Our thoughts create our life.

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Change your thoughts and you change your world. Norman Vincent Peale

Do old hurts run through our mind? Do we chew on them like a cow with its cud? Ruminating, going over the same old thing, over and over again. We are told there are two things we can control, our thoughts and our behavior.  It doesn’t always feel like we have control of these. Our mind is flooded with thoughts we don’t want to think. We don’t want to keep thinking about that hurtful event, those hurtful words, our fears, but they won’t go and stay away.

Why do we appear to have a problem trying to stop thoughts? Why don’t we have an off button in our brain? Our feelings follow our thoughts so negative ruminating generates negative emotions. When we worry we become anxious. Could we change our negative emotions by doing something that elevates our mood? What if we choose to go for a run, exercise, dance, or call a friend who always makes us laugh? When we do things that elevate our mood we feel better, and it can also distract our brain from the problem we’ve been ruminating about.

Are we worried about something happening and we can’t let go of the worry? Maybe we should sink as deep into that worry as possible and write down what we would do if the worst happened. If we look at the worst that can happen and realize we can handle it because when the worst happens we do handle it. We may handle it well or poorly but we handle it. Digging deep into the worst that can happen may show us we could handle it well. We may think we couldn’t possibly ever be happy again if the worst happened, but that is rarely true. Research tells us we are as happy in six months after something happens as we were before. Even if that something is our wildest dream coming true, or catastrophic our level of happiness is back to what it was in about six months.

Can we turn that thought around in our head? Is there another way to look at it? Do we have a part to play in it we do not want to acknowledge? If we take one hundred percent responsibility for the situation bothering us, what could we do, and what could we change?

Chewing gum research tells us helps eliminate “earworms” those thoughts that go round and round and round.

Maybe we don’t have enough going on in our life if we keep going over the same old thoughts. Maybe we need to feed our mind something else to think about. Do we need to find a project, a plan, something we could focus on that is positive? Could we memorize bible verses or great quotations to ponder? Would keeping a journal help? Sometimes getting our thoughts on paper helps to figure things out. We could ask our self-questions, then we could ask our self more questions.

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. James Baldwin

Studies show devout people have fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as a better ability to cope with stress. A 2005 study of older adults in San Francisco Bay area found being religious served as a buffer against depression among people in poorer health, with the highest levels of depression among those who were in poor health and not religious. A 2013 study found patients who were treated for mental health issues such as depression or anxiety responded better to treatment if they believed in God. Another study by Dr. Harold G. Koenig director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health at Duke University Medical Center, found that more religious people had fewer depressive symptoms.

One of the reasons given is because religion gives people a sense of purpose and meaning in life, and that helps them to make sense of negative thoughts that happen to them. Religious communities also provide support and encouragement through hard times.

Studies suggest that meditation and meditative prayer activate areas of the brain involved in regulating emotional responses, including the frontal lobes. A 2010 study by Dr. Andrew Newberg that included brain scans of Tibetan Buddhists and Franciscan nuns found that these long term meditators had more activity in frontal-lobe areas such as the prefrontal cortex, compared with people who were not long-term meditators.

It could be possible that the beliefs and teachings advocated by religion like forgiveness, love, and compassion – may become integrated into the way the brain works. The more certain neural connections in the brain are used, the stronger they become. Some religions also advocate staying away from high-risk behaviors like smoking, drinking, or overindulging in food. Could staying away from these unhealthy behaviors also be beneficial for brain function?

We have choices to make, about what we think, what we do, what changes we will make in our life. Our life will be built on what we focus on. Are there thoughts we need to reduce our focus on, so we can focus on better more positive thoughts? Does our thinking make it so? Is it true when we change our thoughts, we change our life?

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death. Anais Nin

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The Power Of Positive Thinking: A Practical Guide To Mastering The Problems Of Everyday Living Hardcover – May 26 2002


Gratitude and happiness, loving what is.

Photo by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie

Last night a really stupid thing happened. I was roasting my sauce for lasagna I’m taking to a games night. After taking the pot out of the oven I grabbed the hot handle with my bare hand. This is what happens when we aren’t mindful of what we are doing. Doing things automatically isn’t always okay.

