Overlooking offense, becoming unoffendable. What we say, and what we do reflects back to us. Is feeling outraged an adaptive response?

Is feeling outraged an adaptive response? What we say, and what we do reflects back to us. Overlooking offense, becoming unoffendable.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook offense. Proverbs 19:11

A day of outrage dawns as we hear of costumes offending someone yet again. The fact it was years ago when sensibilities were not so heightened does not seem to matter. We can all take offense and magnify it but how many of us can become unoffendable? What if we can turn the slings and arrows around so they go back to those who sent them?

The Buddha one day said, “Young sir if you purchased a lovely gift for someone, but that person did not accept the gift, to whom does the gift belong?”

The odd question took the young man by surprise, “I guess the gift would still be mine because I was the one who brought it.”

“Exactly so, ”replied the Buddha. “Now, you have just cursed me and been angry with me. But if I do not accept your curses if I do not get insulted and angry in return, these curses will fall back upon you – the same as the gift returning to its owner.”

The young man clasped his hands together and slowly bowed to the Buddha. It was an acknowledgment that a valuable lesson had been learned. The Buddha concluded for all to hear. “As a mirror reflects an object, as a still lake reflects the sky: take care that what you speak or act is for good. For goodness will always cast back goodness, and harm will always cast back harm.”

It isn’t easy to be unoffendable. I took offense yesterday, a podcast was on about lying women. One of the ways we lie is we wear makeup to make ourselves look younger. I admit to wearing makeup, coloring my hair, using deodorant, perfume, wearing high heels, and foundation undergarments. I am a lying woman. Why was I so offended yesterday by two men on YouTube I wouldn’t cast a look at in the grocery store?

Self-acceptance is not always easy, we want to be something other than what we are. We need to own and embrace our own shortcomings, weaknesses, as well as our gifts and strengths. When we become okay with who we are, and what we’ve done, the choices we’ve made, and the life we’ve carved out and own all of it. We may be on our way to becoming unoffendable.

When we are okay with not being perfect, we can become more of who we are, embrace ourselves warts and all. When we are accused of things we can say yes that may be true, but that doesn’t define me. We are more than what someone criticizes us for, and also what they praise us for.

Taking up grievances robs us of peace. Unknown

What some of these unhappy men say they want or comment on, I doubt they want. What I think a lot of them want is they want to take bombshells and turn them into wives, and they want wives to be bombshells. They overlook good wife material because they aren’t bombshells. If they do get a bombshell they complain about the attention she attracts, and the attention she may want. Lots of pretty ordinary people clean up well. But amidst the reality of life, we don’t look ready for a photoshoot. 

Women have choice now, and we don’t have to marry men who would have had an easier time getting married in the not too distant past. Women with more choice give men less choice. Is it better than it was? For some of us, it is. For some of us it isn’t, but don’t we make out of life what we want? Like Margaret Atwood says in The Handmaids Tale “Change is not always better for everyone.”

I can understand why some of the men don’t like it. I admit many women are not using their choice well. We have to navigate these turbulent times but it is my hope we will come out the other end better than we were.

Complaining you can’t get the kind of woman you want means you need to step up or become more realistic. Fantasy men and women don’t actually exist.

When we choose someone we choose the story that goes with them. We choose their strengths and their weaknesses, and they choose ours. We will disappoint them, and they will disappoint us. Dealing with disappointment is part of life.

We all need to find joy in the small moments of our day. This morning on my walk a swirl of fog was in our path. We walked through it and when I looked back I could no longer see it. Was it a trick of the light? Was I seeing something that wasn’t there? It added something to my walk.

We need to find our peace, joy, and contentment in common hours, and if we are lucky enough to have a partner to share our life with we need to accept them the way they are. We can spend our life upset over little irritating things they do. In the end, we can live with them and love it, live with them and hate it, or leave. No one would still be in a relationship if they didn’t accept some things about their partner they don’t like. That’s the prices of admission to being a couple.

Maybe wearing an Aladdin costume wasn’t the politically correct choice one could make. At a Halloween party, I dressed as a skunk. Does that say anything about me?

The journey of forgiveness begins on the inside, then moves into responsibility for one’s mistakes, and finally, one becomes almost unoffendable. Hour of Power

Coming on strong with your outrage can have the opposite reaction of what you want. Rebecca Reczek

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Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better Paperback – Apr 14 2015

by Brant Hansen (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Isn’t disappointment inevitable? Dealing with disappointment does that mean dealing with our unrealistic expectations?

Does dealing with disappointment mean dealing with our unrealistic expectations? Isn't disappointment inevitable?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

No relationship is all sunshine, but two people can share one umbrella and survive the storm together. Unknown

Are we living in an age when we want to blur the boundaries? Why do we want to blur boundaries, is it so we can make people wrong for more things?

