The power of storytelling. We are all storytellers.

We are all storytellers. The power of storytelling.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world. Robert McKee

Listening to Margaret Atwood on YouTube last night she tells us writing is hope. It is hope we will finish what we started. It is hope what we spent all this time on will be good and worth reading. It is hope it will get out into the world and we hope it will get read once it gets there.

Writing is a way to make sense of the world. In fiction, we makeup stories or take a nugget of life and turn it into something else and if we do it well our lies tell the truth of life. In books we understand not just what happens, the choices someone made, but why they made those choices.

My mother tells me about someone who is in the hospital and is only allowed, two visitors. His mother drives a long way to see him and she isn’t one of the visitors he chooses to see. There could be a complete novel in how that relationship got to that particular moment. Would this be the inciting incident that starts the book, would it be in the middle, or at the end?

Life is full of moments, and writers take those moments and weave them into their books, and even when a character might be based on someone it isn’t based only on them. Life in novels has to be bigger, full of more challenges and problems than real life. Often characters in books grow more than we seem to in real life. They see the light and sometimes we see it through characters we read about when we didn’t notice it in real life.

Life is a marathon and so is writing. If our goal is to become rich and famous we may be disappointed. If our goal is to write, to tell our stories, and we do, what we get out of it will be more than what we put in. Writing changes us when we write and it changes us when we read. Much of the change that happens in our lives will be the result of the books that we read and the actions we take. Reading books shapes our thinking in big and small ways. Books teach us about the human condition and help us understand ourselves and others on a deeper level.

Last night I was listening to another author on YouTube Jerry B. Jenkins he’s written 190 books in forty years. I thought I hadn’t read any of his books, but I read some of the Left Behind series and maybe others because he writes in multiple genres biography, self-help, romance, mystery, science fiction, and young adult. Now, that is a writing career.

Fiction has a unique role in conveying Truth. In fact, only fiction that is Truth with a capital T is worthwhile. Jerry B. Jenkins

There are so many books out there we may think what could we possibly say that hasn’t been said? We love stories and no one can tell our story. No one will see things exactly the same as us.

When we listen to writers talk they often have a self-reflection that is enviable. If we all wrote would we be more self-reflective and would that make the world better? Would we think we can fix things in real life as we can in a book, and make matters worse? The unintended consequences of our good intentions make a difference in real life. In a book, the consequences are exactly what we want them to be.

We pass on our knowledge through stories. Some people tell their stories in the living room, around the dining room table, or in a coffee shop. Salespeople tell stories, lawyers tell stories, parents and other family members tell stores. When people move us it is usually through a story. Some people write their stories down. Telling our stories is part of life. We learn and grow by telling our stories and listening and reading other people’s stories.

There are many stories to tell, there are many ways to tell them. Are we finding ways to tell our stories?

Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here. Sue Monk Kidd

We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling. Jimmy Neil Smith

You’re never going to kill storytelling because it’s built into the human plan. We come with it. Margaret Atwood

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The Power of StoryTelling by [Ty Bennett, Don Yaeger]

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The Power of StoryTelling Kindle Edition

by Ty Bennett (Author), Don Yaeger (Foreword)  Format: Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars    38 ratings

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

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

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It Only Takes A Minute To Change Your Life Kindle Edition

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

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Making choices. Don’t throw away tomorrow when making choices.

Don't throw away tomorrow when making choices. Making choices.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Every intersection in the road of life is an opportunity to make a decision. Duke Ellington

I’m looking at the title of the book “Don’t Throw Away Tomorrow” by Robert H. Schuller. Yesterday a talk show host Jamil Jivani told us he almost threw away his tomorrow when he thought the only future he had was a criminal one. He was still in high school when he asked someone if they could get a gun for him. When it came time to pay for the gun he couldn’t do it. He knew it would change everything if he took it and it would change everything if he didn’t. He chose not to take it and one of the reasons was because of what his mother would think of him.

Over that decision, he lost his friends and became somewhat of a loaner and put more effort into school. He moved onto higher education and was speaking somewhere before graduating from university when a professor at Yale University told him he should apply to Yale. He said he would never have thought he could get into Yale but he did and got a law degree.

We come to the fork in the road of life and the decision we make changes everything. Many times we didn’t see that fork coming. We thought everything was just going to be what it had always been but then something life-changing happens. Sometimes we get to make a choice; sometimes the choice is made for us.

Until a person can say deeply and honestly, ‘I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.’ That person cannot say, ‘I choose otherwise.’ Steven Covey

Some of us spend our time agonizing over whether we should use a comma or a semi-colon and if we do too much of that we can spend years working on something that should have been published years ago.

