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

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

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It Only Takes A Minute To Change Your Life Kindle Edition

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

4.4 out of 5 stars    97 ratings

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

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

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Thanksgiving is the antidote to self-pity. Mark Altrogge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Simple Abundance: 365 Days to a Balanced and Joyful Life

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

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

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

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

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty. Doris Day

Revised post from February 28, 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Express how we feel.

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

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

Talk about a very specific situation.

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

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

State a positive need.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Florence Williams (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

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

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

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

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

 I found this post by Benjamin Radford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Proverbs 31:13-27)

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

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What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts) Kindle Edition

by Nancy Guthrie (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

Are we counting our blessings, using what we have and making the best of it?

Are we counting our blessings, using what we have and making the best of it?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Dance. Smile. Giggle. Marvel. Trust. Hope. Love. Wish. Believe. Most of all, enjoy every moment of the journey, and appreciate where you are at this moment instead of always focusing on how far you have to go. Mandy Hale

It is a good time to look around our homes and see what exercise equipment we’ve collected over the years and get it out and see if it still works. I bought a tripod of lightweights years ago and am looking for them. I found one at the bottom of my pantry. Yesterday I found the tripod and the mate to the one that was in the pantry and this morning I found the lightest pair under my desk. Where could the heaviest pair be?

While looking for them I found an E-Force cross trainer I bought from my neighbors at a garage sale. I’m planning to bring it out and start using it. This machine uses our own weight and does a full-body workout with one motion. They were discontinued because some of the welds broke but mine is still in good shape and I can’t wait to get on it. One of the things I’m missing is going to the gym.

There are fabulous workouts online and my daughter and I did one this week. My plan is to increase my morning workout because with fewer places to go fitting in a workout is still harder than ever. When I had a date with the gym I got up from the dinner table, put on my running shoes, jacket, got in the truck, drove to the gym and worked out. It was a routine and it worked.

My morning sun salutations are a routine and they are still getting done. What I’m hoping is by putting the E-Force machine in my bedroom it will become part of my morning routine and then any workouts with my daughter or walks will be extra.

I had an exercise bike but it must have been thrown out when we cleaned out the basement for my daughter and her husband to move into. It seems funny I can’t remember throwing it out but I must have agreed to it. If one of the two had to go I’m glad the E-Force is the one we kept. One of the benefits of the E-Force is it gives the body a great stretch and is really great for my back.

Everyone who is alive can find something to be grateful for if they look for it. If you are among the few that can’t find anything, start with the fact that you are alive, and continue from there. Counting one’s blessings is a barometer of mental health. Gudjon Bergmann

The writer’s group is meeting on Zoom later today. We are so lucky we can get together virtually. It will be interesting to see who shows up on Zoom. Will we have more attendees or less than usual? I’m expecting there to be more because we are all looking for a little encouragement and distraction from our daily routine.

How quickly things become normalized. How will we feel going out without a mask after we get used to wearing one everywhere we go?

Will we continue baking after this? Growing up it seemed Mom baked a cake almost every day and we had dessert with every dinner. The amount of effort that was put into making three meals a day was enormous.

It’s no wonder so many of us equate food with love. Maybe that is why cake calls to me more than cookies. We didn’t make a lot of cookies at home compared to the amount of cake we baked.

Are we savoring our meals more now that we have time to enjoy them without rushing off to something? Isn’t dinner time conversation some of the best conversations we have? When we invite someone for dinner it isn’t just to eat it is also so we can enjoy their company and those dinners can take up a whole evening.

Cooking is creative and life-giving and what we choose to feed our families is determining in many ways how healthy they will be. The most important choices we make might be what we put in our grocery cart. Going grocery shopping for many of us is now the highlight of our week. The vibrant colors in the vegetable aisle make my heart sing as I get to make my choices. We are so blessed if we get to go to a store or market that is piled high with fresh fruits and vegetables and we can choose as much as we can eat.

Life is so good, and we are so blessed. We are even more blessed if when we prepare our meals we have someone to share them with. If we can’t share our meals in person we could share them over Zoom, or we could call someone before or after we eat.

There is always a lot to be grateful for if we look at the blessings in our life. Are we counting our blessings and naming them one by one?

