Habits are the secret to success; we must create the habits that create the life we want.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

In Tim Horton’s the other day, I overheard a man say, “I used to weigh three hundred pounds. I glanced at the man talking; he looked well under two hundred pounds. The only motivation that works for the long term is self-motivation. We can persuade and be cajoled for short periods but to set and meet goals we have to be self-motivated.

It is the time to set and work on our goals for the New Year, but New Year’s resolutions have a bad rap. Those who regularly go to the gym see new faces and some of them become old faces at the gym, but many do not, they go for a few weeks, or even a few months, but eventually quit working out. The people who go to the gym for years build a fitness habit.

It doesn’t matter what we set out to do, we will feel good about our goal in the beginning but eventually, self-motivation will be what keeps us going. If we order our life so our goals become priorities and habits it will be easier but we will have to be vigilant, or we may find it is weeks, months, or years since we…

I’m reading the book, “Life by Design” by Tom Ferry. The basic principle behind living by design: The right attitude + the right action + the right structure = an extraordinary life. Sounds simple and easy but we know if it was so easy we’d all be doing it, and he wouldn’t have anyone to sell his book to.

Pick any subject and a guru is telling us how to be rich, successful, slim, fit, happy, fulfilled, grateful, creative, and the list goes on. These gurus make money because we can’t make the formula fit every area of our lives, many of us are looking for an easy way to fix things we want to fix, but if we manage to fix them we will have to make a fundamental change in our lives, and we will find if we get one area of our lives under control we will have other areas crying out for attention.

All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. James Clear

No matter how well we do in life our lives will require maintenance. How many stories do we hear about people who are successful in one area but a failure in another because they put all their time into making that part of their life a success? They become rich but their marriage falls apart, their health suffers, or their children feel neglected. We see people at the gym whose physique is amazing and we might ask ourselves how the rest of their life is. The amount of time spent creating that physique might not leave a lot of time to excel in other areas.

To live an amazing life we need to manage and maintain all areas of our lives, and the best lives might not be as amazing and extraordinarily successful in one area, but having a measure of success in all areas leads to an extraordinary life.

We choose where we put our time and attention, and those decisions add up to the life we have. If we want something in our lives to be different we will have to make some different choices, create different habits, and persevere over time. No one else can do for us the things we must do for ourselves. How can we rearrange our lives to make room for the change we want to make?  

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Socrates

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

In a nutshell, your health, wealth, happiness, fitness, and success depend on your habits. Joanna Jast

Thank you for reading this post. Please come back and read some more and have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Thank you to everyone who 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.

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

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

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Collaboration divides the task and multiplies the success. Unknown

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

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

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

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

The challenge of communication. Examining our sensitivities and accepting ourselves warts and all.

Examining our sensitivities and accepting ourselves warts and all. The challenge of communication.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

No amount of self-improvement can make up for any lack of self-acceptance. Robert Holden

What are we missing in communication? Why don’t others understand what we meant to say or even what we really said? How are so many things lost in translation and we are speaking the same language? At least we think we are.

This is the problem; we think we are talking the same language. The Book, “Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus” told us men and women don’t speak the same language. The oppressors and the oppressed I don’t think speak the same language and who belongs to which group is open to debate and some people who feel oppressed are seen by others as oppressors. We may be told we are part of the powerful group but we don’t feel we have any power.

The powerful group might be being a man, or being a woman, being rich, being educated, being self-employed, being a celebrity, being famous, being attractive, being tall, being slim, being smart. I believe there can be advantages to being in every group I’ve mentioned but being any of those doesn’t mean you are how others perceive you. The advantages others envy may not seem to actually exist to you.

Being attractive is a huge advantage for most people. We may not be able to put our finger on exactly what makes someone attractive but we generally recognize attractive people when we see them. We are naturally attracted to attractive people and part of this we are told is because attractiveness is a sign of health.

Are we often blind to our advantages; do we take them for granted, just like the smells in our house? If we go into someone else’s house we know what their house smells like but we often don’t know what our own smells like because we live in it. We are nose blind, we are advantage blind.

