Don’t worry and be happy. Making the best of where we are, enjoying the good things in life as they come.

Making the best of where we are, enjoying the good things in life as they come. Don't worry and be happy.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Happiness is a direction, not a place. Sydney J. Harris

Another season is officially here. Whether we had an eventful or uneventful season it is just a memory.  Another season presents itself for us to make the most of, enjoy, make memories, and experience life. I have to make plans to get out and enjoy nature with those I love.

As I bring my current project to a close my husband looks at me, “Then what?”

“I start another one,” I cheerfully reply. I do need to understand my immersion in my projects may seem like I am excluding others. I’ve missed a few lunches to get more painting in. When I set my goals a couple of weeks ago I cut down what I thought I could accomplish because in the midst of writing and art there are other aspects of life to enjoy, relationships to nurture, and experiences to be had.

All work and no play make us dull girls. We have to watch once we have an accomplishment that makes us feel good under our belt, we don’t just chase after that feeling again to the detriment of other parts of our lives.

How much time spent doing our own thing is too much? How much is too little? Sometimes I think I’m a slow learner and maybe this comes from being self-taught through books. I have so many books on art that tell me to paint a series. I’ve always struggled with what a series would be about, now I have a subject, a dog, and his family to paint over and over again, as new adventures arise.

The same goes with “Showing and not telling” in my writing. I received an email from Jerry Jenkins, yes, that Jerry Jenkins, the author of the “Left Behind” series. I signed up for his newsletter and he sends me emails with my name at the top. I know the same email goes to thousands if not hundreds of thousands or even more writers but still my name is at the top and he gives good advice.  He’s offering a course. I don’t have time right now, or is that an excuse. Regardless, I’m passing up the opportunity to take his course because I have to get my own writing out.

Through the internet, we can have mentors we will never meet, who give us advice. We can read books from people long dead. We can read the books of wisdom from every culture and religion. We don’t have time to read everything. The opportunities to create a life we love have never been easier. Relationships with real people have never been harder. It is as easy to get into the negative side of the internet as the positive. The negative side may suck us in as we start to think about the negativity, the wrongs that have been done, the greed, the ignorance, and how badly people have treated other people throughout the world and in our own countries.

Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them. Steve Marboli

I don’t think we should wear the wrongs done by our group or the injustices done to our group as if they are our own. We can’t atone for what was done; we can’t make right what was wrong. We all need to build a life where we are, with what we have, and make the best of it. We need to love those close to us and realize they are not perfect, we are not perfect, but we are here.

We sometimes think life would be so much better when… When we find someone to love, when we have a baby, when we start a business, when we retire, when we win millions… No matter what happens in our life, in about six months that is now our reality we take for granted, and we will be no happier than we were before, the author of “Stumbling on Happiness” tells us.

That’s a sobering thought. If everything we can dream of won’t make us happier than we are now, then don’t we need to be happy where we are and if we get what we want, be happy then as well?

Mom always tells me, “There’s no point worrying.” What will be, will be. Can we live with the realities of life making the best of where we are? Can we live by the motto “Don’t worry and be happy?”

The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. Victor Hugo

Happiness consists more in conveniences of pleasure that occur every day than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom. Benjamin Franklin

A great obstacle to happiness is to expect too much happiness. Bernard de Fontenelle

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

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

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

Is giving the secret to living in abundance? Does doing for others make us happier?

Does doing for others make us happier? Is giving the secret to living in abundance?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

No one has ever become poor by giving. Anne Frank

Is giving the secret to living in abundance and happiness?

Yesterday was my daughter and son-in-law’s three-year anniversary. Where has the time gone? I can’t believe it’s been a little over three years since I’ve been putting this blog out.

One of the things I’ve learned as a writer is we worry about what we will have to say, but we can always learn more and go deeper into any subject. A novel doesn’t even go as deep as we can go, let alone a short blog post.

From day to day we may view things differently. Some may think that makes us wishy-washy if we don’t always see the same thing the same way. I think if we grow and learn we can’t see things the same way. We should grow in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, but often it seems the more we know, the less we know we know. We thought we knew so much when we knew so little. As we gain knowledge we see how little of what there is to know, we know, and how much no one knows.

