Be the hero in our own life. Teach our children to be heroes in theirs. Make a choice and stand behind it. Support our children in their choices.

Make a choice and stand behind it. Support our children in their choices. Be the hero in our own life. Teach our children to be heroes in theirs.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever. Keri Russell

We are the heroes of our own life. We should not be the bit player, the sidekick, the odd but quirky character, nor the unfortunate woman with the heart of gold, the maiden in distress, or the sage and the wise fool. Even if parts of us are all of these characters we are the hero of our story. If we are the hero of our story, why don’t we feel heroic?

Are we looking around and comparing the worst of ourselves to the best of someone else? Are we looking down at our own accomplishments and magnifying someone else’s? Are we sitting on the sidelines of our own life, wishing, hoping, dreaming, but not doing?

This morning I was not the smart hero. It’s nice enough to not have to wear a jacket and without pockets where is one to put keys? “It’ll be okay”, I tell myself as I take Lulu out for a walk leaving the door open and my keys at home. We are rounding the last corner before home when I see my son in law go off to work.  When I reach the door I realize he locked it. Why wouldn’t he lock the door? He’s a responsible young man. I looked through the blinds and finally, my daughter walked by, I rang the doorbell and she opened the door.

All I needed to do was get my fanny pack and put my keys and phone into it and I was master of my own fate. We can count on people in ways we shouldn’t. We should be in control of most of our own life. We live with our spouse or family but it’s our life. No one is going to live if for us but us. If we don’t step up and build a life we love, who do we think will do it for us? There is no magic fairy, and there is no magic wand. If we don’t make things good for us, who do we think will? If we don’t treat ourselves like we are someone we are responsible for helping, why do we think other people should help us?

My dog Lulu does not expect us to watch her feet. She is very protective of herself and we should also be like that. We need to take care of ourselves; we are worth our time and attention it shouldn’t just be lavished on the others in our life.

If we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of, isn’t it at least part of our responsibility. We need to protect our self from the users and abusers in life. We put ourselves in vulnerable situations we shouldn’t when we drink too much especially when we are young and likely to be prey to trolling men looking for easy pickings. It isn’t women bashing to tell young women they need to be their own control board. Trusting people who haven’t yet proven they can be trusted is not smart.

I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

My husband tells me someone has made a derogatory comment, “Thank you, fathers, for dropping off your virgin daughters at the university.” We may not like the fact that there are many users out there wanting to get their hands and other parts on our young daughters. Pretending it isn’t true isn’t helpful. Not letting our daughters grow up, get an education and take their place in the world doesn’t help. We need to teach our daughters to be smart, don’t let people ply them with drinks. Don’t over drink and become a victim. It can be hard to keep our head about us when we aren’t in a mind-altered state. It can be almost impossible to keep our wits about us when we are, and that is what the users and abusers count on. If we don’t teach our daughters to protect themselves and think about what they want and make the choices they want to make, who do we think is going to do this?

It isn’t that our daughters shouldn’t live fun lives, the fun should be on their terms. They should know the consequences of their actions, and they should choose those actions, not just deal with the consequences afterward.

If that rather ignorant but true comment makes some parents and their daughters think about what is in store for them as they go off to university then saying it was a good thing. Not everyone with a smile and a drink is a good guy. Girls just want to have fun is often true, they need to be smart about it, and take care of them self. It isn’t more fun because you are irresponsible or less fun when you are. Living a life of few regrets is worthwhile at every age.

We need to teach our girls and young men to think for themselves. We need to teach them to be able to say, no, that doesn’t work for me, that’s not what I want. We need to teach our children to choose, not just accept what is offered, expected, or coerced. If we taught our girls they could say “Yes” when they want to, maybe they would be better at saying “No” when they need to.

Are we asking our kids, “What do you want?” Not just what do you want to do? What do you want out of life, relationships, and this journey that is your life? What if they could tell us the truth, and we were okay with it? What if our girls didn’t have to pretend it was a mistake when they have sex? What if we made them believe they have the right to make choices, and they should make choices they can stand behind?

There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them. Denis Waitley

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I’d Listen to My Parents If They’d Just Shut Up: What to Say and Not Say When Parenting Teens Paperback – Nov 1 2011

by Anthony Wolf (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Every choice we make has consequences. Not choosing is still a choice. Choices create our destiny.

