Perspective and gratitude. Looking back we’ll get perspective, can we look forward in gratitude?

Looking back we'll get perspective, can we look forward in gratitude?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Legally speaking, the term ‘public rights’ is as vague and indefinite as are the terms ‘public health,’ ‘public good,’ ‘public welfare,’ and the like. It has no legal meaning, except when used to describe the separate, private, individual rights of a greater or less number of individuals. Lysander Spooner

Last night was a book club night, first on free Zoom and then on Google Hangouts. We talked and laughed for two hours. The book club puts so many things in perspective. The books we read help put life in perspective. We discussed The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman. This was our second time discussing it and we did what we always do, moved into discussing life.

Of course, the question, “Are you taking the vaccine came up?” One of our members said, “I’m taking it because my mother lost six siblings because there weren’t vaccines.” One of her mom’s siblings died from polio which ravaged the world until the Salk polio vaccine was introduced in 1955 and the Sabin oral vaccine introduced in 1962 eventually brought polio under control.

Many of us are asking this question in a flippant way but it is no small thing to be able to have vaccines to curb diseases that killed and maimed millions. We may think things should be better, but how often are we grateful they are not worse? We have the U.S. going through an election where results are being contested. The system is working and one of the things Jordan Peterson says is, “We wonder why things aren’t better, but we should wonder why they aren’t worse? It is almost a miracle to live in peace and plenty.”

My husband has a fair point when he says, “For someone that preaches positivity you don’t sound very positive.” I’ve been ranting lately about the injustice of the small businesses paying the price during our second lockdown. I stand by my feeling and I don’t know how to be positive and deal with what to me is injustice even though it does not directly affect us, yet. The trickledown effect of putting small businesses out of business might affect us all in a far bigger way than what we are trying to prevent.

Depression has been called the world’s number one public health problem. In fact, depression is so widespread it is considered the common cold of psychiatric disturbances. But there is a grim difference between depression and a cold. Depression can kill you. David D. Burns

We might not have good choices, we may only have bad choices but history is being made right now, and maybe the great leaders are not the ones that make the good choices, they are the ones that make the best choice in bad situations. Someone on the radio said we are about halfway through this in his estimation. Spring is coming and we will have to deal with the fallout of this pandemic and the choices that are made to deal with it.

Only looking back will we think we know the choices that should have been made. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, but we don’t get to make our choices in hindsight. We make our choices and hope we made the best one.  Everyone making choices is trying to make the best choice and they are trying to juggle competing interests.

Many of us have said we live in a society that puts money first. Our leaders are trying to show us that they do not. Are they making the best decision or in the end will we wish they put economic health on an even platform with public health?

It’s critically important that people trust you during a public health crisis. Richard E. Besser

All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the freshwater system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us? John Cleese

The longer I’ve looked at these questions, of the American diet and the public health crisis that we face because of that diet, the more I’ve come to the conclusion that the collapse of cooking is a big part of the problem. Michael Pollan

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In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto Paperback – April 28 2009

by Michael Pollan  (Author)

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? Paperback – Large Print, Aug. 29 2020

by Belynda Wilson Thomas  (Author)5.0 out of 5 stars 2 ratings

Lemonade for sale. When life hands us lemons should we make lemonade?

When life hands us lemons should we make lemonade? Lemonade for sale.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

One bad chapter doesn’t mean your story is over.  Anonymous

Winter is coming, can spring be far behind? We know spring always follows winter. The only attitude we can control is our own. The only business we can mind is our own. The only time we need to be concerned with is now. It might be hard to live with these words as we go forward into winter.

For many of us, it may feel like the Grinch stole Christmas. We are being told, “It’s for your own good. We are doing it to protect you.” Some people might be protected right out of their livelihood.

In my own house, we are divided on what should be done. There is no right answer that makes everyone happy. There are those who want freedom, those that want protection, and often those two aren’t both possible.

My sister-in-law has to close her hairdressing shop, again. Her landlord still needs his rent, the bank will still expect their mortgage, the city will still expect the taxes, and everyone still needs to eat. We can’t just put life on hold and is it fair for small businesses to pay the price for this? It seems it is small businesses whose doors are closed. Restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, and small businesses were following the rules set down. If there was a problem at any location it should be dealt with. Blanket shutdowns are probably not going to be effective except at depriving people of their livelihood.

