirties, and then their generation went to war. I look back on the life I’ve been privileged to live. It has been a life of peace and plenty, full of opportunities, but often those opportunities weren’t recognized as opportunities when they presented themselves.

Even though we’ve lived through peace and plenty it doesn’t mean it has been an easy road. What does an easy road look like, and is an easy road what we really want? It seems to me what we’ve thought of as success has been just over the next hill, we’ve never quite attained what we would call success, and I am beginning to think that makes a great life.

The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories. Unknown

Working toward something more than actually attaining it may be where the real joy in life lies. How would I feel if I’ve written the best blog post I could ever write, written the best book, painted the best picture, or given the best speech? Mom and I were talking the other day and counting in our heads the number of her grandchildren, great and great, great-grandchildren. We came up with forty-seven.

Mom was visited by her great-granddaughter and her husband, son, and daughter. They had a lovely visit and the kids are old enough to remember visiting their great, great grandmother. Many of us don’t remember our grandmothers let alone great, and great, great grandmothers.

I saw a post on Facebook saying we are burying the people who kept families together. This has always been the case and the torch has been thrown to the next generation to keep the family together. We need to take up our responsibilities to keep our families together so that our children and grandchildren will continue this tradition. Many of our families are smaller now, but a couple of generations fill a restaurant, house, or backyard for a celebration. It doesn’t matter where we choose to do our celebration, only that we do.

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Leo Tolstoy

It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings. Ann Landers

Family and friends are hidden treasures, seek them and enjoy their riches. Wanda Hope Carter

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, and 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 that leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Counting our blessings. We can be our own life coaches. Our attitude colors our life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Our attitude towards life determines life’s attitude towards us. John Mitchell

This past weekend I moved my art studio from the basement to my son’s old room on the second floor. Moving is a big job even if it is only one room. In my small little room in the basement, I had two drafting tables, numerous bookshelves, and an L-shaped work surface. Now I have a U-shaped work surface, one more bookshelf and I’ll only bring up one drafting table, but it is a monstrosity.

I was thrilled to get this drafting table that moves to different angles easily but now I am painting 12 x 12 paintings for my children’s books and find it easier to do the painting on a flat surface. Do you really need the drafting table my husband asks? He knows it’s his back being put to work to move it. I need it if I paint on larger canvasses. So even if it sits without being used most of the time it will be making its way up the stairs to the new airy, windowed studio.

My husband sits at my new desk looking out the windows. “This should suit you perfectly you can keep an eye on everything.” Is he implying I am nosy? Having windows to look out of, a big comfy chair with one of the quilts Mom made me covering it, and room for a few more books makes me think I am about as happy with my studio as I could be. It isn’t a cool room in summer or a warm room in winter so there is that to deal with but I now have room for my grandson to visit me while I work.

We sat together and read books yesterday. He’s four months today and what a joy it is to be a grandma. Babies are a lot of work but being around him when he smiles, chatters like he’s talking to you, and shows with his whole body he’s happy to see you are truly wonderful. What a blessing to be a grandma and it is a blessing to have a grandma. He has two grandmas, two great grandmas, and two grandpas. On Sunday we will take one great grandma out for her 83rd birthday, and in September we are planning a trip to see his other great grandma (my mom) who will turn 98 this year. I just saw a picture of Mom with two of her great, great grandchildren that visited her this summer. Five generations are alive and healthy, we are truly blessed.

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde

Our attitude colors our lives, and we may not realize that we have more control of our attitude than we think. I watched a Ted Talk the other night while putting my new studio together. This young man is now a history teacher and found out his favorite teacher was retiring. He went to see him and the teacher recognized him instantly, gave him a big hug, and then said, “I’m surprised to see you still alive. You were the angriest grade six student I taught.”

This surprised the young man who acknowledged he’d been really angry, he never told us what was going on in his life then, but he said his father was listening to motivational tapes. His father was choosing his attitude, and this young man came around to believe that he could do that too. At the time he wished his father would turn off those tapes, but now he understands it was his father’s way of choosing a better attitude. He tells us we can be our own life coach; we can choose to be grateful which he says has turned his life around.

