Philosophy of life, do we have one? Does it bring us joy? Are we willing to do what it takes to live the good life?

Are we willing to do what it takes to live a good life? Philosophy of life, do we have one? Does it bring us joy?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Bertrand Russell

My son got a book for Christmas “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday. I was looking for a new book to read before bed and pulled out “A Guide To The Good Life” the ancient art of stoic joy by William B. Irvine.

When I checked on Amazon “The Daily Stoic” was on sale so I quickly bought it and to my joy, it arrived yesterday. It is 366 meditations on wisdom, perseverance, and the art of living. I was able to catch up so I am on the right day today.

I love daily meditation and wisdom books. The book of Proverbs in the bible is full of wisdom and someone recommended reading it as a monthly meditation. There are so many books of wisdom and we can access them easily. We have the opportunity to read what the great thinkers have written. How blessed we are.

When the stoics were around in Greece and Rome there’s was not the only philosophy of life. In fact, reading last night Seneca’s brother Gallio is mentioned in Acts 18: 12-16. Even if someone only looked at the Bible as a philosophy of life it is a good one. One of the big secrets in life is there is no secret, no hidden information only open to a few that keeps the rest of us from living the good life. There may be hidden information only a few know but it may be hidden in plain sight.

What is a good life? Is it a virtuous life, a meditative life, a loving life, a forgiving life, a joyful life, an active life, a life pursuing our dreams and goals? From what I understand the Stoics believed in all this and they also believed we should be as happy when things are going well for us as when they aren’t. Joy is a state of mind, happiness comes from within and our circumstances don’t make us a better or worse person. Our thoughts, our actions, and our beliefs color our lives but who we are and who we can become is not set in who we were born to, the circumstances of our birth, our bank balance, or social standing.

Today as always these are important truths to instill in our children and to embrace ourselves. We have thousands of years of wisdom to build our lives on, we have philosophies and belief systems to choose from, and if we choose wisely they probably all lead to the good life.

The best reason for adopting a philosophy of life is that if we lack one, there is a danger that we will mislive. William Ervine

The thing that draws us to people who we see living the good life is their good life. We want what they have; we want a strong character, faith in ourselves, and humanity. Haven’t we all seen faces filled with joy, not someone preaching their faith but living it, and we know they have something that sustains them not because they tell us they do, but because it is evident in their lives?

We may not be willing to do what they do to have what they have, but we can at least recognize they have it. No one I know who has what I’m talking about is keeping their beliefs or practices a secret. Some want to push their belief system on us without us asking, and the reason they do this is that they think if we knew what they know, what it has done for them, we would get on board.

Envying people with belief systems and faith is a bit like envying the fit person. We know what it would take to be fit but we aren’t doing what needs to be done and until we decide we are willing to do it, we only look on. If we decide to embrace exercise and fitness often we are now willing to tell everyone what a difference it has made in our lives and wonder why we didn’t do it earlier. What we thought would be too hard to do, becomes easy as the rewards are so great.

I believe there are many roads to the good life. There may be trails, that lead to paths, leading to roads, leading to the good life.” We may think we have found “The Way” at points in our lives and find our thinking changes and we embrace something else, a different religion, a new way of thinking, acting, and carrying ourselves in the world. One thing I believe is “We will be known by our fruit.” If we have a philosophy of life be it a religion, practice, or belief if it is good our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will benefit from it.

How great is it to know that the good life is open to all of us? We get to choose it, search for what will lead us to it, and practice it. It isn’t the circumstances in our life, or who our parents are, or how impressed others are with us. This is open to all of us, the great and the small.

The good life comes with a price, as does everything in life. We reap what we sow, and if we don’t like what we’ve been reaping we need to plant a new crop to reap a new harvest.

To live a good life: We have the potential for it. If we can learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference. Marcus Aurelius

A good character is the only guarantee of everlasting, carefree happiness. Seneca

We are not given a good life or a bad life. We are given a life. It’s up to us to make it good or bad. Ward Foley

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 a product I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Relationship Kintsugi mends the broken places with the gold of forgiveness and acceptance. Do you have a Kintsugi relationship?

Do you have a Kintsugi relationship? Relationship Kintsugi mends the broken places with the gold of forgiveness and acceptance.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love. Bryant H. McGill

On Tuesday I went with a friend to our Horticultural Christmas meeting. We haven’t met in person for almost two years. We didn’t have any guests – not even a guest speaker, but one of the members put together a slide show of what’s been happening with the society and its plantings since 2019. A member was gifted a collection of garden books and brought in the ones she didn’t want, and they were on sale for a dollar.