I remembered hearing butter was good for burns. We were in the middle of a movie so I put butter on my burn. When I got ready for bed I washed the butter off and my burn started to hurt again. I went downstairs and put more butter on my burn. This morning I have one small blister on my middle finger and a slight red line on my index finger.

I was able to do my sun salutations without pain. I am grateful it isn’t worse. When I Googled butter and burns this morning they say it’s an old home remedy that’s a bad idea. My burn looks better this morning than it did last night, does that mean butter works?

I’m grateful my burn is better. I’m a big believer in home remedies. Yesterday my daughter had a sinus headache. I told her when my sinuses bother me I drink 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a heaping quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper in warm water.

I’m a big believer in trying things; I’ve had the after-effects of antibiotics so they are the last resort for me. I took them for strep throat and since it can be pretty serious taking the antibiotics was probably worth it. The after effects of the antibiotics were a lot to deal with.

It is with gratitude I surf the web finding home remedies and remember Mom’s home remedies . Too often we mask symptoms instead of healing them. Pain is our body’s way of letting us know we have a problem. What if I couldn’t feel pain when I touched the hot handle of the pot? How bad would the burn be?

I watched a video about a girl that didn’t feel pain. It was not good. She hurt herself in big and small ways because she didn’t feel pain.

I am happy because I’m grateful. That gratitude allows me to be happy. Will Arnett

There may be instances where we can do nothing but mask the pain so we can function. The underlying cause may not be fixable. It is not true that we all have to feel a lot of pain when we get old, healthy eating and exercise will keep many people pain free even in old age. It works for my mother.

We can’t agree on what good eating is, but we can all agree that junk food, sweet drinks, processed foods and empty calories are not the answer. If we start there we can quibble over whether we should only eat plants or mostly eat meat and greens. I’ve read about people doing equally well on both of these extreme ways of eating.

The middle road is more the road I want to be on. Eat healthy, mostly plants and not too much is my motto. An indulgence like I’ll have tonight  I don’t sweat. I enjoy and then get back to plainer fare.

This week I talked myself out of going to the gym because of the cold. Telling myself, that is when I get a cold, coming out of the gym into the cold. It’s okay to skip a week, but next week, back to the gym.

I miss the feeling of ease when I don’t go to the gym. I felt a strange pain in my side this week. Keeping limber by doing sun salutations, keeping strong by doing weights, and walking makes me feel at ease. Without exercise I begin to feel pain, it usually starts in my back or like this week in my side. If we don’t use it we lose it. We lose it quicker than we think.

I remember watching a documentary about two over 100 year old women. They exercised every day and their motto was if they could do today what they could do yesterday they were good.

Ageing well with humour, grace, strength, and courage is my goal. I am blessed with a fabulous role model. When I go to the park in the summer a group of older adults mostly Chinese are doing Tai Chi. They look fit, happy, and flexible. Role models are all around us.

People overcome diabetes with food and exercise. Other diseases are overcome or mitigated with diet and exercise. There is a rub; we have to be careful not to be judgemental. Just because my elderly mother lives without pain does not mean every older person who does what she does won’t have pain.

Everybody with type 2 diabetes may not be able to eliminate it with food and exercise. We may do what worked for everyone else and it doesn’t work for us. That’s life; we have to deal with what is. It isn’t always nice, or fair.

No matter the circumstance we find our self in I think gratitude for what is good in our life is positive. We may feel this situation we are in is unending, and unchanging, but that is rarely true. No matter how grave our circumstances may be, our attitude is important.

Can we live with an attitude of gratitude every day, knowing that no matter how dark what before us seems, finding something to be grateful for will make it better in some small way? Are we the example we would like to see? Is being happy a kind of gratitude? Does gratitude lead to happiness?

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. Albert Schweitzer

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Experiences and adventure are more important than things.

Experiences and Adventure - Watercolor map of Canada

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Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind. Anthony Bourdain

Last night my husband was looking at old pictures on the computer from eleven years ago. We looked so young and so happy. On the weekend we visited my niece and her husband who are where we were eleven years ago. They look so young and happy.

Looking at our pictures I see it was a phase in our lives. The kids were almost grown. Everything was pregnant with possibility. We weren’t worried about retirement yet.

There are phases in our lives we look back on before all the decisions were made. It was the last trip across Canada together. The last time we would see my Dad.

