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

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

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Positive anything is better than negative nothing. Elbert Hubbard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao Paperback – Illustrated, Jan. 1 2009

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

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

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

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life

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Is complaining attracting what we say we don’t want? Is positive prophecy a better way forward?

Is positive prophecy a better way forward? Is complaining attracting what we don't want?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

All you can change is yourself, but sometimes that changes everything. Gary W. Goldstein.

Are we getting what we focus on? Is what we are complaining about showing up in our lives as if we ordered it. I’ll have one of those horrible things, and another helping of unhappiness with pain and suffering for desert. We build our own lives we are told but only the successful admit it.

On Saturday I perused the book isles of Value Village and found a book “A Complaint Free World” by Will Bowen. He suggests we make a commitment to going complaint-free for twenty-one days. Is that even doable? No complaints at all! He says he finally got there and one of the tools he used was a rubber bracelet he moved from wrist to wrist every time he caught himself voicing a complaint.

I found a purple rubber band and put it on my wrist yesterday. I was doing pretty well because I went for a walk with my dog. I painted in my studio but the challenge isn’t when we spend time alone it is when we are with other people. At dinner, I even managed to not complain (I mean I didn’t notice any), but after dinner was another story.

My son, his fiancé, and I talked about, “The Royals.” All we were doing was complaining about people who were complaining.

Am I sure we should never complain?  I was listening to Jordan B. Peterson’s book yesterday on my walk, “Beyond Order.” He talks about not hiding things in the fog. We don’t address things because we don’t want to face the ramifications of confronting a problem head-on. It may be complaining when we address things but one of the things we need to do is know when we address something what do we want the outcome to be. Often, this is why we don’t address things. What is the outcome we want? This is the answer we don’t have and this is what we should work out in our own mind.

Martin Luther King’s, “I Have a Dream” speech was not a complaint. He painted a bright and vivid picture of the change he hoped to see. When we paint a picture of a problem already solved that is not a complaint it is a prophecy of better. What if we brought forward positive prophecies, instead of complaints into our world?

Change your thoughts and you change your life. Norman Vincent Peale

My life as an experiment continues as I focus on what I want instead of on what I don’t want. As I think back over my life knowing what I wanted wasn’t always easy. Sometimes it was easier to drift along because if I stated what I wanted even in my own mind it looked like work. It would be work I was responsible for doing to create the life I stated I wanted. For years I didn’t state I wanted to be a writer because then I would have to step up and write.

When we say we want something we are now responsible for making it happen. It seems daunting but it is also exciting to take charge of our own lives and direct the outcome of our actions. We don’t know what something will become when we start it, but we know if we don’t start it will never be anything.

What are the seeds we are planting in our lives? Are we planting complaints, judgment, disrespect, hopelessness or are we planting encouragement, positive prophecy, respect, and acceptance of what is as we try to build what might be?

We become what we think about. Earl Nightingale

The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts. Charles Darwin

Why are we Masters of our fate, the captains of our soul? Because we have the power to control our thoughts. Alfred A. Montapert

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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A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted Paperback – Feb. 5 2013

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

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Order and chaos finding the balance. Gratitude may be what makes the biggest difference in our life.

Gratitude may be what makes the biggest difference in our life. Order and chaos finding the balance.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Trade your expectations for appreciation and your whole world changes in an instant. Tony Robbins

I’ve started listening to Jordan Peterson’s book, “Beyond Order” and reading “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell. Jordan Peterson says, “We think we know how to make things better but we often don’t.” Malcolm Gladwell says, “Even when things get better we often don’t know why they improved.”

One of the things that Malcolm Gladwell talks about is how “Fixing the broken window syndrome” in New York City fixed a lot of problems. When we create order out of disorder we make things better. He says when people live in chaos they internalize it and it affects them in ways they don’t even recognize.