It breaks my heart to think how it would be if we had one of those little shops, to see what we’ve built up over years destroyed, not through our own mismanagement, not through being unwilling to follow even rules we deem unfair, but because we are easy to close. When we close small shops, restaurants, and hairdressers that were only allowed a few customers at a time what are we accomplishing? Had we kept our businesses open at the level we had before this lockdown and let them succeed or fail, at least they had a chance.

Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know. Pema Chodron

How should it be handled? I don’t know, but the despair that has been cast on business and people’s lives since this new lockdown was declared will weigh heavy on many people. No one envies the decision-makers right now.

A ninety-year-old woman opted for assisted suicide rather than go through another lockdown in her nursing home. She planned on an assisted suicide death, but not yet. Preventing people from living to some is not better than dying. Loneliness is a big deal, solitary confinement is considered unacceptable for prisoners, and yet we are now doing it for people’s own good.

My aunt always said she planned to live till she died. She died in 2018 in her own home at 97. Mom at 96 lives in her own home, taking care of her own needs. What if she was in a nursing home in lockdown, I can see her saying “I did that, but I won’t be doing it again.”

We need to bring out all the sayings we can come up with right now as we go through this. We will need mantras, prayers, and positive self-talk as we develop a mindset to get through this winter. Gratitude, prayer, and positive thinking will serve us better than bitterness. Is the lesson we need to learn that if we are okay at this moment then we are okay. Looking too far down the road will scare us. If we focus on what we have this moment we can be grateful and live in gratitude, joy, and love. We may have to face whatever we have to face but why worry about it until we have to face it? Can we not let a bad situation bring out the worst in us? Can we choose to be strong and positive and remember Spring is coming? How would you like your lemonade, sweet or sour?

Tough times don’t last but tough people do. Robert Schuller

The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Eckhart Tolle

A great attitude becomes a great day which becomes a great month which becomes a great year which becomes a great life. Mandy Hale

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Tough Times Never Last, but Tough People Do! Mass Market Paperback – May 1 1984

by Robert Schuller (Author)4.6 out of 5 stars 306 ratings

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? Paperback – Large Print, Aug. 29 2020

by Belynda Wilson Thomas  (Author)5.0 out of 5 stars 2 ratings

The price of a bargain. Beware the price of a bargain.

Beware the price of a bargain. The price of a bagain.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The bitterness of poor quality remains longs after the sweetness of low price is forgotten. Benjamin Franklin

A strange thing has happened two times in a row. The upper eyelid of my right eye became red and swollen and this time the left upper eyelid has become red and swollen. I think I’ve figured out what I’ve done two months in a row that has triggered this. I’m pretty sure it is an allergic reaction. I’m even pretty sure I know what has caused it. It is my frugality, I bought a product on sale instead of the product I usually buy, two months in a row.

No matter how cheap that product is, I will not be buying it. I didn’t realize what the difference was between the two products, and I assumed there wasn’t much of a difference. Now I do not know for sure that what I am blaming is the culprit. I could use it a third time and be more sure, but that seems like a really stupid idea so I will believe what I believe and not use that product again.

The only reason I put two and two together is I keep a food journal and had written about my swollen eye, and when it happened again I did some detective work to come up with my working theory. If I didn’t have the food journal and note symptoms that show up in my life I wouldn’t be connecting the dots. By keeping track of symptoms that show up I try to figure out what might have caused them.

Allergic reactions are no joke. Some people are lucky and their reactions are mild and not life-threatening. Some people are not lucky enough to have time to figure things out. If we get a warning like an allergic reaction we should heed it, and figure out how to manage without what caused the problem.

The offending ingredient I think is PPD which is an ingredient in hair color. The darker the hair color, the permanency of that hair color, and those that last for up to six weeks are the ones most likely to cause problems according to the research I am doing. We need to watch out for “Fade defying color,” if we have sensitivities. Lighter colors tend to cause fewer problems from what I am reading so I might be moving out of the “Browns” and into the “Blondes” for my hair color.

Don’t bargain shop for parachutes or plastic surgery. Unknown

The other option, the one that makes me shudder is to not color my hair at all. I will, I tell myself go natural at some point, but this is not that point. It can’t be that point. But, the truth is I would look better with a full head of grey hair than a swollen red eye and it doesn’t feel very comfortable either.

Hopefully, my choices are not grey or no allergy reactions. What I was doing was coloring my hair a nice brown and then putting in hi-lights to give blondish streaks.