It is with gratitude I look at those pictures and am so happy we took the time off work to take that trip. We learn things when we travel about ourselves and about other people.

We hear how important it is to travel abroad for young people. Traveling in Canada can be as enlightening. My kids handled a rifle and shot at clay pigeons in Alberta. They saw the badlands of Canada and the U.S. and visited the Royal Tyrell Dinosaur Museum at Drumheller.  On another trip, we took the ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island and visited Butchart Gardens. They saw their first totem poles in Stanley Park and dipped their toes in the Pacific ocean.

They visited the small town where I went to school and the farm where I grew up. We had hoped to visit a rodeo but didn’t. It was a small local rodeo it is the one regret of the trip. We always regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Mark Twain

We haven’t traveled enough we tell ourselves. Watching Facebook we see the trips other people are taking and it gives us inspiration. We see things in their pictures we only see in magazines or not at all.

My mom used to say, “all work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.” We don’t have time for fun, travel, and experiences at our peril. Life roles along whether we keep our head stuck to the grindstone or lift it up and enjoy what is offered up to us through travel, outings, festivals, carnivals, or parks. We have a lot to experience in whatever corner of Canada or the world we live. We can bring more fun into our lives by planning small and big outings. Too often we fail to make plans and wonder why someone else is living the exciting life of our dreams. They made it happen, we do not.

A trip to Scotland may be out of the question, but we have small towns and places of interest everywhere for day or weekend trips. It isn’t more worthwhile because you flew five or eighteen hours to get somewhere. Too often I answer “what do you want to do?” with, “what do you want to do?”

Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul. Jamie Lyn Beatty

I think we can’t afford the expense, the time, or don’t want to bother. I look at the pictures of the trips we’ve taken. We managed with the time off. The business didn’t fold because we took a week or two off. A lot of the things we want to do in life are doable if we plan and make them happen. There is power in a decision. There is no power in “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” Do you have an answer today if someone asks, where would you like to go? What would you like to do?

Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that mountain. Jack Keroucc

Canada Travel Guide (Travelling on a Budget Book 2) by [Elsmore, Sarah Jane]
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An attitude of gratitude. Eating together creates happy, positive families.

Ask More Questions - butterfly photo taken by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie

As I sit writing today I do so with a grateful heart. Mom and Dad always said grace at meals and my husband and I implemented this in our family. Eating together is one of the best things we can do as families. A family therapist says she often has the impulse to tell families to go home and eat dinner together.

Sitting down for a nightly meal is great for the brain, body, and spirit. Dinner conversation boosts young children’s vocabulary more than being read aloud to. Researchers found young children learned 1,000 rare words at the dinner table, compared to only 143 from parents reading storybooks.

Regular mealtime is a higher predictor of high achievement scores than time spent in school, doing homework, playing sports or doing art. Children who eat regular family dinners consume more fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and micronutrients, as well as fewer fried foods and soft drinks. The dividends keep paying off as children get older, teens are less likely to be obese and more likely to eat healthily once they live on their own.

Studies show family dinners are a more powerful deterrent against high-risk teen behaviors than church attendance and good grades. Researchers find regular family dinners are associated with lower rates of depression and suicidal thoughts.  In a recent study victims of cyberbullying bounced back more readily if they had regular family dinners.

In a survey American teens were asked when they were most likely to talk to their parents. Dinner was the answer. When children eat dinner with their parents they have a better relationship and less stress with them.

Of course, the real power of these dinners lies in their interpersonal quality. If we sit in stony silence, yell at each other, or scold our kids there won’t be as positive of an outcome. It isn’t sharing the roast beef that makes it magical. It is the time we can share a positive experience, a joke, an achievement, a concern, a point of view, these small moments gain momentum and create stronger connections over time.

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. Denis Waitley

If we start our dinners with Grace we can create an attitude of gratitude in our children. A regular time to be grateful is part of learning to be grateful. Reverend Ed Bacon says “If you don’t learn gratitude as a child, you can grow up to be an ingrate and that is one of the worst possible human conditions. The essence of life is a gift. What do you do when you receive a gift? It is a diminishment of the human soul not to know that life is a gift.”

When we recognize the importance of all the blessings small and large that come our way every day we are grateful. Unexpressed gratitude is like a hug never given.

