Friends are jewels in the crown of life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything. Muhammad Ali

Dinner out with friends the other night was a lot of fun. We need to keep our friendships even when we are almost too busy for friends. Friends are good for our health; they prevent isolation and loneliness and increase our self-confidence and self-worth. They help us through times of trauma.

We can’t choose our family, but we can choose our friends. We might meet friends at classes we take, or groups we belong to. We might remain close with childhood friends or people we’ve worked with. If we can make new friends throughout our lives we will enjoy a better life.

People come and go in our lives and we have to be okay with that. We may see people a couple of times a year or even less, but these interactions even if infrequent are making deposits into our emotional bank account. When we are kind and grateful we make deposits into our emotional bank account. If we are critical and negative we are making withdrawals. Too many withdrawals without many deposits can leave us emotionally overdrawn and may leave us eventually emotionally bankrupt.

To have a good friend we must be good friends. We need to be good listeners and we need to accept people how they are, and where they are, even if we are encouraging them in the changes they want to make in their lives. We have different levels of closeness with friends than acquaintances, but acquaintances can become close friends. Being a part of friendly inclusive groups adds to our well-being even if we don’t see the members outside of the group.

The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart. Elisabeth Foley

We can make new friends and reconnect with old friends throughout our lives. It does take effort to maintain and build friendships, but the more comfortable we get meeting new people the easier it becomes. One of the places I meet new people is through Toastmasters. The gym is also a place to meet people but only if I take the classes. Lifting weights and using the cardio machines doesn’t lead to any interactions, but the classes lead to chats at the beginning and end of classes, and meeting every week can lead to friendships.

When we join a faith community we can make friends or we can interact with very few people depending on whether we get involved in special activities and events. If we keep to ourselves people will leave us alone, but if we seem friendly they will reciprocate. We have to be approachable and we need to approach others to build friendships.

Even if we have a wide circle of friends we have different degrees of friendship with each of them. As we go through life our circumstances change and so will some of our friendships. Some friendships are short and some might last a lifetime but all are important and bring something special to our lives.

Are we treasuring our friendships, nurturing, maintaining them, and building new friendships as we go through life?

Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation. Oscar Wilde

Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend time with them, and it will change your life. Amy Poehler

True friends aren’t the ones who make your problems disappear. They are the ones who won’t disappear when you’re facing problems. Unknown

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

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

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

We shape our lives by the thoughts we think and the actions we take. If life isn’t progressing in the direction we want something needs to change.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted fifty years of his life. Muhammad Ali

I’ve been thinking about culture lately, we may think we aren’t affected by what others think but I think we are affected in ways we don’t readily recognize. We create a culture in our own family and we are around other people who influence us in different ways. There are cultures of excellence and there are cultures that don’t work as well to help people learn how to develop happy productive lives.

I love books and I think I have bought books at times in my life when instead of taking action I bought a book. This is why I have amassed such a collection of books on writing, art, and self-help. It was as if I thought by buying the books I would automatically move forward in my pursuit of being a better writer, artist, and person without actually doing the work. Instead of taking the afternoon to write or create art I would go to the bookstore and buy a book. These books have helped me in innumerable ways but they were also a way of putting off doing the practice of writing and art.

We become what we habitually do. We get better at what we practice, and the ideas we read about and listen to will form our worldview. We may wonder where some of the hopeless views are coming from but as Jordan Peterson says, the wonder isn’t why so many people are negative, or that not all societies work well, the wonder is that we aren’t all negative and living in societies that don’t work well.

To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society. Theodore Roosevelt

What can we do to make our culture, and I mean the very smallest culture, our own daily practices better? We may wait our whole lives for other people to change, but we can make changes in how we act, how we treat others, what we hope for, work toward, and how we encourage others. We can be grateful for the beauty and bounty in our lives.

Individuals can choose to look on the bright side and even those who consider themselves perennial optimists may have trouble seeing the positive some days. I’ll say something to my husband and he’ll say, “You think you’re a positive person?” That is a question I’m not sure about. I want to be positive, I believe our attitude shapes our life and a better attitude leads to a better life.

