Facing death enriching life. Facing our fears means we can trust the process of life.

Facing our fears means we can trust the process of life. Facing death enriching life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

It is not length of life, but depth of life. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Are we okay with facing death, and through that acceptance enriching our lives? In the past, some people kept a skull on their desks to remind them that they too, will die. Is this the most horrible thought or one, if we kept at the forefront of our life would help us live it differently?

We are told in the bible 1 Corinthians, “Death, where art thou sting? Aleteia, a Nun in her blog says she got a little ceramic skull she keeps on her desk as a memento mori, the Latin phrase for “Remember you will die.” She says it is changing her life. For her, the skull reminds her that her life will end, and her goal is heaven.

We may not like to think about it, but it is the end for all of us. I met someone a few years ago whose grandmother had cancer and wasn’t expected to have long to live. Every night she cleaned her house so if she died in the night her house would be clean. She lived for six years, and said, “It takes a long time to die.” Did she live those six years more fully, or was she just waiting to die? I wasn’t wise enough to ask that important question.

We don’t know how long we have on earth. We know we have today, and we should make it count. Are we healing rifts in our families? Are we encouraging people in their lives?

As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death. Leonardo do Vinci

There are hard truths in life and if we accept them and build our life with them it will make it a better life.

Life is hard, not always but sometimes. We need to be grateful for everything in our lives. Life is fleeting, beauty is fleeting, and relationships are fleeting.

Each one of us is not that important.

We are not in control. Suffering is the fear we are not in control. If we accept we are not in control it means we can learn how to trust the process of life.

We are going to die. If we don’t embrace death then we fear it and that fear stops us from living our life. We will die but we have today and however more tomorrows we have. If we embrace death maybe we will live a better life?

Where would we go?

Who would we forgive?

What would we create?

In the 15th and 16th centuries, ivory skulls were all the rage. Some believe this was not so much a response to the fragility of life, but rather the comforts that people were feeling, and a way of saying, “Don’t get too caught up in the ways in which your life is better than what your grandparents experienced.” They might have been getting distracted from faith and moral duties by luxury goods and treasures instead of remembering the fragility of life.

The more life changes the more it stays the same. Is that where we are now? Are we getting caught up in luxury goods? A skull is also a symbol we are all equal. The rich skull doesn’t look different from a poor skull, and we will all become skulls in the end.

Underneath everything, we are naked and afraid. We clothe our nakedness to give us confidence and we wear luxury goods to make ourselves feel important and to make other people feel we are important. Underneath we are all the same, and we are all ending up in the same place.

We will all be equally dead. We have choices to make while we are alive, what will they be?

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one. Kahlil Gibran

It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live. Marcus Aurelius

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. Marie Curie

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

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Jordan B. Peterson (Author, Narrator), Norman Doidge MD – foreword (Author), Random House Canada (Publisher)

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Variety is the spice of life. Are we working, playing, living life abundantly, and having fun?

Are we working, playing, living life abundantly and having fun? Variety is the spice of life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Variety’s the very spice of life that gives it all its flavor. William Cowper

On Friday I had the pleasure of getting a call from a friend who read my book and said she liked it. She made my day and weekend. Mom received her copy and will read it again. I’m not sure how many drafts I’ve sent her but at least two. Finally, she is holding the finished product in her hand. It is a long way from a concept of anything to a finished product but if we keep going, working toward our goal we eventually get there.

I am amazed when I see some author’s body of work. They’ve been busy. I wonder how quickly I can build up my body of work. Sometimes I berate myself thinking why did it take me so long to get something finished. It takes as long as it takes. Some things are as much a testament to perseverance as anything else.

Part of life is showing up and doing the one thing that is important to us. We may think if we had nothing else to do we could pound on the keyboard and pump out a novel a month. Maybe we could, but living life while creating something is not without its blessings. Writing is a solitary endeavor and might take us from family and friends. Other work may bring us closer to family and friends.

My husband and I work together and we have had people in our office say, “How do you do it. I could never work with my wife.” I grew up in a family that worked together. Farming is all about working together.

