What makes happiness and meaning? Life isn’t a dress rehearsal. We only go this way once. Are we living our life the best way we know how? We won’t be perfect; can we do the best we can?

Are we living our life doing the best we know how to do? We won't be perfect; can we do the best we can? What makes happiness and meaning? Life isn't a dress rehearsal.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life. Albert Camus

Last night was another great night at Toastmasters. It is a positive, grateful group and it makes me more positive and grateful to be part of it. We are influenced by the company we keep, and when we have positive groups to belong to they make our lives better.

One of the things we have available to us through YouTube is positive speakers on every subject. If there is something we want to learn about chances are someone is talking about it.

We all want to be significant but Victor Frankl warned about spending our life searching for meaning. When we search for something it means we don’t have it.

Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue. Victor Frankl

If we are not to pursue happiness and success how will we ever get it? What we really want to find is meaning according to Victor Frankl. We can find meaning by connecting ourselves to something greater.

We may pursuit knowledge, commit to caring for others through volunteer work, dedicate ourselves to our families, pursuit being of service to the world and to others and somewhere in this we may find meaning, purpose, joy, and happiness. If we seek beauty, love, justice, contribution, connection, we may find meaning and happiness. If we seek meaning and happiness are we likely to find beauty, love, justice, contribution, or connection? All of these may seem so insignificant because of our greater search for meaning and happiness we discard as unworthy all the avenues that could give us meaning and happiness.

We need to do what is important in our life not because they will bring us meaning and happiness but because they are important in their own right. If meaning and happiness find us as we are busy doing the next important thing we get an extra bonus. Realizing we are experiencing moments of meaning and happiness amidst our daily life are like sparks of light in our life.

We may not appreciate the sparks of light when everything around us is light, they may only be reflected back to us in the darkness. This may be why some of the most profound words written are written by those who have endured hardship, not lived lives of ease.

This is probably why we would never choose our hardships and times of pain, but when we look back we wouldn’t want to give back the gifts we got from going through those hard times. As Maya Angelou’s title says I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now. If we’ve lived through highs and lows, good times and bad, challenges, hardships, loss and pain, we’ve learned things we could learn no other way. All gifts do not come wrapped in nice packages.

We may spend our whole lives asking what makes happiness. Do we feel moments of meaning, purpose, and happiness amidst the joys and sorrows of daily life?

The meaning of life is happiness. Hard question is not, what is meaning of life? No, hard question is what makes happiness. This is the question all human beings must try to answer: What make true happiness? Dalai Lama XlV

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Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now Paperback – Oct 1 1994

by Maya Angelou (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 17 ratings

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Cultivating an attitude of gratitude. Does gratitude turn what we have into enough?

Does gratitude turn what we have into enough? Cultivating an attitude of gratitude.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. Oprah Winfrey

Today is my husband’s oldest nephews fortieth birthday and I met him when he was nine months old. We can say where did all that time go, but we know where it went. We were living our lives, and even though it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long between here and there, it has.

We lament about time, but we all have the same amount of it in a day. I was listening to a YouTube video the other day. The speaker said she always knew she would have a “big life.” Her parents were the last survivors of their families from the concentration camps of World War ll. She felt she owed it to them to have a “big life.”

A big life is the expression of a heart fully alive. A big life is adventure. A big life is risk and reward, fear and peace, despair and joy. A big life is immersed in all of the reality, and the potential, that the world has to offer. Taken from The Big Life – Live a Big Life blog.

What would it mean to each of us if we were to define what a big life means to us? What does it mean to me? Living a big life is being true to our self. It is having the courage to accept the challenges that life offers, love truly, fully, deeply. Be willing to take risks, be willing to accept the next challenge. Be willing to make a decision and stick by it. Be willing to deal with disappointment, be willing to deal with the messiness of family and relationships. Be willing to be the same with all the people we meet along the way. Be willing to step up for the next challenge, be willing to do the best we can where we are, and to be grateful for the chance to live each and every day no matter what that day brings.

I don’t think it is fame or fortune that makes a big life. Attitude is probably the most important attribute needed for a big life. Are we giving everything we have to everything we do or are we waiting? Waiting for what? Are we waiting for the opportunity that we’ll give our all to? Shouldn’t we give our all to every opportunity and see where that takes us?

