Access your creativity and live a life that inspires you

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. Maya Angelou

On Saturday, I attended the Cranberry Christmas Market hosted by the Mississauga Arts Council. To be part of the creative community is wonderful, and humbling. At the table beside us, a craftsman was selling wooden spoons and forks made using an axe and knives.

At another table, a gentleman was selling hand-made wooden pens and he included the story behind the wood in each pen. I bought one, and it is from a 250-300-year-old black oak that stood beside the rose garden in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario. I like the story as much as the pen, but the pen is wonderful to hold and write with. There were hand-crafted items of all sorts, jewelry, soap, hand-dyed yarn, decorative items, knitting, art, and books, and I’m sure I’ve left out some. Choirs entertained us and incredible musicians played chamber music. At our table, we were three authors representing the Mississauga Writers Group.

The craftsmanship in the items on display was amazing; one of the reasons to visit these markets is to get an idea of the array of crafts other people are creating. We might see something we want to purchase, but also items we would like to create. When there is a story behind an item it is more impactful to me, than if it is just the item.

The blankets I knit at Mom’s will be treasured because of the story behind them more than the craftsmanship, but when we make things there is a story behind each one. It might not be a story that would grab someone else, but when we look at the item we will be brought back to what we were doing and our mindset when we made it.

It’s no good being too easily swayed by people’s opinions. You have to believe in yourself. Donatella Versace

Creativity is a gift we give ourselves. I watch my daughter and grandson paint and the object is not what he creates, he loves the doing. Sometimes we think the treasure is the object we create, but the real treasure is what being creative does for us.

On Friday, we had a girls-night at a friend’s house and she showed us slippers she’s knitting for her family. What a lovely thought everyone will be wearing hand-knit slippers, knit by their mom, grandma, sister, or mother-in-law. What a special Christmas this will be, and how precious will those little slippers be as a keep-sake for her twp-and-a-half-year-old grandson? She also showed us a scarf she’s been knitting for her daughter, fine knitting, with beautiful yarn. It is truly a labor of love.

A fellow author at our table crocheted star bookmarks. What a lovely idea and one I might copy. The other author at our table has kept the blankets she made for her children and wishes she’d kept the sweaters knit for them by her mother. Often we are cleaning up, getting rid of what is no longer being worn, and we don’t think of the treasure we put in the bag to be given away or thrown out. We all probably have items we’ve given away or thrown out we’d love to have back, because of the story behind them.

If I’m lucky, I will get to knit more items at Mom’s, and help her finish her last quilt. If Mom hadn’t taught me to crochet on my last visit, I would look at the crocheted bookmarks as a great idea, but not one I would create myself.

Being crafty has pitfalls, we need to find a repository for what we create, or we might become overwhelmed by our creations. The more we create the more we want to create, and I’ve wondered how some authors are so prolific but now I know, they love writing, and when they finish one project they start another one, and over time it adds up.

I’m not sure it matters what we create, what is most important is we find some form of creativity that feeds our soul, and if we end up making a little money at it, so much the better.

If we can’t use creativity up, the more we do, the more we can do, and the more we want to do, are we as creative as we want to be? Is there a creative project we’d love to start, what’s holding us back?

Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while working. Henri Matisse

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. Sylvia Plath

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun. Mary Lou Cook

Thank you for reading this post. Please come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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

Books written by members of the Mississauga Writers Group at the event:

Learning and growing, teaching and being taught, is there a better way to live a life?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A wise person knows that there is something to be learned from everyone. Anonymous

Can we learn something from everyone we meet?

How do we square having more than enough against knowing some don’t yet have enough?

If we are lucky enough to live in abundance, surrounded by peace and plenty, do we have something to teach others? Can everyone live in abundance, surrounded by peace and plenty? Are we moving toward this or away from it?

If we look around and see other people living better lives than we are, can we emulate them so their ways become our ways? Is mentorship how we pass things on to others and learn what we don’t know?

If we learn the best practices from everyone we meet, how good can our lives become? What if, instead of envying others for their accomplishments, we learn from them and become eternal students learning and growing throughout our lives? One of the ways we can do this is to be part of organizations that are comprised of diverse groups who have different things to teach us.

