Does creativity lead to happiness? Are we as happy as we choose to be?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Happiness is not by chance, but by choice. Unknown

Creativity feeds our souls. We have to continue to feed our souls throughout our lives. Our best garden will need to be replaced by our next one. When we look at some people’s body of work we wonder how they are so prolific, it is because they keep creating.

There is something about the process of creativity that enlivens us. We expect elation at the completion of our projects but completing that project leaves us with emptiness in our life we aren’t sure what to do with. We were consumed with the project. We let other things slide in our life while we worked on it. We had dreams and nightmares about it. My mind is percolating but not at full speed like it was the last couple of months of the project when I was busy completing it.

Is this why we sometimes don’t complete things? If it is never complete we will never feel the emptiness. We also won’t feel the sense of accomplishment, we made a bargain with ourselves and we kept it. This emptiness can only be replaced by something else.

We always need to have another mountain to climb, another painting to paint, a song to sing. If I wasn’t working on a series I think the emptiness I feel after putting out When Can We Get A Puppy would be greater. I had planned to visit Mom after the book was published but visiting her in August worked out beautifully for everyone and didn’t impact my writing as much as I thought taking a break would.

We often don’t expect the feeling we get after something is completed, or we thought it would feel differently. We thought satisfaction upon completion would be as great as the joy of doing, and it isn’t. The joy is in the creation.

It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project. Napoleon HIll

This is where we get things wrong. We think getting acclaim for our accomplishments is worth more than it is. We think famous artists get more out of their art than people who paint in their basement. We think we will be happier when we publish our work than when we are creating it. We think it matters if someone likes our work.

It matters if someone likes our work if we are reliant upon the income from that work. This is why in the book “Of Human Bondage” the character was told by his art instructor if he wasn’t of independent-means he should find another way to make a living.

That sounds like harsh advice but struggling to make a living is not something we should set ourselves up for if we have other choices. As artists, we can make a living and still do art. We may think we would enjoy life more being in a successful band, or if we were a successful author, but there are always prices to pay.

In the book “Stumbling On Happiness” we are told no matter what happens to us, good or bad, we will be about as happy in six months as we are now. Win a million dollars or get into a terrible accident the happiness level in six months is the same. How can this be? Happiness is an inside job. Situations outside of ourselves have less impact than we think. Wow, that means our attitude is all up to us. That’s a scary thought; this means if I get lots and lots of sales or few sales it won’t mean much to my state of happiness. Can this be true?

Once our needs are met for housing, food, and security extra doesn’t add that much to our life. Yet, we spend our lives waiting for the next thing we acquire or the next rung on the ladder we reach to make us happy. It is the doing that makes us happy not the end result of the doing. There is satisfaction upon completing something, acquiring something, or accomplishing something but it opens the way for our next acquisition, accomplishment, or project.

Perhaps what we need to be doing as we are nearing the completion of something is to be planning what we will do next. Instead of waiting until we are finished and left with a hole where our project or our work used to be, we have the beginnings of something else in mind. This is why we are told to prepare for retirement.

True success is not a project but a journey. Myles Munroe

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open. John Barrymore

I don’t expect to retire. Every man must work, that’s his natural destiny. Henry Ford

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

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

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

Are we busy and effective or just busy? We shape our lives and we shape ourselves.

We shape our lives and we shape ourselves. Are we busy and effective or just busy?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

It is possible to be busy-very-busy-without being very effective. Stephen Covey

Are we busy and effective or just busy? There’s a difference between being busy and being productive. I found out this week when my son asked me for my Amazon affiliate link that I was busily doing what I thought I should without being effective. I wasn’t using the correct link on my blog to link to my account. Looking back I wonder what kind of magical thinking was I doing to think I didn’t have to use a special link.

How often in our lives do things not work out for us because we only understand part of the process?. We don’t have a plan. Our neighbor has an orderly tomato patch pruned and supported, mine is not so orderly but it is still producing more tomatoes than we can eat. Sometimes we get away without a plan but often we do not.

I found planning my writing this year has been a lot more productive than just writing aimlessly. In a year I have my second novel to give to my book club to read and give me feedback as I continue editing it. The children’s book I’m working on I’m giving to them to read as well. If I hadn’t set up a plan a year ago I wouldn’t have accomplished as much as I have.