It is nice to be able to get up from my writing desk and move to the office and do something completely different. It is good to have variety in our lives. When we have variety in our lives we see things from different angles. We put on a different hat and we have a new perspective. We are told variety is the spice of life, change is as good as a rest, and we know it is true. It may still be work when we go out to the garden but it refreshes us just the same.

Play energized us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities. Stuart Brown

We can have more than one project on the go and especially if they are different we love moving from one to the other. Some of the things we do seem more like play than work. This is how I think of painting and drawing. I love playing with color, shapes, light, and shadows.

We may think we don’t have time to play. Playing is childish but we give up playing at our peril. Do the happiest people have a playful quality about them?

Do we spend enough time playing, laughing, and having fun?

Playing allows us to develop alternatives to violence and despair; it helps us learn perseverance and gain optimism. Stuart Brown

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. Plato

In every real man, a child is hidden that wants to play. Friedrich Nietzsche

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Balancing change and the glass ball of relationships. Can we make our dreams come true and keep our relationships strong?

Can we make our dreams come true and keep our relationships strong? Balancing change and the glass ball of relationships.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life. Heather Schuck

September always seems like the time to start something new. This is probably because the new school year starts in September. When we finish a project we need a new project to take its place. It has taken forever to finish this project of publishing the novel I started in 2012. I expect I’ll spend a lot of time wondering why it took so long. One reason is when I started this blog in 2018 it took time away from my novel. The big reason is I was scared to put my novel out there. It is with fear and trembling, I will push publish when I get my cover and finally finish the last edit.

Recently reading a blog by Daniel Steele she says she feels the same way about every novel when she releases it to her publisher. Will they think it is okay? If Daniel Steele still second-guesses herself, why would any of us think we would be satisfied and confident our own meets the grade?

The learning curve has been steep. Hopefully, the next projects will not take so long. If nothing else it has been a lesson in perseverance and determination to finally call it finished. It is time to move on to the next project. When our dog died I wrote a children’s story and it has sat on my shelf for years. It needs an illustrator and I have decided to see if I can learn how to do it.

Life is about challenging ourselves to achieve our goals. One of my biggest challenges has been setting goals. We can’t achieve them if we don’t set them. I can now afford the time for artistic and writing pursuits. There are times in our lives when all we can do is what makes us money and look after kids. It might seem like that phase will never end, but it does, and when it does it is good if we have pursuits to take their place.

Many young women seem to be better at goal setting than I was at their age. One of the challenges women face is prioritizing our life. If we focus on careers and put marriage and motherhood off, we may miss the chance for marriage and motherhood. Many of our dreams can come true after the heavy slogging of marriage and motherhood, but marriage and motherhood might not happen after the dream career is achieved.

Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls – family, health, friends, integrity – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered. Gary Keller

We think we need balance but what we really need is to focus on what is most important and give it the time it needs while looking after everything else in our life at the same time. Life is a juggling act and we may only be able to juggle a certain amount of things at once. As long as we keep juggling the most important things and realize not all things have the same resiliency we can pick up and drop balls as our life requires. Hobbies and interests are some of the balls that can be set aside when there isn’t time for them.

Relationships can never be set aside without real consequences. Relationships are one of the glass balls in our juggling act. We may think they are tougher than they are because the relationships are long-standing but it seems they are as fragile as they always were. We can hurt the feelings of a friend we’ve had our whole lives and the relationship may never be repaired. We have what is called grey divorce; couples have built their lives together now going their separate ways. Will they find what they are looking for?

My oldest sister has been married for 59 years. This is an accomplishment. In 2011 they had an anniversary party I attended. They’ve built a life together, they each have their own interests, and they are still accomplishing things. Theirs is a well-lived life.

If we can figure out what is important from what just calls our attention we can have a well-lived life. Can we make our dreams come true and keep our relationships strong?

Don’t confuse having a career with having a life. Hillary Clinton

Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. Dolly Parton

I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles. Zig Ziglar

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The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results Hardcover – Illustrated, April 1 2013

by Gary Keller (Author), Jay Papasan (Author)

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Searching for balance means learning to juggle and knowing what is important when it’s important.