Yesterday I saw a young woman with tattoos on her face. I wondered what was going on in her life that made her choose to mark her face permanently. Life is hard, and it is much harder for some than others. But, perhaps we all have the choice to choose our attitude. Part of Mom’s health and longevity I attribute to her attitude. Years ago when I phoned Mom her opening line to whoever was on the phone was, “What can you tell me that is good.”

The star quilt she made now covers the big comfy chair and brings Mom into my studio. I’m sure she was well into her nineties when she made it. When you have the attitude that you will live till you die, be grateful for what you have, and look on the bright side you have a better life even when the times you lived through were hard as parts of Mom’s life were. She lived through the thirties, the war years, widowhood with two children and a brand new baby, some of us think we are going through tough times but most of us don’t know what really tough times are, and if we are lucky we never will.

Are we counting our blessings, and naming them one by one?

A positive attitude may not solve all our problems but that is the only option we have if we want to get out of problems. Subodh Gupta

A strong positive attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug. Patricia Neal

When the negative thoughts come – and they will; they come to all of us – it’s not enough to just not dwell on it… You’ve got to replace it with a positive thought. Joel Osteen

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

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

Facing criticism. If you use it to build a better life it may look like the person that gave that criticism was wrong.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of our big fears in life is fear of criticism. One of the strengths of Toastmasters is we face criticism and we learn to give it. When we give our speeches we are evaluated by another Toastmaster and they give us what we did well and what we can and should improve upon. We generally use the sandwich method where we comment on something the speaker did well, then sandwich in something they can improve upon, and finish with what we liked the best about their speech and that we look forward to their next speech.

Tonight I am the general evaluator which means I introduce each of the evaluators and at the end of the meeting I give an evaluation of the total meeting. Becoming good at receiving evaluations and a good evaluator, (critic) is one of the best skills we learn in Toastmasters and one that may help us in life even more than public speaking. We need to give and receive feedback throughout our lives.

Someone’s evaluation might not sit well with us, but we are evaluated in our work and in our lives, and the better we can take criticism helpful or otherwise the better for us. If we can take someone’s critique into consideration without letting it destroy us and think long and hard about what we want to improve in our daily lives, work lives, family lives, and public speaking lives we can make choices that give us better outcomes.

Some people were told by teachers they didn’t look like they were on a path that would amount to much. They took that critique and turned it around so everyone wonders how could your teacher have said that to you. But, it might have looked true at the time. That criticism at a critical point in their lives made them look at where they were headed, and when they realized that isn’t what they wanted, they changed their focus. That teacher may have been the only one that saw their potential being wasted and brought it to their attention.

Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time, and energy needed to develop yourself. Denis Waitley

I’m sure we’ve all been in situations where we wondered if we should say something. It is our job as parents to give our children feedback but we need to give them more positive feedback than negative. Motivating someone else and sometimes motivating ourselves is the hardest thing in the world. We may know what we should do, and especially what someone else should do, but doing it and encouraging them to do it is very hard. One of the best ways to motivate our children is to show them it is possible to grow and develop ourselves throughout our lives. It is possible to lose weight and exercise, it is possible to go after a dream, and it is possible to improve relationships. It is possible to set goals and meet them, and possible to replace worse habits with better ones.

One of the things I like about Toastmasters is everyone is there to improve, and to use the skills gained at Toastmasters to better their lives outside Toastmasters. There is so much to be gained from being part of an organization dedicated to self-development. As we develop ourselves we let others know it is possible and they in turn let others know it is possible. We develop a virtuous cycle that radiates out into the community. We focus on our own development while helping others in their development. This is why many of us who join Toastmasters feel if we get everything we can out of Toastmasters, we will never get out of Toastmasters.

How is criticism playing out in our lives, are we letting it destroy us, or are we using it to build a better self?

Personal development is a major time-saver. The better you become, the less time it takes to achieve your goals. Unknown

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. Henry David Thoreau

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.

To subscribe, comment, and 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 that leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Is resilience what makes us capable of facing what we have to face and finding the strength to keep going?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good. Elizabeth Edwards

This weekend was a fun weekend of going to a friend’s place and enjoying a jazz festival and then yesterday, popping in to see family in the afternoon. It is lovely to be able to do these fun things again. We were happy to see bands perform we’ve seen at previous jazz festivals.

It is a testament to the resilience of people being able to bounce back from difficult situations that festivals are going on.