Because we can’t know living on faith is helpful. We had faith when we walked down the aisle we could deal with what life throws at us. When we had children we believed, we could weather the storms and circumstances, and raise them to take their place in the world. We see heartbreaking photos of people whose life is shattered by war carrying children, desperation written on their faces. How will they keep the promises they made to those children?

I listen to people rail against what they think is wrong with our society. The injustice, the unfairness, the government overreach, corruption, etc. We need to be grateful it isn’t worse. No matter how bad things are, it could be worse, and those who can find gratitude in the worst of their situations appear to do best in life.

Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have. Jim Rohn

It seems hard and insensitive to tell people who feel they have nothing to be thankful they don’t have less. It seems offensive when people with much, tell people with little, to be grateful for what they have. Is it counterintuitive to be generous, even when we have little, and to be grateful when we don’t have much? We think we will be grateful when we have much, and generous when we have abundance. Life doesn’t seem to work that way. It seems we need to be grateful when we have little and we will get more. When we are generous when we have little, we will still be generous when we have abundance. If we aren’t generous and grateful we may never feel we have enough no matter what the bank balance or house we live in says.

I have heard people who give generously say they always have enough regardless of what the bank balance or house they live in says. Is this an oxymoron?

Bob Proctor tells us, “Giving is a wealth habit and we must practice giving before we become wealthy, not once we have achieved wealth. He says, “As we practice giving away small things, we will attract back to our self the confidence to share even more. When we offer our prosperity to the world, the universe will respond favorably.”

Those who are the happiest are those who do the most for others. Booker T. Washington

From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life. Winston Churchill

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed. Maya Angelou

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

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

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

Learn to find joy in life, we feel joy deep in our heart and it isn’t as fleeting as happiness.

We feel joy deep in our heart and it isn't as fleeting as happiness, learn to find joy in life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Learn to find joy in life and you’ll attract happiness. Unknown

Last night we sat out on the patio eating dinner and laughing with my Mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and great-niece. When we get together in little groups and big groups it warms our hearts. When we gather in the warm glow of family it is especially sweet. The night air is already turning cool as we are reminded summer is turning into fall.

My son tells me his newly married friend’s wife has been offered a fabulous job in San Francisco. With that opportunity comes less togetherness with their families. We believe travel and living abroad will widen our experiences and enrich our lives. The fact that Immanuel Kant born in a small German town in 1724 lived there for seventy-nine years without ever traveling beyond the city limits didn’t limit his writing prowess. He walked every day in the late afternoon, rain or shine always taking the same route. His path through the park became known as the “Philosopher’s Walk.” His book “Critique of Pure Reason” has been referred to as “arguably the most significant single work in the history of modern philosophy.”

We may think our life is stifled because we have not traveled but if we are walkers and thinkers, we can walk and think anywhere. We can build our family anywhere and whether that is in a four-season climate or one with sunshine every day the challenges of life will mostly be the same. Winter adds a dimension to life but so does any other challenge.

My son said to my son-in-law if you want to feel you aren’t doing anything follow Jocko Willink on Twitter. He posts a picture every morning at four o’clock of his watch before he heads off for a run. Jocko Willink is an author, podcaster, and retired Navy Seal. I could get up at four o’clock every morning if I had the fortitude and determination of Jocko Willink and felt the urge to run. I could, but I won’t.

What we accomplish often is not determined by where we live even though we think that plays a part. It is true you can’t work at the head office of a company unless you go where that head office is unless they hire you to work from home. There are circumstances that color our lives, would Jocko be Jocko if he hadn’t joined the Navy Seals? It’s hard to know. We are who we are, and the circumstances of our life have shaped us, but we may think they limit us in ways they might not. When we see what someone else has accomplished in worse circumstances we may ask ourselves is it an excuse or reality why we haven’t accomplished what we hoped to accomplish?