Knowing what is important when it's important learning to juggle and searching for balance.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Living a full life, by giving time to what matters, is a balancing act. Gary Keller

Many of us are looking for balance and wonder why it eludes us. Would we even know a balanced life if we saw one? No one that I know and envy has a balanced life. We need to be like a ballerina who is balanced because of the counterbalancing she does. She looks weightless because of enormous effort. Making life look easy is an art that hides the hard work of real life. An easy life that doesn’t require effort inspires no one.

Many of us aspire to more in our lives but we look down on those that get more without effort. We may buy lottery tickets wanting the big win with no effort but how would it be if we got it? All that makes life worthwhile might seem so unimportant and insignificant in the shadow of fifty million dollars.

I do think if we don’t have a pursuit worth pursuing how sad would life be. Growing up on a farm was a good metaphor for life. If we didn’t plant we didn’t reap. If we didn’t plant at the right time, and harvest at the right time all the effort was wasted. We couldn’t balance our planting and harvesting throughout the year. In planting time the focus was on planting. In harvest time the focus was on harvesting.

We need to do this in our lives no matter what we are pursuing. My time of raising children is over and even though I have more time now (it seems) giving them more time in their adult years is not productive. Now is their time for planting and reaping. It is their time for standing on their own two feet.

Balance in life, like in body, is not a given, we need to work for it. Unknown            

Now is my time to spend more and more time writing. Counterbalancing is still important. We can’t let everything else slide while we pursue something. A relationship still needs time and attention. Our bodies still need exercise. I was reminded of this as I’ve spent so much time behind the computer editing. My right leg(hip) started hurting. Not enough walking, maybe I’ve been eating the wrong things. It’s time to take notice, walk more, and eat better.

In “The One Thing” author Gary Keller tells us we need to figure out what the one thing is we can do that will make a difference. Can we figure out the one thing and focus on that before we let other things call for our attention and take our focus away from what we should actually do?

If we want to write, we need to write but there are many things we can do when we are pretending to write. Unless we are writing, we are not writing. If our job is to bring in more business a phone call may be the most important thing we need to do. Every day there is one thing that is the most important.  If we figure out what that is and do it we put ourselves in the position of building the life we want.

If we do this in every area of our life we can be effective. What is the one thing we could do today that would improve our relationship? What is the one thing we could do today that would improve our health? What is the one thing we could do today that would improve our business, finances, or job? What is the one thing we can do today that is the most important thing? There is one and if we figure it out our life will feel in balance even though it is probably counterbalancing and learning to juggle the important balls. We need to remember some balls are rubber and some balls are glass.

If we drop the work ball we can usually pick it back up. If we drop the relationship and family ball sometimes it shatters into so many pieces it is beyond repair. Often relationships may seem shattered beyond repair but with a little maintenance, time, and attention they can be repaired and may even be stronger in the broken places.

What is the one thing we can do today that will make the biggest difference in our life?

I’m not sure about complete balance. I think that’s an enlightened stage of life. For normal folks, balance really means counterbalance. Notice when life gets out of whack for you and correct it. Unknown

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein

The creativity inherent in life is the counterbalance or tragedy, it affirms our belief that life is a good thing and provides a rich potential source of human meaning. Greg Graffin

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The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results Hardcover – Illustrated, April 1 2013

by Gary Keller (Author), Jay Papasan (Author)

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

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Zest and happiness. Are we chasing elusive treasures or are we practicing being happy with what we have, where we are?

Are we chasing elusive treasures or are we practicing being happy with what we have, where we are? Zest and happiness.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Happiness isn’t some elusive treasure we chase after. It’s a state of being we need to practice. Brian Johnson

We are on the hunt for another exercise machine. Two Eforce machines are in the garage and the part that is worn out is not available. The diagnosis comes from a bearing expert who spent time looking for the replacement part. When my son told me it can’t be fixed, or at least not for a reasonable price I had my answer. I could quit going to stores looking for the part, two people looked at the part like they’d never seen anything that resembled it so I was already thinking it was a fool’s errand. My daughter tells me I should get a rowing machine. I use a rowing machine at the gym but I don’t feel after 400 reps how I felt after 100 on my Eforce. I love the full-body workout and the stretching that it gave.

