Finding inspiration, do inspired people inspire others? When we see what others can accomplish do we think we can do it too?

When we see what others can accomplish do we think we can do it too? Finding inspiration, do inspired people inspire people?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you want to succeed, focus on changing yourself, not others. Unknown

Tonight I am to give an inspiring speech at Toastmasters. What makes an inspiring speech? How are we inspired and how do we inspire others? I’m beginning to believe most if not all of this is an inside job. We don’t inspire others. If we are inspired we find inspiration in others and it inspires us more.

When I think of the kind of inspiration a lot of us would like to be able to give, we want to light a fire under people who need a fire lit underneath them. We want to change those who do not, will not, or cannot change. The inspiration they need will not be pushed on them by someone. They will search it out, stumble upon it themselves, or see a light in the darkness they can move toward.

Part of this seems like terrible news, but part of it frees us to realize we are the change we need to see. When we are inspired we might inspire someone not because we are lighting a fire under them but because we are like a lamp that has turned on, and they can see possibilities in the darkness, possibilities for them. When we see someone like ourselves, achieve things we think maybe we can do it too. We have to come to that conclusion, no one can make us see that we can do it, or should pursue it. Inspiration then is not a push, but a pull toward something someone wants, not a push toward something they should do. We spend a lot of time trying to control others to get them to do what we want, what we know would be good for them, or what would be better for society.

My speech tonight is about what I am going to say in an artist statement video. I’m going to give a speech within a speech asking for feedback. Will it be an inspiring speech? It is not an, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” speech.” It is not a folksy Jim Rohn, inspirational speech. It might not come under inspirational speeches at all. I have an opportunity to ask, what do you think of my sixty-second artist introduction?

Don’t be ashamed of your story it will inspire others. Unknown

I’m thinking about what is inspiring. My parents moved to Northern Saskatchewan as kids during the dirty thirties. Their parents were homesteaders and there were no schools in those early days. They grew up and went their way and then they each went back, met up, and got married. When I was a kid it was an area of prospering farms, we were bused to school in town. We had opportunities my parents couldn’t dream of when they were kids. If anyone, anywhere has an idyllic childhood we did. It was an inspiring time of growth and opportunity.

We need to find inspiration where we are to make things better, to help ourselves, and to help others. We shouldn’t as the bible says hide our light under a bushel. We need to be inspired to find inspiration in others. Remember the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” The answer may be to find what inspires ourselves and by being inspired we may inspire others.

The question we should be asking ourselves might be what do we find inspiring? When do we feel inspired to do, to change, and to reach for something? Are we cursing the darkness, or lighting a lamp?

What you do has a far greater impact than what you say. Stephen Covey

You don’t need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections. Wilson Kanadi

Be the kind of person that makes other people want to up their game. 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, or see archives of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

Thank you to everyone that reads my books. A special thank you to everyone that leaves a review on Goodreads and Amazon. 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.

Choosing beggars makes givers withhold their gifts. If we must beg don’t we need to accept what is offered?

If we must beg don't we need to accept what is offered? Choosing beggars makes givers withhold their gifts.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Writers are nothing but beggars with a good line. Charles Bukowski

Are we choosing beggars or do we meet them regularly? One of the ways to be unhappy in life is to expect other people to react in certain ways, be grateful, understanding, thoughtful, kind, respectful, and reasonable. The less we expect of others the less they will disappoint us. When we expect more of ourselves and less from others it works but when we expect more from others and less from ourselves, it does not.

I came across “Top Ten Reasons It Costs More To Get Your Pet Groomed Than Your Own Haircut.” I won’t put them all down, but  – your hairdresser doesn’t wash, clean, and groom your rear end, says it all. We expect a lot from pet groomers. When we had our Scottie he hated being groomed and the groomer earned every penny of that fee. Cutting his nails – that was a test of determination and persistence.

Sometimes we think we are charged too much for something that didn’t take that much time to do. Knowing what to do is a big part of what we paid for and we sometimes forget that.

Someone on the internet says he tried to give money to a guy begging for money. The guy told him he doesn’t take less than $5.00. That’s choosey, but doesn’t a dollar from five people equal five dollars?

I’ve heard of people offering free stuff and being asked to deliver it.