I have always been better at caring for others than I have been for caring for myself. But in these later years, I have made progress. Carl Rogers at age 75

If we are to live in a color-blind world it doesn’t mean we don’t recognize the differences at all it is they don’t make any difference in day-to-day living.  Even though redheads are said to have life more difficult than blondes or brunettes doesn’t it really matter more if they are attractive redheads? If we would prefer our children to be blondes over redheads does that mean anything? I’d rather my grandchildren have straight beautiful teeth over crooked, not beautiful teeth. I’m saying crooked and beautiful because straight teeth aren’t always beautiful and crooked teeth aren’t always ugly. I have a preference, does it make me a bad person that certain parts of my gene pool I like better than others?

The redhead with ugly crooked teeth and unattractive features just has one more feature that isn’t loved with the red hair. The attractive redhead with lovely skin, beautiful features, and a fantastic smile stands out, if they have beautiful hair that is also red everything is working for them. If they are tall, fit, rich, and famous, being a redhead is probably not working against them.

Would we rather our children have blue, brown, or green eyes? We may have a preference or we may not. If we do have a preference is it a problem? We are sometimes aghast when we find out people have a gender preference for their child. Mom had three girls and would have loved for me to be a boy. It has made absolutely no difference in my life, and I totally understand why she wanted a boy.

Did I ever feel I wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t a boy? No. Did I ever feel they thought I should be different than I am? No, they played the genetic lottery, and out I came. We all play the genetic lottery when we have children. Having preferences of what that lottery produces seems normal to me.

A marriage therapist had a couple in his office that argued and fought over the messiness of the house. He was a neat freak and she was the messy one. The Therapist said, “This week no fighting. You are to figure out why neatness is so important to you, and why messiness is so important to you.”

At home, the wife started thinking about why messiness was important to her. She remembered living with her single mother and every time the house got cleaned up it meant a man was coming over. As a little girl she decided she was never cleaning up a house for a man.

The husband started thinking about growing up in his alcoholic home. The only time he felt safe and chaos did not reign in the house was when everything was neat and tidy. As he began to relax she began to be less messy.

We need to understand the underlying issues in our lives that are causing problems. Our childhood has left us with sensitivities we react to without knowing why they are important. We judge people for their insensitivity to our sensitivities even we don’t acknowledge exist.

We need to learn to accept ourselves, warts, crooked teeth, lack of hair, and other things about ourselves we don’t love. Somehow if we don’t accept ourselves we send out messages to people and they pick up on our sensitivities and if they are mean-spirited people we have given them ammunition against us. We may be so sensitive a look, gesture, action, or words may set us off even if they aren’t mean-spirited people.

We need to take a good look at the things that bother us so we can understand what is behind them. I am reading 80% of what bothers us about our partners is rooted in our childhood. Marriage, if we do it right helps us heal the hurts of the past. If we don’t do it right we magnify the hurts of the past.

Expecting others to understand us when we don’t understand ourselves won’t likely work out well. Is this why Socrates told us, “The unexamined life is not worth living?” Could it be that if we accept ourselves things that someone might say that used to be a sensitive issue become just an observation? We do have red hair, crooked teeth, less hair than we like, or anything else we may be sensitive about. Instead of jumping down someone’s throat can we acknowledge that maybe what we were so sensitive about was how we felt about something, not how they did?

When we accept ourselves for what we are, we decrease our hunger for power or the acceptance of others because our self-intimacy reinforces our inner sense of security. Brennan Manning

When you create yourself to make it you’re going to have to either let that creation go and take a chance on being loved or hated for who you really are. Or you’re gonna have to kill who you really are and fall into your grave grasping onto a character that you never were. Jim Carrey

Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we will ever do. Brene Brown

Thank you for reading my novel Secrets and Silence and a special thank you to those that leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If you click on the picture below and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a percentage of the sale through the Amazon Affiliate program.

Writing and the truth. Fiction is the lie that tells a truth.

Fiction is a lie that tells a truth. Writing and the truth.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Good writing is about telling the truth. Anne Lamott

I borrowed my book club pick from the library – an eBook, “Of Human Bondage” by W. Somerset Maugham. When I went to continue reading it, it was gone and I need to wait four weeks to get it back. This is one of the perils of borrowing eBooks from the library. On Tuesday I will show up for our book club meeting without the book being read and it is my pick.

It is hard to fit everything into our lives and reading a book club pick is one of them. I’m frantically combing my novel for errors and finding ones I can’t believe I’ve missed or did I create them when I was trying to have the chapters not have less than four lines on the last page of the chapter.