Perhaps we are late bloomers and the autumn of our lives will give us a new round of accomplishments that eluded us in our youth. I find comfort in this as I look at prolific authors and I have only started at this stage in my life. We are living our life, with our challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities. It is tempting to look at the best of what others have done and compare it to the worst of ourselves.

Find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all. Robert Louis Stevenson

We may think raising a family isn’t that great of an accomplishment, but it is the one that lasts through the generations. Every new generation takes its place because of the sacrifice of parents for their children. It is lovely to hear the joy and wonder in the voices of a newly pregnant couple. Those of us who have been through it know it is not all joy and wonder, but it is the stuff of life. There is nothing in life sweeter than sticky kisses and watching our children play as they grow and develop.

Joy is greater than happiness. Happiness is eating a cookie, or eating ice cream, but when the cookie or ice cream is finished we are looking around for more. Joy comes from the heart and building a family is where I think the joy is in life. Raising a family won’t leave time for four o’clock runs for most of us, late afternoon walks every day may be beyond what we can manage,

There comes a time when the heavy lifting of parenting is behind us and we have time for other pursuits. We can revel in the family we have built and what we are working on accomplishing. Bill Gates tells us, “We overestimate what we can achieve in a year and underestimate what we can do in ten years.”

 Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

The real joy in life comes from finding your true purpose and aligning it with what you do every single day. Tony Robbins

Sometimes in life, we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey. Unknown

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

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

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

Does being grateful make us happier? Does gratitude make a difference?

Does gratitude make a difference? Does being grateful make us happier?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul. Harold Kushner

Feelings of gratitude flood my being as I sit here writing. That I am able to write is something I am deeply grateful for. The computer I write with, the notebooks I can purchase, the pens I buy. The internet allows me to push a button and put my words out to the world. The health and strength I am blessed with. I am grateful for my family, my muse Lulu, my home, my livelihood, living in peace and plenty. There is so much to be grateful for, my cup runneth over.

Does being grateful make a difference in our lives? A study published by the Greater Good Science Centre at UC Berkeley tells us that 300 college students seeking mental health counseling at one university were randomly assigned to one of three groups.

The first group was required to write a letter of gratitude to another person each week for three weeks. The second group wrote down their negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences. The third group did not engage in any writing activity.

The results: The first group reported significantly improved mental health, lowering of depression and anxiety at the four-week mark as well as 12 weeks after the writing exercise ended.

Researchers dug deeper using an MRI scanner they found the brain activity of the gratitude versus negative writing groups differed. Three months after the writing activities the grateful group showed greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex, an area in the brain associated with learning and decision making. This indicates that simply by expressing gratitude we may have a lasting effect on our brain. Shifting our thoughts away from toxic emotions improves our well-being.

Thank you” is the essence of nonviolence. It contains respect for the other person, humility, and a profound affirmation of life. It possesses a positive, upbeat optimism. It has strength. A person who can sincerely say thank you has a healthy, vital spirit; and each time we say it our hearts sparkle and our life force rises up powerfully from the depths of our being. (April 2015 Living Buddhism, p. 16)

Does this make some people feel worse or better? Are we more in control of our lives than we think we are? This information comes to us wrapped in new wrapping from time to time. It is part of all religious traditions.

“There’s something called a grateful personality that some psychologists have studied,” said Jo-Ann Tsang, a psychologist at Baylor University. They find that if you’re greater in the grateful personality, you tend to have increased life satisfaction, happiness, optimism, hope, positive emotion, and … less anxiety and depression.”

Can we uncouple gratitude from religion?

Robert Emmons a psychologist at the University of California says. Gratitude is the truest approach to life. We did not create or fashion ourselves. We did not birth ourselves. Life is about giving, receiving, and repaying. We are receptive beings, dependent on the help of others, on their gifts, and their kindness.

“You see—none of this have I framed in a religious context or using religious/spiritual language,” he concluded.

Michael McCullough a psychologist at the University of Miami thinks there’s another reason for the ubiquity of gratitude: It’s an evolutionarily beneficial trait, hardwired into the human brain.

