An attitude of gratitude. Eating together creates happy, positive families.

An Attitude of Gratitude - 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


Remembrance Day. Heroes and Heroines.

Female ATA pilots World War11

Picture of ATA female pilots.

We were trained to fly not just one type of single engine plane – but any type of single engine plane. Jay Edwards, ATA pilot

Today I learned about war heroes I’ve never heard of.  During World War ll the Air Transport Auxiliary ATA had 1,320 pilots, 168 of them were women. The pilots flew aircraft from the factories and airports to military outposts.

Violet Milstead was one of the four female Canadian ATA pilots. She flew at least 47 types of aircraft during the war including Spitfires, de Havilland Mosquitos, Beaufighters, Hawker Tempests, and Grumman Hellcats. She had to learn the controls and system of each new aircraft rapidly. ATA pilots were not allowed to use radio contact during flights, due to the risk of being overheard. She logged over 600 hours of flight time and was the longest-serving female Canadian pilot with the ATA. She was paid 20 percent less than the male pilots.

Each year we have fewer war veterans. In 2010 John Babcock believed to be the last surviving veteran of the Canadian Military to have served in the First World War died.

We call them the Greatest Generation they grew up in the deprivation of the Great Depression and then went on to fight in World War ll. This was my parent’s generation. This year my mother’s sister a veteran of World War ll died. The numbers of World War ll veterans is declining. Soon the memories of World War ll will only be in history books and movies; there will be no one left to tell us about it who was really there. If we are close to a veteran we should learn their stories before it is too late.

Living in Canada we’ve focused on the two great wars. Ronald David of the Edmonton Millwoods Alberta Stake tells us there hasn’t been one day in over two hundred years without some kind of war on earth. Political, tribal, religious, territorial, civil, regional and global wars have continued unabated. He says the world has endured over two hundred and sixty wars since 1900. That sounds like a lot, I haven’t done the research myself but it doesn’t make humanity seem like we want to live in a peaceful world.

We’ve all heard the meek will inherit the earth. Jordan B Peterson tells us the meek are not the weak. The meek are those who know how to fight, have the weapons to fight but do not have to fight. This means to maintain peace we must have swords and know how to use them but keep them sheathed.

It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war. Chinese Proverb

This is a metaphor for a person wielding courageous compassion, benevolent bravery, fearless empathy, and dauntless altruism.

On Remembrance Day we acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of those who served, and who still serve. It is hard to find words to express what we owe. It is a debt we can never repay only honor.

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

By John McCrae, May 1915

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Everyday Heroes: Inspirational Stories from Men and Women in the Canadian Armed Forces Paperback – Oct 24 2017


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

Choose Love by Being Loving 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


Halloween and happiness. Be happy in the moment.

Happiness In The Moment - Rose of Sharan photo by Belynda Wilson Thomas

We don’t laugh because we’re happy – we’re happy because we laugh. William James

Halloween isn’t as much fun now the kids are grown. It’s fun to watch the little kids come by. The number of houses with the lights on down our street has grown fewer over the years. I contemplated not being part of Halloween this year but my husband wanted to. We eat too much of the candy, but it gives us an excuse to eat as many mini chocolate bars as we want.

My husband has always been the one to give out the treats. The kids and I would go door to door with our little dog Krypto the Scottish Terrier and as many of their friends as wanted to tag along. It was one of the most fun evenings of the year.

My daughter and I went for a walk last night and some of the little kids were in the cutest costumes. The one that caught our eye was a little ninja turtle. We need to fill our fun tank and wringing all the joy out of the daily, weekly and monthly happenings is one way.

Walking and talking with my daughter. A cup of tea in the afternoon, phoning mom, laughing over something sent on whatsApp, these all contribute to the happiness of the day. Little joys are the moments in our days, some of them may bring tears to our eyes when we look back on them over time. They didn’t mean much then, they mean everything now.

Nothing needs to happen before we can enjoy a laugh with someone. No accomplishment needs to be made before we feel the joy of a child’s smile, question, or hug. Time spent with our parents over coffee, phone or face time is precious. Laughing with our husband or wife over a joke, shared moments or memories are part of the ties that bind us together. We’ve shared so much with everyone that is in our life.

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us. Helen Keller

Everyone in our life has given us something, brought joy to our life in some way, or given us the gift of a growth opportunity. Either way gratitude is in order. If the sun shines today that is something to be grateful for, if it doesn’t we probably need the rain. We can look on the bright side and sometimes by looking on the bright side we help others see there is a bright side.

We are told any random act of kindness boosts happiness. Random acts of kindness aren’t something I do. I was given a rose in the grocery store by two lovely girls one day as a random act of kindness. One of them had a blog and this was part of what she blogged about. This was a few years ago, it made an impression on me.

In order to be happy we have to take full responsibility for our life. By taking responsibility we take back control as we acknowledge the thoughts we think and the actions we take create the results in our life. We are not victims. We can make it better or we can make it worse. Even when we can’t control the circumstances we control our reaction to the circumstances.

One of the suggestions for more happiness is to avoid negative people and situations. We shouldn’t go looking for problems but is judging others as negative and not worth having in our life a good thing? If we are blessed by luck, chance, good timing and management of our life maybe shunning those that weren’t so blessed is not the thing to do. We may be the only positive person in that negative person’s life, when we take our self out of their life we might have been the ray of hope, the beam of sunshine, the model of normalcy they hoped for.

