Gratitude and Thanksgiving. Celebration with food and wine, how divine?

Celebration with food and wine, how divine. Gratitude and Thanksgiving.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving. W.T. Purkiser

Thanksgiving brought us a bright and glorious weekend.  Three birthdays and Thanksgiving converged and we celebrated on Sunday with dinner, laughs, and a groaning table. It was a fun and happy evening.

There is so much to be grateful for when we are lucky enough to get together and enjoy each other’s company. My sister-in-law came from a wedding celebration and showed us pictures of the radiant bride and happy groom.

Yesterday I called Mom and it is with a grateful heart I realize how lucky I am to still be able to make that Thanksgiving Day call. She went to a 90th birthday celebration for a friend the day before.

I’m looking at my post from last year. We didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving with a big dinner at our house. Everyone was off doing their own thing and the birthdays got celebrated the next week. My husband and I went for a long walk and then a lovely dinner. Yesterday we ended up talking and laughing over lunch in a nice restaurant. “I thought it would be nicer than our usual,” my husband said.

Last year I wrote:

Everything works in my life because of the love, support, and connection my husband and I have. We are entering stages of our life we don’t want to enter. Luckily we have each other and we will laugh and enjoy all that comes with it. As we weather the trials and tribulations with as much good humor as we can muster we will continue to grow together. We are a team; we can’t imagine not being a team. Our life only works as a team.

We need to balance individual goals and couple goals. This is our time, this is our life, we need to think about what we want and bring it into fruition. We can’t control a lot of things, we have to embrace insecurity, we also have to embrace each other and make the best of what we have, what we want, and what will be.

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. Meister Eckhart

It is all still true. Our children are making the decisions we once agonized over. When do we start a family, where do we live, will we be able to afford our own home?

If we can weather the storms, uncertainties, challenges we see coming and the ones we don’t see coming we can get from here to there as a couple. There is no happily ever after, not in the way people think. It is happily meeting the challenges of life as they come up, meeting each other’s needs, finding joy every day, pushing ourselves to take the next step and being the best we can be for our partners, families, and ourselves.

Is it in building a life and family we find meaning and purpose? It is hard to think of a better way to wring more joy out of life than to sit down to a family dinner, full of warmth, humor, love, joy, and accomplishment and not feel full of pride, contentment, and that it is all worth it.

Our children, nieces, and nephews bring in partners, and later as grandchildren join us our circles widen. Our hearts embrace everyone. When there is no longer room for everyone at one table we will need to make other arrangements, but we can always have room in our hearts.

Some day we may hear, “do I have to sit at the kiddy table?”

Thanksgiving is a time of togetherness and gratitude. Nigel Hamilton

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Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier Paperback – Nov 6 2008

by Robert Emmons (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 ratings


 See all 7 formats and editions

Criticism or encouragement it’s our choice and our choice builds our relationships.

Do we build our relationships with criticism or encouragement?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

We judge ourselves by our intentions and judge others by their actions. Stephen Covey

Do we see through the eyes of understanding or do we look for the worst in others? Do we ascribe meaning to actions, words, mistakes, thoughtlessness that we wouldn’t attribute to our own actions words, mistakes or thoughtless behavior? Can we see where we go wrong and understand it, but make no room for other people’s errors?

We are probably all guilty of this. We know what we meant is not how they took it, but we meant well. In a book, I picked up on the weekend Happily Married for Life 60 Tips for a Fun Growing Relationship by Larry J. Koenig. The author tells us if we take a quiz and we see our partner in more positive ways than negative our relationship is probably pretty good. If we take the quiz and the negatives out-weight the positives we have a very hard road ahead to make it work. Much of this is perception but we can get to the point that even little things annoy us, like breathing. If this is the case how will we take the mistake of walking on our newly washed wet floor, or forgetting something we think is important, or saying something we deem critical?

One of the things the author tells us is we will not remain in a positive relationship with someone who is critical. We may think our insight (criticism) plus their motivation to change should be what our relationship needs. Maybe it should be, but it doesn’t work.

