Food is the stuff of life. Who are we depending on for our next meal?

Who are we depending on for our next meal? Food is the stuff of life.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Maimonides

If you ate today, thank a farmer. If you are able to accomplish anything in life you need sustenance and our food comes from land or sea.

Only a few countries in the world produce enough food to feed their population. 16 percent of the world’s population today depends on food produced somewhere other than in their own country. In 2050 that number is expected to jump to 50 percent.

Canada is one of the countries listed as being food self-sufficient. We should be very careful to keep it this way. If we can’t grow enough food for our own people, we are no longer in control of our own destiny.

One of the things growing up on a farm teaches us is the carrying load of land. There is a limit to how many cattle, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, or chickens that can be raised on a finite piece of land. It isn’t different for people or countries.

We haven’t done that well with famines in the past; will we do better with a much larger population?

Just like they tell us in an airplane we must put our own oxygen mask on first. When it comes to food self-sufficiency every country should be figuring out how they can feed their people if no other country has a surplus to sell to them.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. Alfred Austin

A victory garden is a vegetable garden, especially a home garden, planted to increase food production during a war. These victory gardens were started in World War 1. In 1917 Charles Lathrap Pack created the National War Garden Commission to encourage women at home to grow and preserve their own food. Crops in commercial production would then be available for troops and allies overseas.

Posters with sayings such as “Sow the Seeds of Victory” promoted this idea. Instructions were given on how to garden, from sowing seeds to harvesting and preserving crops, as well as saving seed for the following year.

There is a resurgence of victory gardens based on self-reliance, sustainability, healthy eating, and ecosystem support. It gives families food security. It also protects against the effects of multinational seed conglomerates gobbling up small seed companies in an attempt to control the world’s food supply. The “Victory” in modern victory gardens is freedom from the conventional food system. It is taking charge even to a small degree of what we eat. It is about making a difference in our own lives, being the change we want to see in the world, and giving up feelings of helplessness by doing something meaningful, something positive, something productive, and something important.

We can wring our hands and worry, or we can be proactive and make a difference. Is it possible that everywhere in the world people can do some small thing to make life better? Does better everywhere start with plants? Can every country improve its potential for food self-sufficiency?

The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. Michael Pollen

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If we only love through the good times, it isn’t really love. Love is a verb.

Love is a verb. If we only love through the good times, it is't really love.

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

We thought we were soul mates. We thought we would always see things the same way. When we were young maybe we thought true equality was actually possible. Before we saw that people starting at the exact same place in their life, with the same opportunities, advantages, and circumstances made different life choices and reaped different harvests. Those life choices made a difference in their lives. Then if you throw luck in there, walking away from a car crash that kills most people, or investing early in the one company that became the success of the decade.

Life is about choices. What we learn, who we build our life with, where we build it. Some people get together and they become more than what they each were. Other couples become less than they each were. Some people stay and get through the ups and downs of life; other people only stay for the ups.

If we can’t stay through the tough times, and there will be tough times, we don’t reap the rewards of getting to the best times. We may think that people in long term marriages had it easier, but it is probably better to think they dealt with things better. It is dealing with, not the things themselves that determine where we’ll be.

Getting through marriage if we are critical, contemptuous, stonewalling and defensive will be much harder than if we can try and see our partner’s point of view, understand their fears, and get into the situation with them. We may think we can do it; of course, we’ll do that. When it actually comes time to see things from their point of view, when it is a point of view we can’t wrap our head around we are at loggerheads. They may think, how can you not see what I see, we may think how can you see that?

In tough times, we all hope for knights in shining armor, or the cavalry, to show up and effect change. Dean Devlin

At these times we may have to agree to disagree. We may feel we are betraying everything we believe to take their side. We may have so much of our self, and our identity wrapped up in what we are thinking it feels like a defining moment in our lives. It becomes an “If we don’t stand up for what we believe, what kind of person would that make us,” moment.

We can’t understand why they don’t understand us anymore, why they could think such things of us, how we have come to look at the world completely differently. We somehow have to reassure our self that our partner has a right to their thoughts, feelings, fears, insecurities, values, goals, and seeing things differently from us is not a threat.

When you come from a large family you know everyone saw things differently. It is like every one of us has a different take on the same story. We can only see things from our point of view; somehow we think our partner doesn’t have their own point of view. We think we have “our joint” point of view. That somehow our coupledom should make us one, we should automatically know what the other wants, needs, expects, requires, and is dealing with.

We got together because of the things we were attracted to; sometimes those same attributes begin to rub us the wrong way. Their sense of humor we so loved, seems so inappropriate, childish, etc. Their outgoing nature seems scary as people are attracted to them, and we worry they could get interested in someone else.

Everyone can always do what we fear they will do. We can’t make people stay with us, love us, be faithful, be kind, be considerate, not get ill, or die before us. We can make it so we are easy to love, kind, considerate, loving, supportive, encouraging, understanding, respectful, likable, and warm.

The only person we can change is our self. If we see things about our partner that needs to change, perhaps we should look at our self and see if we are being our best self for them. The power of our life is when we realize we are the change we need to see. When we change the way we look at things when we become the best we can be, when we focus on what we can do, when we deal with what is. We may not like what we have to go through to learn the lessons we need to learn, but we can be better, or we can be bitter.