Somedays it is hard to be grateful, we can at least be grateful for the farmer that planted the seed that bore the grain that became the bread, pasta, etc. There is always something to be grateful for, even if it is just to get through the hardest day of your life. Another day, another gift.

Our children are no longer children. We still have family dinners, but not so often. When we do we have added members we are grateful for. Some of the highlights of our week are sitting around the table talking and laughing.

I think one of the things growing up eating dinner together gives us is an ease of getting together as adults. We pick up where we left off easily. If we didn’t develop closeness at family dinners how would it be getting together with siblings as adults?

If TV is on during dinner kindergartners are more likely to be overweight by the time they are in third grade. The association with TV watching during dinner and overweight children has also been reported in Sweden, Finland, and Portugal.

I am so grateful my parents said grace at mealtimes and we always ate together. It is a tradition I hope my children implement as they begin their lives. Being grateful and eating together is a great way to start building a happy, healthy, grateful, family culture.

In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Come and Eat: A Celebration of Love and Grace Around the Everyday Table Paperback – Sep 5 2017


Happy wife, happy Life. Happy people raise happy successful children.

2019 A Year Of Possibilities - photo of coral rose by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A man is as miserable as he thinks he is. Seneca

No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change. Barbara DeAngelis

Did you do your three things to make you happy yesterday or today? If we want to be happy we have to make our self happy.  We can then bring joy and happiness into everyone else’s life we touch.

A new study claims that a wife’s happiness is more important than her husband’s. The study analyzed data from 394 older couples married for an average of thirty nine years. The couples were asked questions about the level of appreciation or understanding from their spouse and how often they argue.

A satisfied wife tends to do more for her husband which has a positive effect on his life. Men tend to be less vocal about their relationships, their level of unhappiness might not be translated to their wives.

The research indicates the couples happier with their marriages also reported greater life satisfaction and happiness in general. The researchers found that wives become more unhappy when their husband become ill than the husband does when his wife becomes ill. Some people believe this is because the husband doesn’t do the care taking of the wife, I don’t believe that  as I’ve seen doting husbands caring for their ailing wife in numerous situations with very little or no outside help.

Research from the University of Pittsburgh found unhappy marriages negatively affect the health of both husbands and wives, but there is a greater impact of conflict on men than women. Married people tend to live longer, healthier lives than those who are divorced, widowed or never married. They have better psychological wellbeing, less likely to develop illnesses, and they heal faster when they are sick. Experiencing a great deal of conflict in a relationship is very damaging to health, conflict is as negative to our health as smoking and drinking. It isn’t the act of getting married that is good for our health; it is what we do for each other throughout our marriage.

How do we raise happy children to become happy spouses? In 2010 researchers at Duke University Medical School found babies with very affectionate and attentive mothers grew up to be happier, more resilient, and less anxious adults. The study involved approximately 500 babies followed until they were in their 30’s. At eight months of age the psychologists rated the mother’s affection and attention level on a five point scale from negative to extravagant. Nearly 10% of the mothers showed low levels of affection, 85 percent demonstrated normal amounts of affection, and about six percent showed high levels of affection.

When you look into your mother’s eyes, you know that is the purest love you can find on this earth. Mitch Albom

Thirty years later those young adults were interviewed about their emotional health. The adults whose mother’s showed extravagant or caressing affection were less likely than the others to feel stressed and anxious. They were less likely to report distressing social interactions, psychosomatic symptoms and hostility.

Adults who report receiving more affection in childhood displayed less depression, anxiety and were more compassionate individuals. Those reporting less affection struggled with mental health, were more upset in social situations, and less able to see things from other people’s perspective.

Being a mother is still the most important job in the world. We should have equal opportunity to pursue our goals, but we still have to realize parenting the next generation well should be our biggest goal. Never lose sight of the fact that motherhood and fatherhood is the most important role in our life. We create the next generation and the effects are passed down from generation to generation.

In some sense every parent does love their children. But some parents are too broken to love them well. Wm. Paul Young

Studies show 91 percent of parents had at least one adverse childhood experience, while 45 percent had four or more. When parents had four or more bad experiences, their children were nearly six times more likely to show signs of social and emotional problems.