“Even things that are culturally constructed have to have a home somewhere up in the mind to come out in our thoughts and our behavior,” he said. “Like all emotions, [gratitude] was plausibly designed by natural selection. There’s some tissue up in the head whose job it is to produce gratitude.”

The evolutionary explanation for this, he said, is probably that gratitude helps people initiate friendships and alliances—which then help people survive.

His research suggests that when people do nice things for others unexpectedly, that produces gratitude—and increases the likelihood that people will do something “in-kind” (“a really rich phrase, when you think about it,” he added). Although scientists can’t know the exact neurological nature of gratitude, they look at behaviors like these as a proxy for understanding why people feel certain emotions, like thankfulness.

Wow, all we thought we were doing is saying “thank you.” According to these experts, we are changing our brains. If we practice gratitude in our lives we make our life better regardless of whether we see gratitude as a religious practice or merely a way of being. It seems gratitude is the choice we should all make. It costs us nothing to be grateful, pays huge dividends, eases our relationships with other people, and improves our brain.

Is there a difference between gratitude and feeling grateful?

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts. Henry Frederic Amiel

Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues but the parent of all others. Marcus Tullius Cicero

Gratitude is the best medicine. It heals your mind, your body, and your spirit, and attracts more things to be grateful for. Unknown

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

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

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

Being grateful for the moments in our lives. Moments that will never come again, but will be with us always.

Moments that will never come again, but will be with us always. Being grateful for the moments in our lives.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Many of the most deeply spiritual moments of my life haven’t happened just in my mind or in my soul. They happened while holding my son in the middle of the night, or watching the water break along the shore, or around my table, watching the people I love feel nourished in all sorts of ways.” Shauna Niequiest

In the garden of life, we have our show stoppers but the background creates the scaffolding around which the show stoppers shine. There is no show-stopping without the background.

Building a good life is all about the background and the scaffolding built on the ordinary in our every day. The show stopper is the ice cream sundae or cheesecake in our diet. A great treat but not something to live on.

We live only for the high points at our peril. Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Romancing The Ordinary tells us women have not five senses but seven. As well as sight, sound, scent, taste, touch she feels we have “knowing” women’s intuition and “wonder” our sense of rapture and reverence. We are encouraged to find what moves us to tears, what feeds our soul, what makes our blood rush, our heart skip a beat and our soul sigh. We are encouraged to look at the unwrapped gifts that come every day.

Life is not made up of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years, but of moments. You must experience each one before you can appreciate it.” Sarah Ban Breathnach

We experience the glimpse of the sunrise because we are up early because of a child, the rush to get something done, or writing a blog. The morning hours before the house stirs is one of my favorite times. Sipping black coffee as I write. I used to love it with cream, “that’s another story.”

My dog Lulu woofs a low woof, what does she hear, what interrupts her sleep on the stair? I wonder as I sit here, what will we remember and cherish about this time.

There was a movie I watched about a man who only lived the high points, the rest of his life zipped past as if on fast forward. Of course, he missed his child growing up, his marriage because these are the everyday moments that build a life. We can’t remember them as easily as the highlights. The uneventful of every day builds to the big moments. You can’t just have the highlights, no one can. I don’t think we live life unless we go through the deep, the shallow, the highs, the lows, the important, and the unimportant.

When I smell our garage in the heat of summer, it sometimes reminds me of kittens, because we found our momma cat one day with brand new kittens on a bed of nails in the garage.

Memories bring us back to special moments in the tapestry of our life. Special moments are both big and small; the small ones are often the most poignant. They are the ones that bring tears to our eyes.

Sometimes it’s the same moments that take your breath away that breathe purpose and love back into your life.”  Steve Maraboli

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. Maya Angelou

Savor the moments in life that make your heart glow. Chase after and find the moments that will take your breath away. In the end, it is only those milestones on life’s journey that matter. Michael Delaware

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

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

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

Change your thoughts and you change your world. Are our thoughts making our lives better or worse?