I’ve colored my own hair for years. It wasn’t until my daughter was getting married, and urged me to get hi-lights that I had my color professionally done. When Covid hit I started doing my own root touch-up, my daughter stepped in and did foil hi-lights. We seemed like a dynamite team. Now, this allergic reaction showed up I’ll never look at hair color the same. Until we suffer our own allergic reaction to something we don’t understand what it is like. If I could just pay full price for the other hair color and have this go away but then I wouldn’t know an allergic reaction awaited me, and if I didn’t use the same product two consecutive months I wouldn’t have connected the dots.

In the end, I need to be grateful for hard-won knowledge about an allergy, the price of a bargain, and questioning what the difference is between products before assuming they are basically the same.

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. Warren Buffet

A bargain is something you don’t need, at a price you can’t resist. Franklin Jones

Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing. Albert Einstein

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The Price of a Bargain: The Quest for Cheap and the Death of Globalization by [Gordon Laird]

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The Price of a Bargain: The Quest for Cheap and the Death of Globalization Kindle Edition

by Gordon Laird  (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? Paperback – Large Print, Aug. 29 2020

by Belynda Wilson Thomas  (Author)5.0 out of 5 stars 2 ratings

Is gratitude our favorite attitude? Are we living in gratitude and grace?

Are we living in gratitude and grace? Is gratitude our favorite attitude?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves. Henry Ward Beecher

The cold winds of November are blowing today and my little dog gets back into the house as fast as her little legs will carry her. It is in these cold days going forward that we need to draw on the sunshine in our hearts to get us through.

We can spend our time recounting fun and happy times or we can spend our time worrying about things that haven’t happened and will likely not happen. We can spend our time going over slights and transgressions we feel people have made against us or we can forgive them. It is our choice to live in worry and fear or laughter and love.

We may worry over what happens that we cannot change and there are many things we could spend our time worrying about. But, what will all that worry get us? If we have things we need to deal with worry won’t deal with them, action and making the best of the choices available to us will get us through.

If we are blessed with a warm house to live in as the cold winds howl. If we have food and clean water, and our family safe beside us we have much to be grateful for. Are we like the squirrel, have we looked after our winter provisions? Are we like the migratory birds moving to a warmer clime for the winter? Or we would like to but circumstances may make us experience this cold winter where we are.

I was listening to an Indian Mystic Sadhguru he says he wanted to spread happiness throughout the world and as the host is impressed with the 500 million he has reached. The Mystic says, “Don’t laugh at my failure, I wanted to reach the whole world.”

If we are failing the way this Mystic is failing because our goal is so audacious that it was impossible to meet in our lifetime what a way to live. If we are trying to make the world better by giving our gifts to the world we are doing our part. We live in a society where everyone’s gifts paid and unpaid give us what we have. Farmers, teachers, engineers, lawyers, singers, dancers, sports players, sanitation workers, cooks, servers, politicians, police, health care, etc. all contribute their part to make our life better.

To me, forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different than it was. Dr. Mary Pritchard

We may think our society should be organized better and maybe we will come up with better organizations and practices but what we have is a lot to be thankful for. When I go to the supermarket later today I am not worried the shelves will be empty. I am amazed at the array of choices available and it is no small thing that our supply chain works.

We may think things should be more perfect but what if someone came from a few hundred years ago and saw what choices we have available to us. Turning on a tap and getting potable water for cooking and flushing a toilet and not have to deal with our human waste ourselves.

How must cities have smelled before sewage and treatment plants were built? The first sewer system in the United States was built in the late 1850’s in Chicago and Brooklyn, and the first sewage treatment plant using chemical precipitation was built in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1890.

Do we appreciate the ingenuity that has gone into making our life work? Or do we spend our time lamenting over things not being quite as good as we think they should be? It is so easy to criticize and I find myself doing it a lot, but what if we thought instead that everyone is actually trying to do their best most of the time?

A society that works even if not perfectly is what everyone doing their best looks like. There will be mistakes and we don’t want to be the one that has to deal with someone else’s mistake but thinking they meant to hurt us or harm us may be worse for us. Can we give each other a little grace and offer understanding instead of judgment? When we see mistakes and oversights can we tell people privately instead of shouting from social media?

Memory… keeps gratitude fresh and… gratitude keeps faith fruitful. Dale Ralph Davis

The things we take for granted are dreams for many people. Unknown

When we bless God for mercies, we usually prolong them. When we bless God for miseries, we usually end them. Praise is the honey of life which a devout heart extracts from every bloom of providence and grace. C. H. Spurgeon

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

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Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy Hardcover – Illustrated, Sept. 20 2016

by Sadhguru  (Author)4.7 out of 5 stars 5,962 ratings

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? Paperback – Large Print, Aug. 29 2020

by Belynda Wilson Thomas  (Author)5.0 out of 5 stars 2 ratings

Gratitude for opportunities and challenges. Growing and developing into someone we are proud of.

