We choose our response to what happens, and in that response lies our growth and freedom.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The strength of a civilization is not measured by its ability to fight wars, but rather by its ability to prevent them. Gene Roddenberry

What does one write about after an event like the attempted assassination of Donald Trump? How should we react? Do we amplify, de-amplify, or have no reaction at all? Victor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space in that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

How can we use situations to make better choices and become better people? This is what life is about, did we hug loved ones a little tighter, and give thanks that the world we know wasn’t thrown into chaos?

For most of us life today is pretty much what it has been every day. We will probably never fully understand why a young man wanted to tear down and destabilize his country, instead of working to build it up.

I listened to Jordan Peterson speaking about building a life of significance which is hard, and why some people try to become significant by tearing things down and destroying. “Ignore me now,” seems to be their cry.

Is this something new, or have we always had the dangerous disillusioned who want to blow things up, and create as much mayhem as they can? How do we help the dangerous and disillusioned use their energy for good? How do we help them direct it toward a worthy cause? Is there someone out there who knew this young man saying to themselves, “I should have reached out as a friend, mentor, teacher, or pastor, maybe contact with someone would have made a difference.”

If life is good for us, we are blessed, but not everyone is so blessed. If we have a family, friend, mentor, teacher, pastor, or other religious figure in our lives that encourages us maybe we should be looking around for those who need encouragement, friendship, and a meaningful path in life.

I never understood alienation. Alienation from what? You have to want to be part of something in order to feel alienated from it. Boyd Rice

What if alienation is the root of the problem and we need to find a way to help people feel less alienated, to help them find a way to use their gifts for good? I’ve never liked the idea it takes a village to raise a child, or that we are our brother’s keeper, because it’s always seemed like it takes personal responsibility from people. But, we’ve heard stories where someone turns their life around because of someone’s influence. When someone turns their life around we don’t know where the direction they were going was taking them. If they become a solid citizen we treat them like they’ve always been on that path, and we look at those on the wrong path the same way.

If we could have helped someone and didn’t, befriended someone but wouldn’t, or encouraged someone, does that missed opportunity for helping someone cling to us and impact our lives?

It might be great to aspire to be a leader of leaders, but most of us will not be a leader of leaders, we are regular people who hopefully are making the best of the life we have. If we are an encouraging person, a friend, and a mentor, we don’t know who we may encourage, whose outlook we may help to brighten, or what small impact we may make in someone’s life. Can we reach out to someone with an encouraging word, and a smile, and bring people into the fold who feel like outsiders?

Alienation is a form of living death. It is the acid of despair that dissolves society. Martin Luther King Jr.

You can’t put abandonment and alienation under arrest. Carrie P. Meek

Young alienation, disappointment and heartache is all part of the first real growing up that we do. Judd Nelson

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Is controlling our anger one of the most powerful practices we can aspire to?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

We are not punished for our anger; we are punished by our anger. In other words, anger is its own karma. Eknath Easwaran

Is unexpressed anger toxic? Is this what leads to a lot of problems in our lives? Is anger management part of our lives, we will get angry and can’t always change what makes us angry, sometimes we have to continue to live with who or what makes us angry.

What made me think about this in part was watching someone erupt at a soccer game in a way that the situation didn’t seem to warrant. A few days later I learned they were going through something they couldn’t control and in that moment their anger at the game made sense to me.

Can we deal with our anger in ways that don’t destroy our lives? Misplaced anger has been part of our history since Cain and Abel. When Cain’s gifts were not acceptable to God but his brothers were, he slew his brother. Life is not fair and it makes us angry but often we don’t take our anger out on who causes us to be angry, we take it out on someone who can’t defend themselves, or we repress it and take it out on ourselves.