Beautiful hardcover books, I bought four, and one of them is Tasha Tudor’s Garden. You may know who Tasha Tudor was but I did not. She was an eccentric children’s book illustrator who died in 2008. She was as famous for her eccentric way of living as her illustrating. She lived as if it was the 1830’s. She grew her own flax, weaving it into linen, she grew the wheat for her bread, milked goats, and according to reports was very self-sufficient. She chose to live this way, she was born wealthy, married, had children, divorced, remarried, and left an estate of two million dollars at age 92.

In a day I learned a lot about Tasha Tudor, she sounds like an amazing eccentric woman who lived life on her own terms. When she died she left almost all of her estate to one son and the other three children battled over the estate for two years coming to an agreement just before it was to head to court. It seems to me, one’s will is one way to put all of our children on an even footing. It might not be true that the one that receives the bulk of the estate was favored but it looks that way to anyone looking on and especially the other children.

Coming from a family where fairness was the order of the day. When we were given candies as a child each one got the same amount. When you come from a big family, parents have to work harder to be fair. If you put the chips or candies in a bowl the big kids would get all of it.

I don’t think wills are a time to equalize things between children. Betty did better in life so she doesn’t need anything, but Jimmy hasn’t so we’ll give it to him. All that does is destroy any relationship Betty and Jimmy have after you are gone.

People disappoint us. Tasha Tudor and Thomas Kinkade haven’t lived up to the way their life was portrayed. There is a cautionary tale for all of us, we can only control people’s perception of us to some degree and I understand one of the quotes Tasha Tudor quoted was Mark Twain’s, “We are all like the moon with a dark side no one sees.”

It is a good thing to realize that no matter how well we know someone we don’t know everything about them, even people we live with surprise us. We are much more complex, no one is all good, or all bad. We tend to idealize the famous as if they figured things out better than we have. We all struggle in life, we all have weaknesses and strengths, and there is not a perfect one among us. We do well to remember that no matter how much we think we know about someone it isn’t everything, and what we don’t know could surprise us and change our view of them. What we don’t know about ourselves can change our view of ourselves, and we have to forgive ourselves and others for not being perfect.

We do have a dark side, some call it our shadow, and some call it the devil. One of the problems with idealizing someone is we often don’t see or acknowledge all of them. Idealization is putting them on a pedestal, we don’t do well on pedestals, and when we fall off that pedestal which we probably will because we are human. Someone who only wanted perfect us may forever be disillusioned. Is it a bad thing to lose an illusion we never should have had in the first place?

No one in this world is pure and perfect. If you avoid people for their mistakes, you will be alone in this world, so judge less and love more. Unknown

Many of us are ashamed of our imperfections, we wish we were perfect, but the character doesn’t come from perfection. I think it comes from dealing with our imperfections in a positive way. When we say a smile, floor, or antique has character we mean it has flaws but is still beautiful. When we talk of people with character often they have overcome things in positive ways and this is how they developed character. They become strong in the broken places, they overcome adversity, and they get up more often than they fell down.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Perfection is enemy of the good.” We can be good people, parents, employees, business people, citizens, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, friends, but we will not be perfect and that has to be okay because it is what it is. We will always have problems in life if we can’t accept the reality of what is. If it is, then that’s what we have to deal with, not what we want to deal with, but what is there to be dealt with.

Growing up on a farm was a lesson in reality. The weather didn’t always cooperate, animals died, prices rose and fell. Mom and Dad always said anyone could make money on paper, but dealing with the realities that life hands you can eliminate that paper profit in a hurry.

One of the important lessons in life is to persevere because perseverance is what often leads to success. Talent is great, luck is nice, but perseverance is when you don’t give up when things aren’t going your way. Perseverance gets us through the hard times to the good times. There are always good times ahead, followed by bad times. If we can’t get through the bad, we don’t get to the good. If we only want people in our lives when we think they are perfect, when they are on the pedestal we put them on, they will not be part of our lives forever. Something will happen to shatter our illusion, an illusion we should never have had.

Are we okay when our prince becomes a frog, our princess becomes a nag, our passion becomes work, or our job becomes a drag? If we can’t live with the realities of life, we will become disillusioned and bitter, but if we accept ourselves and others, warts and all we will continue to see the beauty and character in others as they and we become antiques.