Gratitude opens the door to the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universe. Deepak Chopra

If we can live each moment of our lives fully, that should be the goal. All the mundane and special moments add up to our life. No matter if we are goal-oriented, or we live by the seat of our pants, we don’t know what tomorrow brings. Somehow we need to deal with what is while we work towards our goals, dreams, and aspirations. We also need to realize we aren’t more when we have more money, we just have more money. We aren’t more if we are thinner. This doesn’t mean we can’t want to be richer and thinner, it just means we will still be us when we reach our goals.

If we are waiting “until” to enjoy, feel good enough, relax, find love, exhale, rejoice, celebrate, or be grateful. It is likely that day will never come. We will never lose enough weight to love how we look in the mirror if we aren’t already okay with what we see in the mirror. If we don’t feel we are enough or have enough, there will never be enough. We are told there is no group of women as insecure as supermodels who have the thinnest thighs and shiniest hair.

We have enough today because we are alive today. We are told babies can’t live if they don’t get enough love. That means if we are alive today we got enough love. We are enough, we’ve received enough.

Today I am grateful for all the blessings, challenges, people, love, experiences, and everything in my life. It is what it is, it is what it will be, and I am grateful for the whole of it.

Can we live in gratitude for the blessings and bounty in our lives, even if it isn’t the blessings and bounty we want, or see in other people’s lives? Can we cultivate an attitude of gratitude?

Gratitude turns what we have into enough. Aesop

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. Willy Nelson

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The Little Book of Gratitude: Create a life of happiness and wellbeing by giving thanks Paperback – Sep 6 2016

by Emmons PhD, Robert A. (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Kombucha, and trying new things. Adventure awaits, will we accept the call to adventure?

Adventure awaits, will we accept the call to adventure? Kombucha, and trying new things.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Adventure is worthwhile in itself. Amelia Earhart

Today I will start my second batch of kombucha. At Canadian Tire I found two 4 liter glass jars with spigots on a stand. I’ve been reading up on the two ways kombucha is brewed, batch, and continuous brew. One of the things you need for continuous brew is a spigot and I lucked out when I bought my first kombucha jar because it has a spigot. This is serendipity because I wasn’t looking for a spigot, I just needed a bigger jar when I realized the one I was going to use was almost full at six cups of water.

We’ve tasted the 7-day old kombucha down to half full. Almost everyone likes the taste and it hasn’t been flavored or been put through a second fermentation. That’s the fun and scary part they say, as bottles explode and alcohol levels cannot be guaranteed. It sounds like the first brew kombucha alcohol level is usually below .5%, and this is considered a non-alcoholic brew by most. The second fermentation that has added sugar and fruit, spices, etc will continue to ferment depending on conditions and time. Some commercial kombucha is pasteurized to prevent this. As it was pulled off store shelves for having too high alcohol content a few years ago.

Kombucha is expensive to buy, but so far seems very easy to make. I also note that many flavored kombuchas are high in sugar. My brew tastes a bit like weak apple juice with a hint of fizz. It’s only seven days old.

Kombucha is a probiotic drink that some lore gives many health properties to. That it is a probiotic drink that leads to better gut health is good enough for me.

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

My sister who gave me the starter will be visiting next Sunday so she can try out my kombucha. The question for me is how many of these 4 liter kombucha batches do I need? Would I be better off with one larger container?

By having three 4 liter batches brewing I can change up the teas. Green tea is what I used in the first batch and I like it. The second batch can be black tea, and the third batch could be a mixture of black and green tea.

What I am hoping for out of this experiment is better health. Even though my son looks at me like I’m crazy. Mom, you are not twenty-five anymore. That is the truth, but mom is ninety-four and in good health. She’s never made kombucha but she did make lots of sauerkraut, homemade wine, pickles, and other fermented foods. We had raw milk she made into cottage cheese, butter, etc.

Kombucha seems an easy fermented product I can make in my own kitchen. My family isn’t into pickled vegetables although I have a batch of sauerkraut in my fridge. My son’s girlfriend brings me pickled vegetables her grandmother makes, which I love.

Will this just be a fad and the kombucha jars will end up in the storage room empty and forgotten? I don’t know, my life is an experiment and if we see health benefits and the process is as easy as it seems so far, kombucha may be brewing in my house for years to come. If it only becomes another experiment, and experience that’s okay too. Life is about trying new things.