Resentment is one of the most destructive forces in our lives. It is cold anger that has settled into the center of our being and hardened our hearts. Resentment can become a way of life that so pervades our words and actions that we no longer recognize it as such. Henri J. M. Nouwen

You don’t have to chase anger out of you. You allow it to be in you, you embrace it tenderly, and then anger will subside, and the danger is overcome. During the practice you have helped anger, and it will be transformed slowly. This practice enables you to acknowledge your anger with a smile. Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the reasons I think we have freedom of speech is because angry speech is one way to dissipate anger, and if it isn’t dissipated it will present itself in another way. We might hate it when a protest of one kind or another, that we aren’t a part of, or sympathizer to, interrupts our day, but letting protesters protest may lead to more peaceful relationships than pent-up anger.

The question then becomes how can we handle our anger so it doesn’t become toxic? Is the vitriol that comes out during elections good for society and repressing it would be bad? Is this why some leaders become so powerful, they tap into our anger, and good ones use this power for positive change, but what of malevolent ones? Who gets to decide what is a positive change and what is malevolent?

If we can’t find ways to control and dissipate our anger is it a weapon others will find a way to use against us? How can we harness the power of anger and have it be a force for good in our lives? If we can see undesirable situations as a reflection of our faults and shortcomings will this help us become better and not bitter? We all have to face disappointment and anger in our lives and is how we deal with it one of the most important decisions in our lives?

It is easy to fly into a passion – anybody can do that – but to be angry with the right person to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. Aristotle

An angry man is allowing power to rise against him and enslave him, but when he learns to control these tremendous sources of power, he can use them to meet the most formidable challenges of the day and to make his greatest contribution to those around him. Eknath Easwaran

I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world. Mahatma Gandhi

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Oh Canada! Our home and native land. Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

I have one love – Canada one purpose – Canada’s greatness, one aim – Canada’s unity from the Atlantic to the Pacific. John Diefenbaker

Oh, Canada! Our home and native land.  What can we each do to build Canada? Alone we can do so little but together we can do so much, what can we do, and if we work together what can we accomplish?

We live in a time when it seems grumbling is becoming a national pastime. We can all see the problems, but who is looking for, and at solutions?

John A. McDonald got a railroad built but he wasn’t perfect so we almost don’t dare mention his name. Could we build a national railroad now, with all the impact studies required?

We live in a time when taxing cow farts is how we deal with climate change. Is this what passes for a big idea these days?

Solutions are created at one level and problems at another level, and we will continue to progress and deal with the problems produced if we want progress to continue. We might not all agree on what progress looks like isn’t this one of the problems we face?

Laying a railroad from sea to shining sea was a big idea, going to the moon was a big idea, and creating a health care system so people didn’t need to die from lack of medical care was a big idea. Solving climate change is a big idea but also it’s just a bunch of small things we all must do, and no one will get credit for solving the problem.

Solving homelessness is a big idea, and if we let home builders build they can solve the problem, but they have to build on some of the best farmland in Canada, so everyone is not on board, and who pays to house the homeless?

Our hopes are high. Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die. Pierre Trudeau

What are the big and small ideas Canada needs over the decades and centuries to come? Part of what we all need to do is keep our families strong so they are not part of the burden. If every family looks after their responsibilities to the children they bring into the world can this go a long way toward solving the brokenness we see on our streets? Individual responsibility is the cornerstone of our society and every society. We can change ourselves, but what we want to do is get those people over there to change, that’s hard, and only if we can appeal to other people’s self-interest is it likely to work.

What makes a good society, and what makes a bad one? Can we keep the good and mitigate the forces that create a society we don’t want? But, we don’t all agree on what a good society looks like, and we don’t agree on how to go about building it.

We are sorting out a lot of things in Canada. We have differing ideas, and I believe, we will figure it out to the extent possible. I think fondly of the cows on the farm, farts and all. We have challenges ahead of us, but we have challenges behind us we figured out. Why should we think we can’t face what is ahead and continue to build Canada, a home for all who live here and a beacon of hope to the world, a country that deals with challenges, missteps, promises, and potential?

Happy Canada Day!