There is a practice called Kintsugi or Kinsukuroi (golden repair or joinery) the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, this treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

This is a great metaphor for life and something we should do in our relationships. If we can mend our broken relationships we can make them even better and more valuable than they were. Perhaps this is why a golden anniversary is fifty years. By then any relationship has gone through many stages and if it has reached this stage the fractures are mended with gold. If we are lucky enough to have long relationships many of them are probably Kintsugi relationships, it wasn’t that there weren’t any problems, fractures, or brokenness, but that we mended them with the gold of forgiveness and acceptance.  

A relationship gets stronger when both of you are willing to understand mistakes and forgive each other. Unknown

Forgiveness is the oil of relationships. Josh McDowell

Whatever you’ve done before, accept it and let it go. You are not perfect. You are capable of making mistakes. Stop hiding from the shadows of the past. Don’t be trapped in the darkness of shattered memories. Let the light pass through and shine upon you. Forgive yourself because it’s the only way to start again. 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 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 that leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Stealing like an artist, remixing old ideas. Find your voice and you find yourself.

Find your voice and you find yourself. Stealing like an artist, remixing old ideas.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

There is no such thing as a new idea. Mark Twain

What a glorious weekend for a hike. The trees are ablaze in all their autumn glory. The sky was a certain shade of blue, the air crisp and invigorating.  About twenty-five of us went for a lovely hike on Saturday morning. We were home by lunch with the rest of the day spreading before us.

Yesterday I met a friend for tea and signed my children’s book she’s giving to nieces and nephews and one for herself. I found a beautiful children’s book at Value Village yesterday. I’m collecting them for reference on color schemes and how they are illustrated.

There is a phrase, steal like an artist. It means we get inspiration from other people’s work and incorporate those ideas into our own original work. We might find a great color scheme from one and a rhyming scheme from another. We might look at how people are depicted and how trees and landscapes are rendered.

Van Gogh’s Starry, Starry Night is one I used in my children’s book. The idea behind stealing like an artist is to honor, study, steal from many, give credit, transform, and remix. If we degrade, skim, steal from only one, plagiarize, imitate, or rip off then we are not doing it right.

I don’t know if how I used Van Gogh’s Starry, Starry Night passes the test. In my own mind, it does and people who read the book will make up their own minds. We may not know what, “Finding our voice” means, but over time we develop a style that is our own. We might not even realize it is happening but there becomes cohesiveness in the colors we choose, the way we depict trees, rocks, or people, and how abstract or real we depict our subjects.

When we are in the creative process things will jump out at us that we can add to our work. Instead of creating a tree from our mind, we find a tree that has an interesting shape. When we use reference material instead of just our imagination we are more likely to get it right. It is hard to imagine how folds of fabric fall, and paint them in a believable way but when we look at a reference photo we are more likely to render it correctly. Our reference library can become quite large. We want to be able to look up how a cardinal’s feet grip a branch, or how they would sit on someone’s hand. Even with reference material, we may not get it correct, but we can figure out what isn’t quite right. Sometimes we can fix it in that painting, sometimes we have to do another painting which still might not be quite right because getting things perfect is difficult.

Find your voice, shout it from the rooftops, and keep doing it. Dan Harmon

Perfection is the enemy of the good. If we strive for perfection often we will give up, we will never publish the book because it will never be good enough. We all have to decide when something is “Good enough.” Then we can move on to a new project.

A life of creativity is about change. We move forward, take chances, and explore new frontiers. We try new recipes, we find new fabrics for our quilts, we find something new to explore in our painting, we discover new plants to grow in our garden, and we can take photos of new vistas. Living a life of discovery and adventure is not about the big things. We can find a new hiking trail in our own backyard. We don’t have to lament we can’t travel to far-flung places. We can cook with new spices, or maybe it’s time to go back to our roots and rediscover the food we loved as a child.

Life is a journey we need to keep growing, developing, and finding joy in what is before us. We all have the sun shining on our faces, the wind blowing in our hair (If we have hair), and stars and the moon above us. Beauty and bounty are all around us. Inspiration is everywhere. There isn’t enough time to do everything. We can create what calls out to us to create, admire what calls out to be admired, and be grateful for what we have and who we are.

Life is a journey and we can choose to enjoy the scenery along the way.

Work is never finished, only abandoned. Paul Valery

It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. Susan Sontag

A lot of people are so used to just seeing the outcome of work. They never see the side of the work you go through to produce the outcome. Michael Jackson

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 of posts click on the picture, and scroll to the end.