By joining organizations, we can meet people we wouldn’t meet any other way. Our only point of commonality may be that we are part of the same organization, and Toastmasters is that kind of organization. Everyone who joins Toastmasters wants to improve something about their lives, and this is a great meeting point because when we see others improving their lives and telling their stories, we begin to think we can have bigger lives as well.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more you are a leader. John Quincy Adams

We might listen to a speech on helping the poorest of the poor, how bringing smiles to faces and making a difference in lives brought more meaning to the giver’s life than they thought possible.

People know what works in their lives, and advice taken to heart and implemented will work in ours. If we learn from other’s mistakes instead of making those mistakes ourselves, can we spare ourselves a lot of grief?

If we learn the best things from everyone we meet and implement the best practices into our lives, will we make a difference in our lives and those we love?

We can get this knowledge from books and podcasts because many books and podcasts are about building our best lives. But, when we meet people doing it, we might believe we can do it too instead of thinking there is something special about who we are reading about or listening to.

Being part of a group, whether a religious or secular group, might bring us closer to turning philosophy into action. An idea is just an idea rolling around in our head if we don’t put action into making it a reality. We might have the best ideas rolling around in our minds, but if they only remain ideas, will they impact our lives?

Do we have mentors in our life and are we a mentor to others? What if we don’t limit ourselves to mentors who look like us, or believe what we believe, what if we really can learn something from everyone?

We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort. Jesse Owens

When you’re intentional, you can add value to everything you do and to every person you meet. John C. Maxwell

Success is not to be pursued. It is to be attracted by the person you become. Jim Rohn

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

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

Perfection is unattainable, but good, that is something to work toward.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Good enough is good enough. Perfect will make you a big fat mess every time. Rebecca Wells

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. This popped into my mind this morning as I walked down the stairs. Unions are pushing workers to strike, or are workers pushing the unions to strike? Isn’t pushing for higher and higher wages going to make robotics more attractive?

Yesterday, I listened to a show discussing Tesla and other automakers and how non-unionized Tesla workers are becoming millionaires because of stock options.

I remember when I first moved to Mississauga I worked for a small bank, and union organizers were approaching the workers. We had a meeting and the bank management was detailing what we as workers might lose if we unionized. A few years later I met someone whose business was to unionize companies. I never got the idea his goal was to make it better for workers, he was lining his own pockets with union dues.

I think we have to be careful about who we think has our best interests at heart. As a small business owner, I know keeping a business going is the business owner’s main objective. This might sound terrible but without the business, there isn’t anything for anyone. The owners lose, the workers lose, the shareholders lose, the communities lose, and we all lose. We have to protect the goose that lays the golden egg. Business is that goose.

Some in our society don’t want parents to know what pronouns their children are using in school and is this because parents are the children’s worst enemy? Is this where we are today? Families aren’t perfect because people aren’t perfect but what do we want to do, have children grow up without a family because they won’t have a perfect one?

Don’t try to be different. Just be good. To be good is different enough. Arthur Freed

There are some ideologies out there that feel anything less than perfection isn’t good enough. But, we’ve never had perfection and for the most part, things work pretty well. We need to be able to live with good enough. Good enough businesses, with good enough leadership, and good enough families that build good enough communities. Because good enough is way better than where looking for perfection might lead us.

Some people will tell us that we are not aiming high enough if we settle for good enough. We won’t all agree on what good enough is, but I think a good definition is the point past which putting more resources into something won’t improve it in a meaningful way. Plastic surgery is where we see going for perfection ends in disaster.

What does a good enough society, business, or family look like? In my opinion, good enough is a pretty high bar, it isn’t a low bar which I think some people see it as. To be a good enough person is something to strive for, it isn’t something that comes easy because where there are obvious improvements to make, we aren’t good enough.

Who gets to decide what’s good enough for someone else? Do we need to be patient, and above all to be patient with ourselves?

And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good. John Steinbeck

You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens. Louise Hay

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. Norman Vincent Peale

Thank you for reading this post. Please come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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

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

Building on our strengths, while we work on our weaknesses is this the secret to success?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Building your talents into real strengths also requires practice and hard work, much like it does to build physical strengths. Tom Rath

Do we focus on our strengths or our weaknesses? Tonight, I am giving a speech to Speechcrafters; this group is taking a six-week course in public speaking with Toastmasters. My speech will be about putting humor in speeches.