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

A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence. Jim Watkins

Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do. Bruce Lee

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Is accepting other people’s negative thoughts like letting them walk through our minds with dirty boots?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts. Robert h. Schuller

At Toastmasters one of the speeches was, “The Son of a Thought.” The speaker broke down the thought, “We want ice for our drink and we have no ice cubes, and how wonderful it would be to have a refrigerator with an ice maker.” A week later opening the door to our new refrigerator with an ice maker, we wondered how this new purchase ended up in our home when there was nothing wrong with our old refrigerator, and it wasn’t something we were planning to purchase.

Where do some of the thoughts that have changed the world come from? We listen to someone’s adventures and start thinking we want a life filled with adventure, too. We might contemplate joining a gym when one of our friends transforms from couch potato to fit and adventure-seeking.

Someone writes a book and we think I’ve always wanted to do that, and if they can, I can. But what if one of our friends gets a divorce, is that contagious too? If they start believing in conspiracy theories, losing faith in our leaders, and feeling our society is going down the drain, do we start seeing what they’re seeing?

If thoughts and emotions are contagious, how do we know if our thoughts and feelings are our own or someone else’s? How do we combat other people’s thoughts and emotions from taking up space in our heads? Are we feeding our minds with good thoughts to combat the negativity around us?

Do we examine our negative thoughts and ask if they are true? Do we find if we are well-rested, energized, and in control of our emotional state we will be less susceptible to other’s negative emotions?

If we give something positive to others, it will return to us. If we give negative, that negativity will be returned. Allu Arjun

When we want to be there for someone stuck in a negative cycle do we risk becoming caught up in a negative cycle too? How do we support others and protect ourselves? Does negative thinking keep our suffering fresh? If we practice gratitude can we prevent negative thoughts from taking over? Is gratitude the antidote we need to practice to keep negativity from taking over our lives?

There are always negative things happening in the world, but there are also positive things happening, and we need to keep a balanced view because life is neither all good nor all bad. If we think everything is good we might not make the improvements in our lives we could make and if we see everything as all bad we might give up on being able to improve anything and find that is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When we can control nothing else can we control our thoughts, and by controlling our thoughts find we can control things we thought were beyond our control? If we question our thoughts, can we have a more balanced view of life, ourselves, and others? Does dwelling on the negative only contribute to its power?

Negativity is an addiction to the bleak shadow that lingers around every human form, and you can transfigure negativity by turning it toward the light of your soul. John O’Donohue

It is better to dwell on the beautiful things in life than the negative. Lailah Gifty Akita

Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration moving you from negative to positive. Oprah Winfrey

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Loving what is, be grateful, be happy.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The more you practice the art of thankfulness, the more you have to be thankful for. Norman Vincent Peale

Don’t worry, be happy. We’ve all heard it but it isn’t easy to calm our mind when something keeps going round and round. I was listening to a speaker (I can’t recall her name) on YouTube the other day. She said, “We need to be careful of what we say because what we say matters. To recognize what we are saying she recommended adding, “And I like it like that, or that’s just the way I like it.”

So when we say we are fat, and add silently, and that’s just the way I like it, maybe we will change what we say to something we do want. “I’m healthy and getting healthier would be a better thing to say. I’m working on my fitness. What if we took our negative self-talk and flipped it to the positive? What if we count our blessings instead of our fears?

Can this make a difference in our lives, relationships, and mental health? How hard is it to shift our inner dialogue from negative to positive and start focusing on the positive?

What if we silently added, “And that’s just the way I like it,” to some of the thoughts going around in our head, would we realize if we are going to be happy with what we are thinking we have to think about it differently?

We might have a problem that is overwhelming us, but focusing on the problem, instead of focusing on a solution, is part of the problem. Perhaps we need to ask how could we improve this situation. Some situations can’t be made better but they must be dealt with and finding a positive way to go forward might be one of the hardest things we will do in our lives but we still have to do it.

I am happy because I’m grateful. I choose to be grateful. That gratitude allows me to be happy. Will Arnett

How do we go forward after losing someone? We need to figure this out because we will all lose people in life. Can we focus on what they brought to our lives and how lucky we were they were a part of our lives, the blessings they brought instead of the empty hole left by their leaving?