Choices create our destiny. Every choice we make has consequences. Not choosing is still a choice.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever. Keri Russell

An early morning walk with a canine friend is one of the great joys of the day.  I was missing out on this because I wasn’t bothering. I wasn’t bothering to get up, and I wasn’t bothering to take the time when I did get up to go for a little walk that starts my whole day better, and my dog’s day better.

We walk past lovely homes, with lovely trees and flowers. The display of lilacs is incredible. One homes Iris’s are so big and beautiful they can hardly stand up. Some homes have no plantings, some are profusely planted, and I wonder what will this look like in ten years?

I’m late this year getting my garden in. I don’t plant much, tomatoes, basil, and parsley. I may pick up some other plants. Roses caught my attention. I had a Bonica rose I loved that died a few years ago. There they were potted roses for $5.99 each. I bought two and then when I figured out where I would plant them I went back and bought the last two Bonica roses. A profusion of roses in my back yard is what I envision later on.

If we wonder if abundance is the expectation we should have for our lives, when we look at nature, it is exuberantly abundant. Nothing in nature grows for itself alone. Everything serves a greater purpose. We need to be careful in our own lives we don’t try and create things for ourselves alone. We all have something to give and when we give it freely someone will be helped, inspired, have something to purchase, eat, look at, read, listen to, or be transported somewhere. All of our gifts, talents, work, industry, ideas, build all that we have.

Money is how we exchange our ideas, goods, creations, and labor. Instead of having to find the farmer that needs our services we can pay him money so he can buy what services he wants. Would we want to have to search for a Doctor that needs the product we produce before we could enlist their services?

When we provide a lot of services to a lot of people we amass a lot of money. If we provide a service to a few people we will have less money. If we can’t figure out how to provide any service to anyone we will have no money.

Life is about choices. Some we regret some we’re proud of. Some will haunt us forever. The message: We are what we chose to be. Graham Brown

When we look at some of the people we think are overpaid like professional athletes. They provide something we are willing to pay for. They provide entertainment, and because that entertainment can be so widely viewed each person paying a little for the entertainment means it is highly remunerated.

Abundance is all around us, we all have the same abundant 24 hours to do with what we please, what is required, and necessary. In those 24 hours, there is some choice, and it is those choices where we develop our lives. Some choose to exercise their bodies, minds, creativity, problem-solving, some choose to be entertained, some choose to build relationships, some choose to have new and different experiences. Is there a right choice, probably not, it’s our life, our choice, but shouldn’t we be happy with the choices we make?

Our life is our choice in many ways; after we do what we need to do to keep body and soul together we have choices in how we spend the rest of our day. Those choices add up, one choice upon another. This is our life, looking back it is the sum of the choices we made, going forward it will be the sum of the choices we make. If we think it doesn’t look exactly how we would like it to look, what different choices do we need to make?

What would we like our life to look like in ten years? We are going there anyway if we are lucky, we can put some time into designing it. If there are things we think, wouldn’t it be nice if we could? Whatever that is, chances are we can bring it into our lives in some way.

Can we become a professional athlete, probably not? Can we find sports to play, and enjoy being part of a team with the thrill of winning and losing, probably? Our life is what we make it; can we bring more of what we love into our lives? Can we live more, laugh more, experience more, dream more, create more, and enjoy more? The choice is ours, and we make these choices every day.

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

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Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom Paperback – Jan 6 1999

by William Glasser M.D. (Author) 4.3 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Do we have more power than we think we have? When we work within our circle of influence do we have the most impact?

When we work within our circle of influence do we have the most impact? Do we have more power than we think?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Be a light, not a judge, be a model, not a critic. Little by little your circle of influence will explode and you will avoid the emotional metastasizing cancers of complaining, criticizing, competing, comparing and cynicism, all which reflect victimization, all of which are the opposite of being proactive. Stephen Covey

Why is it that we think we are so powerful we won’t change our seating when our team is in the playoffs? What if we jinx them? Why don’t we feel so powerful in other areas of our life? What if we put that kind of belief and focus into areas of our life where we want to excel, where we want to manifest abundance, health, prosperity?

Some of us feel we have built the lives we have, some of us feel circumstances we can’t overcome have given us the life we have. Who is right? Probably both, we can’t overcome all of our circumstances and we aren’t bound by all our circumstances. We have a degree of self-determination, and life can seem to work for us or against us.

