Why do we have angry young men with guns in their hands? What are the questions, what are the answers?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

In the West, we have been withdrawing from our traditions, religion and even nation-centred cultures, partly to decrease the danger of group conflict. But we are increasingly falling prey to the desperation of meaninglessness, and that is no improvement at all.
― Jordan B. Peterson

What do you write on a beautiful summer morning when the news is consumed with the mass shootings that occurred recently? We are only hearing about it because of the numbers of dead and wounded.

Are rage and anger growing in our societies? Do rage and anger feel powerful?

When we have access to a gun does it mean instead of feeling powerless we can feel really powerful, “Ignore me now!”

What are the answers? What are the questions? What are the triggers? What could get someone angry, enraged, set on killing and then decide not to do it? How many think about it, but don’t do it?

What are we not seeing, acknowledging, and addressing?

Is angry, mostly young men with a gun in their hands a recipe for disaster?

Boys love guns if they weren’t given toy guns to play with they made them out of what they were allowed to play with. Having access to a gun is part of the problem, but what is the other part?

A man devoid of hope and conscious of being so has ceased to belong to the future.” 
― Albert Camus

I don’t think that you have any insight whatsoever into your capacity for good until you have some well-developed insight into your capacity for evil.” … Jordan Peterson

Is part of the answer finding meaning and purpose? Finding something to channel all that testosterone and energy into for the good of themselves and others? Some say the way of peace is warriors learning to sheath their swords, that passivity is not the answer. The peaceful warrior is the answer. Do young men who kill feel like warriors?

According to what I am reading many men who commit mass shootings tend to be those who have failed to achieve financial and romantic success in ways our society values and accredits as “manly.”

Do we need to teach boys and young men to be peaceful warriors? Are we encouraging passivity instead of powerful self-control?

Is part of the problem the pressure to get more when many people especially young men feel they are likely to get less? Can angry young men learn to be peaceful warriors?

Sitting Bull said, “For us, warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights… The warrior is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others.”

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos Hardcover – Jan 23 2018

by Jordan B. Peterson (Author, Contributor) 4.7 out of 5 stars 1,162 customer reviewsAmazon Charts #3 this week


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Hard conversations. Are we strong enough to have conversations that matter?

Are we strong enough to have conversations that matter. Hard conversations.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters. Unknown

Yesterday my husband and I went over to my mother in laws and sat in the back yard talking to his mother and his sister. His sister said she wondered why so many families don’t talk about what is important and when someone dies there is so much left unsaid, and unknown.

His mother said, “She heard of a situation where the grandmother had a life insurance policy a granddaughter saw with her name as the beneficiary and wanted to hasten her inheritance.” That is a scary thought. Is it better to do like Gloria Vanderbilt who according to interviews with Anderson Cooper was not leaving an inheritance to her children? She left most of it to Anderson Cooper upon her death.  In the interview, he said, “If he knew he would be getting an inheritance maybe he wouldn’t have built a life.” He said, “he doesn’t believe in inheritance for that reason.” The burden of inheritance is now his, but he has built a life for himself, and he will probably be able to deal with it.

Someone I know tells me she is now looking after her Grandmother-in-laws affairs and found a ninety-year-old paying for insurance that only pays out until you are eighty-five. This sounds like a fraud on the insurance company’s part. Surely they know the age of who they are insuring. Shouldn’t they have a process in place to cancel policies that no longer benefit the insured? That’s five years of wasted premiums and what did she need the insurance for anyway? She has no dependents to take care of. The money she has should be spent on making her life the best it can be.

We are all going to reach the departure lounge – one day. Will you be ready? David Brady

We can meddle and it not be necessary, and not meddle and find we should have. A little open conversation may be in order. Once someone is gone there are questions we may have asked but didn’t get an answer to, or maybe questions we couldn’t quite voice. Maybe there are conversations if we have them more questions will be brought up. But, if we don’t have them we’ll never know, and the opportunity will be lost.

It makes me think if something happened to my husband and I what have we not said to our children? What do we not have in place that should be put in place to make things easier? What if something happened to one of us?

When my Dad died my parents had everything in place for either of them to take over everything easily. No muss, no fuss, no will, no government intervention. Mom tells me of a lady she knew who didn’t get the house in her name upon her husband’s passing. A government trustee was in control of the estate. She was told she couldn’t sell the house, but she did, and then they left her alone, and everything was hers, and under her control.