Growing and developing into someone we are proud of. Gratitude for opportunities and challenges.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Today is the day the Lord hath made. Be glad and rejoice in it. Robert Schuller

Today is another glorious day of twenty-four hours. When my alarm rang it was hard to get up. My morning routine was cut short as I hurry and scurry to accomplish what I’ve set out to accomplish before I start work.

In any accomplishment, there is the accomplishment that people see and then there is all the hard slogging that was done to make that happen that no one sees. I’m reformatting my novel and it sounds easy enough but there is a bit to figure out. We can pay people to do it for us but then we never know how to do it ourselves. I’m going to try and figure it out. By figuring it out I’ll know what not to do as I write the next one so all this reformatting won’t be required.

My advice to anyone who wants to write is to figure all this out on the back end and then going forward take it into consideration. The big thing is to write something. There are many writing programs out there and the one that helped me organize my writing was Ywriter. It is a free program written for writers by a writer. It is a big help with organization and plotting. It can be downloaded into Microsoft Word.

The first novel I wrote in Microsoft Word and it taught me a lot but is not publishable. It is a convoluted mess and I am proud of it because it proved to me I could actually finish a novel.

When we have the latest and greatest tools that help us we are lucky. They aren’t necessary, but they are helpful. Some of the most beautiful objects have been crafted with basic tools. A pen and paper are still all we need to write a novel.

The bigger the challenges the bigger the opportunity for growth. Karen Salmansohn

Don’t we often look at the tools someone else has and think about what we could accomplish if we had what they have? Last night we watched a TV show and a farmer looking at his neighbor’s farm envied him his cleared land. What if the neighboring farmer envies him his trees?

It is so easy to take for granted what we have and envy someone else. Haven’t we always heard the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence? It is easy to think if our Grandfather or parents did whatever we’d be better off. If that government regulation didn’t come in we’d be better off. If that injustice didn’t happen we’d be better off.

We’d be better off if we’d taken every opportunity that came our way and made the best of it. Often when those opportunities presented themselves they didn’t look like opportunities. They looked like work and sacrifice. Sometimes those opportunities presented themselves as choices. Those choices might have been between two good things, or the best of two bad choices and we choose one and now long for the other thinking it would have made us happier or richer.

We think we don’t want challenges in our lives, or at least we don’t want our challenges. What if challenges are what we need to become the best people we can be? These challenges will help us to grow and develop. Haven’t some of the best people overcome some of the worst challenges? Don’t we have more respect for people who have overcome something?

Aren’t challenges like weightlifting in life? We need to take up our load, then another load, and another. When we look back we can’t believe how far we’ve come but it all started when we took up the first load, accepted the first challenge, and set the first goal.

What is the load we need to pick up? What goals and challenges do we need to face head-on? What would we like to accomplish in our lives? What do we have to be grateful for?

Having no challenges in life is the biggest difficulty in your growth. Unknown

Love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort and keep on learning. Carol Dweck.

Adversity and challenges are life’s way of creating strength. Adversity creates challenge, and challenge creates change, and change is absolutely necessary for growth. If there is no change and challenge, there can be no growth and development. Willie Jolley

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

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It Only Takes A Minute To Change Your Life by [Dr. Willie  Jolley]

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It Only Takes A Minute To Change Your Life Kindle Edition

by Dr. Willie Jolley (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

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Gratitude the antidote to self-pity. Feeling sorry for ourselves poisons our lives.

Feeling sorry for ourselves poisons our lives. Gratitude the antidote to self-pity.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Thanksgiving is the antidote to self-pity. Mark Altrogge

The other night my son came into the den and says, “Mom, I’ve got a quote for you.” He reads the following in full. I said, “That’s a tough quote to use.” I’m using it anyway, it’s that good.

“Certainly the most destructive vice if you like, that a person can have. More than pride, which is supposedly the number one of the cardinal sins – is self pity. Self pity is the worst possible emotion anyone can have. And the most destructive. It is, to slightly paraphrase what Wilde said about hatred, and I think actually hatred’s a subset of self pity and not the other way around – ‘ It destroys everything around it, except itself ‘.

lf pity will destroy relationships, it’ll destroy anything that’s good, it will fulfill all the prophecies it makes and leave only itself. And it’s so simple to imagine that one is hard done by, and that things are unfair, and that one is underappreciated, and that if only one had had a chance at this, only one had had a chance at that, things would have gone better, you would be happier if only this, that one is unlucky. All those things. And some of them may well even be true. But, to pity oneself as a result of them is to do oneself an enormous disservice.

