Gratitude and Thanksgiving. Celebration with food and wine, how divine?

Celebration with food and wine, how divine. Gratitude and Thanksgiving.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving. W.T. Purkiser

Thanksgiving brought us a bright and glorious weekend.  Three birthdays and Thanksgiving converged and we celebrated on Sunday with dinner, laughs, and a groaning table. It was a fun and happy evening.

There is so much to be grateful for when we are lucky enough to get together and enjoy each other’s company. My sister-in-law came from a wedding celebration and showed us pictures of the radiant bride and happy groom.

Yesterday I called Mom and it is with a grateful heart I realize how lucky I am to still be able to make that Thanksgiving Day call. She went to a 90th birthday celebration for a friend the day before.

I’m looking at my post from last year. We didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving with a big dinner at our house. Everyone was off doing their own thing and the birthdays got celebrated the next week. My husband and I went for a long walk and then a lovely dinner. Yesterday we ended up talking and laughing over lunch in a nice restaurant. “I thought it would be nicer than our usual,” my husband said.

Last year I wrote:

Everything works in my life because of the love, support, and connection my husband and I have. We are entering stages of our life we don’t want to enter. Luckily we have each other and we will laugh and enjoy all that comes with it. As we weather the trials and tribulations with as much good humor as we can muster we will continue to grow together. We are a team; we can’t imagine not being a team. Our life only works as a team.

We need to balance individual goals and couple goals. This is our time, this is our life, we need to think about what we want and bring it into fruition. We can’t control a lot of things, we have to embrace insecurity, we also have to embrace each other and make the best of what we have, what we want, and what will be.

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. Meister Eckhart

It is all still true. Our children are making the decisions we once agonized over. When do we start a family, where do we live, will we be able to afford our own home?

If we can weather the storms, uncertainties, challenges we see coming and the ones we don’t see coming we can get from here to there as a couple. There is no happily ever after, not in the way people think. It is happily meeting the challenges of life as they come up, meeting each other’s needs, finding joy every day, pushing ourselves to take the next step and being the best we can be for our partners, families, and ourselves.

Is it in building a life and family we find meaning and purpose? It is hard to think of a better way to wring more joy out of life than to sit down to a family dinner, full of warmth, humor, love, joy, and accomplishment and not feel full of pride, contentment, and that it is all worth it.

Our children, nieces, and nephews bring in partners, and later as grandchildren join us our circles widen. Our hearts embrace everyone. When there is no longer room for everyone at one table we will need to make other arrangements, but we can always have room in our hearts.

Some day we may hear, “do I have to sit at the kiddy table?”

Thanksgiving is a time of togetherness and gratitude. Nigel Hamilton

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Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier Paperback – Nov 6 2008

by Robert Emmons (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 ratings


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Serendipity, synchronicity, chance, luck, meaningful coincidence, or magic?

Magic or serendipity, synchronicity, chance, luck or meaningful coincidence?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Sweet serendipity… that unexpected meeting that changes your life. Unknown

Last night instead of going to the gym I shopped for the birthday people. We’ll celebrate three birthdays and Thanksgiving this weekend with one dinner. Three names on one cake, or three cakes? I’ve opted for one cake.

It was my hope I could get something for each of them at one store. It worked and as I was cashing out I heard someone call my name. My friend and I usually attend the Horticultural meetings together but the night before a Toastmaster’s responsibility prevented me from attending. Here she was, we walked to a coffee shop across the way. There we sat, talked and laughed away the evening. She showed me a picture of her God son’s new baby being held by his fifteen year old sister.

A chance meeting is serendipity working in our lives. We are taking my husband out to breakfast for his birthday. I was hoping to take him to a new restaurant but couldn’t think of one. My friend highly recommended a new breakfast restaurant close to us. When she mentioned it I remember my daughter and I seeing it but it didn’t register when I was thinking of restaurants.

We never know how serendipity and synchronicity will work in our lives. When we change up our patterns is when we are told serendipity is more likely to show up.  Can we make room for more serendipity in our lives?