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

Go with the flow. Stumbling on happiness and trusting the process of life.

Stumbling on happiness and trusting the process of life. Go with the flow.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Go with the flow. Force nothing. Let it happen… trusting that whichever way it goes. It’s for the best. Mandy Hale

My flurry of work on “When Can We Get A Puppy” is finished. I hit publish on Friday and on Saturday the print edition was live on Amazon. I can’t wait to get a printed copy in my hand.

In order to have the printed edition available when I said it would be I published it without seeing a second author’s proof. When we finish a project it leaves a void in our life. Do we take a break or do we start another project right away? Taking a break is scary because it is working on a project when the creative juices flow. I have a rush of ideas now that I have been working so hard on creating the paintings for “When Can We Get A Puppy.” If I take a month or two off will that inspiration dry up?

I have a feeling it will. I am in motion now, but if I stop, inertia sets in, and it will take a lot more to start up again once stopped than to stay in motion. When I took the break to go see Mom in August it didn’t interfere with my work because I was still engaged in my projects, but taking a long break at the end of a project I think would be different.

It is why when I published Secrets and Silence I started working on Secrets and Sorrow without a break. Once I get into a project it seems I can take some time off or slow down. I’ve found through my years of painting that completing a project and cleaning up the studio without starting something new often led to a longer break than I planned. Get the next one started. Starting is sometimes the hardest part.

Don’t over-think things. Go with the flow. See where it takes you. Love is unpredictable, you know.  Unknown

Over the weekend I archived the paintings for, “When Can We Get A Puppy.” At Michael’s, I was told wax paper is suitable to separate the paintings. I made a wax paper sleeve for each painting and have a 14-inch x 14-inch plastic box used for scrapbooking to store them in. This way I can sort through the paintings without touching them. The paintings, even the ones I didn’t use will be stored together and I will put a copy of the printed book in the box. Creating systems is one of the things we have to do to keep our lives organized and storage of crafts, art, projects of any kind is a challenge.

I went looking for a Liquitex product I love but when I looked at the array of products on the shelf it didn’t seem to be there. On Google I found out the product’s name has been changed but not the product itself. When I bought it at the art store the young man at the cash said he didn’t know that, and he uses the product as well.

When we find products that work it is sad if we can’t find them again. I made the mistake of using another product and wasn’t as happy with it but in the middle of a project, I didn’t want to change in case it would be noticeable. Starting a new project with Liquitex Gloss Medium which used to be called Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish gives me a lift. Fighting to get the results we want makes things harder.

I learned a lot creating this children’s book and one of the biggest lessons is we don’t know what we can do unless we do it. There are a good number of beloved children’s books illustrated by the author. When you think you are finished you might only be partway and you don’t know what it will look like until you call it finished. At some point, we have to say it is done because there is always one more painting to make or one more line to change. Setting a goal is powerful. Meeting a goal is one of the best feelings in the world, but when you put your work out into the world you are left with a void you might not expect. There is a bitter-sweetness to ending a project you’ve poured your heart and soul into. I didn’t expect that, I thought it would be all joy.

I feel the best in the midst of creation that is when I get into the flow. Ending that flow is when the emptiness comes. It is why starting a new project is important and soon I will be in the flow again. Writing and illustrating bring my two loves together and my husband said to me, “I think this is your better book.” I think it is too.

Life is a journey, we learn as we go. Often we stumble upon our happiness. We didn’t know what we were looking for until we are in the midst of it. It is one of the reasons life plans don’t work out, we don’t know what is around the corner or the next bend, but if we ride the waves of life it can be a wild ride indeed.

Sometimes in life, there’s no problem and sometimes there is no solution. In this space – between these apparent poles – life flows. Rasheed Oguniaru

Not everything will go as you expect in your life. This is why you need to drop expectations and go with the flow of life. Unknown

We can learn a lot by watching how water relates to the world around it. It goes around any obstacle in its way. It flows downstream rather than struggling to push upstream as many of us are doing in life. It just goes with the flow. Perhaps that’s why watching the action and rhythm of water is so peaceful. Unknown

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 bottom.

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

Finishing what we start. It will be what it will be, and we have to be okay with that.

It will be what it will be and we have to be okay with that. Finishing what we start.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

Do you cringe when you see a picture of yourself? On Tuesday I had an interview with the Art Gallery of Mississauga and they were taking pictures. The photographer said he would send me some I could use as the picture for my new book.

