Are we strong and courageous? Courage and strength are needed to live a good life. What would it take for our life to be an example of courage?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Courage is the mother of all virtues because without it you cannot
consistently perform the others. Aristotle

If we are to live good lives we have to have a degree of courage. We have to
stand by our convictions and be impeccable with our word. Do our best, and act on our well-chosen values. We will demonstrate a commitment to good causes by active participation. We will refuse the temptation to comply with, assist with, or ignore dishonest, coercive, cruel, bigoted, wasteful, or deceptive words or practices encountered during our everyday activities. We will be willing to speak truth to power to right a wrong. Doing the right thing may be a defining moment in our lives. We may courageously overcome or at least control bad habits and addictions.

That is a tall order and none of us will probably be consistently courageous
in everything we do. We will make mistakes of judgment.  We will believe things that are not true and may even feel others have no right to their opinion if they do not believe what we believe. Even though we won’t be perfect we will lead better lives if we are more courageous than if we are not.

We may truly believe we are doing the right thing and be wrong. We may find as life goes forward that going with accepted beliefs is not correct. Who do we listen to when deciding what the right course of action is?

There is so much information on so many topics we may not know what to believe or who to listen to. Epistemology: How do you know that what you know is true? How do we know what someone tells us is true, or what we read or listen to is true? What about conflicting stories, news reports, and biased arguments that may be based on a kernel of truth?

It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble; it is what we know that
ain’t so. Will Rogers

The sincerity of one’s belief, the volume or frequency with which it is stated, or assurances to “believe me” should not be rationally persuasive. It is hard to sift through everything we know, hear, and read. Is it possible to get comfortable with uncertainty and knowing we don’t know, instead of thinking we know things, we can’t know?

Even when we don’t know for sure what the truth is, can we be courageous in
our questions and our actions?

By what criteria do we evaluate reasons? How are those criteria themselves
evaluated? What is it for a belief to be justified? What is the relationship
between justification and truth? Harvey Siegel

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics. Mark Twain

I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know
nothing. Socrates

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If we are wise we will know what changes are good and which ones are not, but who is that wise?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change. Confucius

How many of us got up today wondering why we can’t quit changing our clock ahead and back again every year? Pick a time and stick with it. If we can’t get our time back on permanent daylight saving, and I don’t know anyone who likes the switch, how can we make changes we don’t all agree on?

B.C. passed legislation in 2019 allowing it to ditch the switch, but it has not been implemented yet. Ontario passed a bill in 2020 to stay on Daylight Saving Time permanently.

One day this foolishness will be over, but change is often slower than we want unless it is faster than we want. How often do we think we are living with everything going just right? Would perfection look the same for everyone? One of the problems I think we have is when we start getting comfortable we find our comfort is causing other people’s discomfort. As they work to get more comfortable we become more uncomfortable and the cycle continues.

At our writer’s group on Saturday, the conversation on how to write about sensitive issues was so interesting we didn’t get to our workshop on writing. It takes courage to be a writer, but it especially takes courage to write about sensitive issues. As writers, we ask whose story is being told and do we have the right to tell it.

I wonder how many writers stories are not being told because they worry how their story will be received and so don’t put it out there? How many writers like me skirt issues they would like to delve into? Are we becoming a less courageous society? Ignorance sometimes passes for courage, and that is not what I am talking about. The problem with free speech is some will misuse it; the problem with not having free speech is everyone is muzzled.

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. Anatole France

If important questions don’t get asked where does that take us? If questions get asked in a way that some will find hurtful, where does that take us? If no one asks the questions out loud, but whispers about issues where they deem it safe to do so, where does that take us?

Civilization is a balance of rights and responsibilities. We don’t live in a perfect society but do we appreciate how good it is, and how bad it could be? How many decisions are we away from it being better, but how many decisions are we away from it being worse? Do we agree on what would make it better, and do we agree on what would make it worse?

Most of us, I think, agree that being in one time zone for the whole year would make things better. It is a small change, and I hope to see it become a reality.

Other changes might bring more good. We won’t agree on all of them, they might not be good for everyone, and how do we weigh who benefits and who loses?

