Faith in ourselves, faith in life. Without faith can we have a vision?

Without faith can we have a vision? Faith in ourselves, faith in life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Have enough courage to start and enough heart to finish. Jessica N.S. Yourko

I found an interesting blog post on The Bob Angle he was asking the question do writers who believe in God write better novels? I’ve never thought about this but I do think faith gives a writer something deeper to delve into as they probe the human psyche for their stories.

How much does faith play a role in our lives? We need to have faith in other people because in the early years of our life we depend on others so much. We have all found at one time or other people have failed us, and we have failed others. It is the human condition to want to do better, be better, and falling short. When we have faith in a higher power that does not let us down, that gives us strength and it seems this will help us even if somehow we find we are mistaken and there is no higher power.

When we feel we get inspiration from something outside ourselves, that we don’t know where it comes from, but it is there, we tap into something greater than ourselves. We don’t question we accept the gift. Many people call this their muse. If we don’t do our part of sitting down and writing the muse doesn’t do their part of showing up. One of the mistakes I’ve heard writers make is waiting for inspiration.

I know for myself that would be a mistake. Showing up is when inspiration happens. Going for a walk in the midst of a creative project an epiphany may happen but would it happen if we weren’t already in the middle of a project? Our brains work continuously but they need to be working on something.

I wonder how many artists or writers knew exactly what they were creating when they started. By starting they put something in motion and if they continue and bring it to completion they have something. All of life is like this. Starting is the first step, we have to get through the hard slogging of middles, and finally, we reach the finish line.

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. Martin Luther King Jr.

Depending on the scope of what we have taken on it may take minutes, days, weeks, months, or years to complete. Some projects will test our determination and perseverance. We are not the same person at the end of a project – especially a long one that we were at the beginning. We learn things along the way. We are not the same person when we give our teenagers the car keys, we were cradling them as newborns. They have grown and developed and so have we.

We don’t think our children are ready to go out into the world and we may not think our writing or any other project of ours is either, but there comes a point when that is the next step. We have to have faith we’ve done our best, done enough, and let it go.

I was a writer that held onto my writing and now I wonder why. We often hold onto things because we are comfortable where we are, what if life changes so much we don’t recognize it. When our children leave home what will home be like without them? Writers mourn the loss of their characters when they put their stories out into the world. They had a close intimate connection with those characters they feel they lose when they call the story finished. It might be why we like a series. We can put a book out and we can keep the relationship going with our characters. If the audience likes our characters they may be waiting for the next book.

What faith in a higher power may give us more than anything else is the belief that we are unconditionally loved. When we feel loved we feel powerful. This gives us the courage to give our best to the world, deal with the setbacks, challenges, and whatever life throws at us.  

Courage comes from a heart that is convinced it is loved. Beth Moore

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Steve Jobs

Once you choose hope, anything is possible. Unknown

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

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

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

The cycles of life. Decay and renewal, birth and death.

Decay and renewal, birth and death. The cycles of life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Tough times never last but tough people do. Robert Schuller

On Friday night we had our first in-person book club meeting since last fall. Four of us got together we had a bit of wine, ate some cheesecake, talked, and laughed. It was a lovely evening sitting on the deck chipmunks and rabbits keeping us company. I don’t have any chipmunks at my place. One evening in my backyard I thought I saw a firefly. I’ve seen them in New York but never here. My son tells me he’s seen them a little North of us.

Life is forever changing. On Wednesday, I leave to see first my brother and his wife, then drive with my youngest sister, her husband, and daughter to Mom’s, another sister, brother, and their families. I feel lucky to be able to make this trip and everyone is weathering this time we are in.

I listened to Tony Robbins yesterday on the “School of Greatness” podcast with Lewis Howes as I tried to finish up jobs before I go. He mentioned a book I want to get called, “The Fourth Turning,” by Neil Howe and William Strauss. I then listened to a podcast by Neil Howe. He tells us our history has cycles he is calling them turnings and the cycles move into each other. Each cycle lasts about a generation. The fourth turning can be likened to winter and after winter comes spring and new growth. Winter is necessary because it renews and regenerates our society. At the end of the fourth turning, society is changed. He believes the last fourth turning was the end of the Second World War. We are in that stage again. What a time my parents lived through growing up in the thirties and then the war but many things did change and they lived in prosperity, peace, and plenty.