I’m proud of myself that the kombucha starter my sister gave me is not still in the fridge unused. The second one will go into today’s batch. A week ago I had no idea this adventure awaited. As it was only last week I learned about the kombucha my sister was brewing and said yes to her bringing me the starter.

We never know where life will lead us when we say yes to the adventures that present themselves. Are there adventures presenting themselves we need to grab hold of and see where they go?

One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure. William Feather

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The Noma Guide to Fermentation: Including koji, kombuchas, shoyus, misos, vinegars, garums, lacto-ferments, and black fruits and vegetables Hardcover – Oct 16 2018

by René Redzepi (Author), David Zilber (Author) 4.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews#1 Best Sellerin Biotechnology

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The call to adventure. When we get it, will we take it? Do we regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do?

Do we regret the things we don't do more than the things we do? The call to adventure. When we get it, will we take it.?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again. Eric Roth

A year ago I was contemplating creating a blog. It was in the works but I hadn’t posted anything yet. There were possibilities but no realities. At some point, we just have to do. We can’t continue getting ready; the dress rehearsal we’ve been living has to turn into actually doing. The journey needs to actually begin.

Starting anything makes us question are we doing the right thing? We won’t know if we don’t try. Does that mean we should try every hair-brained scheme that pops into our head? Last night we were watching TV and American women were going to various parts of the world to marry men. One of them went to India where her new husband or soon to be husband is thirty years younger than herself. He told her he quit his job “so he could help her settle in.” She said she had six months savings and wondered what would happen. What security did she now have? She was wondering if she would be able to get a job in India. Maybe her savings will go so much further in India that it is actually a good decision.

Another older woman was leaving her son in America and traveling to the Middle East to get married. The son wondered if he would ever see his mother again. How will these adventures turn out for these women? I hope well, but one has to doubt the wisdom of these decisions with retirement looming. How do they rebuild if they are just being used for their resources? I question anytime I see a thirty-year-old man marrying a sixty-year-old woman, “for love.”

Maybe I’m just a “material girl.” It’s always been important to me where I would be staying, how I would live. My husband was asking me the other day about staying in a bad situation and I wouldn’t give him a “Well I’d just leave.” It was important to me even in our scenario to know, what leaving and going forward looks like.

Oprah said, “One of the fears women fear most is ending up as a bag lady.” I think she’s right. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush is an old saying I grew up with.

The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. Eleanor Roosevelt

We can be too careful, and we can take too many risks. How do we know when we are being too careful, or too risk-averse? When are we throwing caution to the wind with a good outcome unlikely? Listening to that still small voice can be hard. I signed the contract on a condo when that still small voice told me it wasn’t a good idea, the market went down. How many people have been scared to get into hot housing markets that have continued roaring? There are corrections and had we not been in the situation of a business and two children in a condo we would have weathered the downturn. In a downturn, the house we eventually bought was a better price also. In the end, it was probably a wash.

If I were single at my age and a young thirty-year-old wanted to marry me would I get swept off my feet? Would I take a chance on love? Would I take the call to adventure, or get a cat? That he might love what he thinks I have instead of just me, well let’s face it men have gotten young women this way forever. It works for some men; maybe it will work for some women.

I was watching an old rerun of friends and one of the girls was dating an older successful man and he said he would be willing to have children with her because he didn’t want to lose her. She said, ” I’m not okay with you being “willing.” I want someone that wants to have children with me. The problem with the older women/younger man is that isn’t even an option. Willing or not, there will be no children. It is one of the reasons I can’t see it working. When young women marry older successful men, they get his success for their children. They don’t take a chance on a young man with a future, they step into ready-made success.

Young men with older women give up a future if the legacy of children is part of what we consider an important part of our future that is. What we get out of marriage are our children and a loving partnership. If the loving partnership doesn’t work out we still have our children, our legacy.

It’s why young women can’t waste their good childbearing years, on flakey men. Men have the luxury of time; we do not, at least not in our early years.

We don’t know where life will take us. Adventure calls, will we accept? There must be a few questions we ask ourselves before we ditch everything. What is the worst that can happen, and can we live with that, should be two of the questions.

When we are a sixty-year-old woman and alone, how long does a love affair have to last, to be worth it? When we are a thirty-year-old man how long does the money have to last to be worth it?