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. James Baldwin

In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety. Abraham Maslow

It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how you life’s story will develop. Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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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 sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

If what we fear most is what we most need to do, what would our life look like if we did it?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

80% of value is achieved with the first 20% of effort. Pareto principle

Is it possible to work less, worry less, succeed more, and enjoy life more? A book I picked up yesterday, Living the 80/20 Way by Richard Koch tells me it is. If it is true that a small amount of energy leads to most of the great things in our lives, and a small portion of our time leads to most of our happiness and fulfillment what if we spent our lives pursuing that 20 percent?

We need to know what we want, nothing happens without a goal to aim for and a plan to get there. We then need to know what actions are proven to give us the majority of our happiness and fulfillment.

Of course, we can’t do everything, so simplifying our life down to where we are doing the important things, the worthwhile things, and the things that make us happy, prosperous, and wise should be the best use of our time. If we know what those things are wouldn’t we be doing them, and if we do know them and aren’t doing them, why aren’t we, and if we don’t know what they are, why don’t we?

You know in this book of wisdom about living the good life it is going to be most of the things we’ve always heard we should do, but a lot of us don’t do. Save ten percent, get up early, eat right, exercise, marry the right person, be the right person, and forgive people for their trespasses against us.

Life is simple, but we complicate it by not doing the important things first. We love dessert, and if we indulge twenty percent of the time, we can probably get away with it. I’m going to read this book, but just reading books without implementing what is in them doesn’t change our lives. If we want to be in the twenty percent of people who do well, we need to do what the eighty percent aren’t doing and we might find we have areas of our lives we are better at than others.

Strive for excellence in few things rather than good performance in many. Richard Koch

Health, fitness, family, and finances are the four areas that pay big dividends. If we can be healthy enough, fit enough, happy enough, and rich enough to live to the end of our life then isn’t that a good life and a good goal?

How healthy do we have to be to die young, at a ripe old age? How rich do we have to be to not run out of money no matter how old we get? How do we create meaning and purpose during all those years?

These are the questions we should be asking ourselves, we have people in our families that are either an example or a cautionary tale, and we should be making decisions about our future life while we still have time to have an impact on that future. One financial book said we can have a steak, hamburger, or cat food retirement. We might aim for steak and get a hamburger retirement and that’s okay but how low can you go, might not be a good strategy for retirement.

I do think some of the scare tactics making us believe we will never have enough are not good either. We will never be younger than we are today, but there are decisions to make so the future can be as good as it can be. What if one of the things we do in our life is weigh our options, will this make life better in the future or worse, and do the things that will make it better, and don’t do the things that will make it worse?

It is unlikely in life we will ever feel, at least for long that we have 100% of what we want, and often we have to satisfy ourselves with 80% of what we want in spouses, jobs, businesses, or other areas of life.  We need to be careful not to see the missing 20% and go after it only to find out later we should have stayed with our original 80%.

What do we want, and what do we need to do to get it? How would getting or doing the things we want, change our life? If we know what it is, have we put it on our to-do list? But, are we putting 80% at risk to go after a missing 20%?

It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about? Henry David Thoreau

The important thing is the 80/20 rule: 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This means that if you’re doing ten tasks, two are going to be vastly more important than others. Brian Tracy

Knowing others is intelligence. Knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power. Lao Tzu

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Can crisis be a powerful addiction; does it make us feel powerful to be part of a crisis?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Successful people recognize crisis as a time for change – from lesser to greater, smaller to bigger. Edwin Louis Cole

How many of you are hearing the phrase, “Modern women” thrown out disparagingly, mostly by men, but also by women? Young women with rights and freedoms are making choices and those choices impact society.

Some believe if women had stayed out of the workforce it wouldn’t take three incomes to purchase a home. Others believe if the women weren’t more educated than the men they wouldn’t have trouble finding a suitable husband.

My son’s conversations make me think, and that’s a good thing, but YouTubers complaining about modern women make me think they are bitter and twisted because women with choices don’t have to choose them.