Beggars can’t be choosey is not new. The term was first recorded in print in 1546 when it appeared in a book of proverbs by John Heywood. Entitled people who are not grateful are not new. This isn’t a sign of our times or something we are doing wrong in the upbringing of our children. We have always had people who are ungrateful and entitled. When we think back to what we think life might have been like in 1546 we think you wouldn’t be a choosey beggar then, but apparently, people were.

Human nature doesn’t change. This is why proverbs from all cultures and religions ring true. We are more alike than we are different regardless of where we grew up, or the circumstances and times of our life.

It is why when we read Tolstoy’s quote, “Happy families are all the same and unhappy ones are unhappy in their own way,” it rings true because we see the commonalities in happy families. People with miserable lives have often created their own kind of misery. It isn’t popular to say that we are responsible for our own lives, but isn’t it true that we can make the best of something or the worst of it regardless of the circumstances?

Don’t be a beggar of love, be a donor of love. Beautiful people are not always good, but good people are always beautiful. Unknown

Gratitude seems to be the difference. The problem with choosey beggars is they never seem grateful for what they are being offered. Their attitude turns people off and instead of getting, they get less and may become resentful of the attitude they create in the people that would help them.

I need to ask myself, when am I a choosey beggar. When am I not grateful enough for the bounty and blessings in my life? It is easy to see the mistakes and missteps of others, but we often make excuses for our own mistakes and missteps.

Yesterday I asked my daughter to read the children’s book I’m preparing for publication. She was reading what I’ve uploaded to Amazon. I was hoping she would say, “It’s perfect, I love it,” but she didn’t. “You need more pictures. Children love to look at the pictures because they can’t read.” She even told me where she thought I should explain a bit more and what kind of picture I should add.

I took her advice. I added two lines to explain what was happening. Last night I started working on the missing painting and thinking about a second one I can add.  When we ask for people’s input we need to welcome it. She could have told me what I wanted to hear, but that wouldn’t be helpful. I could ignore what she told me but that won’t make my book better. By accepting her advice and acting upon it she will tell me what she thinks in the future. If I ignore what she says, she would probably not bother to try and help me make it better.

It is hard to accept criticism, but it is the only way we can make things better. She also pointed something out to me I should have noticed but didn’t. When we have people in our lives that will give us their honest opinion we should be grateful, and accept their opinion with grace. We may not always think their opinion is correct, but we need to let them know we appreciate their viewpoint and did consider it even if in the end we did not change things.

If we are begging for feedback or other things don’t we need to accept what is offered?

A beggar’s hand is a bottomless basket. Dutch proverb

I would rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married. Elizabeth 1

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King

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

Being content with our gifts and using them for the betterment of all.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The art of contentment is the recognition that the most satisfying and the most dependably refreshing experiences of life lie not in great things but in little.  The rarity of happiness among those who achieved much is evidence that achievement is not in itself the assurance of a happy life.  The great, like the humble, may have to find their satisfaction in the same plain things. Edgar A. Collard

Most of us will never have the career of our dreams; we will have a job or business that pays the bills and keeps the wolf from our door, helping us to make the important parts of our life work.

I’ve always thought the most important jobs are not the ones with the cache. We can live without Doctors and Lawyers but not plumbers and farmers. Good nutrition, hygiene, and sanitation have done more for society than anything else. Jordan Peterson says one of the reasons women do not rise to the heights in the professional world is those with education and choice realize what is important at about age thirty-five. They realize it is not the next promotion taking them away from home and family that is important. They do not want to be married to a corporation. When they have a choice they often choose family.

At some point, we realize family is the important thing. Everything we do is to keep the family housed, fed, and educated.

It is so easy to be pessimistic about our future. Can we learn to live in harmony with nature? We have built societies of peace and plenty. Progress can continue to be made if we work together. If we believe what is good for you is good for me. We have unequal distribution and that may be a fact of life that will always be with us. We need to be okay with the fact that in a forest a few trees are the biggest. A few songwriters have written most of our songs. A few authors have written most of our books. A few companies sell most of the products. Most of our forests are populated by a few trees. A few people make most of our scientific discoveries.

We are all here to contribute our gifts toward something greater than ourselves, and we will never be content unless we do. Charles Elsenstein

If we take envy out of the equation and try to live our lives using the gifts we were given then we can have a great life. How many of us use things for purposes they weren’t intended for? We make life hard for our self when we could use the proper tool. Is a hammer better than a screwdriver, a cherry better than a potato, a chicken better than a cow? Comparisons are odious and we compare ourselves to others to our detriment

We are here, why? That I believe is what we are to find out. We are here, for better or worse. Can we make it better?

