2019 a year of possibilities.

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

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We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Years Day. Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Theodore Roosevelt

2018 is ending whether we got everything done we planned to or not. It was a good year for some of us, a heartbreaking year for others, and a mixture of both for many.

This has been a year of learning many lessons. Some goals have been met; some goals are coming soon. One of the lessons learned was not to rush to become a published writer, take the time to edit, make it as good as it can be before putting it out into the world, and don’t self publish first because we can always self publish if we can’t find an agent, publisher, etc.

As unpublished writers, we are like 2019, unknown, and full of possibility. We need to work hard and make what we have to offer as good as it can be, after all, we never get a second chance to make a first impression.

This coming year will be a year of firsts for some, endings for others and for many of us we will continue working on projects, lives, jobs, businesses, and artistic pursuits.

Don’t we all love beginnings, this could be the year of… What would you like this to be the year of? Is this the year to get engaged, get married, start a family, start a business, or start a new artistic pursuit? Is this the year to take charge of health and fitness? Is this a year of personal growth, a year to face something that holds us back? Is this the year to face our fears, and do whatever calls to us? Is this the year to accept failure as just another learning experience? We can’t succeed if we don’t risk failure? Is this the year to finally have that adventure? Is this the year we will face the hardest thing we’ve ever had to face?

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. Carl Bard

Starting over is an acceptance of a past we cannot change, an unrelenting conviction that the future can be different, and the stubborn wisdom to use the past to make the future what the past was not. Craig D. Lounsbrough

We don’t know what 2019 has in store for us. Even if it brings us to our knees we can find a way to get back up. We don’t learn our greatest lessons in the easy times. It isn’t when everything is going smoothly we fix relationships. Sometimes things get worse before they get better, we think they can’t improve but often all that festering has to come out before we can heal. Is there someone in our life we need to forgive? Do we need to forgive our self? Do we need to quit looking for problems that may or may not rear their ugly head and enjoy what we do have?

Can we quit living in the past or the future and enjoy the now? Now, this moment, because right now is all there is. If we are okay at this moment, even if something bad is coming, can we find the joy in today? Can we walk in the sunshine and enjoy today? Can we have that conversation today? Can we hold someone’s hand today? Can we give words of love and encouragement today? Can we accept ourselves as we are today? Can we make the phone call we’ve been putting off today?

Everything that gets done in our life, gets done in the now. There is no other time. Are we happy now? Just for today can we refrain from something that makes our life less than what we want it to be? Can we not get defensive when someone brings up a difficult conversation? Can we really listen to their concerns; really hear what they have to say? By listening we aren’t saying everything they say is correct, we aren’t agreeing with their point of view, we are acknowledging their right to their point of view, and understanding what it is. When we understand each other’s point of view we at least have an understanding of what we need to deal with.

Many of us don’t feel listened to, we don’t feel heard, and we don’t feel understood. Can we be the listening ear, can we try to understand, can we hear their point of view, and can we empathize with their fear?

2019 is here. What we didn’t get done in 2018 will get done in the future or it won’t get done at all. Sometimes we have to give up on dreams that won’t become reality so we can build a reality that works. What does 2019 have in store? Can we smile more, enjoy more, love more, be kinder to our self and others, can we forgive others and our self, can we reach for what we want, and pick ourselves back up when we fail? Are we ready for all 2019 has to offer?

Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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

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Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

Changing our life. New Years Resolutions.

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To create more positive results in your life, replace ‘if only’ with ‘next time.’ Unknown

Do we make New Year’s resolutions? How has making New Year’s resolutions worked in the past? Did we get more exercise? Did we eat healthier?

One of the ways to make a New Year’s resolution stick is to make it small, specific and attached to something we already do. Do we even in our own mind know what getting more exercise means? What does eating healthier mean? How can we make getting more exercise and eating healthy small, specific and actionable?

Last night on TV they were profiling a gentleman in his eighties, for thirty years he was an insulin-dependent diabetic. He now fasts and prepares his food for the week on Mondays; it looked like he was cooking mostly plants. He intermittent fasts each day meaning he fasts 14-16 hours per day and eats during a window of 8-10 hours. Men fast for 16 hours and women fast for 14 hours. Is there a benefit to a full day of fasting plus the 16 hour fast he does each day?