Sometimes we ask questions like, what if the worst thing happens, but what if instead, we asked, how can I prepare, how can I improve the situation? It might take some thinking and maybe a piece of paper to work out a positive framework for our feelings. How does our statement change if we exchange should to could, and what to how?

Byron Katie in “Loving What Is” tells us to ask four questions:

Question One: Is it true? What is the reality of it? Whose business is it?

Question Two: Can you absolutely know that it’s true? When do you think that it’s true? And it means that __________. What do you think you would have if reality were (in your opinion) fully cooperating with you? What’s the worst that could happen? What’s the should? Where’s your proof?

Question Three: How do you react when you think that thought? Can you think of one stress-free reason to keep the thought?

Question Four: Who would we be without the thought? The turnaround – as long as we feel that the cause of our problems is out there – as long as we think someone else is responsible for our suffering – and the situation is hopeless. It means we are forever the victim.

It might take real effort to turn our thoughts from negative to positive, to count our blessings instead of our fears, and to find a way to love the reality of our lives.

The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want. If we want reality to be different than it is, we might as well try to teach a cat to bark. Byron Katie

Reality is what it is, and we can like it, or hate it, but what we can’t do is change it if it is not in our control, and part of what leads to suffering is when we can’t accept what we can’t control.

But, we can control a lot, and can we start by counting our blessings instead of our fears? If we get more of what we focus on, don’t we want more things to be grateful for?

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

Living in a state of gratitude is the gateway to grace. Arianna Huffington

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

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Our choices change us, to make life better we have to make better choices.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Remember, the choices we make today shape the people we become tomorrow. Victoria Osteen

Are we lifelong learners, or did we quit learning anything new long ago? What counts as learning something new? Does doing something we’ve never done before count more than increasing our knowledge in areas in which we are already competent?

Do we not change things we’d like to change because we think it will make others uncomfortable? Do we worry if we change it will affect our relationships negatively?

Have we ever found ourselves doing something we thought would make the other person happy, and they were doing the same, but both would prefer something different?

This happens with my husband and I, we will be watching TV and he’s not watching something he wants to watch because he’s trying to watch something he thinks I will enjoy, but I’m not watching to watch, just being there spending time together.

He has started cycling and I’ve borrowed my sister-in-law’s bike so I can try it without a big commitment. I watched something on YouTube with my husband telling us there is no need to spend more than $6,000.00 for a good bike.

$6000.00 for a reasonable bike, I was thinking of picking one up at Canadian Tire. Am I out of touch, or is the YouTuber speaking to such a specific group that I have no business watching him?

I was reading a book talking about how too much research and wanting to buy only the best of the best can lead to less satisfaction. The author divided people into two groups, the maximizes who want the best of the best and are rarely satisfied, because there is always something better to find, and the satisficers who are content with good enough.

There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you. John C. Maxwell

When we are only going to buy once it is easy to think we want the best we can get. I’m reminded of a speaker I heard who said she had a choice of two houses, one she liked because it was pretty, and one she was told would be the best investment. She went with the best investment, then house prices declined, and she always regretted that she didn’t at least get to live in the pretty house.

Life is about choices, and we make them every day about how to spend our time and money. We might look at our lives and think we can’t make changes we want to make, but who is stopping us from taking up a new hobby, learning a new skill, or making some other change we’d like to see in our lives?

We are our control board, the decisions we make will determine our lives. There is a good deal of luck in life, and we aren’t in control of whether the book we write is found by someone who will publish it and make us famous, but we are in control if we write it.

Decisions we make daily can make our lives better or worse. Do we make bad things worse, bad things better, good things worse, or good things, better? If we make things worse we might end up bitter and wonder how so much bad happened to us.

Do we have a choice to make, can we make the best choice with the information we have, and then move on to our next choice?

No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse. At the same time, it is often within your power to make them better. Randy Pausch

Take responsibility for your last bad decision, and then let it go. Don’t blame others or make excuses for yourself. Deepak Chopra

Exploring how you could make a hard situation worse can sometimes tell you what not to do. Harvey Mackay

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Don’t worry, be happy, but do your due diligence and pick a leader.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be. Unknown

“It’s okay, don’t worry.” Our two-year-old grandson says to us.” Does he know what he is saying? It is some of the best advice because what does worry do? If we have a problem we need to fix worrying about it doesn’t help.