Resilience is the ability to manage the emotional impact of stresses, difficulties, and traumas in our lives. Are we born with an inherent resilience that protects us, informs how we discover and explore the world, how we learn, and take risks, or do we develop resilience?

Being resilient doesn’t mean we don’t experience stress, it is how we deal with it that makes us resilient. We are resilient when we work through our pain, our losses, and our setbacks. We are told we can grow our capacity for resilience and hasn’t these last couple of years been a testament to that. We haven’t equally faced difficulties, traumas, and setbacks. Some of us have been fortunate to sail through these last few years without much impact and others have seen the fabric of their lives ripped apart.

Flexibility and adaptability to go with the flow of life, and perseverance to not give up when things get hard help us to be resilient. When we believe things can get better and that we have the resources, strengths, and skills to overcome the challenges and work through our setbacks we will have the strength to carry on.

If we have gratitude for what we have, compassion for ourselves and others, acceptance of what is, and believe there is meaning and purpose to life. If we can forgive ourselves and others for our shortcomings we have the building blocks for a resilient life.

Resilience is very different than being numb. Resilience means you experience, you feel, you fail, you hurt. You fall. But, you keep going. Yasmin Mogahed

This doesn’t mean we won’t have moments of being overwhelmed by trauma, adversity, and hardship, but we will utilize our resources, strengths, and skills to overcome and accept the challenges and realities of our lives. Being resilient does not mean we never need help, it means we will acknowledge our situation, seek help and adapt to situations and move forward. Resilience is the core strength we use to carry our load in life.

If we can develop a resilient mindset we will do better in life. It will help us weather the ups and downs. If we are grateful for what we have, and where we are and know even if it seems bad it could be worse, and that we are stronger than we think we are and there is a joy to be found even in the midst of adversity. The more joy we glean from small things in our life the better our lives will be. Resilience is taking the lemons in life and making lemonade. It is people going through hardship to give their families a better life. It is believing tomorrow will be better and enjoying whatever joys today brings.

None of this is new, every generation faces adversity and has to dig deep to find things to be grateful for and the strength to persevere. We admire those who have had the courage to persevere, and who have faced adversity with courage, optimism, and humor. It is people who have faced the greatest obstacles that have the best stories.

We don’t know what life has in store for us. We don’t know how we will react to the circumstances ahead, but we can hope we will be resilient, grateful, resourceful, and persevere through whatever lies before us.

It may sound strange, but many champions are made champions by setbacks. Bob Richards

It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how you life’s story will develop. Dieter F. Uchtdorf

A good half of the art of living is resilience. Alain de Botton

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

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

Setting audacious goals gives us something to aim for. Are we setting enough goals?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The foundation stones of great lives are cut from the granite of audacious goals. Steve Nimmons

Norman Rockwell is a beloved American painter and I picked up a book of his paintings that graced the Saturday Evening Post. He is most famous for the paintings that were on the cover of the Post, but he created iconic paintings during the civil rights movement, and paintings of the four freedoms, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. These four freedoms were the focus of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s State of the Union address on January 6, 1941.

Those four freedoms are not possessed by everyone, but those of us fortunate to possess all four of them live a blessed life. Some say Norman Rockwell didn’t paint American life but an idealized American life. There are many facets to life and if Norman Rockwell painted what he knew or even what he thought or hoped was the reality of the time for many Americans, he knew for sure it was not the reality of all.

We can never write or paint all, we have to have a subject, a character and we write or paint through that character’s eyes. No book or painting can speak about everything to everyone. I love driving in the country past picturesque farms but I know all farms are not picturesque. I love family photos but even in family photos that look idyllic, the real story may be angst and turmoil.

The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting and achieving goals. Og Mandino

Because we don’t have a perfect society does not mean it isn’t a good society. I don’t want my grandson to grow up with too much of the “reality” of what is bad with the world overwhelming the “reality” of what is good in the world, society, family, and communities. Is it wrong to focus on the beautiful realities of life instead of the ugly realities of life? Does that make me a Pollyanna, and if it does is that so bad?

One of the things that struck me as I read more about Norman Rockwell is his insecurities as an artist. If an artist of his talent and productivity had misgivings that he wasn’t good enough, then perhaps that is the human condition and we should all realize thinking we aren’t good enough is normal. It might be abnormal to not question our abilities, decisions, accomplishments, and what we bring to society.