It is easy to make ourselves busy without accomplishing much. It is also easy to start a day off with a plan and be astounded at what we get done. Is it as easy to be organized and orderly as to be disorganized and messy? Is it a choice we make which we will be?

In Larry Winget’s book “You’re Broke Because You Want To Be” he tells us yes it is a choice. He’s not talking about broke and poor. Poverty is a problem he doesn’t have answers to. We can be broke at any income level, and we can be paying our bills and prospering at any income level.

My mother tells me in the early days of her first marriage they had their budget down to the penny. Her husband quit smoking for a week to buy her a Christmas present. Before easy credit, you bought what you could pay for. Larry Winget tells us some people he deals with have no idea how much more money they are spending than they make. They don’t have a plan to prosper.

Charles Dickens quote is still true. “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expense nineteen pounds and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.

We all manage our lives but are we effective? We may think we are being effective like I did with my Amazon affiliate account, and find we are only being busy. When we realize our mistake we can correct it and go forward. My son is well versed in computers and helps me with my blog and will answer all of my questions and help me in any way. The problem is I don’t always know what to ask, I don’t know what I don’t know.

We don’t know what we don’t know until we stumble across something that tells us. This is why we need to be willing to learn throughout our lives. Other people have better ways of doing things, they have a better plan, and they’ve learned how to be more effective. In books, knowledge is generously shared and we have access to the greatest minds through their writing.

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. Eleanor Roosevelt

Famous writers are writing blogs and books, sharing their secrets of plotting, pacing, and planning. If we need to know more about money management and investing, there’s a book. Are we interested in organization and planning, there’s a book. Do we want to start a small business on the side, there’s a book. Do we want to get fit and healthy, there’s a book. Self-improvement and motivation, there’s a book.

When I was on holiday I visited a thrift shop with my sister-in-law and niece, and there was the book “The Push” by Ashley Audrain that got the author a two million dollar advance for a two-book deal. I scooped it up and read it while on holiday and left it for my mother to read. It’s a dark psychological thriller that is a thought-provoking and engaging read.

There is more to getting a big book deal than writing a good book, but if we don’t write a good book we won’t be getting that deal and readers will not be telling someone, “You have to read this book.”

We don’t know what we will produce when we start something. If we don’t produce something nothing happens. We have to be willing to fail to succeed. We have to be willing to start to finish.

It is not enough to be busy… The question is: what are we busy about? Henry David Thoreau

We may be very busy, we may be very efficient, but we will also be truly effective only when we begin with the end in mind. Stephen R. Covey

Being busy and being productive are two different things. Unknown

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

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

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

The moment of epiphany when you know things will never be the same again.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

I always liked those moments of epiphany, when you have the next destination. Brad Pitt

Do epiphanies happen in your life? Is there a moment that turned your life around? Mine happened October 9th of 2000 when my husband brought home an old laptop and I put it on the kitchen table and started to write. I’d started writing at various times before. I’d always wanted to write and felt compelled to write. But, that time I turned writing into a habit and after I put the kids to bed was my time to write. I would bring the laptop out and put it on the kitchen table. I wrote down the time I started and the time I finished and how many words I wrote, and I haven’t quit writing since.

There have been times when computers quit, my files were held for ransom (thank goodness for backups). I have had years that I look back on and wonder what did I write, but the habit and the reality of being a writer occurred on October 9th, 2000.

Our lives can change in an instant. When I finished grade 12 I was driving in my car with a girlfriend when a lightning bolt flashed in my head I was going to Toronto. I’m reading a book, “The Holy Shit Moment” by James Fell. He says he can teach us how to harness the power of epiphany – those moments of sudden insight that can happen at any time.

I am open to these moments but I wonder do we get them in negative ways as well. If we have an epiphany about a person that is not positive, even if what we think we know is not true, can we see that person in a positive light again? Would that make the relationship unredeemable?

Could it be reckless to end marriages and change jobs even when a change in our lives needs to happen – should it always be a drastic change? The secret to a long marriage is time and I wonder if some people looking back wish they’d handled their epiphanies differently, made changes to improve their lives but kept their marriage.