Most of us have only lived through prosperity, peace, and plenty, but we can see the distrust of authority and institutions. Living through peace and plenty doesn’t mean everyone has plenty. We have to grab hold of opportunities when they present themselves but sometimes there are fewer opportunities. Sometimes we have to hunker down and get through the storm.

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. Martin Luther King Jr.

What comes after good times? Bad times and what comes after bad times? Good times! Spring follows winter and when we are in winter we need to know that spring is coming. I think we have some people thinking we have winter coming in society but it will never be spring again. We need to know, this too shall pass. We face winter in our relationships but if we get through to spring we may be happier than if we bailed in the middle of winter.

Jim Rohn says, “Don’t ask for life to be easier, ask for yourself to be better.” I prefer to think that we go in seasons and cycles than the people thinking the end is near. There is a point in persevering, doing the best you can with what you have, and planning for a better tomorrow. Spring is coming, what seeds will we plant, in fall what harvest will we reap? If we sowed in the spring and harvested in the fall, then the winter won’t be so hard.

Some people get to start the spring of their life in the winter of society. This is what makes “The Greatest Generation.” The generation that overcomes the most will grow the most. We may be seeing another, “Greatest Generation” in the making. Good times create soft people, and hard times create strong people. Can we make the best of where we are? We didn’t get to choose the generation we would be part of. We get to deal with the hand we are dealt and make the best of it.

Change is the constant we always need to deal with. We may be in the best time of our life and wish it wouldn’t change, or in the worst time of our life hoping it will. Some of life we have control of but much of it is the wheel of fortune and dealing with what comes. If we recognize that is the case it might be easier to deal with it.

If this is a winter cycle of history, we have lessons to learn, changes to make, renewal, and spring is coming. What if the best is yet to come? If Neil Howe and William Strauss are right many of us grew up in spring and summer where life was idyllic and opportunities seemed endless even if we didn’t take advantage of them. I’ve always felt I was trying to catch up to those just a little older than me. They seemed to get to the opportunities first which means I didn’t see the opportunities staring me in the face.

Renewal and decay are part of life. We live with cycles small and big. Wherever we are, we must do our best to make the best of it. Sometimes, all we can do is get through to spring, but spring is coming and we must be ready to take advantage. We may find ourselves in the fall of our own life, in the winter of a generational cycle and if you look into it there are cycles within cycles.

If this theory is correct, if we live five generations we will die in the cycle we were born in. This means for me if I am lucky born in spring, die in spring. Can it get better than that?

When you’ve exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t. Thomas Edison

Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. A.A. Milne

When you face difficult times, know that challenges are not sent to destroy you. They’re sent to promote, increase and strengthen you. Unknown

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

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

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

Being grateful for what we have. Being okay with who we are. We are not everyone’s cup of tea and we need to be okay with that.

Being okay with who we are. We are not everyone's cup of tea and we need to be okay with that. Being grateful for what we have.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You cannot be all things to all people. Be unique. Be different. Give to others what you want yourself, and do what you were made to do. Robert Kiyosaki

We can’t be everything to everybody, and we have to be okay with that. Last night the group from the Border Crossings Course I took met to discuss our next steps. How will we use what we learned and take it out into the community? Some of the people are from groups whose focus is helping people with challenges of various sorts.

As a writer what is my focus? Is my focus only on developing the widest readership possible? Who am I writing for? I tried to articulate my vision as much as I have developed. I am trying to encourage people to use creativity in their lives and creativity feeds our soul. Making a good soup is as creative as painting.

I said the most creative, satisfying, and important thing I’ve done in my life is motherhood. How does that make people reading feel who are not mothers, will never be mothers, or had motherhood thrust upon them in brutal ways?

Yesterday I went to get my hair done by my hairdresser that I haven’t been to since the start of covid. I knew how his business had been, “closed down.” He asked about mine and I told him we’ve done okay. “I’m happy for you,” he said. I believe he meant it because if things aren’t going okay for people they won’t come in and get their hair done. Businesses need other businesses to do well so they can sell their product or provide their service. The better everyone in a community does the better the community does.