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully” Romans 12:6–8

Anyone can revolt. It is more difficult silently to obey our own inner promptings and to spend our lives finding sincere and fitting means of expression for our temperament and our gifts. Georges Rouault

Use what talent you possess, the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best. Henry Van Dyke

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you wil 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.

Learning from the masters. Can we too become masters if we work hard and practice?

Learning from the masters. Can we too become masters if we work hard and practice?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

It’s not so much staying alive, it’s staying human that’s important. What counts is that we don’t betray each other. George Orwell

My cousin called me yesterday and said, “I met Hemmingway.” Of course, she means she started reading one of his books. Other than what she read of him in school she has never read any of his books. I haven’t read his books either.

What makes a Master? I have a book called “Write Like the Masters.” I started reading it and will take notes. We tend only to see the results of masters we don’t see what they did to become masters. We figure they must be special, but we often underestimate the amount of work it has taken to develop their skills to be masters. It isn’t just innate skill that makes masters it is also hard work and practice at their craft.

There is a story that Pablo Picasso was in a bar in Paris having lunch. A woman who recognized him came over and asked him “Excuse me, sir, aren’t you Pablo Picasso?” As Pablo confirmed he was, the woman handed him a napkin and asked, “Can you please draw something for me?”

Pablo took the napkin and got to work. 10 minutes later he was done and as he handed over the napkin back to the woman he said, “That’s $10,000.”

The woman looked flabbergasted and said, “$10,000? But it only took you 10 minutes to draw that.” Pablo looked at the woman and said, “Yes, but it took me 25 years to know how to do this in 10 minutes.”

I’m looking at an article from The New York Times dated January 12, 1992, “Reading Hemingway without Guilt” by Fredrick Busch. He says, “It is not fashionable these days to praise the work of Ernest Hemingway. His women too often seem to be projections of male needfulness. There are too many examples of his lifelong anti-Semitism, his affection for denigrating black people in just too many forums private and public. And he was violent: he loved bullfights…

He is so very incorrect, except in this: he gave the century a way of making literary art that dealt with the remarkable violence of our time. He listened and watched and invented the language – using the power, the terror, of silence – with which we could name ourselves.”

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. George Orwell

Writers don’t write only about what is correct, beautiful, noble, and good because that is not where the story is. Writers know their characters do not always do what they should, and think what they should because people don’t do those things. If there is nothing to overcome, if everything is how it should be, then there is no story.

Can we judge people by the standards of our time that lived in other times? If we get rid of all the works of people who didn’t live how we wanted or think what we think they should have thought, how does that serve us?

In this era of political correctness, some people seem unaware that being squeamish about words can mean being blind to realities. Thomas Sowell

In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable. George Orwell

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.

The challenge of communication. Examining our sensitivities and accepting ourselves warts and all.

Examining our sensitivities and accepting ourselves warts and all. The challenge of communication.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

No amount of self-improvement can make up for any lack of self-acceptance. Robert Holden

What are we missing in communication? Why don’t others understand what we meant to say or even what we really said? How are so many things lost in translation and we are speaking the same language? At least we think we are.

This is the problem; we think we are talking the same language. The Book, “Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus” told us men and women don’t speak the same language. The oppressors and the oppressed I don’t think speak the same language and who belongs to which group is open to debate and some people who feel oppressed are seen by others as oppressors. We may be told we are part of the powerful group but we don’t feel we have any power.

The powerful group might be being a man, or being a woman, being rich, being educated, being self-employed, being a celebrity, being famous, being attractive, being tall, being slim, being smart. I believe there can be advantages to being in every group I’ve mentioned but being any of those doesn’t mean you are how others perceive you. The advantages others envy may not seem to actually exist to you.

Being attractive is a huge advantage for most people. We may not be able to put our finger on exactly what makes someone attractive but we generally recognize attractive people when we see them. We are naturally attracted to attractive people and part of this we are told is because attractiveness is a sign of health.

Are we often blind to our advantages; do we take them for granted, just like the smells in our house? If we go into someone else’s house we know what their house smells like but we often don’t know what our own smells like because we live in it. We are nose blind, we are advantage blind.