When I saw the pictures I thought of the line in the song, “The sun in your face really shows your age.” It might not be possible to get a picture of myself I like because maybe I want to look like someone else.

They say smiley author’s photos are for less serious authors, and who wants to be thought to be one of those? Resting bitch face is a real thing and when I see it on my own face, wow! How do people take beautiful pictures even when they are not young and beautiful? Would black and white photos work better?

Getting professional photos taken is something I’ve been putting off. I need to get them done but this book will have the same photo I used for Secrets and Silence. My husband read it yesterday and he pointed out a verse I left out. How did I not notice that? My soon-to-be daughter-in-law noticed a name not capitalized.

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

It feels good to complete a project. Something that’s been simmering for years finally comes to fruition. What I’ve realized in this whole process is the biggest challenge was to make the decision to set a goal and work toward it. We may not know how we will get to that goal or what the finished product will look like, but we have to keep trying this and trying that, seeing what works. Serendipity works in our lives and the course with the Art Gallery of Mississauga came at the right time for me. Being part of a class, seeing what others were doing, what the facilitator and speakers she brought each week were accomplishing encouraged me greatly to continue with my project, and meet what seemed like an impossible deadline.

In my interview on Tuesday, I got emotional as I talked about what I got out of the course. I struggled with the demise of the collaboration between who was to have been the illustrator and myself. If I was doing the painting then there was nothing to offer him, but he invested quite a bit of time and effort into the project. We’d been meeting for months and he helped clarify my vision. I felt bad after investing all that time and effort he got nothing out of it.

The project was once again all mine, could I do what I set out to do? Then when I thought I was finished my daughter told me I needed more paintings. I’m glad I listened to her. I’m blessed she was honest and didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear. “I love it, it’s great,” isn’t as good of feedback as, “You Know what would make it better?”

We aren’t the same person when we complete a project we were when we started. When we started we didn’t know if we could complete it. We didn’t know what it would look like, but if we keep working toward our goal it will become something.

It started out as a story about a dog that ended with a family losing their beloved pet. It ended up being the joyous event of getting a puppy. A series is being born in my mind as the puppy and family have many, many adventures. The goal of publishing a children’s book was a challenge set last year. It has turned out to be one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve ever completed. It brings together my two loves, writing, and art.

We don’t know what we can accomplish until we set out minds to something and work at it until it is finished.

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

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

The strength and clarity of the picture you envision at the start will tell you when you are done. You are finished when you have said what you wish to say, when nothing added can make it better. Richard Schmid

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

Collaboration is powerful. Two heads are better than one even when partnerships don’t work out.

Two heads are better than one even when partnerships don't work out. collaboration is powerful.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Teamwork is the secret that makes common people achieve uncommon results. Henry Enoch Onuoha

Going for a walk this weekend required a jacket. The crisp air, blue sky, and the company of my daughter and our dog made it fun. We have a little pond we love to walk around. There are benches if we want to sit and watch the birds. We love walking but don’t make time for it often enough. A walk by myself is enjoyable but with others, it becomes even better.

Yesterday I painted the last painting for my children’s book. As I patted myself on the back and was wrapping things up for the evening  I decided I will paint at least one more to replace the painting that was to end the book. When I finish this one will I look at others and think I should repaint, compose differently, change the colors, or refine the details?

There are some really great blogs on illustrating children’s books and one of the things they are telling me is don’t depict exactly in the pictures what the words say. Use your pictures and your words to tell a bigger story. In small picture books of only 32 or 36 pages, this makes sense. I looked at a picture book of my daughters and in it, the author says a new puppy and the old dog touched noses and that is what the picture depicts, but I think it works. The new puppy is a tiny Dachshund and the dog they already have is a huge Great Dane.

We might not even know what makes our kids or ourselves gravitate to certain books. My youngest sister tells me she tried to get her daughter interested in Pete the Cat books when she was younger. Her daughter wasn’t interested in them even though my sister was.

I’ve taken a few trips to Indigo and some of the children’s books are beautiful. Can books be too beautiful for us to want our children to handle? Well-loved books will end up looking like well-loved toys. To see what books parents are buying and kids are reading I go to Value Village.

Authors are not encouraged to illustrate their own books. Some publishers don’t want books that rhyme. When my daughter gave me advice on my book as someone who reads a lot of books to preschool children she said to include lots of pictures, lots of colors, and make it rhyme. When she looked at what I put together, she said,” Mom, you need more pictures.” I’m also getting feedback from my son’s fiancé a teacher who reads books to her students.