He has lost weight, is off all insulin, checks in regularly with a Doctor and looks very healthy for his age. He is on one medication they didn’t specify what it is for. They didn’t say what the impetus was to make this change after living with diabetes for thirty years.

He made huge changes and it changed his health and his life. He may or may not have started small, he is an example of how we can change our life by changing the way we eat. We can make one of the many changes he made, and over time incorporate all of them, or we can do them all at once. The three-week vegan challenge my son asked me to take in 2015 made a change in mine. It got me off dairy, I now realize because I rarely eat it, how it affects me. When I indulge, as I have over this season of too much of too much. I pay the price.

If we have problems we believe may be caused by food, elimination diets work to find the culprit.

By changing nothing, nothing changes. Tony Robbins

No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself. Madonna

My goal is to go to the gym three times per week. When I get to the gym on Monday I’ve started the week off right. Even if I can’t make it to the gym three times a week when I get there on Monday I can relax a little, I went to the gym this week.

One of the ways we can change our life is to change the story we believe about our self. If we don’t exercise and we want to change that, we have to believe we can become a person that exercises. We need to change our story to see our self as an active person.

Timothy Wilson in his book Redirect describes impressive research on how stories can change behavior long-term.

We need to write out our existing story. Paying special attention to anything that goes against the new habit we want to adopt. If our present story doesn’t include healthy eating and activity we need to rewrite the story to include healthy eating and activity.

It takes a minimum of 21 days to create a new habit. We need to get rid of our all or nothing belief that missing one work-out ruins everything. Believing one meal out ruins our new better way of eating is not productive. We should adopt an 80/20 rule in our eating and exercise routines. If we eat how we think we should 80 percent of the time and eat how we want or how the situation presenting itself warrants 20 percent of the time, we will be healthier and happier over time.

Here again, perfection is enemy of the good. We need to change our habits to create a life going forward that is an improvement over the one we had. When we think we have to give up forever some of the things we’ve enjoyed, we give up our program instead. If Lobster dipped in butter is something you love don’t tell yourself you have to give it up for life. If you’ve never seen a cheesecake you didn’t love don’t tell yourself you can never indulge. Going shopping or a trip will interfere with your exercise program; real life will get in the way. Go to the gym the next Monday you are able and eat following your new eating plan, continue building the life you’ve decided you want to build.

When we change our story to eating healthier and exercising it doesn’t mean we never enjoy dinner out, holidays, take out, trips or opportunities that pop up in life. We get more out of life by eating healthier and exercising, not less. This is a gift we are giving our self, not punishment.

If we have a change we want to make in our life isn’t now as good a time as any? Can we start small? Can we be specific? Can we attach it to something we already do? Can we change the story about our self to incorporate our new change?

When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. Wayne Dyer

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow. Mary Anne Radmacher

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Living and growing. Everything in our life is for our growth.

Life and Growing - photo of Daniela's orchid by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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You’re going to go through tough times – that’s life. But I say, “nothing happens to you, it happens for you.” See the positive in negative events. Joel Osteen

Today is the last day of the 28-day soul coaching program. The lesson today is to understand that everything that happens in our lives allows us to evolve and grow. Even the things we judge as bad, undesirable, boring, demeaning, or worthless can help us to grow.

We are told we should be grateful for everything in our lives. It is easy to be grateful for the lovely things, people, experiences, and exchanges that come into our life. It is not so easy to be grateful for the hurtful, mean, challenging, threatening, and demeaning experiences, that have as much or more to teach us as good and happy times.

We never know what is locked inside an experience. Can we view every experience as a gift we don’t understand yet? Can we ask who are we going to be in this story? What do we believe, what do we value, and what is worth fighting for? Can we instead of viewing ourselves as victims of what happened, turn our hard times into a story that transforms our life?

Jordan Peterson tells young men they should be the most reliable person at their father’s funeral. Can we be the person others can count on at a difficult time? Are we the person our father would be proud of? Can we look back on an event and be proud of how we acted and conducted ourself?

It is often in the hard situations in life we learn who we are, we become who we are, and we show who we are. We also have to be able to forgive ourselves if we fall short of who we thought we were, should be, could be, or wanted to be. Can we make mistakes or wallow in self-pity and still take on the mantle of courage and go forward? We may say things in anger we wish we hadn’t said. Can we apologize and try to make amends? We may have done something someone sees differently than how we see it. A crack may have developed in our relationship. Do we deal with it, pretend it isn’t there, or give up on the relationship?