Do we ask questions rather than worrying, and are we open to how the answer appears?

Serendipity: Happy accident or pleasant surprise, the accident of finding something good without looking. Unknown

We need to get out among people. Opportunities come in the form of people.

Can we release judgment on how we thought it would be or should be? If we hold too tightly to our vision we may miss opportunities in front of us.

Can we stop acting like a victim? Carolyn Miss tells us, “power is the foundation of health and any time you’re acting like a victim, you’re losing power.”

Ask better questions. What’s the best question we can ask? What are the possibilities? Are we willing to say I don’t know and be open to the answers that come?

Are we getting out of our comfort zone? We may find being vulnerable scary but isn’t that where the adventure is? Are we saying yes to life?

Is there a bigger picture we aren’t seeing? At some point, we may be able to connect the dots and see how synchronicity and serendipity worked in our lives.

Do we recognize we can learn something from everyone we meet?

Are we willing to listen to our gut, listen to our intuition?

Can we realize that we are not at the end of our story? When one door closes another door opens. Sometimes what we get out of life is more than we’d planned for ourselves.

Trust that everything is working for our highest good. This is a tough one, but sometimes we can learn lessons no other way. Can we train our mind to see the good in everything? Can we see the silver lining?

Can we realize that Life is essentially a learning experience; there is something to learn in every situation?

Are we grateful for everything in our lives? Are we making room in our lives for serendipity?

Serendipity is the way to make discoveries, by accident but also by sagacity, of things one is not in quest of. Based on experience, knowledge, it is the creative exploitation of the unforeseen. Adrian Bejan

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Serendipity: How to Attract a Life You Love Paperback – Mar 12 2018

by Rosenthal MScEd, Joshua (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 rating


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Does gratitude remove fear and increase abundance? Are we grateful for the abundance in our lives?

Are we grateful for the abundance in our lives? Does gratitude remove fear and increase abundance?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

We all live with the objective of being happy, our lives are all different and yet the same. Anne Frank

Last night at Toastmasters my impromptu question was what would I like to teach? I thought for a moment and gratitude is what came to mind. If we are grateful for what we have we are told we will get more. Gratitude isn’t just about getting more it is with gratitude we appreciate the richness in our lives.

Gratitude adds a dimension to our lives that isn’t about getting more; it isn’t a slot machine where we put in gratitude to get out more to be grateful for. Gratitude is a sense of peace, joy, wonderment, and realization of how lucky we are to be. Our chance to not be was so much greater than our chance to be.

Isn’t having a chance to experience life, whatever is in our lives at this moment something? We can watch a sunrise and feel the majesty and miracle of life. When we look at a baby don’t we marvel at their perfection? We can stretch and feel the pull of our muscles. Don’t we enjoy using our senses? Touching, feeling, thinking, moving, responding to stimuli, eating, and drinking?

There is so much to celebrate in just being alive in the moment. We may have a conversation with a loved one, a telephone call to someone far away. Some form of connection to others is likely to be part of our day. The day brings with it sunshine, rain, snow, wind, but no matter what it brings it will be a day like no other. It is our day to enjoy, we may enjoy each moment, or live through the worst life can offer.

No matter what today brings it is ours to find joy in what ways we can. Will we find something to laugh about today? Will we smile as we watch a young family enjoying lunch? Yesterday my husband and I were in McDonald’s hearing the exuberance of a young child excited to get to the play area. We smiled, remembering when our children were excited at the prospect of a visit to McDonald’s.

Life is all around us. We can go into our backyard or a park and realize this is the whole world to creatures, and insects that make their home there. I have a birdbath and do my best to keep it full of water, watching the birds enjoy the water brings a smile to my face every time I watch them preen and flutter in the water. A couple of cardinals make their home in my backyard. Black, grey, and little red squirrels run up and down my fence, sometimes they put on an acrobatic show reaching for something enticing. Rabbits are a common sight, as are raccoons and even skunks.

