Our life shows on our faces. Can we make the wrinkles be where the smiles were?

Can we make the wrinkles be where the smiles were? Our life shows on our face.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A beautiful face will age, and a perfect body will change, but a beautiful soul will always be a beautiful soul. Monik Heidi

Life is an adventure if we look at it that way, or it can be sad, lonely, and unhappy. Is the choice ours to make?

When we reach a goal we need a new one. I’m the Coordinator for our Toastmasters Speechcraft six-week series that gives people the opportunity to experience Toastmasters for a short period of time. Some people don’t have time in their life for a weekly commitment. Some people don’t want to commit to a yearly membership fee. It is a chance to have a Toastmasters experience and build some skills over a short period of time.

If you’ve never been a member of Toastmasters you will wonder how it could be fun, and for some, becomes one of the highlights of their week. It is hard to explain but being part of a group working on improvement is empowering, inspiring, and helps us to continue to improve. When we finish a project we move onto the next and this is what we must do in life.

We do move on. We never eat the same dinner twice. Change is happening every day even if we don’t acknowledge it. Last night my husband and I sat and watched a part of “My Six Hundred Pound Life” the woman wanting bariatric surgery didn’t know or didn’t acknowledge she had regained half (over fifty pounds) of the weight she had lost in her goal to be eligible for bariatric surgery. How do you not know if you’ve gained over fifty pounds? My husband and I got up and found something else to do.

The thing is we can lie to ourselves and we do it all the time. We tell ourselves it won’t matter if we skip our exercises, or we eat ice-cream instead of what we should eat. We’ll be okay if we don’t study, don’t practice the speech, don’t write today, or don’t make an effort with the ones we love.

Little things we do daily give us the life we have. It is a harsh truth but I believe successful people do things that make them successful and unsuccessful people do things that make them unsuccessful. Little things build on each other. We build our life with our habits and it isn’t big things, but little things that build on each other. Do you notice that the posture of older people is not like the posture of younger people except sometimes we see older people who have been vigilant about their posture and they appear more youthful?  Pulling in our stomachs and keeping our shoulders back is a habit.

Nothing is more beautiful than a smile that has struggled through years and tears. Unknown

I remember the father of my daughter’s tutor. He was ramrod straight and looking at him I thought, there is a disciplined man. Sometimes we had good habits and we gave them up. We should instead keep all of our good habits and continue building on those good habits throughout our lives.

What do we want to learn, achieve, accomplish that we haven’t done yet? What virtues can we aspire to? What relationships can we nurture, heal, or develop? Who can we help, inspire, and mentor? Who can we find to mentor us? No matter how much time we spend we will never be the best we can be in every area of our life. This means we can grow and develop until we die.

Don’t we love it when we meet older people who still have a sparkle in their eyes? They are willing to try new things, meet new people, share their wisdom, and encourage others. They see potential instead of problems. They instruct and encourage instead of criticizing and demeaning. When I grow old I want to be one of those old people. It is easy to focus on what is wrong, but if we focus on the possibilities of what can be, what we can do, where we do have influence instead of the things beyond our power we can make a difference in our own and other people’s lives.

What habit should we develop? What incremental change would have a compounding effect on our life? Whatever we do will compound in one direction or the other. If two sisters start off at the same weight and one loses twenty pounds and the other gains twenty pounds they now have a forty-pound weight difference. If one continues to get fit and stay at a healthy weight and one continues to gain weight we can see the compound effect in their lives. It is also evident in the other choices we make. Smiling, happy people have a different look on their face as they age than unhappy people. If our life experience shows on our face, what face do we want to have in our old age?

The face you have at twenty-five is the face God gave you, but the face you have after fifty is the face you earned. Cindy Crawford

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art. Eleanor Roosevelt

Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young. Ben Franklin

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Living a Life You Love: Embracing the Adventure of Being Led by the Holy Spirit Hardcover – April 3 2018

by Joyce Meyer  (Author)4.8 out of 5 stars 

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

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Creating good daily habits is more important than we think. Our life is built on the seemingly unimportant things we do daily.

Our life is built on the seemingly unimportant things e do daily. Creating good daily habits is more important than we think.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. John Maxwell

The kitchen makeover is almost complete. White paint now covers pink pickled oak and yellow paint has replaced the wallpaper.  The new handles haven’t arrived yet so the old ones with a little paint on them have been reinstalled. A pretty shelf liner in black and white will replace what was there before. We want to get back to eating at our table, have our utensils back in their drawers, and enjoy the sunnier and brighter kitchen we now have.