God already knows what we’re made of, but perhaps he wants us to learn what we’re made of. I think we would all agree that we learn more from our tough times than from our easy times. John Bytheway

We didn’t choose what happened; we choose our reaction to it. There are two ways to look at change, we can change our behavior or we can change our dialogue. If our behavior needs to change we should change it, but if the only thing we can change is how we react to something that is already in the past, the only choice we may have is who we will be in the story going forward. Will we be the one that severs a relationship? Or the one that gives someone a second chance? Will we be the one that tries to see things from another’s point of view? Or will we forgive someone who can’t see our point of view? Will we be the one that is vulnerable, open, and seeking to repair the breach?

One of the things I have noticed is the women who stand by their men when the men fail publicly especially when it is adultery seem principled to me. When everyone thought she should run not walk out of the relationship, she stays and finds the strength to keep her family together. Men stand by their wives in times of betrayal, embarrassment, and pain as well.

If we only love someone during the good times is that love? When we are too quick to judge, is that love? If we won’t give someone the benefit of the doubt, is that love? When we have nothing else we have our principles and they may be stronger to stand on than feelings of love. Feelings are fleeting, they come and they go. I love you, I love you not. The commitment we make to one another can’t only be based on our feelings if it is to stand any tests at all.

Is it when we feel like giving up, but don’t, that we find the nuggets of gold in our life, where the real meaning happens? Who we are in the story of our life is one of the choices we get to make. We don’t choose what happens, but we can be the victim, the villain, or we can be the hero. We are responsible for our thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Heroes act with determination, focus, courage, resilience, empathy, directness, and generosity.

It is humbling to realize we are not as good as we thought we were. We aren’t as loving, kind, nice, agreeable, steadfast, upright, circumspect, respectful, blameless, honest, open and vulnerable because we aren’t perfect. Our partners, friends, bosses, coworkers, parents, siblings, acquaintances aren’t either. We are all imperfect, we all have room to grow, develop, and improve.

Our choice is how we react when we learn about our own imperfections and someone else’s. What will be our choice when we are confronted by the less lovable aspects of the people we meet or live with? Are we living and growing?

Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. And I’ve been through some tough times, and I know a lot of people can recall tough times, and maybe are going through some tough times right now, but they don’t last.

Alonzo Mourning

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Feng Shui for the Soul Paperback – Jan 25 2001

Building our future. What we do today creates tomorrow.

Building Our Future painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen. Wayne Huizenga

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today is day 27 of the 28-day Soul Coaching program.  I am almost done and it hasn’t been that rigorous. Denise Linn says it is our intention that is important. The intention in our life is what drives it. Everything in life comes from intention. We reap what we sow, but first, we must sow something. How hard it must have been for the first farmers who held back food they could have eaten to throw into the earth for a future harvest.

If we have plans to go to the beach in July we don’t start getting our body ready in July. We start in January or maybe the July before. When we want things to change we must take the steps long before we get the outcome we desire.

Today we are to visualize the future we desire and act as if it has already arrived. What is it we truly desire and how can we bring it to fruition? If we want to be a successful whatever, what would that look like? How would we carry our self, what would we do, how would we act, how would we treat people, and what words would be coming out of our mouth?

Do we stand up straight and tall with our shoulders back as a successful ____________ would? Do we speak encouraging words to our self and others? Do we think the kind of thoughts a successful __________ would think? Do we handle our money like a successful ___________ would?

Start small and be kind to our self. If we want to be organized, we can start acting as if we are by taking small steps. Do we want to write, then write today, a few words, and then do it again tomorrow. If we want to paint, we need to paint today, a few strokes then do it again tomorrow. As we take small steps think how a successful writer, painter, or _________ would conduct themselves. If we want to sing, dance, start a business, become a professional _____________ then move in that direction by taking a small step toward it. By taking small steps continuously we get where we want to go. Develop what we need to do into a habit of doing what would move us in that direction continuously.