Criticism, like rain should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots. Frank A. Clark

We cannot afford to get into the habit of criticizing each other. Millions of couples have lousy relationships, and many of them got that way through well-intentioned criticism. How have people who have great relationships learned to handle their spouse’s faults? Chances are they aren’t married to better people, they only handle things better.

If criticizing doesn’t work, and I totally get that it doesn’t even as I am guilty of it. The author tells us first we need to decide what we want. This may be a bit of the “would you rather be right or happy.” He says to write down what you want and be very clear that you know what that is, and that your spouse will understand what it is you want. Then with a positive attitude and a positive expectation ask your spouse for it. If we can do this without getting into the why, and how they haven’t done it for twenty years, we can avoid conflict.

The bible tells us to ask and we shall receive. Often our spouse doesn’t know what we want, we expect them to read our mind and that rarely works. Thinking if they love me they would know, do, realize, or understand doesn’t work.

The key to solving all marital conflict according to the author is to identify and satisfy our spouse’s most pressing needs. The problem with this is we often want to get our own needs met. What needs to happen is at least one partner focuses on the other person’s needs.

Good marriages have one cheerleader, but great marriages have two.  Encouragement is a great elixir of love. The more we encourage each other, the more our love will grow. If we are lavish with our encouragement our love will grow accordingly, if we are lavish with our discouragement and criticism our relationships will wither and die. It’s our choice.

How can we encourage someone we love? Can we ask for what we want with a positive attitude and expectation we’ll get it? Can we ask them what they want in a positive way and with a positive expectation we’ll give it?

Can we become an encourager instead of a criticizer?

I have yet to find the man, however, exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism. Charles Schwab

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, encouragement, and love.

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Happily Married for a Lifetime Paperback – Jan 1 2000

by Larry J. Koenig (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review


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Is gratitude the key to happiness, abundance, and joy? Does gratitude shift our perception so that it changes the world we see? Does gratitude come before joy?

Does gratitude shift our perception so that it changes the world we see? Does gratitude come before joy? Is gratitude the key to happiness, abundance, and joy?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so let’s all be thankful. Buddha

As I sit here sunshine floods my den. The birds were singing on my walk, the flowers were blooming, everything is lush and green. The hustle and bustle of the day hasn’t started yet.

My morning reading from Never Get Angry Again by David J. Lieberman talks of the magnitude of gratitude. Don’t we feel better when we count our blessings instead of our angst, troubles, worries, shortcomings, fears, hurts, slights, where we’ve been wronged, how we’ve been misjudged, short-changed, or mistreated?

The more we think about what we have to be grateful for the more we can see we have even more to be grateful for. If we are grateful not only for the good things in our life but for the absence of bad things, our gratitude list grows even longer. Even when things are not as good as we may want, it usually isn’t as bad as it could be.

There are people in this world going through the absolute worst we can imagine, but if it isn’t us we should be grateful. If we have the wherewithal to get through the worst we should be grateful. If we can learn to be thankful for what we already have while we pursue all that we want life can be beautiful, and joyful in every moment. To walk through life on autopilot not noticing the blessings of the day, and the moments that will not come again we miss our life.

We don’t know when our life can be changed forever. Did we enjoy everything, or were we too busy looking down the road for what is coming to enjoy what is here today?

Last night instead of going to Toastmasters my husband and I went for an ice-cream cone. I got the dreamsicle dip instead of chocolate. Ice-cream, what a lovely summer treat on a summer’s eve. We watched young families, older couples in convertibles, a young man and his dog, old friends, and young friends all out enjoying a beautiful summer evening.

This is our life, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years go by in a flash. If we live our life with gratitude and savor all that there is we can live with love, grace, and gratitude.

If we live as if everything is a miracle our viewpoint will be one way, and if we live as if nothing is a miracle we will see things differently. It is our choice how we view our life, “Same old, same old,” or “This is a wonderful day I’ve never seen before.”