If we don’t look after the things we need to look after worrying about what we didn’t do won’t help. If we take care of everything worrying won’t help. Often, I worry about things that aren’t in my control which is not an effective use of mental energy.

We worry about the weather, the economy, and how our cities and countries will be run, but when we have the hard task of deciding who will lead them do we get out and make the difference we can make?

If we manage our lives effectively does that mean we will worry less? Isn’t that what all the books are telling us to do? Take care of what you can today and don’t worry about tomorrow because if we look after today, tomorrow will look after itself.

Too often I spend my time thinking about what someone else should be doing or not doing instead of cleaning my doorstep. It’s time to vote for a new mayor in Mississauga, and I have no idea who to vote for. One candidate came to our door and spoke to me. He asked if he could put a sign on the lawn and I said yes.

Putting his sign on the lawn doesn’t mean he has my vote, it means he’s contacted me. But as the days get closer to the election I seem no closer to knowing who to vote for. Everyone seems to be in the same boat at an event on Saturday. We probably have a competent group running to be Mayor but which one will make the best Mayor?  It’s my job to cast my vote, and everyone else’s to cast theirs and whoever gets the job will guide us forward.

Choosing one’s leaders is an affirmation that the person making the choice has inherent worth. Linda Chavez

We are lucky, people want to take on the often thankless job of leadership. No leader will make all the people happy. We know in our own lives we don’t always make the best decisions, we don’t always act in the best way, but what we do is not scrutinized by everyone.

What if someone scrutinized every word we said, every action we take or have ever taken, and spun our words into saying things we didn’t mean? It takes courage to be a leader and leaders often pay a heavy price.

One of the mistakes we make is expecting more of others than we do of ourselves. We are all flawed humans, so our leaders are flawed as well, but they do the best they can, with the information they know to help the most amount of people. Will everyone be happy, of course not. What do we do with competing interests that are not compatible?

If we are lucky enough to have the chance to vote for our leaders we need to appreciate the privilege and responsibility we have, and we need to appreciate the sacrifices they’ve made to take on the mantle of responsibility.

Don’t worry, be happy, but do your duty and pick a leader, knowing they won’t be perfect, but chances are they will do their best, at great cost to themselves to lead a city, province, or country.

Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together. Jesse Jackson

The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work, we will be brittle in the face of adversity. Joshua Waitzkin

If there is dissatisfaction with the status quo, good. If there is ferment, so much the better. If there is restlessness, I am pleased. Then let there be ideas, and hard thought, and hard work. If man feels small, let man make himself bigger. Hubert H, Humphrey

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The challenges of life can make us better or bitter, is patience bitter, but its fruit is sweet?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Either your troubles make you better, or they make you bitter. We must always examine what’s going on in our hearts. T. D. Jakes

I’m looking at my garden and the squirrels are eating the beans. My neighbor’s beans look untouched from my vantage point. A duck has set up her nest in our backyard. We’d never seen a duck in our backyard until Saturday when she stood on the fence for a long time, yesterday the dog chased her, and then my husband noticed a nest. Our daughter is thinking how cute ducklings will be, and we are wondering how big of a headache is this going to be.

Nature in all its glory is around us and as we take over animal’s habitats they learn to live among us, to our delight and dread depending on the animal. Even in small gardens, we find surprises, a nest of bunnies, or a plant we bought that never bloomed, and when it does it is spectacular.

A red peony blooms in my garden. Years ago I bought peonies on sale and they didn’t do anything but stay alive. One that was struggling I moved and it is finally thriving and blooming huge red blooms. Our garden can disappoint us when we don’t get the expected blooms and delight us with the unexpected.