Management is a big part of life, and a big part of death as well. Many families become fragmented over what is left behind upon the parent’s death. It probably doesn’t have to be this way, but what we couldn’t sort out and fix during life is unlikely to be easier after death.

Do we have to have some hard conversations? Do we have to face our own mortality and others? It isn’t better if we pretend it won’t happen. The only question is when, and will we be prepared to deal in the best way with the worst?

Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity. W. Clement Stone

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Leading With Emotional Courage: How to Have Hard Conversations, Create Accountability, And Inspire Action On Your Most Important Work Hardcover – Jul 11 2018

by Peter Bregman (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews


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Are we busy and effective, or just busy? Are we setting smart goals? Is it better to under promise and over deliver, instead of over promise and under deliver?

Is it better to under promise and over deliver, instead of over promising and under delivering? Are we busy and effective , or just busy? Are we setting smart goals?

Set a goal big enough that in the process of achieving it, you become someone worth becoming. Jim Rohn

The day looks bright and beautiful and I hope not as hot as yesterday as our air conditioning is on the fritz.

At 5:30 yesterday morning, as we were getting ready to take our daughter and her husband to the airport they noticed water in their room. Their hardwood floor squished as they walked.

Oh no, a plumbing problem. We called the insurance company and they asked if there was a smell, and was the water rising. No smell, no rising water, so an adjuster will call by Tuesday or Wednesday. My husband checked the furnace room and the water seems to be coming from the furnace and air conditioner.

The air conditioner was working beautifully, just leaking. Then the question becomes how much air conditioning can we have, how much of a leak can we mop up. It turns out we can’t have any air unless we want to stay down and mop up continuously. If we have to stay in the basement to have air conditioning we can just stay in the basement without it.

Isn’t this how our life is sometimes? How much of something we don’t want can we put up with to get something we do want? When does coping with the problems created negate the benefit? Finding balance is hard.

Saying no to things that have a small benefit but take up a lot of time may become one of our biggest goals to create balance. I’ve submitted my Toastmasters Area Director Success Plan and my District Director has congratulated me on choosing to put out an area newsletter. I can’t believe I agreed to do that, but I pull out my Area Success Plan and that is what I wrote. I think I was following someone else’s success plan and thinking, “I just need to get this done” as the first fillable PDF didn’t save and I had to spend a second evening doing it. I’m to get any changes to her by today. I’ll be sure to get on that. No one reads those newsletters anyway so I think they are a waste of time and effort. Better to shoot off an email to actually get a response.

You can’t change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight. Jim Rohn

Do I do this in my life regularly, make promises I have no intention of keeping? I don’t even remember making? Am I a flake? I think I’m someone that keeps my commitments, word, pulls my weight, makes a contribution, but maybe I’m overpromising and under delivering. I’m going to change that and start to under promise and over deliver.

Better they think this Area Director isn’t very serious, and I help a struggling club, than I promise big things but am unable to help a struggling club. A newsletter will not be what helps a struggling club. A newsletter is just busywork that doesn’t accomplish anything.

I’m not a big one for setting goals; I’m more going with the flow. Having to prepare a Success Plan before getting into the role is difficult, what do we put down? I wonder if it actually helps the Area and District. Everyone writes up something, just to put something on paper and pass it along to the next person in line, who also wrote something on paper and passed it along. Each person meets their clubs, areas, or districts and decides what is needed, what they think will be helpful and implements what they can

We can go with the flow too much, we can plan too much, we can control too much, especially when it is trying to control other people.

We are told if we want to succeed at something we need to set “Smart” goals.

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Time Bound.

This surely means we don’t write something down just to write something down. This has been my first mistake, but I have a chance to correct it, and so I shall.  I have certain responsibilities as an Area Director. I have to visit each club twice, write two reports on each club, one the first half of the year and one the second half of the year, and organize an area speech contest.

The development of clubs is going to be done by the Executive of the clubs. They create the club culture, they promote their clubs, they greet the guests and turn them into members, and they need to create a dynamic enough club to encourage current members to stay.  My job is to offer support if they want it. Not to micromanage capable people.

Being effective is not the same as being busy. As I go through my Success Plan I will delete everything that is not relevant, and likely to deliver big dividends. Just doing for doings sake is not my intention. They told me you grow as an Area Director, and I believe I already am.

What other areas of our life can we apply “Smart” goals too? Where are we just being busy instead of being effective? How much of our life could we simplify if we put our mind to it and made “smart” goals? Where are we overpromising and under delivering?