During an experiment conducted where volunteers agreed to play the part of prisoners in a makeshift prison or be guards through random draws. The situation degraded quickly. Jordan Peterson tells us we should never believe we are above acting in the most horrific of ways. This also means we are not below acting in the best ways and our environment is more important than we may think.

Sometimes we have control over our environment and sometimes we do not. The outcome of children in a chaotic environment with a strong family is not likely to be as good as the children from a weak family in a good environment. If we live in a society that works we have a lot to be grateful for. It is not something to be taken for granted because it can devolve into something horrible and building it back up again may not be easy.

When we hear about people who have elevated schools, communities, and countries they usually bring about order out of chaos. Discipline, diligence, neatness, and cleanliness, become important. I remember going to school in the early grades and we had to put our hands on our hankie and show our fingernails were clean every morning. What a long time ago that was. Our schools are still orderly and we may lament they aren’t how they used to be but our school system for the most part works and we should be grateful. One of the things Jordan Peterson stresses is we should be grateful for what works in our lives and we should be careful we don’t make things worse with our zeal to make things better.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

We may ask ourselves what would make our society better. We often say we need more equal outcomes. What if there will never be equal outcomes but we can do our best to offer equal opportunities. We know we can’t offer poor kids the opportunities rich kids have. What poor kids have, that rich kids often can’t have is the opportunity to elevate themselves above where they were born. This is an accomplishment only those who can attain more than their parents have, can aspire to.

There is a point above which more will not help us lead a better life. If we are fortunate enough to live at that place where we live in peace and plenty we should be grateful for everyone that has built our society. Our society is not perfect; do we even know what a perfect society would look like? Whose idea of perfection do we go with?

What if we are always trying to balance order and chaos? If we have too much order then creativity is missing, too much chaos and we don’t have a society that works. We can’t count on services being there for us because it takes order for buses to show up at bus stops and schools to be open, clean, and safe. The supply chain that keeps our stores stocked is an amazing accomplishment.

People sometimes complain when gentrification occurs in neighborhoods. The mess gets cleaned up, windows are no longer boarded and the neighborhood becomes safe again. It is no longer a cheap place to live. We are always in a cycle of rebirth and decay. It happens in our own lives, our homes, neighborhoods, and cities.

We may look back and think a moment in time was perfection, and it might have been but change is always coming. New houses become old houses; new generations of children take their place in society. Nothing can stay the same no matter how much we may wish we could hold onto the perfect moments in our lives. We have to let go of where we are to embrace what is coming even if what is coming isn’t what we want because we think our best times are behind us.

If we can enjoy where we are in life, the blessings we have, the opportunities in front of us instead of lamenting about the ones in the past we will live a better life.

Maybe all we can do in our lives is ask ourselves do we need more order or more chaos to have a more balanced life. Are we too creative/chaotic and we aren’t taking care of the other parts of our life, or are we too ordered with no creativity? Is life about as good as it gets and we are too blind and ungrateful to see how blessed we are?

Gratitude makes sense of your past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch heaven. Johannes Gaertner

Gratitude turns what we have into enough. Aesop

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Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier Paperback – Illustrated, Nov. 6 2008

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

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Books help us overcome the hurdles of life. Read something inspiring every day.

Read something inspiring every day. Books help us overcome the hurdles of life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Every challenge that we face is the opportunity to become more than we’ve been before. Lyena Strlkoff

This morning when the alarm rang at 6:00 I didn’t dare put my head back on the pillow, it’s really 5:00 to me. Does it make sense to go through this time change every spring and fall? Of course, it isn’t the biggest thing we are thinking about this year. It has never been the biggest thing except for those places that have said we aren’t changing anymore. The rest of us have continued to go along with the program because unless someone else doesn’t change it doesn’t make sense for us not to change too.

Sometimes we make big decisions in our lives because we are sick of waiting for other people to tell us if we can do something. Many people start their own businesses because no one wants to give them a job, or the kind of job they know they are capable of doing. Many business owners are not as educated as the people they hire are. It’s one of the reasons they are a business owner. It was the only way to accomplish what they wanted to accomplish in life.