Happy families create happy children which create happy families. Do your part, be happy today.

By loving them for more than their abilities we show our children that they are much more than the sum of their accomplishments. Eileen Kennedy-Moore

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The Little Book of Happiness: Your Guide to a Better Life Hardcover – Nov 27 2018


A happy wife, a happy life. Happiness is a choice.

Choose Happiness - Pink Roses photographed by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely. Roy T. Bennet

We’ve all heard a happy wife makes a happy life. Is this true? If it is true doesn’t that put a huge burden on us women?

Only happy people can have happy relationships. Is it true? Then if we want a happy marriage, relationship, family, work place we will have to start with us. We sometimes think we are unhappy because of what is going on around us, but often we can be happy in our relationships if we are happy, positive, energized. We need to get that spark back.

A relationship coach Laura Doyle says she was great wife material until she actually got married. She tried to tell her husband he needed to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier. When she started talking to women who had what she wanted in their marriages and practiced what they practiced the magic returned.

She has written numerous books on the subject. It all starts with us. If we want to be happy, we need to be happy. We need to find the joy in life. We need to be grateful for what we have. She tells us we need to do three things every day that bring joy and happiness to our life. Not for our husband, kids, or relationship for us.

My husband and I discussed a sore spot in our relationship yesterday morning. He went off to his appointment in a less than happy mood, and I was in a less than happy mood. I was looking on the internet and up came Laura Doyle. I thought about her suggestion of three things I could do to make myself happy. I’d already written my blog so that was number one. It was a beautiful day so I took Lulu for a walk around the pond and took some pictures. When I got back I had some cashew ice-cream. I called mom but she wasn’t home.

By the time my husband got back he said he was hungry so we went out for coffee. As we sat there he said “there’s a big change in you since this morning. I like it when you’re happy.”

This is exactly what Laura Doyle is saying. She doesn’t have high regard for marriage counseling. She believes it doesn’t work because it isn’t focused on making the marriage better; it is more focused on who is at fault. She is a relationship coach and she only works with women. I only came across her yesterday but this is what I’ve been telling my husband about a lot of what is on YouTube. Many of the videos are about someone blaming someone for their life, not fixing their own life.

Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness. Bertrand Russell

Laura Doyle believes as I do that relationships are dynamic, when we change, they change. The problem a lot of us have is we don’t want to be the one that changes because the other person is the problem. We can only change our self. It might not sound like a lot, but it is everything.

In Al-anon where people with some of the worst relationships go, they find help because they are taught to change their own life. They are taught to quit trying to control someone else. If we can manage our own life it is a big enough job. What someone else chooses to do with theirs is out of our control.

We can live with them and like it, we can live with them and hate it, or we can leave, but we can’t do what we want to do and change them. This is our choice every day. The thing is when we change our self, everything changes.

We aren’t victims in the sense that we can’t make our life better without someone else changing. We can change, we can become happy. Is every relationship salvageable because we choose to be happy? Every person has to make this decision for them self.

My challenge is to find three things every day that make me happy. Oprah told us years ago to write down three things we were grateful for every day. Gratitude and happiness go hand in hand.

They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world; someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. Tom Bodett

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The Empowered Wife: Six Surprising Secrets for Attracting Your Husband’s Time, Attention, and AffectionPaperback – Mar 28 2017


 

 

 

 

Toxic relationships are critical and full of contempt. Gratitude is the antidote.

Toxic thoughts - photo of orange flower by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t’ get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die: so let us all be thankful. Buddha

We’ve heard about toxic relationships, do we know what that means? I don’t think I really got it until yesterday when I listened to the Gottman’s speak on Youtube. They talk about the four horsemen of relationships, criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling.

Contempt is the emotional reaction the Gottman’s considers the most damaging. They say they can predict how many illnesses a partner will have by the amount of contempt in the relationship. We do not realize how thoughts affect our body. Uplifting thoughts allow us to elevate our consciousness and awareness; non-inspiring thoughts tend to drag us down.

In Bodily Maps of Emotions Finnish scientists mapped areas of the body activated according to each emotion (happiness, sadness, anger, etc.) The researchers proposed that emotions represented in the somatosensory system are culturally universally categorical somatotopic maps. Perception of these emotion-triggered bodily changes may play a key role in generating consciously felt emotions. We have been taught to believe that external factors and disease treatments are what can help control our pain and suffering. What if we become aware of the importance and power of our thoughts? What if we learn to control them? What if we consciously removed negative thoughts from our mind? Would that make a difference to our life? There are many books telling us this is so.