We think we’ve found another machine a Proform 930 exercise machine with a similar kind of workout. If we get a message back we’ll buy it, if not we’ll continue on the hunt. Am I throwing good money after bad looking for exercise machines that didn’t become the popular exercise machines? Elliptical, treadmills, and rowing machines are available new but what I want seems to have been popular in the 1990s.

We are going to try to get one more of this type of machines and if using it wears it out quickly another option will have to be found.  Finding an exercise we like that works, fits into our schedule and we feel good after using it is part of what keeps us motivated to do it.

At a certain age, exercise is no longer something we should do just to look better; it is something that is going to add years to our life, and life to our years. I pulled out a book I picked up, I started using her exercise program when I got the book and don’t know why I stopped. Body Flex by Greer Childers she advocates using our breath and performing the exercise after we exhale. She tells us we lose inches without losing weight. It is also an exercise book from probably the ’90s. What is it with me and the ’90s?

Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest. Christian Dior

My daughter does exercise programs on YouTube. When she is my age will she fondly think back to those programs and think they were the best no matter what is the exercise rage at the time?

These old exercise machines may only be good for what they’ve been used for most of their life – clothes hangers. Maybe if I get one and start using it for its intended purpose it will wear out too.  Even so, I have my money and if the owner of the Proform 930 says we can pick up the machine we’ll drive down and get it. I am extremely grateful to my husband for being willing to come with me to pick up exercise machines. We are both hoping there won’t be a third time and that this next machine we buy will last at least a couple of years.

In the end, I may have to go with my daughter’s suggestion, “Just get a rowing machine.”

“But, I don’t want one,” I protest. I want what I want and it seems there are old exercise machines of the type I want out there and I will get at least one more and see if it will go the distance.

If we know what we want isn’t it fun to go looking for it? When we are on the hunt doesn’t it add zest to our lives? If and when we find what we are looking for will it meet our expectations, or will we then be on the hunt for something new and different?

What hunger is in relation to food, zest is in relation to life. Bertrand Russell

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. Henry David Thoreau

Adventure isn’t hanging on a rope off the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day to day obstacles in life. John Amatt

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Zest: How to Squeeze the Max out of Life by [Andy Cope, Gavin Oattes, Will Hussey]

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Enjoying life. Living life with gusto and making the best of everything.

living life with gusto and making the best of everything. Enjoying life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Life becomes more meaningful when you realize the simple fact that you’ll never get the same moment twice. Unknown

This is a strange summer. The kids have already been out of school for months. Weddings we planned on going to are postponed until next year. Sports teams are not playing. Beaches that beckon to us are crowded and we are told to stay away. Gatherings of more than ten people are not recommended.

We had two wonderful evenings outside on the patio this weekend eating, talking, and laughing. Ice cream on a warm summer evening is still a treat. Sharing a glass of wine and the warm glow of family getting together planning the future and laughing about the past is a great way to spend a summer evening.

We need to enjoy these simple pleasures we never know where life will take us and if these simple times will end. Someone gets married and moves far away. The busyness of life makes sitting and enjoying time together hard to do. We don’t know what life has in store for us we need to enjoy each day as it comes. If we can wring as much joy from each day as possible we will have a well-lived life.

Sometimes we can only connect with people by phone or computer but it is a connection we are lucky to be able to have.  This is a year when family reunions are canceled, trips are canceled, and weddings are canceled. Many of the celebrations of life are canceled. We must still celebrate life even if we have to do it over the phone or a computer.

Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed. Wayne Dyer

We are adaptable creatures. We make the best of things. It is living through the highs and lows of life that create a life. What if we only had the highs in life? It might seem like that would be wonderful. With no contrast how would life be? We love beautiful sunny days but beautiful sunny days without rain become a nightmare.

We love time off of work but only having time off can become a nightmare. Finding the balance in our lives and being grateful for the blessings we have is how we make the best of things. We have today, we don’t know about tomorrow. Today is the day we can enjoy, today is the day we create memories. If we make today the best it can be then tomorrow should take care of itself.