Self-publishing is like that. Some people self-publish after years of rejection. Some of us decide we’ll skip the gatekeeper altogether. I didn’t even send my book out to a publisher or try to find an agent. I went straight to Amazon and published my book for free. I started writing the next one instead of wasting years flogging the first one to agents and publishers.

I’ve wondered if facing adversity isn’t a blessing many times? We overcome challenges and build better lives. Where is the point where too much adversity and too much challenge are a detriment? When is it just enough to push people to be masters of their own fate? What is the difference? A big part of the difference has to be the environment we live in. Does our environment reward the risk-takers?

Being our own boss is tough because if we aren’t a tough enough boss we won’t achieve anything. If we have all day to do something but we don’t push ourselves, nothing gets done. If we are not self-motivated meaning we don’t get up and get to whatever it is we need to do then being our own boss might not work for us.

Opportunity follows struggle. It follows effort. It follows hard work. It doesn’t come before. Shelby Steele

Mindset is a big deal. It isn’t new even if the term “growth mindset” was coined by Carol Dweck in her book “Mindset” in 2007. How we think, and what we think has always been important. This is what many of the proverbs, cultural sayings, and religious texts from all cultures have been telling us. “Our thinking makes it so.” What else are we but the thoughts we think and the actions we take? That’s it, that’s all there is and we build our lives thinking and doing, doing and thinking. What is the difference between those who really master life and those who don’t? Is it just thinking better thoughts and doing better deeds?

We can look at anyone we see as a role model and find out what books they read and who has been an influence in their lives. We have access to the greatest books that have impacted the most people. It is one thing that gives me pause. Should anyone spend time with my book when there are so many truly great books to read that will make a difference in their lives? It isn’t just books of wisdom that impact people’s lives. Novels where we get to know characters, their motivations their challenges, and the way they struggle and overcome adversity affect us and may help us look at our struggles and adversity in new ways.

We learn a lot from other people’s stories. Often we get these stories from TV and movies instead of books. They impact us when we see them on screen, but not as much as when we read about them. We connect with characters in books at a deeper level than on screen. In a book, we can know their thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, fears, and challenges that are harder to depict on screen. We are transported to another time and place in a book more so than in a movie. We also spend more time with the characters in a book. We often think about the characters as we go about our daily business waiting for a chance to immerse ourselves in the book again for a few stolen moments.

I don’t have the book club pick read for our meeting tomorrow night. It’s been a busy month of preparing speeches. I will give my regrets for not reading the book but I will show up on zoom for our meeting. The books bring up themes we end up talking about. If we haven’t read the book we missed out on the book but usually, the discussion is about themes that affect us all.

Jordan Peterson’s new book “Beyond Order” is out and I can’t wait to read it. I’ve never figured out what the controversy he stirs up is all about. Isn’t getting our own life in order what we are supposed to do? Why would anyone encouraging people to clean their own house before complaining about someone else’s be a problem? I might be missing something. The power we have is to make our lives the best they can be regardless of the circumstances we are in. When we do this we may find we have more opportunities than we originally thought. When we make order out of chaos, challenge ourselves to be better people instead of just expecting everyone else to be better we become masters of our own fate. When we become better we may make it better for everyone around us.

Jordan Peterson’s message of taking charge of our own life is a message resonating with young people. I find it hard to believe how anyone following his advice would find it negative when they look back at the changes they made in their lives. He doesn’t support wallowing in victimhood and that might be scary for those who prey on those who see themselves as victims. It is empowering for those who thought they were victims, to take back their power, turn their lives around, and start seeing the opportunities instead of only problems.

Have you read a good book lately? Has it impacted your life?