I think it’s one of things we find unattractive about the american culture, a culture which I find mostly, extremely attractive, and I like americans and I love being in america. But, just occasionally there will be some example of the absolutely ravening self pity that they are capable of, and you see it in their talk shows. It’s an appalling spectacle, and it’s so self destructive. I almost once wanted to publish a self help book saying ‘How To Be Happy by Stephen Fry : Guaranteed success’. And people buy this huge book and it’s all blank pages, and the first page would just say – ‘ Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself – And you will be happy ‘. Use the rest of the book to write down your interesting thoughts and drawings, and that’s what the book would be, and it would be true. And it sounds like ‘Oh that’s so simple’, because it’s not simple to stop feeling sorry for yourself, it’s bloody hard. Because we do feel sorry for ourselves, it’s what Genesis is all about.” Stephen Fry

There isn’t much to say after that except maybe we should all make ourselves that book of blank pages where we write down our interesting thoughts and drawings and we write about what we are grateful for and what we can do to change things in our lives that need changing. We can write about who we could encourage and how we might be kind. We might figure out what we can do, what chance we could take, and how we might banish our fear so we can take the chance.

To be grateful is not to believe life is perfect. To be grateful is not an act. To be grateful is a genuine state of mind that focuses on appreciation. Shannon Norman

When I look back over my life I see opportunities that I didn’t notice at the time. There are always opportunities we aren’t noticing, there are also the opportunities we noticed and let pass us by. How do we begin to notice the opportunities while they are in front of us and take advantage of the ones we do notice? We will have to take action. We will have to get out of our comfort zone. All of the people we admire have probably taken chances, risks, faced fear, opposition, and overcome challenges.

One of the things I now realize is I’ve lived too safe of a life. The reason those opportunities weren’t acted upon was because of fear. What if we failed? What if we’d bought that house? What if no one likes my book, or what if no one ever reads it to find out if they like it?

It is easier to keep it tucked away, not quite ready for publication. Is that why it is taking me so long to get through the editing process?

We think other people don’t deal with these things but I’m beginning to believe this isn’t true. Some people move past their fear and some of us don’t. Some of us feel sorry for ourselves and let it destroy our lives, and some people work hard to overcome self-pity.

Does a grateful heart help us be kinder to ourselves and treat ourselves with more compassion? Is gratitude an antidote to the shame and self-loathing many people feel about themselves? Does gratitude increase our motivation to do better? Will being grateful for the opportunities, challenges, obstacles, and setbacks on our journey make us better and not bitter? If we can be grateful for everything in our lives no matter how things look at the moment is this the way forward? Is gratitude the antidote to self-pity?

Self-pity is a vacuum into which gratitude cannot enter. In face, self-pity and thanksgiving cannot coexist. They are mutually exclusive. Although thanksgiving is the antidote to this poison, few bound by self-pity will take the foray into expressing thanks for all the blessings they do have. William P. Farley

Thanksgiving is a fight. Especially when you don’t feel like it. It’s a fight against self-pity. It’s a fight of faith. Mark Altrogge Pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana

Self-pity is easily the most destructive of non-pharmaceutical narcotics. It is addictive, gives momentary pleasure, and separates the victim from reality. John W. Gardner

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

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Don’t Do This with Your Life: How to Live a Life of Misery, Self-pity, and Regret Paperback – Aug. 14 2019

by Louis Risk (Author), Vincent De Iso (Author)



Living in gratitude and abundance. Being grateful for everything we have in our life.

Being grateful for everything we have in our life. Living in gratitude and abundance.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The depth of your abundance depends on the depth of your gratitude. Unknown

Yesterday was beautiful. I went out to get groceries and I called my daughter and told her. “You have to get outside because it is such a gorgeous day.” Later as she was cooking dinner she said she would go for a walk to enjoy the beautiful evening. Her husband came home early so she never got to go for her walk.

We can have all the good intentions in the world but if we don’t act on them opportunities can flee before we take advantage of them. It isn’t just enjoying a nice day it is all the opportunities in life we get, but let slide by.