Why do I mention this? We all come from families and we are from a long unbroken chain. Even if we don’t become parents ourselves, parents have kept society going. Everyone does not need to reproduce, not everyone can, and maybe not everyone should. We may not get everything we want from life. We may have sorrows and crosses to bear that are almost impossible, and yet if this is our life we must bear it to go forward.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou

If I distill what I am trying to say down to the finest point I think I am writing about gratitude. I believe gratitude for what we have can help us to be better, do better, and get better. This is what I have to learn, practice, remember and so I write about it. Dealing with what life throws at us without bitterness. When people question us, confront us, or are offensive to us trying to be nondefensive is a good practice but a hard one. Becoming unoffendable is a goal, something I aspire to but it is also hard to remember at the moment.

I wrote out a mission statement when I started this blog:

To live life to the fullest with a grateful heart, and a positive attitude. To thrive with love, compassion, humor, and style while giving everything I have to those I love and the environment around me, and make it a better place for all. To write and speak the truth as I know it. To learn and grow, living my values with passion and purpose. To make sense of the world, relationships, creative energy, what we love, and what we fear. To be a catalyst to help others go ah-ha I’ve thought that too. To set goals and make things happen.

The questions we were asked last night are good ones. Why/who, what, and how. When we know why we know what we should focus on and what we shouldn’t focus on. As I focus on these questions I will see where I may be missing the mark and where I am hitting it.

Knowing who our ideal reader is and focusing on giving that reader the best experience possible is the goal. Figuring out who they are and what they want is hard. We cannot write for every reader, even if we think that would give us the widest reach. Some say the narrower we make our focus the better.

If I had to categorize who I think I am writing for I think I am writing for women and men, but mostly women who have lived a life, and now have time they might not know what to do with. They have choices but feel stuck. They have opportunities but might not recognize them. They may feel is this all there is? They are searching for something, an epiphany that will tell them what to do in the next act of their life. They are like me searching, cherry-picking from a multitude of beliefs, to find meaning, purpose, and see the beauty in the everyday. They know gratitude, saving ten percent of what they earn, and loving unconditionally is what they should do but it is hard, and we are human.

Will everyone who stumbles across my blog love it? Will it resonate with everyone? Of course not, and I have to be okay with that. I hope everyone that reads my blog will take what they like, what works for them, and leave the rest. Over time I hope I will improve as a writer, and as a person as I share the journey I am on. Good luck on each of your journeys, and may we keep each other company along the way.

Somebody didn’t wake up today, but you did. That’s enough reason to stop complaining, and that’s enough to be thankful for. Never let your troubles blind you to your daily blessings. Trent Shelton

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. Eckhart Tolle

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

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

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

Our life is calling. What are our choices, what are our dreams, what are our plans?

What are our choices, what are our dreams, what are our plans? Our life is calling.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world. Oprah Winfrey

Last Friday we watched our first online wedding. My daughter and I dropped my son off at the Bride’s house. His fiancé is the Bride’s sister. We popped in for a moment said hi to everyone and got to see the Bride in her dress. Everyone’s makeup and hair looked amazing and I started rethinking my decision not to have my hair and makeup done the day of my son’s wedding.

Speaking to my son’s fiancé yesterday, I said, “Your mom looked amazing.”

“She didn’t like the hair and makeup and went home and redid it herself.” That is my big fear too. I won’t like what they’ve done and will try to redo it to my satisfaction.

I’m not sure what the etiquette is for popping into the bride’s house to say hi. Popping back out wasn’t so easy. You have to have something to eat. You have to wait to see the dress. We did both.

It is lovely to see the hope and joy on a couple’s face as they take their vows. So many couples have postponed weddings; some are going ahead with the wedding but postponing the reception. We need couples willing to take a chance on each other to become the next generation of mothers, fathers, and builders of society.

Time is flying by and we notice it by the stages our children are going through more than through our own. We think there will be time for all the things we want to do, the places we want to go, the things we want to see and accomplish. Our mortality is staring us in the face.

If your life is cloudy and you’re far off course, you may have to go on faith for a while, but eventually you’ll learn that every time you trust your internal navigation system, you end up closer to your right life. Martha Beck

It’s time for difficult conversations as we realize the choices are up to us. What do we still want to see, do, and be? Do both members of a couple want the same out of the next stage of their life? Is this why we see so many grey divorces? There is only so much time even if we get the maximum.

For our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, we were talking about going to England and seeing parts of Europe. My friend and I were joking I was planning on backpacking across Europe after school and I haven’t made it over there yet. Something always comes up. It was, I’d like to do, but obviously, it wasn’t a priority, or I would have made it happen.