We see people who succeed against all odds, and we also see people who fail against all odds. There are things at work in our life we don’t understand. It is why we shouldn’t be too full of hubris when we succeed, and we shouldn’t be too down on ourselves when we fail.

We see people who ride the crest of waves and prosper while those who were too early or too late don’t get such gains. Timing is a good part of life, and that seems like luck. If we are at the right place at the right time, with the right idea and the right amount of resources, acumen, skills, etc. we look brilliant.

Some people start something and in a few years, they are head of multimillion dollar companies. Others are owners of a small Mom & Pop operation, still, others have closed shop.

Wherever you are, that’s your stage, your circle of influence. That’s your talk show, that’s where your power lies… You have the power to change somebody’s life. Everyone has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it. Oprah Winfrey

At my writing group Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James came up, no one thinks it is written particularly well. But, one person says the author is a multi-millionaire because she got the masses to buy her book. She offered them something they wanted. and brilliant writing wasn’t necessarily part of it. I’ve read the series, I enjoyed them. Do you think the author knew where her writing would take her, I don’t. Fifty Shades of Grey started out as stories on

When she self-published her novel she had 30,000 copies sold in e-book downloads in one year. This is when literary agents started to take notice. Had she not self-published and built up a readership would literary agents and publishers be beating down her door? I doubt it, once she had done the work of proving she had an audience, they were happy to help her reach a larger audience.

I’m reading supporters of fan fiction have mixed feelings about E.L. James and her overwhelming success. Some feel that fan fiction is not supposed to be profitable and that E.L. James betrayed the community and its values by signing a book deal with such a major publisher. We can’t set out to become the kind of success E.L. James became; we can put our work out into the world. There are things we can do to promote it, we might even fear it could become a big success, but we can’t control where it goes once it is put out into the world.

Where will our journeys take us? We start something, we set something in motion, and it takes on a life of its own, or it does not. Our ideas may resonate with many, or few. We may become an influential voice, or not. We may not make much money, or we may make a lot of money but be considered fluff. Some people are nobodies in their own time, but legends after their death.

A lot of life we can’t control, we need to be okay with that. If we do the thing we feel called to do, then we’ve done our part. We don’t know how our life will touch someone else’s? How, who we encourage, motivate, raise, or teach, will impact the world. If we do the best we can to impact people positively, our ripple will spread out into the world.

We each have a circle of influence, when we work within that circle of influence we have an impact. Our circle of influence can grow. Do too many of us waste our energy worrying about what is beyond our circle of influence?

There is so much we can do to render service, to make a difference in the world – no matter how large or small our circle of influence. Stephen Covey

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change Paperback – Special Edition, Nov 19 2013

by Stephen R. Covey (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 626 customer reviewsAmazon Charts#10 this week

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As we nurture nature, nature nurtures us. We live without nature at our peril.

We live without nature at our peril. As we nurture nature, nature nurtures us.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

As the May long weekend approaches, many of us are in full gardening mode. The garden beckoned last evening but after a hard rain the soil was wet and it would have been a messier endeavor than I wanted to deal with. Off to the gym, I went instead.

The garden centers with their array of blooms may not help us make the best choices for our gardens. Horticulture societies plant sales are also springing up, and you can be sure their offerings grow easily in your area. Sometimes they are such noxious growers they almost count as weeds.

I planted one such plant which I absolutely love. Catmint (Nepeta faassenii) is in the mint family and very easy to grow. It spreads but that is part of its charm. If you plant it where you want it to spread it can be a wonderful addition to the garden. It is planted in the front of my house and fills in my border plantings. It blooms from spring to fall with beautiful purple flowers. This weekend I will plant more of it along the side of my house. It grows low and quite dense so it is a great background plant for bulbs, roses, lilies, and shrubs. It is long blooming, heat tolerant, resistant to pests, one foot tall and beautiful.

If you are looking for a background plant about one foot high, that spreads, looks good all season and will fill in your bare spots. This may be the plant for you.

One of the plants in my garden I love is the Fern leaf peony (Paeonia tenuifolia. It has large red flowers and is a long-lived perennial that is hardy to zone 2. When I first learned of this plant I wanted one. It was for sale for fifty dollars. Even though it was an addition I wanted that seemed too steep. A year later it was for sale for fifteen dollars and I snapped it up.

Another year I added a Tree Peony to my garden and although it is still alive the single pink peony it was grafted to has almost taken over. I can’t bring myself to cut off the single Tree Peony stalk that sticks out of the herbaceous peony.