But I don’t begrudge anybody, because I know how hard it is to have that dream and to make it happen, whether or not it’s just to put a roof over your head and food on the table. Carol Burnett

Success in anything is a series of small steps. Overnight success takes about fifteen years of hard slogging most people don’t see. The habit of doing one small step toward our success builds on itself until voila; we have something we can be proud of. We can be proud of a year of going to the gym continuously a number of times per week.

Whatever it is we want to accomplish can be broken into small steps, or the preparation to do that thing can be broken into small steps. No one is going to write our novel but us, no one will sing our song but us, no one will create our business but us, no one will fix our relationships but us, and no one will make our part of the world better but us. Whatever needs to be done in our life will be done by us, or it won’t be done at all.

Too often we think we’ll believe it when we see it, the truth is we will see it when we believe it. We create our future; we do it daily with our habits, thoughts, words, and actions. What do we want to create, build, and accomplish? What is the step we can take today to make it happen? What we do today is building our future, if we do it with intention we’ll build a life we love.

Know what it is that drives you – motivates you – and pursue it. Endeavor to work to make it happen. Peggy Whitson

Private dreams are the most powerful. You have to dream of success to make it happen, and if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will. But that doesn’t mean you have to go around telling everyone about it. Tony McCoy

Look inside this book.
The Power of Intention, Gift Edition by [Dyer, Wayne W.]
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Unmet expectations. The reality of Christmas.

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Don’t blame people for disappointing you; blame yourself for expecting too much from them. Unknown

Christmas day is over. All the planning, buying, baking, cooking is done. If we are lucky we didn’t wake up to a big mess. My mother in law and my husband did the dishes last night. Coming into the kitchen was a joy this morning. It was like being given a great big hug.

Was it a joyous, fun-filled day filled with laughter? There is the other side of holidays and big events. The side unmet expectations and family drama create. Hopefully, you didn’t have one of those, but if you did you know forgiveness is necessary.

There are always elephants in the room and the big one for many of us at Christmas is money. Christmas is expensive. This year everyone wanted to save money in our house so we instituted Secret Santa within the home. It worked great. Will it work as well if we extend it to everyone who came for dinner?

We’ve had Christmas’s where someone left in a huff. We’ve had uncomfortable conversations rear their head. We try not to engage when it raises its head and sometimes it works. Becoming defensive is what turns a little comment into a big blow up. If we leave the hurtful comment, insult, or whatever it is hanging in mid-air without giving it any fuel it eventually dissipates. Hurt people, hurt people, they say hurtful things. If we can be mindful of the personalities we bring together, the undercurrents in their lives, the sensitivities, the struggles they are having we can steer away from the hurtful conversation that may cause a blow-up.

Simple things become complicated when you expect too much. Expectation truly is the root of all heartache. Don’t let it get the best of you. Unknown

If an uncomfortable or hurtful situation arises we will have to forgive. Too high of expectations is how we feel let down over the holidays. If someone always drinks too much and says stupid stuff, don’t have the fantasy this year will be different. We can try and steer the activities away from what causes problems but don’t expect miracles, enjoy them if they show up.

The pressure to put on a big spread is also expensive. Between my mother in law, and us there was so much food the beautiful roast turkey didn’t get touched. More than any other kind of waste, I hate to see meat wasted. Something gave its life for our sustenance. We can honor that sacrifice by not wasting it.

Christmas is a time of excess, with too many gifts, too much food, too much drinking, too many parties. It is a joyful time of year if we can enjoy it without putting too many expectations on the season and the people we are spending it with we can all be happier, grateful, generous and kind.

Are there unmet expectations from our Christmas? Is there anyone including our self we need to forgive? If there is, we already know some of what we should work on in 2019. Living a good life is growing, giving, loving, and forgiving ourselves and others. We are not perfect, others are not perfect if we can believe everyone is doing the best they know how to do at that moment, even if it doesn’t seem like it. We can look at ourselves and others with compassion and kindness. Can we drop our expectations and just enjoy what is?

When you release expectations you are free to enjoy things for what they are instead of what you think they should be. Mandy Hale

Sometimes we create our own heartbreaks through expectation. Unknown

Look inside this book.
Dealing With Difficult People by [Brinkman, Dr. Rick, Richard Kirschner]
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Talking is therapy. Talk to someone.