We used to have adultery and we knew that adultery was wrong. It was also sometimes overlooked, but there was common agreement it was wrong.

Now we have emotional cheating – and where this boundary is no one knows. Johnathon Bustle, Dating/Relationship Coach and Owner of The Popular Man define emotional cheating as forming a strong and intimate emotional bond with someone other than your partner. In general, if you are deeply connecting with another person emotionally, even for friendship, while simultaneously disconnecting with your partner, you’re crossing into emotional infidelity.

You’ve got to be kidding. We are expecting way too much out of our marriages if it needs to be our everything. It couldn’t fulfill our expectations when our expectations were less, how well do you think it will do going forward?

Johnathon Bustle says it’s okay to vent about our relationship troubles to friends and family – but complaining to a potential love interest about being unhappy in your current relationship is a no go.  All this means to me is you can’t talk to the opposite sex. Who is a potential love interest – that begs definition.

Sharing the big news with someone else before our partner. This might not be a great thing to do, but there is probably a reason for it and it isn’t infidelity.

On a blog post called Good Therapy they say even ignoring a spouse when he or she is talking, is a betrayal. Wow, is it just me?

After that betrayal, your partner must prove to you, in every conceivable way, that he or she has changed.

I could be totally wrong but if we are to have long-lasting marriages we can’t be hypersensitive to everything. We will have to overlook some stuff. Many husbands tune out their wives. That is why they are always saying, “You didn’t tell me that.” They weren’t listening, we may not like it, but do they need to prove in every conceivable way they have changed?

We will have to figure out what we are willing to live with and what we aren’t. We should decide that early, and we can’t expect perfection. If we have a really great person there are still bound to be some things we don’t like about them. Things we loved about them at the beginning that now irk us, or things we thought they would change.

Sometimes we create our own heartbreaks through expectations. Unknown

A post by Angela Guzman lists 6 forms of infidelity in marriage

Secrets – how many of us don’t have something about ourselves or other people we have never told anyone?

Loyalty – how do you prove you are loyal enough?

Threatening to get a divorce – of course, no one should do this but it isn’t infidelity.

Emotional affairs – not comfortable with this one, too open to interpretation. Everyone can be upset over all our relationships if they want to be. This can quite easily turn into no outside relationships, which is not a good thing.

Not being present – how can anyone not have numerous things on their mind during their too busy years?

Commemorative infidelity – I had to figure out what this one means. This occurs when two people are married but one or both parties do not have feelings for each other. I thought these were the phases we lived through as we moved through the stages of marriage.

Not one of those mentions actual adultery; sexual relations with another person. Are spouses being too good, that we need to hold them to higher and higher standards to still have something to complain about?

It could just be me, but having been married for 33 years, in a relationship with my husband for 39 years we can always find something to complain about if we really want to.

If we have a faithful spouse we should be grateful. We shouldn’t be looking for other things to get upset about. We should work to create a better relationship and we also have to know that there will be an ebb and flow in our marriages. I think infidelity is cut and dried. Finding a reason to feel betrayed because we aren’t happy and they must be the problem is what I think the rest of this is all about.

We expect our spouse to make us happy at our peril. We are the only ones that can make us happy. What if happiness isn’t what we should be looking for? What about meaning and purpose?

Disappointment can cast a heavy shadow over our lives, but what if what we need to do is learn to deal with the inevitable disappointment that will happen in relationships, careers, and life in general?

Maybe we should go back to expecting less out of marriage? Maybe unmet expectations are our big problem, and it’s our problem that we expect more out of our partners than they can reasonable give. Do we need to check our expectations?

No one lives happily ever after. Everyone deals with the ups and downs of life. How many marriages would be happier if everyone involved had more reasonable expectations for their marriage, took life one day at a time, and quite comparing what they think is the worst of their relationship to the best of someone else’s?

Women marry men hoping they will change. Men marry women hoping they will not. So each is inevitably disappointed. Albert Einstein

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

Disappointment has ruined more lives than all the diseases known to man. But it’s not disappointment that ruins lives. It is the capacity or the refusal to deal with life after disappointment. Shirley MacLaine

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Dealing with Disappointment: How to know joy when life doesn't feel great (Live Different Book 12) by [Hindley, John]
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Dealing with Disappointment: How to know joy when life doesn’t feel great (Live Different Book 12) Kindle Edition

by John Hindley (Author)

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Seeking and finding, and dealing with light and dark. Where are we on the journey of life?

Where are we on the journey of life? Seeking and finding, and dealing with light and dark.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Life is less about finding and more about seeking. Seth Adam Smith

I’m reading that writer’s block happens when we are not willing to write badly. If we aren’t willing to write badly we probably won’t write at all. We will dance badly, sing badly, play an instrument badly, we will do mothering badly, and we will do relationships badly or we won’t do them at all. If we only do what we are good at how is that growth? If we have to be perfect how is that possible? If we only prepare the dinners we know everyone likes, no new dishes come to our table. If we only shop at stores or restaurants we already know we get no new experiences. There is always a chance of failure anytime we meet someone new or start something new. But, what kind of life is it if we aren’t willing to take risks?