We could have done our kitchen slowly ripping off the wallpaper an hour here and an hour there. It took me a week and a half of long hours to get the wallpaper off. Getting the wallpaper off was the biggest part of the job.

When we want to make a change in our lives some things we can do quickly and some things we have to do slowly over time. A lot of us are good at the big things. We will work as hard as we need to get something done. Are we willing to daily do the things we want to change that we can’t change in a day, week, or month?

Yesterday for many of us was a day of overeating, over-drinking, and over-celebrating. We can eat and drink like that a few days a year but what if we did it daily? We might be able to do a 5k, 10k, or full marathon but we can’t do it every day. The marathon isn’t going to make us fitter and healthier.

We may dream of winning a million dollars. We can build ourselves up to millionaire status by investing over time in small amounts. The value and dividends compound over time. We might not think a small amount deposited regularly will amount to much. Haven’t we all heard about the magic of compound interest, we need to make it work for us.

Success doesn’t come from doing extraordinarily difficult things. It’s doing simple things consistently. Unknown

We often worry about our weight. We want to lose weight so we try something drastic we can’t possibly stick to over the long haul. If we adopt an eating and exercise habit we can stick to we will not see results quickly but they will compound over time. Mom’s habit of doing back exercises in bed before she gets up has paid dividends over the years. She is still doing them and she is still reaping the benefit.

Our daily habits might not seem like much, but for good or bad they will compound into something. If we eat 100 calories less than we need over time we will lose weight, if we eat 100 calories more than we need over time we will gain weight. We won’t see either of these in six months but if we keep it up which direction we are going in will be evident.

Intermittent fasting is all the rage now. I’ve adopted it myself. Eating a little later for breakfast isn’t a hardship. A twenty-four-hour fast a couple of days a week is doable. A small morning exercise routine might hardly seem worth doing. These aren’t practices that will make a huge difference immediately, but over time they lead to better health.

We may sit down and read a book at one sitting. This will not change our life. If we read ten pages or a few minutes every day, this can change our life. Small incremental changes can move us in a direction we want to go, as we keep the good habits we have and develop new ones we keep moving forward toward our goals.

We might think we need to make a grand gesture in our marriage but what if we started small? A little more respect, a little less flying off the handle at the unimportant, a peck on the cheek, a hug, an invitation to something fun? We might think we need a big holiday to put the romance back in our marriage. That might be a way of not doing the little things we can do to make things better. We have a choice to make every day, we can make things worse or we can make things better. We can be grateful for the partner we have or we can wish they would change. We can look for little ways to thank them for the things they do that bring pleasure, security, order, and fun into our lives.

It’s the little things in life that make a big difference. Sometimes they are so little we don’t see where they are leading. Is it true if we look after the little things the big things look after themselves? We have more control over the little things. If it’s true we all have more power in our lives than we think we do.

That monthly deposit into an investment plan over time will turn into something. Waiting until we have enough to invest may keep us always waiting with good intentions but not getting anywhere. We want to see the big changes in our lives but the real difference is made in our daily habits. It is in the daily things we do where we see the compound effect. Is our life compounding in the positive or negative direction?

The compound effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. Darren Hardy

Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… pays it. Albert Einstein

The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over until the compound effect kicks in. Jeff Olson

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The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success Hardcover – Sept. 15 2020

by Darren Hardy  (Author)4.7 out of 5 stars 1,793 ratings

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

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Just for today. Keep on keeping on and getting through the tough parts of life.

Keep on keeping on and getting through the tough parts of life. Just for today.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

One of the hardest parts of life is deciding whether to walk away or try harder. Unknown

Just for today, will help us get through life. Just for today, I will exercise, eat right, and be happy and positive. Just for today, I will work towards my dreams. Just for today, I will get up early and write. Just for today, I will watch what I say and not treat myself badly.

These are powerful words and they can fuel our life. Just for today, is how we can keep our resolutions, move forward toward our goals, and create progress in our lives. Just for today, is how we get through the tough times. Haven’t we all heard, “It will be a better tomorrow,” but we have to get through today?.

We all love beginnings but at some point, they turn into the hard slogging of middles. In the middle of things we might feel like giving up, it’s too hard, and it’s taking too long. If we keep telling ourselves one more day, and one more day we can get to the goal. That goal might be keeping our family intact, building a business, an eating and exercise plan, or getting more education to build a better life. Whatever we are doing and planning to do there will be days when we wish we weren’t doing it.