I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things. Mother Teresa

Creating this children’s book has been fun and very intimidating.  I didn’t know where to start until I started trying to tell the young man who was going to illustrate it in Illustrator what I wanted. I could clarify my vision when trying to tell him what to do, but when it was only me I struggled. In the end, our collaboration fell apart, but I owe him a huge debt and without our collaboration and monthly meetings it wouldn’t be where it is today.

I can see the value in a more talented illustrator doing the illustrations. Illustrators aren’t cheap. Of course, no one knows what kind of sales a book will receive so making back that investment is a gamble. I understand with the big publishers the writer and illustrator don’t meet and the writer doesn’t have control of what the illustrations for their book will look like.

This may make for a better book. The illustrator’s concept may be much better than what the author would come up with. I like the idea of collaboration and I’ve seen firsthand how powerful it is. When we put our heads together who knows what we will come up with. It is hard to bounce ideas off of a wall. When another person bounces ideas to us and us to them, clarity emerges, and something small can grow into something bigger.

What is the role of co-creation and collaboration in our daily work?

Collaboration divides the task and multiplies the success. Unknown

Collaboration allows us to know more than we are capable of knowing by ourselves. Paul Solarz

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. Desmond Tutu

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

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

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

Starting and finishing. Creating habits and moving in the direction of our dreams.

Creating habits and moving in the direction of our dreams. Starting and finishing.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The bookends of success are starting and finishing. Decisions help us start; discipline helps us finish. John C. Maxwell

Have you ever thought you have finished something and found you just started? We get people in our office doing a complete renovation and addition who say, “We were just going to renovate the bathroom.”

Some people start a weight loss and fitness journey that changes everything about their life. Starting something puts us on a path that may not lead where we thought it would. This works in negative and positive ways.

There is truth to the “Bet you can’t eat just one” potato chip line. There are people who start their fitness routine promising to do one push-up per day. When they are already on the floor they often do more than one. When we need an hour and a half for a fitness routine we might wonder when we will fit that in. One push-up, we can do after we brush our teeth before we get dressed. Even if we only do one push-up a day it is still 365 push-ups we wouldn’t have done.

In many areas of our life, we can make small changes and small changes lead to big things. The Fly Lady tells us to clean up our clutter in fifteen minutes. Set the timer and do what you can in fifteen minutes. She has us do it in a different area of the house every day. The idea is to develop a daily habit, that doesn’t take too long, fits into our lives, and makes things better.

Good habits make it so we don’t get up in the morning and wonder what we’ll do first. We automatically reach for the toothbrush. We could also do that push-up or a downward dog before we get ready for the rest of the day. A routine lets us not have to think about what we are doing next.

We don’t want our life so regimented we have no free time and we don’t want so much free time we have no routine. If we want to change our lives in a big or small way it will usually come in the form of a habit we develop or eliminate. Trying to change too much at once for some people might be hard other people might want to make a big change all at once instead of incremental small changes.

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

We live our life by what we do daily. When we want to change things it may help if we have something that triggers our new action. When I started writing I did it after I put the kids to bed. The “kids” of course grow up so that only worked in the early years. Now I write in the morning.

My leg is bothering me, I don’t know why. “Last night my kids said, “You haven’t been to the gym in a year and a half. Maybe that’s the problem.” It might be too much sitting. I’ve spent even more time sitting as I’ve gotten my children’s book ready for publication, and I have until the end of September to submit the final edition. But, I need to find more time for exercise. I think that is what my leg is telling me.

Having a deadline is helpful. Without a deadline, I aimlessly drift along. With a deadline, I accomplish more than I thought I could. Sometimes we set impossible deadlines because we want to cram more into a year than is possible. If we take a longer view we’ll find Bill Gates is right. We overestimate what we can accomplish in one year and underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years. Is this why we are told to have five-year, ten-year, and even longer goals?

Is there something we want to start? Is there something we need to finish? Are we a new habit away from moving in the direction of our dreams?

Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most. Abraham Lincoln

First, forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you are inspired or not. Octavia Butler

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

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

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

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

Set a goal and move in the direction of your dreams.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes. Andrew Carnegie

On Friday I got home and my husband and son asked what did I order from Indigo? A box was on my desk that looked to be from Indigo. My son quickly opened the box. In it were 12 books meant to go to Indigo from Harper Collins. “The Day the World Came to Town 9/11 in Gander Newfoundland by Jim DeFede. I delivered the books to Indigo.