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts; it even breaks your heart. But that’s OK. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind. Anthony Bourdain

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A Beginner’s Guide to the Universe: Uncommon Ideas for Living an Unusually Happy Life Hardcover – Mar 5 2019

by Mike Dooley (Author) 4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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The power of words. Can we always re-frame the negative into a positive and the positive into a negative? What’s the difference between pre-disease and health?

What's the difference between pre-disease and health? Can we always re-frame the negative into positive, and the positive into negative?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Old age is not a disease – it is strength and survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illnesses. Maggie Kuhn

Sometimes things happen that make us realize the power of words. Yesterday I got a manicure and pedicure. I chose to have an accent nail on each hand and foot. The manicurist did a fabulous job, and I was totally happy with the result until my daughter called my accent nails “ghetto nails.” All of a sudden I didn’t like it so much. Nothing changed but my perception.

Do we realize how little things, change how we perceive situations or people.? Do we need to be careful we don’t let our perceptions interfere with our life? Yesterday we were talking about going to the doctor for a checkup. I said, “I don’t want to go looking for a problem?”

Am I being irresponsible? When we don’t want the drugs that drug companies and doctors say we need are we being contrary? Is preventive medicine a way to get more people to become patients, or are we actually preventing disease? Once a doctor has said we are pre-whatever, we can’t un-know that, and we are likely to go along with a prescription that will prevent a reality we don’t want, from coming true.  How can we say no to a drug which might prevent a problem we don’t yet have?

What are we to do when we are confronted with preventative medicine that entails taking drugs for the rest of our life, for a problem we don’t yet have? The United States is 4% of the world population but they account for 42% of global prescription drug spending, Are all these drugs making them healthier?

Do the drugs advertised in Direct to Consumer ads (DTC) increase our health care costs? Are normal bodily functions medicalized and stigmatized by prescription ads.? Is someone getting richer, are we any healthier?

The fear of being put on pain meds that would lead to a problem has made it so when I have been in pain, I waited to see if I really needed to see a doctor because I thought a drug habit was a worse result than short term debilitating pain. Am I just paranoid?

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease. Voltaire

Health care is a great thing, but we will have to be careful we aren’t allowing ourselves to be exploited by drug companies looking for ever bigger profits by creating ever more diseases they have a drug to cure.

Just like the use of “ghetto nail” instead of “accent nail” made me like my manicure less. Being told we are pre-disease instead of healthy may make us think about our self differently. What is the difference between pre-disease and healthy?

There are a few diseases where “pre-disease” may be a thing, precancerous lesions, increased intraocular pressure (pre-glaucoma), pre-diabetes, and pre-hypertension. These “pre-disease” states are causing a lot of problems and extra costs to our health care system. Are the treatments of these “pre-disease” conditions doing anything for our health?

What is a normal person to do? Do we look for “pre-disease” states and take the drugs prescribed? Do we try and live as healthily as we can without looking for diseases until they actually are present in our life?

For me, I think I am choosing not to look for problems I don’t have. When a problem presents itself, first I look to my diet. If diet and exercise can’t fix things then a doctor may be needed. My goal is to stay off the patient treadmill. I understand it can be hard to get a un-diagnosis if we feel we have been overdiagnosed.  Of course, this makes sense, would you want to stake your reputation and career on saying you didn’t see a problem someone else has diagnosed?

All of this overdiagnosis may lead to underdiagnosis as those of us afraid of being overdiagnosed stay away from doctor’s altogether. What a conundrum?

Obesity is awesome from a Wall Street perspective. It’s not just one disease – there are all sorts of related diseases to profit from. Anne Wojcicki

Physical activity – even if you don’t lose an ounce, you’ll live longer, feel healthier and be less likely to get cancer, heart disease, stroke, and arthritis. It’s the closest thing we have to a wonder drug. Tom Frieden

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You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought Paperback – Mar 1 1995

by Peter McWilliams (Author) 4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Find answers through walking. Ask questions as we walk.

Ask questions as we walk. Find answers through walking.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. Henry David Thoreau

Sometimes when nothing is going right in our life the best thing to do is go for a walk. Pierre Trudeau went for his famous walk in the snow. Walking is recommended for artists to work out their problems with their writing and art while they walk. I have found when walking, answers will come to me about art, writing, life, relationships, directions to take in life.