I’m one of the least funny speakers, and I’ve found there is nothing as unfunny as trying hard to be funny. As I’ve put this speech together I’ve come across some things that make sense to me about humor.

A female comic says no one comes up to her after her routine and asks for her number, but the male comics have throngs of women wanting to date them. It seems men like women who laugh at their jokes, and women like men who make them laugh. Over the years the humor in a relationship changes, but sharing a laugh is no less important. Whereas during courtship men were the humor producers and women the appreciators, in long-term relationships it can be harmful for men to use humor. When women are the humorous partner it seems relationships thrive.

One of the reasons is men often use disparaging humor directed at others, whereas women use self-deprecating humor, which might bring relief to a tense situation. Women who use humor report greater marital satisfaction. According to Dr. John Gottman, one of the best ways for wives to lower their husband’s heart rate is to crack a joke to relieve tension, and couples who deescalate the conflict in this way are more likely to have a stable marriage.

As relationships progress a man’s humor becomes less important and a woman’s sense of humor becomes a blessing. In the beginning, it was about attracting a mate but after marriage, it is about sympathy and attunement to the other person’s feelings and perspectives. A genuine laugh is one of the best and most honest ways to convey, I’m with you, and we are in this together.

Build upon strengths, and weaknesses will gradually take care of themselves. Joyce C. Lock

A few years ago I volunteered to be part of a comedy night. I’d always wanted to try it and when the opportunity presented itself I took it. I worked hard putting together material, and bought a couple of books like, “The Comedy Bible.” I prepared, knew my material, and didn’t get one laugh. But, I did get compliments on my material, along with a few pointers from funny men who got a lot of laughs.

Tonight I’m going to tell new Toastmasters to focus on putting together a good speech, not to focus on telling jokes, but to tell true stories that the audience can relate to. They might get a laugh, they might not, but either way, it is okay.

If humor is not our strength and we work hard to give humorous speeches we might sacrifice what we are good at. If we work hard to give speeches that focus on our strengths and we get a laugh that’s a win for everyone.

We should do this in our lives; focus on our strengths and not our weaknesses. When we focus on our weaknesses we often forget to work on our strengths and we try to become someone we are not. We become the proverbial square peg in a round hole.

We only have so much time and energy, and how we spend it will determine our results. If we spend our time trying to become better at what we will never be best at, is that as good as focusing on what we are already good at and improving that?  If we focus on our strengths I think we will have a better life than if we focus on our weaknesses, and we shouldn’t discount small improvements that add up to significant improvements over time.

Build on your strengths, work on your weaknesses. Minh Tan

You cannot build performance on weaknesses. You can build only on strengths. Peter Drucker

Sometimes we’re tested not to show our weaknesses, but to discover our strengths. Sasha Gollish

Thank you for reading this post. Please come back and read some more, and have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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

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

Choices in actions and choices in attitude, we are blessed if we have the ability to choose.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Life is a chess match. Every decision that you make has a consequence to it. P.K. Subban

Do we get to, want to, have to, or should do things in our lives, and do how we look at these things change them? I have to water my dahlias becomes I get to water my dahlias. I have to phone Mom becomes I get to phone Mom. It won’t be long and watering dahlias won’t be an option, they will be done for the year, but I can enjoy them now. 

We cannot turn every have-to into a want-to. Sometimes we just have to do it and get it over with and go about our life. Do we have to go for a walk, usually not, but we may want to, or think we should, and if we are lucky we get to. There are people who do not get to say,” Let’s go for a walk,” because they are unable to walk. How lucky are we if we can and do? Many people cannot water or weed their gardens because they do not have one. Not everyone gets to cook today, some because they are not able; because they are no longer in their own home, and some because they have no food to cook.

We may have things on our list we don’t want to do, but feel we should, we must, or we have to do. Is our life the sum of the choices we have made? If we want a better life do we need to make better choices? What if we chose to go for a walk every day? What if we chose to eat for health? The two choices that lead to the greatest amount of happiness in our lives I think are the choice of who we choose as a spouse and what we choose as our livelihood. Perhaps if we realized what a momentous choice it was when we made them we would be so filled with fear we wouldn’t make a choice at all. We make our choices and then we live with them and hopefully make the best of them.

Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you. John C. Maxwell

When we visit somewhere with breathtaking vistas of mountains, oceans, and scenery that take our breath away we think what would our lives be like if we could live here? Life would still be life with all its challenges but does living amongst beauty add to our lives? There is beauty everywhere if we look for it. It might not be the grandeur of snow-covered mountain peaks, but we can stroll in a park, a public garden, or if we are lucky our own garden.

Having our own garden to sit in is a joy; to be surrounded by greenery and flowers gives us a lift. My garden needs tending because the weeds are taking over, and if we let them they do take over. If we weed every week it isn’t that daunting but with going away and not weeding since we got back I have to get out there and create order out of chaos.

I wonder if our life isn’t always moving towards one of two extremes, too orderly, or too chaotic. Too orderly has never been one of my failings and I’ve sometimes thought it might be better to be too orderly than too chaotic if one had to choose, but too orderly may be harder to live with. It is finding the balance that is the challenge.

Choices, choices, choices, if we are lucky we have choices to make, if we are wise we make the right ones. The challenge is to know which choice will be the best one over time. Tonight I can work in the garden or go to the gym but doing both will be a challenge. I think the garden should win out. I could have weeded this weekend but Saturday it rained, and yesterday we had visitors. I could have, I would have, I should have, but I didn’t do it so it is still to be done. I get to, I want to, I have to, and I should, so I will and then it will be done until it needs to be done again.

Is making our lives better as easy as choosing what is the next thing we must do, can do, should do, get to do, or want to do and then do it?

The quality of your life ultimately depends on the quality of your decisions. Ray Dalio

The hardest decisions in life are not between good and bad or right and wrong, but between two goods or two rights. Joe Andrew

Nothing happens until you decide. Make a decision and watch your life move forward. Oprah Winfrey

Thank you for reading this post. Please come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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

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

Life happens to all of us, how we react to it is what we control

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that counts. It’s the life in your years. Abraham Lincoln

Sometimes things happen that jerk us up short and we feel mortal. Someone younger than us, considered healthy or healthier than us, dies of a heart attack. A relative is in the hospital with something that seemed to come out of nowhere. We wonder if this could happen to us too, and of course, we know the answer is yes. We aren’t special; we don’t have some protective magic protecting us from the hard things in life.

We realize that health really is our first wealth, and what should we do to be healthier? What do we want to accomplish, if retirement is looming we wonder what will we do with our time no longer taken up by working. Do we have a passion to pursue, an interest to discover, or a hobby to take up? If we are alone we may wonder if we have another thirty or forty lonely years ahead of us, if we aren’t alone we worry about when we might be.

If we’ve watched our parents as they’ve aged and they’ve had reasonable health, reasonable resources to live on, and had hobbies and interests then aging may not be as scary for some of us as it is for others. Getting old is not fun but it’s the best option we have, and if we can do it gracefully, and healthily with mind and body intact it may be an enjoyable stage in life.

We’ll need to trust that we can keep ourselves healthy enough, and have enough income to more than scrape by. In old age, I think financial security is a big thing because we aren’t in most cases able to physically make more money but our investments can produce fruit. We aren’t planting the money trees anymore but we can harvest them.

We might not be having big adventures when we reach advanced age, but we are watching our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren have theirs. If our family is doing well we will feel grateful and blessed. No one only gets blessings to be grateful for, everyone gets challenges to overcome, deal with, and make the best of.

Don’t try to add more years to your life. Better add more life to your years. Blaise Pascal

Is trusting we can get through all of life and deal with the trials and tribulations that come along with the joys the way to look at life? If we can believe whatever comes we can deal with, whether highs or lows it will be better for us. We may think why someone doesn’t do this or that to improve their health, wouldn’t it be better if they ate this way or that way? If there truly is a better diet we should follow it to be an example of what is possible, giving advice might make us feel better, but what do we know about their health? We need to trust them to make the best decisions for themselves, and even if we know they aren’t making the best decisions, it’s their life. They will seek out advice that may help them or not, it is their life, not ours. We need to be our own control board, but we can’t be someone else’s.