I picked up a book at Indigo the other day. “A Book About Love” by Jonah Lehrer he has an author’s note where he confesses a book he wrote in 2012 was pulled from the shelves because he included fabricated quotes by Bob Dylan and he relied on secondary sources that were not cited.

When there is so much information out there and quotes are attributed to people who did not say them it is very hard to know who said something. I know I find quotes that are attributed to different people and I have thought no one realized they weren’t original. As time goes on it will get harder and harder to know who said what, and when. These sound like easy mistakes to make. I love the book I picked up and I am happy that he didn’t curl up in a ball and never put his writing out into the world again.

All writing, all art, is an act of faith. Truman Capote

Writers for the most part are not putting out original ideas into the world. We are amalgamating ideas into something. When we listen to preachers preach they are not presenting new ideas, they find fresh and interesting ways to present old ideas and to show us how those old ideas impact our lives. There is nothing new under the sun. We often aren’t looking for new ideas when we read books. What are we looking for?

I think we want to look at things in new ways and to see old things from a new angle. We want to be entertained, we want to laugh, be touched, and a tear or two is welcome as well. We want to learn things we didn’t know, be reminded of things we’ve forgotten, and think of things we haven’t thought about for a long time. We want to see the truth of life. We want to be helped to make sense of the world, we want to be challenged to be better people, and become more than we are.

All the truth in the world is held in stories. Patrick Rothfuss

There are times when I myself no longer know whether I said and did the things I report or whether I dreamed them up. Anyway, I always dream true. If I lie a bit now and then it is mainly in the interest of truth. Henry Miller

Truth is often better seized and louder in the silence of the written word. Ina Catrinescu

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? by [Belynda Wilson Thomas]

Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? Kindle Edition

by Belynda Wilson Thomas (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

Gratitude the antidote to self-pity. Feeling sorry for ourselves poisons our lives.

Feeling sorry for ourselves poisons our lives. Gratitude the antidote to self-pity.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Thanksgiving is the antidote to self-pity. Mark Altrogge

The other night my son came into the den and says, “Mom, I’ve got a quote for you.” He reads the following in full. I said, “That’s a tough quote to use.” I’m using it anyway, it’s that good.

“Certainly the most destructive vice if you like, that a person can have. More than pride, which is supposedly the number one of the cardinal sins – is self pity. Self pity is the worst possible emotion anyone can have. And the most destructive. It is, to slightly paraphrase what Wilde said about hatred, and I think actually hatred’s a subset of self pity and not the other way around – ‘ It destroys everything around it, except itself ‘.

lf pity will destroy relationships, it’ll destroy anything that’s good, it will fulfill all the prophecies it makes and leave only itself. And it’s so simple to imagine that one is hard done by, and that things are unfair, and that one is underappreciated, and that if only one had had a chance at this, only one had had a chance at that, things would have gone better, you would be happier if only this, that one is unlucky. All those things. And some of them may well even be true. But, to pity oneself as a result of them is to do oneself an enormous disservice.

I think it’s one of things we find unattractive about the american culture, a culture which I find mostly, extremely attractive, and I like americans and I love being in america. But, just occasionally there will be some example of the absolutely ravening self pity that they are capable of, and you see it in their talk shows. It’s an appalling spectacle, and it’s so self destructive. I almost once wanted to publish a self help book saying ‘How To Be Happy by Stephen Fry : Guaranteed success’. And people buy this huge book and it’s all blank pages, and the first page would just say – ‘ Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself – And you will be happy ‘. Use the rest of the book to write down your interesting thoughts and drawings, and that’s what the book would be, and it would be true. And it sounds like ‘Oh that’s so simple’, because it’s not simple to stop feeling sorry for yourself, it’s bloody hard. Because we do feel sorry for ourselves, it’s what Genesis is all about.” Stephen Fry

There isn’t much to say after that except maybe we should all make ourselves that book of blank pages where we write down our interesting thoughts and drawings and we write about what we are grateful for and what we can do to change things in our lives that need changing. We can write about who we could encourage and how we might be kind. We might figure out what we can do, what chance we could take, and how we might banish our fear so we can take the chance.