Choice doesn’t always give us a better life, and too much choice might make us take so long to choose, the choices we thought we had are no longer available to us. This I think is the conundrum young women face, many have so much attention when they are young they revel in that attention until it passes them by, and the prospects for a husband become slim to none.

How many materially successful and highly educated women with no husband and no children wish they weren’t so highly educated or materially successful, and had a couple of children and grandchildren to love?

My son mentioned last night that watching me with my grandson makes him think that only having two children lessoned the joy I could have had in my life, as my husband and I put other things ahead of having a big family. He also said he doesn’t believe with all that feminism has brought to my life, it isn’t better than my great-grandmother’s. He might be right, what has made my life better is the healthcare I received, so I didn’t die during childbirth.

A time of crisis is not just a time of anxiety and worry. It gives us a chance, an opportunity, to choose well or to choose badly. Desmond Tutu

So much of a woman’s life is tied up in marriage and children, and a good husband has given women over the ages a good life. Two good people getting together and making the best of what there was has made our society what it is. One of the things feminism has done is make it so women can afford to flirt and cavort with men who do not have their best interests at heart, that doesn’t lead to a better life, it just means they don’t pay as dearly for bad choices. But someone always pays the price when there is a price to be paid. Part of the lament about “Modern women” is who is paying the price.

We went from handwringing about overpopulation, and now we lament about the birth rate. Do we need a crisis to be happy? A crisis gives us something to focus on, rally the troops, and feel important. What if we are making big things out of ebbs and flows, and in the fullness of time when now becomes history, and problems we think are big problems hardly cause thought at all, we will have other crises to contemplate – maybe real ones, the ones we won’t see coming.

Faced with crisis, the man of character falls back on himself. He imposes his own stamp of action, takes responsibility for it, makes it his own. Charles De Gaulle

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. Hellen Keller

Every crisis has both its dangers and its opportunities. Each can spell either salvation or doom. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Is money the root of all evil, or what we will do for money that makes it evil?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. Henry David Thoreau

One of the things we learn in life is there is a price for everything. There is a price for doing and a price for not doing. What we do for others we do for ourselves, which means when we treat others well we feel good about ourselves and when we don’t treat others well it will come back to bite us. Jordan Peterson tells us we don’t get away with anything.

When we look around we think people are getting away with things, and if we watch social media some of the most outrageous people get the most views. We need to be careful who we emulate, who we hold up as role models, and who we follow. I have always believed pimps are the lowest form of life, because they take innocent people (mostly girls) with a life in front of them and turn them into prostitutes and now cam girls, and one of the ways they do it is the lover boy technique.

If anyone says they want to make someone fall in love with them so they will do anything they want them to do, we know it isn’t something good, and certainly isn’t something that will be good for the young woman’s life.

One of the antidotes to men exploiting young women is strong fathers. One of the things our fathers teach us is to be self-reliant, to be able to look after ourselves and be willing to work to better our situation, and not to let people make you feel you owe them anything.

 When we think things are too good to be true they usually are, and if someone isolates someone from their family, makes someone dependent on them, and then asks them to do the unthinkable, and introduces them to women already doing it who tell them it’s good or at least not that bad and they’ll make a lot of money, they won’t be told he will be getting most of the money, and they are now basically slaves.

Slavery still exists, but now it applies only to women and its name is prostitution. Victor Hugo

The sex trade seems to be bigger than ever, and Romeo pimps are roaming the streets and online looking for our daughters and granddaughters. What can we do? It seems it is mostly older guys going after young girls, some of these girls are in group homes and when they run away with their wonderful boyfriends is when the pimp has them in their clutches.

The breakdown of the family is our biggest problem and where children become vulnerable. If we can’t build strong families how will we lessen the victimization of our children? We might not be able to do anything about huge societal problems but we can perhaps do something in our own families. If we can keep the lines of communication open, let our children and grandchildren know that even if they make a mistake, trust the wrong person, or go down a path they are ashamed of they can always come home.