I am trying to curb my advice-giving ways. Who am I to know how someone else should live, what decisions they’ve had to make, what they have to deal with? It is probably better if we can be with people where they are and encourage them to do what they can do, not what we think they should do. This might be the hardest way to support them, to keep our opinions and advice to ourselves while we support them in their time of need.

Sometimes we know the outcome is not good. In truth, we know the outcome is not good for all of us; we will all have to face the reality of our own demise. Is the best way to face our death making the most of our life? I didn’t mean for this to be a morbid post. But, death is part of our reality, our own, and those we love. How can we live so when the time comes we are ready, we’ve made the best of the time we’ve had? We made phone calls while we could, we visited when possible, we laughed and held hands, encouraged others, and let them encourage us. It isn’t only about living more years, but putting more life into our years that counts.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life will always be hectic and complicated. Stop waiting for life get easier or better in order to be happy. Learn to be happy now. Karen Salmansohn

Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. Charles R. Swindoll

Thank you for reading this post. Please come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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

Choices, making the right choice, are we making the best of the choices we’ve made?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

Getting back into the swing of things after a break always takes a bit of time. How many of us who couldn’t go to the gym during covid are back to the routine we were before? I’m not; gym time is taken up by other things.

Life changes and we change with it, sometimes we love the changes, and sometimes we don’t. Some things we can change and some things we can’t. Life is constantly evolving; we aren’t the only person in our life, and we must consider other people.

We may even have moments when we ask ourselves why we are working so hard. What are we trying to prove or accomplish, and what is being sacrificed? We may have other times when we ask ourselves why we aren’t working harder, and why we aren’t accomplishing more. We may think hard work will bring certain rewards, but we don’t always see the results we hoped for. Sometimes every step forward seems like a couple of steps backward, and we see others get bigger results with seemingly less work. Comparing ourselves to others is one of the biggest ways to be unhappy.

Every choice comes with a consequence. Once you make a choice, you must accept responsibility. You cannot escape the consequences of your choice, whether you like them or not. Roy T. Bennett

We need to be okay with ourselves, who we are, who we’ve been, what comes easy, and what we struggle with. There are many things about ourselves we can’t change no matter how hard we try. We have the bone structure we have, the ancestors we have, and the family we were born into, adopted by, or grew up with. We are where we are in the world, and we may be happy with where we are or want to change it. We may have many choices to make in life or only a few.

We think we will be happier with more choices but research doesn’t seem to hold this to be true. This may be why our society is not as happy as we think it should be, after all, we have so much choice, and instead of making us happy we always feel we could have and should have made a better choice, which leads to unhappiness.

There might have been a time when there was a limited pool of people to choose as our mate and we made the best choice. Now there are so many choices some people can’t choose from the array of options because what if there is a better choice? In a store, there might be too few choices, but we can be in stores where there are too many choices and we get confused. Picking the best pair of jeans out of ten works, but what about out of ten thousand?

Much of life is making a choice and then making the best of it. If we decide we are having chicken for dinner then we can make the best chicken dinner we are capable of. If we can’t choose what to make for dinner, and five-thirty rolls around without dinner started we have fewer options than we had earlier. In a pinch, we might opt for scrambled eggs and toast which will fill us up but not thought of as dinner food. If we had all afternoon to make dinner this may be a letdown, but if we just got in after a hard day, a quick easy meal instead of take-out might be a win.

Choices, choices, choices, we may be frustrated by too many, or too few choices. Life is a balancing act and we are told the better we balance it, the better our life will be. But, we see people whose life is totally out of balance and they are incredibly successful. Shouldn’t we aspire to that kind of success? Chances are we will all have some successes and failures in life. We will have to deal with how our life unfolds and make the best of it. Is there a choice we can make today that will move us in a better direction?