If you never want to be hurt by a loved one, then you can’t have any loved ones. If you never want to feel the loneliness when a beloved pet dies, then you never have a beloved pet. We want success in our endeavors but it is not assured. If success was assured what would be the point? Part of life is the what-if factor? What if he or she’s the one? What if this idea takes off and… Where will life take us? How will we handle whatever is ahead for us? If things go really well we will have to deal with things, and if it doesn’t go as well we have to deal with other things. We always have to deal with life, and those that ride the roller coaster of life with a sense of humor and open to adventure seem best equipped for life.

Everything in life has the upsides and downsides to it. We have to be willing to deal with all of life. We don’t just get the harvest in life, we have to plant and we have to wait. Forever spring would not be good, everything would be possible but nothing would be happening. Our lives move forward from one cycle to the next.

We might not like the cycle we are in, but it is necessary for the next cycle to take place. I picked up a book last night called Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor. She says she was always afraid of the dark but has learned by living through all of life that the lessons learned in the dark hard times she would never have gotten in the light good times.

Finding is reserved for those who search. Jim Rohn

Haven’t most of us walked through the valley of darkness at various times? Often it is only through the valley of darkness we can get on with our lives. Some of us have suffered very little in our lives. Other people have suffered through unbelievable hard and tragic times. We don’t know what each day will bring, we have to forge ahead and deal with what is.

Darkness is shorthand for anything that scares us Barbara Brown Taylor tells us. I love people who question God and religion and seek to understand and make sense of things. Many of us were taught not to question things, especially religion.  We were told what to think about what we read.

I grew up in a household where religion was questioned, bible verses were pondered, and what my parents got out of what they read was not the same as many religious denominations. We should ask more questions, and we should ponder more thoughts. Isn’t it only through asking questions, and searching for the truth that we may find it, or at least feel we’ve done our bit to make sense of what we believe? There may be no definitive answer to what certain passages mean. They may always be open to interpretation, and that may be entirely the point. The point may be to make us think, question, ponder, and not to give us concrete answers but to give us a starting point to delve further into faith, purpose, meaning, and the riddles of life.

Could a crisis of faith be the beginning of deeper faith, not the ending of faith? Are there gifts hidden in the dark times of our life?

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth, and him that knocketh it shall be opened. Mathew 7:7-8

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Learning to Walk in the Dark Hardcover – Apr 8 2014

by Barbara Brown Taylor (Author) 4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Winter is coming but will our body know it? Winter is actually good for us. How do we make our bodies experience winter?

How do we make our bodies experience winter?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

All the money in the world can’t buy you back good health. Reba McEntire

This is the last week of official summer. To walk in the morning I already need a jacket. This morning the alarm rang and I turned over for another hour. No walk, no sunrise, no reading inspirational books. This is what happens when we give up our time. When we sleep in it is our-time we give up. It is our time for centering ourselves, our time for setting the tone of the day, our time for exercise, our time to make a better breakfast.

Today is a fast day so I’ll gain time that would have been spent making breakfast. Twenty-four-hour fasts are fitting into my life. It isn’t that hard going from dinner to dinner. It could be that too many experiments are going on at once in my life. Intermittent fasting has been a part of my life for quite a while, now I’m adding twenty-four-hour fasts and kombucha.

Our bodies live in perpetual summer getting ready for a winter that never comes according to Dr. Gundry. This is where insulin resistance comes in. We are prepared for lean, hard, hungry times; we put on weight because we will need it to get through the famine of winter. Except, year after year we don’t have that lean, hungry time. Almost all religions have fasting as part of their traditions.

When I look at pictures of my Dad’s family in their early years, they probably weren’t slim just because of youth, feeding a family of twelve in the thirties and forties would have been a challenge. Our abundance of food is both good for us and bad for us.

Maintaining good health should be the primary focus of everyone. Sangram Singh

According to Dr. Gundry, the key to longevity is to eat less sugar and less protein. Fasting is a way to do this and sometimes it is easier to stay away from something completely than to only eat a little bit. I won’t eat breakfast or lunch today but I will eat a nice dinner. Bone broth was on the menu during a few of my fasts but surprisingly my weight went up. Bone broth is said to be very healthy, and I do intend to bring it into my diet but not during my twenty-four-hour fasts.

My husband joined me on a twenty-four-hour bone broth fast and he noticed the same result. My son said to me, “Mom, there is no such thing as a bone-broth fast. You are either fasting or you are not.” Perhaps he’s right, and who wants to think they are fasting but not getting the benefit of it? There is no benefit to fooling ourselves, and they say we are the easiest person to fool.