I’m working on a painting and nothing about it was doing what I wanted. Yesterday my dog and I went for a walk and I thought about the blues I was using and two of my blues Cobalt and Ultramarine are dried up. The thought came to me I should go to the art store and replace my dried up paints that adding those blues to my painting might be part of the answer.

One has to be disciplined in an art store, the array of colors is dizzying, and there are always colors that call out to me and I pick up but then put back on the shelf.

When I spent time in my studio last night I struggled less with the painting and I attribute that to my walk. Using the new blues created more harmony. It’s starting to come together.

Walking gives us room to think, making time to think can be the most productive part of our day. I can’t seem to manage meditation, but walking meditation is a thing. People will teach us how to do guided mindful walking. For now, I just want to walk more, enjoying the scenery, my dog, the rhythm of footsteps, the thoughts that float in and out of my mind.

The healthiest people on the planet walk. We think we should join a gym if we want to be healthier. We should walk. Walking is a proven method to stave of cognitive decline. This might be why my Mom is doing so well. At 94 she goes for a walk almost every day. Dad in his later years didn’t walk much. Mom says even in his early life he wasn’t a great walker. He got old a lot quicker than Mom. They were only a year apart in age but he aged more quickly and declined more rapidly.

When you hear the word “disabled,” people immediately think about people who can’t walk or talk or do everything that people take for granted. Now, I take nothing for granted.  But I find the real disability is people who can’t find joy in life and are bitter. Teri Garr

Friends from Toastmasters climbed the CN Tower yesterday. I applaud them but hesitate to even think of joining them on this endeavor. Running and climbing stairs has in the past caused knee pain. Knees are so important I protect mine by not abusing them. Even at the gym, I don’t buy into the “no pain, no gain” ideology. Sometimes pain is telling us something and I listen. I’ve ignored the pain in the past and then dealt with the healing I wouldn’t have needed to deal with if I’d listened to my body in the first place.

It may be if I ran properly it wouldn’t bother my knees. There may be a proper way to take the stairs as well. All I know is if I run when my knee starts to hurt, I walk.

Yesterday we were talking about “runners high”. My husband says he’s experienced “runners high”. I’ve only ever experienced being grateful and happy I’ve quit running. I’ve watched people run with grace and ease I can only envy. I don’t think its something one develops, that seems like a gift one is born with, like being musical, having a great voice, or talents in any area.

Talent, of course, is not all it takes. The most famous singers don’t necessarily have the best voices. Sometimes their gift was promotion and picking great songs. I’ve heard the best writers aren’t usually great oral storytellers. Some people can have you laughing till you cry recounting their trip to the grocery store.

Whatever we do, whatever we want to accomplish, whatever we dream, taking a walk often will help us do it, accomplish it, dream it. If we don’t know what to do, maybe we should go for a walk. Answers may come, or at least we’ll have gotten some exercise, and fresh air.

The landscape painter must walk in the fields with a humble mind. No arrogant man was ever permitted to see Nature in all her beauty. John Constable

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, peace, and love.

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Beneath My Feet: Writers on Walking Hardcover – Apr 2 2019

Life is what we make it. Facing our fears and dealing with what is.

Facing our fears and dealing with what is. Life is what we make it.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there” – as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering – the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise. Byron Katie

When we face our fears we go forward. We might be afraid to cut our hair and try something different. Sometimes we are afraid to start things; sometimes we are afraid to finish them. We may make too few changes and other times we may make too many.

Finding balance in our lives can be hard. We feel stagnate, we seek change, the change makes us feel insecure and precarious. Do we naturally vacillate between too little and too much change?

We are careful, and then we throw all caution to the wind. Some people start to change their life and everyone looks at them and labels them as having a midlife crisis. Why is a new hairdo, a new car, planning to see the wonders of the world a crisis?

Dumping our wife or husband may seem like a crisis but maybe it’s been something that has been simmering for years. There comes a point when we all have to evaluate where our life is and where we are in it. If we feel stuck in a rut, this could be a rut of not feeling well; we can take charge of our nutrition. It could be the rut of employment, relationships, the heavy burden of our mortgage, or other life responsibilities.