How different would our life be if we said yes to more opportunities in life? We often don’t do things because of the cautionary tales we’ve heard. Don’t accept a ride from a stranger is good advice but many people have traveled the country hitchhiking.

Would I have the guts to travel the world alone? Hopefully, I never have to, that my opportunities to travel will include my husband, but women who find they don’t have a companion are traveling alone and some are blogging about it. They aren’t letting circumstances they don’t like in their life get in the way of living it fully.

Guts, determination, and grabbing onto the opportunities in life give us a life that second-guessing everything won’t give us. We need to be careful, we need to take what precautions we can but we can’t be completely safe. We might not venture out of our own community out of fear and still not be safe from some of our fears.

When we find things to focus on that we want instead of focusing on what we don’t want life works better for us. It’s why our goal in life can’t be I don’t want to be poor, sick, unhappy, or taken advantage of. If that is what we focus on that is what we will get more of. We need to want to prosper, be in good health, happy, and in control of our lives and we need to be grateful for what we already have.

Abundance is not something we acquire; it’s something we tune into. Wayne Dyer

Gratitude in advance is the most powerful creative force in the universe. Neale Donald Walsh

Many of us, if we look back on our lives didn’t have too big of dreams, we didn’t have big enough dreams. The good thing is in most cases we can move forward in life no matter what stage of life we are in. We can still find things to challenge us. We can be grateful for what we have as we look for opportunities.

Even as we near the end of our lives most of us can still find ways to be creative and build our lives with gratitude, joy, and live in abundance. After all, abundance is enough and as long as we are alive we must be getting enough and that is something to be grateful for.

When we look at life and see the possibilities instead of limits can we lead more creative and resilient lives? Can we see the opening door as well as the closing one? If we can accept the changes that come as we move into new seasons of our life with humor and gratitude can we make the best of what is, and what is to come?

Sometimes we see others as competitors and we think there isn’t enough to go around. If instead we celebrate other’s successes and are inspired by them and realize our reaction to their success is telling us we want more of it in our own lives. We can then ask ourselves what would make us feel more successful. What accomplishment would we like to have? What goal would we like to pursue?

We can choose to feel gratitude for the abundance in our lives or we can feel we don’t have enough. The problem with the feeling of not have enough is no matter what we get it will still never be enough. If we can be grateful for what we have and believe we have enough, we can live a life of abundance every day regardless of our circumstances.

Is it possible to feel grateful for everything in our lives? Is it an experiment we should try?

The universe provides abundantly when you’re in a state of gratitude. Wayne Dyer

When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out, and the tide of love rushes in. Kirstin Armstrong

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. William A. Ward

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Simple Abundance: 365 Days to a Balanced and Joyful Life

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Simple Abundance: 365 Days to a Balanced and Joyful Life  Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

Sarah Ban Breathnach (Author, Narrator), Grand Central Publishing (Publisher)4.8 out of 5 stars 121 ratings

Gratitude and complaining cannot co-exist. We must choose complaining or gratitude.

We must choose gratitude or complaining. Gratitude and complaining cannot co-exist.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty. Doris Day

Revised post from February 28, 2019.

If we get more of what we focus on and we focus on the things that bug us most about our partner, won’t we get more things that bug us about our partner? Isn’t this just going to make us live in perpetual misery? If we focus on the things we love, the things they do well, nothing will have changed but our view of them, and this changes everything. How many of us are turning our princes into frogs?

Is it our contact with other people that give our lives joy, purpose, and meaning? Some may agree, some may disagree but our relationships affect our lives in immense ways.

Research tells us that for every complaint about someone whether thought or spoken, we need ten positive blessings to overcome that one complaint if the relationship is to flourish. Any less than ten blessings and the relationship will deteriorate, and if that relationship is a marriage…

Words are very powerful and we are told our complaints about others harm our own life. Whatever we think about another person we bring into our own life.  If we want someone to overlook our shortcomings, failings, mistakes, inconsiderate actions, human failings, we have to be able to overlook theirs. We have to be able to love them as they are.

Isn’t that what we all want? We want to be accepted. If we truly love and are grateful for another person we are thankful for who they are, we don’t want to change them because then they won’t be who they are. Is this even possible? To us the things they need to change are so glaring, how do you give thanks for a critical spirit or give thanks for someone who is judgmental?

We need to focus on the good points, and there are good points. They may be critical and judgmental, but they are also kind, loving, helpful, funny, willing to go the extra mile, generous, strong, dependable, hard-working, and they love us with all our faults, foibles, shortcomings, criticisms, and judgment.