I have always been better at caring for others than I have been for caring for myself. But in these later years, I have made progress. Carl Rogers at age 75

If we are to live in a color-blind world it doesn’t mean we don’t recognize the differences at all it is they don’t make any difference in day-to-day living.  Even though redheads are said to have life more difficult than blondes or brunettes doesn’t it really matter more if they are attractive redheads? If we would prefer our children to be blondes over redheads does that mean anything? I’d rather my grandchildren have straight beautiful teeth over crooked, not beautiful teeth. I’m saying crooked and beautiful because straight teeth aren’t always beautiful and crooked teeth aren’t always ugly. I have a preference, does it make me a bad person that certain parts of my gene pool I like better than others?

The redhead with ugly crooked teeth and unattractive features just has one more feature that isn’t loved with the red hair. The attractive redhead with lovely skin, beautiful features, and a fantastic smile stands out, if they have beautiful hair that is also red everything is working for them. If they are tall, fit, rich, and famous, being a redhead is probably not working against them.

Would we rather our children have blue, brown, or green eyes? We may have a preference or we may not. If we do have a preference is it a problem? We are sometimes aghast when we find out people have a gender preference for their child. Mom had three girls and would have loved for me to be a boy. It has made absolutely no difference in my life, and I totally understand why she wanted a boy.

Did I ever feel I wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t a boy? No. Did I ever feel they thought I should be different than I am? No, they played the genetic lottery, and out I came. We all play the genetic lottery when we have children. Having preferences of what that lottery produces seems normal to me.

A marriage therapist had a couple in his office that argued and fought over the messiness of the house. He was a neat freak and she was the messy one. The Therapist said, “This week no fighting. You are to figure out why neatness is so important to you, and why messiness is so important to you.”

At home, the wife started thinking about why messiness was important to her. She remembered living with her single mother and every time the house got cleaned up it meant a man was coming over. As a little girl she decided she was never cleaning up a house for a man.

The husband started thinking about growing up in his alcoholic home. The only time he felt safe and chaos did not reign in the house was when everything was neat and tidy. As he began to relax she began to be less messy.

We need to understand the underlying issues in our lives that are causing problems. Our childhood has left us with sensitivities we react to without knowing why they are important. We judge people for their insensitivity to our sensitivities even we don’t acknowledge exist.

We need to learn to accept ourselves, warts, crooked teeth, lack of hair, and other things about ourselves we don’t love. Somehow if we don’t accept ourselves we send out messages to people and they pick up on our sensitivities and if they are mean-spirited people we have given them ammunition against us. We may be so sensitive a look, gesture, action, or words may set us off even if they aren’t mean-spirited people.

We need to take a good look at the things that bother us so we can understand what is behind them. I am reading 80% of what bothers us about our partners is rooted in our childhood. Marriage, if we do it right helps us heal the hurts of the past. If we don’t do it right we magnify the hurts of the past.

Expecting others to understand us when we don’t understand ourselves won’t likely work out well. Is this why Socrates told us, “The unexamined life is not worth living?” Could it be that if we accept ourselves things that someone might say that used to be a sensitive issue become just an observation? We do have red hair, crooked teeth, less hair than we like, or anything else we may be sensitive about. Instead of jumping down someone’s throat can we acknowledge that maybe what we were so sensitive about was how we felt about something, not how they did?

When we accept ourselves for what we are, we decrease our hunger for power or the acceptance of others because our self-intimacy reinforces our inner sense of security. Brennan Manning

When you create yourself to make it you’re going to have to either let that creation go and take a chance on being loved or hated for who you really are. Or you’re gonna have to kill who you really are and fall into your grave grasping onto a character that you never were. Jim Carrey

Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we will ever do. Brene Brown

Thank you for reading my novel Secrets and Silence and a special thank you to those that 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 percentage of the sale through the Amazon Affiliate program.

Gratitude and generosity. Respecting others and respecting ourselves. Are we living by the golden rule?

Are we living by the golden rule? Gratitude and generosity. Respecting others and respecting ourselves.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect toward others. The Dalai Lama

Are we living lives of gratitude and generosity? If when we help others we help ourselves. What does real help look like? Some people seem naturally more giving, generous, and helpful. I don’t mean the givers of advice and criticism where I may find myself. Is it easier in small communities to be helpful and generous?