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

Life is rich whether we acknowledge the abundance in our lives or not. We can be so focused on the task at hand, the getting from here to there, fitting everything in that we don’t notice the moments that are awe-worthy in our lives. We may miss the rainbow, sunrise, sunset, or a conversation with someone we were too busy to have. This is our life, we have our twenty-four hours to spend, and enjoy.

We can find ways to order our days to bring the most enjoyment possible, but it isn’t just about finding joy and happiness but about creating meaning and purpose. We may find that by creating a life of meaning and purpose we passed up some of the things that brought us fleeting happiness.

We can’t skim the surface of life and find passion and purpose. If we have love we will have losses. When we risk success, we will risk failure. If we are willing to look at all of life as a gift, grateful for all of it, the ups the downs, the joys the sorrows, the easy and the hard, when life is going our way and when it isn’t. Can we embrace all of life, and be grateful for everything? If we embrace our lives with gratitude, humor, grace, and accept the gifts hidden within some of our most painful moments we will have lived, really lived while we are alive.

This is it, this is our life, twenty-four golden hours spread before us. Does it feel different if we are grateful for the abundance in our lives?

When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears. Anthony Robbins

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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Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy Hardcover – Sep 9 2009

by Sarah Ban Breathnach (Author) 4.5 out of 5 stars 98 ratings


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Building a life we love takes effort. If we wait for someone else to do it, will it get done?

If we wait for someone else to do it, will it get done? Building a life we love takes effort.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Love the life you have while you create the life of your dreams. Hal Elrod

Yesterday was a beautiful day and our last family gathering for the summer. My sister brought tomatoes and peppers from her garden and some bottles for my kombucha. My niece brought wine. We have so many weekends when no one has any plans but this weekend hockey started so my niece’s husband and son couldn’t come. My son-in-law’s soccer playoff was happening so my daughter didn’t stay to visit long.

Getting together over food, telling stories and laughing is a wonderful way to spend an evening. We don’t get together often enough; it is always a joy when we do. My nephew is turning 50 in 2020 he’s already invited us to his party. We have enough advance warning, we’ll be sure to be there.

Lives are busy but we lose touch if we don’t make an effort. None of my family lives around the corner. We have to make an effort to see each other. Over the years we’ve done a good job of keeping in touch and getting together. Yesterday I phoned two of my other sisters and had some good laughs as we filled each other in on what’s going on in our lives.

It is so great hearing about the progress people are making in their lives. The funny things that are happening, the way life is unfolding. I’ve always envied the people who have such good stories to tell. Things always seem to be happening in their life. Some of us are more listeners than talkers and I think I tend to listen more and as a writer that makes sense. Other people’s stories, experiences, challenges, and triumphs are what give me food for thought and things to write about.

Sometimes when I think about having a get together I think about the work, sometimes I think about how great it is to laugh and spend time together. The laughter and togetherness win out.

Life is what we make it, and if we don’t bother sometimes there is no one else to bother. My niece’s husband is a hockey coach and it is the people who step up who make things happen. I never had to be one of the ones that stepped up for any of the activities my children participated in. We get what we put into life, and I don’t think I got out of my children’s activities what my niece and her husband have gotten out of theirs.

We can sit on the sidelines of life, sometimes we can be part of the things other people create. Sometimes we need to be the ones that create them. When we are part of the creators we live richer lives. When we sit on the sidelines of life we are reaping what we are sowing.

The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning. Joseph Campbell

If we want more out of life we need to put more into it. We know it’s true when we get up early, exercise, get involved in the community, develop our interests, talents, become better at anything we feel more alive, accomplished, and like we are doing what we are supposed to be doing.

It is sitting back and watching life pass us by that makes us feel everyone else is living a more adventurous, creative, and fun life. We need to find the balance between too much outside activity and too little. We need to create balance in what we give to our family, spirituality, work, creativity, and community.