Look for your choices, pick the best one, then go with it. Pat Riley

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears. Nelson Mandela

Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely. Roy T. Bennett

Thank you for reading this post. Please come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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

Making plans, celebrating milestones, and making the best of it when our plans don’t work out.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley, and leave us nought but grief and pain, for promised joy. Robert Burns

The best-laid plans go oft astray. But, what really goes astray are the wishy-washy plans. It turns out I’m a flake, not an intentional one, but one nonetheless. My sister’s birthday is today and I asked my niece what she was planning for her mom’s birthday. “Nothing yet, but I’ll get back to you.” I hadn’t heard anything by Saturday and my husband said, “We should have a barbecue on Sunday, and yesterday being our son’s first wedding anniversary we set it up.

Yesterday at about two o’clock my niece called me, “Did I get the text about dinner?” I was so busy pruning bushes in the garden I hadn’t checked my phone. Dinner to celebrate my sister’s birthday was an hour and a half away, and my son and his wife would be arriving at our place to celebrate their anniversary in a couple of hours. I apologized to my niece and will call my sister today. I hope we have a good laugh over it and there are no hard feelings.

Feelings are easily hurt and one of the ways we hurt people’s feelings is by trying to do too much. We have good intentions, but people don’t see our intentions they only see the results, a botched birthday celebration.

A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. George S. Patton

On Friday a friend and I were planning to attend the Horticultural Society plant sale Saturday morning. She volunteered to help out at 6:30 in the morning and I told her I probably won’t end up going if we aren’t going together. My garden needs pruning more than it needs more planting. Saturday I accompanied my grandson and daughter to the park. He’s now old enough for the swing and he loves it. Two little girls wanted to pet our dog Lulu and she loved the attention. Then I filled four garden waste bags with dead tree limbs. I didn’t end up going to the plant sale but if I had all that dead wood would still be in our garden.

Next weekend I am at the Bread and Honey Festival for the Mississauga Writers Group so no gardening will get done. My son looked at what I’ve accomplished and said, “You must have worked really hard.” Don’t we love it when someone notices and we get a little credit for our accomplishments, a pat on the back, and recognition in some way?

Can we host a barbecue in July for my sister and niece? I will start planning it now and hope nothing derails the plans. Happy birthday, Sis from the flakey one!

Chaos is roving through the system and able to undo, at any point, the best-laid plans. Terence McKenna

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. E.M. Forster

It’s not your plan that’s important. It’s your ability to adapt to the changing conditions that’s going to determine your success. Jon Butcher

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The dance between chaos and order is playing out in our lives.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Chaos breeds life, while order breeds success. Franklin P. Adams

We had a weekend of rain so I didn’t get out for a walk, of course, that is an excuse, it didn’t rain every second of every day, but any excuse will do when we want one. I did get the front closet cleaned out. Old shoes and boots we haven’t worn in years finally got thrown out.

There is something cathartic about clearing out clutter, so why don’t I get to it more often? Some of us are much better about living without clutter than others. I’ve seen shows where people live with mounds of stuff everywhere. I’ve wondered how they manage, they aren’t managing or they wouldn’t be on a show.

We might envy the compulsive cleaner but that is a problem as well. What is the line between a well-kept home, and a home that is so clean it is uncomfortable to be in because we might leave a footprint?

Life is messy; our dog goes outside and comes in with muddy feet. Our one-year-old grandson leaves a mess behind him wherever he goes. Cooking is messy, but how can we be healthy, if we don’t cook? Many hobbies are messy, but what kind of life is it without creative hobbies? Can we live in organized chaos, and is this actually the best way to live?

Organized chaos may be different for each person, but somehow we need to be able to live without our routines becoming too rigid because rigidity is not good for our souls. I wonder if we are all struggling with a chaotic life and if we get too much order in it, all the spontaneity and fun might be gone, if we have too much chaos in our lives maybe it is hard to function.

Chaos and order are not enemies, only opposites. Chaos and order combined equal balance. Richard Garriott

Do we need to embrace chaos in our lives because coming up with the perfect morning routine like the perfectly organized coat closet can be daunting? Life gets in the way and we have to be okay if we can’t get everything on our list done so we can do other things that are required for our life.