The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become. Robert Holden

Oprah Winfrey tells us if we are thankful for what we have; we’ll end up having more. If we concentrate on what we don’t have, we’ll never have enough.

It is easier to write about always being grateful than to live a life always being grateful, for everything. Are we grateful for the challenges that come our way? They help us grow and every step forward helps us move toward our goals making something bigger and better than our current situation.

When things are going wrong should we take a moment and be thankful for what is going right?

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie

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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Never Get Angry Again: The Foolproof Way to Stay Calm and in Control in Any Conversation or SituationHardcover – Jan 9 2018

by Dr. David J. Lieberman Ph.D. (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review


 See all 4 formats and editions

Our reputation with our self is self-esteem. Choosing what is good and right most of the time. Dealing with our own issues, let others deal with theirs.

Choosing what is good and right most of the time. Dealing with our own issues, let others deal with theirs. Our reputation with our self is self-esteem.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Work on being in love with the person in the mirror who has been through so much but is still standing. Unknown

Self-esteem is our reputation with our self. According to a book I bought yesterday Never Get Angry Again by David J. Lieberman, PH.D. We make all of our decisions in life by choosing what feels good, choosing what makes us look good, or choosing what is good or right.

When we choose what feels comfortable or enjoyable this is our body driving this choice. If we choose excess in this area it can lead to overeating, oversleeping, and other excesses. There is nothing wrong with choosing things because they make us feel good unless we choose them to excess and then they start to make us feel bad.

When we choose things that make us look good, we may tell jokes at someone else’s expense to heighten our own self-worth. We may make purchases we can’t afford to give the illusion of being more successful than we are.

We gain self-esteem when we make choices that are good and right. Self-esteem and self-control are intertwined. Each time we sacrifice what is responsible because we can’t rise above the whim of an impulse, or sell ourselves out to win the praise or approval of others, we lose self-respect. If we continually succumb to immediate gratification or live to protect or project an image, we become angry with ourselves and ultimately feel empty inside.

We long to love ourselves, but instead, we lose ourselves. When we can’t invest in our own wellbeing, we spiral down to the hollow self-destructive refuge of activities that take us away from the pain.

Studies show that our tendency to avoid the pain inherent in taking responsibility for our lives is at the core of anger, and is central to nearly every emotional ailment, including anxiety, depression, and addiction.

To love yourself is to understand you don’t need to be perfect to be good. Unknown

We need to feel the pain of whatever we are going through. I remember watching a TV show, every time there was something to deal with the mother and her daughter got out a tub of ice cream and two spoons. If it was particularly difficult they each had their own tub. It worked for the show, but it doesn’t work so well in real life. After the ice cream is finished we still have the problem to deal with. Not dealing with problems is never the answer. Problems not dealt with do not get smaller, they grow, morph and take over our lives in ways we can’t imagine.

To the degree that we refuse to accept the truth about ourselves and our lives – and overcome our laziness and fear of pain – the “ego” engages to “protect” us, and it shifts the blame elsewhere. We start fault finding outside our self, because if there is nothing wrong with me “our ego says,” then there must be something wrong with you, or the world is unfair, or people are out to get me. Seedlings of paranoia and neuroses take root. For us to remain unblemished in our own minds, we are forced to distort the world around us, and our grasp on reality is flawed, then our adjustment to life will suffer.

Responsible (soul-oriented) choice leads to self-esteem increasing, which leads to ego shrinking, which leads to perspective widening, which leads to undistorted reality, which leads to seeing and accepting the truth (even when it is painful) = positive emotional health leads to acting responsibly. David J. Lieberman, PH.D.

Irresponsible (ego-oriented/overindulgent body) choice leads to self-esteem decreasing, which leads to ego expanding, which leads to perspective narrowing, which leads to distorted reality, which leads to being unable/unwilling to see and accept truth (when difficult or painful) = negative mental health leads to acting irresponsibly. David J. Lieberman, PH.D.