Can everything always be in balance?  Can we have everything we want all the time? Can we do everything? We will have to choose the important things that fit into the seasons of our life. We have to decide what we are willing to do to get what we want. Is it true we have to decide what we want? Is it true we can’t get anywhere if we don’t know where we want to go? Or sometimes do we just need to do the next thing, whatever that is to build a life we love?

Can we set an ambitious goal? After all, don’t our goal determine our direction, and direct our actions? Can we come up with a compelling plan? Then, of course, we have to do the hard work of making it happen, deal with the setbacks, enjoy and measure our progress, and deal with our bad habits trying to derail us from reaching our goal. Life is a journey, enjoy the progress, it isn’t just about attaining goals.

Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still. Chinese proverb

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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Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself Paperback – Jun 23 2015

by Dr. Kristin Neff (Author) 4.4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews


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Live today. Don’t wait to be happy tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes only today is here to live, love, and be grateful for.

Tomorrow never comes only today is here to live, love, and be grateful for. Live today. Don't wait to be happy tomorrow.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Live today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Just today. Inhabit your moments. Don’t rent them out to tomorrow. Jerry Spinelli

I was listening to Tony Robbins last night talking about how some of us find success but not fulfillment.

We often think we are not enough and true happiness comes with “more.” If we just get the right “more” we will be happy and fulfilled. Happiness and fulfillment don’t come from what we can get, buy, accomplish, it comes from our progress. Do we have meaning and purpose? I took my dog for a walk this morning.  A morning walk is a time for reflection on the abundance I have in my life. That the streets are safe to walk, that there are sidewalks, that my dog is healthy enough to walk and so am I. There is so much to be grateful for. I sip the coffee my husband made and was waiting for me when I got back from my walk. A small pleasure, we had a laugh this morning, another small pleasure.

There is so much to enjoy, and there is so much to complain about. This is our choice, do we complain or are we grateful for all the good in our lives. No matter what the circumstances are in our lives we choose to be happy or not. We may not be able to choose a lot of things in our lives but our reaction to all the bounty and beauty even if it isn’t as much bounty or beauty as we hoped for is a choice. The sunrise is beautiful, and we get one every day.

We eat and drink every day; we can enjoy this simple pleasure or wish it was in a better locale with better company. Even when we eat alone we should enjoy our own company. Things can and will be different, but will they be better? Isn’t a cup of coffee in Tuscany still just a cup of coffee, and aren’t our thoughts still our thoughts, and our companions still our companions?

What makes some people live fulfilled lives? Often these aren’t remarkable lives, they are happy lives. These are people who sing while they do their laundry, and whistle while they walk.

Plan for tomorrow, live for today.

Tomorrow – a mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation, and achievement is stored. Unknown

The most terrible thing that could happen to us is we realize our dreams but don’t find fulfillment? How could this happen we ask ourselves. The answer according to all the gurus seems to be that because we take ourselves with us wherever we go our set point of gratitude, happiness, and fulfillment is always there. If we didn’t feel fulfilled with one hundred dollars in our pocket, what makes us think we’ll be fulfilled with more?

We feel entitled, but entitled to what? Happiness, joy, and gratitude are available to each of us no matter where we are born or what our circumstances. People live happy grateful lives in circumstances we can’t imagine. They are grateful for one more day, one more meal, one more laugh.

Unmet expectations are one of the things that hold us back from happiness. My husband told me the other day he doesn’t like arguing. It’s true some of our conversations get heated; some of our points of view are diametrically opposed. What about the fact we are lucky to have someone to share a point of view with? What about the fact we aren’t talking to four walls, listening to a clock tick?

There seems to be no middle ground anymore. If you aren’t for us, you are against us. What happened to you have some good ideas, but I don’t like them all. You have a point, but some of what you say is ridiculous. Don’t we all think that, even if we don’t say it?