Just the other day I was encouraging a friend to get a makeover. She doesn’t need a makeover because she doesn’t look good. She needs a makeover because it can punctuate the new beginning she is looking for. Kick start the new stage in life that is here for her. The new adventure she is embarking on.

I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality. Byron Katie

We can look at our self in the mirror one day and see this old hairstyle has to go. This happened to me when my daughter graduated from high school. As we were looking for her graduation dress, I kept seeing myself in the mirror and I realized it was time for a short cut. Then it happened a few years later when I saw a picture of myself taken at a friend’s shower. Taking charge of our hair can seem like we are taking charge of our life.

If a short hair cut, hi-lights, low lights, or a bright splotch of color in our hair makes us feel better, do it. It’s only hair, it will grow out, and we can always change the color back if we went a little too drastic. What if we love it, what if this is the lift we need to help us through whatever we are going through. Or what if it makes this age we are in feel right.

For my daughter’s wedding, I got hi-lights. One of the best things I’ve done to make what I see in the mirror and what I think in my mind mesh. It’s not about not getting older if we are lucky we will get older.

Mom tried to have straight hair a few years ago; because she thought curly perms were too hard on her hair. She didn’t look like herself, and I don’t think she liked what she saw in the mirror. She looked lovely with a curly perm when I was out to see her. Even at ninety-four, we should do what makes us look and feel our best.

Some of us have a fabulous silver color as our hair grays, some of us don’t. If we look fabulous with our silver hair then wear it proudly, it is very becoming on those it looks good on. For the rest of us find a color that looks good. When we feel good, we feel motivated to live our best life.

Now that I am old enough to be a grandmother I marvel at how young grandmothers are. Mom has always said she didn’t feel her age, to be forever young if only in our heart and mind is a great thing.

Maya Angelou said there was something great about every decade. There was a time when being fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, and ninety were beyond my comprehension. Now that the reality of these higher numbers hits what is important is how healthy, happy, active, and grateful we are, not the number we’ve reached.

Life is what we make it, at every age, and every stage. Happy, grateful lives can be ours; it’s a matter of attitude not circumstance. Are there fears we need to face? If we know it could get worse but we can deal with it we can go forward. We can feel free to live, not just wait for something to happen. We will deal with it, whatever it is. There isn’t really any point in worrying about all the things that might happen while we are blindsided by those that do.

Can we live our lives with gratitude and joy? Can we live one day at a time, and enjoy it? Can we make the best of what is, instead of worrying about what could be?

Placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change your experience; taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them. Byron Katie

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

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Who Would You Be Without Your Story?: Dialogues with Byron Katie Paperback – Oct 15 2008

Time waits for no one. Use it or lose it. Live a life of few regrets.

Live a life of few regrets. Time waits for no one. Use it or lose it.

Life is meant to be experienced. Put yourself out there. Do things you’ve never done. Live a life where at the end, you will have no regrets. Unknown

Tomorrow I fly out to see Mom. I always feel so lucky she’s here to visit and my husband holds down the fort while I go. One of the perks of self-employment is we make our own schedule. The downside is no work, no pay, and the fear customers will find someone else while we are gone.

All work and no play makes us dull, we are trying to figure out how to fit our travel bucket list into our life, maintain a business and have new adventures. Over the years the balls we have in the air change. The seasons of our life change and we must change with them.

There are gifts in every decade if we look for them. If we look at our garden as it progresses, the tulip season is short, but if we are moaning the loss of the tulips we may not appreciate what is newly in bloom. Is there anything as beautiful as the last rose with snow on it?

If we can be like that rose; still blooming as the winter of our life hits. That will be the pinnacle of a successful life. This is how I look at Mom, still quilting, knitting, walking, looking after plants, staying in touch with family and friends, looking after her home at ninety-four.

It isn’t just about getting old, it’s how we get old, what we can still do, accomplish, get out of life. My aunt always said, “I want to live till I die”. She was ninety-seven; I think she was still bowling until she was ninety.

We hear about the plight of the old. Many of the older family members and people that I know have lived great lives after retirement. They were frugal in their working lives and had a little something to tide them over.

It’s better to look back on life and say, “I can’t believe I did that” than to look back and say “I wish I did that.” Unknown

My oldest aunt is over one-hundred. We need to stay active in our young retirement years if we hope to remain active in our older years. Use it or lose it. We have examples all around us of what to do and what not to do. It’s our choice which one we follow.