Are our thoughts making our lives better or worse? Change your thoughts and you change your world.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Positive anything is better than negative nothing. Elbert Hubbard

How should we start our day is an important question? If we start it complaining we might complain all day. There is a story in the book, “A Complaint Free World.” A stranger shows up in a town he stops at the Shopkeeper’s shop asking for food and lodging and they turn him away. He stops at the poor Baker’s bakery and the Baker makes him a meager dinner and gives him his bed to sleep in.

The next morning the stranger gives thanks to the baker and tells him, “Whatever you do first this day you will continue all day.” The Baker is unsure of the meaning of this strange comment, but he starts baking a cake for the stranger to take with him using up his meager supplies. As he uses up two eggs, four more appear, as he used the last of the flour more appears. Overjoyed at his good luck he starts baking all manner of delicacies and customers line up to purchase his creations. In the evening tired and happy, and his cash register overflowing, the Baker is approached by the miserly Shopkeeper.

“How did you get so many customers today?” the Shopkeeper demands. The Baker shares his story of the stranger and his strange blessing in the morning. The Shopkeeper and his wife run after the man they had refused to help the night before. “Gentle Sir,” they say. “Please forgive our rudeness last night. We must have been out of our heads not to help you. Please allow us to share our hospitality with you.” Without a word, the man joins them back on the road to town.

When they arrive at the Shopkeepers’ home a sumptuous meal is prepared. He sleeps in a luxurious room. The next morning the Shopkeeper and his wife are bouncing in anticipation of the blessing to be bestowed upon them. Sure enough, the stranger thanks them and says, “Whatsoever you do first this morning, you will continue all day.” The Shopkeeper and his wife rush to their store. Expecting a large number of customers for the day, the Shopkeeper grabs the broom and begins to sweep the floor, the wife counts the change in the till. He sweeps and she counts. She counts and he sweeps. Try as they might they cannot quit counting and sweeping until the day is done.

Both the Baker and the Shopkeeper received the same blessing. The Baker starts his day in a positive and generous way and receives great abundance. The Shopkeeper starts his day in a negative and self-serving way and derives nothing. The blessing is neutral. Our ability to create our lives is neutral. We need to use it however we wish knowing we will reap what we sow.

It’s your thoughts behind the words you speak that create your attitude. Jeffrey Gitomer

It is hard, but we need to remember when people lash out at us it is their hurt they are projecting onto us. We need to be careful we in turn don’t inflict this on someone else and the cycle goes round and round until the last person on the receiving end is lashing out at a helpless child or animal.  

People attempt to hurt others because they are hurting. Sometimes instead of taking hurtful words personally can we understand the hurt behind the words and treat them with understanding? We cannot live in peace if we allow someone else’s negativity to affect our lives and turn us into a negative force as well. Are we finding a positive, grateful way to start our day that sets the tone for the rest of it? Perhaps this is why we greet each other with, “Good Morning.” A good morning leads to a good afternoon, which leads to a good evening resulting in a good day.

One of the worst quotes I’ve seen is, “My attitude is a result of your actions! So if you don’t like my attitude blame yourself.” Even if it is true, expecting someone else to change instead of ourselves is giving our power away.  We can’t turn someone else into a positive person and it is their negativity getting us down, isn’t it? Telling someone else they need an attitude adjustment in my experience never works but telling ourselves we need one, might. It won’t work every time. It is hard to ignore buttons that get pushed by master button pushers, but over time we can think about why those buttons get pushed so easily.

We are often hurt when someone calls us selfish, but what if we didn’t take our own interests into account? That is how we get used and abused not standing up for ourselves, not knowing when to say no, not having enough self-interest in our own lives to build it in a positive manner. Living a good life, full of self-interest is making life better for everyone because when everyone lives a better life so do we.

I was thinking about the small town ten miles from where I grew up. The amount of work it must have taken to create the services that were there for us kids growing up? When someone raised funds to build something that would help their kids they also helped other kids. Many parents coach teams so their children can be on one. What they do to help their kids, helps many kids.  Often this is self-interest and community service rolled into one. What if one of the most selfish things we do is help other people because we are in turn helped? What if giving to get is how the world works. It isn’t about us not getting, it is that we help others to get, and they, in turn, help us to receive. The more we help others to get what they want the more we will get what we want. What if changing our thoughts can change our lives?