Today is all we have, we aren’t promised tomorrow. If we don’t enjoy today because we are waiting for that perfect time, perfect accomplishment, perfect purchase, perfect person, perfect whatever far off in the future how will we ever be happy? We are missing our life, it is today. If we enjoy today, it is likely we will also enjoy tomorrow with whatever it brings. If we don’t enjoy today why would we think we will be grateful, happy, and joyful tomorrow?

Tomorrow never comes, because when it gets here it is today. Are we enjoying today?

My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time. Charles Dickens

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, love, joy, and happiness.

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Notes from a Friend: A Quick and Simple Guide to Taking Control of Your Life Paperback – Aug 1 1995

by Tony Robbins (Author) 4.0 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews


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Small pleasures. Enjoy the moments; our lives are made of big and small moments.

Enjoy the moments; our lives are made of big and small moments. Small pleasures.

Relish the small pleasures in life. Life becomes celebration. Dilip Kumar

A long weekend spreads before us. I have to ask myself do I enjoy my life as much as I think I should. Do I notice and do enough to create pleasurable moments?

Last night someone on TV was saying he loves to sit out in the evening as purple twilight shifts to dark and watch the bats come out. My daughter says she has seen bats swooping around our back yard occasionally. I don’t remember seeing any. A small pleasure I’ve missed.

I thought about not writing a post today. I slept in, but then I thought why should I miss this small pleasure?

Sometimes the small pleasures in life are the sweetest. Karen Marie Moning

Even when our life isn’t going particularly well we can enjoy small pleasures. A friend going through a hard time is enjoying salted caramel lattes. Sometimes when we look back on times that were difficult we also see the small pleasures we managed while dealing with what we had to.

Life is full of small pleasures. We make our lives better if we recognize and include small pleasures in our life. My husband and I have been going for ice-cream over the summer, a small indulgent pleasure.

Our lives slip by quickly whether we enjoy small pleasures or not. If we punctuate our days with small pleasures we make everything better. What small pleasures can we bring into our lives? Are we stopping to smell the roses and all the other wonderful things to be enjoyed?

Happiness consists more in small conveniences or pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a person in the course of their life. Benjamin Franklin

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

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Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy Hardcover – Sep 9 2009

by Sarah Ban Breathnach (Author) 4.5 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews


 See all 19 formats and editions

There is so much to be grateful for. There are so many cogs in the wheel making our life work. Is self-reliance a myth?

Is self-reliance a myth? There are so many cogs in the wheel making our life work. There is so much to be grateful for.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing. W. Edwards Deming

This morning the sunrise is glorious peaking through the houses. If I could have had a clear view I’d have posted the picture this morning. Seeing the sunrise starts the day off right. This day will never come again. This particular day with it’s set of challenges, wins, moments of grace and wonder is ours to enjoy today.

Sometimes we don’t realize what a great day it was until we look back. Sometimes we think I will enjoy every moment, I will remember every moment, but often we can’t. We may try but the moments blur into one another as do the days, weeks, months, and years.

These happy golden moments are ours to cherish. Someday we may walk down memory lane and think of all that’s past. We may smile at who we were what we thought we would do, accomplish, see, explore, and experience. We did some of it but many of us had dreams and fantasies that if something came true something else could not. We’ve picked our way through life, choosing this, choosing that. Hopefully, we are looking back at a life well-lived. Maybe we’ve lived many places or few.

Maybe we’d change things, maybe we wouldn’t. Does it depend on what day we are thinking about it? A path we may wish we’d taken seems clear and uncomplicated now, but it didn’t look like that when we were choosing the path. The clear choice is often only clear in hindsight. We often say we wish we’d bought X stock back when it was cheap. No one knew then it would become what it has. It was in the middle of all the other stocks that might become something.

At the moment of choosing nothing is clear. We choose our partner out of the array on offer. Then we build our life making our choices as the twists and turns and forked paths present themselves. What if there is no right path, no right partner, only choices to make the best of. We can go to work or play golf, but we can’t do both. Most days we go to work.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. Thomas Edison

We may long for a life of leisure but they tell us it isn’t as great as we think it will be. Many people who could live a life of leisure fill their lives up with busyness of some sort or another.