A better attitude is, thinking the best about others and believing we can deal with and in many cases can overcome the obstacles we have to face in life. History is filled with challenges that have been faced and overcome. We have overcome things that generations before they were overcome, didn’t think it was possible to overcome. Things like slavery, disease, and abject poverty.

We have challenges to overcome in our time that may seem hopeless but won’t a good attitude, ingenuity, and the belief tomorrow can be better take us further than believing nothing can be done?

Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it. David Starr Jordan

A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires. Marcus Aurelius

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. Thomas Jefferson

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

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

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

Ask for what you want, expect to get it, and be patient while the circumstances unfold to make it happen.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You don’t always get what you ask for, but you never get what you don’t ask for… unless it’s contagious! Beverly Sills

Yesterday morning it was my privilege and pleasure to read “When Can We Get A Puppy,” at the Art Gallery of Mississauga. We had fourteen children and ten adults show up. What a fabulous group of kids. The Art Gallery set up two craft tables for the kids which kept them busy before and after the reading. I asked what they thought the moral of the story was, they put up their hands, and the first little girl I asked nailed it. “Ask for what we want and be patient.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve been around a bunch of children and this was the first time I read my story in person. They were the best audience. One said I’m the first author she’s met in person. What a privilege to read to children and get their reaction and a blessing to be around youthful exuberance, energy, and spend time with their young mothers who brought them out. I will be posting the video on YouTube soon.

If someone had asked would you like to read your story at the Art Gallery of Mississauga a year ago? I would think they were joking. It wasn’t written yet, I didn’t know I could do it. March of last year I had no illustrations completed, I didn’t yet have the concept figured out. I did have the story written but not the story as it ended up being printed.

When we look at what other people accomplish we often think they know the steps it will take, but often I bet they don’t know what they are doing any more than we know what we are doing, and if we stay moving in the right direction we get somewhere. The end result may not be what we expected; we may have been scared to even have big expectations.

Do we know what we are capable of before we accomplish something? We don’t know what will come into our lives between now and then that will help us, teach us, or move us along the path. If we aren’t doing anything that same opportunity might come but there is no way for it to help us along a path we aren’t on.

The moral of the story of “When Can We Get A Puppy,” is not about getting a puppy. It is about being willing to ask for what we want, expecting to get it, and being patient as events unfold in our lives that make getting what we want possible. I have suffered at times in my life from not knowing or at least not being willing to say out loud what I wanted.

It might take a lot of work and rearranging of our life to get what we want. We might have to do some heavy thinking to come up with what we want. We’ve gotten used to doing what is expected of us and letting that be enough. We don’t want to ask more of ourselves because it sounds a lot like work to carve out time to write that book, illustrate a story, learn to play an instrument, or whatever it is we dream about but might not voice.

We are divine enough to ask and we are important enough to receive. Wayne Dyer

How do we go see the world when we have a mortgage to pay and children to raise? Maybe it’s a dream that will take time to bring to fruition, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

We have to be willing to show up and risk failure to risk success. On a Facebook group, someone said something I did when self-publishing my children’s book couldn’t or shouldn’t be done. I said, “I didn’t ask anyone I just did it.” Sometimes the best thing not to know, is how something should be done because you go ahead and do it without those constraints.

Often, it isn’t that it can’t be done, but people have decided how it should be done. For instance, authors are told not to illustrate their own children’s books, and are told don’t make your children’s book rhyme. I’ve broken both rules. I did look at the submission requirements of one publisher and not rhyming was a requirement. Some people think self-publishing is a bad idea. But, I’m not sure why. We can find out if anyone is interested in what we’ve done, move onto the next project, and continue building a life.

I decided at my age I wasn’t waiting years and years for a publisher to say okay when I could self-publish. Is there a down-side to self-publishing? If there is I don’t know what it is. Some say people won’t take you seriously as a writer, well how seriously do they take us when we aren’t published? It seems to me with three self-published books, I’m up on that score. Some say a real publisher won’t consider you if you’re self-published. I doubt that, if they think they can make money publishing work that’s been self-published they’ll publish it. If it makes sense to an author that has self-published that going with a big name publisher will work better for them then they will accept the deal. Win, win for everyone.