To be grateful is not to believe life is perfect. To be grateful is not an act. To be grateful is a genuine state of mind that focuses on appreciation. Shannon Norman

When I look back over my life I see opportunities that I didn’t notice at the time. There are always opportunities we aren’t noticing, there are also the opportunities we noticed and let pass us by. How do we begin to notice the opportunities while they are in front of us and take advantage of the ones we do notice? We will have to take action. We will have to get out of our comfort zone. All of the people we admire have probably taken chances, risks, faced fear, opposition, and overcome challenges.

One of the things I now realize is I’ve lived too safe of a life. The reason those opportunities weren’t acted upon was because of fear. What if we failed? What if we’d bought that house? What if no one likes my book, or what if no one ever reads it to find out if they like it?

It is easier to keep it tucked away, not quite ready for publication. Is that why it is taking me so long to get through the editing process?

We think other people don’t deal with these things but I’m beginning to believe this isn’t true. Some people move past their fear and some of us don’t. Some of us feel sorry for ourselves and let it destroy our lives, and some people work hard to overcome self-pity.

Does a grateful heart help us be kinder to ourselves and treat ourselves with more compassion? Is gratitude an antidote to the shame and self-loathing many people feel about themselves? Does gratitude increase our motivation to do better? Will being grateful for the opportunities, challenges, obstacles, and setbacks on our journey make us better and not bitter? If we can be grateful for everything in our lives no matter how things look at the moment is this the way forward? Is gratitude the antidote to self-pity?

Self-pity is a vacuum into which gratitude cannot enter. In face, self-pity and thanksgiving cannot coexist. They are mutually exclusive. Although thanksgiving is the antidote to this poison, few bound by self-pity will take the foray into expressing thanks for all the blessings they do have. William P. Farley

Thanksgiving is a fight. Especially when you don’t feel like it. It’s a fight against self-pity. It’s a fight of faith. Mark Altrogge Pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana

Self-pity is easily the most destructive of non-pharmaceutical narcotics. It is addictive, gives momentary pleasure, and separates the victim from reality. John W. Gardner

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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Don’t Do This with Your Life: How to Live a Life of Misery, Self-pity, and Regret Paperback – Aug. 14 2019

by Louis Risk (Author), Vincent De Iso (Author)

Desire and expectation. Do we desire what we expect, and expect what we desire?

Do we desire what we expect, and expect what we desire? Desire and expectation.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Hope is desire and expectation rolled into one. Ambrose Bierce

It is said we should never desire a thing we don’t expect to get and never expect anything we don’t want. We need to be definite in our desires and steadfast in our expectations.

How exactly do we manage this? Where does worrying about things fit on the spectrum of desire and expectation? We don’t usually desire what we worry about but we often expect what we worry about to happen which is why we are worrying about it.

Expecting the positive even amid the negative is a challenge to positive thinkers everywhere. It is very easy to fall down the rabbit hole of negative thinking and negative expectation. We worry about the financial fallout of the situation we are in.

One of the things that seem to come out of pandemics is some positive changes. We see things differently. Things we say couldn’t happen that we couldn’t manage, happen, and are managed. We pull together in ways we didn’t think we could. We seem to do our best when we meet challenges. When we face challenges that affect the wider world it may put us at our best.

Leaders are made in times of trouble, they rise to the challenge. Decisions have to be made and they have to make them.

Conspiracy theories abound. Motives are questioned. Is it as easy to believe and expect things to get better as it is to question everyone’s motives and expect things to get worse?

Do some people even living in the same circumstances but viewing them differently have their expectations met? Can we focus on the good or the bad at any time in any situation? Is this how life works? Is it as Shakespeare said, “Nothing is good or bad but our thinking makes it so?”

To succeed in life and achieve results, you must understand and master three mighty forces – desire, belief, and expectation. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

When we desire something we are telling the universe what we want and according to Thomas Troward’s writings, desire is the masculine principle of the creative process. and expectation is the feminine principle of the creative process. Without both desire and expectation, nothing happens.

If nothing can happen without a first cause, a mind thinking a thought we can see how careful we must be about the thoughts we think. Then we must be careful about what we expect.

If we think about positive things but expect negative things it makes sense we won’t get the positive thing we are thinking about. This may be why so many people say I think positive but nothing ever happens. If we expect the rich to keep getting richer and the poor to keep getting poorer and that is what we believe is happening then aren’t we getting our expectation?

If we can’t see our lives improving, our health getting better, our relationships healing, or being able to live below our means, what are we expecting?