When we first moved to this house I was in love with Rhododendrons and Azaleas, I bought a couple but they didn’t live long. They don’t do well in my garden and after a few years, I quit planting plants I know don’t do well.

In our garden as well as other areas of our life we can accept the limitations of our soil and climate or we can work hard to grow what needs extra care. Some people plant fig trees they bury each fall. It is worth it to them and that is what makes looking at other peoples gardens interesting. The choices they’ve made, the plants they’ve planted together, do they have an explosion of color or a muted palette? Do they stick to a garden type, English, Japanese, or vegetable? Do they have plants we’ve never seen? Are they able to grow things we cannot?

A garden is a grant teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust. Gertrude Jekyll

Every garden is as individual as the person who plants it. Our garden says something about us; do we like what it says? Does it reflect our life; even reflect the lack of time we have to spend on it. What do the plants we choose say about us? Our garden may say more about us than we think, leisure time, disposable income, friendships (plants passed along) as divisions, and gifts, neat and tidy, or growth with wild abandon, a vibrant or muted palette, or a collectors garden.

Our garden like ourselves will evolve over time, some seasons of our life we hardly have time to garden. Other times we can spend most of our day out there. Our garden will reflect this. Gardening is good for our mental health, physical and emotional health. Our garden can be our sanctuary, our work of art, a healing space, or where we entertain. Whatever we get out of our garden it is likely more than we put into it.

Gardening enhances emotional, physical, and mental well-being. It is used in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitative and mental health centers. Creating more green space in our cities fights crime. When we get involved in taking responsibility for caring for something, creating an environment that produces growth such as a garden it builds self-esteem. Lack of self-esteem is one of the reasons people gravitate to crime. To build up our society, we need to build up individuals to see the worth in themselves and others.

When we look upon nature we are healed. If we bring more nature into our world we are a conduit for good. Our gardens may do more good for ourselves and others than we think. What if planting something is part of the change we need to see in the world? Is it true that the greener our world is, the better our society is? Can we all make a difference in some small way by planting something this spring?

The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway. Michael Pollan

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Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet Paperback – Apr 28 2003

by Frances Moore Lappe (Author), Anna Lappe (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Mother Nature and our Mother’s give us life. We should listen to the wisdom of our “Mother’s.”

We should listen to the wisdom of our Mother's. Mother Nature and our Mother's give us life.

We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. Native American Quote

We shouldn’t think only of our Mother’s on Mother’s Day and we shouldn’t only think about the Earth on Earth Day. As we learn about the disappearing species in the world we need to realize our place here is not guaranteed either.

In the 1970s scientists considered pouring soot over the Arctic to help melt the ice – in order to prevent another Ice Age. Could it be that “Us” trying to fix things is what will cause a disaster we can’t prevent? We don’t understand the consequences of our actions enough to be trying to “Fix Nature”.

Nature does best without us. It may not build the walk-able forest we like. It may not encourage the habitat of the birds and animals we prefer. We are just animals that use more tools, and thus are more destructive, the more tools we use, the more destruction we leave in our wake.

In many respects, we are like naughty children who won’t clean up after ourselves. We don’t think about others, we aren’t good at sharing, and we only consider our own interests.

We will live within the bounds of nature or we won’t live at all. What is the other choice? We can live on so much of the earth and use up so many resources before we become a detriment. When will we reach that level? Have we already? Does anyone know?

How do we make sure there is enough nature to sustain a habitable world? A host can support so many parasites. We must be parasites on the Earth. How many can she sustain and at what levels of exploitation?

Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. Cree Indian Prophecy

In the book The Secret Wisdom of Nature by Peter Wohlleben, he writes about how nature quickly moves in when men move out and re-establish growth and healing. It can be seen in the Amazon where ancient civilization has been overgrown.

We probably don’t need to die out if we are willing to live with nature and give nature a chance to rebuild and sustain a healthy ecosystem. How much of the Earth does Nature need? How far out of Nature’s way do we need to get? What if the truth is we need to just get out of the way? Man doesn’t need to come up with solutions, we don’t have any. We are killing our host, or we are not? Do we even know?

Can urban forests be almost as good as untouched forests for producing plant life, animal life, insect life? Different species thrive in open forests, grasslands, etc than old growth forests.