In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity. Sun Tzu

Perspective is everything when you are experiencing the challenges of life. Joni Eareckson Tada

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny. C.S. Lewis

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. If you read my book Secrets and Silence I hope you will leave a review on Amazon. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life Hardcover – March 2 2021

by Jordan B. Peterson  (Author)4.9 out of 5 stars 126 ratingsAmazon Charts #1 this week


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The challenge of communication. Examining our sensitivities and accepting ourselves warts and all.

Examining our sensitivities and accepting ourselves warts and all. The challenge of communication.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

No amount of self-improvement can make up for any lack of self-acceptance. Robert Holden

What are we missing in communication? Why don’t others understand what we meant to say or even what we really said? How are so many things lost in translation and we are speaking the same language? At least we think we are.

This is the problem; we think we are talking the same language. The Book, “Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus” told us men and women don’t speak the same language. The oppressors and the oppressed I don’t think speak the same language and who belongs to which group is open to debate and some people who feel oppressed are seen by others as oppressors. We may be told we are part of the powerful group but we don’t feel we have any power.

The powerful group might be being a man, or being a woman, being rich, being educated, being self-employed, being a celebrity, being famous, being attractive, being tall, being slim, being smart. I believe there can be advantages to being in every group I’ve mentioned but being any of those doesn’t mean you are how others perceive you. The advantages others envy may not seem to actually exist to you.

Being attractive is a huge advantage for most people. We may not be able to put our finger on exactly what makes someone attractive but we generally recognize attractive people when we see them. We are naturally attracted to attractive people and part of this we are told is because attractiveness is a sign of health.

Are we often blind to our advantages; do we take them for granted, just like the smells in our house? If we go into someone else’s house we know what their house smells like but we often don’t know what our own smells like because we live in it. We are nose blind, we are advantage blind.

I have always been better at caring for others than I have been for caring for myself. But in these later years, I have made progress. Carl Rogers at age 75

If we are to live in a color-blind world it doesn’t mean we don’t recognize the differences at all it is they don’t make any difference in day-to-day living.  Even though redheads are said to have life more difficult than blondes or brunettes doesn’t it really matter more if they are attractive redheads? If we would prefer our children to be blondes over redheads does that mean anything? I’d rather my grandchildren have straight beautiful teeth over crooked, not beautiful teeth. I’m saying crooked and beautiful because straight teeth aren’t always beautiful and crooked teeth aren’t always ugly. I have a preference, does it make me a bad person that certain parts of my gene pool I like better than others?

The redhead with ugly crooked teeth and unattractive features just has one more feature that isn’t loved with the red hair. The attractive redhead with lovely skin, beautiful features, and a fantastic smile stands out, if they have beautiful hair that is also red everything is working for them. If they are tall, fit, rich, and famous, being a redhead is probably not working against them.

Would we rather our children have blue, brown, or green eyes? We may have a preference or we may not. If we do have a preference is it a problem? We are sometimes aghast when we find out people have a gender preference for their child. Mom had three girls and would have loved for me to be a boy. It has made absolutely no difference in my life, and I totally understand why she wanted a boy.

Did I ever feel I wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t a boy? No. Did I ever feel they thought I should be different than I am? No, they played the genetic lottery, and out I came. We all play the genetic lottery when we have children. Having preferences of what that lottery produces seems normal to me.

A marriage therapist had a couple in his office that argued and fought over the messiness of the house. He was a neat freak and she was the messy one. The Therapist said, “This week no fighting. You are to figure out why neatness is so important to you, and why messiness is so important to you.”

At home, the wife started thinking about why messiness was important to her. She remembered living with her single mother and every time the house got cleaned up it meant a man was coming over. As a little girl she decided she was never cleaning up a house for a man.

The husband started thinking about growing up in his alcoholic home. The only time he felt safe and chaos did not reign in the house was when everything was neat and tidy. As he began to relax she began to be less messy.

We need to understand the underlying issues in our lives that are causing problems. Our childhood has left us with sensitivities we react to without knowing why they are important. We judge people for their insensitivity to our sensitivities even we don’t acknowledge exist.