Our attitude towards life determines life’s attitude towards us. Earl Nightingale

Never whine, never complain, never try to justify yourself. Robert Greene     

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. Lao Tzu

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

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

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

S

Appreciation is the antidote to complaining. What we focus on increases so we should focus on what we want not on what we don’t.

What we focus on increases so we should focus on what we want not on what we don't. Appreciation is the antidote to complaining.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Whatever you appreciate and give thanks for will increase in your life. Unknown

Is appreciation the antidote to complaining? If what we appreciate increases in our lives, what if what we complain about will also increase in our life, and the more we complain the more it increases? We can’t be grateful and complain at the same time. Yesterday the neighbor’s son had his dog on our lawn and he was acting as if he wanted her to go pee. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this. My little dog was going crazy so I picked her up and walked outside, and said. “Please don’t have your dog pee on our lawn.” He said, “Okay.”

I didn’t consider my request for his dog to not pee on our lawn to be a complaint. I was asking for something instead of complaining about it. In my own mind, this is the answer to complaining. Often we see things and they are not right. What are we to do about them? We think the answer is to complain. How will anything become how we think it should be if we don’t complain? We think by complaining we will be the change we want to see in the world.

Somehow it doesn’t work that way. We don’t report suicides because the more attention we bring to them the more of them we seem to get. Mass killings might be the same thing and what if bad behavior of all forms is like this. What if seeing and hearing about someone else’s bad behavior gives us a license to act badly as well? In “The Tipping Point,” Malcolm Gladwell talks about the stickiness factor of things. If only good things had a stickiness factor our society would steadily get better. It seems we are moving in one direction or the other, notice how trash on the street accumulates but when we clean it up it takes quite a while before we see trash on the street again. By keeping our streets clean our neighborhoods are better, safer, and more pleasant places to live.

It seems to me the more people complain about people owning guns and threatening to have those guns taken away, the more people are buying guns and ammunition in case they can’t buy any in the future. We were doing that with toilet paper last year. We might not need toilet paper but if we saw it at the store we bought it in case we couldn’t get it when we needed it.

I am listening to Jordan B. Peterson’s book “Beyond Order.” I love his books. Other people (I think people who haven’t read his books) think he has negative messages. If you read or listen to his books they are not about recent problems in society. He has taken the long view going back to accumulated knowledge from lore, legend, myths, and religion.

Learn to appreciate the things you have before time forces you to appreciate the things you once had.  Unknown

He is talking to each one of us to make our lives better by our actions and our thoughts. He is not talking about how we can better society by pointing out all the unfairness in it. He acknowledges there is unfairness to be sure. We can make our corner better by our thoughts and actions and waiting for someone else to make things better for us never works.

One of the things he points out is when we think people are terrible we are also capable of being as terrible under the right, or wrong circumstances. We are not above the worst behavior. It is a sobering thought, but probably true. Perhaps this is what is meant by, “Judge not, lest yee be judged.” By judging others we might bring about circumstances where we have to prove we would not make the malevolent choice.

Living in peace and plenty we have few reasons to make bad choices. Most of us aren’t fighting over scraps. We have enough for ourselves and our families to live and take their place in the world. It is something to be very thankful for. Not everyone is so fortunate and situations can devolve. We are told if we are grateful for what we have we will always have enough.

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. Charles Dickens

Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for. Zig Ziglar

Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts. Alan Cohen

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

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

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

A

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

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

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the price through the Amazon affiliate program.

See all 3 images

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

by Michael Pollan  (Author)

See all 2 images

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

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

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

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

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

See this image

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

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

See all 2 images

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

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

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

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

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

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

Follow the Author

Gordon Laird+ Follow

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

by Gordon Laird  (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars    1 rating

 See all formats and editions


See all 2 images

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

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