When we look at someone’s shortcomings they become magnified in our mind. When we look at their strengths, gifts, and talents, they begin to take center stage. If we get more of what we focus on, then focusing on someone’s strengths instead of their weaknesses is more likely to make them and us happy.

But, we do have valid complaints. We can’t just ignore the reality of what is going on as we focus on the positive and sweep around the elephant that has taken up most of the living room.

Gratitude and complaining cannot co-exist simultaneously; you must choose the one that serves you best. Hal Elrod

If we need to complain we should do it in a way that is effective. Dr. John Gottman has a three-part complaint formula so we can discuss our issues without hurting each other.

Express how we feel.

We need to express how we feel. We should begin with a soft start-up, stating how we feel. A feeling is an emotion like anger, fear, or a physical state like pain or tiredness.

A soft-startup is in contrast to what we usually do. You always, you never, or you don’t, all of which usually accompany criticism, anger, and judgment.

Talk about a very specific situation.

We need to state our feeling, describe the situation or behavior that caused the feeling.

The reality is the complaints many couples have about each other will never go away. The good news is complaints don’t need to drive relationships toward bitterness. If we can keep our complaints from becoming criticism, complaints can be a minor nuisance in comparison to the destructive power of criticism.

State a positive need.

We need to state a positive action we want our spouse to take to resolve the complaint.

We are not guaranteed we will get a resolution using this formula. It does mean we can engage in conflict and achieve resolutions that put criticism out of reach. If it is not a fixable or resolvable situation that does not mean the relationship has to end or suck out all of the joy or happiness from it.

Many couples build thriving relationships in spite of enduring, unresolved issues and conflicts. What if one person is a saver and one person feels if we haven’t used it we should donate it to charity. Minimalist and hoarder tendencies are bound to collide. Clean freaks and free-spirited creative types are bound to have conflict. Social people and introverts will have differences of opinions on going out and engaging with others socially. People who are on opposite sides of the political spectrum will collide in how they think things should progress, changes should be made, and even help given to those who need it. Some of us like to engage in deep discussions with one person, while others want to keep it light and move on and talk to someone else.

We don’t lack things to complain about. Don’t we need to learn how to complain without criticism? Can we keep our complaints in perspective, and see the humor in situations? A dose of humor can go along way when we see the inevitable conflict arising. If we can learn to laugh with each other, and not at each other, shouldn’t we get bonus points?

Shouldn’t we be grateful if we have someone in our lives? Even if that person isn’t perfect, we know we aren’t, don’t we?

Replace your judgments with empathy, upgrade your complaining to gratitude, and trade in your fear for love. Hal Elrod

As you waste your breath complaining about life someone out there is breathing their last. Appreciate what you have. Be thankful and stop complaining. Live more, complain less, have more smiles, less stress. Unknown

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. Epicurus

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert, Revised and Updated

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert, Revised and Updated  Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

John M. Gottman PhD (Author), Nan Silver (Author), Eric Michael Summerer (Narrator), Tantor Audio (Publisher)4.6 out of 5 stars 2,364 ratings

Nature heals us with her beauty and bounty. We are all part of nature.

We are all part of nature. Nature heals us with her beauty and bounty.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. John Muir

Yesterday the sun didn’t shine so I didn’t get my vitamin D, but today the sun is shining in all its glorious splendor. My garden is calling to me but the birds are so busy taking the dry stalks to make their nests I hesitate to clean it up and deprive them of what they need. Maybe everyone else has cleaned their gardens already and they are busy in my yard because mine is the last messy one they know of.

At one o’clock till four there is a zoom meeting I must attend so their building materials are likely safe for today. Yesterday I needed more room in my pantry so I moved some things around and before long the kitchen looked like a cyclone hit it. My husband came upstairs and took one look at everything piled everywhere and turned around saying nothing. By the time dinner time came, it was all put back with new shelf liners in a cupboard I hadn’t intended to touch.

Having more order in our lives gives us a sense of control. Planting potatoes this year will give us a sense of peace. Exercising makes us feel we are doing something for our bodies to keep us strong and healthy. Eating chocolate, cookies, and chips makes us feel comforted at the moment but looking in the mirror makes us sad. Getting on the scale these days takes grit and determination.

When our lockdown started I quit fasting two days a week telling myself I need to be strong if I come in contact with the virus and fasting may weaken my resistance. Any excuse will do if we want an excuse but the scale told me I must get back to fasting twice a week and so on April 9th I started it again from dinner on Sunday till dinner on Monday and then dinner on Wednesday to dinner on Thursday.