Don’t look at the big picture as the only achievement. Start with set, smart goals and work up to something bigger. Jordyn Wieber

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SMART Goal Setting: A Comprehensive Guide to Taking Control of Your Personal Life & Goals Paperback – Jul 7 2014

by Lance Devoir (Author) Be the first to review this item


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Will we be right even if it kills us? Do we make our expectations come true through self-sabotage?

Do we make our expectations come true through self-sabotage? Will we be right even if it kills us?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Seeing the mud around a lotus is pessimism, see a lotus in the mud is optimism. Amit Kalantri

Yesterday Instead of writing a post I accepted a breakfast invitation. It was lovely. Then we went downtown and spent the day looking at the sights and doing a bit of shopping. I dropped my husband’s coffee and it splashed on my white top. When I went to buy another coffee the one I dropped was replaced for free. “We treat our customer’s right,” the server said.

When we got home I had three things I wanted to get done. I have an Area Success Plan for Toastmasters, and two submissions for the Writer’s group due. I pulled up a fillable success plan and diligently filled it out. Then I saved it to my desktop, emailed it to my Division Director and moved onto the Writer’s Group submissions. They were already written. I went through them a few times, saved them to my desktop and emailed them. Then I patted myself on the back for such a productive evening.

I hadn’t printed the Area Success Plan so I pulled it up and my fillable form was empty. It was saved to my desktop but it was empty. I went to the email I sent my Division Director and it was empty. I emailed her explaining I would get it to her today but the feeling of accomplishment for my very productive evening evaporated.

Is there a trick to fillable forms I don’t know about? I’m not so anxious to try this twice and end up with the same result. It’s a seven-page report! “Oh well,” might work the first time, but do I use the fillable form again, or do I write it out? Writing out is messier, but at least I’ll have it. It seems I am not the first person to have sent out their fillable form and they be blank. I’ll try again with the first page and print it and see if it works. Otherwise, my Director will get a handwritten form.

Somehow I’m not even shocked that my fantastically productive evening didn’t end up to be so. Why? Don’t we all have the feeling sometimes things are going too well? We can hardly believe we got so much done. There has to be a catch, and when there is our world feels right again. What is it about us that thinks if things are too good for too long something bad has to happen?

Is this normal, or a form of self-sabotage? In many books, I’ve read the authors have said we create chaos in our life because we aren’t comfortable without whatever degree of chaos, difficulties, rejection, that we feel is our due.

There is a story behind every person. There is a reason why they are the way they are. Think about that, and respect them for who they are. Unknown

Excerpt from Never Get Angry Again by David J. Lieberman. Renowned psychologist Dr. Nathaniel Branden wrote about a woman he once treated who grew up thinking she was “bad” and undeserving of kindness, respect, or happiness. Predictably, she married a man who “knew” he was unlovable and felt consumed by self-hatred. He protected himself by acting cruelly toward others before they could be cruel to him. She didn’t complain about his abuse because she “knew” that abuse was her destiny. He wasn’t surprised by her increasing withdrawal and remoteness from him, because he “knew” no one could ever love him. They endured twenty years of torture together, proving how right they were about themselves and about life.

When we suffer from low self-esteem, we’re often afraid that something bad will happen to us after something good occurs in our lives. When fortune unexpectedly smiles on us, we feel anxious because of our sense of unworthiness. To alleviate our emotional tension, we might even sabotage our success so that we can fulfill our personal prophecy. The world is as we predicted. We feel secure because our beliefs – no matter how damaging and distorted – have been reaffirmed. We will be right, even if it kills us.

I remember buying a book years ago that said: “Would you rather be right or happy?” Distorted thinking was what it was talking about.  When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. This quote seems to be popping up all the time. The unexamined life is not worth living. As I am examining things on this journey of self-discovery it is a longer journey than I anticipated. Looking at one thing leads to looking at another thing which leads to still another thing.

Is this why writing is so powerful? When we write things down we can go deeper, deeper, and deeper still? After writing this blog for almost a year I thought there wouldn’t be much left to say. It seems there is more and more and more to say, to look at, and to learn. Excavating our authentic self is not for the faint of heart, nor is it quick or easy. We may not like everything we learn about ourselves, but we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge. We may not believe “we are our own worst enemy,” but it seems like the truth to me. Then when we begin to believe it, we don’t know what to do about it, and the journey continues.