Someday maybe I will be delivering my own books to Indigo. Should I have asked if they stocked books by independent local authors? Should I have taken a copy of my book to show her? Was it a missed opportunity?

What do missed opportunities look like? If we recognised things as opportunities would we still miss them? Opportunities are probably all around us that someone else might jump on.

I’ve spent the weekend editing and reading my second novel Secrets and Sorrow before I give it to my book club to read. Reading it aloud makes me find errors easier than reading silently. I’ve almost finished illustrating the children’s book I’m working on. A year has flown by since the publication of Secrets and Silence.

Setting measurable goals this year made a big difference in my writing. Instead of meandering, I had markers along the way to track my progress. Smart goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Why has it taken me so long to be willing to set and hold myself to achieving goals? Life is a learning experience and there is so much to learn and so many people willing to teach us. Every book has a message. There are seminars to take, coaches, and mentors to find.

The course through the Art Gallery of Mississauga has an ongoing component where they are trying to help us achieve the next steps. One way to achieve the next step is to know what the next step is. We may wish our life would change for the better but what have we put out into the world that can change? Have we planted seeds that can sprout and grow?

The Church of the Rock pastor Mark Hughes spoke about how many of us don’t get a harvest in our lives because we eat our seed. The other mistake we make is not planting what we hope to harvest. We worry about putting our work into the world but how can anyone read our book, buy our song, or our product, if we don’t find a way to take it to market. Are we waiting for our ship to come in, without ever sending one out?

You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought. You are stuck with something below your true talent and potential. Steve Garvey

It took me eight years to write and publish my first book and 12 years of writing before that before I put anything out into the world. What was I afraid of? We aren’t the same person in the middle of something or the end of something we were when we started. My son encouraged me to write a blog long before I sent out the first post.  What would I write about? With over 700 posts out there it seems a silly question but at the time I couldn’t imagine coming up with topics.

Wherever we find our self there is a next step for us to take. There is a goal to set and reach. We might forget that we don’t have to meander along in life and setting goals is the antidote to aimless wandering. For many people deciding to get married sets them on a path, they’ve set a goal, they’ve chosen a partner for the journey of life.

Marriage is a good example of something that changes us we hope for the better. On Saturday my husband and I will be present at a wedding. My son and his fiancé are planning theirs. It is lovely to see young couples and sometimes old couples take this step. Is there any step in life as full of hope as a wedding?

You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will… Stephen King

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. Tony Robbins

People with goals succeed because they know where they are going. Earl Nightingale

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

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

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

Serendipity shows up but we have to recognize it.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Serendipity is finding something good without looking for it. Unknown

It has been beautiful lately now that spring is here. I’ve been taking my dog for a nightly long walk. My husband has always encouraged me to walk and listen to something but I resist. I started listening to Jordan Peterson’s book Beyond Order, I really enjoy it, but I miss the thinking I do as I walk. We can’t fill our minds up with other people’s thoughts and have our own.

My husband and I listened to a podcast I’m going to be on this Saturday, the Abracadabra Podcast Author to Author, the host Jasveer Singh Dangi was in conversation with Isabella MacLeod author of Metamorphosis and Nano. She is a former nurse who suffers from a disease I’ve never heard of but sounds like it is related to Lyme disease. These books are a fictionalized journey as she picked up the pieces of her life and puts them back together.

My interest was piqued partly because I love a good story of people overcoming adversity but also because my brother suffers from some strange affliction and we have wondered where it came from. I will listen to the podcast again and look up the name of the disease she has and start going down the rabbit hole of research and see where it leads.

Most discoveries even today are a combination of serendipity and of searching. Siddhartha Mukherjee

Her disease may be nothing like my brother’s. I have no reason to think it is except it is debilitating enough that she can no longer work and so is his. She lives in Eastern Canada and he took a trip out there just before he became ill. I have a feeling and I often go with my feelings and see where they lead. Serendipity is a mysterious force that works in our lives. Serendipity has been defined as, “The accidental discovery that leads to unexpected value.”

In the book The Serendipity Mindset by Christian Busch, he tells us how we can learn to recognize and leverage serendipity to make our lives better. What if the people we think are lucky are using serendipity when it arrives in their lives in ways that unlucky people are not?