We need to learn to accept ourselves, warts, crooked teeth, lack of hair, and other things about ourselves we don’t love. Somehow if we don’t accept ourselves we send out messages to people and they pick up on our sensitivities and if they are mean-spirited people we have given them ammunition against us. We may be so sensitive a look, gesture, action, or words may set us off even if they aren’t mean-spirited people.

We need to take a good look at the things that bother us so we can understand what is behind them. I am reading 80% of what bothers us about our partners is rooted in our childhood. Marriage, if we do it right helps us heal the hurts of the past. If we don’t do it right we magnify the hurts of the past.

Expecting others to understand us when we don’t understand ourselves won’t likely work out well. Is this why Socrates told us, “The unexamined life is not worth living?” Could it be that if we accept ourselves things that someone might say that used to be a sensitive issue become just an observation? We do have red hair, crooked teeth, less hair than we like, or anything else we may be sensitive about. Instead of jumping down someone’s throat can we acknowledge that maybe what we were so sensitive about was how we felt about something, not how they did?

When we accept ourselves for what we are, we decrease our hunger for power or the acceptance of others because our self-intimacy reinforces our inner sense of security. Brennan Manning

When you create yourself to make it you’re going to have to either let that creation go and take a chance on being loved or hated for who you really are. Or you’re gonna have to kill who you really are and fall into your grave grasping onto a character that you never were. Jim Carrey

Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we will ever do. Brene Brown

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Gifts of Imperfection, The: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are Paperback – Aug. 27 2010

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

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Embracing what is. Life is messy, clean it up.

Life is messy, clean it up. Embracing what is.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Happiness lies not in finding what is missing, but in finding what is present. Tara Brach

Yesterday I was on my first live show with video. I was comfortable on the internet radio show when it was only my voice, but now they will see me. Many of us don’t like how we look in pictures and I am one who does not.

I played with lighting angles like they could make that much of a difference when we are a woman of a certain age. Lighting does make a big difference, but not that much of a difference. Vanity, thy name is woman! Many of us are vain, but one of the great things about this stage of life is, it isn’t about our looks. I am becoming a girl with a grandma’s face and I need to be okay with that. It will only become more so. Can I find a way to look at that face when I see it on YouTube which is where I will find it in a few days and look compassionately at that face instead of critically?

As I practiced what I was going to say and then replayed it the one thing I could do is get the light from bouncing off my glasses. I could make my bookshelf look better and I took out the rows of binders and rearranged books. The den was a complete mess by the time I had done my rearranging. When I looked at my face as I replayed the recorded video I said, “This is the real you. You are not perfect and that is okay.” I got a WhatsApp from the host she might call on me again for another episode, this one went well.

This really is a great time in my life, “Grandma Face” and all. My husband and I are reaping our rewards as our children are grown and taking their place in the world. Our parental responsibilities are done. My creative pursuits are becoming something real. I can hold my book in my hand, I’m getting reviews on Amazon, and with my last royalty payment, I could buy more than a cup of coffee.

The trick, I realized. Was in letting go enough to simply accept the challenging times and experience life in all its messy glory instead of trying to predict or control our reality. Laura Bradbury

Life is really great when we have things to look forward to, we have pursuits that feed our soul, and we are surrounded by a loving family. I think this really is one of the best parts of my life. Can I just quite cringing when I see myself in pictures? Not taking pictures is part of the problem. The more I look at myself on screen the more I can put in perspective and accept the parts I don’t like. No one is asking me to be on their show because of my cheekbones, the shape of my nose, or a cameral ready smile.

Are there some things I can do to make myself look better on camera? For sure, but in the end, I have to accept myself warts and all. Sometimes trying to fix things can make them worse, we’ve all see that with plastic surgery. Not that I’m planning to go there.