Count your blessings with gratitude no matter how small or big they are, and stop letting your lacks blindfold you from noticing how blessed that you are. Edmond Mbiaka

We are all blessed, but the problem is that some of us count our blessings while others count their struggles, challenges, and obstacles. Edmond Mbiaka

Wouldn’t it be nice to positively start each day by counting your blessings? Isn’t it obvious that the habit of counting your problems is an enemy to your peace of mind? Edmond Mbiaka

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

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Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life by [M. J. Ryan, Mark Nepo]

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Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life Kindle Edition

by M. J. Ryan (Author), Mark Nepo (Foreword)  Format: Kindle Edition

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Counting our blessings and looking at the realities of life. How will things change, how will things improve?

How will things change, how will things improve? Counting our blessings and looking at the realities of life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Reality leaves a lot to the imagination. John Lennon

How will our Garden Centers fare during this time? It seems like the year to grow a garden. We may have a less exciting summer than usual. Watching plants grow and knowing we have food in our own garden is reassuring. It may be time to look at a new Victory Garden.

The agricultural sector will have a lot to deal with this year. My little garden can’t take the place of the grocery store and farmer’s markets for produce. At least not the way I’ve been doing it for the last few years. Square foot gardeners tell us we can grow a lot more in small spaces than we think we can.

My house is not situated so I have a good window for starting seeds and I haven’t invested in a grow light. Instead, I’ve always perused the garden centers for what I want to grow.

We’ve given up a lot of independence as we buy seeds instead of saving our own. We buy plants instead of starting our own from seed. We buy our produce from other countries instead of producing our own. Everything works really well until the first domino starts to fall.

This may be a wakeup call for us in many ways. We need to be resilient, we need to be strong, and we need to be resourceful. Could we eat for a year on what is grown within 100 miles of where we live? We might not love our diet which wouldn’t be as varied as we are used to. But, could we actually do it?

Could we manage without the migrant farmworkers we bring in each year? It would be hard and we may not want to do that work but if we had to could we manage?

Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. Saint Frances of Assisi

Could we manage to produce the necessities of life? Are we self-sufficient enough to feel secure? Will we remain open enough to keep trade and supply lines flowing but recognize our vulnerabilities and strengthen them?

Will seeing the weaknesses help us build a better future going forward? Some people think we will make our systems more resilient. Will we look back and recognize who rose to the challenge?

We all need to rise to the challenge before us? We all need to play our part. We need to know what our part is. Are we seeing the power of the human spirit? Incredible efforts are being made by medical staff, the people keeping our stores stocked, essential goods transported, and the efforts by people everywhere who make things work.

Maybe at the end of this, we will have more respect for those who do the heavy lifting in life, the ones who actually do the work to make our society continue to operate. Here’s a thank you to all those people whose contributions are essential to making society work.  These are the people who have always made society work.

There is so much to be grateful for. When we are counting our blessings doesn’t it seem we have more of them?

It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver. Mahatma Gandhi

Keep your vitality. A life without health is like a river without water. Maxine Lagace

Trust yourself, you will start to trust others. Santosh Kalwar

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

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All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space Paperback – Feb. 15 2013

by Mel Bartholomew (Author) 4.7 out of 5 stars 1,084 ratings

Standing firm and trusting we will get through this.

Trusting we will get through this and standing firm.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

In every human breast, God has implanted a principle, which we call love of freedom; it is impatient of oppression, and pants for deliverance. Phillis Wheatley

Tonight we will have a Saturday night get together with friends – over Zoom. Tomorrow I will watch my favorite TV church service but I feel for all those that are used to going to Church or any Easter celebration and the kids that are used to picking up Easter Eggs in a big community Easter egg hunt.

What about romance in this time of separation? What impact on relationships will this have? Will people who haven’t found time for serious relationships realize relationships are more important than some of the ways they’ve been spending their time?

Will couples come together or be farther apart when this is all over? Will Easter be the turning point in this we are all hoping for? Easter Sunday is often my first trip to a garden center.

Usually, I have a spring planter in the urn on my front step but not this year. My bedraggled Christmas planter is still sitting there. I did see a pot of pansies when I went shopping for my mother in law this week. I should have picked one up.

Spring flowers are starting to bloom. We can’t help but get a lift to our spirits when we see spring flowers. The hibiscus wintering in the kitchen has a big beautiful red bloom. Daffodils will be nodding their heads in the breeze and early tulips aren’t far behind.