Believe in your epiphanies. Believe in yourself. Take action, and watch the world conspire to support you. Elise Ballard

There are four elements to epiphanies, listening, belief, action, and serendipity. To listen we have to be open to the message. We need to believe the epiphany and what it means to us. Of course, nothing happens if we don’t take action and set everything in motion. Serendipity is when the second step is revealed, then the third step, and finally the fourth step and things keep falling into place.

There are times in our lives when we may feel we are on the right track, doing the right thing. Other times we are drifting, waiting, and we might not even know what we are waiting for. Perhaps we are waiting for an epiphany, a tap on the shoulder, a lightning bolt, or a book that speaks to us, someone that says something that changes the way we look at things. Something that will happen that opens up our eyes to a new path, opportunity, or way of being.

At this stage in life, I am open to epiphanies but not ones that turn my whole world upside down. I am committed to commitments I have made and within the confines of those commitments am open to opportunity, adventure, and excitement.

The world does not have tidy endings. The world does not have neat connections. It is not filled with epiphanies that work perfectly at the moment that you need them. Dennis Lehane

Don’t ever put your happiness in someone else’s hands. They’ll drop it. They’ll drop it every time. Christopher Barzak

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. Friedrich Nietzsche

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

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

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

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Life is about growth, and growing demands changing, adapting, and regrouping.

Life is about growth, and changing demands growing, adapting, and regrouping.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Life is growth, and growth demands change. Virend Singh

Living in the present moment.  Enjoying everything there is to enjoy in our lives. Are we living life to the utmost or are we waiting? If we are waiting what are we waiting for? Are we waiting for a certain stage of life when we can… Are we waiting for the money to come in when we can finally… Are we waiting for someone else to tell us the direction our life will take… Are we waiting to get married, divorced, have children, or the children to grow up and have lives of their own? What are we waiting for? When are we going to feel like this is it, this is our time? Or are we thinking about our time back in the day when we were…

Have we made the most of every decade of our lives? Have we laughed enough, played enough, dreamed enough, loved enough, forgiven enough, and been grateful enough for the lives we’ve lived?

It is easy for me as a woman of a “certain age” to be jaded about where our world is heading. But, we are living life forward and it is probably true the best is yet to come. I’ve been very lucky I haven’t had a lot of misfortune or angst in my life. I didn’t live through turmoil, war, or scarcity. I was born lucky with parents who built a farm and created an idyllic life for growing kids. We had animals of all kinds and wide-open spaces to ride horses.

I loved growing up on the farm and yet I never wanted it for my future. I still think I would like to ride more horses. I have stables near enough to me that I could go riding, but I never have. Why have I deprived myself of this simple and not that expensive of a pleasure? Is it a form of penance I’ve imposed on myself? I wanted to backpack across Europe, but I didn’t want to do it alone. I had no one to go with but that is probably just an excuse. Why didn’t I make it happen?

What does it say about us, the things we make happen, and the things we don’t? Why can we pour our heart and soul into some enterprises and give up so easily on others? I don’t know the answers to the questions I ask. I know achievement feels better than failure. I know looking back over accomplishments feels better than looking at where we gave up on a dream, even small ones that no one else knows about.

Transformation is not five minutes from now; it’s a present activity. In this moment you can make a different choice, and it’s these small choices and successes that build up over time to help cultivate a healthy self-image and self-esteem. Jillian Michaels

I know sometimes we have to get through to the other side of whatever our problem, challenge, or crisis is. Life doesn’t seem fair in how it metes out trouble and misfortune to some, and luck and good fortune to others. Reading and listening to people’s stories it seems greatness doesn’t come from easy lives. Perhaps that is the reward for the hardships they’ve faced.

We need to be careful because, “Hard times create strong men, and easy times create weak men.” Even in good and easy times, we need to be challenging ourselves enough so we don’t become too soft, weak, and undisciplined that we can’t handle what could be around the corner.

I’m listening to an audiobook “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins. He talks about an army instructor that taught navy seals how to open an airway in the neck if someone couldn’t breathe. The next day they had to perform that procedure on him to save his life. Listening to some of these books on military training I can see how we would all be better off if we went through some of this training.