Being interviewed will have its own minefields. What if I get asked questions there are no good answers to? We have many issues that are like that right now. I wonder if those issues are like the messy bookshelf I straightened up for the show. Everything I didn’t like was on the floor around my desk out of sight of the camera. Have we been doing that in our lives and now we are looking at the messiness of injustice, fear, hate, envy, colonization, war, rape, and pillaging? Will our society be better for getting things out in the open? Can we heal some of the festering sores in our society?

When I straightened up the mess I threw surprisingly few things away. Our society may end up being the same. There is one shelf I didn’t touch because the camera didn’t show it. This shelf still has to be dealt with. We may think things are getting worse but maybe they have to look like that before they get better. Is my bookshelf a metaphor for dealing with issues we’d rather not look at? The books I don’t want to see on camera are my books, binders of things I’ve written, research, clips from newspapers, and articles I’ve printed off. They are the most important things in my library.

Life is messy. We need to get things out in the open to deal with them. I believe one of the worst things we do in marriage is to keep the peace at the expense of dealing with issues. Society is probably the same. A book I am reading “I Love You but I’m Not in Love with You” says sometimes what we need is a good argument to clear the air, to deal with difficult parts of our life, and to try and understand each other.

Are we embracing or shying away from the arguments we need in our life, our family, and our society?

The past should be a learning experience not an everlasting punishment. What’s done is done. Constantly going over the ordeals you previously faced will only be a burden in your life. Unknown

Embrace the glorious mess that you are. Elizabeth Gilbert

Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end. Robin Sharma

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I Love You, But I’m Not in Love with You: Seven Steps to Putting the Passion Back Into Your Relationship Paperback – July 1 2007

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? by [Belynda Wilson Thomas]

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International Women’s Day. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The more things change, the more things stay the same. International Women's Day.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

Next Monday is International Women’s Day and yes there is an International Men’s Day on November 19th.

On Sunday I’m on a panel and the theme is, what does International Women’s Day mean to me. I am very happy that women are taking the opportunities that are out there for them in education, building businesses, and excelling in life.

Where men and women need to excel and the hardest place to excel is in the family. The next generation pays the price for our failures. One of the things we get wrong in life is we think more choice equals more happiness.

There was a time when we were considered spinsters if we weren’t married at twenty-one. This meant women had a short window to choose a husband or have one chosen for them. The best choice was made and then they got on with making the best out of life.

We now have women who have taken advantage of the choices they have. They have gotten the education. They have great jobs and some have started businesses. They have political careers. But, what some of them are finding after all of their achievements is they now want a husband, and he is hard to find. The man that successful women want isn’t that interested in her success. He wants a woman in her younger more fertile years. He may want one that is not hardened by life. He may want one he can wow with his exploits, not one expecting to wow him with hers.

Life is a crazy ride. It’s a privilege to go through it with a partner. Kristen Bell

Men have always married younger women and women looked to marry older successful men so they could have a good life. This leaves the successful, accomplished single women feeling like they were told something that wasn’t true. They were told to do the “Important things in life”, like get an education and be successful, and then they could become wives and mothers.

Being a wife and mother, and husband and father is the most important thing in life. This is what we’ve gotten wrong. Men and women still need to work together to accomplish the most important things in life. That we can fulfill our dreams in other areas is great. We need to not lose sight of what is important and what brings us joy and happiness.

Women are not happier than previous generations with all of our choice. We are not warmer, sweeter, more encouraging, more optimistic, more generous, more open, more giving, or more grateful. We also are not less of these. We are who we choose to be in the circumstances we find ourselves in. We always have. Finding joy where we are is how we stumble on happiness.

We will not be happier when we get, “That.” Whatever that is, in about six months we will be as happy as before something great or disastrous happens in our lives. If this is true and I believe it is, we can be as happy as we set our minds to be regardless of outside circumstances in our lives.

This should give us the courage to change the things in our lives we should change and stay the course when we need to persevere. We need to quit telling our girls that marriage and motherhood can wait. Building a family is our greatest achievement. The family is what moves on in the next generation. The family is what we still have when we’ve retired from our career, and it is the legacy we leave when we die. There is a window that closes for motherhood, but many of the other things we chase like education and success can come at any stage in life.

