Building character, building our lives and making things better where we are inside our circle of influence.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The place to begin building any relationship is inside ourselves, inside our circle of influence, our own character. Stephen Covey

How much time do we spend worrying about things we can’t change or will never happen? For sure we need to be able to deal with things when they happen and some of the things we have to deal with are what we’ve never worried about. Because we’ve never worried about them we don’t know what they are until they come upon us and we deal with them the best we can.

Some of us worry about the things we don’t need to worry about so much we ruin the good things we have in our life. Are we making the most of the present – the gift that is given to us each day? With a seven-month-old grandson, we are more aware of each day because watching him grow and change is a daily experience. It is more noticeable when he is seven months old but the present is a gift every day of our lives.

Some day we won’t be able to have coffee with the person we’ll share a coffee with today because circumstances change and things we take for granted are no longer there to be enjoyed, or taken for granted. One day my daughter, her husband, and their son will move and we won’t see them every day. If we are lucky and they don’t move too far away visits will be often. We don’t know how things will unfold and need to enjoy these golden moments while they are here.

I’m not sure I realized the magnitude of my decision to leave home at seventeen. If I had, maybe I wouldn’t have had the courage to go. Maybe I would have stayed in the same province or a closer one. My life would be completely different. We need to make the best of where we are. People are mostly the same wherever we go; how we treat them impacts how they treat us.

In order to live a fulfilled life, do not focus on the size of your audience; focus instead on leaving an impact on the circle of influence God has given you. Rosalie Mugidde Wamambe

I say this not because I am widely traveled or because my circle is so large, but because I believe we all want the same things in life. We want to love and be loved, we want to be appreciated, we want to contribute, and we want to live in peace and plenty.

I am guilty of feeling the government isn’t making the right decisions when I have no idea what the right decision would be. The people who have to make the tough decisions can go from hero to zero and back again. We can spend our time nitpicking about everything, or we can focus on the big picture, but most of what we should focus on is what we can do where we are, within our little or big circle of influence.

If we can’t figure out how to have peace in our families, how do we think we can figure out how to have peace in the world? If we can’t figure out the economy of our family’s budget how do we think we could figure out how to run the budget of a city, province, or country?

It isn’t easy to stay in our circle of influence. The more questions I ask the fewer answers I have.

No matter how old we become, we can acquire knowledge and use it. We can gather wisdom and profit from it. We can grow and progress and improve and, in the process, strengthen the lives of those within our circle of influence. Gordon B. Hinckley

The Genius Pattern = Thy will be done with my talents with my circles of influence with the opportunities that are laid out in front of me to bless the world. Robert G. Allen

That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong. T. Scott Fitzgerald

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

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

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

Other people’s business may seem more interesting than our own, but we are still better off minding our own.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

My mom taught me a lot. A lot about minding your own business and leaving other people’s business alone. And let them think what they want. Ray Charles

Are we meddlers, do we just need to get in there and fix things that aren’t our business, and yet we leave things that are our business unfixed? I hate to admit it but I fall into this category. I just want to make sure everything works out for everyone, but people can and should make their own plans, and make sure their schedules don’t clash. What am I doing in the middle?

If this person shows up at this place at the same time as another person, there will be a clash, and we don’t want that to happen. But, if we aren’t part of the proceedings maybe we should stay out of it. We tell ourselves that, but it is hard to stay out of other people’s business. We think a little advice here, a point of interest there. I found a cute little quote. “Hey, I found your nose. It was in my business again.”

Do we have our business in such order that we can mind someone else’s business? Wouldn’t that energy be better looking after our own business? How far does letting people look after their own business go? Where does helping those who need help, sometimes when they don’t want our help come into play?

What is the point where our business stops and someone else’s begins as a family, society, country, and world? What would my life look like if I really minded my own business in the extreme sense?

When we try to help the homeless aren’t we minding their business? When we try to help addicts? When we get into abortion debates, isn’t that someone else’s business? What if we took extreme ownership of our own lives and left others to take extreme ownership of theirs? Would our society be better, or worse?