Switzerland hasn’t taken part in armed conflict for over 500 years. To maintain a fighting force, all men are required to do military service. They also have to keep a weapon, or stock it in an armory, meaning Switzerland has some of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world. They might be the epitome of, “I’d rather be a soldier in a garden than a gardener in a war.” Jordan Peterson tells us, ” Meek is not weak it is having a sheathed sword and knowing how to use it.”

It is always a good time to take stock of our lives. What we want to accomplish, how we want to improve, learn, and grow. What are the goals we are working on? Who do we need to forgive? Sometimes the person we most need to forgive is ourselves because we haven’t been or done what we’d hoped. We need to go forward better. We can only change ourselves not other people and often what we know for sure is someone else has to change. Sometimes when we change ourselves we will see other people miraculously change. This is our life what do we need to do, be, or change?

Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision, and change. Richard Branson

One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again. Abraham Maslow

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. Gail Sheehy

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

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

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

Pruning the deadwood, change is the only constant. Are we going forward better?

Are we going forward better? Change is the only constant, pruning the deadwood.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain. Rick Godwin

I’m sore this morning from pruning the deadwood from my honeysuckle bush and weigela this weekend. I always get a lot of deadwood every spring from my weigela, but rarely have to trim the honeysuckle but this year all the big trunks of the honeysuckle were dead. We might not know why we get deadwood in our gardens and our lives but it has to be pruned to make way for new growth.

I’m looking at a post where Jeanne Grunert writes that she met an old farmer who told her the secret to his orchard producing such great fruit was in the pruning. “Prune hard in winter, gather the fruit in the fall.”

Our own lives need pruning as we decide what we want more of and what we want less of in our lives. Pruning TV from our lives may give us time to paint, write, exercise, read, or have long conversations with our family. Pruning bad habits like smoking will give us untold benefits to our health and finances.

Some things we may need to prune completely out of our lives and other things we may need to snip away at without removing entirely. I watched a lovely movie last night with my husband about family, fitting in, and letting a job be the only important thing in life. Changes that are forced on us sometimes make us see that life can and should be different.

The lockdown means I haven’t been to the gym since March of 2020. I have an exercise machine I use and I’m walking.  Fasting two days a week has kept the covid 19 off. Hard pruning is going on in our lives and our lives may never look the same again. That is life, we can use the lessons we learn to go forward better. What is better is up for debate as people are worried about the direction our lives and country will take.

I’m listening to people who have fears on both sides and I am trying to have faith we will go forward better. We will find the balance between socialism and capitalism, freedom, and support, being self-made men and women and building a society that can help us get back up if we stumble and fall. We will be able to continue to build and maintain a health care system that works but is not so heavy it crumbles under its own weight.

There will never be equality of outcome as some people think there should be. Look at our gardens even when we plant the same plants in the same space some thrive and others don’t. Some tomato plants bear more fruit than others. Some trees and shrubs require more pruning than others. Some like my honeysuckle die off and only young growth is left.

He who blames others has a long way to go on his journey. He who blames himself is halfway there. He who blames no one has arrived. Chinese proverb

Even equality between men and women which I believe in intrinsic equality, worth, and value does not mean we are the same. We need to embrace our differences, what makes us unique is also what makes us more impactful in life. We want to live in a society where we give equal opportunity, and as noble of an ideal as that is we know it is not possible because some people are not capable of taking advantages other people can take.

The outcomes of our lives are dependent on innate gifts, talents, and challenges at birth, the soil we grew up in, who inspired and impacted us. The opportunities that presented and we took advantage of, luck, good judgment, who we chose as friends, what habits and systems we developed, and the times we lived through.

We may have a lot of pruning needed for our lives to progress how we want or little pruning needed. We may think we are doing okay until something happens. How we live our days is how we live our lives. People who excel at things have pruned out many things in their lives to accomplish one goal.

Does luck fall in some people’s lap? I’m thinking of the pizzeria that years ago was offered bitcoin as payment for a pizza. One bitcoin equaled one dollar and they accepted the bitcoin payment. Did that pizzeria keep the bitcoin and now are bitcoin millionaires?