Not all the choices we make will be the best choice. We will have lessons to learn because of the choices we made.  We can wait for the perfect time to do something but often there is no perfect time and sometimes there is no perfect choice. There is now. There are opportunities now and there will be opportunities in the future but they aren’t always the same opportunities. We need to make the best of the situation we are in.

We need to walk a fine balance between acting too hastily and not acting at all. Sometimes we have the luxury of time and sometimes we don’t. When that young man came face to face with the decision to hand over money for a gun or go in a different direction that determined the path of his life.

Sometimes getting behind the wheel on a particular day changes the course of someone’s life. Choosing to stay in a marriage, raise children, or leaving those children to be raised by someone else changes the course of many lives. Having a baby or not having a baby changes everything.

We don’t know the consequences of decisions sometimes innocently made that have huge ramifications in our lives. Sometimes we have to deal with unintended consequences we couldn’t have seen coming. We will need strength, fortitude, and perseverance to make the best decision for all concerned.

We don’t always get a choice between good and bad. Sometimes the choice is between two good choices or two bad choices, and no matter which of those we choose life will never be the same.

When we need to make these kinds of choices if we have faith in something it will help us. The young man choosing not to get the gun had faith that his mother expected more from him and that was enough for him to make the better choice.

Are there choices we need to make in life that we’ve been holding back on? Can we make choices that have the best chance of a great tomorrow?

By choosing we learn to be responsible. By paying the price of our choices, we learn to make better choices. Martha Sinetar

The entirety of one’s adult life is a series of personal choices, decisions. If we can accept this totally, then we become free people. To the extent that we do not accept this, we will forever feel ourselves a victim. M. Scott Peck

When you have to make a choice and you don’t make it that is in itself a choice. William James

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Why Young Men: Rage, Race and the Crisis of Identity Hardcover – April 3 2018

by Jamil Jivani (Author)4.3

The truth is the best argument. We are all capable of making the winning argument.

We are all capable of making the winning argument. The truth is the best argument.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A relationship with no arguments is a relationship with a lot of secrets. Unknown

Yesterday I went to one of my favorite haunts Value Village. I told myself I went to look at books to see if the books that appealed to me the most had long or short chapters and chapter titles or just numbers. I’m reading online that short chapters are like potato chip chapters. When we are reading we sometimes look at the length of the next chapter before we quit reading. If the chapter is short we say just one more then I’ll stop. We can read until four in the morning by reading one more short chapter. Chapter headings can entice our readers into wanting to know what comes next.  

Last night I finished making my scenes into chapters and giving each a title. I now have 84 chapters and my plan is to read each chapter aloud and record it one last time looking for errors and then get it ready to put on Amazon. It’s exciting and terrifying.

In my search for books, I came across one yesterday How to Argue and Win Every Time by Gerry Spence. Of course, I bought it along with five other books. I try to limit my purchase to five books because if you buy four the fifth one is free – so why not get the free book and I usually want more than five. Yesterday I had my five and then I found a book on writing The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. It went in the cart too. When I got home I found a different edition of the book on my bookshelf but somehow I like the one I just picked up better.

We are living in a time when we need to communicate more about important things but we are making people who make even the small misstep in speech seem like they are pariahs of our society. Not talking about the big problems we have is not helpful. When people cannot vent their feelings, concerns, problems, and fears they often come out in other more destructive ways.

In a book, I read that parents should overlook the language their children use to keep communication lines open. All we need to say is “you can’t say that in my house, or don’t use that tone,” for the conversation to be over. We often have to have long conversations about seemingly nothing before we get to the nugget of truth that needs to be dealt with, understood, or examined. It is why long car rides are good for conversation. After we get through the easy topics in the dark we often talk about more important and personal subjects.

One of the reasons YouTube personalities seem to be doing so well is they talk and they are willing to talk about important and controversial subjects.

When we don’t get our feelings out into the open it doesn’t get rid of the feelings. Those feelings remain seething underneath and cause harm.

Be calm in arguing for fierceness makes error a fault and truth discourtesy. George Herbert

In Gerry Spence’s book How to Argue and Win Every Time he says during infancy and adolescents, the winning argument will already be made. The child will seek his or her freedom and become a butterfly or an ugly moth as they exit the cocoon.

The winning argument will have been love, the losing argument discipline. The winning argument will have been respect, the losing argument manipulation. The winning argument will have been honesty, the losing argument hypocrisy. The winning argument will have been freedom, the losing argument control. To give to the world a child who is capable of joyously blooming is the gift of the successful parent.