It is so much easier to see what other people should change in their lives, than what we should change in our own. The only power we have is within ourselves. If we can learn to accept and love ourselves warts and all, and as we know better, do better, are we mastering the school of life? Are we kind to ourselves and others when we and they falter and fail?

This is the precept by which I have lived: Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes. Hannah Arendt

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, self-esteem, and love.

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Never Get Angry Again: The Foolproof Way to Stay Calm and in Control in Any Conversation or SituationHardcover – Jan 9 2018

by Dr. David J. Lieberman Ph.D. (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review


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Sometimes you think you’ve already heard the craziest things. Then you hear something so crazy you can’t believe it. It’s the law. How can we have respect for laws that don’t make sense?

How can we have respect for laws that don't make sense?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny. Edmund Burke

Last night was a wonderful celebration for two people at Toastmasters that have achieved the pinnacle of Toastmaster achievement, becoming Distinguished Toastmasters. Indeed one of them has walked this long demanding path twice. When we listen to the stories of the journey to Distinguished Toastmaster and the conduct of those who have achieved this distinction the characteristic that comes to mind is being of service. They are ready, able to assist, encourage, and mentor.

I have a position with Toastmasters only because of encouragement from one of our newest DTM’s. It never crossed my mind to apply to be Area Director, she said, “Keep it in your pocket until you need it for your DTM.”

“Are you achieving your DTM this year?” Is the question I get asked most often as people realize I’m an Area Director.  No, I’m just taking the next step presented to me.  When I listen to the stories of the DTM’s often it wasn’t planned. You do this and you do that, and then someone comes along and says, “You know you are really close to achieving this, if you did, this, and this, and this, you will be a DTM.

Isn’t this how it is in life we don’t have a plan, goal, etc? We start on a path that didn’t even look like a path but if we take on every opportunity that presents itself we grow and develop until one day we can’t believe how far along the path we are. We may even be an example to other people. We can’t even believe that we are an example of accomplishment. “We were just walking the path,” and that is all it takes.

On a crazy note, my husband tells me a pregnant woman shot in Alabama is being charged with the death of her fetus. “You mean the women who shot her?” I say.

No, the pregnant woman is charged with causing the death of her own fetus and the woman who shot her has not been charged at all. Because the pregnant woman started the fight that ended in the death of her fetus she is being charged. If someone can explain this logic I’m open to listening.

My husband and I have long argued over my belief that life begins at conception. To pretend otherwise is not to face the true facts of biology. That does not color my ideas about abortion. To me, abortion is an unfortunate choice some people may feel they have to make. It isn’t my right to force my ideas on them.

Every embryo will not be a live birth. It is foolish to expect that even if we never willingly terminate another viable pregnancy.  Women are subject to our biology. Some people want women to be of less importance than the child they carry. How does that seem like a win for anyone?

The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal. Aristotle

Women generally happily take on the challenge and joy of motherhood. Criminalizing the unfortunate things that can happen between conception and birth serves no one. We cannot be careful enough to ensure we couldn’t be charged with wrongful death if this becomes the general view.

My husband has been telling me for years, you don’t know what you are saying if life begins at conception. That it is an inconvenient truth does not deter me. Some things are absolutely true and some things are not. There is a point where a seed goes from a seed that has not sprouted to one that has. There is a point where an egg goes from one that is not fertilized to one that is.

Women have the children; we have been elevated and controlled because of it. Women should not be in a cage of our own or someone else’s making because we bring forth the next generation. Unnecessary and unwanted death is a fact of life, criminalizing people and especially women for it does not make sense or move our civilization forward.

If every life is so sacred why isn’t it sacred after birth? The crime is not that every fetus doesn’t become a full term live birth. It is that some of those live births become unwanted, abused, and taken advantage of. That‘s the real crime.

Life is a journey. One of the most courageous things we do is bringing forward the next generation. Making pregnancy harder than it already is will not make more people want to do it. If this becomes generally accepted practice then women will no longer be able to work once they are pregnant. What will we be able to eat, where will we be able to go? It is unfortunate all pregnancies are not wanted.

We cannot control everything in life, let women look after their pregnancies, and don’t make them criminals when a pregnancy ends in heartbreak. Surely when this happens a woman and family have suffered enough.

Apathy is why we end up with ridiculous laws. People say, “That is crazy and will never pass,” but then it does. Michael Maddox

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Do too many laws infringe on our right to life, liberty, and happiness? Are we creating outlaws out of good citizens?