All our best choices may not lead us where we want. We can do everything right and not get to be one-hundred, but is that the goal? Or is the goal to live the best life we can for as long as we get. Leave as few things undone as possible, as few fractured relationships, as few things we didn’t get to. Living a life of no regrets is probably impossible, but living a life of few regrets can be our goal.

Mom tells me not to put off travel too long. There comes a time when the only travel we want to do is in our “old rocking chair”. We may shudder to think about it, but when we see people living it, they seem at peace. Life is what it is and if they’ve lived their life with joy and good humor they appear to continue in that same vein.

If there is something we are putting off, when does it get on our to-do list? Is there a family member, or old friend we should be in touch with? Should we make the arrangements to visit before it’s too late? Is it time to learn something new, or do something different?

Time waits for no one, but we all have twenty-four hours in a day. What we do with it is up to us. If we are lucky and get to our “old rocking “chair with our wits about us, will we look back on our life with few regrets?

Your past is done so forget it. Your future is yet to come, so dream it, but your present is now, so live it with no regrets. Unknown

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On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old Hardcover – Jun 26 2018



Life is like a garden, what will you plant? We all have twenty-four hours.

We all have twenty-four hours. Life is a garden, what will we plant?


Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers. Or you can grow weeds. Unknown

We all have twenty-four hours in a day, but we only have twenty-four hours in a day. Successful people have learned how to make the most of their twenty-four hours.

The garden of life spreads before us, but we can’t plant and grow everything. Women especially have to be careful with our choices. The choice of career, marriage, kids, home, family, success, travel, carefree fun, what do we choose?

Marriage and family is the one choice I believe most of us should put front and center. We can make a lot of choices throughout our life but the window for motherhood is smaller than we think. Women who passed up the eligible young men in their youth are wondering where they all went in their thirties and forties.

We can have a hierarchy of choices. There is no such thing as being “just a mother.” It is the most important job we’ll do. It only lasts a short time, twenty years goes by in a blink and we can then devote more time to career or other interests.

Making a name for oneself in a career usually requires a huge investment of time and focus. Marriages and children require a huge focus of time, energy and focus. How are we to manage everything?

We need to have our priorities. We may only be able to manage three things at once, but three things are a lot. Many women manage their lives with marriages, children, and prestigious careers. It can be done.

Luck plays a role in our life, it’s a bit like flying a kite, the best kite may not be the one that flies the highest. It depends on the wind, and who can control the wind? Artists have become famous in their lifetime and not noted in history, and not noted in their own time and famous throughout history. We don’t know where life will take us. Can we do the best we can; make the choices, do the work with passion and purpose, put it out into the world and hope the wind helps our kite fly high? Or do we just want to quietly do what we want to do?

All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today. Chinese proverb

We may have many interests but to succeed in one we may have to give others up to focus on the one in front of us. Last night I didn’t go to Toastmasters so I could finish an edit of my novel. My goal was to put my entire novel through “Grammarly” by the end of February. I didn’t have a role at Toastmasters, and by staying home I reached my goal.

Goals haven’t been a strong suit of mine. I’m working on setting goals. Creating habits that support what I want to get done has worked, so now I have something to set goals for. It is by creating a habit of writing, not a goal of writing, that writing has gotten done.

Our choices shape our lives. If we are happy with our choices, we’ll be happy with our life. We can go back and make another choice. Many people turn their back on unfulfilling choices and make a different one.  A phase in our life has run its course, our children are grown, our work life is over, and a marriage may be over because of death or divorce.

The constant is change, we must adapt, and we must find a new focus. What we dreaded most when faced may lead to fulfillment. We may find a new passion; we may start a whole new life we couldn’t imagine.  If we take the step will the bridge be there? We didn’t know we would love being empty nesters, retirees, or life after our darkest moments.

We can’t imagine not living in the house where we raised our kids. Many people talk of how liberated they feel when they downsize, or right size their home and life. They embrace what is before them instead of longing for what is past.

Can we go forward in gratitude for what has been, and for what is to come? We don’t always know what will be blooming in our garden. Did we plant something long ago that may finally flower? Is there something that with a little tender loving care, and attention could become the focus? Do we need to plant something new? Do we need to make room for the new? Can ending one thing be the beginning of something else? Is it possible to always have something blooming in our garden of life?