This life is mine alone. So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been. Glendon Doyle

Another cute little quote, “Don’t worry about what I’m doing. Worry about why you’re worried about what I’m doing.” It’s a good question, why are we so worried about what other people are doing? Are we complicating what should be a simple life by getting into other people’s business?

Are we doing our best to live the best life we can with dignity, honesty, truth, and gratitude for what we have and not envying others for what they have? If we are keeping our relationships as free from drama as we can, making sure we can look after our own affairs as long as possible, isn’t that a worthy goal? We can’t fix other people’s problems and often our help is not wanted, appreciated, or accepted. If we look after our life and deal with our problems when they are as small as possible we may impact other people’s lives in a good way because at least our problems don’t get inflicted on them.

Mom has done well to stay out of everyone’s business. She offers advice if asked and listens when we want to talk, and has minded her own business so she is not a burden on anyone. I try, but I don’t think I mind my business and stay out of other people’s business as well as Mom and Dad did.

Taking extreme ownership of their lives was what earlier generations had to do. If they didn’t make something happen in their lives no one else was going to do it. We can learn a lot from earlier generations, from reading books of wisdom and taking a long view of where our decisions are taking us.

Do we find other people’s business more interesting than our own?

One never gets a second chance to make a first impression, but remember first impression is not the last chance to make a good impression. Unknown

The biggest fool is the one who minds the business of others rather than minding his very own. Unknown

A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business. Eric Hoffer

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

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

Thank you to everyone that reads my books, and a special thank you to those that leave a review on Good Reads 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.

Are we living in rhythm with the seasons? Are we in sync with the season of life we are in?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. Maya Angelou

This was a glorious fall weekend perfect for getting out and enjoying walks, fall fairs, and spending time outside. When we live in a four-season climate we know that winter is coming and that means we must take advantage of the good weather while we have it.

The squirrels are busy getting ready for winter and we need to be busy too. I’ve never lived in anything but a four-season climate and even though I hate to see summer come to a close there is beauty in every season. Autumn in all its splendor is something to behold.

We never know if we have another beautiful fall weekend coming or if the one we just experienced is the last one where we can walk with a light jacket or no jacket at all. Last Thursday evening two friends and I got together to celebrate a birthday and we brought out our winter coats for the first time. I was sure it was cold enough to kill the tomatoes but they are hanging on, I might get to pick a few more in the days to come.

Time is moving on, it waits for no one and we need to make the most of the time we have. We can’t go for a walk in the sunshine when we want to; we have to take that walk when the sun is shining. There are seasons in life and we have to work with the seasons, we can’t manipulate the seasons to our will. We may wish it were different but we still have to plant in the spring and reap in the fall. It wouldn’t do me much good to be planting my tomatoes now.

We may wish we didn’t have to do things in their time, it isn’t always convenient. If we live with the rhythm of life instead of going against the rhythm life will work better for us. Are we living fully in the rhythm of life, are we making the most of the season we are in? I watch our daughter with her six-month-old son; she is fully engaged in full-time mothering. I am enjoying my role and it is so much easier to be a grandma than to be a mother.

When the rhythm of life changes – dance to the new beat! Unknown

Had I not had my son and daughter when I had them it would be impossible now.  It is hard for women to find time for motherhood when the pressure to excel in careers and make the most of the opportunities in front of them is so pushed in our culture. Isn’t creating a family one of the best things we do in our lives? Time to create a family takes away from earning money, but what are we earning all the money for if we don’t have a family? Is it just to have a better car, travel to more exotic places, eat at better restaurants, and buy more expensive clothes?

I might not like to admit it, but I am in the fall of my life. It is time for reaping, and being a grandma is one of the rewards. There is beauty in every season, and if we are in rhythm with the season of our lives will we be happier than if we are out of rhythm with the season we are in? Women and men have to live with the natural rhythms of life, but women have to be more in tune with the rhythms of their life. We might think it isn’t fair but it is what it is.

Are we living in rhythm with the seasons of life?

Life is a dance of time and energy. Keeping the two in good rhythm is the beauty of life. Sadhguru

The rhythm of life is intricate but orderly, tenacious but fragile. To keep that in mind is to build the key to survival. Shirley Hufstedler

The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life. B.K.S. Iyengar

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

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

Thank you for reading my books, and a special thank you to those that leave a review on Goodreads or 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.