We need to be careful about letting too much of our life be, we’ll get to that someday. We run out of some days and next years. Things we thought we would accomplish aren’t accomplished. Life is a feat of management and those who manage the best do the best. There is also a lot of luck involved in many of our lives but it is also true that the harder we work the luckier we get. We can’t be waiting for our ships to come in when we didn’t put any ships out to sea.

It is always a good time to take stock of our lives but when we see new couples taking the vows to start theirs, is a time to look at our own life. How can we tweak our life, or do we need to set a new course? Is it time for a life renovation? Is it time to build something new while we still can? Bring a dream to fruition, learn something we’ve always wanted to learn, do something we’ve always wanted to do, or become someone we’ve always wanted to become? Our life is calling, will we answer?

At the end of the day all that really matters is that your loved ones are well, you’ve done your best, and that you’re thankful for all you have. Unknown

I’ve come to understand one’s calling as a combination of desire, passion, and ability. Unknown

Be the kind of person who dares to face life’s challenges and overcome them rather than dodging them. Roy T. Bennett

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

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

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

Seize every second. Savor the beauty and bounty of life.

Savor the beauty and bounty of life. Seize every second.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Seize every second of your life and savor it. Value your present moments. Wayne Dyer

Can’t we all find something else to do when we know what we should do? My son asked me how much time was I wasting on creating a cover for the novel I’m editing? “You’re a writer, not a cover designer,” he says. “You could outsource that to people and some of them will do a lot for an opportunity to showcase their work.”

I know he has a point and I need to wrestle with the fact I might be cheap and a control freak. I have a lot to get done and one thing that is working for me is setting little deadlines. I’m going out to visit Mom and I want to have this round of editing done so I can give my novel to beta readers. I also want to have a concept of my children’s book complete.

A big goal is great, taking that big goal, breaking it down into small goals, and meeting the small goals means we will meet the big goal. Even if we don’t quite meet that goal we will be closer. We each need to find systems that work to help us make and meet our goals. First, we have to decide on what our goal is. Something I wrestled with for years. Why couldn’t I just say this is what I want to do and get on with doing it? It seems I could, and I have, but it took me a long time.

We might beat ourselves up because we aren’t a big success yet. We may have things we long to do but can’t get started because what if we fail? What is a failure, if not a learning experience? When I look at the information on writers, most writers don’t start getting much of a readership until they have a few books published. Most writers need a day job or a spouse that can support them. It may seem to some that they should be able to make a living from their writing, art, or music and they are selling out by not putting all of their energy into their music, art, or writing.

I think having a well-rounded life and our music, art, writing, or whatever creative endeavor feeds our soul is a laudable goal. We are teaching our children they can go after their dreams. Being the tortured soul for my art has never appealed to me. I love having a family, a house to bring them up in, security, choices, and my art and writing.

Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go. Unknown

In many ways, I might have it all. Not fame, not fortune, but a genuine great life. A reallionaire, with a well-rounded life, opportunities, and choices. Isn’t that what we want? Isn’t that what a rich life is? At my age, I still have mountains to climb, pinnacles to reach, and hopefully grandchildren to love.

When we are surrounded by the love of family, enjoy the work that we do, and the people we interact with. If we love where we live and can see and do the things we set out to see and do. What would we trade for a few more zeroes in our bank balance even if we are working hard to get those zeroes?

Working towards our goals is one of the joys in life. Always having a goal to work toward keeps us motivated and alive. Knowing we have done what we needed to do to take care of our families, and give opportunities to our children is also what makes us proud of our life. If we can make the best of each season of our lives, the best for us and those we love it seems to me that is a successful life.

We may think we are just a cog in a wheel. Cogs are important and everything breaks down when we don’t do our part in our family, community, country, and world. Jordan Peterson tells us to pick up a load, and when we pick it up to carry it. When we got married we picked up a load, when we had children we picked up a load. Children are our most important load and when we get them to adulthood we can take that load off our back. This may free us to pursue dreams and ambitions we set aside during the heavy lifting years of parenthood.

This is when we may become creative and aspire to new things. Our third act may look completely different as we are no longer fettered by responsibility. We’ve earned the freedom to live life on our own terms. Do our own thing. Could it be that even at this age it is possible to believe the best is yet to come?

They say grandchildren are more fun than our own children. Creativity feeds our soul and we now have time to be creative. We now have time to join groups of like-minded people. We now have time to read books. The later years in a marriage are said to be some of the most satisfying. Some of the happiest people in the world are older.