Our gardens teem with life and my grandson was excited to see earthworms. He loves the rabbits, birds, and squirrels. Watching him I think how much fun it was growing up on the farm, and how much he would have loved it. Is it my age or is it the personality he has that reminds me of a little farm boy with a shovel, rake or watering can in his hand?

He is quick to say, “I do it, I help you, and it’s your turn.”

We can worry about the things we cannot change, and listening to the news makes us wonder what kind of future a wonderful little boy or girl has. If we look back over the years there has always been something looming in the distance, some things materialized and some didn’t, but we have moved on as a society.

Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. Aristotle

If we can continue to think life will be good for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren it is better than if we get disillusioned with the future. The future is coming and if we can face it with hope and optimism we will be better off than if we get disillusioned.

We don’t know what hard times we might face in our lives, we might not even know how hard they were until they are over and we look back and wonder how we managed. Our job is to deal with what is, keep life in perspective, and give our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren the strength to know they can deal with what comes.

Life is a garden our thoughts are the seeds, we can plant flowers or we can plant weeds. Just like weeds will choke out what we want in our garden, negative thoughts can choke out what is good in our lives. When does negative thinking meet realism and realism meet optimism, and how do we keep a balance? Where we make a mistake in my opinion is when we focus on what we have no control over, and we don’t take control of what we can. 

When I listened to Mom talk about the hard times, some people made the best of what there was, and some made things worse than they had to be. Can we make what we control better, or do we let the things we can’t control make us bitter? It’s our choice, and no one gets to control everything in their lives, but we can control our attitude, and that is what will make the difference in whether we become bitter or better. Is it anger without action that makes us bitter?

Events in life will make you bitter or better. That one letter difference is up to you. A. Dodd

Bitterness is a result of clinging to negative experiences. It serves you no good and closes the door to your future. Leon Brown

You either get bitter or you get better. You either take what’s been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you. Josh Shipp

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Luck and good management, sowing and reaping, and where preparation meets perspiration.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant. Robert Louis Stevenson

Where does luck play in our lives and what role does god management play? When we hear about the lives of the rich and the famous it does seem they were at the right place at the right time, and they were prepared to take advantage of the luck that came their way. What were they doing to make that lucky break possible?

My son showed me a short video last night of a mother and her daughter taking an ice bath, the daughter looks to be about three. If we are willing to take ice baths what else might we accomplish in life?

I love to hear stories of how author’s books were discovered. A book has to be found, opened, read, and thought to be worth the read to become a great book. But, no one can find the book if it hasn’t been written, and no one can take our great invention, discovery, or idea and turn it into something bigger if we didn’t do something with the small kernel of an idea when it came to us.

How often have we seen something and wish we’d thought of it, but how often have we seen something someone else is doing and we did think about it, but didn’t do anything with the idea?

How many thoughts have we had that if implemented would have elevated our lives? We can’t do anything about opportunities that came in the past we didn’t take advantage of, but what would our life look like if we took advantage of the opportunities as they come in our future?

What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action. Meister Eckhart

What if we fail? What if playing it safe is a big failure in life? What if living a life with audacious goals is living the good life? What if we regret what we don’t do more than what we do?

We might write a book that doesn’t sell, but we’ve still written a book. We might start a business that doesn’t become a big success, but we still started a business, and if we’ve started one we can start another, just like we can write another book. What if collecting failures is something we have to do on our way to success? We have to get in the game to win the game, and too often we sit on the sidelines waiting for someone to do something, but if anything is going to change, we have to be the ones to change it.

How often do we think about what we could have done differently in the past, but what if we start thinking about what we can change in the future? We have no power to change the past, but what if we have a lot more power than we think to build our future? We have however much time we have and it will pass whether we do anything with it or not.

This is the month to plant a garden, and those who don’t plant now won’t enjoy the benefits of the garden later. Life is all about sowing and reaping, but we can’t reap what we didn’t sow!

What seeds can we plant today to reap in the future? What seeds are we planting that we won’t reap, but our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren will reap?