If we let them know they can turn over a new leaf in life, turn their lives around, and build a better future we give those that prey on our children and grandchildren less of a hold on them. If someone can make our children or grandchildren feel so bad about themselves they can never be forgiven for the choices they’ve made or been forced into, they are putty in the hands of those wanting to exploit them.

Even pimps can turn over a new leaf, and forgiveness is open to everyone. But a pimp that pretends to reform or makes it seem like being a pimp is empowering might be the most dangerous one of all. There are men teaching other men how to become pimps online.

When we become enamored with people with money we need to ask how they made it. What did they do to get it, and what are they asking us to do to get ours? Some people want to make the sex trade acceptable, if it were respectable it would already be acceptable. If we have to sell our soul to do something the price is too high, no matter how much money we make or the lifestyle we acquire. Is it money that’s the root of all evil, or the willingness to do anything for money, to sell our soul for money, or to make someone else sell their soul for money, that makes it evil?

In reality, victims of human trafficking are often left voiceless and completely unseen by society. Elise Stefanik

Children are the most vulnerable and susceptible to become victims of human trafficking. Asa Don Brown

During the grooming process, a sex trafficking situation can start out looking a lot like a romantic relationship before the exploitation begins. Aura Freedom

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Thank you to those who read 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.

Technology and unforeseen consequences.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

There are downsides to everything; there are unintended consequences to everything. Steve Jobs

“I’m not accusing you, but…” a young boy stood on our front step Tuesday evening showing me his phone which showed his missing earbuds were at our address. On the screen in big black letters, was our address.

The earbuds were taken out of his backpack at school, he said, but it isn’t one of our local schools. No one in our area goes to his school. No one in our house is of school age, but there on his phone is our address. He and his father leave, and we are left with a mystery. Why is our address on his phone the location of his missing earbuds?

Last night his mother showed up. We go through the same information, but now the earbud tracker is dead and the last known location on the phone is our address at three o’clock pm on Tuesday.

Evidence like this could get someone in real trouble. What if the item missing was more valuable than a pair of earbuds? What if the police were called? What if the earbud tracker quit working at the precise time it went past our house in a vehicle, and that is why it shows our address? There is an explanation and I believe both of our stories are true, those earbuds must have been by our house at 3:00 pm on Tuesday to register our address, and we don’t have anything to do with the missing earbuds.

If a tracker in a vehicle registers as being at an address when it is in a vehicle traveling on a road there are all kinds of ways this can point fingers at innocent people, and the accusers might not always be willing to believe what they are seeking is not at said address.

Technology always has unforeseen consequences, and it is not always clear, at the beginning, who or what will win, and who or what will lose. Neil Postman

Situations get out of control over seemingly benign things, tempers get heated, things get said, and actions get taken because people with an address on their phone don’t believe what they are seeking isn’t at the address their device says it is. What if a missing child’s tracker showed their last known location as our address because the vehicle whisking them away drove past our house?

Technology is wonderful and knowing we can locate missing items might make us feel good until we are on a stranger’s doorstep saying, “I’m not accusing you, but…” As we’ve seen in the news, showing up at the wrong stranger’s house can have dire consequences.

Tracking devices can and are used in nefarious ways, and seemingly innocent things can have devastating consequences. As a society are we equipped to deal with what our technology brings, both the good and the bad?

One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results. Milton Friedman

The law of unintended consequences is the only real law of history. Niall Ferguson

Fear makes come true that which one is afraid of. Viktor E. Frankl

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To be happy do the realities of our life have to mesh with the expectations we have?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Happiness depends on ourselves. Aristotle

I’ve been listening to Tony Robbins, and he tells us he knows what makes us unhappy and what makes us happy. He tells us we are unhappy when the life story (blueprint) we have for ourselves doesn’t mesh with the reality of our lives. When our life is far different from what we expected it to be, we are not happy.

We have two choices, we can change our expectations, or we can change our life. Sometimes we have to make huge adjustments in our life and change our expectations because the reality is the dream we had for ourselves is never going to happen.