We need to figure out how to make people feel loved instead of disciplined, respected instead of manipulated, embrace honesty instead of hypocrisy and freedom instead of control.

One of the things we need to do is listen to what people say and try to understand what they mean even when we don’t see things that way at all. Last night talking to my husband I said one of our problems is we talk about things but we don’t agree on the definition of what we are talking about.

We will make mistakes when we are raising our children and when we are having discussions with people about contentious subjects. We will not always do things that look 100 percent fair from every angle. People are not interchangeable cogs each person is an individual with strengths and weaknesses and we may not all agree about what are the strengths and weaknesses of an individual.

Any parent of more than one child knows that we can’t always treat each child the same. What works for Johnny might not work for Sarah. Sometimes what is effective is expecting more than what someone thinks they can attain but when they attain it they are grateful. A low expectation of our children is unlikely to turn them into the butterfly we and they would like to see them become. Some children are early bloomers and some are late bloomers. We need everyone doing their best in the garden of life to create a good society. It is every generation’s responsibility to build on what has already been accomplished.

We will not be perfect parents, citizens, employees, employers, or spouses but we can do our best to improve our lives within our sphere of influence. Are we willing to have long difficult conversations and arguments that lead to peace and understanding?

Silence is argument carried out by other means. Unknown

A great relationship is about two things, first, find out the similarities, second, respect the differences. Unknown

We understand that we have differences but we also respect the fact that if you focus on the things we have in common you can build a relationship. John Howard

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by GERRY SPENCE (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

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

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

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Thanksgiving is the antidote to self-pity. Mark Altrogge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are we stuck? Moving forward and helping others by paying it forward.

Moving forward and helping other by paying it forward. Are we stuck?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

When you learn, teach. When you get, give. Maya Angelou

My son used an analogy yesterday; I don’t know who he got it from. We can’t steer a parked car and a lot of us are like parked cars. We sit there moving gears, blinking lights, pushing on the gas and brakes but nothing happens, we aren’t going anywhere. If we start the car even if we start moving in the wrong direction we can turn around and make adjustments along the way.

We can’t turn our lives around when we remain parked and maybe we remain parked because we feel safe. An ostrich sticks its head in the sand to feel safe. Is trying to be safe the worst thing we can do? When we don’t know what to do maybe we feel safer doing nothing but that is probably not what we should be doing. No matter what our circumstances in life isn’t there something we can do to make things better, move things along, or make a difference?

We think people become successful because they are lucky or they were at the right time or place. In reality, we build our lives toward failure or success with our daily habits. We build our marriages, our families, our health, our fitness, and our finances by what we do daily.

We may do the best we can and still not have things work out for us the way we hoped.  There is no guarantee but if we move towards our goals and dreams by making the habits in our lives work for us. The chance of getting what we want will increase.

We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill

What if one of the things we need to do is help someone else achieve their dreams before we will achieve our own. What if that will pay dividends into the future we can’t imagine. I was listening to Joel Olsteen yesterday and he was saying his father went by a church under construction years ago and he noticed that nothing was happening. He found out they had run out of money. In his own church, he took up a collection to help the neighboring church complete its construction.

He was able to complete the construction projects on his own church over the years with cash. Did helping the other church pay dividends to his church? What if doing a good deed for someone is the best way to bring good fortune into everyone’s lives including our own?

Are we stuck feeling like nothing is moving forward in our lives? What actions do we need to take, what habits do we need to change, and what do we need to do to move forward? Do we need to help someone else move forward first?

Life engenders life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich. Sarah Bernhardt

One can never pay in gratitude: one can only pay ‘in kind’ somewhere else in life. Anne Morrow Lindbergh

We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone. Ronald Reagan

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Do It Scared: Charge Forward With Confidence, Conquer Resistance, and Break Through Your Limitations (Break Your Fear Series Book 1) by [Scott Allan]

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by Scott Allan (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars    94 ratings

Zest and happiness. Are we chasing elusive treasures or are we practicing being happy with what we have, where we are?

Are we chasing elusive treasures or are we practicing being happy with what we have, where we are? Zest and happiness.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Happiness isn’t some elusive treasure we chase after. It’s a state of being we need to practice. Brian Johnson

We are on the hunt for another exercise machine. Two Eforce machines are in the garage and the part that is worn out is not available. The diagnosis comes from a bearing expert who spent time looking for the replacement part. When my son told me it can’t be fixed, or at least not for a reasonable price I had my answer. I could quit going to stores looking for the part, two people looked at the part like they’d never seen anything that resembled it so I was already thinking it was a fool’s errand. My daughter tells me I should get a rowing machine. I use a rowing machine at the gym but I don’t feel after 400 reps how I felt after 100 on my Eforce. I love the full-body workout and the stretching that it gave.