My sister says if we all put our troubles on the line and we could take our own troubles or someone else’s we’d take our own troubles back. Maybe it would be the same for our choices.

We’ve built a life and there is much to be grateful for. This morning I thought as I made coffee and heard the shower running. How much we take for granted being able to shower in the morning. Not that many years ago, a bath, not a shower would have been all we could manage and not without a lot of preparation.

I have so much to be grateful for, my cup runneth over. We are so blessed to live with peace and plenty. We turn our stove on and voila we can instantly cook. We don’t have to gather branches to make a fire; we don’t have to kill something before we can eat it. We don’t have to pick something from the garden although it’s lovely if we can.

We may think the prices are outrageous when we go to the supermarket. My son was telling me of someone who decided to see if he could make his own bacon and tomato sandwich and how much it would cost. The cost was pegged at about fifteen hundred dollars. It would also take a lot of preparation.

He had to get the pig and raise it, grow the tomatoes, and wheat for the bread. He had to get started on this sandwich months in advance. It took him about six months to create his sandwich and all the ingredients from scratch.

If one was to be completely self-reliant we would have to create our own fire, our own implements which would make that sandwich harder, more expensive, time-consuming, and challenging to make.

Do we believe the myth and sometimes dream of being self-reliant? It is almost impossible and probably not very desirable to be reliant only on our self.

This is what our supply chain and working together gets us. Food and other products at reasonable prices, available where we live, and whenever we want them. We are told we’ve never had life so good; or appreciated it less. Sometimes it seems we are focused on what is not so good, instead of what is good. Perhaps this is how we got where we are. Had we focused on what we already had, what progress would have been made? Is it looking at what is and thinking why couldn’t it be better, or different that moves us forward?

All progress it is said is created by the unreasonable man. The reasonable person is happy and grateful, thankful for peace, plenty, bounty, and opportunity. The unreasonable person thinks couldn’t we make it better, couldn’t we do it another way, couldn’t we…

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. George Bernard Shaw

Thank you for reading his 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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Self Reliance: and Other Essays Paperback – Mar 29 2016

by Ralph Waldo Emerson (Author) 3.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews


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Is gratitude the key to happiness, abundance, and joy? Does gratitude shift our perception so that it changes the world we see? Does gratitude come before joy?

Does gratitude shift our perception so that it changes the world we see? Does gratitude come before joy? Is gratitude the key to happiness, abundance, and joy?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot 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’s all be thankful. Buddha

As I sit here sunshine floods my den. The birds were singing on my walk, the flowers were blooming, everything is lush and green. The hustle and bustle of the day hasn’t started yet.

My morning reading from Never Get Angry Again by David J. Lieberman talks of the magnitude of gratitude. Don’t we feel better when we count our blessings instead of our angst, troubles, worries, shortcomings, fears, hurts, slights, where we’ve been wronged, how we’ve been misjudged, short-changed, or mistreated?

The more we think about what we have to be grateful for the more we can see we have even more to be grateful for. If we are grateful not only for the good things in our life but for the absence of bad things, our gratitude list grows even longer. Even when things are not as good as we may want, it usually isn’t as bad as it could be.

There are people in this world going through the absolute worst we can imagine, but if it isn’t us we should be grateful. If we have the wherewithal to get through the worst we should be grateful. If we can learn to be thankful for what we already have while we pursue all that we want life can be beautiful, and joyful in every moment. To walk through life on autopilot not noticing the blessings of the day, and the moments that will not come again we miss our life.

We don’t know when our life can be changed forever. Did we enjoy everything, or were we too busy looking down the road for what is coming to enjoy what is here today?

Last night instead of going to Toastmasters my husband and I went for an ice-cream cone. I got the dreamsicle dip instead of chocolate. Ice-cream, what a lovely summer treat on a summer’s eve. We watched young families, older couples in convertibles, a young man and his dog, old friends, and young friends all out enjoying a beautiful summer evening.