We may look at people who have huge accomplishments but still aren’t happy, and we see people with seemingly small achievements that are very happy. One strategy to find happiness is to continually improve and to see progress in our lives. He tells us we may need post-traumatic growth. We need to grow through adversity, and when we do we will realize we are stronger than we thought we were. We can deal with more than we thought we could and we know we can deal with what lies ahead.

How easy is it to manage our expectations? One of the problems we have is our expectations of other people, but we don’t have any control over other people. The person we get to change is ourselves but often we want to change others. If they would just… then we would be happy. If other people have to change for us to be happy, chances are we will never be happy. We have to accept others as they are, but we don’t have to let them have control of our lives, we can give up our expectations for them to be different than what they are, and accept them as they are, just as they need to accept us as we are.

Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions. Dalai Lama

It all sounds so easy when we are listening to someone talk about some of the biggest challenges in life. What if people are really not doing what they should be doing? That is still their business and not ours. What if they are living in our house? We can live with them and love it, we can live with them and hate it, we can leave, or they can leave, but what we can’t do is make them change to be what we think they should be.

If we expect less of others and more of ourselves it seems better than the reverse. We can change the way we look at things, we can change the practices in our lives, and we can change the groups we belong to. We may find when we leave people be, to make their own decisions and lead their own lives they figure things out.

We may be unhappy that we haven’t reached our goals, but maybe that goal isn’t part of our destiny. Maybe adversity is part of what we have to go through to become who we are to become. We might not like the adversity, but we might like knowing we could get through the hard parts of life, and know we can meet the challenges in the future.

Is it true when we change the way we look at things the things we look at change?

For just one second, look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there’s nothing else. It’s here, and you’d better decide to enjoy it or you’re going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever. Lev Grossman

Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. Franklin D. Roosevelt

One is happy as a result of one’s own efforts once one knows the necessary ingredients of happiness: simple tastes, a certain degree of courage, self-denial to a point, love of work, and above all, a clear conscience. George Sand

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, 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 purchase price through the Amazon affiliate program.

The truth will set us free, but first, we must figure out what is truth, my truth, your truth, or the truth.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Honesty is often very hard. The truth is often painful. But the freedom it can bring is worth the trying. Fred Rogers

Life is about growth, which means as long as we are living we are continuing to grow. Not all growth is good, cancer is growing. I’m wondering as I write this if ideas are sometimes good like normal growth and sometimes bad like cancer. We don’t all agree on what are good ideas and what ideas we might consider cancer.

I was listening to Joyce Meyer and she looked at her audience and said, “There’s two of us.” Then went on to explain the two sides of ourselves constantly fighting for supremacy. One is selfish, short-sighted, mean-spirited, and out for ourselves. The other is kind, generous, open-hearted, and good.

Where does self-interest come into this? What if we put someone else’s self-interest first to the detriment of our own, is that still good? What if we are trying to make amends for the past by putting someone else’s children’s interests ahead of our own children? What if we build up resentment in our children by trying to atone for sins they never committed? Are we still building a better society?

Fair seems to be a double-edged sword, because what is fair? How do we make it fair for people who never had the advantages other people have had? Is this even something we should try and do? People have risen from very humble beginnings and others have fallen from great heights. When we set up competitions we can try and make them as fair as possible but we can never make up for the advantages or disadvantages people got at birth, and sometimes people turn what looked like a disadvantage into an advantage, and what looks like advantages sometimes don’t end up to be advantageous at all.

The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Oscar Wilde

When I look at my beautiful grandson I envision a future for him, but I don’t know what that future will be. I have to be careful I don’t look only at the negative or only at the positive of what can be. What would make our society better for our children than what we have built? Are we so sure we know how to make it better?

We do have to take steps into the unknown as we deal with the challenges we face. We should try and make the world better but let’s not think that isn’t what our ancestors were trying to do, and what they built is an accomplishment, even if it isn’t perfect. No one will look back on our time and think we were perfect either. Most people are doing the best they know how to do, when they know better they will do better. Getting better at anything is a forward-and-back struggle that will look like a stock market chart over time, moving ever upward but with deep downturns in its midst.

Unintended consequences come out of our good intentions and good sometimes comes out of what was meant for evil. Mom repeats James Truslow Adams’ quote often, “There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us to find fault with the rest of us.”