Aiming high in life like President Roosevelt with his four freedoms during the Second World War may seem like something we can never have, for everyone, at all times. Does this mean having a worthwhile and audacious goal isn’t what we should strive for? What if giving up on our audacious goals because they seem too hard, the path too painful and the road too long is our failing. Giving up our belief that life can be better, relationships can be healed, and life can be sustainable might be where we fail.

What if setting audacious goals is what we should be doing? Have we set an audacious goal lately?

I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. Martin Luther King Jr.

The discipline you learn and character you build from setting and achieving a goal can be more valuable than the achievement of the goal itself. Bo Bennett

Goal setting is the most important aspect of all improvement and personal development plans. Confidence is important, determination is vital, certain personality traits contribute to success, but they all come into focus in goal setting. Paul J. Meyer

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

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

Better decisions equal better outcomes. Wouldn’t it be great if we always knew what the better decision would be?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Life presents many choices, the choices we make determine our future. Catherine Pulsifer

Time spent in nature rejuvenates us. We were invited to the reception of a wedding that took place a year ago. They will be off on their honeymoon in Greece in about a week. With the happy couple will be her grandparents that haven’t been back to Greece in seventy years.

We all have had it hit over our head with the sledgehammer of a worldwide pandemic that life is uncertain and if there are things we want or need to do, to get to it.

We were invited up to a cottage on Saturday and followed the GPS which took us on a scenic tour, but we arrived at our destination. A cabin nestled in the woods with a huge granite rock at its doorstep, and a wide screened-in porch on the back facing the river allowed us to watch a parade of boats cross the river, all shapes and sizes all day long.

What a lovely spot to spend the day and we didn’t get one mosquito bite although they were some of the most giant mosquitoes we’ve ever seen. When we were outside we sat on a deck in the sun and bugs and mosquitoes didn’t bother us. We had a lovely day talking and laughing with friends and the GPS on the way home took us the short way to the highway.

Friends, food, and laughter in a beautiful setting, what a wonderful way to spend a day. When we don’t spend time in nature we don’t realize how much we miss it. Finding balance in our lives is not easy and it is easy to focus on what needs to be done so much that other facets of our lives are neglected. We may be going through stages of our life we don’t like. Not seeing eye-to-eye may seem like we live with contrarians.

The hardest decisions in life are not between good and bad or right and wrong, but between two goods or two rights. Joe Andrew

We’ve never seen eye-to-eye on everything, that is why we have opinions, but it seems opinions have become more contentious, as the sides we take have become more us against them. Instead of realizing we don’t see eye-to-eye on a small part of a big subject, we are talking as if we don’t see eye-to-eye on anything.

It seems we used to be flexible about agreeing on the big picture but not on all the small details, now we are discussing small details like they are the big picture. Perhaps I am not correct, but it seems to me everything is causing us to become more polarized in our views, us against them is rearing its head more as we settle into armed camps of believing we don’t all want a good society even if we don’t all agree what makes a good society. We think our mistakes, missteps, and errors in thought are understandable, but we can’t understand others’ mistakes, missteps, and errors in thinking and judgment.

Where is the idea that other people mean well even if they are misguided? Why do we now have to believe in “Science” but only one kind of science, and not the other views that are questioning hypotheses and assumptions? We might find in one conversation we are on the right side, and with another group of friends or family, we are on the wrong side of their thinking.  

Maybe to get along we just nod and smile without interjecting our opinion. We are blessed to live in a country where we can have dissenting opinions and for the most part, we all get along finding common ground on what is most important.

I sometimes think we live in “Camelot” and hope we can continue to live in peace and prosperity. Even as I say it I know prosperity is not evenly distributed and we have issues with homelessness, and other social ills we don’t know how to deal with.

Life is not getting easier for most people, but looking backward we may think life was easier for people when it really wasn’t. We don’t know how hard it was keeping families together in the past? Relationships were still fraught with hurt feelings and misunderstandings. Keeping things together, putting a roof over a family’s head, and providing the necessities have always been a struggle for some and easier for others.