When we become angry at ourselves, we become angry at the world. Who wants to admit we are selfish, lazy, flawed, or a failure. We are what we are and we need to accept ourselves warts and all. When we accept ourselves how we are we can do better. It is when we don’t accept ourselves that we don’t do better; we make everything someone else’s fault. We make ourselves powerless in our own lives when we won’t take responsibility for everything in our lives. Even if it isn’t actually our fault because the world is unfair, waiting for someone else to fix our lives will never work. Any change that needs to be made will have to be made by us, or it won’t be made at all. One small change upon another small change will build the life we want, or at least make the one we have better.

We can add to, or take away from our self esteem with the choices we make daily. We may think we need big achievements to improve our self esteem, I doubt this is true. Many small things add up to big things.

We can improve our self and our corner of the world. Start small. This morning as I walked Lulu (my dog) I picked up a few pieces of trash in an otherwise pristine park. It wasn’t much, but it was something. Often we can do something to make our relationships better, or worse. We can do things we know they hate, or we can do something to make them smile. It’s our choice. Over days, weeks, months these little gestures add up to negative or positive deposits into our partners love tanks. An encouraging word, smile, hug, act of service, a small gift, or spending time together is all deposits. Angry words, disapproving looks, withdrawal from any form of contact, making time only for others, doing things we know they hate, and disapprove of, are all withdrawals from our partners love tanks.

It’s our choice but let’s not pretend we aren’t doing what we are doing, negatively, or positively. That someone may not receive our gesture in the spirit it is offered is not our problem. Maybe we need to feel empathy for what is going on in their life. They may have a hard time accepting or giving love. They may have stuff they need to deal with. We have to deal with ours. They need to deal with theirs. We can’t fix someone else, but if we can deal with life how it truly is and be proactive in our own lives then we are building our own self-esteem.

Self-love is not selfish; you cannot truly love another until you know how to love yourself. Unknown

Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner. Lao Tzu

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, self-esteem, and love.

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Never Get Angry Again: The Foolproof Way to Stay Calm and in Control in Any Conversation or SituationHardcover – Jan 9 2018

by Dr. David J. Lieberman Ph.D. (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review


 See all 4 formats and editions

The emptiness of winning and pursuing happiness. Finding purpose and meaning in our lives.

Finding purpose and meaning in our lives. The emptiness of winning and pursuing happiness.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. Pablo Picasso

Yesterday in Toronto was a day of celebration and revelry celebrating the Raptors championship win. It was marred by gunshots. My husband had talked about going down there Sunday night but we have work to do, and the crowds, oh the crowds.

My son’s girlfriend went down with friends, and the friends were close to where the gunshots were fired. That no one was hurt in the inevitable stampede out of harm’s way is very fortuitous. People were knocked down and couldn’t get up but it seems the panic was not so great, and people helped up those who fell.

There are always idiots it seems. What is amazing is there weren’t more.

As a fair weather fan, I’ve enjoyed the win. Sports don’t mean that much to me. Winning is good for our morale as a city and as a country. We get a little excitement in our lives as we cheer for our team.

Will there be a bit of a letdown now? The high and hope are over. I found a quote on a blog “becomingminimalist” The emptiness of sports, is most felt in victory.

We pursue many things in our lives that lead to emptiness. We don’t notice the emptiness until we obtain our goals. Money it seems or at least we are told is an empty victory if all we get is money at the end of our pursuit. Zig Ziglar said, “Money won’t bring happiness, but everyone wants to find out for themselves.”

What are the pursuits in our life that bring the most meaning? Family and relationships are where we find most of our joy and happiness. Using our resources to do some kind of good is also a meaningful pursuit.

If we spend our time pursuing material possessions, public accolades, fame, or early retirement do we feel empty when we finally reach our goal? Is part of our problem focusing on the goal and not the journey?

Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time. Marian Wright Edelman

Early retirement sounds like a laudable goal if one has plans after retirement that are as compelling and engaging as what we were doing before retirement.