It is easy to say but not easy to live. How can others not see what we see, it’s so obvious, and they are looking at us thinking the same thing, how are we not seeing what they are seeing? We can fight almost to the death to make our point and still never see the other person’s point of view. How do we see someone else’s point of view when ours is so right?

I say to my husband all the time, “The truth is the truth, but his truth and my truth aren’t the same.” I think we have some inconvenient truths we have to deal with, but others think that is only your opinion, and your opinion is not better than my opinion. Even truths that seem incontrovertible to some are up for dispute. We live in interesting times, and I sometimes wonder what historians will make of this.

In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act. Unknown

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. Buddha

People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe. Andy Rooney

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

Thank you to everyone that reads my books. 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 link.

A library and a garden are two things that help us build a great life. To read and not apply it to our life is like planting but not harvesting our garden.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. Greek proverb

My garden is late this year. The excuse I’m using is, that I got my nails done for my son’s wedding and I didn’t want to spoil them. Yesterday my husband and I went to a garden center. I looked at the tomatoes and I wasn’t impressed, $9.00 for three tomato plants was the sale price. But, they had Sweet 100 so I bought some and another cutting tomato. I haven’t been happy with my little vegetable garden, not because it doesn’t grow well, but because I don’t tend it well.

A good companion plant for tomatoes is sweet potatoes I am told. I’ve never grown them before but in my cupboard, I had two types of sweet potatoes beginning to sprout. I haven’t planted regular potatoes either so I dug through my bag of Yukon Gold potatoes and found a couple with the tiniest sprouts and cut up my potatoes and sweet potatoes. On YouTube, I watched a video on how to make slips of sweet potato to plant. It is very cost-effective and gives many slips from one potato but I don’t have the time, nor is there much room in my little garden.

I’ve never got into square foot gardening which is what I should do to make the most of my small space. We don’t need a large space to grow food. I would not like to depend on my garden for our food but if every inch we have was put under cultivation we could grow an abundance of food. The front lawn could grow vegetables instead of grass. In fact, it would make a great potato patch, not that I want to get into intense cultivation of our food.

I love going to the grocery store and picking what I want to eat. I also love the fact that I could create a garden that would feed us. If I ever need to we have more problems than just being able to afford our grocery bill.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Marcus Aurelius Cicero

One of the things I love about listening to Jordan Peterson is he puts in perspective, taking things for granted.  We take our freedom, our access to water, food, and freedom as a right and we complain if we think things could and should be better. His question often is why aren’t things worse? How have we managed to build a society where we respect the rights of others, we educate children that are not our own, and we try and help people who have a rough go of it.

We could live in armed family clans even if we were only armed with sticks but we don’t. It is safe to travel, alone, and as a woman. Everything about our society is not perfect, and being part of it we may minimize the mistakes of the past while those impacted by them have been impacted greatly in negative ways. We may be tempted to say, but look at what you gained instead of what you lost.

We need to be careful because all of us are capable of seeing the glass half empty instead of half full. Our society was built from the ideas in a book. It is a book that changed the world. People who follow the teachings of that book never do it perfectly and it isn’t evident to a lot of people that the source of their good society is because of that book. This wasn’t evident to me but after listening to a Jordan Peterson interview with Vishal Mangalwadi author of “The Book That Made Your World” and “This Book Changed Everything” I am seeing life and society differently. As I listen to Jordan Peterson’s podcasts and read his books I am grateful that even though our society is not perfect it is better than it could be.

I am becoming more grateful for people who tried to build a better society and more empathetic towards their failings. I wonder if we would have the strength of character needed to challenge the ills of slavery, as England did in the early 1800s? It was effective and no other country was standing up to do it. Indeed Adam Smith believed or so it seems from his writings that slavery was a societal ill, but he didn’t have faith that it would be ended.

What if England didn’t outlaw the slave trade and finally slavery? Would we still have it today? We do still have slavery in parts of the world.