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The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love. Hubert H. Humphrey

We hold everything in at our peril. Last night with friends talking and laughing we touched on many subjects. We talked about mental health. We talked about getting therapy. How much that therapy took a load off they didn’t realize they’d been carrying. When we choose to bury our feelings, we act differently. We might not make our self available, or we withdraw, maybe we just don’t become fully engaged when we spend time with other people.

Every patient tends to bury the most important story inside some other story, just the way new writers often “bury the lede.” “Burying the lede” is an old journalism term for when you only find out the real point about halfway into the article, but it also applies to therapy. Gina Barreca

When we express how we feel appropriately (not knowing how to do this is probably why some people don’t do it,) problems get solved, relationship issues get resolved, life is easier, and we are more at peace. We will be happier and like our life better when we are not holding in unhealed and confused feelings.

Discernment is needed when we choose to confide in others, and who we choose to confide in. We need to be able to express our feelings in a tone that won’t upset those listening to us. It is important to express our emotions in an honest and open way, and not try to blast someone.

We often don’t express our pain or sadness, we may be afraid once we start we can’t stop. Depressing thoughts distort our thinking and until we let them out we won’t be thinking correctly. If we are willing to let the tears flow, we let out our hurts and make room for more positive thoughts and feelings. When we express our pain we actually take a step toward making it stop.

When Dad died I didn’t really cry until I was on the plane home. At the airport I witnessed a woman giving someone a cheque and I knew from what I overheard, and how they acted that they were in a similar situation to myself. The gratitude I felt that at least we didn’t need to worry about Mom financially, where she would live or how she would buy food opened the floodgates. That four-hour cry was the best thing for me. My seatmate was sympathetic, asked the cabin crew for tissues, and gave me space for my tears.

We often are better at talking about what we don’t like than what touches us deeply. Do we complain because it’s something to say? How hard would it be to take the time to tell people how they have touched our life? Could we spend as much time talking about positive things as well as the negative? Can we create a balance between the two?

We need to learn to be open and honest about our feelings and let other people be open and honest about theirs with us. We also need to choose who we share these feelings with. If we share them with someone who can only listen and commiserate but not help us solve the problem it is probably better than keeping them locked inside.  Is there someone we could talk to that could both listen and help us solve the problem? Talking to anyone maybe better than talking to no one, but talking to the person who can help us solve the problem is probably best of all.

Often there are things that can’t be solved. Nine of us sat around a table last night. Three of the men have lost their mothers. They all admitted this was the hardest loss of their life. Hearing someone say something was hard for them, makes it easier when we go through the same thing and are hit harder than we thought we would be. If we know we aren’t the only person in the world that has a hard time dealing with the loss we will feel more normal.

We expect our selves to be better, stronger, and more resilient than we may be capable of being. Judging ourselves harshly when we need to treat ourselves with compassion. Knowing we are not in this alone, others have been where we are, and there is a way through it, that the pain, emptiness, and despair do not last forever gives us hope we too can get through this.

We are opening our heart when we open our mouth; feeling truly heard and understood is soothing to our soul. When we need a friend and they are there for us we are blessed, when we are there for someone we are a blessing. Through giving and taking in relationships we bless each other and are blessed.

Is there someone in our life we should reach out to? Is there something in our life we could make better by finding someone to talk to?

I can honestly say, after talking about my mom passing away, I got the biggest weight off my chest. Comedy is my therapy. That’s how I deal with my problems, my personal battles. I talk about it. I give it to my fans. When they laugh at it, it’s a release for lack of a better word. Kevin Hart

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The Talking Cure: A Doctor’s personal Discovery of the Importance of Relationship to Create a Cure ProcessPaperback – Oct 27 2013

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Christmas traditions. Giving and receiving.

Giving and Receiving - Gingerbread house 2018 photo by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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For in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means. As I can testify, and beyond their means.                                                      2 Corinthians 8:2-3

Christmas is about many things. For some faith is the biggest component, for some it is music, and for some, it is giving to people who can’t give back. They make Christmas for people who can’t make Christmas for themselves. Others find Christmas in small or big traditions they create.

My son and his girlfriend created a tradition when they first started dating. They built a gingerbread house and they continued every year. The picture on this post is this year’s gingerbread house.

For a couple years my book club did a cookie exchange. It never became a tradition and I’m not sure why. Baking is one of the Christmas traditions I grew up with that I didn’t continue. The kids and I made Christmas cookies when they were young. At home, there was Christmas cake a light one and a dark one. I loved them both. Mom made tarts, cookies, squares, and one of my sisters made homemade chocolates.