A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness. Albert Einstein

What are the pursuits that lead to meaning and purpose? Meaning comes from belonging to and serving something beyond yourself and from developing the best within you. Martin Seligman

Even though life is getting objectively better by nearly every conceivable standard, more people feel hopeless, depressed and alone. Emily Esfahani Smith argued in a Ted Talk that despite our culture’s obsession with the pursuit of personal happiness, understanding the meaning in your life is the secret to your resilience and success.

Pursuing purpose and meaning what does that even mean? Can seeking happiness make people unhappy?

Finding purpose and meaning will be different for everyone but I think part of it is when we impact someone else’s life in a positive way. We do this in our families; we impact our spouse’s life, our children’s lives, our parent’s lives, our sibling’s lives. We can move out into a wider sphere and impact our communities and still wider and impact our society, countries, and the world.

Victor Frankly tells us we should find meaning by not caring about it, not pursuing it, let it happen. He suggests we embrace activities that connect with something greater. While having meaning present in our lives may be associated with greater happiness, searching for meaning may be associated with less happiness.  The most satisfying forms of meaning may blossom not when we pursue them but when we seek beauty, love, justice or a cause greater than ourselves. The secret to meaning may be to remind ourselves every day to do the right thing, love fully, pursue fascinating experiences, and undertake important tasks, not because we are trying to increase the meaning in life, but because these pursuits are worth pursuing in themselves.

Do we love fully, pursue fascinating experiences, and undertake important tasks? Are we giving our gift away, do we even know what our gift is?

The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning. Mitch Albom

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, meaning, purpose, and love.

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The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters Hardcover – Jan 10 2017

by Emily Esfahani-Smith (Author) 3.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews


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Is the truth more important than perception? Will the truth set us free? Or is the perception more important than the truth?

Is the perception more important than the truth? Is truth more important than perception? Will the truth set us free?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Truth is the state or quality of being true to someone or something. True facts are genuine depictions or statements of reality.

Perception is detected by the five senses, not necessarily understood, also that which is detected within consciousness, as a thought, intuition, deduction, etc.

Having a discussion today and one of us believes the truth is the most important thing. One of us believes that perception is more important because often we will never know the truth. Even when we can’t know the truth there still is a truth and it is important. Even if we are accused of something we didn’t do, and everyone believes we are guilty, even the courts, the truth is still more important. When we are innocent we are still innocent even if no one believes us.

One of Thomas Jefferson’s sayings was “truth is not the truth, perception is the truth.” I am reading a blog by J.T.Wynn Stand for Reason, and he says in one of his college classes an assistant professor wrote on his paper, “You seem to want everything to make logical sense.”

When we say I am telling you the truth as I see it, it means that is our perception. Truth is the truth even if we only have a perception we think is the truth. We may never know the truth of some things but that doesn’t mean there is no truth. Sometimes the closest we can come to the truth is what we believe to be true.

We think when a jury or judge finds someone guilty it means they are guilty, it only means they are convicted, it does not mean they actually committed a crime. It may not make much difference to someone’s life who is convicted but is innocent than if they are guilty as far as sentence and circumstances of their life. I’m sure it makes a difference when you know you are innocent and are wrongly accused. Your innocence is a badge of honor, and your honor cannot be taken away by perception.

Some people believe perception and reputation is everything. Some of us believe that the truth is what is important. If someone can hide their indiscretions and look like a good person, some think this is what matters. Others believe even if circumstances make you look bad, but the truth is you are innocent and blameless of what your accusers think you did, that is what matters.

Perception is not truth – and sometimes it is a lie. It is false to facts. If we are to become awake, it is incumbent upon us to seek the truth. Unkown

Sometimes our perception of the situation is the problem. The truth may still be the truth but we can react in a positive or negative way. How we react and what we are willing to learn can make a big difference in our lives.

We can look at our life problems and rather than defining it as a symptom, disorder, or illness, we can search for its purpose, how can it serve us by solving a larger life dilemma? When we place it in the correct context, we can look at things through different lenses.