Health is the first wealth. Dr. Gundry says the secret to longevity is a healthy gut. He tells us if we are careful of what we eat we can die young at a ripe old age. What I have gotten out of reading his books is we should follow his plan and then experiment with what works for us. Eat the things in moderation that agree with us and eliminate foods that don’t agree with us. Over time as our gut health improves we may find we can eat some foods that formerly bothered us.

This is not a one-size-fits-all. We are individuals with individual bodies; we need to learn to be our own control board. Some long-lived people have smoked. It isn’t recommended but what else did they do that made that okay?

Dr. Gundry believes kombucha is good for us, but we have to watch the sugar content. Homemade kombucha from the first ferment will not have much sugar, it is the second ferment where the sugar and flavoring are added.

My recipe of 1 cup sugar to 14 cups water and 8 tea bags (black or green) gives you a starting 17.9 grams of sugar per cup. According to research after 7 days of fermentation 34% of the sugar is left which equals 6 grams of sugar per cup. After 21 days it drops to 19% sugar which is 3.4 grams of sugar per cup. If we do a second ferment and add more sugar and fruit this is where the high sugar content comes from. Bottled kombucha available on store shelves has a wide sugar content, and some of it is pasteurized which will kill the good bacteria. Then all we are drinking is an expensive high sugar beverage.

Yesterday I picked up a book The Healthy Probiotic Diet by R.J. Ruppenthal, I was looking for a book on kombucha but The Big Book of Kombucha was $37.00 (I need to think about that.) The Healthy Probiotic Diet book is not about a diet it is about getting more healthy probiotics into our diet and kombucha is one he recommends. He gives recipes for turning kombucha into sparkling soda – this is done in the second fermentation stage.

If we don’t have health do we have anything? Our health is largely up to the genes we were born with and how we feed ourselves. Our choices shape our life, isn’t one of the most important choices we make what we put into our bodies?

You can’t take good health for granted. Jack Osbourne

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The Healthy Probiotic Diet: More Than 50 Recipes for Improved Digestion, Immunity, and Skin Health Hardcover – Apr 15 2014

by R. J. Ruppenthal (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Kombucha, and trying new things. Adventure awaits, will we accept the call to adventure?

Adventure awaits, will we accept the call to adventure? Kombucha, and trying new things.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Adventure is worthwhile in itself. Amelia Earhart

Today I will start my second batch of kombucha. At Canadian Tire I found two 4 liter glass jars with spigots on a stand. I’ve been reading up on the two ways kombucha is brewed, batch, and continuous brew. One of the things you need for continuous brew is a spigot and I lucked out when I bought my first kombucha jar because it has a spigot. This is serendipity because I wasn’t looking for a spigot, I just needed a bigger jar when I realized the one I was going to use was almost full at six cups of water.

We’ve tasted the 7-day old kombucha down to half full. Almost everyone likes the taste and it hasn’t been flavored or been put through a second fermentation. That’s the fun and scary part they say, as bottles explode and alcohol levels cannot be guaranteed. It sounds like the first brew kombucha alcohol level is usually below .5%, and this is considered a non-alcoholic brew by most. The second fermentation that has added sugar and fruit, spices, etc will continue to ferment depending on conditions and time. Some commercial kombucha is pasteurized to prevent this. As it was pulled off store shelves for having too high alcohol content a few years ago.

Kombucha is expensive to buy, but so far seems very easy to make. I also note that many flavored kombuchas are high in sugar. My brew tastes a bit like weak apple juice with a hint of fizz. It’s only seven days old.

Kombucha is a probiotic drink that some lore gives many health properties to. That it is a probiotic drink that leads to better gut health is good enough for me.

Adventure isn’t hanging off a rope on the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude we must apply to the day to day obstacles of life. John Amat

My sister who gave me the starter will be visiting next Sunday so she can try out my kombucha. The question for me is how many of these 4 liter kombucha batches do I need? Would I be better off with one larger container?

By having three 4 liter batches brewing I can change up the teas. Green tea is what I used in the first batch and I like it. The second batch can be black tea, and the third batch could be a mixture of black and green tea.

What I am hoping for out of this experiment is better health. Even though my son looks at me like I’m crazy. Mom, you are not twenty-five anymore. That is the truth, but mom is ninety-four and in good health. She’s never made kombucha but she did make lots of sauerkraut, homemade wine, pickles, and other fermented foods. We had raw milk she made into cottage cheese, butter, etc.

Kombucha seems an easy fermented product I can make in my own kitchen. My family isn’t into pickled vegetables although I have a batch of sauerkraut in my fridge. My son’s girlfriend brings me pickled vegetables her grandmother makes, which I love.