Our view of life is not the only view. We might think we should all be seeing life the same, but how can we when we have different circumstances, challenges, beliefs, and perspectives? We can’t walk in another person’s shoes so we will never see things exactly how they see things, and they will never see things exactly how we see things, and we need to be okay with that.

Do we want to control others when we can only control ourselves? If only they thought right or did things our way, life would be better for all of us. Making decisions and living with the consequences is how we all have to live. Better decisions equal better consequences, but we don’t always know which is which.

We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions. If we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals. Stephen Covey

Sometimes it’s the smallest decision that can change your life forever. Keri Russell

Consider every choice carefully, no matter how small, for it will affect the bigger decisions you make. Jim George

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

Gratitude and humility are said to be the antidote to superiority. The more grateful we are the more humble we become, and the more humble we become the more grateful we are.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

My mantra is: Humble yourself. Discover what your monsters are. Be honest with yourself. Terry Crews

I’m reading “High-Performance Habits” by Brendon Burchard. I set it aside to read something else and now I am finishing it. I’ve come to a section called High-Performance Killers beware of three traps, superiority, dissatisfaction, and neglect.

We’ve all met jerks who thought they were all that, maybe we’ve been accused of being those jerks, thinking we are better than others. Isn’t it true that sometimes we do think we are better than others, we don’t even think we are doing it in the wrong way, but just because we don’t think we are rubbing our success in other people’s faces doesn’t mean they don’t feel we are.

I haven’t figured out if it is worse to think if people tried a little harder they could have a better life, or think they aren’t capable of better, they are doing the best they can. We must watch that bigotry of low expectations doesn’t creep into our thoughts and an air of superiority in our heads.

Yesterday, I went to Dollarama and someone was asking for money outside of the store. I don’t know how to handle this. Should I give when I can to help someone in need? Should I at least ask to hear their story and decide then? I didn’t do either of those, I walked on by. Firstly, I just heard on the radio the city of Windsor, Ontario is talking about banning begging on their downtown streets, it is becoming a problem residents are complaining about. I don’t want to see begging become a common occurrence where I live but is that a lack of empathy? Am I wrong to believe we have social support for people, and begging is not necessary here in Canada?

I listen to Thomas Sowell talk about how in his opinion, (he’s an American economist) welfare has destroyed the family and made women rely on the government welfare check instead of a husband and father to help provide for the family, to the detriment of everyone, but especially children.

I often ask my husband, what does help look like? When are we enabling people to not do for themselves and calling it helping, and when are we not giving assistance to help someone elevate themselves? Right now I hear employers are having a hard time finding workers. If there is work out there to be had, most people won’t think people need to beg if they can get a job.

Superiority draws us in an inch at a time. If we think we are better than another person or group, that is a form of superiority we all understand. If we feel we are so amazingly good we don’t need feedback, guidance, diverse viewpoints, or support that is superiority. If we think we automatically deserve respect because of who we are, our position, or our accomplishments we are feeling superior. It is the last one on Brendon Burchard’s list of knowing when superiority has reared its head that surprised me.

There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. Good pride represents our dignity and self-respect. Bad pride is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance. John Maxwell

He tells us superiority has reared its head when we feel people don’t understand us, our fights and failures aren’t our faults, “they” can’t appreciate our situation, the demands, obligations, or what we face every day.

He also tells us that all isolation is ultimately self-imposed. This can be hard to accept when we feel no one understands our situation. We need to abandon our sense of separateness even in truly difficult situations. We may think we are the only ones to face something terrible, but we are not.

Sometimes we need to look for support groups of others that are facing the same situations. Other people will not understand us better when we stay silent, and yet we have to watch too much “poor me” coming out in our conversations.  When we feel trapped in hardship, we may feel no one understands but we need to be willing to give people a chance, and not put our prickly selves out there. By trying to protect ourselves we end up more isolated and alone.

We are all students of life, no matter where we are on the path there is still a lot to learn. We will never master everything, and there is something we can learn from everyone we meet. Brendon Burchard tells us gratitude and humility are the antidotes to superiority. The more grateful we are the more humble we feel, and the more humble we feel the more grateful we are.

Can we live our lives achieving everything we want or at least attempting to and be grateful, humble, effective, and respectful?