Life is great in every decade. We have to make the most of where we are, enjoy the moments, and savor the beauty and bounty of life.

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. Eckhart Tolle

The universe provides abundantly when you’re in a state of gratitude. Wayne Dyer

I started out giving thanks for small things, and the more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased. Oprah Winfrey

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

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

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

Getting old is scary. Is losing autonomy what scares us the most?

Is losing autonomy what scares us the most? Getting old is scary.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors. Tia Walker

Last night my husband and I watched a chilling film “I Care A Lot,” about a legal guardian getting legal guardianship of older adults, putting them in care homes, selling their homes and assets, and bleeding them dry. In the beginning, she keeps a man from seeing his mother with court approval. This is a scary movie because we will all get old if we are lucky.  The guardian is bound by law to turn the estate over to the heirs if there is any left and in her world, they are looking for a “Cherry.” A cherry is someone with no heirs, no one looking out for them, and lots of money and property.

She is able to get legal guardianship through the court without the person being present. In the film, she says, “Most people think they would fight.” She has a police car parked in front of their house and a legal document and the ward walks out of their house bewildered like sheep.” If one of her wards does have family, she makes the family seem like they don’t have their family member’s best interests at heart. She as an outsider can see what the family member needs more than if she were family. She gives the court what they want – the look of competence instead of messy emotions that families exhibit.

When rights are taken away, “for their own good,” by the courts without the person in question present or an advocate to speak for the person losing their autonomy, the system will be abused. Is it abuse when a guardian says, “We are giving them the best care they can afford,” and actually giving it to them with the plan that all resources will be used up upon that person’s death?  What isn’t addressed is what happens when the money runs out. A ward dies the legal guardian thought would live longer and she moans about the wasted resources she now has to turn over to his heirs.

One person caring about another represents life’s greatest value. John Rohn

Being at the mercy of other people’s decisions is one of the things we fear most. We trust institutions with our money. We trust the court to make fair decisions. I believe many of us will not be making the best decisions for ourselves in our later years. If we are lucky we have a loving family to step in who will do the best for us, not themselves. There are legal guardians who will do the best for those in their care. But, there are always those who take advantage of their position and if we run into them, woe is us.

A doctor gets paid off to say someone is not competent to handle their affairs. We had many people go to prison because Doctor Charles Smith said they killed their children. He said he had a passion for uncovering the truth about children’s deaths and he was believed.

When a doctor gives a testimony or signs a paper saying we are incompetent they will be believed. We will not be believed and our family in their outrage, if we have anyone to stand up for us at all, will be made to look unstable.

How do we protect ourselves? As baby boomers age this is going to become a bigger problem. Is everyone looking to take advantage of the elderly? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean wolves aren’t out there. Being proactive and taking care of our own business is better than regret. From what I am reading once some of these guardians get their clutches into us it can be very hard to get the courts to give family members control or in some cases people who are not related but care for the person in question.

This is a very scary situation that some of us will face. Who do we give power of attorney to? Many people with dementia feel everyone is trying to take advantage of them, which gives the courts and vultures more power.

How are we going to navigate the perils of getting old, infirm, and not being able to make the best decisions for ourselves?

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. Christopher Reeve

Just being there for someone can sometimes bring hope when all seems hopeless. Charlie Brown

Many caregivers expect their involvement to have a positive effect on the health and happiness of the patient. This may be unrealistic for patients suffering from a progressive disease, such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Cleveland Clinic

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

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

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

J

S

B

Inspiration to set goals and change daily habits may be what creates the life we dream of.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. John C. Maxwell

Is inspiration a call from the soul to express itself through us? Is it true when we are inspired and pursuing our passion, time stands still and we are oblivious to our surroundings?  If this is what inspiration looks like many of us may think we have never been inspired at all. This can be part of a problem when we expect things to be a certain way and they are not. I read a book about a woman who all her life yearned for a religious experience. She was very devout but she never felt what she heard other people feel when they felt the hand of God on them. Her husband was not as devout as her and he had a religious experience. She always asked why it didn’t happen to her?

If we don’t feel what some people tell us they feel we may think we must not be doing things right. I’ve heard some mothers don’t feel that overwhelming love at first glance yet become wonderful mothers. I’ve never felt the inspiration for art I’ve heard my sister talk about. What if I waited for that feeling that never comes before I express myself? I would still be waiting.