This is our life, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years go by in a flash. If we live our life with gratitude and savor all that there is we can live with love, grace, and gratitude.

If we live as if everything is a miracle our viewpoint will be one way, and if we live as if nothing is a miracle we will see things differently. It is our choice how we view our life, “Same old, same old,” or “This is a wonderful day I’ve never seen before.”

The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become. Robert Holden

Oprah Winfrey tells us if we are thankful for what we have; we’ll end up having more. If we concentrate on what we don’t have, we’ll never have enough.

It is easier to write about always being grateful than to live a life always being grateful, for everything. Are we grateful for the challenges that come our way? They help us grow and every step forward helps us move toward our goals making something bigger and better than our current situation.

When things are going wrong should we take a moment and be thankful for what is going right?

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

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Never Get Angry Again: The Foolproof Way to Stay Calm and in Control in Any Conversation or SituationHardcover – Jan 9 2018

by Dr. David J. Lieberman Ph.D. (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review


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The pursuit of happiness. Finding meaning, passion, purpose, and joy.

Finding meaning, passion, purpose, and joy. The pursuit of happiness

There is not one big cosmic meaning for all; There is only the meaning we give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person. Anais Nin

Yesterday I was listening to a video on YouTube. I don’t know the name of the Harvard professor talking.  He was talking about happiness, marriage, money, and children.

He tells us marriage makes us happier, and happier people are married. A Divorce he tells us also makes us happier. Is the answer to get married, divorced, married, divorced and ride the wave of happiness each of these gives us? He tells us happy marriages are better than good divorces for happiness.

Is the best advice then to improve our marriage but if that is impossible then get a divorce? Doing something to improve our lives feels better than doing nothing. Is it progress that we seek?

People tell us that money does not buy us happiness, but he tells us it does. Money in all their studies does not contribute negatively to happiness. It does not bring more happiness on a continuous rising scale. The amount of money at which most people are happy seems to be about forty to seventy-five thousand, then moving up the scale doesn’t buy much more happiness. Once our basic needs are met, most of our wants are satisfied and we have a little spending money the amount of happiness we may get from more money may be negligible, but never negative. More money does not detract from our happiness it just doesn’t add that much once we have “enough”.   

The path to happiness may lie in turning what we have into enough. So many of us look for ways to spend what money we get and turn it into an obligation. If more money buys us more debt, we have less security and more stress. If more money buys us more security, more opportunity for travel and experiences then we may be happier.

The man who is born with a talent which he is meant to use finds his greatest happiness in using it. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Children are surely what is needed, and one of our greatest sources of joy? According to his study having children and looking after children does not increase our happiness. But, we value what we invest a lot of time and effort into, and children require a lot of sacrifices, investment, time, and attention. We value them, and amidst the drudgery of looking after them, we have moments of immense joy that take our breath away and eclipse all other moments in our life.

It is not happiness children bring to us, they bring work and sacrifice. That work and sacrifice bring meaning. Meaning brings joy and purpose.  A life filled with the aimless pursuit of happiness would not have meaning, purpose, passion, and probably not much lasting joy.

He tells us that heroin brings us happiness. It makes us feel so good, that we no longer pursue any other sources of happiness. We no longer work, take care of ourselves, brush our teeth, etc. We will sit in a corner destroying our lives clinging to this one source of happiness.

A baseball game he gives as an analogy of happiness. We may sit inning after boring inning, no score, in the ninth inning our team hits a home run. Wow, what an amazing game, we are so happy. Eight boring innings are forgotten as we concentrate on the amazing win. We go home and when asked how was the game? We say it was amazing. One of the best games we’ve seen.

This is an analogy to our life with our children, during all the humdrum, sacrifice, crying, cajoling, and struggle. They look up at us with a smile and say, “you’re the bestest.” Our heart melts; it’s been the best day ever. During the heavy lifting years of child-rearing, we may not have a lot of time for other sources of happiness. Like heroin, we may give up almost everything else for our children. Unlike heroin, it doesn’t destroy us, it builds us, it creates the life we are proud of, giving us passion, purpose, meaning, and a legacy to be proud of.