Choices we make create the life we have. If we want a better life we need to make better choices.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The best way to prepare for death is to live life to its fullest. John Bytheway

This week I’ve finally gotten back to the gym. I didn’t think it would take this long but I’ve done some morning exercises and even though it isn’t much, working out at the gym wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, and I wasn’t as sore as I expected.

The lesson learned is a little bit of exercise will do more for us than we think. A little bit of everything that is good for us will probably do more for us than we think, the flip side is a little bit of what is bad for us will do more for us than we think as well.

We replace our bad habits with good habits and we feel good, we pat ourselves on the back because life is going in a good direction. If we start replacing our good habits with bad ones our lives can slip in ways we never thought they would and they slip quickly.

Another birthday is rolling around and I can’t believe how high the number is getting but if everyone around me is getting older how could I not be as well? The girls at the gym are so young, and slim, it’s a new set from when I last went in March of 2020.

How many people will never go to a gym again because they quit in 2020 when everything shut down? How many people have better lives than they had then because they’ve taken stock and made some changes? How many marriages haven’t survived? How many families suffered in countless ways? How many looked at their lives and saw changes they needed to make and are making them and reaping rewards they never thought they could reap? We need to embrace change throughout our lives. We may love certain times of our lives more than other times but we never get them again. We have to create new lovely times to enjoy.

Keep moving forward. It’s the way to live life. Leo Martin Ganace

Our grandson is no longer an infant; he’s already six months old and already eating solid food. Time doesn’t wait for us and what some people have accomplished in the same years I’ve had, amazes me. We think we’d do so much better if we got a do-over, what if that’s not the way to look at it? What if the way to look at it is, I’m here, and it’s okay, but it could be better? How can I make it better? What could I do now, with what I have to make tomorrow, next year, five, and even ten and twenty years down the future better? Who can we help, who can we encourage, and who can we inspire?

Are we all we could be? What could we do if we knew we couldn’t fail? What if we tried and failed, would it be so bad, or would our life be elevated by trying? It’s not missing the mark that is so bad; it’s not having a mark to miss. We need an aim, there are times in my life when I’ve been aimless and it wasn’t good. Sometimes I think we get the idea that to have a better life we need to demolish everything in the one we have and start over. It might be true sometimes but most of the time we need to work with what we have. Do we really think a new husband or wife won’t bring their own baggage, the baggage we won’t like, and won’t know what to do with? Maybe the baggage we have is enough and if we deal with it, we can be surprised by what we can make of the life we have, right here, right now.

This is why I love Jordan Peterson’s books, “12 Rules for Life, and Beyond Order” they are about dealing with what we have, where we are, and taking up a load that is good for us and society. He tells us being responsible is more important than chasing happiness and will give us a greater sense of accomplishment. I think he’s right, love is a verb, not a feeling, and sometimes we want the feeling but not the work. Joyce Meyer tells us everyone can find someone to love because everyone needs love. She doesn’t mean someone who will love us, she means someone we can pour our love onto in ways that make their life better. A kind word and a smile as we go about our day can encourage others and make us feel better. Helping out at a homeless shelter, food bank, or animal shelter will uplift our lives.

Are there choices we could be making that would elevate our lives? We sometimes think big choices are more important, but is it the small choices we make every day that might make the most difference in our lives?

We make a living by what we get. But we make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill

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

Whatever good things we build end up building us. Jim Rohn

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

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

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

Choosing our attitude will help us endure to the end. Gratitude will help us enjoy the journey.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

I choose to make the rest of my life the best of my life. Louise Hay

I’ve been listening to Joyce Meyer while I paint. One of the things I like about her is she talks about what she has gone through, the lessons she’s learned along the way, and how we each have lessons to learn all the time.

I’ve written before how I believe faith gives us strength to draw on that if we didn’t have faith what would we draw on? Where would we find the strength when we feel we don’t have the power to go on?

Assisted suicide will be available to the severely depressed by next year in Canada if the reports I’m hearing are correct. I worry some people; especially young people with depression might give up on life, themselves, and the probability that they have better days ahead.