When we hear some of the advertisements that are being played saying “We will get through this because that’s what Canadians do.” Isn’t that what we all need to be telling ourselves?

We can overcome and get through this. We can make things better? Can we also prosper, heal our relationships, and live in health?

What do we desire and what is our expectation?

Expectation means that there is a desire and a belief in the same space. Abraham Hicks

Expectation is the most powerful condition that you can accomplish, because an expectation is a holding of a desire, a clear desire, and a belief about the same thing at the same time. Abraham Hicks

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. Christopher Reeve

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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Thomas Troward Complete Collection – Six Books: The Hidden Power; The Law and The Word; The Creative Process in The Individual; Edinburgh Lectures On Mental Science; Dore Lectures On Mental Science; Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning Paperback – May 27 2019

by Thomas Troward (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 8 ratings

Don’t worry, be happy. Can we not let worry steal our joy? Gratitude and prayer are they the antidote to worry?

Gratitude and prayer are they the antidote to worry? Can we not let worry steal our joy? Don''t worry, be happy.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

I couldn’t sleep last night because I was worrying about things I can’t change. Most of what we worry about is out of our control. It can be hard even when we don’t want to have those thoughts to get rid of them.

When there are no good solutions we have to trust that the people making the decisions are making the best ones they can. Someone has to be in charge, someone has to make the decision, and if it isn’t us, what is the point of worrying about whether it is best to open a store on a Monday or a Friday? We need to get back to our circle of influence.

We will never know if some of the decisions made were the right decisions or if doing things differently would have been better. We are where we are, it is what it is, and things will unfold how they will. We will look back in hindsight but we may never know if there was a better way.

Worry is not totally bad; there are some advantages to worry. Worry can guide us to recognize what is meaningful if we don’t already know. It can help us predict possible bad outcomes before they happen so we can avoid them. We show people we care about them when we worry about their welfare.

Decisions are easy when we get to choose between a good and a bad outcome. Some of us still seem to choose the worse outcome. What about when we have to choose between two good outcomes, how do we know which one to choose? How about when we have two bad choices and we have to try and choose the best of the worst.

Worry is a conversation you have with yourself about things you cannot change. Prayer is a conversation you have with God about things he can change. Unknown

We may be second-guessing choices people in power have to make. We may think they always make the wrong choice. We can live secure knowing we don’t have to make those choices. We have the luxury of criticizing them, but not being accountable for making them.

When we worry we often become irritable, confused, insecure, and have nightmares. This does not set us up for a better day tomorrow. What can we do to minimize our tendency to worry?

Can we avoid the sources or situations that generate the worry in the first place? Last night after overhearing a conversation about how bad things can get, my mind kept churning because it is hard to eliminate the fear behind the worry. We often fear change and we worry about the unknown but if we can develop a sense of adventure for new experiences and outcomes perhaps we can embrace them without having to worry about them.  Good things come out of bad situations. Can we focus on the positive even if we don’t know what that will be? Can we practice an attitude of gratitude for what we have and the knowledge we will have the strength to deal with what will come?

Can we take a wait and see attitude? Things will be better or worse but worrying about them will not make them better or worse. What we can’t control there is no point worrying over. Can we learn to be, instead of trying to control things out of our control? Perhaps we can expend more energy on the things within our control like reaching for too many cookies, cake, chips, and chocolate. We need to develop faith. With practice and faith, we can overcome worry to some degree. We need faith in ourselves to deal with what will come and know we can rise to the occasion. If we have faith we can pray for strength and for the outcomes we prefer but know we can also deal with the outcomes whatever they are.

Faith is the opposite of worry and even though we know this. It can be hard when certain things we hear or see get into our minds. We have a hard time shaking them. We may hear a song we can’t get out of our mind does worry work the same way?

In Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor she says, “While the dark night of the soul is usually understood to descend on one person at a time, there are clearly times when whole communities of people lose sight of the sun in ways that unnerve them.”

Are we worrying about things we can’t change instead of counting our blessings?

Worry is a total waste of time. It doesn’t change anything. All it does is steal your joy and keeps you very busy doing nothing. Unknown

Worrying is using your imagination to create something you don’t want. Abraham Hicks

Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles it empties today of its strength. Unknown

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Learning to Walk in the Dark by [Barbara Brown Taylor]

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Learning to Walk in the Dark Kindle Edition

by Barbara Brown Taylor (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars    557 ratings

Keeping our distance. Doing what needs to be done. Getting through this.