Will this just be a fad and the kombucha jars will end up in the storage room empty and forgotten? I don’t know, my life is an experiment and if we see health benefits and the process is as easy as it seems so far, kombucha may be brewing in my house for years to come. If it only becomes another experiment, and experience that’s okay too. Life is about trying new things.

I’m proud of myself that the kombucha starter my sister gave me is not still in the fridge unused. The second one will go into today’s batch. A week ago I had no idea this adventure awaited. As it was only last week I learned about the kombucha my sister was brewing and said yes to her bringing me the starter.

We never know where life will lead us when we say yes to the adventures that present themselves. Are there adventures presenting themselves we need to grab hold of and see where they go?

One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure. William Feather

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The Noma Guide to Fermentation: Including koji, kombuchas, shoyus, misos, vinegars, garums, lacto-ferments, and black fruits and vegetables Hardcover – Oct 16 2018

by René Redzepi (Author), David Zilber (Author) 4.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews#1 Best Sellerin Biotechnology

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What are the tipping points in our life, society, environment, and economy? Can we tip things for the better?

Can we tip things for the better? What are the tipping points in our life, society, environment, and economy?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Malcolm Gladwell

Yesterday I was in Home Sense looking for a jar to brew my second batch of Kombucha. They didn’t have one but I browsed their book shelf and saw The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. As I was about to buy it, it hit me that I might already own it. They had three copies so I could come back. True enough there it was sitting on my book shelf.

One of the findings in his book that surprised me was a sociologist at the University of Illinois has looked at the number of role models in a community – the professionals, managers, teachers whom the Census Bureau has defined as “high status” – has on the lives of teenagers in the same neighborhood. He found little difference in pregnancy rates or school drop-out rates in neighborhoods between 40 and 5 %, the problem exploded as the high-status workers fall just 2.2 percentage points – from 5.6% to 3.4% – drop-out rates more than double. The rate of pregnancy which had hardly moved up at all – nearly doubled. We assume, intuitively that neighborhoods and social problems decline in some kind of steady progression. At the tipping point, schools can lose control of their students, and family life can disintegrate all at once.

If what he says is true then tipping points are very important but we are unlikely to know where the tipping point is. How much negativity in our life – is too much? Where is the tipping point in our health? What are the tipping points in our society that move us up which we like or down which we don’t want at all?

What are the few things we absolutely have to stay away from to have a good life, because they tip us into negativity? What are the decisions in our life that are the tipping point for what kind of life we’ll lead? What is the tipping point that makes something become the “new thing?”

My sister brought me the starter for kombucha a few days ago. Why am I brewing kombucha now? It has been brewed for thousands of years by different cultures. What is the tipping point that brought it into my kitchen, now?

The idea that epidemics can rise or fall in one dramatic moment – is the most important, because it is the principle that permits the greatest insight into why modern change happens the way it does. Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell tells us there is a law of the few he calls them connectors, mavens, and salesmen these are the people usually at the center of any kind of epidemic be it a positive or negative one.

In the late 1960’s psychologist, Stanly Milgram conducted an experiment to find an answer to what is known as the small world problem. The problem is this: how are human beings connected? Do we all belong to separate worlds, operating simultaneously but autonomously, so that the links between any two people in the world are few and distant? Or, are we all bound up together in a grand interlocking web?

Milgram’s idea was to test this question with a chain letter. He got the name of 160 people who live in Omaha, Nebraska, and mailed each of them a packet. In the packet was the name of a stockbroker who worked in Boston and lived in Sharon, Massachusetts. Each person was instructed to write his or her name on the packet and send it on to a friend or acquaintance who they thought would get the packet closer to the stockbroker. The idea was when the packet finally arrived at the stockbroker’s house Milgram could look at the list of those whose hands it had gone through to see how connected someone chose at random was to someone in another part of the country. Milgram found that most of the packets reached the stockbroker in five or six steps. This experiment is where we get the concept of six degrees of separation.

This is a book that makes you look at things differently, both the good and the bad. What will make society better? What will make society worse? What can be the tipping points in our own life? What is the small thing that will give us big results? What is the big thing that gives us small result? Are we focusing on the right things? Do we know what the right things to focus on are?

We have, in short, somehow become convinced that we need to tackle the whole problem, all at once. But the truth is that we don’t. We only need to find the stickiness Tipping Points.” Malcolm Gladwell

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The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference Paperback – Jan 7 2002

by Malcolm Gladwell (Author) 4.4 out of 5 stars 338 customer reviews

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Luck, preparation, and opportunity. Will we be prepared when opportunity knocks?

Will we be prepared when opportunity knocks? Luck, preparation, and opportunity.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Seneca

Last night I had a dream that Oprah and I were at the same social event. The event was moving to another venue and somehow I missed a cue that she wanted to give me a ride to the new location.