An eating disorder can be reframed as a hunger strike against demanding parents. Money problems can be reframed as an act of loyalty to parents who felt anyone who had money was morally questionable; a husband’s affair can be considered a misguided attempt to reclaim parts of himself, or as an attempt to get the attention of a distracted partner.

When we reframe our situation we can also look for better solutions. The girl with an eating disorder can discover starving herself is not the best way to rebel against parental authority. A cheating husband can discover while acknowledging that he has betrayed an agreement, he can find more successful ways to rediscover lost elements of his life. When we shift the definition of the problem, regardless of how complex it is, we can look at possibilities and choices that are more positive without undesired consequences.

There is the truth and there is perception. Our perception is not always true. When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. Are we looking at things correctly? Is there a better way to look at things? Can we look with different lenses? Can we redefine our problem? Can we reframe the situation and find a solution?

Pain is inevitable; we all experience it at different times during our lives. Suffering, on the other hand, is a choice. With every negative experience, we can accept it as an opportunity to learn or we can bear it as a heavy cross. Rather than focusing on fear, jealousy, judgment or blame, we can instead reconsider our perceptions and embark on the journey to discover how a difficult experience can actually benefit us. Unknown

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

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Healthy gut, healthy body. We build our health with our spoon and fork. We are what we eat.

We are what we eat. We build our health with our spoon and fork. Healthy gut, healthy body.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A healthy gut is a happy brain. Did you know? 90% of serotonin (mood stabilizer) is made in your digestive tract. Unknown

How many of us think we are just the way we are, in control of our thoughts, cravings, what we eat, and when? Our body is just the way it is because of genes, and getting older has to come with aches, pains, and disease. What if a lot of what we think isn’t true? According to Dr. Steven R. Gundry author of The Plant Paradox, we are a condominium for all the bacteria that resides within us. These bacteria can live in harmony or it can be like the Wild West in our gut.

Dr. Gundry’s analogy is we are at the lake singing camp-fire-songs. All is right in our world and our condominium until the gang members move in. Our immune system is now on alert, the trouble is it gets on such high alert that it attacks everything, even our own healthy tissue. This causes inflammation, which causes a lot of pain and suffering.

It is the gut bacteria we feed that multiply and they don’t all eat the same things. We need to be careful about our food selection so the gut bacteria that keep us healthy are the ones we feed. He also says that the right gut bacteria can renovate our body and promote health.

Some people have such serious illness that in order for them to recover a fecal transfer from a healthy person is required. This person is usually a family member. In one of his talks on YouTube, he talked about a woman with a serious infection that was given a fecal transfer from a family member. She was a runner. Within one year not only did she recover but she gained thirty pounds. The family member she got the fecal transfer from was thirty pounds overweight. The gut bacteria she received called out to be fed and by feeding them she gained thirty pounds.

Quite literally, your gut is the epicenter of your mental and physical health. If you want better immunity, efficient digestion, improved clarity and balance, focus on rebuilding your gut health. Kris Carr

Plants make us healthy, but plants also have developed ways to protect themselves. They don’t want to be eaten; they developed lectins that affect us and other animals. These lectins cause a lot of problems for many of us. He believes that with the high fiber movement we quit preparing foods the way our ancestors had developed to deal with the lectins. The lectins are found primarily in the husks, peel, and seeds of plants. When we eat white rice, white flour, peel our tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes, etc we remove some or most of the lectins. Pressure cooking is another way to deactivate lectins in food.

My daughter came across Dr. Gundry on YouTube and leaky gut is something I am familiar with. When I went plant-based following Dr. McDougall’s Starch Solution I believe my health improved and I lost weight over three years. My health still isn’t quite what I think it should be. Dr. Gundry says he thought he was doing everything right, hardly ate junk food, jogged, lifted weights, but was still overweight. He lost seventy pounds following his program and gave up his heart surgery practice because he believes he can do more good promoting health through nutrition, than trying to fix people through surgery.