Getting through this. Doing what needs to be done. Keeping our distance.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Whether we manage to find joy and success in the daily struggle is largely dependent on our ability to persevere through even the toughest adversity without ever giving up. Unknown

Last night we gathered around our computers for another Toastmaster meeting on Zoom. The speeches were good, the camaraderie was nice. We have members showing up who haven’t been able to come to our regular meetings.

People are staying in touch over the phone, internet, FaceBook, and we are sitting and talking with those in our household. A cousin sent a picture on FaceBook of her and her neighbor’s social distancing by sitting more than six feet away in lawn chairs in the front of their houses.

It was beautiful day for a walk with my dog and a phone call to Mom at the same time. Its spring here but my brother is still snowmobiling where he is and it was too cold to do that yesterday he told me in a long phone conversation. We had a lot of laughs and we need to do find the funny in our situation and in the situations we’ve shared. His wife interacts with people who don’t remember but they lost siblings to the pandemic of 1918.

Our grandparents on Dad’s side would have gone through 1918 in Saskatchewan with babies and they all got through it. October 20, 1918, was the first “Churchless Sunday.” They had to go through that pandemic without all the modern amenities we have. In Saskatoon, all places of amusement were closed on October 17, 1918, and the council passed an order to re-open such places on November 25, 1918, but only between 5:15 and 7 p.m. Schools were permitted to open on December 2, 1918.

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. Thich Nhat Hanh

Four-ply cheesecloths were used as masks in 1918. By looking at what was done in the past we have an idea of what worked. Social distancing is what worked; from everything I’ve read, everywhere people celebrated in large numbers the death toll was higher.

Some people are really getting into cooking and baking. It is time-consuming, creative and rewarding when everyone sits down and enjoys our culinary creation. Having a fabulous meal to look forward to might be one of the bright spots in our day.

We need to have faith that what we are doing with social distancing is making a difference and keep doing it. We won’t know the worst is over until it’s over and we need to keep doing our part to keep the numbers down.

We have so many ways to amuse ourselves now but knowing we can’t do something makes us want to do it more. Keep on keeping on, we must be steadfast and get through this.

We can smile, wave, and have a laugh but are we making sure we are keeping our distance?

The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity. Ulysses S. Grant

He knows not his strength who hath not met adversity. William Samuel Johnson

I ask not for a lighter burden but for broader shoulders. Jewish Proverb

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Tough Times Never Last, but Tough People Do! Mass Market Paperback – May 1 1984

by Robert Schuller (Author) 4.5 out of 5 stars 161 ratings

Faith in things unseen. Faith in times of uncertainty. Faith in the process of life.

Faith in the process of life. Faith in things unseen. Faith in times of uncertainty.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. Martin Luther King

I was reading about compassion last night. Some of us feel there is never enough money to spend on helping other people, but we often want that to be someone else’s money. We aren’t pulling it out of our own pocket.

There are people who believe that we cannot give without pitying people we give to. This is why some people believe that charity given through religious organizations is often more effective than through government means. The religious organization can give to people and let them know that they are loved not by us mere mortals, but by God. When people are honestly told someone believes God has a plan for every life and we can do all things in God who strengthens us. What a message to hear in a time of hardship, when we are lost, broken and without hope. This is one of the cornerstones of 12 step programs; it may be why they work.

George Bush talked about the bigotry of low expectations. Isn’t it better to tell people they are not using all of their potentials than that they don’t have any potential? This is all you can do so I don’t expect much is not a good way to build society. Isn’t it better to hold people to higher expectations so they have something to strive for?

When we lose hope we might lose everything. We need to find a way to carry on. I believe people of faith have a strength that people without faith don’t have, a belief in God’s plan for their life.

People are more likely to turn to faith in times of trouble, turmoil, and uncertainty. With faith, we can be humble and confident. We don’t take credit for everything in our life. Oprah said, “God had a bigger dream for my life than I did.” Many people can probably say this. If we believe that God can forgive everything then maybe we can forgive ourselves for our shortcomings and forgive others for theirs. We have all missed the mark and failed. We can start anew with faith, strength, and fortitude.