I’m thankful to have a yard to poke around in. Raking leaves may become a big adventure and pulling weeds something I look forward to. Rescuing an earthworm from its journey on the asphalt might become my good deed.

We are connected to the outside world. Think of how it must have been for people who have quarantined themselves over the centuries who didn’t know what was happening outside. How would they know when it was over and when it was safe?

For some people, this will be the worst time in their lives. For most of us, it is a pause we’ll look back on. Unless we write down how we feel now, when we look back we will look back through the lens of knowing how it played out not the lens of wondering how it will. We will think we knew what the best way forward would be even though at this moment, most of us don’t have a clue.

The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. Ralph Waldo Emerson

All we know is if we don’t interact with someone that has it, we can’t get it. Will wearing a mask help? I’m seeing a lot of people wearing them. We have a couple in our pantry. I have a sewing machine so I could sew some but I cleaned out my stash of fabric and gave it to Value Village not long ago. What do I have lying around?

The news highlighted a wedding dress designer who is making beautiful masks out of printed fabric, probably quilting fabric and she has a pocket where a filter can be inserted. There is probably a pattern available online. Later today I might make a few masks. There are some old napkins and tablecloths that should work if I can’t find anything else.

We can enjoy the spring flowers, spring air, and the optimism of spring. When we step outside we can inhale deeply and give thanks for all our blessings. We can make a phone call and make someone laugh. We can connect over Zoom and laugh some more.

Easter may have more meaning than ever this year. We can’t take our traditions for granted and that may make them more meaningful. If there is one thing to get from all this it might be to take fewer things for granted and notice and give thanks for the blessings and beauty in our lives.

Are we standing firm and trusting we’ll get through this? Wishing everyone a happy Easter.

Within yourself, deliverance must be searched for because each man makes his own prison. Edwin Arnold

I breathed the air of deliverance through books, and through books, I leapt over the walls of confinement. Bill Ayers

Trust holds fast, standing firm until deliverance arrives or a solution is found. Elizabeth George

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Look inside this book.
The Message of Easter: According to Mark by [Eugene H. Peterson]

The Message of Easter: According to Mark Kindle Edition

by Eugene H. Peterson (Translator)  Format: Kindle Edition

Thinking of honesty, justice, purity, virtuous, praiseworthy, and good things. We are blessed.

We are blessed. Thinking on truth, honesty, justice, purity, virtuous, praiseworthy , and good things.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Many people are doing just what the verse tells us to do. Truck drivers are telling us people are bringing them coffee and food to their trucks and thanking them for their service. People are thanking cashiers where they buy food and necessities. Bells are being rung and people are clapping as thanks to medical staff.

People are grateful and speaking and showing that gratitude. One of my book club buddies is setting up our book club meeting on Zoom April 21st. She celebrated 21 years in her home last night on Zoom.

We have a common challenge and it is bringing us together. Spring is here and I have purple crocuses the squirrels must have planted for me. The pair of cardinals in our back yard keeps us company and we are enjoying our dog’s company more than ever. The Star Magnolia in my back yard will be blooming soon, the forsythia and all the spring bulbs will produce an array of color.

When we go for walks the sun kisses our skin and the wind whispers in our ear. Garden centers will be open soon (I’m hoping, praying, thinking) so we can plant our gardens. Is this the year our gardens will be the most weed-free they’ve ever been? A planter of pansies in the urn on my step would be a welcome splotch of color.

When life is sweet, say Thank You and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say Thank You and grow. Shauna Niequist

This might be a good year to plant a tree. One tree I’ve always wanted but haven’t planted is a Saucer Magnolia. My birch trees in the front died a few years ago so if I dig out the root there is space for one.

There is nobility in the human spirit. Even though we aren’t perfect we strive for justice, we make things beautiful, and we have many good things in our lives. We have many people who live good and virtuous lives. We have access to good drinking water, good food, sanitation systems, health care, and government doing the best they can. We have strong businesses, people committed to doing what they must, others doing what they can, and many of us staying out of the way.

The winter and spring of 2020 will pass into our memories and hopefully, one of the things we will say is we made the best of it.

Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times, you grow. Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement. Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build your strength and character. Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons. Troy Amdahl

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. Robert Brault

There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy. Ralph H. Blum

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

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Suffering Is Never for Nothing by [Elliot, Elisabeth]

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Suffering Is Never for Nothing Kindle Edition

by Elisabeth Elliot (Author)