What if one of the problems we have is that we have bought into this idea that things should feel a certain way, look a certain way, and affect us a certain way. What if our inspiration is quiet instead of loud? What if some of us are making mistakes hoping to discover our passion and connect with our purpose? We are expecting fireworks to go off so we’ll know when we’ve found what we are passionate about.  

You can believe that you are neither a slave to inspiration nor its master, but something far more interesting – its partner – and that the two of you are working together toward something intriguing and worthwhile. Elizabeth Gilbert

Last night I was in an impromptu speaking contest and the word I was given was “Inspiration.” What popped into my mind was Jim Rohn saying, “It is easy to make changes to our life, and it is just as easy not to make those changes.” It is easy to jump out of bed when the alarm goes but it is easy to push snooze. It is easy to go for a walk (for most of us) but it is easy not to. It is easy to make good food choices and we all know we should eat more fruits and vegetables.

What is the inspiration that makes us reach for an apple instead of a chocolate bar? What inspires us to put our runners on and go for that walk? Why do some of us think our morning is not complete without coffee and other people never touch it? A big part of this is our habits. We can make our habits work for us or against us. A habit makes it so everything we do is not a big decision. This means we can save our brainpower for what is important.

Is a big part of being creative making it into a habit instead of waiting for inspiration? Often I don’t know what I will write until I sit down to write. Painting is the same. If I didn’t sit down to do it, nothing would get done.

How many of us are wishing we’d been inspired to buy cryptocurrency when it was cheap? What if we set aside a small amount of money to invest in cryptocurrency every year – an amount we can afford to lose? Instead of getting inspired when it is high and uninspired when it is low, we can create a habit of investing. Inspiration may be great when it knocks us on the head but what if it doesn’t? We need to make choices and create habits that create the life we want. A life built on good choices and habits may rival one built on inspiration. As one contestant said last night, “Perspiration is a large part of inspiration.”

Is setting goals part of being inspired? If we can come up with what we want can we figure out the how? Goal setting is intimidating. That might be why I have been remiss in setting them. If I set a goal I would be giving myself a job. For many years I didn’t set goals because it seemed that keeping the work done, the family fed, and the house picked up was all I could manage. Of course, it wasn’t true because many other people in the same circumstances went back to school and got degrees, published books, made lucrative investments, learned languages, to play instruments, and started businesses.

We are where we are and we need to start setting goals if this is an area of weakness. I started reading the book, “Big Things Happen When You Do the Little Things Right” by Don Gabor. We need to be willing to make small changes and set small goals because small things add up. So often we are waiting for that big inspiration but if we start small we may be surprised what it can grow into.

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. C.S. Lewis

Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. C.S. Lewis

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

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

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

Flexibility and growth. Forgiveness in our own lives and others. Moving ever forward.

Moving ever forward. Flexibility and growth. Forgiveness in our own lives and others.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

Flexibility is all around us in the newness of spring. Green shoots are growing and pulsing with life.

Last night I finished the book Metamorphosis by Isabella Macleod. It was my book club pick, she has piqued my interest and I may have to get the sequel. Miranda the main character is dealing with Morgellons disease, a disease some believe is caused by Lymes disease, and some doctors believe is a psychiatric illness. How awful to have a debilitating illness and doctors and people around you think it is all in your head. Her already failing marriage erodes and she is picking up the pieces of her life and dealing with this strange illness when this book, ends.

On my walk last night I was listening to Atomic Habits by James Clear. He gave an analogy of what happens to us in life. He said boiling water softens a potato and hardens an egg. We don’t know how the things life throws at us will affect us. Will we be the potato or the egg? Can we choose to make choices in our lives where our particular characteristics, talents, interests, and strengths are in line with what we can be best at?

We can make small changes to our habits to improve our lives. But, if we are trying to excel in an area we are not cut out for no amount of improvement may get us to where the people who have natural attributes get. We self-select out of sports that don’t fit our physical body type – even the short basketball players are tall.

We might not like the challenges that lie before us; we may think they are not fair. Life in many ways is what we make it with creativity, tenacity, courage, and luck. Why should we have to go through this, whatever this is? It is ours and often we cannot skirt what is ours to plow through. Dealing with life and finding the silver lining makes some people become heroes they could never have become without that adversity. I think of Terry Fox, Helen Keller, and Anne Frank. There are many, many more people who rose above adversity, and who rise above it every day.