How do we cultivate an attitude of generosity and gratitude? There is a form of generosity that I think if we would adopt would go a long way toward healing the hurts so many people have. We need to extend grace toward people who have wronged us, this generous act will gradually change how we see ourselves, our world, and our future. This isn’t easy when we feel people misjudge us, and ascribe motives to actions we don’t agree with.

This of course is easy for me to say because I haven’t been wronged very often in my life. I am blessed to live in peace and plenty. I haven’t traveled extensively but the few places I’ve gone have always welcomed me. If I’m not grateful for the life I’ve been blessed to live, what was I expecting would be enough to start being grateful?

We won the genetic lottery just being born. In my life, I’ve never gone a single day hungry that I didn’t choose as a fast day. I am grateful for good health and the good health of my family. I am grateful for prosperity even though I don’t consider myself rich. At this stage in my life, I still have goals and dreams and I am grateful for that.

My son tells me I am not a positive person, and I know what he is saying is true. I have second-guessed myself in ways I don’t think a truly positive person would. Perhaps if I was given a choice I would be different than I am but I’m okay with who I am, the life I’ve lived, and the choices I’ve made. They haven’t always been the best choices. Does anyone anywhere always make the best choices in every situation? Would that even be possible? What would we learn if we never made mistakes? How would we grow if we never failed?

Whenever you share the goodness in your heart. You always end up a winner because life is an echo. It gives you back what you have given. Unknown

I think of the Canadian Author who has a multi-million dollar contract for her first two novels. The first one is now published. Does early success work for us or against us? Do we always need to find a way to use our successes as stepping stones to other successes? Regardless of the heights we achieve, we can’t sit there; we need challenges and accomplishments throughout our life. We dream of overnight success, but is it what we really want? Isn’t it better to build success over time incrementally so we’ve built a strong foundation? If I was offered the multi-million dollar deal for my first novel and the sequel I am writing what effect would it have on my life? My retirement would be assured. I would feel I never have to work again, but would that be a good thing?

I am enjoying the little successes that are coming my way. A conversation with someone that tells me, “You are exactly who we are looking for to feature on our talk show, and it only costs $1250.00 American.”

“I’m looking for free publicity right now,” I tell her. We end our call and she tells me, “If you change your mind call me anytime.” It is not such a crazy price that I couldn’t pay it. I am hoping that Internet Radio Shows and regular radio shows looking for guests will contact me, or be interested when I contact them. Maybe “Pay to Play” has its advantages, maybe it doesn’t. I’m too new at this to know.

The publicity part of being an author is new to me. I am enjoying it. The one Internet Radio Show I was featured on was fun. “In the Author’s Corner with Etienne,” he’s a good host and put me at ease. We talked and laughed for an hour on air with no awkward dead spots. I am grateful he gave a newbie Indy author the opportunity to be on his show.

If we are grateful for the opportunities in our life we are told we will get more. If we want to be forgiven for our trespasses we must forgive others their trespasses against us. We may never live up to what we expect a life of gratitude and generosity should look like, but we can work toward becoming more grateful and generous. We can take a step, another, and then another. Where it will take us we do not know. We may be on a lifelong journey we can’t imagine.

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch heaven. Johannes A Gaertner

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can. John Wesley

Life is an Echo. What you send out comes back. What you sow you reap. What you give you get. What you see in others exists in you. Regardless of who you are or what you do, if you are looking for the best way to reap the most reward in all areas of your life, you should look for the good in every person and in every situation and adopt the golden rule as a way of life. Zig Ziglar

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 full of 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 novel Secrets and Silence and 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 Amazon affiliate program.

J

B

Standing strong and owning our stories. Are we the hero of our own life?

Are we the hero of our own life? Standing strong and owning our stories.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness. Brene Brown

Aren’t the new days of New Year’s filled with big plans? We call them resolutions and we make them in our mind even if we aren’t willing to say them out loud. This is the year we are going to… One of the problems with resolutions is when we get right down to it they are about two things, work and change. If things are going to be different, something has to change.

One of the problems most of us have why we don’t follow through on our resolutions is we don’t break them down into “SMART” goals, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. The other problem is, we overestimate what we can do in one year, and underestimate what we can do in ten years.

Some of the time it seems we treat everyone around us better than ourselves. We understand other people not meeting their goals but we berate ourselves. We tell ourselves we have no discipline, we don’t persevere, and we aren’t the achievers of the world. Is that any way to talk to someone we love?