What does this have to do with a garden? I have a garden because I live in peace and plenty. I live in peace and plenty because of the ideals Canada is built on. We aren’t perfect, and life is not fair, some of us have life easy and some of us have life hard, but in a country like Canada, I believe we can, for the most part, build a life we can be proud of.

Therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you do ye even so unto them. The golden rule Mathew 7:12

We’re blaming society, yet we are society. So to make it a better place, we must change ourselves first. Unknown

A society can only be rich with good thoughts and intentions. 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, or comment and see categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

Thank you to everyone that reads my books. A special thanks 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.

The Book the Made Your World by Vishal Mangalwadi
When Can We Get A Puppy by Belynda Wilson Thomas
Secrets and Sorrow by Belynda Wilson Thomas
Secrets and Silence by Belynda Wilson Thomas

When is standing up for ourselves defensiveness? Why do we feel the need to defend ourselves if we are right?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

When someone is rude, keep a smile on your face. When you stay on the high road and keep your joy, you take away their power. Joel Osteen

Sometimes we do things and then because we did them we get pushed to do them again. What is the point when we are being pushed unfairly and we are unreasonable in not wanting to be pushed at all?

Sometimes I wonder whose interests are paramount. When do we give in to get along and it’s okay, and when do we need to stand firm? I’m not sure it matters what the issue is. No matter the issue we always wrestle with how much compromise is okay and how much is too much. When are we giving in to someone else’s demands at the danger of betraying our own beliefs, values, and good judgment? When does standing up for what we feel is unfair or defaming our character, go too far? When does standing up cause the problem we were hoping to avoid?

One of the things I’ve learned is that getting defensive doesn’t work. It is really hard not to want to defend ourselves when we feel unjustly accused. Being honest is not the same as being defensive and conflict allows for reconnection but it can be very messy as we connect, rupture, protest, repair, and reconnect over and over again. The two most important steps of an “ideal conflict” are protest and repair. It is during the moments of protest and repair that we build faith in the resiliency of the relationship. We need to work through our conflicts openly but not publicly.

If we don’t work through our conflicts they don’t go away, we deal with them indirectly and we have just seen one dealt with through the courts. We are wired to defend ourselves, and to connect with someone we need to remain generous and understanding of the other person throughout our relationship or we may end up in a very bitter situation. We may be tempted to withdraw but this is not helpful and leads to disconnection which harms the relationship further. Experts tell us sometimes when we least feel like reaching out to our loved ones to reconnect is when we should take the risk, and the result will pay off much more than isolating ourselves.

Ten percent of conflict is due to differences in opinion and ninety percent is due to delivery and tone of voice. Unknown

None of us are perfect we will do and say things that will cause problems in our relationships. We need to be okay with our own imperfections and the imperfections of others. How do we learn to listen to our partner lament about our shortcomings without getting defensive so we don’t seem emotionally unavailable or untrustworthy?

I don’t think I respond well to criticism. But, I don’t think I perceive every situation as an attack like some people who are too sensitive. What is the perfect degree of sensitivity? We carry a lot of baggage with us from childhood and the feeling we have to defend ourselves is hardwired into us. This impulse causes a lot of damage to our relationships. We need to be willing to talk about our issues openly so they can be dealt with because if we don’t talk about what bothers us we smolder with resentment and that doesn’t get us anywhere.

We are told to learn to hear our partner’s complaints about us with curiosity and openness. We can if we are brave enough take a good look at their complaints and see if we can become a better version of ourselves. Life is a growth opportunity and there will be room for growth throughout our lives. We will never reach perfection and perhaps we shouldn’t feel the need to defend ourselves that we aren’t perfect yet, if we can honestly say we think most of the time we do our best.  

Good luck with this; it’s a hard one for me to be curious about.

There is never a reason to be defensive. If you are wrong you have no defense. If you are right you need no defense. Unknown

I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure that you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. Unknown

Sometimes, not saying anything is the best answer. You see, silence can never be misquoted. 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, and see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

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

When Can We Get A Puppy by Belynda Wilson Thomas
Secrets and Sorrow by Belynda Wilson Thomas
Secrets and Silence by Belynda Wilson Thomas