You’ll never know how strong your heart is until you learn to forgive who broke it. Anonymous

My sister says if we all hung our problems on the line, after surveying everyone else’s problems we’d take our own problems back home. It is a good way to look at things as they are ours, how we deal with them may make or break our life. I look at people in some circumstances and I think surely they could be doing better. I of course don’t know what brought them to where they are. What lessons they have to learn and how far they have already come. Judge not lest yee be judged. It is hard not to judge, even if we feel hurt at the judgments leveled at us.

The supple green shoots bend in the wind; the old hardwood will crack and break. We need to remain flexible. I say this as I know many who know me would say I am not flexible. Does being flexible mean we have no principles to stand on? Does it mean we don’t think some ideas, practices, and traditions are better than others?

I have always liked the expression “Love the sinner but hate the sin,” as a way of dealing with ourselves and others who miss the mark. We may have differences in opinion of where “The mark is,” but in general we can see there are more positive ways to live lives and more negative ones. We need to forgive ourselves and others as we build our lives, our country, and our world.

Do we focus on what we can do in our lives and let others focus on what they can do in theirs? Can we offer a hand up when we can, and let ourselves and others put the mistakes of the past behind us as we go forward? Perfection is the enemy of the good. No one is perfect but as long as life pulses in us can we be growing, forgiving, learning, and loving?

If you are truly flexible and go until… there is really very little you can’t accomplish in your lifetime. Anthony Robbins

You have to have the capacity and the ability to take what people did, and how they did it, and forgive them and move on. John Lewis

Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. Carl Bard

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

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

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

Extreme ownership of our choices will give us a life of character, opportunity, and blessings.

Extreme ownership of our choices will us a life of blessings, character, and opportunity.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

I’ve been listening to the book, “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willnik and Lief Babin. The idea is to own everything in your world and to blame no one else.

We are to admit and own mistakes and develop a plan to overcome them without blaming anyone else.

We need to acknowledge there are no bad teams, only bad leaders. We need to explain not just what to do but why.

Ego corrupts and disrupts everything, the planning process, the ability to take good advice, and the ability to accept constructive and helpful criticism. It can even stifle someone’s sense of self-preservation. The most difficult ego to deal with will likely be our own.

We need a simple plan. If the plan is simple enough everyone understands it. If the plan is too complex we and our team (family, business, or group cannot make rapid adjustments because the baseline understanding of it is not there.

We need to know what the most important problem is to deal with. We must prioritize and execute. We must relax, look around, and make a call.

We must build trust with our members. Trust is not blindly given it must be built over time. Open conversations build trust, overcoming stress and challenges builds trust. Working through emergencies and being there for people builds trust.

Leadership comes from the top. If those we lead aren’t doing what we want rather than blame them for not seeing the big picture we must figure out a way to better communicate it to them in terms that are simple, clear, and concise so that everyone understands the mission, the goal, and the end game.

If the leader isn’t making a decision in a timely manner or providing necessary support or leadership don’t blame the leader. First, blame yourself. Examine what you can do to better convey critical information for decisions to be made and support given.

You can’t make the same mistake twice. The second time you make it, it’s no longer a mistake, it’s a choice. Unknown

Discipline yourself. Freedom comes from discipline. The more disciplined we are in life the better our life will be. Our first choice comes with getting up in the morning. Do we jump out of bed with the alarm or do we fail our first test of discipline for the day? If we start the day out right by getting up early and making our bed we have already accomplished something. When we fail the first test of the day though it seems small, that weakness translates to more significant decisions. But, when we exercise discipline in small things it will show up in big ways in our life. If we can master the small things we can master the big things. If we fail at the small things we will have more trouble with the big things.

What if we decide to take extreme ownership in our life, will that fix everything? There might be nothing that fixes everything. But we can live our lives in a way that we do what we can in most areas of our life. Sometimes we are the catalyst to make things better or worse. Disciplining ourselves to always try to make things better will give us the best chance at a good life.

Jordan Peterson’s, “12 Rules for Life” and Jocko Willnik and Lief Babin’s, “Extreme Ownership” are in the same vein. They are telling us what we have been told all of our lives by folk wisdom, religions, books, teachers, parents, etc. We have more control over the unfolding of our lives than we think we do. The small decisions we make for good or bad each day compound. Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into years, and years turn into our lifetime. All those decisions that didn’t seem like much add up.