Often there is no one we criticize more than ourselves. We tell ourselves, I won’t do that, I won’t do that, and then we find ourselves doing that thing again. What if we are telling ourselves the wrong thing? What is the thing we do want to do instead of the thing we don’t want to do?

We won’t get up late again becomes, we will get up when the alarm rings. We won’t be so hungry we eat the whole bag of chips becomes we will eat prepared meals at mealtime, and we will have healthy snacks on hand. We won’t waste our evenings watching TV, becomes we will write, paint, dance, sing, play an instrument, go for a walk or whatever activity we want to do in the evening. We need to quit telling ourselves all the negative things we don’t want to do and start telling ourselves the positive things we do want to do. We need to quit setting ourselves up for failure.

Why do we set ourselves up for failure? There must be a payoff. The payoff might be, if we never do this thing we say we must do, then we never have to face something else. One day I was listening to a very accomplished woman on YouTube. She said, “Don’t think I’m special, because when you do, it means you don’t expect as much from yourself.” When we tell ourselves that person is “Special” they are so talented, they are so lucky, smart, etc. We are giving ourselves an excuse to not step up in our own lives and make our own dreams come true. It is true there are talented people out there, but perseverance often outweighs talent.

Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we’ll ever do. Brene Brown

We sell ourselves short when we think other people are so much more than us, but it takes the pressure off because we tell ourselves we can’t, instead of we aren’t. What could we do, if we decided to do it? What is the, “It” in our life? The “It” that when we accomplish it we feel we have hit a milestone in our life we can be proud of.

For me, that was publishing my novel “Secrets and Silence.” Is it the best book ever written? Absolutely not, but it is published and available for purchase as a print and Ebook, or read as a Kindle Unlimited subscriber. I wanted to write my whole life, then why has it taken me this long to publish a novel? Why when I wrote my first novel starting October 9, 2000, and wrote 85,000 words did I put it away and never consider editing it to become publishable? It is a convoluted mess I am proud of, but I haven’t done anything with it. I am actually more proud of it than the one I published because it started me off as a writer. A writer that wrote almost every day, and a writer that persevered to the end of a first draft.

Editing that novel would have meant I had to put myself out there. I had to call myself a writer and have people read my work and judge it. Why have I been so hard on myself? I have twenty years of being a writer behind me even though I only published one novel that was started in 2012. It took me eight years to get it ready to put out into the world. A big part of that eight years was getting me ready, not the book.

What was I afraid of? Maybe part of what I was afraid of is that my world might change more than I wanted it to. It would take up the time I needed to give to my family. At least that sounds noble, so I’ll go with it.

I have feared putting my work out for public scrutiny. I didn’t hang any of my paintings on the walls of my own house until a few years ago.

What has changed? Becoming a Toastmaster first in 1986 and then again in 2016 has made a huge difference in my life. When we watch others struggle to find their voice it makes our own struggle to find ours, okay.

We are all struggling. We all have things about ourselves we aren’t proud of. We all make mistakes, and wish we’d made different decisions along the way. We are here, how can we make this a great year?

Where do storytellers find the wisdom to discover their own stories? From no place more mysterious than their own hearts. Marion Dane Bauer

Your life is a story, what’s done is done. Where it goes from here is totally up to you. Write your own ending. Unknown

Be bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart, and strong enough to live the life you’ve always imagined. 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.

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Dignity and self-respect. Are we Leading humble lives in truth and dignity?

Are we leading humble lives in truth and dignity? Dignity and self-respect.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Dignity is about showing self-respect and having quiet self-esteem. Unknown

Yesterday someone left a lovely gift on our doorstep. But, it isn’t for us, we don’t know who left it, and we don’t know Kate the intended recipient. This might be one of the problems with just leaving a gift on a doorstep as a nice surprise. Will the young woman who left it even know which house she mistakenly dropped it off at?

Last night when I put my dog, Lulu, out for the last time, a skunk was ambling toward the corner of our yard, and then it slowly meandered along the back fence and disappeared from view. He didn’t hurry, didn’t seem afraid, just doing his own thing. Not bothering anything but prepared if anything bothered him.

Is the skunk the symbol of humbleness, he minds his own business mostly. We had them get into the chicken coop at home and then they had gone too far and were no longer minding their own business.