Life moves forward and we move with it. We never know when it’s the last time we’ll do something, or see someone, but if we enjoy the moments of our lives we can live a life of few regrets.

Have we said everything that needs to be said? The amends that needs to be made, have we attempted to make them? Decisions for the future have they been made? Are we grateful for the beauty and bounty in our lives and making the best of what we have and the opportunities presenting themselves?

Are we proud of the lives we’ve built, the decisions we’ve made, and the future ahead of us? As we continue our journey are we going in the direction of our dreams? Do we need a reboot? Are we enjoying life?

Enjoy every moment of your life, because these precious moments, once gone will never come back again… Don’t search for a reason to be happy, but start finding happiness in everything you enjoy. You will start loving your life, and that’s what the life is to be enjoyed… Priyanka Thankur

Appreciate life as it happens. Moments will soon pass and you will wish you had treasured them more. Unknown

Wherever you are be all there. Jim Elliot

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Enjoying Life by [Tanya E. Johnson]

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Enjoying Life Kindle Edition

by Tanya E. Johnson (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

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Developing character, virtue, and competence is this the way to build a better society?

Developing virtue, competence, and character is this the way to build a better society?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right and evil doesn’t become good just because it’s accepted by a majority. Booker T. Washington

It is easy to become cynical, believing that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity. That people are concerned only with their own interests.

Carey Nieuwhof author of Didn’t See It Coming says we are often blindsided by cynicism in our lives. Our dreams come true and we feel empty instead of blessed and fulfilled. We didn’t see burnout coming. We didn’t see our marriage becoming distant and disconnected. We didn’t see compromises we’ve made and bad judgments affecting our character and lives. No one sees the real us anymore because we put on a show for others instead of letting them see who we really are warts and all.

Carey Nieuwhof is a pastor and he says as we get older we don’t move between optimism and pessimism anymore we stay stuck on one side or the other. What he noticed was the older people that were optimistic and full of joy were curious. They ask questions about why and why not? They keep learning and developing themselves, their talents, interests, and character. They continued growing and becoming better people, overcoming the character flaws they had in youth and middle age. They might be better grandparents than they were parents. Their marriages might get better in the later years as they cherish and appreciate each other.

He said he thought if he dedicated himself to becoming the most competent person he could be, that would lead to success. We have many people who become super successful that are brought down by character flaws that take them down at the pinnacle of their success.   

I believe that any man’s life will be filled with constant and unexpected encouragement if he makes up his mind to do his level best each day, and as nearly as possible reaching the high water mark of pure and useful living. Booker T. Washington     

Is character everything and is that what we should be developing? If we develop our character as well as our competence we become more well-rounded individuals. Even if we spend our lifetime trying to live up to the ideals of character we will never master all of it. We may still gossip sometimes, a lie of omission or commission may escape our lips. We may still try to make things look better than they are. We might not be able to love everyone. We will probably still be challenged by bias, greed, envy, and lust.

He tells us he has presided over funerals where it was a struggle for people to find something nice to say about the person that passed because they weren’t that good to people.

The good news is we can build our character and our competence. We can do that even if success in life eludes us. We can do it if success happens to us that we didn’t earn. We can do it if circumstances in life have always seemed to work against us.

We can leave behind a legacy of character and competence generations after us can build on. We might not leave the kind of legacy Booker T. Washington or other great people left. Being a man and a woman of virtue and character as a parent and a spouse is a good place to start.

On average non-married families are five times more likely to be poor. This is across all groups. If we want to break the cycle of poverty, marginalization, and crime, building stronger families is at the root. Is there anything we can do that will be as important as the family we bring our children into?

Families are the cornerstone of society. Weak, fragmented, broken families will create the same in society. If we want to heal society we will need to heal the family. If we want to heal the family we will need to heal ourselves and be men and women of character, virtue, and competence.

 Is becoming people of character, virtue, and competence what our families and society need to go forward better?