After the falling in love phase of relationships are over we move into the next phase and the big question becomes “can I trust you?” Falling in love is easy; staying in love can be our big challenge.

We have to feel our partner has our best interests at heart and they have to feel we have their best interests at heart.

Even before there is an actual betrayal we can start sowing the seeds of betrayal by acting in ways that create betrayal. Those actions involve comparing what we are getting with what we think we could get. If we get in the habit of thinking we could do better, the negative comparisons lead us to nurture resentment about what is not there. The seeds are planted for eventual discord, distrust and betrayal.

Gottman say we can act in a way that creates loyalty. Loyalty is about nurturing gratitude for what we have. The key is cherishing our partner. This involves both partners making a conscious decision to minimize in their mind their partner’s negative qualities and maximize the positive qualities.

It’s the”very small moments” that are most important. We should devote some time every day to find little moments of connection.

We should find time to express appreciation and affection. If we do this every day cherishing becomes a ritual of connection in our relationship.

When we have doubts and fears we should bring them up. This is positive complaining leading to action. Tell them what we need, make it about us not about them and what they didn’t do, didn’t give us, or aren’t enough of. We need to talk and resolve issues as they come up. Don’t let them become the elephant in the room.

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose. Lyndon B. Johnson

Reframe our negative thoughts about our partner. Where might he or she be coming from? If they get a little controlling it might help to remember, they are also supportive, encouraging and our biggest ally.

When we bring up an issue with our mate or they with us we should be open to working on it. This will build more trust. This is an active process both mentally and emotionally, and we need to keep in mind how lucky we are to have each other.

Disease is the absence of health … darkness is the absence of light. Health is not the absence of disease. Light is not the absence of darkness.  Contempt is the absence of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike. To not show contempt for a person is either be neutral and show no feelings, or show respect and liking or love for that person.

Contempt is “I’m better than you, and you are lesser than me.” The antidote to contempt is to describe our feelings and needs. On any given issue we can avoid “you” statements which make our partner feel blamed and attacked.  We also need to avoid the facial expressions that are contemptuous, eye rolling, sneering, etc. To resolve the situation we need to have our needs, wants, etc addressed, this will not happen by attacking our partner with you never, you always, you should. Perhaps they can be resolved with I feel, I need. If our partner knows what we need, want, expect, desire, they have something to work with. When we know what they need, want, desire, expect, we have something to work with. Working together to meet each other’s wants, expectations, desires, and needs we build a healthy, nurturing, happy relationship.

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. Willie Nelson

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Celebrate moments not milestones.

Milestones - Photo of Weeping Willow Tree by Belynda Wilson Thomas

At the end of the day, the fact we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate.     

Meredith Grey

If we are having one of those milestone birthdays this year and it isn’t sixteen or twenty one we might not be thrilled. In our mind it means more than it means. It does not mean we are officially “anything” except alive. That is reason to celebrate. So many people never get the chance to have the milestone birthday because they are cut down early in life.

We have people in our life that didn’t make it as far as we have. They would love to be celebrating, if you can’t celebrate for yourself then celebrate for them. They would want you to.

In the midst of our happiest times there are unhappy times and in the midst of our unhappy times there are moments of joy. Enjoying the moments of our life amidst the joy and sorrow that life brings is the key to enjoying life.

When I look back on my life and I did yesterday with a long phone call with one of my brothers. We talked about horses and how we felt losing a horse when we were very young. We were so young we don’t remember how she died, only that she did. We had two horses at the time and my brother picked the white one Misty as his, and I picked the sorrel(red) one as mine. The sorrel Flicka died.

How the conversation came up is he has a dark sorrel filly (female colt) and he hasn’t named her yet. He named her yesterday in our conversation in honor of the horse we lost as kids. He was helping me heal an old wound he said.

Any of you who have a bond with horses will understand, we have a similar bond with dogs.

We think there is endless time to live but we never know which moment is last. So share, care, love, and celebrate every moment of life.