Why didn’t I pick up bitcoin at a dollar? I had no foresight. What if I’d been smart enough to say what if this becomes a thing and picked up a couple of hundred dollars of bitcoin when bitcoin could be bought for a couple of hundred dollars? Can I expect to be a bitcoin millionaire when I didn’t have the foresight some people had? Is the person that bought the bitcoin pizza a bitcoin millionaire because they had foresight?

A small habit of taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves would make a big difference in my life. Too often I only see the opportunities when someone else has made them into something.

Pruning the deadwood, developing systems and habits that create the best life, and recognizing opportunities that present themselves is what I want in my life going forward.

If you look closely at a tree you’ll notice it’s knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is true beauty and imperfections go together wonderfully. Matthew Fox

Trees don’t worry about their shape or size, they teach us to focus on growth. Vijaya Gowrisankar

You can only go halfway into the darkest forest. Then you are coming out the other side. Chinese proverb

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

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

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


Obstacles to growth might be trying to mind someone else’s business instead of our own.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Trees give peace to the souls of men. Nora Waln

What do we owe our neighbors? This is a question I have wondered as I’ve looked at semi-detached houses where the neighbors were not in sync with their color choices of garage doors, roofs, etc.

On our neighbor’s and our front yards, we had twin pink crabapple trees that stood side by side until she cut hers down earlier this spring. They stood together for 28 years. I started getting used to the bare spot and wondered what she had planned that was better than a big beautiful pink crabapple tree in full bloom.

Last night coming back from my walk with Lulu listening to the audiobook The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday I noticed her grand plan and it stopped me in my tracks. She planted a blue spruce where a magnificent pink crabapple once stood.

I stormed into the kitchen where my son and his fiancé were eating dinner. “Have you seen what she’s done?” I sputtered.

“You should have talked to her about her plans,” my son calmly said.

When should I have talked to her about it? When I came home from a walk and half the branches had been sawed off and were lying on the ground? She never talked to me about cutting down the tree and still hasn’t. Why would I ask about a tree that has been standing for 28 years? I expected to see it keep standing until the branches were lying on the ground. The only tree she has kept standing is a maple tree that is too close to the house.

I am not like the farmer who said once his barn was gone, “Now I can see the moon.”

Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky. Kahlil Gibran

I’ve never had a problem with neighbors but maybe it’s because my son tells me I am passive-aggressive, complaining about them behind their back instead of talking to them directly. I did talk to my neighbor’s son one day who had their dog peeing on our lawn. I think I was even effective. I haven’t seen her peeing there since. Why would I have to ask someone to not have their dog pee on my lawn? That should be self-evident, shouldn’t it?

When we live in a city we have to hope our neighbors like trees and will plant some for everyone’s enjoyment. I’ve been lucky we have a tree-lined street because the builder planted a tree on each lot and the city planted boulevard trees. Most homeowners value their trees as they add value to the property and living on a tree-lined street is a prettier street. In the backyards, we as well as neighbors have planted trees that give us all some privacy and a place for the birds, squirrels, and rabbits to live.

Neighbors, friends, and family don’t all see things the same way. We are individuals with our own values, judgments, and choices. I’m sure I make choices others don’t agree with and they make choices I don’t agree with. As my parents used to say, “It takes everyone to make a world.” We have our little piece to look after and everyone else has to look after theirs.

There is no point in getting upset about the beautiful crabapple tree that has been removed. A magnificent blue spruce will grow in its stead. It’s going to take a while as it’s only 18 inches tall.

Is there a lesson here for me? Is it ironic that I was listening to The Obstacle is the Way? We have our little yard to beautify and I have to leave everyone else’s yard up to them. We can only make things happen in our own circle of influence but it is so much easier to look at what others are doing instead of tending to our own business. Am I looking after my own business well enough? If I am, I wouldn’t have time to mind anyone else’s?

Be like a tree. The tree gives shade even to him who cuts off its boughs. Sri Chaitanya

A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit. Elton Trueblood

Allow nature’s peace to flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. John Muir

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

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

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

To live in beauty and bounty we must be part of the providers of it.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Nature is not a place to visit. It is home. Gary Snyder

Yesterday we woke up to snow-covered daffodils, cherry blossoms, and snow-laden branches it was unexpectedly beautiful and I wish I’d taken pictures. We had twin crabapple trees that for a couple of days in spring were covered with pink blooms. Our neighbor has cut all the limbs off of her tree and only the stump is standing and I expect it will be pulled out too. It seems like sacrilege to take down an over twenty-five-year-old tree when we are trying to create tree-lined streets.

Mom tells me in her complex it was decided to remove a beautiful ten-year-old maple tree and replace it with something else and she is not impressed with their choice.

It’s not my business it’s her tree. What if everyone cut down their tree and we ended up with barren ugly neighborhoods? Whose business does it become then? When does our business become someone else’s business? When do our actions infringe on other people?

Jordan Peterson talks about how we can’t take living in safety, peace, and plenty for granted. Is there a correlation between happiness and beauty? When we live in beautiful surroundings it makes a difference in our lives. We are told to clear the clutter to clear our minds. How often when we look at pictures of stark, minimalist décor does it still have a plant or flowers somewhere in the picture. Nature feeds our soul. What is someone thinking as they pave over every blade of grass and root out the trees on their property?

Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own. Charles Dickens

The World Happiness Report suggests wellbeing is positively affected by spending time in nature. The trend is to cover our property with concrete or pavers. We want a low maintenance option but what about the option of living in an urban forest where we offer habitat for birds, squirrels, and other wildlife.

I love watching the squirrels. We have grey, black and recently little red squirrels have moved into the area. I haven’t seen chipmunks in our yard but I have seen a skunk ambling through the back yard and I came home from a walk to see one on my front walk one morning. We see a pair of cardinals in our yard all the time. Occasionally we see a blue jay in our trees and goldfinches in our front yard. I would hate to live in a sterile yard with no life, no trees, and no nature.

Life changes and my crab apple tree lost a friend. I think of the two trees nodding in the breeze like two ladies talking about the goings-on of the street. Mine is now the lone pink crab apple on our side of the street.

Nature is messy, beautiful, and irreplaceable. We may think we want stark, lifeless yards because they are easy, maintenance-free spaces. It’s probably okay if a few people think like this but what if everyone on the street thought this way? Cities can be deserts or they can be beautiful urban forests with birds and other wildlife. It’s our choice and I pray most people choose the trees.

We live in beauty and bounty, but we can’t take it for granted that someone else will provide it for us. We have to be careful of the choices we make lest we someday no longer live in beauty and bounty and wonder where it went.

Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play and pray, where nature heals and gives strength to body and soul alike. John Muir

Nature never did betray the heart that loved her. William Wordsworth

Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time. Katrina Mayer

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

Be the creator of your own life. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.

Focus on what you want, not on what you don't want. Be the creator of your own life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Creativity is contagious. Pass it on. Albert Einstein

Are we building the life we want by being creators, or are we reacting to the problems we see? How many of us think if we can just solve the problem our life will be better?

Problem-solving is taking action to have something go away. Creating is taking action to have something come into being.

This is the difference between focusing on the problems and focusing on creating what we want. We are focusing on what we think are the ills of society. Are we putting as much into focusing on what we want our society to be as what we don’t want it to be? We know that sometimes we have to do things in the midst of a problem like hunger for instance. Giving food to people in a famine does help but it doesn’t provide food security which is what they need.

The problem with problem-solving as our main way of doing things is even when we are successful we now have the absence of the problem but we do not have the creation of something we wanted.

If we have a problem with weeds in our garden we can pull the weeds but we have not created a beautiful garden just by pulling the weeds. To create a beautiful garden we will have to plant the garden we want and tend it and it can become the masterpiece we create.

We seem to be very good at knowing what we don’t want, are we as good at knowing what we do want? Have you ever gone into the kitchen knowing what you don’t want to eat but if you can’t figure out what you do want or what you will make nothing happens? My husband knows he doesn’t like celery in his soup (or anything else). It doesn’t answer the question, what does he want?