You cannot hold on to anything good. You must be continually giving – and getting. You cannot hold on to your seed. You must sow it – and reap anew. You cannot hold on to riches. You must use them and get other riches in return. Robert collier

Life is an echo. What you send out comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you. Zig Ziglar

If you don’t like the crop you are reaping, check the seed you are sowing. John C. Maxwell

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Mother’s Day without Mom, but she’ll always live in my heart.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

There is something about losing a mother that is permanent and inexpressible – a wound that will never quite heal. Susan Wiggs

Mother’s Day without our mother, for some of us happens early, and for some of us it happens late, but for most of us, there will be Mother’s Days without Mom. I feel for so many people who lose their mothers too young. If we are as lucky as I have been to have gotten from Mom all she had to give, for her to have gotten from life all there was to get, it is not the same as those cut down in life when there is still so much to experience.

There are conversations I would still like to have, and trips to see her I would still like to take, but here we are and it’s okay. But I say that as someone whose mother lived to ninety-nine. She got to meet all of her grandchildren, many great-grandchildren, and some great-great-grandchildren.

Even when we no longer have loved ones with us we have memories. We are blessed if we have fond memories of our mother and can reach out and touch her with a hug or a phone call. We are also blessed if while we could we made the best of the time we had with her.

We have to be careful we make the effort to stay in touch with family, it is easy to be involved in our own life especially if they are far away and not in contact as often as we should. There is no way to be a perfect mother, but there are as many ways to be good ones, as there are good mothers. We may wish we handled certain parts of motherhood better, just like we may wish we handled parts of life better, but if we did the best we knew how to do then what more can we ask of ourselves?

My mom is a never ending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. Graycie Harmon

If we have relationships that need repair and we are capable of repairing them we should attempt to heal the breach. Maybe we need to forgive ourselves for being the frail human we are, we made mistakes, we hurt someone, we misjudged, we wrongfully accused, or we expected more than they were capable of giving.

If we expect too much from people they will disappoint us, if we expect too much from ourselves we will fall short, but expecting more from ourselves and less from others instead of the other way around will lead to a happier life. We can keep trying to become who we want to become, but trying to get someone else to become who we want them to become will not end well. We need to accept people as they are, we can encourage them toward the great things we see they could do, but the life we see for them, and the life they want for themselves may not be the same thing.

The hardest part of being a mother may be giving up control of our children’s lives. When they are young we control everything, what they wear, what they learn, who is part of their life, and who isn’t. It doesn’t take long before they start making their own decisions, and part of our job is not to tell them what to do, but to let them grow and develop to take control of their own life and their own decisions. We will see them make mistakes, we’ve made our share, but if we believe we’ve learned more from our failures than our successes, so too will they.

We may wish families stayed together when we hear of a young family fractured, young children spending time with each parent separately instead of as a family. But, what if what is important is the love from each parent, not so much the love each parent has for each other? In an ideal world, everyone loves everyone and stays together forever, but we don’t live in an ideal world.

Expecting everything to be ideal is part of what disillusions us with life. Life is messy, relationships are messy, and when hard times come some pull together and some will pull apart. We might hope we are the ones that will pull together, we hope we can heal the breaches, we hope we can become stronger in the broken places, but we only control our side of the relationship, and if we are a mother watching our children living their lives, we have no control at all.

What we can offer as a mother is comfort, wisdom, understanding, and being there as much as possible without trying to take over. Our children grow up to take their place in the world, chart their course, and navigate the difficulties of life. We need to trust we’ve given them enough to become self-reliant, strong, and resilient people who can deal with what is theirs to deal with.

If we are lucky no matter what the distance was between us and our mother we had a close relationship, and even though one day she’s gone she still lives in our hearts. We are blessed if we have a good mother; it is our gift to our children and the world to be one.

Mom, you are the most beautiful memory I kept locked inside my heart. Narin Grewal

One day we will remember how lucky we were to have known their love, with wonder, not grief. Elizabeth Postle

Whenever I am missing you. I also remember how fortunate I was that you were in my life. I wouldn’t trade those moments for the world. Cindy Adkins

Thank you for reading this post. Please come back and read some more and 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, 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.