We know people who profess a deep belief in God also face depression so it is not that finding faith in something greater than ourselves is the answer, but one of the passages that Mom and Dad talked about the most was that we must, “Endure to the end.”

Why would it be important to endure to the end if in the enduring we weren’t to learn things we might not learn any other way? Joyce Meyer endured sexual abuse by her father and now says she wonders if part of her having to endure that is so she can help others who have had to endure it. She said she used to think, “If only I hadn’t been sexually abused.”

We have to be careful when we use, “if only,” we could have done, been, accomplished, believed, achieved, or aimed at something better than what we have. We are who we are, we are where we are, and we’ve experienced what we’ve experienced, we can’t change the past but we can go forward and examine each choice we have to make, and decide to make the most positive choice we are capable in that moment.

We won’t be perfect and the choice that seemed best might not turn out to be the best, and we have to live with that and forgive ourselves. Sometimes we have to face life going forward knowing some of the things we enjoyed most in life are behind us. If we can find the faith to know that there are still things ahead that will bring us joy, and make our hearts sing even if we don’t know what they are yet we can continue to take the next step and the one after that.

We see our life when we look backward, but we can’t see our life going forward. Going forward is always a leap of faith. We might need faith as we start a marriage, family, new job, business, or retirement. We may need to move to a new locale and leave behind all we’ve known for years. We may be the partner left behind because of death or divorce. Changes to our health may mean we can’t live the life we thought we could live.

If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present. Lao Tzu

Today I am going back to the gym. I can’t believe it has taken me this long, but it is hard to fit things back into our lives once we’ve moved something into that time slot, even if it is just sitting in front of the TV after dinner. In preparation, I made a big dinner last night so we would have leftovers tonight. My plan is to go right after work before I settle into something else and with dinner made I have no excuse.

We may think about how to fit exercise into our life. But, at a certain age, if we don’t make time to keep ourselves fit and healthy, we won’t end up fit and healthy in our later years. When I look at Joyce Meyer I think there is a woman that is aging well, and she says she has been going to the gym for eleven years. This means she didn’t start going to the gym until she was probably in her sixties.

If we don’t have an active life we will have to bring activity into our lives in some way, because inactivity is not conducive to healthy aging. The more we do, the more we can do, and we may look back at things we thought we couldn’t do and wonder why we even thought it would be a challenge. This might be dealing with a difficult person, dealing with a physical challenge, making a change in our lives, or accepting a change we didn’t want. Whatever we are facing we have to go through it. If we go through it believing we can make the best of it, learn some lessons, and find the strength to face even greater challenges as we forge on in life we will have a better life than if we face everything with a poor attitude.

The best or the worst ahead of us may be up to how we look at things, and the attitude we bring to our lives.

In life, we tend to get what we expect. Start expecting the best for yourself. Since life is a do-it-yourself project, why not also believe in miracles? You have the freedom of choice. Why not expect miracles to occur in your life? Change your thinking to change your life. To do this write your goals, work hard, be smart, and expect the best. Make miracles happen. Mark F. LaMour

Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion, you’re wasting your life. Jackie Robinson

Look at what you’ve got and make the best of it. It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. 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, joy, and love.

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

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

The art of living well, aging well, and dying well are all one.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Today is the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be again. Unknown

Aging in place is getting thrown around like it’s a new thing. Most people have lived at home or with relatives until they died and nursing homes are relatively new.

If we are lucky we will get old, and if we are really lucky we won’t live past the time we can take care of ourselves. Living in our own home is now called aging in place. A huge segment of the population is getting to the years where health decline can put them in a nursing home. We may not be able to eliminate the possibility of needing nursing care but we can make it less likely if we keep ourselves healthy, active, and engaged in life.

Frailty is one of the big problems we will need to combat if we want to age well. We need to eat well and be active most days of the week and not become too thin as we age. If we unintentionally lose ten pounds or more in a year this can be a sign of increasing frailty. Exercise like walking and weight training will help keep our muscles strong even if we can only do a small amount. If we do as much as we can for as long as we can, we will be able to do more, longer.