We think we’ve found another machine a Proform 930 exercise machine with a similar kind of workout. If we get a message back we’ll buy it, if not we’ll continue on the hunt. Am I throwing good money after bad looking for exercise machines that didn’t become the popular exercise machines? Elliptical, treadmills, and rowing machines are available new but what I want seems to have been popular in the 1990s.

We are going to try to get one more of this type of machines and if using it wears it out quickly another option will have to be found.  Finding an exercise we like that works, fits into our schedule and we feel good after using it is part of what keeps us motivated to do it.

At a certain age, exercise is no longer something we should do just to look better; it is something that is going to add years to our life, and life to our years. I pulled out a book I picked up, I started using her exercise program when I got the book and don’t know why I stopped. Body Flex by Greer Childers she advocates using our breath and performing the exercise after we exhale. She tells us we lose inches without losing weight. It is also an exercise book from probably the ’90s. What is it with me and the ’90s?

Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest. Christian Dior

My daughter does exercise programs on YouTube. When she is my age will she fondly think back to those programs and think they were the best no matter what is the exercise rage at the time?

These old exercise machines may only be good for what they’ve been used for most of their life – clothes hangers. Maybe if I get one and start using it for its intended purpose it will wear out too.  Even so, I have my money and if the owner of the Proform 930 says we can pick up the machine we’ll drive down and get it. I am extremely grateful to my husband for being willing to come with me to pick up exercise machines. We are both hoping there won’t be a third time and that this next machine we buy will last at least a couple of years.

In the end, I may have to go with my daughter’s suggestion, “Just get a rowing machine.”

“But, I don’t want one,” I protest. I want what I want and it seems there are old exercise machines of the type I want out there and I will get at least one more and see if it will go the distance.

If we know what we want isn’t it fun to go looking for it? When we are on the hunt doesn’t it add zest to our lives? If and when we find what we are looking for will it meet our expectations, or will we then be on the hunt for something new and different?

What hunger is in relation to food, zest is in relation to life. Bertrand Russell

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. Henry David Thoreau

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

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Zest: How to Squeeze the Max out of Life by [Andy Cope, Gavin Oattes, Will Hussey]

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Zest: How to Squeeze the Max out of Life Kindle Edition

by Andy Cope (Author), Gavin Oattes (Author), Will Hussey (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars    58 ratings

Enjoying life. Living life with gusto and making the best of everything.

living life with gusto and making the best of everything. Enjoying life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Life becomes more meaningful when you realize the simple fact that you’ll never get the same moment twice. Unknown

This is a strange summer. The kids have already been out of school for months. Weddings we planned on going to are postponed until next year. Sports teams are not playing. Beaches that beckon to us are crowded and we are told to stay away. Gatherings of more than ten people are not recommended.

We had two wonderful evenings outside on the patio this weekend eating, talking, and laughing. Ice cream on a warm summer evening is still a treat. Sharing a glass of wine and the warm glow of family getting together planning the future and laughing about the past is a great way to spend a summer evening.

We need to enjoy these simple pleasures we never know where life will take us and if these simple times will end. Someone gets married and moves far away. The busyness of life makes sitting and enjoying time together hard to do. We don’t know what life has in store for us we need to enjoy each day as it comes. If we can wring as much joy from each day as possible we will have a well-lived life.

Sometimes we can only connect with people by phone or computer but it is a connection we are lucky to be able to have.  This is a year when family reunions are canceled, trips are canceled, and weddings are canceled. Many of the celebrations of life are canceled. We must still celebrate life even if we have to do it over the phone or a computer.

Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed. Wayne Dyer

We are adaptable creatures. We make the best of things. It is living through the highs and lows of life that create a life. What if we only had the highs in life? It might seem like that would be wonderful. With no contrast how would life be? We love beautiful sunny days but beautiful sunny days without rain become a nightmare.

We love time off of work but only having time off can become a nightmare. Finding the balance in our lives and being grateful for the blessings we have is how we make the best of things. We have today, we don’t know about tomorrow. Today is the day we can enjoy, today is the day we create memories. If we make today the best it can be then tomorrow should take care of itself.

Life moves forward and we move with it. We never know when it’s the last time we’ll do something, or see someone, but if we enjoy the moments of our lives we can live a life of few regrets.

Have we said everything that needs to be said? The amends that needs to be made, have we attempted to make them? Decisions for the future have they been made? Are we grateful for the beauty and bounty in our lives and making the best of what we have and the opportunities presenting themselves?