Are we creating outlaws out of good citizens? Do too many laws infringe on our right to life, liberty, and happiness?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Most bad government has grown out of too much government. Thomas Jefferson

Yesterday I saw a post on Facebook. The Philippines is bringing in a law that says to graduate, students must plant ten trees. Some are applauding this law. I am not. The idea of encouraging students to plant trees seems a good one. Making students who can’t, or don’t have access to land to plant trees on, or the resources to get the trees, or a way to get to the place the tree planting can take place makes criminals of good students. If every student plants ten trees it won’t take long and finding places to plant trees will be harder and harder, more students will be criminalized. Instead of building up the society which is the aim, it may get torn down by the unintended consequences of a bad law.

Was it a laudable goal to keep our kids from taking drugs? Did making them criminals help? Did putting kids in prison for nothing more than pot possession make sense?

We want to make society better, but are more laws the way to do it? Dueling was outlawed in France in 1626. There were still more than 10,000 duels resulting in more than 4,000 deaths from 1685 to the end of King Louis X1V’s reign in 1715. It is believed the law was ineffective because it went against established norms of the time. We would be shocked to be challenged to a duel; we wouldn’t even think we were compelled to show up.

How do we change our society for the better if we don’t bring in laws to make people behave the way we want them to? Who gets to decide what is acceptable, and what is not? The broken window theory says when we take a permissive attitude to small crimes more crime develops. When law enforcement cracks down on seemingly unimportant things, it criminalizes too many people. When the greater society doesn’t agree with the effects of what they feel are unjust laws, they no longer work with police to enforce them. We need to realize there are unintended consequences to laws that are brought in.

What are we to do in a society?

The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Ayn Rand

Is it great when the privileged whose lives we think are made of simple choices put constraints on the poor whose lives are made of tough choices? Do rich women ever have to think of prostitution to feed themselves or their children? Do rich kids ever have to choose to sell drugs because that is the only option open to them to make money?

There is a law on the books that it is illegal to drag your dead horse down Toronto’s Yonge Street on Sundays. A strange law but why only Yonge Street, and why only on Sundays, or why such a crazy law at all?

Using profane and abusive language in publicly owned green spaces can get you a fine of over $200.00.

It’s illegal to climb trees in Oshawa. How would I pick my cherries?

It’s illegal to build snowmen taller than 30 inches in Souris, PEI. Who gets the job of measuring the snowmen?

Until 2009 it was illegal In Petrolia, Ontario to yell, hoot, whistle, and sing at all times. What a good thing they repealed that law before the Raptor’s won the basketball championship. The 2009 bylaw which replaces the old one in Petrolia sets a $250 fine for anyone who yells, shouts, whistles or makes another noise for the purpose of selling or advertising.

Many towns try to outlaw spitting, cursing, and other “Unseemly behavior.” Tabor, Alberta is one such town, as well as Whistler, B.C. Has it worked? Is it developing social norms that work? What do we do if we want to live with a certain degree of civility and our neighbors don’t? Whose rules do we enforce? Whose culture takes precedence, the quiet folk, or the ones who want to have a good time and party?

I love that I can eat in a restaurant without being assaulted by someone else’s smoke. It is good that most of us do not drink alcohol and drive. It makes sense that our rights stop when they infringe on someone else’s rights, but how much can they infringe on their rights? Smoke which may eventually kill us and driving drunk which may also kill us makes sense. Is hearing a curse word too offensive, what constitutes a curse word, and what is “too” loud?

If we bring in enough laws aren’t we all outlaws? Is creating outlaws the goal?

I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes, believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court cans save it; no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it. Billings Learned Hand

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Small changes, big effects. Can we make changes in our life that would have a big impact?

Can we make changes in our life that would have a big impact? Small changes, big effects.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

When we hear stories from friends, acquaintances or family about what people they know have lived through, survived, endured or suffered we question if we could be as brave, enduring, long-suffering, or courageous.

When I listen to my mom and how she dealt with being widowed with three children at twenty-five it is about dealing with what is, and getting through it one day at a time.

What if all of life is the same? Instead of sighing, and wringing our hands over what we can do about the environment we need to just get in there and do it.

We had friends over last night and the topic of plastic in oceans came up. Tampon plastic waste is one of the worst contributors; some people are calling them “beach whistles.” We don’t need plastic in our tampons. Women, we can do this, we can buy the tampons without plastic. Do we really need everything individually wrapped? If they need to be wrapped can’t they be wrapped in paper?