We got Mom a walker and it is giving her increased mobility as it stabilizes her more than a cane, it has a seat so she can rest, which enables her to walk a little farther to build up her stamina. Some people don’t like using the aids we can take advantage of, but it is better to use the aids and stay active than to not use the aids and become inactive.

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

A positive attitude, keeping our mind active and engaging with other people, hobbies, reading, and staying in touch with family and friends will help to stave off the ravages of age. The more we do, the more we can continue to do.

Diet and exercise are important throughout our lives and remain important as we age. Aging well is in fact living well, which in turn may impact dying well.

If we want to stay in our homes longer we may need to think about what our needs will be as we age. Will we be able to create a barrier-free environment if it is needed?

When Mom bought the home she is in she looked for one that is barrier-free. It is not a senior’s complex but it has a level entry and everything she needs is on one floor. The basement is finished and she can still go up and down the stairs unaided but she doesn’t need to go downstairs for anything if it gets difficult. She is close to stores, banks, and other services.

Sometimes we would like to pretend we don’t have to prepare for old age, but unless we die young we will have to prepare for it, and the better we prepare for it the more choices we will have.

We will have to accept what life has in store for us, but we also have choices to make that will impact how we age.

The art of living well and the art of dying well are one. Epicurus

Aging is just another word for living. Cindy Joseph

Getting old is like climbing a mountain; you get a little out of breath, but the view is much better. Ingrid Bergman

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

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

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

Living a life of joy and wonder. Is living the good life seeing the joy and wonder around us while we deal with what is?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

There is joy and wonder everywhere when you see the world through the eyes of a child. Unknown

Last night on the news they featured a seventy-one-year-old woman at her art show. She’s been painting for thirty years and her paintings are beautiful intricate florals and the longer you look the more depth there is to see.

Many artists got started late and became well-known artists, but it isn’t about becoming well-known artists. It’s about building a life that works for us. Finding our voice as a person, artist, gardener, singer, and living with passion and purpose. In two hundred years no one will know who most of us were. We will be remembered by our children, grandchildren, and if we are lucky great-grandchildren.

If we live fully by developing our talents and interests so we live a more creative and interesting life isn’t that the goal? Painting is a way to say things we may not know how to put into words. We can paint our worries, passion, hopes, fears, and dreams. No one may know the significance of the painting and may wonder what is behind it, but they may still find something that moves them. No passion in the artist, no passion in the viewer.

Last night we watched the movie Ode to Joy, the protagonist cannot feel strong emotions or he passes out, and joy is the emotion that causes him the most problems. This condition is called cataplexy and brings on brief bouts of muscle weakness or paralysis when experiencing strong emotions. He devises all sorts of ways to keep from experiencing joy, and it isn’t just his joy, but seeing the joy of parents with their children is especially challenging for him.

He thinks he has to live a boring life, but in the end, his brother tells him he doesn’t have to live a boring life devoid of joy and love; he just has to be willing to deal with the consequences this brings him.

Fainting at the sight of a baby, a beautiful painting, or at your sister’s wedding, or perhaps at your own would be unbelievably challenging. Life is much more challenging for some people than it is for others, but we each must find a way to deal with the challenges that come into our lives.  

Love is the joy of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the Gods. Plato

Are we choosing a life of joy? Do we see the joy on the faces of parents and feel a swell of happiness? Are we touched by works of art, movies, books, sunsets, and sunrises? When we walk in the woods does it feed our soul? When we hold our children or grandchildren does our heart swell with joy?

Being a grandma is one of the great joys in life. It is a double joy because we see the joy of our children with their children. The circle of life continues and our legacy is in the flesh.

Even if we don’t experience the joy of parenthood or grandparenthood we can experience a small part of the joy when we see the joy and wonder babies and children bring with them.

She found joy and wonder in every little thing. And joy and wonder always found her. Katrina Mayer

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain. Joseph Campbell

The special life is where the ordinary becomes extraordinary, the natural becomes miraculous, the every day becomes unique. Finding the magic and wonder within nature is the most assured means by which children rediscover the joy of life. Shmuley Boteach

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

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

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

The happiness of pursuit not the pursuit of happiness gives us a better chance of being happy.