There were certain candies that only came out at Christmas. I remember the ribbon hard candy, boxes of chocolates and Christmas oranges each wrapped separately.

When we had kids Christmas stockings were so much fun to see what little surprise we could find for the kids.

One of the traditions my husband and I have is on Christmas Eve afternoon we go to the mall and watch the hustle and bustle as people pick up last-minute gifts, thankful we are finished.

Over the years we’ve gone to Church on Christmas Eve, movies, or spent the evening wrapping presents. Nothing became a tradition. This year I think we’ll go to a movie.

Christmas breakfast is a tradition. At home we started the day with all the Christmas treats for breakfast. We started the day off with dessert and then a  huge dinner at two o’clock pm. Here we have a huge breakfast and then dinner at six o’clock or later.

At the end, it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, and who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back. Denzel Washington

My heart goes out to people who are alone at Christmas because we make such a big deal of family, togetherness, and Christmas. I’ve never been alone at Christmas. I was always invited somewhere on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. People go out of their way to include those who are alone. At a Christmas party for a Toastmasters group I am no longer a part of one of the ladies had moved to Mississauga and she was asking everyone if they had somewhere to go for Christmas and if not to come to her place. By the end of the evening, her table was going to be full.

A friend at my present Toastmasters group invites people who otherwise would be alone, she and her husband have no kids so this makes a fun Christmas for them, filling their house with laughter and joy.

We feel generous when we give, but we also have to be willing to receive so someone can feel generous. I’m reading about a study where people were required to ask for something. They came up with ridiculous things like saying to someone, “your fries look so delicious, may I have one?” They found most of the time no matter how ridiculous the request most people said yes. When they tried to give something back in return is when they heard the “no.”

It seems we like feeling generous, but we are not so willing to receive. Some people are even hard to compliment. What would we do if someone; a complete stranger offered us a substantial sum of money, no strings attached?

Would you find it easier to extend the invitation to someone who has nowhere to go at Christmas or accept the invitation when you have nowhere to go for Christmas?

Do we think receiving is only for the less fortunate? Giving is selfless and receiving is selfish? It’s not right to receive without giving back? If we receive help does it mean we can’t do it for our self? If we give does it means we are a good person?

It’s a good question to ask our self, are we as comfortable receiving as we are giving? Can we let others feel good by giving to us? In order to give someone has to be willing to receive. I remember reading how a woman was indignant to find a Christmas box on her doorstep. “We are not that poor was her response?” Being given a Christmas box meant she felt judged? Most of us would probably feel the same way because we know the box is given to “the unfortunate” and we don’t want to be labeled “unfortunate.” Even if times are rough, we aren’t willing to admit they are that rough.

In order for there to be a cheerful giver, there needs to be a cheerful receiver. Can we feel good when we give and receive?

Give and receive; give big and receive big; give freely and receive freely; give poorly and receive poorly. Israelmore Ayivor

Are you comfortable and willing to be of service to others, but find it difficult to receive the same in return? Why are people so quick to resist receiving, even when they need the help? Your ability to receive not only opens the space for great things to enter our life, but it returns a gift of grace to the giver. Susan C. Young

Christmas with Hot Apple Cider: Stories from the Season of Giving and Receiving (Powerful Stories of Faith, Hope, and Love Book 5) by [Lindquist, N. J.]
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Christmas with Hot Apple Cider: Stories from the Season of Giving and Receiving (Powerful Stories of Faith, Hope, and Love Book 5) Kindle Edition

Living in the present, because now is all there is.

Living In The Present - photo of tree by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. Buddha

Today is day 18 of the Soul Coaching journey. Denise Linn says the results of this program do not necessarily come from how much we do – they come from our intent and our commitment to listen to the yearnings of our soul.

Yesterday was facing the shadow side of our selves. That is the parts of our selves we don’t want to acknowledge or take responsibility for. She says for instance if we are always encountering hostile people wherever we go we usually have a “shadow self” filled with repressed hostility.

If we want to see the nature of our shadow we need to be aware of our judgment of others. This is because what we judge in others can be a reflection of qualities we possess but deny within our self.