You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals. Booker T. Washington

If you want to lift yourself up, lift someone else. Booker T. Washington

Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way. Booker T. Washington

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Didn't See It Coming: Overcoming the Seven Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences

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Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the Seven Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences  Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

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Making a difference in the lives of others makes a difference in our own as well.

Making a difference in the lives of others makes a difference in our own as well.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference. Kathy Calvin

Books help us to see what others have gone through, what they dreamed, overcame, and how the journey of their life progressed. Dr. Tererai Trent is said to have been one of Oprah’s favorite all-time guests.

When we hear about people who change the course of their lives through dreaming of a better life and going after it we are heartened by their accomplishment. Dr. Tererai Trent was a married mother by the time she was 18 years old when a woman from America came to her village and asked her what her dreams were. The woman told her if you believe, then your dreams can come true. Her mother told her to bury her dreams, and also told her to add one more dream. She added the dream of going back and helping the people from her community.

In an interview with School of Greatness podcaster Lewis Howes, she said it is the last dream her mother asked her to make that she now thinks made the difference. She says we have two types of hunger within us, “The little hunger is for immediate gratification and the greater hunger is for a meaningful life.

She says we are all on the ladder of life and those on the higher rungs must help those on the lower rungs.

One of the things we hear from many successful people is their desire and commitment to helping others. Some people say the most joy they get in life is being able to give back. That it truly is better to give than to receive.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands – one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. Audrey Hepburn

I spoke to a lady from my home town when I went back one year. She used her spending money to teach art to local children. I heard someone left a $2500.00 tip when they knew a restaurant would be shutting down.

People are making a difference in other people’s lives in big and small ways. Employers are doing their best to keep their employees employed. We may not be able to do what we think are great things but Mother Theresa said, “Do small things with great love.”

Can we all make a difference?

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree, to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. Martin Luther King Jr.

The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green. Thomas Carlyle

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The Awakened Woman: Remembering & Reigniting Our Sacred Dreams

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The Awakened Woman: Remembering & Reigniting Our Sacred Dreams  Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

Tererai Trent PhD (Author, Narrator), Simon & Schuster Audio (Publisher)4.8 out of 5 stars 62 ratings

Seasons of life. Are we embracing the season we are in?

Are we embracing the season we are in? Seasons of life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Embrace this season of life, for it is just that, a season. Unknown

This morning the sky is dark even though we are promised a lovely day. My daughter and I have a date for a walk. We will get some much-needed vitamin D. Early flowers are welcome and lovely and it is a pleasure to walk in the spring and see the trees in bud. All of nature seems pregnant with promise.

A tiny bunny runs through my backyard. My brother tells me his daughter is hatching chicks and he is going to be hatching turkeys. New life is all around us and hope springs anew. Spring is my favorite time of year.

New beginnings, don’t we all love beginnings? We love the excitement and anticipation of what may be. We see a picture or walk through a lovely garden and we want one too. Lovely gardens aren’t built on whims they are a lot of work and anyone who has a truly lovely garden I applaud. I’ve been on local garden tours and seen lovely gardens but I have never traveled the world and seen the masterpieces out there.

One of the mistakes I’ve made is thinking if I had more space I could create a truly lovely garden. If we can’t make a small space beautiful we won’t make a bigger space beautiful. Some of the loveliest gardens are pocket gardens tucked away in a little space and they are all the lovelier because they are unexpected.

Our garden looked the best the year our daughter got married and we were planning to have an outdoor bridal shower for her but it rained and we held it indoors. We may love the promise of spring but if it doesn’t lead to the fruition of summer and the harvest of fall what do we have?

I have resolved to live, not just endure, each season of my life. Unknown

There is beauty in every season and as we move from the spring of our lives to the summer, fall, and even winter we need to find the beauty, promise, and harvest of each stage. There is no standing still in life. We may have snapshots of our life that were perfect but fleeting moments. They will never come again. We can’t hold tight to the past, we are building a future and as the future moves forward sometimes we don’t move with it. The cycle of life continues and we need to be okay with our part in it.