Women can accomplish what they set out to accomplish in their lives. Just because we are accomplishing new things does not mean that being the heart of the family is not our most important role. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

There is no role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood. Elder M. Russell Ballard

It is not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts. Mother Theresa

Giving the utmost of herself to three absorbing interests, marriage, motherhood, career… was a problem for a superwoman, and a job for a superwoman, and only some fabled being could have accomplished it all with success. Storm Jameson

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Stumbling on Happiness Paperback – March 20 2007

by Daniel Gilbert (Author)4.3 out of 5 stars 1,004 ratings


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Spring is coming. Have we ever been more grateful for Spring?

Have we ever been more grateful for spring. Spring is coming.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn. Hal Borland

Yesterday a friend and I went for a walk. We set our walking time at 2:30 but when I looked out my window at 1:30 it was raining. At 2:30 we set out with my little dog hoping our walk wouldn’t be cut short by rain. We had a destination but we didn’t end up there. We took a detour into a neighborhood we know but have never walked through. We walked up and down the streets admiring the houses. We even found one for sale. I took a picture of it to send to her later.

The sun didn’t shine but nor did it rain. Spring is in the air we kept saying as birds chirped around us. We had a lovely afternoon of walking, talking, and laughing. She’s going to be a grandma soon. What a lovely event to be looking forward to.

My son and his fiancé were cooking dinner. Without dinner to worry about the rest of the afternoon was mine. My dog was covered in mud so the first thing I did is give her a bath. My husband, daughter, and I had tea while we talked and laughed as I held Lulu my shivering dog in a towel. I put on a warm sweater. I didn’t feel cold on the walk but back in the house, I was shivering as much as Lulu.

Before dinner, I had a chance to go into my art room and play with color schemes. One of my favorite art stores opened up for in-store purchases and I picked up art supplies I badly needed on Friday. Some of the shelves of paint were bare. Art has been one of the ways to pass the time. An art book on finding inspiration for paintings was on sale. I added it to my cart. I was tempted by a book on color but resisted.

It doesn’t matter how we express ourselves but it is important to find artistic outlets. We can pour our emotions into a painting that if we wrote them down on paper would be embarrassing. In a painting they are safe, and once expressed we feel better.

How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year? Unknown

We may be embarrassed because our art is not technically perfect. Sometimes technically perfect art doesn’t move us at all because it isn’t technical perfection that moves us. We react to what the artist is expressing. It happens with books, songs, music, and dance.

It’s my friend’s book club pick. She has a book she’s thinking of choosing. She’s afraid the subject might be too heavy. We want everyone to think the books we choose are worth the time, money, and create a great discussion. It’s great having everyone on the hunt for the next great read. We read books we wouldn’t read if left on our own.

We can’t wait until we can get together and discuss our books. Our last in-person book club meeting was in October. We met in one of our member’s back yards, wore coats, wrapped ourselves in shawls, discussed books, life, and laughed the night away.

Being part of groups feeds our soul. I love every group I am a part of. Separate interests are important but so are shared ones. We need to find balance. Soon my husband and I will be able to go to outdoor cafes, walk to get an ice cream cone or pick up a tea.

Spring is coming to our lives in more ways than just the weather. Have we ever been more grateful for spring? We have so much to look forward to. We just have to get through this last bit of winter. This winter of covid, shutdowns, despair, and inactivity.

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. Anne Bradstreet

You think winter will never end, and then, when you don’t expect it, when you have almost forgotten it, warmth comes and a different light. Wendell Berry

Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius. Pietro Aretino

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My Philosophy for Successful Living

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My Philosophy for Successful Living  Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

Jim Rohn (Author), Vic Johnson (Narrator), Gildan Media, LLC (Publisher)4.6 out of 5 stars 468 ratings


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