Last Sunday I had an old exercise machine called the E-Force moved into my bedroom so I can add it to my morning routine. Even though I didn’t feel like using the E-Force this morning I did and feel better for it. I’m grateful to my husband for putting some WD40 on it so it isn’t making that high pitched squeal that made us all cringe. Yesterday, had I thought about tackling that cupboard I wouldn’t have, but because moving things in the pantry meant moving things there it’s now done, and looking in my neat and newly lined cupboard makes me smile.

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. Rachel Carson

Today there are pansies to plant and put in my front urn. It’s time for the winter arrangement to go. If we are lucky enough to have a little earth to get our hands dirty in we will find connecting to the earth in some way feeds our soul. If we have a balcony, back or front yard, at least a window sill, or table that gets some sun we can grow something. If we don’t have enough sun we can purchase a grow light. Connecting to nature in small and big ways will bring a smile to our face, a spring in our step, and nurture our soul.

We need to bother to do the things that make us smile and feed our souls. We will have more to give to others if we take the time to bask in the beauty and bounty of nature.

The sun beckons, I’m going for a walk. What joy to feel the sun on our face and the wind in our hair. Nature heals and all we have to do is go for a walk, play in the dirt, or dance in the rain. Are we taking the time to experience the bounty and beauty of nature?

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive. Eleonora Duse

People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering. Saint Augustine

When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience sleeps. John Lennon

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The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by [Florence Williams]

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The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative Kindle Edition

by Florence Williams (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

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Clothed with strength and dignity. So we can laugh at the days to come because we are prepared?

Laughing at the days to come because we are prepared. Clothed in strength and dignity.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25

What do we think when we hear that a psychic predicted the pandemic? Mom told me about this in a phone call over the weekend. My sister told me about the Dean Koontz novel The Eyes of Darkness, about a killer virus. Many of us have watched the movie Pandemic during our stay-in.

 I found this post by Benjamin Radford

But there’s more to the story because as it turns out Browne made at least one other similar prediction with some significant differences. I discovered this a few days ago. I have several books by Browne in my library (mostly bought at Goodwill and library sales), among them Browne’s 2004 book Prophecy: What the Future Holds for You (written with Lindsay Harrison, from Dutton Publishing).

On p. 214, I found an earlier, somewhat different version of this same prophecy. Details and exact words matter, so here’s her 2004 prediction verbatim: “By 2020 we’ll see more people than ever wearing surgical masks and rubber gloves in public, inspired by an outbreak of a severe pneumonia-like illness that attacks both the lungs and the bronchial tubes and is ruthlessly resistant to treatment. This illness will be particularly baffling in that, after causing a winter of absolute panic, it will seem to vanish completely until ten years later, making both its source and its cure that much more mysterious.” 

Comparing this to her later 2008 version (“In around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments. Almost more baffling than the illness itself will be the fact that it will suddenly vanish as quickly as it arrived, attack again ten years later, and then disappear completely”) we can see a few differences. 

Sylvia Browne died in 2013 and her books End of Days and Prophecy are becoming big sellers on Amazon and Kindle. I searched my bookshelves but I don’t have either of these books.

If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment. Henry David Thoreau

Had I found this in November last year it would be terrifying but because I’ve only learned about it now it seems comforting. We are in the middle or past the middle and it has already spread to most nations on earth. We are already wearing masks and gloves. We’ve already seen many cases and deaths and we are handling it. So, if the last part is true that it goes as quickly as it came that will be welcome. If it comes again in ten years and then disappears forever we can deal with that too.

We worry about how we will deal with things but when we are in the thick of them we do what needs to be done. Do we really want to know what the future holds? What challenges are ahead we will have to deal with? Instead. do we really want to know we can deal with the challenges ahead and we will find the strength to take each day as it comes? Sometimes we may only be able to deal with each moment as we go through the hard parts of our lives.

None of us will get through life without challenges. We learn things through the hard parts of our life we may learn no other way. My Aunt tells me when my Uncle died after a year-long stay in a nursing home, “I thought I was ready.” What if we will never be ready, but we can be prepared for what comes?

A woman who does not waste her time, her resources, her abilities, or her life is prepared for what life brings:

She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.

She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings, she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand, she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

(Proverbs 31:13-27)

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What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts) by [Nancy Guthrie]

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by Nancy Guthrie (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition