Facing our fears and taking the next step. Living a courageous life is moving forward however slowly.

Living a courageous life is moving forward however slowly. Facing our fears and taking the next step.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Thinking will not overcome fear but action will. W. Clement Stone

How many of us feel the fear and do it anyway. There are steps we need to take in life that fill us with fear and trepidation but there is no way around going through what we fear to get to what we want.

It might be fear of a trip to the dentist, doctor, or something that is going to help us lead a better life. It might be we have to leave an old comfortable job to get a better job that helps us get more of what we want in life. it might be moving to a new locale. Having a baby is filled with fear and trepidation and birth is only the beginning.

They say we regret what we don’t do more than what we do. We come to a fork in the road and we take one path and leave the other. What lay down the path we didn’t take we’ll never know, and we have to be okay with that. Sometimes we can go back and make different choices but often that window of opportunity was there and we took it or we didn’t.

Some things we have a lifetime to look after. We can always start a new exercise program and eat better. There are always opportunities to be more patient, loving, and kind. We can pick up a hobby we’ve always been interested in. We can take courses or read books on subjects that interest us. Tom Jacobs, a citizen scientist has spotted a Jupiter – like planet in Nasa Tess Data. Alan R. Schmitt developed a program called LcTools which allows citizen scientists to inspect telescope data by eye. Do you think you might feel foolish when you think you’ve discovered a planet, what if you are wrong? Are other people saying to themselves I noticed that irregularity but I wasn’t sure so I didn’t say anything?

We risk failure to risk success. We could be awful at that new job, our new business could fail, no one might read our book, our marriage might fail. What if we won’t like the changes to our lives with marriage and parenthood. We don’t know what the results will be if we don’t take the chance. If we move forward or stay where we are life won’t be perfect. There will be challenges to face either way. No one has a challenge-free life, the most we can ask for is to pick our challenges.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

It could be the more we grab onto what life offers the more we enjoy our life. At Toastmasters many people join because they are afraid of public speaking. They may never get over that fear entirely but they harness it. Toastmasters, say it is a powerful force in their lives and has impacted them in more ways than just getting up to give a speech. Finding the courage to face public speaking made them more courageous in other areas of their life. It has done that for me.  

When I rejoined Toastmasters after a thirty-year hiatus, it wasn’t because I feared public speaking but I wanted to be better at it. I was hesitant to put myself out there as a writer and just in case someone wanted to interview me I wanted to develop some poise and talk intelligently. By joining Toastmasters I found a group of people who want more out of life and are grabbing hold of opportunities in front of them. It was a great decision. Every time I give a speech I worry I’ll forget what I’m saying, After you’ve forgotten what you were going to say a few times you learn to pick up after a pause, and most of the time no one knows what you were going to say next, but you. Sometimes I realize later I left out part of my speech but it didn’t matter.

Finding the courage to face our fears and take risks is how we grow, and overcoming what holds us back opens doors to a future we may only have dreamed of, but we can make it a reality with courage and by taking the next step.

Being brave isn’t the absence of fear. Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it. Bear Grylls

Courage is being scared to death and then taking the next step anyway. Unknown

I just give myself permission to suck… I find this hugely liberating. John Green

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.

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

Our daily habits determine our life. Our health, wealth, happiness, fitness, and success depend on our habits.

Our health, wealth, happiness, fitness, and success depend on our habits. Our daily habits determine our life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If your habits don’t line up with your dream, then you need to either change your habits or change your dream. John C. Maxwell

This is the time of year for setting goals. Many of us have heard of SMART goals, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. There is another acronym for goals WOOP – wish, outcome, obstacles, and plan.

We often have a vague idea or a specific idea, wish, dream, or goal, and we may know the outcome we want. It is getting from here to there that gets us stuck. We need to take that wish and get that outcome by overcoming obstacles with a step-by-step plan.

We may balk at taking our wish, hope, or prayer and turning it into a concrete goal. This is a step I stayed away from for years. If I made something my goal then I had to come up with a plan. What worked for me was instead of turning thoughts into goals, turn actions into habits.

Once we develop the habit of exercise we may or may not reach the goal of losing what we wanted to lose or end up looking like we hoped to look, but we are exercising and that is better than not exercising.

We may not think of some of the good things in our life as goals, they are habits like brushing our teeth. We don’t think about it anymore we just do it. Exercise can become a habit; it used to be I had gym nights. I knew what I was doing Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings, I was going to the gym, and Thursday was Toastmasters.

Now I do four sun salutations with pushups, plank, and fifty repetitions on an exercise machine. It’s not a lot but it adds up when done daily. I now write 150 words in my third novel as I edit my second one and work on illustrating my second children’s book. It’s not a lot but it keeps my mind percolating every day about where the story will go.

Sometimes we don’t achieve what we want to achieve because we expect too much of ourselves. By expecting less we can do more. Four pushups every day could lead to more, but any of us can find time for four pushups be it early morning, late at night, or somewhere in between.

You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. John C. Maxwell

Slow and steady can take us places. Often we think slow and small isn’t worth it. What difference will it make, but it will make a lot of difference in our lives if we look after the small things?

We may think we need to rush to reach a goal, but what if it is a life improvement instead of a measurable goal. What if writing 150 words in a personal journal is for your eyes alone? This may be a way to look at your life in a new way; there are many benefits to writing a journal. We can analyze our life, decisions, goals, habits, relationships, and life direction in a journal.

Four pushups per day may start us on a lifetime of healthier living. Four full-body stretches like sun salutations may keep us limber. We may change our diet one day a week or one meal a day, once a week, or even once a month.

There is power in small changes, creating daily habits to sustain the changes we want to make. Once four pushups become a habit it is like brushing our teeth, we don’t think about it we just do it. Journaling can be the same, we can’t wait to write our few words to empty our mind onto the page, write what we are grateful for, or something we’d like to look back on.

Is this the year not to worry about how you want the exercise to make you look, or what size you’d like to wear, but make it a habit that fits into your life so you become a person that exercises regularly? Just like most of us don’t sometimes brush our teeth, we have a routine, we do it every day. We can make creating good habits the goal. Small things we do daily can change our life, and we don’t have to know what they will lead to.

Our habits more than our goals create our life, goals are lofty, we can be proud of them, but habits are where we make things happen by what we do daily.

Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do. Sean Covey

In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently. Tory Robbins

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. Lao-Tze

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 posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

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Making plans, setting goals, moving ahead in life. You don’t know what you can do until you do it.

You don't know what you can do until you do it. Making plans, setting goals, moving ahead in life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson thomas

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Alan Lakein

This is the time for resolutions and making plans. This has not been one of the strong points in my life, but I’m getting better.

There was the trip to Europe, still haven’t gotten there, but my husband and I are putting a plan in place to make it happen.

Writing, it took me forever to write steadily. It took even longer to make a plan to publish. I guess part of what I thought is; who am I to think I can be a published writer? This February I will release my third book. I was making it into a bigger thing in my mind than it is. If my goal was to be a big famous writer, that is not something in anyone’s control, but writing and putting my work out into the world instead of hiding it on my bookshelf, that I can do.

We don’t know what we can do until we do it. Fear holds us back from so many things. Fear of commitment and fear of failure. Millions of people have failed to read my blog or my books, or I failed to reach them but some have read them, and told me they enjoyed them.

The first book took a long time, but I started the second with a goal in mind because I’ve spent too many years afraid to set goals. What was I afraid of? Was I too lazy to bother? That is part of it, when we set a goal we give ourselves a job, a commitment to ourselves. Something that nags at us and says you should be doing… instead of watching this show.

Big audacious goals to start with are what we are tempted to set. I’ve set some of those and never reached them. We need to be able to break goals down into manageable steps. This is why one of my goals (I started in December) is to write 150 words per day in my third novel and do something to move my second children’s book along as I finish editing my second novel and get it out into the world.

A goal without a plan is just a wish. Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Some of us might think 150 words are hardly worth doing and that is the point. It is such a small doable goal, we can make it happen. It’s like setting a goal to do 1 push-up per day. How can we not find time even if it is the last thing before bed to do 1 push-up – often we will do more? Small steps make a big difference in our life and they lead to big things. Often we overlook the small because we want to focus on the big, but the big is usually made up of lots and lots of small steps.

Writing my second novel and publishing it in a year and a half is all about the small steps taken daily to get me to this point. Anyone that has raised children knows its little steps. There is the big event, the birth of a child, or an idea. Then there is the hard work of doing what needs to be done and not losing focus during the heavy slogging of middles. We have to get through boring, mundane, middles to get to happy endings.

When parents look at each other at the big events in their children’s lives part of it is pride in getting their children to the stage in life where they take big steps in their own lives. It is when the sacrifice is worth it. If we are lucky we get to the place where our children are taking their place in life. Our heavy role of parenting is finished, now comes another fun part, enjoying our children’s success, and grandchildren.

We made decisions or failed to make decisions along the way that have impacted our life. The decisions we make today will impact our life going forward. We may pat ourselves on the back for the decisions we’ve made over our life or cringe when we think about them. We can’t go back and change the past, but we can go forward, and work with what we have to make our future better. Will that be one push-up or two?

The key is not to prioritize what is on your schedule but to schedule your priorities. Stephen R. Covey

Plans are nothing, but planning is everything. Dwight D. Eisenhower

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan. Eleanor Roosevelt

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.

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

Is love the greatest power of all? Our choices shape our lives.

Our choices shape our life. Is love the greatest power of all?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life. Albert Einstein

Is love the greatest force in the universe? Albert Einstein thought it was. The bible tells us it is.

My daughter and I decorated our Christmas tree yesterday and watched a movie “All Mine to Give.” In this 1957 movie based on a true story set in the 1850s, a Scottish immigrant family has six children and the parents both die. The mother on her deathbed tells 12-year-old Robbie, he is to find families for his brothers and sisters that have children so they won’t feel so alone, and to find a home for each one.

It’s Christmas Eve and they are allowed to spend Christmas together before the town steps in and deals with the orphans. He thinks of families he knows and how each of his siblings would fit into their life. A family with only sons might like a daughter.  One child plays the violin so he goes to the only family in town that has a piano.

The woman who has been an antagonist wants the baby and he lies and tells her she’s promised to another family in the next town ten miles away. He puts the little girl in a sled and walks ten miles to the next town and comes across a prosperous-looking house with children’s laughter coming from it and they agree to raise his sister. He is going to the logging camp to work, where he’s already a coffee boy on the weekends.

This was a real tear-jerker showing the importance of family, community, and people rallying together to build a life.

We all have a relentless yearning to attach and connect, to love and be loved. This relationship hunger is the fiercest longing of the human soul. Dave Earley

When we don’t live in small communities we may think this kind of rallying together doesn’t exist. That helping neighbors and stepping in doesn’t happen because we have agencies for that. They had orphanages then but the children did not want to end up in one and thought if they asked for a home on Christmas Day who would refuse them.

We are told that people individually will step up where they will not when they are part of a group. When we are part of a group we know someone else can do it and we are off the hook. We’ve had instances where things happened and the police should have been called, but they weren’t because everyone thought someone else would do it.

We may think people were better, stronger, and more resilient in days gone by. They did what they had to do and they based their life on faith. People are still doing what they have to do and basing their life on faith. People haven’t changed; circumstances and even expectations have changed. We still get to make better and worse decisions as we go forward in life. We can see and expect the best in people or the worst, and we can treat others with respect and dignity or not.

It seems to me the better we treat other people, the more respect and dignity we see in others, we also see in ourselves. We can focus on the negative or the positive and we each have both in our nature. We can see beauty and bounty, or lack and ugliness. We can look at life in the 1850s and think how wretched it must have been, and for some, it was, as is life now for some, but it was also full of beauty, love, family, optimism, and hope.

We all have access to the power of love, faith, and hope to build a community.

There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about. Margaret J. Wheatley

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention. Oscar Wilde

Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy – in fact, the opposite. Jean Vanier

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.

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

Choosing the channel our life is set to. It isn’t the circumstances but how we view them that sets the tone of our lives.

It isn't the circumstances but how we view them that sets the tone of our lives. Choosing the channel our life is set to.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Happiness depends on your mindset and attitude. Roy T. Bennet

My son came down to my art studio the other day and was disappointed at my art process. He saw my lightbox for tracing and my reference material. We have an idea that if people are really creative they make things up. I’m painting a church. I didn’t make this church up, I’ve used reference material and I believe most artists use reference material, often even in abstracts. Then we moved on to talking about writing and how there are only a few plots that fit all stories.

In “Save the Cat Writes a Novel” by Jessica Brody based on the books by Blake Snyder there are ten plots.

Whydunnit, detectives, deception, and the dark side.

Rites of passage

Institutionalized, join em, leave em, or take em down.

Superhero, being extraordinary in an ordinary world.

Dude with a problem, surviving the ultimate test.

Fool triumphant, victory of the underdog.

Buddy love, the transformative power of love or friendship.

Out of the bottle, a little bit of magic goes a long way.

Golden Fleece, road trips, quests, and heists.

Monster in the house, more than just a scary story.

There you have it; every story ever told fits into one of those genres. There are also various types of compositions we can use in art. It isn’t originality that makes things great it is how we use what we know in writing, art, or creating anything that gives us our finished product.

What if life is much the same? In a book I’m reading, “A Course in Life” by Joan Gattuso, she asks what channel would we say we have our life tuned to. Are we tuned to the Discovery Channel, Playboy Channel, Suffering Channel, Heartache Channel, Poor Me Channel, Bad News Channel, They Don’t Treat Me Right Channel, Adventure Channel, Family Channel, Creative Channel, Horror, or Happy Channel?

Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. Joshua J. Marine

What if just like TV we turn our life channel to what we want. On TV a walk in the woods on the adventure channel will be different than a walk in the woods on the horror channel. There is enough going on in the world that we can choose to focus on what is good or what is bad. When we interact with people do we remember the slights or the kindness we are shown? Do we look for what is bad, or what is good? Are we positive about the future? Do we focus on injustice?

If we focus on the good we can be called naïve, wearing rose-colored glasses, entitled, and that we don’t care enough about the problems others have. We can seem insensitive if we aren’t getting into the pit of despair but when we are all in the pit of despair, who is left to pull anyone out of the pit?

Jim Rohn said, “If we complain about everything and everything isn’t good enough, it’s all we have.” We have whatever circumstances we have in our life; we might not like all the choices before us. If we look at the circumstances, opportunities, and choices in our life like paint on a painter’s palette. What we do with that paint and those choices color the canvas of our lives. Will it be bright and pretty, dark and somber, mostly dark with a few bright spots, mostly light with a few dark spots? will it become something we can’t believe we created?

When we are painting it is intuitive, structured, happy little accidents, and unexpected results as colors play against each other. A good metaphor for life I think. We don’t control every facet of our lives; we don’t know what is coming, but our view on life, our mindset, this we have some control over. Wayne Dyer says, “When we change the way we look at things the things we look at change.”

What channel are we tuning our life to? Is there a better channel to choose? Did it ever cross our mind as Shakespeare says, “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so?”

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. Stephen Hawking

Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. George Bernard Shaw

Mindset is your rudder in the boat of your life. Shan White

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.

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

Anger is an acid doing more harm to those that carry it than those on who it is poured.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Anger doesn’t solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything. Unknown

What makes us angry? We can go from zero to sixty very quickly.

Seneca broke anger management into three parts. First, we must avoid becoming angry. Second, we must learn to control our angry feelings. Third, we must find a way to express our anger to others in an appropriate way. This was in 45 B.C. and is still our anger management model.

A threatened animal is a dangerous animal, a threatened human is a dangerous person. In our anger do we sometimes overreact? Are there good reasons to be angry, and good ways of handling our anger? If we can’t discuss why we are angry we sometimes bottle it up inside which can lead to high blood pressure, increased stress, depression, and even more anger.

We have a psychological response, a heightened sense of power, but a lack of reason, clarity, and judgment; a physiological response that causes a surge of adrenaline, increased heart rate, and other physical manifestations; and a cognitive response, when we express or repress our anger, or we can calm ourselves.

In the bible, it says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. Proverbs 15:18

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. Proverbs 14:29

Obviously, we are to have some control over our anger. Lives are ruined because of uncontrolled anger; people are killed in fits of passion (anger). We may feel justified in our anger and still have it ruin our lives. We cannot take back words said in anger. We cannot fix relationships ruined by anger unless we can deal with the anger.

A small study in the Journal of Psychology and Aging suggests anger, much more than sadness, is linked to negative health effects in older people. This is believed to contribute to inflammation and chronic disease. Does this mean if we get our anger under control we live healthier lives?

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Buddha

Studies show us anger makes us more impulsive and makes us underestimate the chances of bad outcomes. Anger also influences group dynamics. When we are angry we feel more negatively and in a more prejudiced way about outsiders. We tend to blame negative traits on a person’s nature rather than their circumstances. Angry people tend to look for someone to blame. This can make an angry person even more enraged with offending persons or groups and perpetuate a spiral of irrational rage.

Seneca pronounced anger, “Worthless even for war,” and wrath is one of the seven deadly sins.

A study at Southwest Missouri State University surveyed 200 men and women, suggested that women are as angry and act on their anger as frequently as men. The main difference they identified was men felt less effective when forced to control their anger, and women seemed better able to control immediate impulsive responses to anger.

As a society do we romanticize anger and aggression? A study found people with violent childhoods could discriminate between good and bad strangers in an experiment. But they were less likely to trust people, even when they behaved generously. “It shapes them so fundamentally that they’re not able to easily discriminate who they can trust. That constant feeling of threat means aggression can be triggered far more easily, in the future,” said Baskin-Sommers.

It seems we control our anger, or our anger controls us. People who were brought up in violent households may have a harder time, but we hear all the time about people who changed the course of their lives by staying away from what ruined their parents’ lives. Our choices shape our lives. Are our reactions to the things that make us angry, and even the things that make us angry something we should take a hard look at?

When angry, count to ten before you speak; if very angry count to a hundred. Thomas Jefferson

If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow. Chinese Proverb

You have power over your mind – not outside events realize this, and you will find strength. Marcus Aurelius

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come again 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.

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

Choices determine our life. We are free to choose but all choices have consequences.

We are free to choose but all choices have consequences. Choices determine our life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

We always have opportunities and choices. Opportunities to be the best we can be, make the best choices, and go forward. When we look back are we always proud of our choices? How many of us think if we could have a do-over at some point in our life we would make a different choice. We got to a crossroads and we were presented with choices and we took the wrong one, or we think we did because we can’t know what the consequences of the other choice were?

There was a time around 1980 when a friend was moving to Calgary and I would have gone with her but I was dating my husband. We got married, built a business, have two adult children and life has been terrific. I count it as one of my good choices.

I talked to a friend who told me she has a connection to Chilliwack, British Columbia because her father saw a restaurant/ gas station for sale and wanted to buy it with her and her husband. He lived in Switzerland and they lived in Mississauga.

Lots of us could be living somewhere else but we made a choice and may still wonder where the road not taken would have led us. We can’t travel both paths we have to choose one. I became a city girl but the country girl remains a part of me. I never became the world traveler I longed to be. That could still come.

There are still choices to make even when we have built a life in a certain locale and reared our family. The choices our children make may impact our own and ours may impact theirs. Still, when we get to a crossroads it is our choice we have to live with. The choice may mean we see our grandchildren more or less.

There are choices that impact our lives in big ways and ones we think will not that do. We don’t always know what will reverberate down through our life. Living life with courage is a great example to have set for us. We all know people who lived their lives with courage, they took advantage of opportunities or they handled situations the best they could. They faced adversity with a good attitude. They forged ahead when others might have been brought to their knees and never gotten back up. We all hope we will be the people who are strong in the face of adversity, accept the challenges, make lemonade out of the lemons that show up in our life.

I was reading a book last night and the author was saying in his church there was a couple who made the other parents feel inadequate in their parenting.  The children were in the early years and he alluded to the fact that they were great parents for a particular stage in the children’s life but not necessarily above average parents when it came to the other stages. Some of the parents looking on may have excelled in dealing with teenagers, but they hadn’t reached that stage yet.

You are free to choose, but the choices you make today will determine what you have, be, and do in the tomorrow of your life. Zig Ziglar

This is why we have to be careful comparing ourselves to other people. They may shine brilliantly in a stage of life we don’t, but that doesn’t mean all of their life they will shine or all of ours we won’t. We won’t all shine with the same kind of brilliance because a celebrity has a shine that usefulness doesn’t. We can live without celebrities but living without the people that make life work, plumbers, farmers, teachers, doctors, dentists, storekeepers, repair people, salespeople, doers, and makers. They are the ones we can’t live without, they make the life we have possible.

Sometimes we choose between good choices, sometimes we make the best of bad choices. Once we choose we have set ourselves upon a path. We may find choices we made in the past have come around again. There was a time when we had to choose where to raise our family. Now with a family raised we may face the choice of where to live as we go forward. Do we keep the house, do we move? Each choice impacts the rest of our life. When I left the farm I choose a path completely different than had I stayed and built my life in Saskatchewan.

If we expect we will always make the right, best choices we probably won’t. We have to forgive ourselves that we made a choice we later regret. We may have thought it was a good choice, or sometimes we knew it wasn’t but did it anyway thinking we would get away with it.

Life is about choices and taking responsibility for them. There is an attitude some people adopt of extreme ownership. The more responsibility we take for our life, the more we can change it. No matter how extreme our ownership is, life can hand us situations beyond our control, floods, disease, pestilence, and accidents. They are ours to deal with and making the best of the bad is all we can do.

The man of decision cannot be stopped! The man of indecision cannot be started! Take your own choice. Napoleon Hill

You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours. Colin Powell

You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice. 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.

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

Forgiving ourselves is that the antidote to shame? We will make mistakes we have to own them, forgive them, and move forward.

We will make mistakes we have to own them, forgive them, and move forward. Forgiving ourselves is that the antidote to shame?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Shame corrodes the very part of us that believe we are capable of change. Brene Brown

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. Martin Luther King Jr.

What we focus on grows, is part of a comment left on my blog by my cousin. Her daughter just had a baby girl. She said, “I forgot how much I love babies.” It is a joyous event when a baby arrives. We don’t know the hope and promise that a new little being brings.

My husband showed me a YouTube video yesterday of young people on the streets of Philadelphia not looking so full of promise. Yet some of those young people, will turn their lives around, and make incredible contributions to our society. We don’t know who is who. We don’t even know what contributions will end up being great ones. What small invention makes a big invention possible? What small improvement is the catalyst for others?

Being a woman of a certain age I may be jaded, but I don’t think my adult children feel as much hope and promise as my husband and I did. Not only on a personal level, but the world has changed, the population more than doubled in my lifetime and some people in 1986 thought it was a problem.

Growing up on a farm was a wholesome experience, and moving to the city was the choice I made. I am happy I live in a society where I had the choice to move. I made choices; my life wasn’t prescribed for me because of where I was born or who I was. I believe in freedom but when I see those young people in Philadelphia or anywhere else I don’t see their freedom as a celebration of life. When I look at them I think, if your parents had a little more control, you had better judgment, maybe faith in yourself to live differently, or would this still be the choice if you got to choose again?

The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward. Dr. Steve Maraboli

Just because we don’t agree with the choices we see others make doesn’t mean our choice for them would be better, but sometimes it is hard to see how they could be worse.