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy

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Gardens of Awe and Folly: A Traveler’s Journal on the Meaning of Life and Gardening Hardcover – Mar 1 2016

What kind of flower are we? Early, late or a repeat bloomer?

What kind of flower are we? Early, late, or a repeat bloomer?

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Be not afraid of growing slowly. Be afraid only of standing still. Chinese proverb

Have you ever wished you’d been an early bloomer, the star, of your school, town, city, or country? Or were you an early bloomer, but now that is past and life isn’t over? Do you need to find something that feeds your soul, passes time, and gives you purpose?

If we look at the early bloomers in our garden, their season is short. By summer you can’t even find remnants that they exist unless you dig out the bulbs. If we want a long, healthy, productive, satisfying life we may need to bloom many times. We may need to be a repeat bloomer or a late bloomer.

We all love the showy flowers; many of us want to be the showy people. We want extravagant success, but perhaps that is not our lot in life. It could be that some people with extravagant success would rather have less of it, so they could live a more normal life. We tend to look at other people’s lives with envy. It would be so much better if…

What if we put all our energy into making this our best life, filled with meaning, gratitude, purpose, and love? What if we quit comparing our self to others and only compared our self to who we used to be? We need the contribution of everyone. Have you noticed that the showy flowers aren’t the most important plants in our garden? Wheat, potatoes, rice, corn, aren’t the showy plants, yet they have built civilizations over the millennia. What if we only wanted to grow roses?

Try calling a singer when you need your toilet unclogged. Our world works because people have jobs that contribute to the greater good. They build their lives only known by family and close friends. Life is about sharing our life with family and friends, finding purpose and meaning, and raising our children to be productive, happy adults. This is the circle of life; this is where joy lies.

A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms. Unknown

A Toastmaster buddy’s husband plays in a band. He had a performance we missed. It would have been fun to go and be part of the audience with people we know and can laugh and have fun with. It would be the loneliest experience to go see all the best performers, alone.

It is probably a lonely experience for some people who have no one to share their achievements with. They were so busy achieving, they forgot to build a life filled with people who they love, and who love them.

In Harmonic Wealth by James Arthur Ray, he tells us we already have everything we want in our life. We need to recognize it; it’s in a different form than we want. We need to notice how the things we want are already present in our lives and be grateful for them.

For instance, if we are looking for love, we have love in our life, we have friends, family, maybe a dog. When we practice gratitude and appreciation we get more of what we are grateful for. If we focus on what we don’t have and don’t want, we get more of that too. If we count our problems instead of our blessings we get more problems.

We think our life will be simpler if we find our great love. It will be a lot of things but simpler is not one of them. How can life be simpler when two people’s dreams, wants, and expectations are in the mix? Two people’s careers must be managed, and then if children come into the mix, we get a crazy amount of balls to juggle.

If we want a simple life we live like Buddha under a Bodhi tree. Messy, complicated, lives are not simple. We need to embrace all of our life, how it really is. Give thanks for the many blessings we already have, and quit looking over at other people’s blessings. We need to tend our own garden, if we didn’t plant roses we won’t get roses, if we didn’t plant potatoes we won’t get potatoes. Sometimes we may have to choose between roses and potatoes. Choose wisely.

We are already on a course in our life, it may be a dream to dump everything and go in a different direction. It may be possible, for some it may even be what they should do. For most of us, we should make the best of what we have, edit out the things we don’t like, make better choices about where we put our focus and energy. Learn to be grateful for what we have. We need to be careful with what we want, wanting keeps us wanting because what we are asking for is to want something, and we get what we ask for, we keep wanting.

When we are grateful for what we have, then more will appear. We can’t want the outcome before the output. We can’t become a great writer before we write. A great singer, before we sing. A great painter, before we paint. A great anything until we do the work that is needed.

When we realize what we must give up to get what someone else has, we often don’t feel it is worth it. If it isn’t, then we should be happy with our choices, if it is worth it, we need to roll up our sleeves and get busy. They say it takes 10,000 hours to get good at something. That is between six and ten years depending on how many hours per day we spend on it.

Those ten years will go by, will they go by doing what we want to do? Will they go by wishing, and hoping? Are we an early, late, or repeat bloomer?

In the garden of life, late bloomers are especially beautiful. Susan Gale

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