A man of courage is also full of faith. Marcus Tullius Cicero

How we look at things may affect us more than we think. When we can say, thy will be done we get out of our own head and surrender to what is, deal with what is and believe we have the strength to get to the other side.

There are people who say they never walk alone, God is always with them. This gives them peace, strength to do what they would be afraid to do. In times like these many people will be leaning on their faith more than ever. At the end of this more people will tell us that they felt the presence of God in the midst of this. When things are bigger than us faith may be the one thing that keeps us going.

We need faith to believe that all things can be used for good. We need faith to believe that out of bad times come good times and there are lessons to learn we could learn no other way. We are stronger than we think we are, we can get through this.

Do we have faith? We have faith when we plant a seed when we trust someone to do what they say they will do. Our world works on faith in ourselves, in others, and for some, in God.

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Rabindranath Tagore

A faith is a necessity to a man. Woe to him who believes in nothing. Victor Hugo

Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all, if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that he exists. Blaise Pascal

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Finding Faith: A Self-Discovery Guide for Your Spiritual Quest Hardcover – Feb 1 1999

by Brian D. McLaren (Author)

Covidiots. Don’t be one. Can we find the funny and share the funny in a phone call, virtual meeting, or social media?

Can we find the funny and share the funny in a phone call, virtual meeting, or social media? Covidiots. Don't be one.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error. Marcus Tullius Cicero

Today is a good day to find something to laugh about. Last night at our virtual Toastmaster meeting we had some laughs. One of our speakers spoke about covidiots those who don’t do what needs to be done, who horde toilet paper, and buy up all the meat when others need those supplies.

Covidiots are people who have come in from another country and don’t self isolate themselves or they are driving through in Winnebagos and may need supplies but they shouldn’t be the ones going into the stores to buy them. The stores are offering to get them their supplies and bring them to their vehicle.

I wish I had thought of the word but I’ll pass it on to those who haven’t heard it. Now we can say, “don’t be a covidiot” to people who don’t consider their own or someone else’s safety.

We may have to say to ourselves “that was a covidiot thing to do.” Hopefully when we realize we’ve done a covidiot thing we won’t do it again. We will not be perfect and nor will other people but we don’t need to be too covidiotic.

Another speaker adopted a rescue dog and she’s a foster-failure. This is when the plan is to foster a pet but you fall in love with and end up keeping it. She is thankful for her dog at this time as are any of us fortunate to have a pet to cuddle and talk to. We can say things to our pets we don’t say to other people and they don’t look at us like we’re crazy.

Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day. Samuel Goldwyn

They look at us as if an irrational fear is the most sensible thing we’ve ever voiced.  They love us unconditionally. There are even speculations that dogs trained to detect cancer may be able to detect coronavirus.

My dog has a funny habit of sniffing our breath as if she is doing a health check. I’ve noticed this for a long time. I’ve thought she would make a good dog for someone that has health problems. We don’t know how to train her to develop this. We can’t even manage to train her to not bark when someone comes into the house.  She has seizures and when she had the last one she was in a place she never lays. She loves to lie on the stair, but she was lying in the little protected area where the stair curves.

It was as if she knew a seizure was coming and put herself in as safe of a place as she could. We don’t know what animals know or understand. It is probably more than we think.

If we have an animal in our life at this time it is another thing to be grateful for. Sometimes we have to face our fears and remain strong but we have to accept that we aren’t strong every moment of every day.

Mom told me a story about a lady she knew whose husband wanted to ride through the mountains on motorcycles. She was terrified but a good sport. At every rest stop, she had a good cry and then got on her motorcycle and carried on. She lived through it, faced her fears, and was probably stronger because of it.

We may have to put on a more brave face than we feel. We’ll get through this and if we can find the funny in situations, share laughter with others over the phone, through virtual meetings, and social media it’ll be easier.

Do we have something funny we can share with someone? Have we had a good laugh lately? Do we know someone who’s a covidiot?

If I decide to be an idiot, then I’ll be an idiot of my own accord. Johann Sebastian Bach

It’s daunting doing something you haven’t done before – you feel silly; you feel like a bit of an idiot. Stacey Dooley

Have you ever noticed? Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac. Ronnie Corbett

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Laughter Still Is the Best Medicine: Our Most Hilarious Jokes, Gags, and Cartoons Paperback – Jan 2 2014

by Editors of Reader’s Digest (Author) 4.3 out of 5 stars 66 ratings