The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, or gives you a sense of meaning, joy, or passion. Terry Orlick

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, purpose, and love.

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The Power Of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness Paperback – Dec 26 2017

by Emily Esfahani-Smith (Author) 3.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews


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Is happiness a choice? Are we about as happy as we choose to be? If we aren’t happy enough, can we make better choices?

If we aren't happy enough, can we make better choices? Are we about as happy as we choose to be? Is happiness a choice?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Happiness is more than doing fun things. It’s about doing meaningful things. Maxine Lagace

People who live in Ontario and Atlantic Canada are not as happy as the rest of Canada. British Columbia and Quebec are the happiest provinces; Vancouver and Toronto are Canada’s two unhappiest cities.

The reason given for Toronto and Vancouver’s unhappiness is:

Traffic congestion. Waiting in traffic is not likely to increase one’s happiness quotient.

Housing stress: Where will we live and will we still be able to eat causes stress.

High-density unhappiness: People in crowded urban neighborhoods are physically living close together but they don’t necessarily have good social networks.

The reason why people are unhappy in many cases is probably because of their unmet expectations. Maybe we moved to a big city for the opportunity and often the opportunity we find is not necessarily what we were looking for. If we get a better job the cost of living is so much higher we don’t feel better off. We are so busy working we don’t have time to create close social connections.

We are the happiest it seems after age fifty-five. We’ve made peace with the fact we will not be the rising star of whatever we’d hoped for. We’ve built a life, found a partner or made peace with the idea we won’t have one.  A lot of our happiness is not because our life is terrible it is the unmet expectations that make us unhappy.

Maybe we thought we would move to a big city and… What was the and… At one of the Toastmasters meetings, a member said he moved from a small city of six million to Shanghai where there was “opportunity”. He since moved on to the greater Toronto area for “opportunity”.

It is hard to swallow that the secret to happiness in life and our relationships are low expectations. It seems it isn’t how well things are going, but whether they are going better or worse than expected.

To feel big and contented, look down more gratefully and up less longingly. To feel small but ambitious look down less gratefully and up more longingly.  This is our choice would we rather be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in an ocean? When we move to big cities we probably hoped to become a big fish in the ocean and are unhappy when we are still small fish.

Everyone wants happiness. No one wants pain. But you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain. Unknown

After age fifty-five when we start to make peace with who we are and what we’ve accomplished, we become happier. Life is short starts to become a reality, and we are still here. We count our blessings and hopefully they are many, we count our regrets and hopefully, they are few. Life takes on a sweetness because we can’t take life for granted quite as much. A few friends have already been cut down in the prime of their life, and they seemed as healthy and active as us.

Do higher incomes, lower stress, and home ownership lead to greater happiness? It perhaps isn’t how high the income but as Charles Dickens said, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds, nineteen shillings, and sixpence, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

Managing our life, expectations, finances, attitude, and relationships affect our happiness.

We can be grateful for what we have. Being grateful increases our happiness quotient. Learning when to hold on and when to let go increases our happiness and lessens our stress. Sometimes it is what it is, and we have to be okay with that.

We can choose to stay connected with family, friends, and develop new connections with people through religious or other groups. Personal connection creates mental and emotional stimulation which are automatic mood boosters, while isolation is a mood buster. We can focus our interactions with positive people, and minimize our interactions with negative people. Volunteering is a way to boost happiness by providing a sense of purpose.

If we aren’t as happy as we want to be, what can we tweak in our life to bring more happiness into it? We choose the changes we want to bring into our life. If we don’t make the changes our life calls out for, who do we think will?

Happiness is a place between too much and too little. Finnish Proverb

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, happiness, and love.

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The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT Paperback – Jun 3 2008

by Russ Harris (Author), Steven C. Hayes PhD (Foreword) 4.4 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews


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