In other words when we are upset over someone else’s selfishness, rudeness, attention seeking, condescending, lying nature, it is usually because we are not accepting these qualities within our self.

We need to look carefully within our self to see if we have exhibited those qualities, now or in the past, or have the ability to exhibit them in the future. If we can accept those qualities in our self, we will not be so offended by others displaying them. We need to own all parts of our selves, the good, the bad, the qualities we wish we did not have, the ones that embarrass us, the ones that shame us, and the ones that make us human.

It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up. Eckhart Tolle

When we can accept our selves warts and all, that is true self-acceptance. Yesterday we learned to accept our self, today we are to live in the present because yesterday is over and tomorrow is just a dream.

Denise Linn the author of Soul Coaching says she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She worried what would happen, how would her husband handle her death? She fretted about the changes she could have, and should have made to prevent this. One day she asked herself, “what is true at this moment?” The truth was she was alive, and it was a beautiful day she could spend however she wanted. She could waste it on worry and self-recriminations or she could enjoy the gift of a beautiful day.

She believes that day was a turning point that helped her beat cancer.  We may not have a dire diagnosis but we don’t know what is coming. We can worry or we can enjoy each day as it arrives. Trouble is coming soon enough. We all have dark days to deal with, but if today isn’t that day then laugh and rejoice. All we have and all we need is here in this present moment. Enjoy what is.

Sometimes we don’t want the next thing happening in our life. Looking back we realize it came with gifts. She suggests we accept everything happening in our lives as if within it is a gift.

It is during the hard times, we learn who we are, how strong we are, and what is important. What doesn’t kill us makes us strong.

Can we commit to being in the present moment? Can we live in trust and faith that out of everything some good will come? Can we say yes to life using our creativity, vitality, spontaneity and life force and as we say yes in one area be open to the new energy, new ideas and new inspirations in other areas?

Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present. Marcus Aurelius

Being enough. We are enough, we can make a difference.

Being Enough - photo of Daniela's orchid by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. William James

Why do we fear we are “not enough?” This is a fear that affects us all, but it shows up differently for each of us. Some people become overachievers, other people constantly compare themselves to others, for some, it is procrastination and avoidance and not finishing what we start.

How would we ever begin to define what is “good enough”? We often think we’ll be good enough when…

Yet there are people who make plenty of money in prestigious occupations, are the perfect weight and fitness level, perfectly coifed and manicured that still don’t feel they are enough.

We think if we could just figure out when we first began to feel we weren’t enough we could get to the heart of the problem and solve it. This will only help if instead of getting angry we forgive those who also didn’t feel like they were enough and passed it on to us.

We love affirmations but maybe they aren’t as helpful as we think. Saying “I am enough, I am enough,” may not be as helpful as asking “why am I enough?”

When we ask questions our subconscious will find answers. If we ask positive questions we will get positive answers.

We are enough because we were born. Being the chosen sperm and egg is already a huge accomplishment.

We are enough because we are to experience what we are to experience, not to experience what someone else is to experience.  In this life, we are to use our gifts, talents, and where we are to do our part to make this life as good as it can be.

We often compare the worst of ourselves to the best of someone else. We do not know their challenges. The prettiest girl in the room doesn’t always have the most self-esteem. Successful people, we all envy have demons of their own.

We all have doubts, weaknesses, things we don’t like about how we look, the circumstances we are in, the circumstances we were brought up in. Life is about going from here to there, wherever here is and wherever there is.

When we don’t have money we think, we’d be happy and be “enough” if we had money. This is why we pay the lottery tax. When we don’t have looks we think if we had looks we’d be enough. Being pretty or handsome doesn’t make you happy or feel like enough, sometimes the pretty feel the most used, they only want me for my looks, body, sex, etc.

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. Zig Ziglar

When we live our life, really live it, give everything we are to a greater cause, like motherhood, fatherhood, or a great cause we are enough. We are everything to someone.

When the “not enough” voice rears its head we need to think what is it this voice is making me not do, procrastinate, hold back, what do we fear, and why do we fear it. How can we flip it around so instead of saying we can’t do this because we are not enough, we can say, why can we do this?

When we face our fears we become more of who we are. When we forgive those who are mean, hurtful, and demeaning, we don’t have to carry that stuff with us anymore. Forgiving is for us, not for them. We too often think when we forgive someone it is for them, we are letting them off the hook. It is us we are letting off the hook; it is our burden we are lifting.