First, I’ve rarely met a high performer who thinks they’re “at the top.” Most feel like they are just getting started. Brendon Burchard

Humility is the surest sign of strength. Thomas Merton

The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly. Jim Rohn

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, and see archives or categories of posts click on the picture.

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

Trust the next generation will take their place. They will be the leaders needed in the times they face.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. Harvey S. Firestone

On Saturday evening we went to our son and his wife’s housewarming. They’ve been busy since their wedding five weeks ago. They refinished a coffee and end table; it’s good to see their handiwork. Even our dog was invited and she acted like a lady. Our new grandson (three months old) was the star of the show bestowing his smile on a few lucky recipients.

We exchanged stories about our day without the internet. Shared some laughs and this Friday we will get together for my daughter-in-law’s, sister’s wedding. Tomorrow is my husband’s and my thirty-sixth wedding anniversary. Where did all that time go? Looking at my son and daughter I know it went to raising them. When my husband and I watch our grandson we look at each other wondering why we can’t remember our two doing what he is doing at this age. He sometimes has a constant stream of chatter and we wonder what he is trying to say?

We feel so blessed to have this time with him, we watch him develop, and see the changes he’s going through. We and the dog watch his every move. Lulu (the dog) is very attentive to this little person and lets his mom know if she thinks he needs attention.

Being a grandparent is one of the most wonderful stages in life. We don’t have the responsibility, but we have the connection to the next generation. It is tempting to want to make things easy for our children and grandchildren but they have to find their own way, their struggles will build their characters, and denying them their struggles may hamper their development.

You can’t keep helping people who don’t appreciate or respect your help. There is a point when helping becomes hindering. Know when it’s time to let go so they can grow. Tony Gaskins

Sometimes I say to my husband “What is helping someone and when is helping, hampering their growth, and how do we know the difference? This is a conundrum many people face we may hate to watch our children struggle but that may be precisely what they need to become the people they are to be.

We may wish we could give them what they want, that we could make it easier, and we could assure them of the success they want without the struggle, but going through the struggle is part of success. It might even be one of the most important parts.

We need to teach our children and grandchildren self-reliance, patience, to accomplish tasks independently, make their own decisions, work is part of life, clean up after themselves, money management is a huge part of living a good life, and you can learn anything you want to know by reading.

When you put it in a long sentence it seems simple but it is difficult. We have all heard, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and you will know them by their fruit.” We all want to know when our children reach a certain age that they can stand on their own two feet and will be okay without us. We need to trust we have given them the skills to pass on to the next generation so they are a blessing to society.

We need to know when to let go, when more help is a hindrance, when to encourage and when to stay silent. I’m sure we could do better if we had to do it over again, but we get our one shot. If we can know in our hearts that we tried to do the best we could with what we had, know we’d do it differently if we had the chance, but here we are, it’s their turn and we need to trust they’ll make the best of it.

Helping people grow and achieve their dreams is the fastest route to success: Both theirs and yours. Unknown

Almost every successful person begins with two beliefs: The future can be better than the present, and I have the power to make it so. Unknown

In the end, the extent of our own success will be measured by the accomplishments we have helped create in others. Greg Reid

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, and 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 everyone that leaves a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Harness the compound effect in your life. It is working in your life but is it working for you or against you?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Smart, small choices + consistency + time = radical difference. Darren Hardy

In October of 2020, I wrote about the compound effect. The theme at Toastmasters was “Looking Forward” where do we see ourselves in five years. I said I wanted to be a grandma, have more novels published, and a line of children’s books written, illustrated, and published. I’m beginning to make audacious goals, for too many years I wasn’t willing to commit to any goals at all. Darren Hardy in the compound effect tells us decisions shape our destiny and the effect of our decisions compound.

We’ve all heard if we set a little money aside in our youth and watch it grow with compound interest it will outgrow our savings at an older age. Our habits compound, if we eat 100 calories more than we burn off every day it will compound into something we won’t be happy with. If we do a little exercise every day it will compound into something we are happy with.

We often think it is big things that shape our lives, the big decisions we have or haven’t made and they are important, but the little things we do daily are what we have real control over.