In The Hidden Life of Trees Peter Wohlleben asks. Did you know that trees can influence the rotation of the earth? Or that wolves can alter the course of a river? Or that earthworms control wild boar populations? The natural world is a web of intricate connections, many of which go unnoticed by humans.

The theme of Peter Wohlleben books appears to be that nature is so complex, the interconnections so immense that we should limit our effects on nature and let nature look after the earth. If the answer is to get out of nature’s way and let nature heal the earth. It is a better view than thinking we have to do something because we don’t know what to do. Quit doing so much, quit overpopulating, and leave something to nature. We probably can’t fix it, but if we leave enough nature, nature will fix everything.

Nature may not be able to fix our obsession with growth. The more people on the planet that use large amounts of resources, the fewer people the planet can support. Makes sense to me. Where are we on the tipping point of what is sustainable? When we help animals make it through the winter when there wasn’t enough food for that large of a population we didn’t really help. We now have an overpopulation we don’t know what to do about.

The thing with sustainable and unsustainable is what is sustainable is actually sustainable, meaning you don’t have to do anything to sustain it. We need to let go of our hubris, thinking we can make the world better, and start living within the bounds of nature. We can work on sustainability, we need to let nature work on healing, and we need to get out of the way.

I could be completely wrong on this. Maybe we don’t have to live with Nature, maybe we are above Nature, but I don’t think so.

How is it possible that the most intellectual creature to ever walk the planet Earth is destroying its only home? Jane Goodall

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The Secret Wisdom of Nature: Trees, Animals, and the Extraordinary Balance of All Living Things —Stories from Science and Observation Hardcover – Mar 5 2019

by Peter Wohlleben (Author), Jane Billinghurst (Translator) 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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We cannot reap what we did not plant. Our happiness doesn’t grow in someone else’s garden

Our happiness doesn't grow in someone else's garden. We cannot reap what we do not plant.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. Winston Churchill

Spring is here and yesterday was a cold wet day. We need the rain to see the lush beauty of spring that is just starting to pop up out of the ground. On my walk the other day I was looking for spring flowers but I didn’t see one hardy blossom.  A little south of here near the lake flowers are springing up.

All winter the yards look the same, but in the spring we see who bothered to plant bulbs last year or sometimes twenty years ago. Last fall the bulbs didn’t get planted and so this spring they will not bloom. They sit where they have sat all winter in my garage. Our lives are sometimes like our winter gardens, there are things going on but no one can see it yet. Later in our lives, we see if something was planted or if we were fooling our self and others.

We may beat ourselves up as thistles grow bigger than what we planted. We need to weed our gardens, we need to edit our life, we need to water and fertilize. Plants like people have companions they prefer. If we learn what plants do well together we will have a better garden than if we think it doesn’t matter.

Gardens are a great metaphor for life. We get what we grow, and we reap what we sow. If we don’t watch it the weeds will take over, if we don’t tend it we won’t get much to harvest and if we didn’t bother we won’t have anything at all. We can plant crops that we can harvest this fall or we can plant crops that will take years to come to fruition but once they do they give us a crop every year for years to come.

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

We get to choose the type of garden we grow and the life we build. Every garden is different because the microclimate, the soil, the light, the moisture and the plants that thrive will be different. Some year’s one kind of crop may thrive more than another. In life it is the same, some talents, interests, and skills are more appreciated. If we chose the right avenue of study or business we can look like stars.

If we are growing our crop commercially we must decide in the spring what we will plant. We might not know until fall what the most profitable crop will be. Once we’ve bought the seed and planted the crop we are dependent on nature and the economy whether this was a good crop to grow or not. We may get a poor crop but the prices are high, we may get a bumper crop but the prices are low. We may get wiped out by hail, drought, or pestilence.

We need to deal with life as it comes, when we look at our lives we can see if we sowed the seeds of harmony or discord. Did we keep the weeds at bay or were some of our best plants (ideas) choked out. Did we water and fertilize or did we depend on nature? Did we plant something well suited to our soil and climate or are we trying to grow something unlikely to thrive?

What we get out of life we get from what we do, and everything we do comes from what we think. When we think better, we do better. Life is a garden our thoughts are the seeds, we can plant flowers or we can plant weeds. Unknown

We can be very hurt if someone tells us our life is a mess because of our thoughts and actions. But, you don’t know what we’ve been through, the disadvantages, the hardships, the unfairness, the injustice we say. It is true life isn’t fair, it isn’t fair when someone wins the lottery, or someone is in an accident why did one get something good, and one get something bad? The only thing we get to do is deal with the reality of our life, make the best of it. We admire the people who make the best of their life.