Yesterday I received a memorial card for my uncle. He probably hated the year he spent in the nursing home not because of the nursing home but because of the kind of person he was. He was always busy doing, collecting, planting, harvesting, and selling the bounty of his garden. Maybe he didn’t hate the last year, maybe it was rest and making peace with what was to come. The doctor’s said he had a strong heart and even though he got down to ninety pounds his heart valiantly kept on. This would have been the second year he couldn’t plant anything in his garden. He was almost eighty-eight; eighteen years more than the threescore and ten we are promised.

What a caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly. Richard Bach

For everything, there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. Victor Hugo

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A Season of Grace: Embracing God's Gifts in the Autumn of Our Lives by [Carolyn Bassett]

A Season of Grace: Embracing God’s Gifts in the Autumn of Our Lives Kindle Edition

by Carolyn Bassett (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars    11 ratings


Sleeping smarter to become healthier, wealthier, and wiser.

Sleeping smarter to become healthier, wealthier, and wiser.

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Benjamin Franklin

There is a connection between our sleep and our health according to Shawn Stevenson author of Sleep Smarter. He says if we don’t sleep well, we don’t heal well. He quotes Albert Einstein when he says, the most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe. Our attitude plays a huge role in our life. A bigger role than we may want to believe because if our attitude plays a role in our lives and we control our attitude, then maybe we control our lives to a greater degree than we think.

If sleep plays a bigger role in our health, wellness, and healing and we control our sleep then we also can control our health to a greater degree. We control what we eat, we control how much we exercise and we control our sleep at least what time we go to bed and if we watch TV in bed. One of the worst habits for sleep we have is watching TV in bed according to Shawn Stevenson.

Sleep can become a contentious issue between married couples. Some people like me need a lot of sleep. Some people like my husband don’t seem to. There is no way I could function on the sleep he gets. Insufficient sleep increases our risk of developing obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Experts are concluding that getting enough high-quality sleep may be as important to health and well-being as nutrition and exercise.

Shawn Stevenson says sleep is actually more important than diet and exercise. He says when we don’t get enough sleep we want to eat more and when we are well-rested we burn 55 percent more fat. Does he mean if we sleep better we don’t have to watch our diet as closely?

Sleep is an investment in the energy you need to be effective tomorrow. Unknown

In his book Sleep Better 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep, he tells us to exercise in the morning even if it is only for five minutes because it will help us sleep better. He tells us we need to turn off our screens not fall asleep watching them. We should also get more sunlight and the best hours of sleep occur between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am. Studies show long-lived people are people who have gotten a lot of sleep. Our lifespan seems linked to sleep with studies showing less than six hours of sleep per night makes us 12% more likely to die prematurely than someone who sleeps eight hours.

In a sleep survey, people 100 years old or older in China were surveyed and they slept an average of 7.5 hours a day, including naps. Those with health problems were only half as likely to report quality sleep.

Sleep loss speeds up the aging process. A study done by UCLA researchers discovered that just a single night of insufficient sleep can make older adults cells age quicker.

When Shawn Stevenson wanted to publish his book Sleep Smarter he was told by his publisher to write a book on nutrition it would become a best seller. Watching him on a podcast last night he was asked by the host what is the one thing someone should change if they could only change one thing to better their health. He said they should develop positive relationships. One of the ways to do that for married couples is to get the TV out of the bedroom and keep the bedroom for sleep and sex.

My husband laughs at me for my early bedtime. My goal is to live as well as I can, as healthy and happy as I can and to control what is mine to control.

Sleeping better makes me feel better. If it also helps my body heal, replenish itself, and makes living with me easier it’s a win for both of us.

Is better sleep one of the changes we can make to be healthier, wealthier and wiser?

The importance of sleep to healthy aging is often overlooked in the medical community, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that good sleep could be a new vital sign. Robert Butler

A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for everything. Irish Proverb

Wake up with determination go to bed with satisfaction. Unknown

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Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success

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Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success  Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

Shawn Stevenson (Author, Narrator), Sara Gottfried MD – foreword (Author), Sara Gottfried (Narrator), Audible Studios (Publisher)4.6 out of 5 stars 649 ratings