We women do most of the household purchasing, we can effect change by how we shop. Plastic straws are now out, paper straws are now in. Plastic tampons can be out as well. We need to be careful about what we flush down the toilet. It seems the plastic tampon products are being flushed, and ending up in our oceans because of it.

Tampons have been a great invention for women. We need to be responsible that our bodily functions aren’t such a big part of the world’s pollution problem.

How much plastic can we get rid of that is not recyclable? What are the changes we can make in our purchasing that will have an impact?

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do. Rob Siltanen

I have to admit I’m not as good about taking reusable bags to the supermarket as I should be. One of the things I am proud of is I used cloth diapers. It wasn’t a big deal, and I didn’t have to cringe at the store every week buying more diapers. I’ve never figured out what the cost would have been for two children in disposable diapers but it would have been quite a lot.

We know but don’t seem to really think about the fact that everything we throw away has to go somewhere, has to be dealt with in some way.

Disposable diaper companies are setting their sights on the poorer countries I’m reading. It might not be possible to get rid of many disposable products. Can we have them manufactured so they can be disposed of with the least environmental impact? Can we make products that have less environmental impact attractive to consumers?

Have you used the new paper straws? They seem okay to me.  Could it be even better if we don’t use so many straws?

An article by David Roberts states “We could shift to sustainability and save 26 trillion. Why aren’t we doing it?” According to him, we could save $26 trillion by 2030. That’s real money. The costs of the status quo keep rising: and the cost of the sustainable alternatives keeps declining.

Maybe we have to take a look at our practices and habits, what do we purchase that could be more sustainable, and less polluting? Purchasing tampons with cardboard instead of plastic or no applicator at all isn’t a huge inconvenience. Taking my reusable bags to the grocery store instead of buying bags is doable; I just have to do it.

Planting trees, and other plants and not using pesticides and herbicides is doable in our own gardens.

If we each start looking around will we see what we can do, what we can purchase that is better than another choice? Can we recycle and reuse more? Can we waste less? If we look after the little things will some of the big things take care of themselves?

We are all in this together. Our choices collectively will leave the planet better or worse. If we each do our part, can we be part of the change that makes things better?

Be the change that you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi

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

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Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution Paperback – Oct 10 2002

by Gerald Markowitz (Author), David Rosner (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews


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by Jack Buffington (Author)5 out of 5 stars 1 review from Amazon.com | Be the first to review this item


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Finding faith by asking questions. Be courageous, ask questions.

Be courageous, ask questions. Finding faith by asking questions.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Faith isn’t about having everything figured out ahead of time; faith is about following the quiet voice of God without having everything figured out ahead of time. Rachel Held Evans

Some of you may have read Rachel Held Evans book A Year of Biblical Womanhood. Sadly she passed away at the age of thirty-seven.

What an idea for an author to come up with. What an experiment to live for a year. Camping in the front yard on one’s period would be difficult especially here in Canada from October to April. Do we get extra credits for the climate?

Rachel pursued a different virtue each month. She grew out her hair, made her own clothes, covered her head, obeyed her husband, rose before dawn, abstained from gossip, and remained silent in church.

Rachel was a strong-willed and independent woman who couldn’t sew a button on her blouse before embarking on this radical life experiment.

Whatever subculture you are/have been a part of, think of the person who spoke truth to power about the more messed up elements of it. That’s who Rachel was. Anne Helen Peterson said on Twitter.

Living life with humor and passion is how we should live our life. Looking at photos of her as she pursued her year of biblical womanhood it is evident she was full of life and was looking for all the humor in the situation she could find.

It was a brilliant idea; I wished I’d thought of it. Ideas are all around us, we need to grab hold of them and bring them to fruition. Some people say an idea may visit you but if you don’t do something with it, it will move onto someone else.

This may be why we notice certain movies are made and they are similar although they are written by different authors, and directed by different people. The idea for certain stories come into our brain but not only our brain.

A poet, writer, or songwriter wrote that she would see an idea coming like a whoosh, sometimes she could grab hold of it and write it down, and sometimes it eluded her grasp. Haven’t we all had that happen, we had a thought about what would make a great painting, song, story, invention, we know we had a thought, but we can’t remember the thought, but we know it was a good one. This is why people keep a pen and paper beside their bed to record their thoughts when they come to them, because they know if they don’t record them, the thought is gone.