Often we would never want to be the people who make the best of things. Who would want to be Helen Keller? She didn’t look at what she couldn’t do because of what she didn’t have. She made the best of her life. We admire her for it. We use her quotes often. I have never heard anyone say they wish they were like Helen Keller.

We more often want to be like the people who made a mess of the gifts they had. They had a voice like an angel but ruined their life with drugs. We think we would love to be blessed with that voice. It isn’t what we get; it’s what we do with it. We always think we would do better with more, we never think we would do better with less. Yet the people we really admire in life often did better with less. What do we need to change in our garden of life?

Action is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits. James Allen

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Food is the stuff of life. Who are we depending on for our next meal?

Who are we depending on for our next meal? Food is the stuff of life.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Maimonides

If you ate today, thank a farmer. If you are able to accomplish anything in life you need sustenance and our food comes from land or sea.

Only a few countries in the world produce enough food to feed their population. 16 percent of the world’s population today depends on food produced somewhere other than in their own country. In 2050 that number is expected to jump to 50 percent.

Canada is one of the countries listed as being food self-sufficient. We should be very careful to keep it this way. If we can’t grow enough food for our own people, we are no longer in control of our own destiny.

One of the things growing up on a farm teaches us is the carrying load of land. There is a limit to how many cattle, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, or chickens that can be raised on a finite piece of land. It isn’t different for people or countries.

We haven’t done that well with famines in the past; will we do better with a much larger population?

Just like they tell us in an airplane we must put our own oxygen mask on first. When it comes to food self-sufficiency every country should be figuring out how they can feed their people if no other country has a surplus to sell to them.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. Alfred Austin

A victory garden is a vegetable garden, especially a home garden, planted to increase food production during a war. These victory gardens were started in World War 1. In 1917 Charles Lathrap Pack created the National War Garden Commission to encourage women at home to grow and preserve their own food. Crops in commercial production would then be available for troops and allies overseas.

Posters with sayings such as “Sow the Seeds of Victory” promoted this idea. Instructions were given on how to garden, from sowing seeds to harvesting and preserving crops, as well as saving seed for the following year.

There is a resurgence of victory gardens based on self-reliance, sustainability, healthy eating, and ecosystem support. It gives families food security. It also protects against the effects of multinational seed conglomerates gobbling up small seed companies in an attempt to control the world’s food supply. The “Victory” in modern victory gardens is freedom from the conventional food system. It is taking charge even to a small degree of what we eat. It is about making a difference in our own lives, being the change we want to see in the world, and giving up feelings of helplessness by doing something meaningful, something positive, something productive, and something important.

We can wring our hands and worry, or we can be proactive and make a difference. Is it possible that everywhere in the world people can do some small thing to make life better? Does better everywhere start with plants? Can every country improve its potential for food self-sufficiency?

The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. Michael Pollen

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 and love. 

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Getting out of our comfort zone. Facing the fear. Being the change we want to see in our life.

Being the change we want to see in our life. Facing the fear. Getting out of our comfort zone.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you’ve never done. Unknown

Getting out of our comfort zone what does that even mean? It happens at Toastmaster’s every week. We pay to have the opportunity to get out of our comfort zone and see other people getting out of theirs. It is as encouraging, perhaps even more encouraging when we see the progress other people make as they get out of their comfort zone again and again. We watch people who never thought they would win an award as best speaker, evaluator of impromptu speaking, proudly having their picture taken.

These small steps out of comfort zones can have big effects on lives. We never know where getting out of our comfort zone will take us.

The night we moved into our house a man put his fist through our sidelight trying to get to a phone because he and his friends got out of their comfort zone and decided to do off-road driving in the undeveloped site across from us.

We need to think about the comfort zone we are leaving. Is it safe, is it wise, is it dangerous? Some of us are too cautious, and some of us are too brave. Putting everything on red might be out of our comfort zone, it will usually for sure be out of our partner’s comfort zone.

Sometimes I buy a lottery ticket, often I see people who don’t look like they should be spending the amount of money they are on lottery tickets trying to get out of their comfort zone. They aren’t going about it in the best way. That amount of money saved and invested would build them a future, buying lottery tickets is unlikely to pay off.