We hear about people who win lotteries or made it big and we hear they are broke. How could they be broke? Poor decisions over time have brought them to where they are. We hear of people who never made much money but they die millionaires, the result of good decisions over time.

Life is all about the choices we make in the circumstances we find ourselves in. We may wish we had better circumstances but we need to make the best choice and move on from there to make another good choice. Enough good choices and we will look like one of the lucky ones.

Are we making the best choices in our life daily, weekly, yearly?

Never blame another person for your personal choices – you are still the one who must live out the consequences of your choices. Carolyn Myss

Life is about choices. Some we regret, some we’re proud of. Some will haunt us forever. The message: We are what we chose to be. Graham Brown

Our self-respect tracks our choices. Every time we act in harmony with our authentic self and our heart, we earn our respect. It is that simple. Every choice matters. Dan Coppersmith

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

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

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

Life is a fight for territory. There is no standing still in life, we grow or we rot.

There is no standing still in life, we grow or we rot. Life is a fight for territory.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Life is a fight for territory. Les Brown

Is living a fight for territory?  The full quote is, “Life is a fight for territory and once you stop fighting for what you want, what you don’t want will automatically take over.” I think this is true and if you grew up in a household with lots of siblings we were all fighting for territory, for our place, our niche. Maybe we were the funny one, the dependable one, the level-headed one, the smart one, the troubled one, the sick one, the healthy one, the complaining one, the happy one, the smiling one, or we found another niche.

Then we get out into the world and we are finding our place again. How many of us have been to a gathering of some type and one person takes all the air in the room. They have all the jokes; they are the loudest and most boisterous. We might not like to be the loudest jerk in the room but doesn’t our voice raise when we think we are not being listened to, we are not heard, and we are not acknowledged.

When we were in the dating world we were fighting for territory. My sister tells me when she watched her husband walk into the singles group she was a member of she said, “Ladies, he’s mine.” She staked a claim and they have been married for years.

Maybe when we claim things as ours it is easier to get what we want. What do we want? Maybe we haven’t voiced what we want and that is why we don’t have it. If we stake a claim we then need to do something with that claim. We can register our business but that is the easy part. Building a business is a challenge, but staking our claim, declaring our intent, and then going after it and doing what needs to be done will get us where we want to go. We need to know where we want to go all through life. If we quit setting a goal, quit working toward what we want we may have to settle for what we don’t want.

I don’t think this means we should always be striving and not enjoying the beauty and bounty of our lives. I think it means we should be making things better in our lives in every way we can while we enjoy the beauty and bounty.

The spring bulbs are up under my crabapple tree which should be in full glorious bloom this weekend. If I don’t keep planting new bulbs my spring flowers get sparser and sparser. I used to have crocuses but they have died out. If I want crocuses or any other spring flower I will have to plant them. The beautiful garden doesn’t just happen and nor does a beautiful life, family, marriage, business, or great accomplishment of any kind.

Life does not stand still. Where there is no progress, there is disintegration. Grenville Kleiser

Staying healthy as we age is definitely a fight for territory. If we don’t exercise our body ages at a faster rate, we feel more aches and pains, and we have more health problems.   

Some people may laugh at the idea of living our best life. But when we say we are living our best life, we are staking our claim and then we have to do what it takes to make that happen. If we aren’t staking our claim we get what we get. Too many days of not staking our claim of going for a walk may mean we are not able to walk as far, we are stiff after our walk, or we can’t move as freely in our day-to-day life.

If we don’t stake our claim for eating healthy food, we won’t be healthy as we make choices that are not good for our health. Doctors are great for the things they can do for us but they cannot make us healthy. We have to do that for ourselves.

We have to stake the claim in our relationships that we will expect the best of ourselves. We will overlook our partner’s missteps and they will overlook ours. Too many missteps on either side won’t create a good marriage but nor will holding our partner to standards that normal people can’t attain. We can have such great expectations for our children they feel no matter what they do it won’t be good enough. We need to stake the claims for our own life and let others stake the claims for theirs.

Are we fighting for the territory in life we want? Is it true there is no standing still there is only going up or sliding down?

There are many ways of going forward, but there is only one way of standing still. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Marriages either move toward communication, connection and intimacy or they move away from these things – they don’t stand still for very long. Unknown

Self-development should be a perpetual process. In life you are either growing or rotting. You’re moving forward or backwards; there is no standing still. Al Duncan

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

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

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