I told them we’re tired of the culture wars, tired of Christianity getting entangled with party politics and power. Millennials want to be known by what we’re for, I said, not just what we’re against. We don’t want to choose between science and religion or between our intellectual integrity and our faith. Instead, we long for our churches to be safe places to doubt, to ask questions, and to tell the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable. We want to talk about the tough stuff – biblical interpretation, religious pluralism, sexuality, racial reconciliation, and social justice – but without predetermined conclusions or simplistic answers. We want to bring our whole selves through the church doors, without leaving our hearts and minds behind, without wearing a mask. Rachel Held Evans

If you like me haven’t read her books yet it might be time to get to know Rachel Held Evans. She sounds like someone I wish I’d known someone with courage, wit, humor, character, and substance. She made a difference, she left a legacy. She will continue to make a difference, many who haven’t discovered her books will discover them over the years. She looked at Christianity through fresh eyes, she asked questions, and she found by asking questions she was closer not further from God.

What if we find that questioning our faith, strengthens it, instead of weakening it? What if that is what we are supposed to do? Seek and ye shall find. What if we aren’t supposed to just swallow without contemplation? What if we are to meet people where they are, love them how they are, and become the best us we are to be. Instead of expecting others to be better, what if we are to become better by getting in the trenches with them? What if we are to understand their struggles without judgment? What if judgment truly is to be left to God?

What if our job is to question everything? If we start asking questions in every area of our life we may find answers, or maybe only more questions? What if what was meant by “a little child shall lead them” is the wisdom of asking questions is more important than thinking we have the answers? When we are with little children, everything is why, why, why? Maybe this is what we need to get back to?

Seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened. Are we doing enough seeking, knocking, questioning? Or do we know all the problems just need to be fixed by someone else behaving better?

I have come to regard with some suspicion those who claim that the Bible never troubles them. I can only assume this means they haven’t actually read it. Rachel Held Evans

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, questions, and love.

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A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband ‘Master’ Paperback – Oct 29 2012

by Rachel Held Evans (Author) 4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews


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Wealth and scarcity. Having more isn’t always the answer. What we do with what we have is.

Having more isn't always the answer. What we do with what we have is. Wealth and scarcity.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship. Buddha

What does it take to consider ourselves wealthy? Is wealth just money? According to Dr. Jim Muncy author of One Door Two Locks, wealth is having what we need to fulfill our purpose in life.

If we go with this definition then adding things to our lives that don’t help us achieve our purpose is not necessarily a step in the right direction. Everything we add takes a chunk out of our life. When we go to the gym that’s a chunk of time we can’t spend somewhere else. Belonging to community groups, taking roles in the Church, starting a side hustle, hobbies, time spent with family, friends, watching TV, going to sports events everything takes time away from something else. Owning a larger home, a second and third property, these take chunks of time to maintain.

I’ve watched parents spend so much time coaching a sport after their child no longer plays it that their child appeared deprived of the time they needed with their parent. The parent was so busy being the volunteer of the year they didn’t see how much their child needed them.

It is easy to be so busy helping others we deprive our families of what should be theirs. The other day a pastor was talking about how his marriage was falling apart because he was looking after the Church flock but his wife felt neglected and last on his list. The members of the Church always needed him, and he was always there. When his wife needed him he wasn’t. Even when he set aside time for his wife the members of the Church would need a ride somewhere and they were going that way so the date or weekend they planned had a parishioner in it. The Pastor’s wife never complained because she was a Pastor’s wife. His wife signed up for a shared ministry but she was on the sidelines.

Jim Muncy says wealth comes from having what we need and not being distracted by what we don’t need. Poverty comes in two forms. There is a poverty of scarcity, which happens when we don’t have what we need. There is also a poverty of bondage when we are tied to things we don’t need.

True wealth is not of the pocket, but of the heart and of the mind. Kevin Gates

There is a book I picked up in Indigo one day and I can’t remember the title. The author was talking about abundance and scarcity in relation to hornets and honey bees. When you look at the hornets’ nest they have an abundance of materials to make their nest out of so they are not elegant. The premise of the book is how we live more elegant lives with less, and cluttered wasteful lives with more.

We live in a wasteful society because we have an abundance. When we didn’t have abundance people did more with less. If we watch documentaries of the Victorian Age everything was used. Even bones were sold after they had been used in every way within the household.

There’s a blog called The Zero-Waste Chef she asks how can colonizing another planet that cannot support life be easier than mitigating a crisis on a planet that can and does support life?