Last week we watched a video on YouTube telling us that a high percentage of people without high incomes spend a high percentage of their income on luxury goods. Frugality is not being embraced by those who need it most. When we want to look successful before we are successful chances are we will never become really successful.

You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new. Brian Tracy

Habits of the rich:

Eat right. 70 percent of wealthy people eat less than 300 calories in junk-food. 97 percent of poor people eat more than 300 calories in junk-food.

Keep fit. 76 percent of wealthy people exercise at least four days per week, and only 23 percent of poor people do.

Set goals for themselves. A goal is a dream with a plan to reach it. 80 percent of the wealthy focus on a goal. Only 12 percent of poor people have a goal written down.

The wealthy don’t share all their ideas. Only 11.6 percent of the wealthy blurt out what’s on their mind compared to 69 percent of the poor.

Keep a To-Do list. 81 percent of the wealthy keep a To-Do list compared to 19 percent of the poor. 84 percent of the wealthy believe good habits create opportunity and luck versus 4 percent of the poor according to Dave Ramsey.

Wealthy people never quit educating themselves. Wealthy people read at least thirty minutes per day compared to 2 percent of the poor.

Stay in touch with people. Wealthy people show their love by keeping in touch.

Rich people watch less TV. Poor people have a big TV. Rich people have a big library. Jim Rohn

Wealthy people are not big gamblers. Only 23 percent of wealthy people gamble compared to 52 percent of the poor.

The wealthy make daily positive choices. 74% of wealthy people teach good daily success habits to their children versus 1% of the poor. Dave Ramsey

We are building our life by the choices we make every single day. More of our life is up to our behavior, attitude, and habits than a lot of us want to believe.

Are there choices we could make that would move us out of our comfort zone and make our lives better? If we only do what we’ve always done, we’ll only get what we’ve always gotten. If we want change, we have to change. Who but us can be the change we want to see in our life?

I was born poor, raised in poverty and watched my parents die that way. I worked hard, eliminated my bad habits, started doing what the wealthy did. Mostly I stopped blaming others for my lack of wealth. Now I am wealthy, and I help others who want to be helped. Dave Ramsey

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 and love.

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We have to risk failure to risk success.

We have to risk failure to risk success.

Don’t think about what can happen in a month. Don’t think about what can happen in a year. Just focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be. Unknown

In Noah St. John’s book Afformations; he says the most basic human fear is the fear of rejection. Why is this the most basic fear? He says, centuries ago we lived in tribes. If we did something bad it was considered a crime against the tribe. The worst punishment was not death, but banishment, because there was virtually no way we could make it on our own.

How can we develop the habit of taking action in the face of fear? We need to understand almost everyone has the same fear. One of the best things to do is imagine we are rejected for what we want to do. Really feel what it would be like.  Guess what, when we accept that we may be rejected we can deal with it.

Everyone is not going to love the painting we spent three months completing. Many times we aren’t as happy with it ourselves as we hoped. Noah St. John doesn’t tell us to tell ourselves we are great, we are powerful, we are going to become rich and famous. He teaches us to ask why. Why are we great, why are we powerful, why will we become rich and famous. Then we have to come up with the how.

Nothing happens until we do something. The problem with positive self-talk is it often doesn’t lead anywhere. We leave out “the how”. If you want to build a house, first you have “a why”. You need a place to live, or you know other people need a place to live and if you build it, they will buy it. Once you have “your why”, you figure out “the how”. First, you will hire an architect or draw up the plans yourself. Get all the paperwork done to submit for your building permit. You don’t buy the windows before you have your plan.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Do I have a plan? I’m promoting an unpublished novel. Am I putting the cart before the horse? I don’t know and as we go forward in life we never know where something will take us. If we waited until we knew where it would take us we would never do anything. I know more than one person has read my blog. I know most people will never read my blog or my book. I’m okay with that.

When I wrote my first novel; the one that’s in a binder behind my desk, I became a writer. The novel no one has seen but me. It is still one of my proudest achievements? It is writing that convoluted mess of 311 pages that made me believe; I could be a writer because I wrote. By any standard of literature, it is a failure. We have to be willing to fail bigger, fail better if we want success.

If we want to write, paint, quilt, publish a cookbook, record our song, build our house. What’s stopping us? There are a lot of dreams that never reach fruition. It’s a risk we take. Would we rather be the dreamer with a dream that fails or doesn’t reach its potential than die with our dream inside us?

Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we are waiting. Joyce Meyer

We don’t and often can’t know where something will lead. We start, and starting is half done. Take the step, and hope the bridge will be there. What’s the alternative? Don’t take the step and spend our lives wondering what if? What if we tried to get that song published? What if we published that book? What if we started that business? What if we asked that guy or girl for a date?

What if we say yes to life? What’s the worst that can happen? He or she rejects us, we’ve been rejected before. What if no one reads our book? What if they do? If we don’t write it we know for sure no one will read it, not even us. We don’t know what we can do until we do it. We have to get out of our own way and let what is in us come out, so we can see it.

Very few of us have original thoughts or will do original things. There is nothing new under the sun. We won’t paint an original painting, our painting is original, but the subject won’t be. The words aren’t original, if they were, we wouldn’t understand each other. Everything has been said before, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t write. Words resonate with us because they are a truth we already know. That is part of their power.

Dare to dream, dare to do. Fail bigger, fail better. We have to risk failure to risk success. Is there something we’ve been putting off doing? Is now the time, is it now or never?

If you spend too much time thinking about a thing. You’ll never get it done. Bruce Lee

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Afformations: The Miracle of Positive Self-Talk

Aug 19, 2014

by Noah St. John and John Assaraf



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We all have gifts. Can we recognize them and use them to build a better life for all?

Can we recognize and use our gifts to create a better life for all? We all have gifts.

The art of contentment is the recognition that the most satisfying and the most dependably refreshing experiences of life lie not in great things but in little.  The rarity of happiness among those who achieved much is evidence that achievement is not in itself the assurance of a happy life.  The great, like the humble, may have to find their satisfaction in the same plain things.

Edgar A. Collard

Most of us will never have the career of our dreams; we will have a job or business that pays the bills and keeps the wolf from our door, helping us to make the important parts of our life work. I am trying to come up with a definition of career, let’s go with, “a person’s metaphorical journey through learning and work.” In many ways saying one has a career instead of a job is like having a title instead of better pay.

I’ve always thought the most important jobs are not the ones with the cache. We can live without Doctor’s and Lawyer’s but not plumbers and farmers. Good nutrition, hygiene, and sanitation have done more for society than anything else. Jordan Peterson says one of the reasons women do not rise to the heights in the Professional world is those with education and choice realize what is important at about age thirty-five. They realize it is not the next promotion taking them away from home and family that is important. They do not want to be married to a Corporation. When they have a choice they often choose family.

At some point, we realize family is the important thing. Everything we do is to keep the family housed, fed, and educated. In one of the American States, they are cutting down to a four day school week. They are doing this for economic reasons, but what if we find out schooling our children so much is not better. Are we schooling the fun of learning out of them, as they are heaped with greater loads of homework?

Some people embrace the four day work week. Maybe we will embrace the four day school week. What if we realize what is important and put work, careers, corporations, and progress in its proper place. Money is a better servant than a master, so I believe is work.

It is so easy to be pessimistic about our future. Overpopulation is one of the things many of us worry about. Some people believe we will peak at about nine billion people and then our population will decline. Can we learn to live in harmony with nature?

We have built societies of peace and plenty. Progress can continue to be made if we work together. If we believe what is good for you is good for me. We have unequal distribution in our world. We need to be okay with the fact that in a forest a few trees are the biggest. A few songwriters have written most of our songs. A few authors have written most of our books.

Through we will probably learn in the past a few men fathered most of the children. A few companies sell most of the products. Most of our forests are populated by a few trees. A few people make most of our scientific discoveries. A few people make most of the money. We can probably not have the type of equality we dream of if you could only do as well as someone else, would you really be happy? When we hear that we could all live under our own fig tree does that really sound that great? What if you want apple trees, grape vines, potato fields, rice paddies, to live in the city, or the country, sailing the world? Opportunity is not the same as outcome? Can we have opportunity and choice for everyone?

To whom much is given, much will be required’ (Luke 12:48)”

If we take envy out of the equation and try to live our lives using the gifts we were given then we can have a great life. How many of us use things for purposes they weren’t intended. We make life hard for our self when we could use the proper tool. Is a hammer better than a screwdriver, a cherry better than a potato, a chicken better than a cow? Comparisons are odious and we compare ourselves to others to our detriment.

We are here, why? That I believe is what we are to find out. Timeless truths are here for our understanding. We are here, for better or worse. Can we make it better?

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully” Romans 12:6–8

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