I picked up his book last night and will implement many of his suggestions. If it is any consolation knowing we will have to give up foods we love he does recommend, chocolate, berries, nuts (not peanuts which are legumes), olive oil, avocadoes, goat, sheep, and water buffalo cheese. He also recommends ghee (clarified butter), which I have never bought but it will be on my shopping list today.

We are what we eat, and who we feed in our condominium. I’d rather sing campfire songs than have warfare in my gut. Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” We are all our own experiment when it comes to food and creating better health for ourselves. Can this be the tweak to create our healthiest self, for our best life?

What we’ve come to understand is that the set point, the balance point of inflammation in the body is really dictated by one fundamental issue, and that is the permeability of the leakiness of the gut lining. David Perlmutter MD

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, health, and love.

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Self-expression. Finding the beauty and joy in life is part of the journey.

Finding the beauty and joy in life is part of the journey. Express yourself.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Without self-expression, life lacks spontaneity and joy. Without service to others, it lacks meaning and purpose. Laurence G. Boldt

The joy of self-expression is the true joy in life. It is when we express our thoughts, feelings, and ideas as beautifully as we can that we find true joy in life. When we feel, see and experience the expressions of nature and other people we feel a connection to others, the greater world and even to ourselves.

How great it is to go for a walk and see the first flowers of spring. The sunshine, the spring flowers, a blue sky with fluffy clouds, the first shoots of green grass, the chirping of the birds. Regardless of what is going on in our life this expression of new life, of a new season gives us a sense and feeling of joy.

When we express our self we explore who we are. We examine our thoughts, beliefs, goals, dreams, ideologies, fears. Through self-expression, we may find out what is most important to us, our purpose.

It doesn’t matter how we express ourselves, only that we do. Humming, singing to our self, doodling is all self-expression. It isn’t important if our self-expression is shared with the world. It is important that we do it.

We may hesitate to put our self forward as an artist, but when one looks at the works that are put forward there seems to be room for everyone. A painting may look like a mess but when we notice the title “Feelings” we realize they captured the subject perfectly.

We hear journaling, art, music, and dance is recommended as therapy because they are forms of self-expression. They help us get what we are feeling on the inside, outside of us.

Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is. Jackson Pollock

The first thing we all worry about is, are we doing it right, instead of worrying are we doing it at all. We judge and second guess our self, we are our worst critic.

We can get into trouble if we express ourselves in inappropriate ways. Just yesterday I was shown a video of a young woman expressing herself outside of her house with nothing on her bottom half, the police were called. She looked full of joy but obviously was having an episode of some kind.

They say the second regret of the dying is they wished they’d let themselves be happier. Even on a bad day, we have so much to be grateful for, so much to enjoy, yet we sometimes wallow in self-pity, misery, and despair. Even if life isn’t always what we make it, it is probably how we see it. We hear people in the depths of despair finding the positive in the life of their son or daughter no longer with them.

We can be happy, we were fortunate to have had someone in our life, even if they are no longer with us. Had they not been in our life, we wouldn’t have this hurt, but we wouldn’t have the joy they brought us either.

Often people who have been to the depths of despair have much to teach us. They have a depth and understanding of life that comes from facing the worst, rebuilding their life, going forward from the darkness into the light.

Many people find a way to express themselves after a tragedy, they find it healing. It doesn’t matter how we express ourselves, only that we do. There are many ways to express our unique self; they aren’t just singing, dancing, writing and art. Can we sing, dance, hum, doodle, paint, knit, quilt, play an instrument, write, do public speaking, photography, fashion, coding, plan a special event, build something, bake or cook, journal, make a comic book, write poetry, quizzes, create games or anything else we can think of? Just do it!  Can we express ourselves and make our self and the world better?

A labor of love is exalted because it provides joy and self-expression to those who perform it. Dennis Kimbro

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 and love.

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Painting Abstracts: Ideas, Projects and Techniques Paperback – Nov 1 2008