One of her executives at Harpo said he would read my novel over the summer if I could get a copy to him. I had a copy with me on the trip, and I was thinking I would go get it and pass it on to him. I did not get his email, phone number or address to get in touch with him to forward my novel. As if he would still be sitting where I left him after I took taxis and got the copy I’d brought.

The dream is telling me I am not prepared for the opportunities that may present themselves. The work is mostly done, what is holding me back from doing the last editing? I have a copy to send to a cousin I’ve been waffling on. Why? What if she doesn’t like it, what if…

There comes a point when we have to release our creativity to the world. At a Writers Group, the head of an Arts Council asked me what my novel was about. I stammered and stuttered and came up with something. He told me I have to develop an “elevator pitch” that encapsulates the story.

I still haven’t developed an elevator pitch. What am I waiting for? All I need to do is put together a one-minute speech that says…

Once upon a time (introduce character and context)

Every day, (establish the way things were)

One day (introduce problem/inciting incident)

Because of that (challenge)

Because of that (search for solution)

Until finally (finds solution)

Now (establish the way things are better now)

There is more going on than meets the eye. There are other things that take priority over my novel. One of those things is this blog. I’ve been neglecting my husband I tell myself, so we go for a coffee instead of sitting down and finalizing my editing. It will cost too much to pay a professional editor so I work on doing more editing myself.  There is always an excuse if we want an excuse. I’m afraid to put my work out because…

I saw a book called You’re Broke Because You Want to Be by Larry Winget. Note he didn’t say poor. Broke is when we spend more than we earn, but if we spent it differently we wouldn’t be broke. That is so much different from being poor when we don’t actually have enough to buy the essentials.

Luck is not chance, it’s toil; fortunes expensive smile is earned. Emily Dickenson

What if I am doing the same thing in different areas of my life? What if I am the one holding me back? What am I afraid of? What is the payoff? What am I afraid of losing? What am I afraid of gaining?

We will all make mistakes. We will not be prepared for every opportunity. I found these 20 ways to be prepared for opportunity from The Simply Luxurious Life blog.

1. Mind your money manners, but know when to take risks. When you have control of your finances, you can take risks knowing that you have the savings or income to weather the storm should your risk fail.

2. For your health’s sake, eat well. An added benefit is that you’ll look great too. Who knows when the opportunities will be ready for you to find them. It could be when you’re twenty or it could be when you’re nearing middle age and beyond. Remain healthy so that no matter when it arrives, you can enjoy it to the fullest.

3. Make the right type of mistakes – made while being courageous and ambitious, rather than defensive, lazy or ignorant. Mistakes will happen to us all, but make them while striving forward toward something new or challenging, rather than sitting around doing nothing afraid of everything.

4. Look for opportunities, seek them out. Open your eyes. Say yes. Do something new. Ask why. Never stop learning.

5. Be kind and helpful. Helping others out when you can simply because you can and not to gain anything in return creates an environment of support and positive rapport. By creating an environment that is welcoming and uplifting, more of that energy is created. Pay forward what you wish to see more of, even if you don’t see a lot of it at the present moment.

6. Strengthen your self-discipline muscle. Stop spending frivolously. Put down that second helping. Stop engaging with people who are not good for you or your self-esteem.

7. Pay yourself first.  Start saving for retirement and a rainy day today. Create a monthly EFT and forget about it.

8. Wake up early. Don’t waste a minute. The early bird really does get the worm.

9. Continually strive for excellence, not perfection. Never stop learning about the world you live in. Continually try to better understand yourself, your emotions, your job, your passions, your strengths, etc. The answers will come if you keep searching.

10. Simplify and focus. You can’t do everything, but what you choose to focus on can be done well if you let go of those things that aren’t at the top of your priority list.

11. Keep a clean home. Limit your stress, free your mind, create room for opportunities to be found.

12. Master your mind. Freedom lies in choosing your thoughts and not being a slave to anything that crosses your mind’s path.

13. Meditate.  A simple practice that builds mind control, lowers stress and builds appreciation.

14. Create specific goals. If you don’t know where you’re going or what you want, your life will never change and you’ll never know what to look for regarding opportunities.

15. Be authentic. Do not apologize for being yourself. Ignore the laughter, walk away and walk toward those and a world that is appreciative of the gifts you have to offer.

16. Be productive, create something of value. No matter what you choose to do with your day, so long as it is in alignment with your goals, being productive will inch you one step closer to the opportunities you seek.

17. Stop blaming or complaining.  Energy and time and most importantly the ability to see the opportunity is tossed aside immediately when we blame others or complain about something we don’t like or understand.

18. Stop being a follower. There’s already enough sheep in this world. Become conscious of which direction you are going and why. What type of life are you trying to lead? Are your actions and decisions today in line with the life you just described?

19. Choose to initiate rather than react. By choosing to initiate, you are taking the reins and directing life. You may not know how today’s particular scene will play out, but at least you are choosing to lead rather than to follow or be a spectator.