Anonymous

My brother is conquering an illness that is not well understood by Doctors. Having his horses to look after has given him a reason to get out of bed in the morning. They have helped him through this last two and a half years in a way that nothing else probably could.

I used to see an elderly man who could hardly walk take his little Yorkie out for a walk every day. He wouldn’t have walked for himself but he did for his dog.

It is moments of joy that give meaning to our days. It might be a hug and kiss or more with our spouse, coffee and conversation with someone, or a phone call.  A walk among the trees in fall splendor along a sunlit path beside water, even better if it is with someone we love.

Our memories are the string of moments in our lives. A stroll down memory lane can be a highlight in our day. No one but my brother and I understand the significance of a horse called Flicka. Many of us have moments like that. Moments shared with someone creates a strong bond. We never know when we will have one of those moments we’ll treasure the rest of our life.

Special moments can’t be contrived, they happen when we are open to the experiences of life. We can’t plan for a special moment even if the occasion calls out for one. We can do our best to create an atmosphere where a special moment might occur. We can enjoy it when it does.

Live life when you have it. Life is a splendid gift-there is nothing small about it.     

Florence Nightingale

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Gratitude and Happiness. We’re supposed to be grateful for “everything”?

Sailing on smooth water Photo of pond by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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In spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser and happier as a result. Joseph B. Wirthlin

Gratitude as an attitude makes life better. It is easy to be grateful for all the good in our life. We are grateful for all the people that make life work. We are grateful for our husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, children and friends. Grateful for the work we have to do. Grateful for full store shelves and services we have access to.

I’m reading we are also to be grateful for the challenges that come our way. I’m finding it very hard to be grateful for the cold or whatever it was I got after returning home from Jamaica. I understand we grow through challenge.

I don’t want challenges; does that mean I don’t want to grow? Life rolling around even if not perfect often feels more comfortable than the challenge that arises that in the end may make it better. It’s not all that comforting in the midst of the challenge.

Michael J. Fox has called his Parkinson’s disease the gift that keeps on taking. If he can see the gifts he’s getting while losing all he’s losing I better take another look at the gifts/challenges in my life. They aren’t that extreme.

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. Napoleon Hill

Oprah says that when we need to learn something first it comes to us as a whisper. If we deal with it; good for us. If we don’t deal with it, it comes louder and bigger, until at some point we realize we have to deal with it.

When life meanders along we sometimes find that boring. When we get that sharp jerk telling us everything isn’t okay we come to attention. At least we should and deal with whatever challenge/problem has arisen.

Too often we are blindsided by our problem. Where did that come from? We are stuck. Sometimes the problem/challenge is so big we feel we are white water rafting through our life. Holding on for dear life, hoping we don’t capsize and hit the rocks. Sometimes we capsize and hit the rocks, then we hope we don’t die.

Many people have epiphanies as they face death. I had one of those experiences once. My girlfriend and I were driving home late at night. The road was icy. A police officer was outside of a car he’d stopped on the highway. Our car hit ice, spun out and did a 360 degree circle in the middle of the highway. How close we came to hitting the Police officer still makes me shudder. We ended up facing the way we’d been facing, waited for the Police officer to make a move toward us. He didn’t, we drove on.

I didn’t expect to feel the way I felt after that. Feeling like I’d faced death and came out the other side I was exhilarated. I was more grateful, more filled with the thought I needed to find my purpose. We were nineteen or twenty at the time. Did anything actually change after that? I don’t know.

I tried to reconnect with that girlfriend years later. Somehow through circumstance and timing it didn’t happen. I wonder where life took her. Where life will continue to take me?

I’ve enjoyed this journey as wife and mother. I’m not relinquishing being a mother but it is definitely a new role as I step back even if only in my mind to let them make their own decisions and live their own lives. My husband and I are returning to being a couple.

I hope this new chapter will be a good chapter, a healthy, fun chapter. We don’t know the challenges/gifts coming our way. We will I hope weather them with grace and humour. The challenges we face will make us strong, the gifts will make us wise.

I waited six months for a second mammogram. I was grateful the news was good. I’m finding it hard to believe I would have been grateful if the news was bad. Finding the nugget of gold in every instance is the way to live a good life. I understand this on some level but digging for that gold would take everything I have. I’m grateful I’ve never been put to the test. Finding a way to be positive in the face of adversity is the best way to live our lives. I look at people with adversity and am grateful I am not them. Am I alone in this thought?

Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has. Bill Graham

He knows not his own strength who hath not met adversity. William Samuel Johnson

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The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life Paperback – August 16, 2016



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The Amazon Book Review

The Amazon Book Review

Destination wedding at Iberostar Jamaica. Fun and frivolity, bonding over breakfast. A week of memories.

Photo of Iberostar by Belynda Wilson Thomas

They gave each other a smile with a future in it. Ring Lardner

I have now entered a new stage in my life. I am a mother in law. Big changes are ahead as I see my daughter take her place and build her own family.

The wedding at Iberostar Jamaica was fabulous. The day started out with a light rain in the morning. So happy my daughter got her shower of blessings but it did not impact the ceremony on the beach.

We started getting ready early with hair and makeup. I wore false eyelashes for the first time. My daughter had eye lash extensions so the makeup artist said the false eyelashes could go on someone else. We had all day to get ready and we still seemed rushed at the end.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures but a lot of pictures were taken I will have access to. The dress was a challenge to take to Jamaica. We finally decided to vacuum seal it and stuff it in a carryon bag. With baited breath I asked my daughter how the dress fared when we arrived at the hotel at 11:00 pm which should have been about 6:00 but our flight was delayed. “I haven’t opened it yet,” she says.

We were starving so although I didn’t want to, we left the dress for the morning. We went to eat at the midnight buffet. By the time we got there it was just scraps left. The Chef came over to us and said, “I’m going to cook up some lobster for you guys.” In about 20 minutes he cooked up lobster in a teriyaki sauce.

The next morning with fear and trepidation we opened the carry on case and released the dress. It needed steaming but that was the way to carry it down. I thought the seamstress that did the alterations had done this before but she had seen the dresses released from vacuum packing not vacuum packed one herself. I recommend it, if you have a “big” dress to carry to a destination wedding, vacuum pack it. The plane was full and “the dress” had to be carryon.

If nothing else arrived in Jamaica “the dress” needed to. No luggage was lost from any of the guests. Everyone arrived safe and sound and had a lovely time.

Happiness [is] only real when shared Jon Krakauer

A shout out to Iberostar Jamaica. We stayed at The Rose Hall Beach the lowest level of the three. Some say this is the fun level and we had fun, especially the young folk who regularly got about three hours of sleep per night. The staff was fabulous, friendly and accommodating. The beach was great. We all ate too much food. Lighter fare at home and the gym will take care of the pounds I put on. The laundry steamed my daughters dress and brought it to the room she was dressing in the morning of the wedding. I carried a steamer just to be safe but we didn’t need it.

The bridesmaids in coral dresses against the beach were beautiful. I haven’t seen the pictures the photographer took but I expect them to be great. The Groom and groomsmen were handsome in grey pants and grey shirts with turquoise bow ties. We wrapped the bridesmaid’s bouquets in turquoise ribbon to match the bow ties.

Are there a few things we would do different? Of course, we left the flowers to the last minute and we didn’t need to. There is something about the last minute flurry I must like. I always seem to have last minute things to do and maybe I would feel lost if that wasn’t the case.

Two of the charger plates we used for the centre pieces broke but we carried super glue and the wedding department glues them together. They set up everything according to my daughter’s vision. We had a private reception for three hours with a DJ and then changed and went to the disco till 3:00am.

I recommend a destination wedding, it was so much fun. Wedding and vacation all in one. No wonder destination weddings are on the rise. For parents of the bride and groom it was less stressful than it would have been if we had to accommodate our guests with food and transportation etc at home.

Did I cry at the wedding? I thought I would, but I didn’t. I thought I would cry when I gave my speech. When I was speaking to random people telling them we were in Jamaica for my daughter’s wedding I would feel a tear in my eye and a catch in my voice. Weird isn’t it, it’s always the little things that get me. The big things I’m ready for. Putting the veil on my daughter was emotional, we kept it together. We couldn’t ruin her makeup that early.

They are off to a great start. The support from friends and family has been amazing. The rest is up to them. The memories we all made this week are priceless. So blessed!

Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.

Joanne Woodward