Living a good life is about choices. How do we live our life so the choice ahead of us is between two good choices instead of two bad choices? We watched a video the other day about a hairdresser asking a woman living on the street if he could cut her hair. The transformation was amazing. The video has a huge number of views. There was an update; she came home one day and people told her, her grandson sold her house to them, and they showed her paperwork. She couldn’t get a hold of her grandson. Then she was robbed of her belongings, money, and cell phone. The hairdresser lived beside her when he was a kid and knew her grandson was looking for her, but couldn’t find her. The people were scammers who said her grandson sold her house. The grandson sued them and got the house back, but although he looked and looked couldn’t find her. She was too embarrassed to turn to people she knew and went to live on the streets, accepting her fate, and believing her grandson was the scumbag instead of the scammers. Through this hairdresser, she was restored to her former life.

This shame of letting people know the situation is part of how scammers get away with what they get away with. We are scared to look foolish, taken advantage of, and that we were preyed on by predators. We take our lumps and carry on as best we can. This is happening to older people who have people take a conservancy over them.

When I look at the young people on the streets, I wonder if shame isn’t part of what keeps them there. They made mistakes, got in with the wrong crowd, trusted a boyfriend, or a girlfriend. They took drugs, but if they would turn to family and friends many of them would not be turned away. They could redeem their lives, but they feel ashamed for getting into the situation they are in so they stay there. I could be wrong, but I imagine it is something like that. When people prey on our insecurities, when we are afraid to stand up because we worry we’ll look stupid we often end up being even more victimized, but we have the power to change it.

In the Tarot Deck, the devil card shows people with chains around their neck, but those chains can be taken off at any time. We think we don’t have the power to change our lives, but most of the time there is something we can do to make it better. There is someone we can turn to.

We can turn over a new leaf, and lead a different life. We have to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made. We have to learn from our mistakes not live in shame because of them. Everyone makes mistakes, and we have to deal with the fall out of those mistakes, but we can go forward better.

Do we have things we need to forgive ourselves for, mistakes we’ve made that still haunt us?

It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you. Tyler Perry

There is no sense in punishing your future for the mistakes of your past. Forgive yourself, grow from it and then let it go. Melanie Koulouris

If you are looking to turn over a new leaf and be more kind and forgiving. I suggest starting with the person you see in the mirror each morning. Charles F. Glassman

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

Positive prophecy can give hope to the hopeless. What does negative prophecy do? Are we choosing to look for the positive in all situations?

Are we choosing to look for the positive in all situations? Positive prophecy can give hope to the hopeless. What does negative prophecy do?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Chinese Proverb

On Tuesday I went to a conference hosted by the Art Gallery of Mississauga. It was an incredible event. One of the panelists mentioned a prophecy about the 8th fire of the Anishinaabe.

On a post called Spirit of the 8th fire. I find.

Hopi Prophecy

When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, creeds, and classes. And who by their actions and deeds shall make the Earth green again. They shall be known as the Warriors of the Rainbow.

A friend and her husband have been evacuated because of the flooding in British Columbia. Yesterday on the news someone said cattle were up to their chests in water and they didn’t know how to evacuate them. People being evacuated had to their livestock behind.

Our hearts go out to people who are being evacuated but if we are too far away to help we can only pray and donate to help the cause. Our prayers are with you, sounds trite but it is something we can do when it seems we can do nothing. The resilience of the human spirit in times of challenge is remarkable. Often through crisis, we see strength in people we and they might not have known they had.

The wise man accepts his pain, endured it, but does not add to it. Marcus Aurelius

This is why when I read the Hopi Prophecy, the 7 Fires Prophecy of the Anishinaabe, and what Crazy Horse said I am heartened that we will find ways to come together and deal with what must be done, and we will make things better. Will we all agree on what needs to be done, of course not? Will we always make the right and best choice, I doubt it? It will be a crooked path we walk, but chances are the prophecies will come true because the human race has flourished throughout history facing challenges, overcoming hurdles, and continuing to build.