How many times has serendipity knocked on my door and I was not aware of it and did not get the gift I was being offered? When the right person looked at moldy bread they recognized something in it and we now have penicillin. To everyone else, it was just moldy bread.

Who knows where my research will lead? How is serendipity working in your life?

Serendipity. Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you’ve found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for. Lawrence Block

I always leave room for serendipity and chance. Ken Stott

I am a firm believer in serendipity – the random pieces coming together in one wonderful moment, when suddenly you see what their purpose was all along. David Levithan

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

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

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

I

5

S

B

Reaping and sowing. We reap what we sow. We plant the seeds and watch them grow.

We reap what we sow. We plant the seeds and watch them grow. Reaping and sowing.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Life is like a garden, you reap what you sow. Paulo Coelho

One of the things my oldest sister has always said is, “If we put all our problems on the line with everyone else’s we’d take our own problems back.” It might be the same with success.

If we knew the choices someone else had to make to become the success they are would we do what they did? I was listening to one of my favorite speakers Jim Rohn yesterday. He was talking about what he learned about building a Network Marketing Business part-time.

He learned he could work at his day job to pay the bills and part-time he could work at becoming wealthy. He learned there is a ratio of success. If he could get ten people out to meetings one would join his organization. When he got better two would join his organization, when he got really good three would join his organization. Everywhere we look we have the law of averages and we don’t have to hit every ball to have a good batting average. We have to take the chance. Wayne Gretzky said he missed every shot he didn’t take.

Life isn’t different for us even if we think it is. Jim Rohn talks about the law of sowing and reaping. We all know we can’t reap what we don’t sow. Some of us would like to reap what someone else sowed. That doesn’t work very well. We can’t reap happiness if we sow anger, disrespect, and discord in our marriage.

He tells us that if we are a sower with good seed and a diligent sower some of that seed will be eaten by the birds. Should we run after the birds and leave our seed, and our sowing. NOOoooo! We should keep on sowing. The birds will get some of it but they won’t get it all. Some of our seeds will fall on rocky ground. It will sprout but the first hot day will kill our little seedling. Our seeds will bear different amounts but we shouldn’t worry about that. We need to let our seeds mature into what they are going to be.

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. Robert Louis Stevenson

This is a metaphor for our lives. As long as we live we need to be sowing and reaping. We will have good years and bad. Life is always opportunity mixed with difficulty. Sometimes it’s more difficulty and sometimes it’s more opportunity. For things to change we have to change. He tells us not to wish life was easier but to wish we were better. We need more skills to deal with the problems in our lives, and we need more wisdom to deal with the challenges. This applies to all areas of our lives, our relationships, opportunities, and finances.

I was one of the seeds that fell on rocky ground in Network Marketing. I’ve always liked the Rah, Rah of it but I’ve never stuck with any of them. I didn’t build my part-time business until now.

Writing is now my part-time business. When I fill out my income tax this year I will have “Royalties” to add as income. I have one book published, I am writing another, and after that another, and another. We never know where life will take us. We don’t know what seeds planted today will bear fruit in the future.

When we find something we love to do it isn’t only about the money. Sometimes it seems we are made to feel ashamed if we want more money. Don’t we all want more money if we are honest with ourselves? Isn’t prospering one of the blessings we hope to get in life?

Getting more isn’t the problem, throwing someone under the bus to get more, is. Taking what someone else has is the problem. When we build a business often we provide something that helps someone else and a lot of little businesses can create a prosperous town or city. Prosperous farms feed the people in prosperous towns and cities. Prosperous towns and cities create a prosperous country. Prosperous countries create a prosperous world. Artists, athletes, writers, and entertainers, who don’t provide the necessities of life only do well when the society is prosperous enough to support them.

We live in a prosperous society but not everyone is prospering. Is there a way to build our society so everyone prospers? Is there a way to make our relationships better? How is the law of sowing and reaping working in our lives?

The natural principle of sowing and reaping is always at work. Whatever you plant, whether physical, spiritual, mental, financial, relational, or emotional, will grow and someday return to you in a multiplied fashion. It can be incredibly good or terribly bad, depending on your seed. Paul J. Meyer

Every day you make a choice either to sow some of your seed or to eat it. When you exercise faith and sow, you release God’s law of prosperity. When you give in to your fear and eat your seed, or hide it, you release God’s law of poverty. John Avanzini

They who sow courtesy reap friendship, and they who plant kindness gather love. Saint Basil

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

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

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

S

D

B