If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor. Eleanor Roosevelt

The happiness of pursuit not the pursuit of happiness gives us a better chance of being happy. Don’t we find happiness in small moments when we are busy doing something else, especially when we are doing something for others? The more focused our lives are on us and only us the less happiness we are likely to experience.

Of course, I could be completely wrong on this. I look at new mothers who have never had their lives be less about themselves, but they look full of joy. I may be romanticizing motherhood like it needs more romanticizing, but it is what I see now as a grandma, and what I saw when my friends, sisters, and I were in the throes of motherhood.

You don’t become happy by pursuing happiness. You become happy by living a life that means something. Harold S. Kushner

There is no purpose in life like that of motherhood and fatherhood. Raising the next generation is no small thing. This does not mean I think every unhappy young couple should have a baby like that will bring them closer and heal their hurts. It does however bring a new dimension to your life you get no other way.

I listened to Matthew McConaughey talking about how men are never as masculine as when they just become a father. This is when they will get some of their best inspiration about what to do to build a better life for their family.

It is a shame to see young families that can’t get through the struggle and stay together. Once your family fractures you never get to put all the pieces back together again. Yesterday, we went for a lovely walk with our daughter and her four-month-old son, our son and his wife, and my husband and me. On the walk, my husband’s sister called, she was dropping by with her granddaughter that turns nine today. I had pasta sauce in the freezer and invited everyone for an impromptu dinner, which turned out lovely.

I picked up a book and cupcakes for the birthday girl, her grandma is taking her to Wonderland today and she’s excited about that. My grandson’s great grandma came; we had a lovely evening filled with laughter and the warm glow of being together as a family.

Life is about moments and some of the impromptu ones turn out to be the best. I went to bed filled with joy, gratitude, and happiness. Our grandson has brought joy into our lives we didn’t know was missing. On Saturday my husband and I watched him while our daughter and son-in-law went out to dinner for their fourth anniversary. Where has the time gone? I was proud of us that the house was quiet when they got home, their son asleep in his crib.

My daughter feels bad if she comes home from the gym and he’s crying. Tears are part of motherhood, but they dry up quickly when he is back in her arms. We build our lives with the decisions we make, with the actions we take, and we deal with life as it unfolds. We don’t know how life will unfold for any of us. We have to be willing to make the best of the situations we find ourselves in; we will have to revise our plans and goals.

The happiness of pursuit is a quest to fill our lives with a sense of purpose. Is there any pursuit more worthy of pursuit than a happy family? Is there anything that will bring us more joy, especially in our later years when we look back over our lives and think about what we could have done differently? If we have a legacy of happy children and grandchildren building their lives, does it get better than that?

The happiest people do not necessarily have the best things. They simply appreciate the things they have. Warren Buffett

Happiness is not a reward – it is a consequence. Suffering is not a punishment – it is a result. Robert Green Ingersoll

People with many interests live, not only the longest, but the happiest. George Matthew Allen

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

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

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

Forgiveness unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. Break the chains of bitterness and selfishness.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. Lewis B. Smedes

I watched a video on painting and the instructor was painting a face. He toned the canvas to the medium color and then added the darkest darks, followed by the next darkest and the next. He was leaving the lights to paint another day. The painting took shape as he added the darks, and would take even more shape as he added the lights.

If we live our lives in the middle it doesn’t take much to give us a full well-rounded rich life. If we are off too far in the highs or too far in the lows of life, it can be hard to bring our lives into balance.

One of the reasons to bring art into our life is to capture the meaning, the essence of what we are drawing or painting. Sometimes we add meaning by what we add and sometimes we add meaning by what we leave out. We might find we can draw when we can’t write, and sing when we can’t speak. When we find a way to give voice to what is inside of us it deepens our lives and helps us deal with what is going on in our lives.

These may become works of art that someone else enjoys. A song that gets played, art that gets hung, but it is just as useful if it is only for our own healing, for expressing our desires, feelings, emotions, and longings. We may pour our creativity into a garden and serve up love on a plate with the bounty from that garden. Cooking is creative and one of the most useful ways of using our creativity to nurture our bodies and the bodies of those around us.