We need to have hope in our hearts that we will overcome the challenges that present themselves. Even though we know our time here is limited we leave behind people to carry on. We all know we don’t build a civilization for our generation. We all want our grandchildren to have as much hope and promise as we had. It might be part of getting older that makes us less optimistic but we have to watch being too negative about the future. We can’t believe and teach our children and grandchildren there is no hope and that the end is nigh.

The end is nigh for us, the fight may be getting to an end for us, but we need to teach our children and grandchildren to accept the challenges of their time. Every time has had challenges, and for the most part, society has moved forward and today we live lives of unbelievable richness, bounty, and beauty with a few hard times and challenges thrown in.

Men inspired by prophecy will attempt any foolishness in the knowledge that the fates have ordained their victory. Bernard Cornwell

Many a prophecy, by the mere force of its being believed is transmuted to fact. Unknown

You can’t let something that’ll probably never happen ruin your life. You’re only helping to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Raymond Khoury

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

Pro Writing Aid is a tool I recommend. Finishing what we start is epic, and finding tools to assist us gets us there faster.

Finishing what we start is epic, and finding tools to assist us gets us there faster. Pro Writing Aid is a tool I recommend.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you’re brave enough to start. You’re strong enough to finish. Gary Ryan Blair

Starting and finishing are two parts of the same thing. We can’t finish what we don’t start, so starting is the most important part. In fact, it is said, starting is half done, but we still have to do the other part.

One of the problems writers have is being able to evaluate their own writing. A program like Pro Writing Aid solves this problem. Most of us can’t afford the many rounds of editing a good editor would require before they pronounced our writing publishable. This program can help us make our own writing better, and teach us to become better writers for a reasonable cost. It tells us what goals to strive for, and tells us what percentage we made it better.

I’ve started putting my second novel Secrets and Sorrow through Pro Writing Aid. The many and varied reports highlight where our writing is good and where it needs improvement, and give us goals to aim for. For example, it tells me how often I’ve used a dialogue tag and what most of them were. Do I use said, which is recommended the most, or are my characters, laughing, smiling, whispering, and threatening throughout the book?

The program compares our writing to the writing of published author’s in our genre, and to about forty famous authors we can choose, although I haven’t found how to choose the author I want my work compared to. The program is chosen for me. The idea according to the creator of Pro Writing Aid, published writers fall in line with guidelines and if we get our writing to fall within those same guidelines, it will be considered better writing, than when it doesn’t fall within the guidelines.

Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you. Unknown

To get my novel through this edit by the end of November I have to get two and a half chapters edited per day.  By breaking it down into small daily goals I can keep on track. I didn’t start using the program until November 2, so I was already behind but I’m on track now. I joined a zoom call on Tuesday where the creator discussed how to use Pro Writing Aid. They have these zoom meetings every month. This is the first one I’ve attended, but it won’t be the last.

Pro Writing Aid does not eliminate the value of a good editor, but what it does do is give us a tool to make our writing as good as we can before we pay someone to help us with more important parts of our writing. The editor can point out plot holes, inconsistencies in the story, parts we should cut, or elaborate on.

Everything in Pro Writing Aid is available in books. Having a program underline the problems, explain what the problem is, and how to fix it, is very helpful and it teaches us more than reading it in a book. It is a tool that helps us become better writers.   

The first novel I wrote is a convoluted mess, but if I put the time into doing structural edits and ran it through Pro Writing Aid it might become something. It’s a daunting task and it may be easier and more interesting to write something new. It will have to wait, at least until my third novel, Secrets and Solace, is complete.

Pro Writing Aid is helping me complete what I started, and gives me a benchmark to compare my writing to. If you are looking for an affordable author’s assistant that will give you more confidence in your finished product check out Pro Writing Aid. There is a free version, that will evaluate short pieces of writing, but if you want to put your entire manuscript in, it is worth paying for.

Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started. David Allen

Starting strong is good. Finishing strong is epic. Robin Sharma

How you start is important, but it is how you finish that counts. In the race for success, speed is less important than stamina. The stickler outlasts the sprinter. B.C. Forbes

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.

Thank you to those who read 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.