It is an abundance that is causing most of our modern problems. It is abundance creating the plastic garbage disaster in our oceans. It is the abundance of food around our waistlines causing most of our health problems. Our healthcare costs are skyrocketing because we are killing ourselves with our knife and fork.

What would it take to consider ourselves truly wealthy?

Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. . . . Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. ” — Robert F. Kennedy

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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One Door, Two Locks: The 7 Keys to Unlocking the Door to Success in All Areas of Your Life Paperback – 2009

5 out of 5 stars   3 reviews from Amazon.com |

The way we see things colors our life. Sometimes we need to look with different eyes.

Sometimes we nee to look with different eyes. The we we see things colors our life.

There is only one way to look at things until someone shows us how to look at them with different eyes. Pablo Picasso

Wayne Dyer said, “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change”. Hearing this we think it applies to negative thoughts versus positive thoughts.

It happened to me lately. I bought a pair of orange and white capris last summer. The only color I could wear with them was white. Every time I bought something orange these capris came out to see if this was the “right” orange. Finally, when I bought the last orange top that had to be orange enough, I took a good look at my capris. The fine orange line was not orange, it was red.

I put a red top with it, bingo perfect match. As an artist I work with color, I take shades and compare them to each other before I paint. How could this pattern fool me? They were orange in my mind, and I never took a really good look. The pattern was small and the trick of color when you put two colors together we call optical mixing.

How many other things in life aren’t as we see them? We meet people and only see them in the situation we meet them in. They aren’t only a cashier, mother, athlete, doctor, lawyer, accountant, or teacher. Everyone has more to them than what we see. We often are more than what we see as well. All our gifts, strengths, and talents aren’t used every day, some are never used.

We hear of people who met someone that changed their lives. Often these are people who saw something in them they didn’t see in themselves. Yesterday I was listening to a podcast on personal finance. The podcaster said he went to University and met the only black professor he’d ever seen. That professor became his mentor and encouraged him to get his Ph.D. in finance.

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. Robin Williams

In 2005 I went to the 100th celebration of my town and province. I chatted with my French teacher. She said, “I thought you’d be doing something more creative.” I was at that time dabbling in painting and had started writing. It was encouraging she saw me as a creative person. There was an art display and it made me think mine could one day go on display too. That hasn’t happened yet. I have taken photos of some of my paintings and posted them on my blog.

I only started hanging my artwork on my walls five years ago. It was as if I woke up one morning and gave myself a shake. My son has been the one over the years asking me what I would do with my novel when I finished it. “Are you going to publish it?”

The funny thing with questions is, as we ponder them, they don’t sound so farfetched. Each time he asked if I thought about publishing my novel it became more doable in my own mind. Why couldn’t I be a published author?

When he started encouraging me to write a blog that also took time. Finally July of last year I said, “Let’s do it.” I worried about what I would say. It seems I didn’t need to.

Sometimes we have to get out of our own way. We have to say yes to life. We have to listen to that still small voice, the one often imperceptible with all the noise going on in our life. That voice that tells us we aren’t orange capris we are red ones. The voice tells us when one door closes another opens, and we should go through it.

The voice that tells us we can make things better. We can find new interests, we can make new friends, we can unearth our talents, and we can rekindle our relationships. If we want change in our lives, usually the change needed is within our self. We can spend our lives waiting, hoping, expecting other people to change, to give us what we want.

Sometimes they would give it to us if they knew what we wanted. We don’t know, how can they? Only when we accept the challenge of becoming whatever we are to become can we change, grow, and develop.

It is great to encourage others, but sometimes the person that needs encouraging is our self. We need to take off our blinders, a world of possibilities awaits.

Life is what we make it. We need to bloom in our own gardens. Improve our relationships, develop our talents and give our best to the people in our lives. We have small circles of influence that can become bigger circles of influence. We need to find balance if we are to keep our balls in the air.

Is there something in our life we aren’t seeing right? Is it other people, or our circumstances we think are holding us back, which we could change at any time. We need to examine ourselves, what we think about our self and others; situations, what can be changed and what must be accepted.

There are a lot of thoughts, beliefs, misconceptions we hold onto. We need to examine them; they aren’t always what they seem. Is there something in our life that upon close examination isn’t what we think it is?

Sometimes we look for those thunderous things to happen in our life for our lives to change or go in the other direction. We seek the miracle. We seek the parting of the seas, the moving of the mountains. But no, it’s a quiet thing. At least for me it was. Ben Vereen

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