Jordan Peterson defines a humble man as one with a sheathed sword who knows how to use it, but only uses it when he has to. Humble doesn’t mean you get walked on or can’t take care of yourself. It means you can take care of yourself but don’t inflict your power on others.

Quiet dignity, self-respect, confidence, bravery, and fearlessness are these qualities we aspire to as we make our way in the world? We might not think of the skunk as an animal to admire. We think of eagles, lions, and tigers we would like to emulate. Who thinks of the skunk and his don’t mess with me demeanor as he quietly goes about life, as an example of how to live our own?

Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying. Saint Vincent de Paul

Do skunks ever think about being better skunks? We seem to spend a lot of our time trying to be better people. Better than what? When we see a skunk we know it is a skunk, when we see a rat we know it is a rat, and when we see a wolf we know it’s a wolf. Many of us pretend we are something we are not. We hear the saying he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Shouldn’t we be okay with who we are? Can we be at peace with our talents, accomplishments, and choices as we navigate through life? We have strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and we are who we are. How can we be anyone else but who we are?

Do we need to embrace ourselves and know we will deal with whatever comes? Just like that skunk ambling in the dark prepared for whatever.  Even pussy cats, all fluffy and soft have claws and teeth and many a dog ends up the worst in a fight with a cat.

Do we need to walk in this world knowing we are not to be messed with?  Can we live in quiet dignity knowing we have power and we know how to use it? We can learn a lot from animals and of all the animals I see in my back yard the squirrel, always getting ready for winter, and the skunk with his quiet dignity might teach me the most.

Often the most powerful statement is your dignified silence. Unknown

To be able to live each day with honor, respect and dignity is the greatest achievement of all. Dr. Roopleen

Respect yourself and others will respect you. Confucius

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Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict Paperback – Jan. 29 2013

by Donna Hicks Ph.D (Author), Desmond Tutu (Foreword)4.8 out of 5 stars 139 ratings


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

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


The dark night of the soul and the hero’s journey.

The hero's journey and the dark night of the soul.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Only those willing to walk through the dark night will be able to see the beauty of the moon and the brilliance of the stars. Archbishop Socrates Villegas

Many of us don’t think of ourselves as heroes and we don’t consider our journey a hero’s journey. We are all the hero of our own story. There can be no other hero for our story, how could there be? There can be other heroic people in our story but we are the hero. Our story is about us and everyone else plays a lesser role. We are the only person that is in every moment of our story from beginning to end. 

Does everyone have a dark night of the soul where we know we cannot go on as we are, things have to change, we have to change, and things will never be the same again? Hasn’t 2020 seemed like that year? For some people especially those whose businesses have been locked down, whose jobs disappeared, or those that lost loved ones, this year is the year they are looking to celebrate the end of. We now have an approved vaccine for covid and no matter how quick we might think we want to line up to get it. This is a good omen; it is helping people to get their breath and to see light at the end of the tunnel.

We don’t know if we are at the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning but we’ve been thrown a lifeline. It is a lifeline to small and large businesses that may have seen a drop in sales. A lifeline to nursing homes that have been hit the hardest. It is a lifeline to parents who worry about their children, a lifeline to children that worry about their parents. We all have someone we are worried about even if we think we would probably be okay if we got sick.

Someday we will look back on this and see a bigger picture but while we are in the midst of it everyone is trying to do the best they can. Even if we don’t think they are. Hindsight is twenty-twenty. We may think “They” should be making different decisions but “They” are the ones that get to make them. Wouldn’t that be a horrible place to be in? Your decision may save people and kill business, or save businesses and kill people, or save neither. When our leaders say they can’t sleep at night, I believe them. This is their dark night of the soul and we will judge them even after their death for decisions that have been made.

Make the most of yourself for that is all there is of you. Ralph Waldo Emmerson

Will a shot in the arm save us? Is this the Christmas present we hoped for? We are all hoping that it is and by this time next year we are looking back with grateful hearts. This I think will be a life-changing year for many of us. We were bobbing up and down in our life and bam. Our life changed in ways we hadn’t anticipated and weren’t prepared for. We weren’t like the squirrel prepared for winter. Some of us were caught with our proverbial pants down. We’ve had time to think about what we want going forward.

Many of us could only tread water while we waited for this to unfold. If the end is nigh and we get out of this unscathed we will have to look at ourselves in the mirror and decide since we have a life going forward how do we want it to unfold. What changes does our life call out for? How can we be of more service to people in our lives and outside of our life? What gifts do we have that we are not giving? Do we have something we know we should do we are not doing? When would be a good time to start?