I’m scraping old wallpaper off my kitchen walls, today is the fifth day and I might be half-done. My son took pictures of our old kitchen and I thought it photographed well. What if I don’t like painted white cabinets and yellow walls as much as what I had? The kitchen is 28 years old it’s time to refresh it. As I scrape the wallpaper I have the TV on.

Nothing good comes cheaply so we shouldn’t be surprised when we meet the hard while going for the best. Hard times are not quit times. Terry Mark

Last night a show was on about a woman who is an Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor, it was an interesting uplifting show and all about “Just for Today.” The Sponsee has been sober for 84 days, the longest period of sobriety she’s achieved. It’s Christmas, she wants to see her daughter, but she ruined last Christmas for her daughter and everyone else. Her mother won’t let her see her daughter; she’s staying with her sponsor so she won’t relapse. The Sponsor tells her to text her mother and thank her for all she’s done.

Christmas morning the Sponsee’s mother texts her and tells her she can face-time with her daughter opening presents. She is now 85 days sober. Just for today can get us through the hard parts of life.

We need to live our life one day at a time. If we do, we might amaze ourselves at what we accomplish. I’ve published 676 blog posts, and I did it one day at a time. If I had to come up with 676 topics I couldn’t do it, but every day I could come up with something. At blog post 500 I cut my posts to two per week. It is sitting down in the morning at my writing desk and writing that makes it happen. I sit down every morning but the other mornings I write my novel.

Julia Cameron author of “The Artist’s Way,” in her book “The Writing Diet,” says we should write ourselves right-size. She believes writing can heal our life, she recommends morning pages where we write about whatever comes into our head. I’ve journalled all of my adult life and I believe it has made a huge difference. Journalling helps us get through today, it helps us take a look at our lives from a different perspective, and it helps us understand our journey.

Just for today does not mean we should put up with anything. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t change things, but it does give us time to get through the hard slogging of middles to decide if we really want to take another path, what that path is, and get equipped for that journey.

What can we do, just for today?

Facing up to things, working through them, that’s what makes you strong. Sarah Dessen

In the end, I’m the only one who can give my children a happy mother who loves life. Janene Wolsey Baadsgard

Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong. Muhammad Ali

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The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size by [Julia Cameron]

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by Julia Cameron  (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

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

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Passion and purpose. The kindness of strangers and making a difference.

The kindness of strangers and making a difference. Passion and purpose.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. Maya Angelou

Don’t we love it when we meet people who are passionate about their work? We spend so much of our time doing whatever it is that gives us our daily bread we should enjoy it. We might be a hairdresser, lawyer, plumber, mechanic, supermarket clerk, or counter person at a coffee shop.

Our interactions with people impact those we interact with, and they impact us. We short change ourselves when we don’t bring passion and purpose to our work because we still need to do it, why not enjoy it, and do it cheerfully. We don’t know the impact we can have on someone’s life or that they can have on ours.

This morning I have a comment on my blog from an Indy author I met on Good Reads from England. She read my book and left a lovely review on Good Reads. She wasn’t able to leave one on Amazon because Amazon doesn’t want authors trading reviews. They want reviews from readers who are just readers. I get what they are trying to do. If you want a thought-provoking good read look up her book “Fairytales Don’t Come True” by Laura Lyndhurst available on Amazon. For some reason, you need to type in her name first, and then the title for it to show up.

Yesterday I was listening to Church of the Rock out of Winnipeg pastored by Mark Hughes and he was talking about passion and how the people who have passion in their work prosper. We are attracted to people with passion. Is it easier to have a passion for our work when… What is the when? If we can’t find passion in our work, the when may never happen.

On FaceBook my brother posted a photo of the house of the year in Japan for 2017 that he helped build. No one gets to help build “House of the Year” without putting passion into all the other houses they helped build. We don’t get to say “I’ll really put everything into this one because it’s important.” We don’t know who we meet that will be important in our life. Who we meet that can help us further up the ladder of life, or who we may be able to help on their journey.

The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives knowledge of the world and experiences of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination. Elizabeth Hardwick

At our Toastmasters International Speech Contest on Thursday one of the contestants spoke about the kindness of strangers and how they helped her in her life and how she pays it forward by helping others. We can all help others in small and big ways. They say the more we give the more we get. Give kindness, to get kindness, give encouragement to get encouragement, and give money so we will get more money. I must say the last one is tough for me. Some people are extremely generous but I don’t put myself in that category. It is something I am working on. Many books I have read on money and finances tell us if we can’t give when we make a little, we will not be able to give when we make a lot. It makes sense to me.