20. Make your own rules. If the rules aren’t working for you and the opportunities are not revealing themselves, do something different. And keep your eyes open.

“Jumping at several small opportunities may get us there more quickly than waiting for one big one to come along.” –Hugh Allen

We need to give up thinking we are too old, uneducated, poor, broke, and unlucky or whatever we tell ourselves that keep us from going after what we want in life. Maybe we have to ask ourselves some questions about what we really want. Most of all we have to be brave enough to risk failure to risk success.

When opportunity knocks, will we be prepared?

One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation. Arthur Ashe

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, opportunity, and love.

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The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness Hardcover – Jan 1 2019

by Ichiro Kishimi (Author), Fumitake Koga (Author) 3.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Moments of truth. Being part of a group enriches our lives. Finding balance, dancing through life.

Being part of a group.enriches our lives. Moments of truth. Finding balance, dancing through life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Never regret a day in your life: good days give happiness, bad days give experience, worst days give lessons, and best days give memories. Unknown

Yesterday I visited one of The Toastmaster Clubs in my area to do an “official” report as Area Director. They took the summer off and this was their first meeting back. It is a small corporate club which is about four years old. This is the first corporate club I’ve visited. It is the personalities of the people who make or break clubs. The President is amazing; the club appears to have a strong Executive and great club culture. They don’t have a large membership but it’s a fun club.

The President said in closing that many times he thinks he should cancel a meeting because of low expected attendance, or lack of time for organizing the meeting, but every time he feels better leaving the Toastmaster meeting than he did when he went in.

When being part of a group energizes and inspires us we know these are the groups we should be part of. These are the groups other people want to join.

Last night the book club met, we are not a big club, but we are a fun club who sometimes gets the book read. We are a sounding board for each other, we have ah-ha moments all the time as we discuss life.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another. “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…” C.S. Lewis

The more we are involved and engaged the more we enjoy life. If we want to belong to groups we need to be more than seat warmers. When we all do our part we can have wonderful organizations that enrich our lives.

We enjoy our lives more when we are involved, and engaged. The more we put into life, the more we get out of it. We can go too far, we can get so involved in Church, community groups, sports, etc. that we have little time to be engaged at home.  Finding balance is a challenge, and when our spouse feels that everything else in our life is more important than them, it is not good. Sometimes we have to cut back on our group activities to make time for family.

When we are involved in groups we have stories to tell, things to discuss, and our world opens up. We can bring more to our relationships. As long as our significant other doesn’t feel they are on the periphery instead of the center of our lives, being part of a group can be positive. When our spouse thinks everything else in our lives is more important than them it is a problem.

If we are too much just the two of us, we may feel our life is too small, our interests too insular, our view too narrow. We need to take stock of where we are in our life. Do we need more outside interaction or less? Do we need more outside interests or should we develop a shared interest? Are we forging ahead alone into uncharted territory?

Life is a dance, dancing is about balance and rhythm. We need to lead or follow, and we also have to hold our own in dancing and in life. What works in one stage of our life may not work in another. We must adapt to the changes, challenges, and stages of our life.

Do we have enough balance in our life? Do we need to take a good hard look at our life? Is it time for “Moments of Truth?” Where are we out of alignment with our values and goals? What is the tweak we need to make in our lives that would make us healthier, happier, improve our relationships, develop our interests, reach our goals, and leave a legacy?

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others? Martin Luther King Jr.

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 Power of Eight: Harnessing the Miraculous Energies of a Small Group to Heal Others, Your Life, and the World Hardcover – Sep 26 2017

by Lynne McTaggart (Author) 4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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What if our memories are not as infallible as we think they are? What we remember is impacted by more than we think. Is our memory how we saw it, not necessarily how it was.

What if what we think we remember isn't how it was? We like to think we have infallible memories. What we remember is impacted by more than we think.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Is your life story the truth? Yes, the chronological events are true. Is it the whole truth? No, you see and judge it through your conditioned eyes and mind – not of all involved – nor do you see the entire overview. Is it nothing but the truth? No, you select, share, delete, distort, subtract, assume and add what you want, need and choose to.
― Rasheed Ogunlaru

Have you ever tried to remember something and all you draw is a blank? Have you ever been called a liar because you couldn’t remember something and the other person was incredulous that you didn’t remember something that was so important to them?

Why do we remember some things and forget others?

Some things are relevant to our life. We remember the relevant things. If something is likely to help with our life goals it is more likely to be remembered.

We remember emotional pain. If something or someone causes us emotional pain the event is more likely to be remembered.

Our subconscious mind makes us remember the things that are important and useful to our life. If our subconscious mind makes the deduction that something isn’t useful or important to our life we will not remember it.

It is easy to see that two people could experience the same event and one of them would remember it and the other would not.