Good things come out of bad situations. It would be terrible to let a good crisis go to waste. I’m sure we’ve all been thinking about what we’ll do when this is over? If we are lucky and it almost is over and 2021 is a fabulous year full of hope and promise what changes will we make in our life? How will our trajectory on our hero’s journey change? What have we learned from this dark night of the soul?

The dark night of the soul is a journey into light, a journey from your darkness into the strength and hidden resources of your soul. Caroline Myss

The dark night of the soul comes just before revelation. When everything is lost, and all seems darkness, then comes the new life and all that is needed. Joseph Campbell

Our greatest treasure is that which is hidden deep within our own subconscious, it is the dark unused part of our self that is in fact light that is unconscious of itself. Carl Jung

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

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Hard Times Create Strong Men: Why the World Craves Leadership and How You Can Step Up to Fill the Need Paperback – April 1 2019

by Stefan Aarnio  (Author)4.8

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

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


Trust our self and trust others. Control our self; we are the only people we can control.

Control our self; we are the only people we can control. Trust our self and trust others.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Trust yourself; you will start to trust others. Santosh Kalwar

It’s raining this morning as I put my little dog outside. She hates going out in the rain but that is part of a dog’s life. We all have things in our life that we don’t like but we still have to do.

Maybe we think we have to do things but we really don’t. We only have to be willing to live with the consequences of not doing them. When we look at hoarders on some of these shows we can see what the consequence of letting our house get out of control is.

When we don’t exercise we know it is harder to move and feel free in our bodies. Even a couple of days of not doing my sun salutations in the morning and I begin to feel it. Mom does morning exercises and goes for a walk almost every day, it is probably one of the reasons she is doing well at 95.

Haven’t we all heard count your pennies and the dollars look after themselves? There comes a time in our life when we know we may not be able to make more money through working and we will be dependent on what we have squirreled away and pensions we are part of. The earlier we started putting money away the better.

Sometimes we know we haven’t done what we should have done, and we think it’s too late. We need to be discerning in our lives about what we can do to improve it. Where would we like to put our time and energy? What results would we like to see? The biggest thing we often see is the improvements someone else could make that would make our life better and telling them to make those improvements is rarely positive or helpful.

The parents of politics are lack of control and seeking to control. The parents of leadership are influence and trust. Richie Norton

The only person we can control is our self, but often we are full of good advice and suggestions for others. It is so much easier to see the improvements that could be made in someone else’s life instead of our own. I am guilty of this and I cringe at some of the suggestions I have given out that no one wanted to hear. Most of us know how we could improve our lives even if we aren’t digging deep enough to find the courage and strength to improve them.

Criticizing and controlling others doesn’t work, but when we back off and leave others free to make their own choices they may make better choices. We may not even be aware we are controlling or trying to control other people. When we want people to be different than what they are, and if we have an image we want them to live up to we are said to be controlling.

Herein lies the rub. Don’t we all want people to live up to an image we have of them? The problem seems to be when we try to get other people to live up to our image of them, instead of working on ourselves to live up to the image we have of who we could be.  

If we work on ourselves and try to become the people we know we can be then we might be so busy we let other people work on themselves. When we know we are doing the best we can, maybe we will also trust others are doing the best they can. If we all do this and learn to have faith in others we may build better families, communities, and societies.

The more we trust ourselves to be the person we are to be, that we will act honestly and trustworthily, maybe we will then trust others to do the same. When we live in high trust societies everything is better for everyone. When we live in a high trust society we expect others to do the right thing because we do the right thing.

How do we build trust and not be taken advantage of because of that trust? We hear of scammers taking advantage of high trust people. Even in high trust societies, we have to beware of that which is “too good to be true,” because it rarely is. When something presents itself as “too good to be true” there is something we aren’t seeing. Scammers get us with the promise of something that is “too good to be true.”

Are we a low trust or a high trust person? Are we working on controlling ourselves or on controlling others?

Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first. Unknown

It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them more successful human beings. Ann Landers

Self-trust is the first secret of success. Ralph Waldo Emmerson

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

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The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey (2006-08-01) Paperback – Jan. 1 1702

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 ratings


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

by Belynda Wilson Thomas  (Author)