Is there any more lovely way to spend time with others than over food lovingly prepared? The warm glow of family and friends around us. Happy families are not without their issues, and unhappy families are not without their joy. The best we can do is forgive others as we would like to be forgiven, know even when people hurt us often they didn’t mean to, they weren’t even thinking about us as they did whatever they did we take exception to.

A phone call may go unreturned; someone may say, well I won’t be at dinner if they are. Don’t sit me at the same table as them. We can get bitter and twisted and have a hard time even explaining what all the angst is about.

Wouldn’t it be better to put all that angst and bitterness on a canvas even if one slashes it a few times with a knife and get all the vitriol out of our soul onto the canvas? Carrying around vitriol and bitterness is not good for us; we need to let it go for our sake, not the other person.

Gratitude is the antidote to bitterness and resentment. M.J. Ryan

Instead, perhaps we can give thanks for what we have, for the moments today will present us with that will never come again. Those moments that hurt us, should be over, we should let them go, so we have room in our hearts to create new experiences, memories, and moments. Can we let moments of anger be like the thunder when it is over a bright new day dawns, or are we going to live our lives as if the thunder is forever crashing, and lightning forever ripping up our skies? It is of course our choice how we live our lives. Is our choice, forgiveness, and peace on one hand, or bitterness on the other?

Things happen to people that seem unforgivable, yet some people do forgive and go forward without bitterness. They could be bitter and twisted but they are not, they look for the good in people and situations and make the best of the hand they are dealt. What if becoming bitter and hard-hearted is the worst thing we do to ourselves? We put ourselves in a prison but we could let ourselves out of it any time we choose.

Holding a grudge doesn’t make you strong; it makes you bitter. Forgiving doesn’t make you weak; it sets you free. Unknown

They caused the first wound, but you are causing the rest; this is what not forgiving does. They got it started, but you keep it going. Forgive and let go, or it will eat you alive. You think they made you feel this way, but when you won’t forgive, you are the one inflicting pain on yourself. Bryant McGill

Though I was unaware of it at the time, that simple act of forgiveness was the beginning of an entirely new level of experiencing life for me. Wayne Dyer

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

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

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

Smile and spread joy, feed your soul with creativity and enjoy the life you have.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. J.R.R. Tolkien

This has been a fun weekend and it was topped off by a chat with my cousin whose husband came out to watch the Blue Jays. She thought he might want to give us a call but he was busy doing what he should do, see the sights of Niagara Falls, the CN tower, and whatever else he could fit in. A friend on Saturday night said her family went on a speed boat ride close to the falls and it was fantastic. Sounds like fun, I’d love to do it.

There are so many things to see and do. We just have to get out and see and do them. Some are expensive but there is a lot to enjoy even on a budget. Are we the type of people to enjoy simple adventures, and the occasional extraordinary ones? Are we looking to get as much fun out of our days as we can? The more we put into life the more we get out of it. The more fun we have with other people the more fun they have with us.

Watching our four-month-old grandson brings home the point you don’t need anything to be happy, and you can have everything and be unhappy. Mostly he is filled with joy and he spreads it wherever he goes. Such is the power of babies. Being able to see the world through a child’s eyes is a gift. It is wonderful to experience things as he experiences them, and this will be one of the great joys as he sees and experiences new things, we will again experience them in a new way.

Babies are like little suns that, in a magical way, bring warmth, happiness, and light into our lives. Unknown

George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” At the end of our chat yesterday my cousin sent a photo of a sunset she painted and on it, she wrote the quote, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. C.S. Lewis. She says putting colors on paper makes her feel real joy and is so much fun. This is what creativity does for us, and it is something that we bring into our lives to feed our souls. We aren’t sitting on the sidelines waiting for…

The more we are able to entertain ourselves with creative pursuits instead of waiting to be entertained the better it is for us. We will have more to share with others, and as we get older we will be less needy and lonely. For many people what we have been through has been very lonely and heartbreaking. But those who have kept creative I bet have fared the best.

We can’t put a smile on anyone’s face but our own, but a smile on our face may help someone else put a smile on theirs, and they in turn may inspire another smile. This is how we can spread joy, one smile at a time.

Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get. H. Jackson Brown Jr

Kids, take such joy in the little things. We should too. Unknown

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill

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

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

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