My husband thinks I remember everything. I do remember a lot of things he doesn’t remember because they had some relevance to me. He is remembering things I don’t remember, but he thinks I should remember them because they are so important to him. It is easy to see how when people are having disagreements what each remembers can be very problematic.

It may even explain why witnesses do not witness things exactly the same way and all are telling the truth as they see it. When we are upset we do not stop to think that there is another side to the story. Why can’t you see what I see? We don’t trust the other person who doesn’t see what is so plain. How could they not see it? Are they lying?

Memory plays tricks. Memory is another word for story, and nothing is more unreliable. Ann Marie McDonald

It could be that no two people ever see anything the same way. It might depend on their emotional state at the moment, experiences they have had in the past, and how they interpret things. Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable, but probably through no fault of their own. I hope I am never called on as an eye witness. I couldn’t tell the little girls apart on the soccer field. Little blonde girls with ponytails all looked alike to me. I can’t imagine a line-up.

Some say the brain does not store information as data but by association. What we do know about memory is it is processed by the hippocampus and stored continuously in our cerebral cortex. We will store a memory if it is important and has emotional value, forever.

The Rashomon effect is a phenomenon where different people have contradictory accounts of the same event. In fact, research shows that implanting false memories can be as simple as asking someone to recount an event that didn’t happen. It also seems that each time we remember something we rewrite it in our brain. If that recollection contains errors, we’ll strengthen those errors until we are positive they are correct.

How can a couple tell who is remembering things correctly? Research suggests they may not be able to. Couples often remember things differently because of cognitive biases and the influence of mood. Experts suggest focusing on the emotions of an argument to move past a disagreement. Couples should accept our memories are flawed and not be so reliant on what we remember is right and what the other person remembers is obviously wrong.

Are we sure what we remember is actually what happened? Do we sometimes have to agree to disagree on how we remember things?

Memory, like so much else, is unreliable. Not only for what it hides and what it alters, but also for what it reveals. Anna Funder

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 and love.

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The Memory Illusion: Remembering, Forgetting and the Science of False Memory Paperback – Nov 28 2017

by Julia Shaw (Author) 4.2 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Love at first sight. We build our lives one moment, one thought, and one deed at a time.

We build our lives one moment, one thought, and one deed at a time. Love at first sight.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

I believe in love at first sight because I am a mother. Unknown

Yesterday the sunrise was beautiful. I could see it peeking above the houses and trees. When I got to a spot to take a picture my camera wasn’t capturing what was left of the fleeting sunrise. Today there was no beautiful sunrise on my walk. Sunrises are like life, when we see them we need to enjoy them. We need to put ourselves in the place to enjoy them but they are not on our schedule.

Today my daughter turns twenty-eight. What a wonderful twenty-eight years it has been. Even when I was in the hospital and had a cesarean, and she developed jaundice because I’m an O- blood type, we were doing better than lots of the other mother/baby couples. She had no trouble breastfeeding, it was a real challenge for some and one baby got dehydrated. Easy, happy babies are so easy to look after, and when they turn into happy children. and then happy adults we are blessed.

There are challenges in life for those too easy to get along with and also for the disagreeable types who expect too much. We have to learn to deal with who we are. Whether we are an agreeable or unagreeable type there are advantages. When we learn to harness the advantages we were born with instead of trying to work against them, life usually goes better for us.  

We still have a loving close relationship. The mother/daughter angst we’ve muddled through in large part because she is more like her father than she is like me. If she was more like me maybe we would have a harder time.

Father’s are so important in daughter’s lives. They say mothers teach daughters how to love, and fathers teach daughters who to love. Why we are lucky enough to have easy relationships and what turns them sour we may have a problem putting our finger on. When they sour, turning them back to sweet is a challenge, giving up on relationships is what I think we should never do.

If we are blessed to have children, each one is different, special, with their own talents, challenges, insecurities, gifts, personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. We have to accept our self and them how they are. Why can’t you be like… Is like throwing acid on their spirit. They will never be like anyone else. We can have aspirations for our children, but it is best if we help them develop aspirations for themselves.

It’s the little details that are vital. The little things cause the big things to happen. John Wooden

We build our families and our lives one small moment at a time. Each thing we do, say, and make important will impact our lives. Over a lifetime we have the sum total of what we’ve done, said, and thought.

If for any reason our relationships are not as good as we think they can be, we can change our thoughts, deeds, and words. Can we soften our tone, ask more questions instead of giving advice, offer encouragement, and do it all with kindness. They say respect is love in plain clothes.

Can we be respectful of others? Can we look after the small things that irritate so we can enjoy better relationships? Can we listen more to understand, instead of worrying if we are understood?

Take care of the little things and the big things take care of themselves. Unknown

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

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Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know Paperback – Aug 28 2007

by Meg Meeker (Author) 4.1 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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