The more we answer the question “What do we want” instead of focusing on what we don’t want the better our life will be. We can create what we want, or at least try. We may hate our job, it’s easy to quit a job, but did that solve the problem or just give us a new and worse problem? What do we want, a new job, a business? Then we need to know what kind of job, or what kind of business? Could we perhaps get a job that would pay our bills and create a business part-time that will feed our spirit? Now we have a win/win we are creating a life, maybe a life we will love.

It is a sobering thought to realize we are spending our time focusing on the wrong things. How much time do we spend thinking if I could just fix that problem? But, fixing that problem is not what we want, we need to focus on what we want and we may think getting rid of things like problems is what we want but really don’t we want to build and create the life we want.

Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else. Les Brown

Is it true that the more we focus on problems the more problems we get? What difference would it make in our lives if we became builders of our lives instead of problem solvers in our lives? What if we build a happy family instead of trying to fix the problems which we may always have to deal with? We will never see things the same, there will always be challenges, but as we build what we want those differences will not be as important as what we create. We will always have problems but focusing on fixing problems seldom leads to final success.

In fact, focusing on our problems often leads to a problem cycle:

The problem leads to action to solve the problem, which leads to less intensity of the problem, which leads to less reaction to the problem, which leads to the problem remaining, and the cycle continues.  

This is the life cycle of problems. Many of us pride ourselves on our problem-solving abilities. We may even call ourselves creative problem solvers. Problem-solving can be distracting at the same time it gives us the illusion we are doing something crucial and important.

One of the things we are fighting about is if we don’t see the same problem, or the same solution to that problem. How heartless are we if we don’t care about someone else’s pet cause, and how heartless when they don’t care about ours? We can feel the romance of being the individual against the elements, the machine, big government, injustice, inequality, racism, sexism, the division between rich and poor, global warming, and there are more. We certainly have enough problems that everyone can find a noble cause to make them feel good.

Problem-solving gives us a false sense of security. If we didn’t have these big problems to focus on what would we think about, what would we talk about, and how would we let people know how noble we are? Instead of asking ourselves what problems do we want to solve? What if we asked ourselves what do we want to create? If we get more of what we focus on and we focus on problems are we getting more problems to focus on? What if we focus on creating the life we want, we focus on our circle of influence, and as we create the life we want our circle of influence enlarges. What if this is better than focusing on our problems? What if this is what is behind the saying, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for today, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”

Imagination and creativity can change the world. Unknown

Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected. William Plomer

The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible. Arthur C. Clark

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

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

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

Is complaining attracting what we say we don’t want? Is positive prophecy a better way forward?

Is positive prophecy a better way forward? Is complaining attracting what we don't want?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

All you can change is yourself, but sometimes that changes everything. Gary W. Goldstein.

Are we getting what we focus on? Is what we are complaining about showing up in our lives as if we ordered it. I’ll have one of those horrible things, and another helping of unhappiness with pain and suffering for desert. We build our own lives we are told but only the successful admit it.

On Saturday I perused the book isles of Value Village and found a book “A Complaint Free World” by Will Bowen. He suggests we make a commitment to going complaint-free for twenty-one days. Is that even doable? No complaints at all! He says he finally got there and one of the tools he used was a rubber bracelet he moved from wrist to wrist every time he caught himself voicing a complaint.

I found a purple rubber band and put it on my wrist yesterday. I was doing pretty well because I went for a walk with my dog. I painted in my studio but the challenge isn’t when we spend time alone it is when we are with other people. At dinner, I even managed to not complain (I mean I didn’t notice any), but after dinner was another story.

My son, his fiancé, and I talked about, “The Royals.” All we were doing was complaining about people who were complaining.

Am I sure we should never complain?  I was listening to Jordan B. Peterson’s book yesterday on my walk, “Beyond Order.” He talks about not hiding things in the fog. We don’t address things because we don’t want to face the ramifications of confronting a problem head-on. It may be complaining when we address things but one of the things we need to do is know when we address something what do we want the outcome to be. Often, this is why we don’t address things. What is the outcome we want? This is the answer we don’t have and this is what we should work out in our own mind.