We may think we can’t do something, because… A politician in the U.S. is made fun of because she doesn’t have a “higher” education. She’s an elected politician and those complaining about her are not. She didn’t ask permission. Too often when we ask for permission we are told no, but if we don’t ask permission and go ahead and do it we end up where we want to be.

Serendipity works in our lives. We don’t know how it will show up, when, or what doors it might open for us. We don’t know when we meet people if we might be a blessing in their lives, or they a blessing in ours.

Ask for what you want, expect to get it, and be patient as the circumstances unfold in your life to make it happen.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Matthew 7:7

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. Maya Angelou

Not getting what you want either means you don’t want it enough, or you have been dealing too long with the price you have to pay. Rudyard Kipling

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 links below and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

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

Forgive those who have hurt you. Don’t let someone’s words control your thoughts or your life.

Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feeling, and emotions. Will Smith

Today I read in The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday, “The Real Source of Harm.” We think how other people treat us and think about us, names they may call us, and attitudes they have about us, our behavior, beliefs, or ways of doing things is important. That this is what harms us. Epictetus a Roman Stoic who was also a slave tells us, “Keep in mind that it isn’t the one who has it in for you and takes a swipe that harms you, but rather the harm comes from your own belief about the abuse. So when someone arouses your anger, know that it’s really your own opinion fueling it. Instead, make it your first response not to be carried away by such impressions, for with time and distance self-mastery is more easily achieved.”

If someone sent us a nasty email but we never got it, would we be hurt by it? The fact that we wouldn’t be hurt by it testifies to the fact we play a part in our hurt feelings. If we think the person is a complete fool and has no bearing on our lives even if we got it, would it bother us?

We may wish someone would think well of us that does not. We may think their standards are unreasonable. It might be a better society if when we told people what hurts us no one would use it against us. We don’t live in that world. It always seems there are some people looking for something hurtful to say and the more we react to what they say the more power we give them.

I watched Dr. Phil last night and the situation was ridiculous, a couple married for 13 years never consummated their marriage. The wife was bitter, she never agreed to this. Why they never consummated their marriage never got addressed, but she is very abusive towards him, and said, “The viler the words coming out of her mouth toward him the better she feels.”

It’s not what you say to everyone else that determines your life: it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the greatest power. marcandangel

I think we have a lot of this in our society, some people are looking to say hurtful things and when they find someone that is hurt to the core, they rejoice. The more we let things roll off of us the better. When people don’t get the desired reaction their attack ceases to be fun for them, they don’t get their pay-off so they quit.

Do I believe people should say mean and hurtful things to each other? Do I think it is okay? No, but it seems this is the human condition and the only person we are in control of is ourselves. The best way to handle difficult people is not to play their game. If people wrote about this over 2000 years ago, and it is still a problem today, then controlling someone else, what they say, what they think, telling them they have to accept and like us obviously isn’t true. No one has to accept and like anyone else. They may have to put up with us, they may have to tolerate us, but they don’t have to think good things about us, the way we live our lives, our conduct, our beliefs, what we stand for, and what we would die for.

Our reaction is what actually decides whether harm has occurred. When we feel wronged and react with a raised voice, a confrontation ensues. If we retain control of ourselves, let what was said roll off of us, act like we didn’t hear or didn’t comprehend their intent to hurt us. If we handed them something like a snickers bar to let them know we think what they are saying is their problem and not ours. We take back our power and go on with our day. If we don’t, we can let what someone said ruin our day, sometimes we let it ruin our life. Does anyone really deserve that much power over us?

Learn to control your anger, before your anger dictates the path you take in life. Unknown

A moment of patience in a moment of anger saves you a hundred moments of regret. Unknown

People will usually hurt you in an attempt to heal themselves. 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 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 purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

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.

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.

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.

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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.