Being there for people in their hour of need is important. Letting them drag us down is not good. We need to find the balance and we need to let them know they are not victims; they are in control of their life as we are in control of ours. If we cut them off who shows them how to live a better life? It may be easier to cut negative people out of our life, but is it the kind, compassionate, loving thing to do? We need to not get caught up in their drama. We need to be there to encourage them as they take the first tentative steps to a better life. What lessons they have to learn we don’t know, our job is not to judge them, our job is not to change them, our job is to love them. Everyone can love the people who are easy to love. Giving up on the hard to love is easy; loving people through their tough times is a growth experience for both of us.

Happiness, not in another place but this place… not for another hour, but this hour. Walt Witman

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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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Thanksgiving Day. A day of reflection and gratitude.

Thanksgiving - photo taken by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Have faith in your journey. Everything had to happen exactly as it did to get you where you’re going next. Mandy Hale

I’m not cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year. The bride and groom went to his side yesterday and my son and his girlfriend went to her side. My husband and I went to a movie. A cautionary tale of where our dreams can take us. How we lose control of our life as we are pulled in different directions to satisfy the entertainment industry’s insatiable demands on who they make stars. Every day someone else lines up to sacrifice their life on the altar of fame.

It’s birthday season at our house. Three birthdays this week so we’ll celebrate birthdays and Thanksgiving next Sunday.

I hope it gets bright and warm today. Maybe we can go for a lovely walk and feel the strength and majesty of nature. Walking used to be one of the things my husband and I did a lot of. We need to get back to the little joys we let slip away.

I think some of the little things slipping away is my fault. As I embraced my writing life, which had to fit in after or before my working life little things got left behind. There wasn’t time for everything. Long talks in the kitchen over coffee became an infringement on my writing time. Watching TV in the evening was an infringement on my writing and art time.

My life is full, but perhaps my priorities aren’t right. The most important people in our lives have to feel like they are the most important. They have to feel treasured, valued, understood, connected; when they feel taken for granted because they are always there, we have a problem.

Balance is not something you find. It’s something you create. Unknown

How do we fit everything in? How do we make time for those we love and find the time to do what we feel called to do? What is the balance we need to find in our life? What does it look like?

This day of Thanksgiving for all I have, is a good day to reflect on how to keep all my balls in the air and everyone happy.

As I reflect on life, love and happiness I realize that what we want is a deeper connection. Big birthdays are around the corner, we want to feel treasured, loved, cherished, valued, and important.

Everything works in my life works 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.

Balance is the key to everything. What we do, think, say, eat, feel, they all require awareness and through this awareness we can grow. Koi Fresco

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Finding Personal Balance: A Path to Inner Peace in a Life of Doing More Paperback – November 19, 2008


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Gratitude and happiness. The power of being grateful.

The Power of Being Grateful - painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

We aren’t grateful because we are happy, we are happy because we are grateful. Unknown

The time for being grateful is here. It’s Thanksgiving weekend, we take a moment and count our blessings. We are blessed if we got up this morning and  have something to eat and someone we love to eat it with. If we are warm and comfortable and our family is safe we are blessed.

My sister is visiting mom. They have a motor home and in British Columbia you need snow tires or chains after October 1st to travel certain snow covered roads. By deciding to visit my brother in Edmonton and take the Jasper route to mom’s they missed the deluge of snow in Calgary. They had to fix a tire and while they waited for the tire the snow melted and they continued on with dry roads.  I am grateful they traveled the Jasper route. I am grateful they made it to moms.

When my daughter and husband were planning their wedding a year ago we realized the wedding would be in hurricane season. We are grateful for uneventful weather in Jamaica.

There is so much to be grateful for on this journey called life. We are blessed to be part of the journey, however far or where it takes us. There is something to learn, experience, enjoy. What we focus on we get more of. I found a quote on facebook yesterday by William Golding how women are the expanders of life. Give us sperm we make a baby, give us a house we make a home, give us groceries we make a meal.

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated. Unknown

Being part of a family is one of the great joys. The man as the head of the home, and the woman as the heart of the home works to build a happy, productive unit providing stability for children, communities, the world. Other forms of families do the same, but I think one person has to choose to be the head, and one chooses to be the heart to make it work. With two heads we will lose the nurturing and warmth from the heart, with two hearts we have no direction.

Marriage is a symbiotic relationship, we build something using our strengths and minimizing our weaknesses. Men and women aren’t the same and I am grateful for the differences. My husband is the anchor in our family. He provides stability. A stable loving home is the ideal. Knowing I have someone I can count on is one of the things I am most grateful for. I hope he feels he can count on me.

Gratitude gives us fullness of heart that moves us from limitation and fear to expansion and love. With appreciation we get our ego out of the way, we get a soul connection. In the present when we are grateful, we are in the only place miracles can happen. The deeper our gratitude the more our life becomes harmonious, as we see through the eyes of the soul our life flows in harmony with the creative spirit of the universe.

Bruch Spinoza in the seventeenth century suggested we ask the following three questions.

Who or what inspired me today?

What brought me happiness today?

What brought me comfort and deep peace today?

Other suggestions are to write a letter of gratitude to someone. A letter can be treasured and re-read creating joy and happiness that trickles out into the universe.

Take a gratitude walk. As we walk we can think of all we are grateful for starting with walking and somewhere to walk that is safe. This is a powerful way to be open to the abundance that surrounds us.

The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. Charles Shwab

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Gratitude: A Way of Life Kindle Edition


 

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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