Are we proud of the lives we’ve built, the decisions we’ve made, and the future ahead of us? As we continue our journey are we going in the direction of our dreams? Do we need a reboot? Are we enjoying life?

Enjoy every moment of your life, because these precious moments, once gone will never come back again… Don’t search for a reason to be happy, but start finding happiness in everything you enjoy. You will start loving your life, and that’s what the life is to be enjoyed… Priyanka Thankur

Appreciate life as it happens. Moments will soon pass and you will wish you had treasured them more. Unknown

Wherever you are be all there. Jim Elliot

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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Enjoying Life by [Tanya E. Johnson]

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Enjoying Life Kindle Edition

by Tanya E. Johnson (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars    1 rating

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Canada a work in progress. Happy Canada Day.

Happy Canada Day. Canada a work in progress.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

There are no limits to the majestic future which lies before the mighty expanse of Canada with its virile, aspiring, cultured, and generous-hearted people. Winston Churchill

Home is one of the words that touch our hearts. We’ve all had a home, longed for home, dreamed of going home again, left home, and arrived home. Home is where the heart is. Home isn’t just a physical place, home is the place our dreams become reality.

If Canada is our home or was our home we are tied to it no matter where we live or what we do. When we come home after a trip no matter how great the trip was we are glad to be home. When we have driven through parts of America on trips back and forth to British Columbia we have only had good experiences and yet when we hit the Canadian border we feel more at ease. We are on home turf even though we are still hours from home.

What a year it has been since last Canada Day. We were on a high, the Raptors were the champions. This year we are struggling with an unseen enemy. We have to be careful we don’t turn against each other as we get back to normalcy. We have to find a balance between rights and responsibilities, what we expect other people to do to protect us, and what we do to protect ourselves. A balance needs to be found between being responsible and letting fear rule our lives. We may have to choose between the best of two good choices or two bad outcomes. Do we choose the economy over health or health over the economy? Is there no health without a good economy? We have walked the razor’s edge and hopefully, the worst is behind us.

A beautiful day dawns and we are lucky to be able to appreciate it. Today is a day when we celebrate Canada our home and native or adopted land. We may have ideas about what would make Canada better, we may work toward that end and indeed we should. No matter what changes we work toward everything in life will not go smoothly. We will still have disagreements; we will still end up in situations that don’t turn out how we hoped, expected, or even understand how they became what they did.

We often take for granted the opportunities we have and some of us don’t notice the opportunities that are there until we see someone else take advantage of them and become wildly successful. Do we dream big enough dreams? Do we ask for what we want and go after it? Do we even know what we want? If someone said you can have your wildest dream come true, what would that be? Do we have an answer? So many successful people will tell us that opportunity shows up as hard work. It isn’t just about working hard, many people do that but to what end? What are we working hard toward?

Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. Jack Layton

What if life is a bit like a vending machine and when we put our money in we have to choose what we want. Do some of us put our money in but not choose and we walk away wondering why we didn’t get the prize. We didn’t choose a prize. Do we know what the goal is we are working toward? Can we name it? Do we need to name it, to claim it?

The advantage of people who come from somewhere else is they had to make a decision. They had to have some sort of goal to impel them forward to make the move. Moving somewhere new gave them the belief they were taking their life in their own hands. We don’t have to move somewhere new; we can bloom where we are planted. No matter where we bloom can we quit looking at how everyone else is blooming and appreciate ourselves for who we are and appreciate others for who they are and together build something great?

In the garden of life are we a daisy, rose, sunflower, oak tree, or grass? Can we appreciate our contribution and the contribution of others that create a beautiful garden?

We are blessed to live in a beautiful country. If we woke up in Canada today we are some of the luckiest people in the world. Do we count our blessings or our problems? Do we look at what is good or what needs to be changed? Are we part of the problem or part of the solution?

We are blessed, and even though we may quibble over what our government does, or what other governments do, we still live in peace and plenty. As we live our lives we must do our best to make life better, socially, environmentally, economically, and politically, if we want Canada to remain what it is, a safe haven of peace and plenty.

Happy Canada Day! May we forever be a work in progress.

Love of country is like love of women – he loves her best who seeks to bestow on her the highest good. Felix Adler

I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong or free to choose those who shall govern my country. John Diefenbaker

We have it all. We have great diversity of people, we have a wonderful land, and we have great possibilities. So all those things combined there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Bob Rae

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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Canada Hardcover – April 30 2019

by Collins Canada (Author)3.9 out of 5 stars 5 ratings