Martin Luther King’s, “I Have a Dream” speech was not a complaint. He painted a bright and vivid picture of the change he hoped to see. When we paint a picture of a problem already solved that is not a complaint it is a prophecy of better. What if we brought forward positive prophecies, instead of complaints into our world?

Change your thoughts and you change your life. Norman Vincent Peale

My life as an experiment continues as I focus on what I want instead of on what I don’t want. As I think back over my life knowing what I wanted wasn’t always easy. Sometimes it was easier to drift along because if I stated what I wanted even in my own mind it looked like work. It would be work I was responsible for doing to create the life I stated I wanted. For years I didn’t state I wanted to be a writer because then I would have to step up and write.

When we say we want something we are now responsible for making it happen. It seems daunting but it is also exciting to take charge of our own lives and direct the outcome of our actions. We don’t know what something will become when we start it, but we know if we don’t start it will never be anything.

What are the seeds we are planting in our lives? Are we planting complaints, judgment, disrespect, hopelessness or are we planting encouragement, positive prophecy, respect, and acceptance of what is as we try to build what might be?

We become what we think about. Earl Nightingale

The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts. Charles Darwin

Why are we Masters of our fate, the captains of our soul? Because we have the power to control our thoughts. Alfred A. Montapert

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

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

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

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Spring is coming. Have we ever been more grateful for Spring?

Have we ever been more grateful for spring. Spring is coming.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn. Hal Borland

Yesterday a friend and I went for a walk. We set our walking time at 2:30 but when I looked out my window at 1:30 it was raining. At 2:30 we set out with my little dog hoping our walk wouldn’t be cut short by rain. We had a destination but we didn’t end up there. We took a detour into a neighborhood we know but have never walked through. We walked up and down the streets admiring the houses. We even found one for sale. I took a picture of it to send to her later.

The sun didn’t shine but nor did it rain. Spring is in the air we kept saying as birds chirped around us. We had a lovely afternoon of walking, talking, and laughing. She’s going to be a grandma soon. What a lovely event to be looking forward to.

My son and his fiancé were cooking dinner. Without dinner to worry about the rest of the afternoon was mine. My dog was covered in mud so the first thing I did is give her a bath. My husband, daughter, and I had tea while we talked and laughed as I held Lulu my shivering dog in a towel. I put on a warm sweater. I didn’t feel cold on the walk but back in the house, I was shivering as much as Lulu.

Before dinner, I had a chance to go into my art room and play with color schemes. One of my favorite art stores opened up for in-store purchases and I picked up art supplies I badly needed on Friday. Some of the shelves of paint were bare. Art has been one of the ways to pass the time. An art book on finding inspiration for paintings was on sale. I added it to my cart. I was tempted by a book on color but resisted.

It doesn’t matter how we express ourselves but it is important to find artistic outlets. We can pour our emotions into a painting that if we wrote them down on paper would be embarrassing. In a painting they are safe, and once expressed we feel better.

How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year? Unknown

We may be embarrassed because our art is not technically perfect. Sometimes technically perfect art doesn’t move us at all because it isn’t technical perfection that moves us. We react to what the artist is expressing. It happens with books, songs, music, and dance.

It’s my friend’s book club pick. She has a book she’s thinking of choosing. She’s afraid the subject might be too heavy. We want everyone to think the books we choose are worth the time, money, and create a great discussion. It’s great having everyone on the hunt for the next great read. We read books we wouldn’t read if left on our own.

We can’t wait until we can get together and discuss our books. Our last in-person book club meeting was in October. We met in one of our member’s back yards, wore coats, wrapped ourselves in shawls, discussed books, life, and laughed the night away.

Being part of groups feeds our soul. I love every group I am a part of. Separate interests are important but so are shared ones. We need to find balance. Soon my husband and I will be able to go to outdoor cafes, walk to get an ice cream cone or pick up a tea.

Spring is coming to our lives in more ways than just the weather. Have we ever been more grateful for spring? We have so much to look forward to. We just have to get through this last bit of winter. This winter of covid, shutdowns, despair, and inactivity.

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. Anne Bradstreet

You think winter will never end, and then, when you don’t expect it, when you have almost forgotten it, warmth comes and a different light. Wendell Berry

Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius. Pietro Aretino

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

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

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

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