They say when we give our children their allowance we should let them know some of it is to be given to others. We must give it cheerfully and whether we give it and people know we gave, or we give anonymously we gave out of our abundance which means we have an abundance, and isn’t that something to celebrate?

Are we making a difference in our own lives by making a difference in someone else’s? Are we living with passion and purpose?

Enjoy the journey and try to get better every day. And don’t lose the passion and the love for what you do. Nadia Comaneci

If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it. Wanda Sykes

Our lack of forgiveness makes us hate, and our lack of compassion makes us hard-hearted. Pride in our hearts makes us resentful and keeps our memory in a constant whirlwind of passion and self-pity. Mother Angelica

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A Greater Passion: Lessons on Living Large in Life and Love by [Mark Hughes]

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? Paperback – Large Print, Aug. 29 2020

by Belynda Wilson Thomas  (Author)5.0 out of 5 stars 3 ratings

Today is the first day of the rest of our life. We get to choose what we do with it. Will we choose gratitude, joy, and love?

Will we choose gratitude, joy, and love? Today is the first day of the rest of our life. We get to choose what we do with it.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality in the mind next to honor. Aristotle

Today is the first day of the rest of our life. That statement may mean different things to different people. To me, it means opportunities are here and what we do with them is up to us.

We are fortunate if we have loved ones we can spend time with even if that time is over the internet or phone. It is nice to get together but we are fortunate to be able to connect with others without meeting in person. We are able to move around the world and stay in touch.

Just because we live in the same area does not mean we are close. It takes effort to stay in touch with people by phone or by visiting them. If we are lucky we have a close loving family regardless of how far apart we are in miles.

They say we have the life we have today because of the decisions we’ve made and the actions we’ve taken. This is good news, it means we can change things if we want to. It means we can make things better where we are. We may realize that the life we have is not the life we dreamed of, but better in ways we couldn’t conceive of and that didn’t seem important, but are incredibly important and rewarding.

We always have choices to make, are we living our own life and making happen what we want to happen or are we waiting for permission? Who is going to give us permission to do the things we want to do? Who will tell us it’s okay to write our book because? It’s okay to start that business, learn to paint, sing, dance, or play an instrument? Whatever it is we’ve longed to do, there comes a point where it is now or never.

I chastise myself all the time why didn’t I start blogging and publishing my writing back in …. I have a lot of years I can go back to. There was always a reason in my own mind that made sense. Where will I get the time? It isn’t about the time; it’s how we use the time. Daniel Steele had 7 children and has written 179 books. Obviously, it is possible to raise children and write at the same time.

We have seasons in our life and I may be happier being a new writer at my age than being an accomplished writer at my age. There is so much to look forward to, there is so much to accomplish instead of already having accomplished it. This may be the gift of being a late bloomer, finding a new passion, or finally getting to the passion we’ve always had.

I know that people only do what they know to do. Not what they say they know, not what they think they should know… People do only what they know how to do. So I have patience. I pray that people will have patience with themselves and learn more. Maya Angelou

Often times we are hard on ourselves because we aren’t… We aren’t someone else and we will never be someone else, we are us, we have gifts, we have things we can do, and we have what we have done. We need to be like flowers in the garden where we all bloom but we are not wishing we are the rose if we are the sunflower or the peony if we are the bluebell. What if we are not a flower, we may be the oak tree or the grass.

We can all be a blessing to someone. Can we love and encourage, inspire, and make someone’s life better? In our corner of the world can we do the best we can? We cannot all do great things, but can we all do things with great love?

Everyone has inside them a piece of good news. The good news is you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is. Anne Frank

Press on – nothing can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Perseverance and determination alone are omnipotent. Calvin Coolidge

Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known. Garrison Keillor

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The Power Of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness Paperback – Dec 26 2017

by Emily Esfahani-Smith  (Author)4.4 out of 5 stars 270 ratings


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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? Paperback – Large Print, Aug. 29 2020

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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

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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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos  Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

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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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? Paperback – Large Print, Aug. 29 2020

by Belynda Wilson Thomas (Author)


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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)

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

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

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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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Zest: How to Squeeze the Max out of Life Kindle Edition

by Andy Cope (Author), Gavin Oattes (Author), Will Hussey (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

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