Taking control of our life, our finances, and our fitness may seem daunting. I was looking at mutual funds we started long ago. The good thing about them was we could put in a small amount of money every month. The bad thing is they charge a 2.69% fee to do it. A couple of years ago I took some money out of it and put it in a self-directed TFSA investment account and bought some good Canadian dividend stock. I am told that by reinvesting my dividends I can watch the magic of compound growth over the next few years. Marc Lichtenfeld author of “Get Rich With Dividends” tells us the secret is to hold the stock long enough to see the compound effect work instead of selling and buying something that looks more promising. Buying and selling cause many to lose money in the stock market. The buy-and-hold folks, holding good strong dividend companies are who make the money over time. They aren’t fancy stocks, they chug along, but it is the chugging along decade after decade that makes the money. Dividends, paid upon dividends, paid on the dividends-dividends add up.

It’s not the big things that add up in the end; it’s the hundreds of thousands or millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary. Darren Hardy

Since going the Indie Author route I’m not waiting for a publisher to tell me if my work will be published, or if the sales weren’t good enough on my first book they wouldn’t publish the second one. I’m now working on my third novel and my second children’s book. I am producing the work, making it the best I can, and putting it out into the world. Where it goes once it is out in the world I don’t know, but I’ve done what I have control over by creating it.

Remember the experiment with a glass of water where we keep doubling the amount of water and the glass is only half full when the next time it doubles it is full to overflowing. This is one of the reasons we get disheartened when we watch the small imperceptible growth of one drop becoming two drops, and two drops becoming four until eventually, one half becomes full. Often we give up before we start seeing results thinking it will never become anything at this rate, but because we quit we don’t know what it could have become.

Too often we sabotage ourselves by not accomplishing what we want to. We talk ourselves out of doing it; we think we don’t risk failure if we don’t try. But we can’t risk success if we aren’t willing to risk failure. Those who do well in life often embraced good habits, and those good habits compounded over time, and by having the courage to risk failure, they achieve success.

We can rest assured the compound effect is working in our lives. Is it working in a way we are happy with?

The complete formula for getting lucky: Preparation (personal growth) + attitude (belief mindset) + opportunity (a good thing coming your way) + action (doing something about it) = luck. Darren Hardy

The real cost of a four-dollar-a-day coffee habit over 20 years is $51,833.79. That’s the power of the compound effect. Darren hardy

A daily routine built on good habits and discipline separates the most successful among us from everyone else. A routine is exceptionally powerful. Darren Hardy

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

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

Are we focusing on what we want or what we don’t want? Do we get more of what we focus on?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Always remember, your focus determines your reality. George Lucas

On Friday, Canadians celebrated Canada Day and today Americans celebrate Independence Day. Celebrating brings us together because when we live in the same country we share many things, but it doesn’t mean we are alike in everything. We may think what divides us is more important than our shared history and values.

To have groups of people come together in one place and everyone see things the same way doesn’t seem likely. In our own families, brought up with exactly the same values and circumstances we don’t see things the same. Why do we think countries made up of individuals with different cultures, values, and priorities would all see things the same way or are even capable of understanding the other person’s point of view when they are so removed from the other person’s way of life?

I wonder if part of the problem is we are not focusing on what we have control of and instead want to focus on what other people should have control over. Some may think focusing on our life, family, and community is selfish, but it is also where we have an impact. Too often we focus our attention on things we have no control over and have no bearing on our lives. What if we brought our attention back to what is front and center in our lives?

If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results. Jack Dixon

It might be easier to spend endless hours discussing how contentious issues should be handled in a country where we have no impact than to talk about issues in our own lives and the lives of our families that need dealing with. How many important conversations are not being had about things we could change to make our own lives better, because we are talking about divisive politics, often not even in our own country?

What would it take to get our own house in order? What if we got rid of the distractions to focus on building the best life we can for ourselves, our families, our communities, and our countries? What if personal responsibility is the way to make every family, community, and country better? What can we do to make our lives better, not what we can point to that someone else should be doing? That is easy, and we all fall into seeing what someone else should be doing instead of what we should be doing, but there is no power in that. The power we have in life is focusing on the change we need in our own lives. If we aren’t getting what we want out of life do we need to change what we are focusing on?

The more you complain about your problems, the more problems you will have to complain about. Zig Ziglar

One way to boost our willpower and focus is to manage our distractions instead of letting them manage us. Daniel Goleman

Distractions disrupt progress and cancel out the power of focus. LeAura Alderson

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

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