We can do little things in our life that are “the right thing.” Keeping our kitchen sink shiny can be like giving our self a hug in the morning. Making our bed and doing morning exercises can set the tone for the day. Making our lunch is frugal and healthy. Giving our spouse a hug and a kiss can help our marriage flourish. Small habits build our life. We can celebrate our wins.

We can let out our disappointments instead of keeping them bottled up inside by talking about them, or journaling.

We can quit beating ourselves up when we miss the mark. We will fail, we need to be willing to embrace failure and fail bigger, fail better. The more responsibility we take for our lives the more we can build the life we want. If we don’t take responsibility we feel like the victim. It is victim mentality that is part of not being “good enough.”

What can we do today to make our self feel good about our self? Where can we be generous, kind, considerate, inspiring, complimentary, encouraging, and forgiving? Who can we help?

What you do today can improve all your tomorrows. Ralph Marston

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You Are Enough Paperback – Dec 8 2016

Toronto Christmas Market, friends, food, frivolity and new experiences.

Toronto Christmas Market Lunch at Cluny's photo by Sandra Jensen

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Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything. Muhammad Ali

Yesterday three friends and I braved the rain and headed down to the Toronto Christmas Market. We met at the Go Station but the price for Uber was very little more than four tickets on the Go Bus and Uber to the market. One of us had purchased our Go ticket already but was able to cancel it.

The market was free until five so the fugal four walked into the market a few minutes before 12:00. It is decorated with lights, the time to really enjoy it would be in the evening. A tunnel of lights with a decorated bench and a Grey Goose overhead beckoned us, a marvelous pink haired young lady obliged by taking pictures of us. She was such a good sport she’s in one. There is mistletoe for lovers wanting an excuse to kiss and we took pictures of a lovely young couple after they took pictures of us.

We walked through a store with kitchen gadgets for everything I could think of. I saw a lovely silver citrus juicer. An array of placemats and coasters made of various materials including leather was on display. We walked through an antique store, among its treasures was a large metal “B”. I have a picture holding it.

We have a photo of the two widows among us holding a sign that says, “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

We lunched at Cluny’s Bistro a modern French-inspired restaurant. The décor is beautiful, the food was great, we ate Crisp Sesame- Crusted Asparagus, Melted Gruyere served as French onion soup and a basket of assorted breads. We left room for what might take our fancy as we walked through the rest of the market.

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. Khalil Gibran

We wanted to find mulled wine, but when we found it we had to sit in a small fenced area and our time was running short. We opted for spiced cider and tarts, I choose a raspberry coconut tart which was one of the best tarts I’ve ever eaten. My friend chose the same tart and said, “I’ll just take a bite and take the rest home to share.” The rest didn’t make it home.

Everything about our outing yesterday was an experience. It was a day of firsts, I’d never been to The Toronto Christmas Market, never taken an Uber, never been to Cluny’s restaurant or the Distillery District.

A fun day with friends, new experiences, lots of laughter and photos. We talked about making this an annual tradition. We’ll see, one never knows what the future holds, where the four of us will be next year. It was a wonderful day.

This is the ninth year of the Toronto Christmas Market, it is expected 650,000 people will visit it during this holiday season. It was always the idea to turn the Distillery district into a tourist destination and neighborhood with unique shops, restaurants, and culture. It was easy to get people out in the summer but the winter was another story. The idea was to take the sentiments and spirit of the traditional European Christmas Market and use them to transform the Distillery into a holiday tradition where people would connect with friends and family.

The market is so busy they charge an entrance fee of $6.00 after five pm on Friday until 9:00 pm on Sunday just to stagger the crowd. The money goes to the operational costs of the market and the surplus is donated to charity.

The Distillery Christmas Market is a success born out of a problem, how to get people out to the Distillery district during the winter. The problem solvers in life make things better, not just for themselves but for all of us.

We can be inspired by those who solve problems by becoming problem solvers our self. Is there a problem we can see that needs solving? Are there outings we could plan to bring more joy to our friends and our own lives?

Problems are nothing but wake-up calls for creativity. Gerhard Gschwantner

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Friendship Book 2019 Hardcover – Sep 1 2018