An extra hour in the morning is like a golden gift but how long will it take before this hour is filled with tasks that need to be done, and I think if only I got up an hour earlier. Maybe we are hardwired to never be satisfied, we are looking for ways to make things better, and if we are satisfied we think we are no longer ambitious enough, but perhaps we can become a satisfied striver. We are setting goals and reaching them, and then setting new goals.  If we have a comfortable life, we might think it is a little boring, if we have too much excitement we crave peace, if we eat out all the time, we crave home cooking, if we have home cooking all the time we long to go out.

Finding a balance that works for us is our challenge. Everyone is quick to tell us what works for them, there are lots of gurus who tell us to buy their system, but if something is going to work for us it will have to fit into our unique life, and life is always changing as we go through different stages.

Can we find peace as we juggle chaos and order?

In all chaos, there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order. Carl Jung

It is only in the dance between chaos and order that life progresses. Harrison Owen

Chaos precedes order and order precedes chaos and beauty is somewhere between. Amy Larson

Thank you for reading this post. Please come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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

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

Document your days, celebrate your life, and discover things about yourself you might only be able to do by keeping a journal.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open. Natalie Goldberg

I’ve spent the weekend scribbling, drawing, and coloring with markers in my illustrated journal. There are some examples of beautifully illustrated journals on the internet, but I wonder if trying to make them too beautiful might not defeat their purpose. We lead messy lives and one of the problems we have in life is trying to make things seem more perfect than they are.

Our journal is a place, to be honest with ourselves; we can pour our heart and soul onto a page in words, art, or both. Sometimes it’s hard to find the words and a picture might let us get everything out, all that angst out on the page, maybe we want to color in the blank space, or maybe we don’t. This art is now called Neurographic Art and was developed by a Russian psychologist, artist, and architect, Dr. Pavel Piscarev in 2014. He has trademarked the name and developed some practices around it, but this is not new and many people have scribbled lines. He’s given it a name and to teach it you must be certified.

This is somewhat like Zentangles where the name is trademarked but the patterns are not trademarked they have been used in knitting, masonry, architecture, etc, throughout the centuries. What they’ve done is put them in a book, named and provided the steps to create them, which is very helpful because figuring out a complicated pattern is tricky.

In 2014 I picked up a book on Zentangles and they are great to add to an illustrated journal. Lines, circles, and dots create a pattern. Four patterns create a tile, but we can do anything we want with them, and combining Neurographic lines with Zentangle patterns seems like a winning combination. Someone is going to come along and trademark a name for that if they haven’t already.

Writing is another powerful way to sharpen the mental saw. Keeping a journal of our thoughts, insights, and learning promotes mental clarity, exactness, and context. Stephen Covey

Art is for all of us, and expressing ourselves on the page might be one of the best ways to sort out our feelings, fears, and goals, and to deal with the problems and challenges in life. Art isn’t only for those whose artwork will end up in a museum or gallery. It doesn’t need to be hung up on our walls, but it can be.

My son is talking about ChatGPT and it has been mentioned at Toastmasters as well. Some may think how great to have a computer program that will write a book and when I publish it will be purchased by millions. Most writers are not getting rich from writing and publishing books even when they are traditionally published. For many writers, the real benefit of writing a book was the journey of writing the book. Books change us and make us look at the world and our understanding of our place in it. The benefit of ChatGPT may be the questions we have to ask to get it to write what we want and coming up with the questions may be what is beneficial to us.

The benefit of art is in making it, expressing ourselves on the page, and when we keep that art in a journal we can look back on it and see our progress. The words and pictures will bring us back to that day. We think we remember everything about our life but I read my journals and I’m surprised by what is in them. There are events written about in my journal I don’t remember until the journal jogs my memory.

A written journal or an illustrated journal may be a way to examine our lives, we may get more out of life by looking for things to put into our journal, and we may live more fully, and drink more deeply from the cup of life. Does our life call out to be documented in some way? Isn’t this why we love taking photos? They can also be included in our illustrated journal, as well as other memorabilia that we can glue or tape in.

How do we document our lives, is there a new practice we would like to try? Is there an old practice we’d like to pick up again? Will keeping a journal help us to live well from the inside out? Will it change our lives in ways we can’t imagine?

In the journal, I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person” I create myself. Susan Sontag

Documenting little details of your everyday life becomes a celebration of who you are. Carolyn V. Hamilton

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. William Wordsworth

Thank you for reading this post. Please come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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

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