A great relationship is about two things. First, appreciating the similarities, and second, respecting the differences. Unknown

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Love is a Verb: Stories of What Happens When Love Comes Alive by [Chapman, Gary]
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Judging others, judging our self. Judge not lest yee be judged.

Judge not lest yee be judged. Judging others, judging our self.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. Will Rogers

Last night we watched Sully a movie about “The miracle on the Hudson” where a plane was landed on the Hudson River and all 155 people on board were saved.

He was a hero but still faced questions and maybe the loss of his job, pension, and livelihood if he was found to have put the plane down in the Hudson when simulations showed he could have made it to an airport.

As he listened to what they said he didn’t remember things the way he was being told they happened. He was starting to second guess himself, had he made a huge mistake in judgment as an experienced pilot of 42 years.

He was not allowed to see the simulations that the investigators had requested, but he knew someone within the industry and he requested they have simulations done. At the hearing, the simulations he requested were played. The simulations showed he could have landed at either of two airports with the plane intact.

He asked how many practice runs did the pilots get, he was told seventeen. He said those simulation pilots knew the situation they would be facing but he did not. He had 208 seconds and part of that time was spent on evaluating what had happened and what to do about it, not just implementing what to do. He was given 35 seconds of evaluation time. Now when the simulators had to take 35 seconds off their flight time they could no longer make it to either airport.

We can second guess ourselves, or be second-guessed by others. It is easy to look at things in hindsight differently than when we lived it. If we put enough effort in we can see how we could have, and even should have done things differently. We didn’t have the luxury of time when we made our decision. We didn’t know how other people would view things. The miracle on the Hudson is that the pilot only took 35 seconds to figure out what to do and then did it. He was only 7 miles from an airport. Missing that airport by feet or by miles was still a miss.

Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, you can rise above doubt and judgment. And you can see forever. Nancy Lopez

We have to be okay with the decisions we make in our life. All of our decisions may not lead to the finest moments of our life. We are human; we need to cut our self some slack. It may look the same regardless of what our intent is. We may believe things happened differently than someone else believes.

It is in these moments that growth happens. We are responsible for what we do, say, and think. How others interpret what we did, said and thought we may not be responsible for. We may not be able to change their mind, we may have to go forward confident in ourselves we did the best we could at the time.

We see it all the time, embarrassing moments in people’s lives are exposed. Something they thought innocent or at least private comes back to haunt them. Maybe they are threatened with blackmail and must come forward and expose themselves to scrutiny. It is a testament to their character that they expose themselves to scrutiny instead of being blackmailed.

We live in a time now where mistakes are not tolerated. If we are not comfortable being awkward around others, we will keep more to ourselves. We will hesitate to initiate conversations out of fear of being thought a pervert, insensitive, or uninformed. We will not reach out to other people for fear they will misunderstand our motives. We fear we will not address them the way they wish to be addressed. We will be insensitive to the challenges they have faced in their life.

People make mistakes, we don’t understand each other. We make mistakes with those we know and love, we will make mistakes with those we don’t yet know. When we protect ourselves from making mistakes, we close ourselves off from engaging with others, opportunities, and life.

When offending someone is an offense, we will not engage with them. That is worse than offending them because it will limit all of our opportunities. There are unintended consequences in everything. If we are no longer able to overlook people’s mistakes where do we go in our families, businesses, society, politics and the greater world?

We’re all caught up in circumstances, and we’re all good and evil. When you’re really hungry, for instance, you’ll do anything to survive. I think the most evil thing – well, maybe that’s too strong – but certainly, a very evil thing is judgment, the sin of ignorance. Anthony Hopkins

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STOP BEING A JUDGMENTAL FAULT FINDER: 30 Days: Strengthen Your Faith by [Ashton, Nora]
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Life is what we make it. Facing our fears and dealing with what is.

Facing our fears and dealing with what is. Life is what we make it.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there” – as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering – the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise. Byron Katie

When we face our fears we go forward. We might be afraid to cut our hair and try something different. Sometimes we are afraid to start things; sometimes we are afraid to finish them. We may make too few changes and other times we may make too many.

Finding balance in our lives can be hard. We feel stagnate, we seek change, the change makes us feel insecure and precarious. Do we naturally vacillate between too little and too much change?

We are careful, and then we throw all caution to the wind. Some people start to change their life and everyone looks at them and labels them as having a midlife crisis. Why is a new hairdo, a new car, planning to see the wonders of the world a crisis?

Dumping our wife or husband may seem like a crisis but maybe it’s been something that has been simmering for years. There comes a point when we all have to evaluate where our life is and where we are in it. If we feel stuck in a rut, this could be a rut of not feeling well; we can take charge of our nutrition. It could be the rut of employment, relationships, the heavy burden of our mortgage, or other life responsibilities.

Just the other day I was encouraging a friend to get a makeover. She doesn’t need a makeover because she doesn’t look good. She needs a makeover because it can punctuate the new beginning she is looking for. Kick start the new stage in life that is here for her. The new adventure she is embarking on.

I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality. Byron Katie

We can look at our self in the mirror one day and see this old hairstyle has to go. This happened to me when my daughter graduated from high school. As we were looking for her graduation dress, I kept seeing myself in the mirror and I realized it was time for a short cut. Then it happened a few years later when I saw a picture of myself taken at a friend’s shower. Taking charge of our hair can seem like we are taking charge of our life.

If a short hair cut, hi-lights, low lights, or a bright splotch of color in our hair makes us feel better, do it. It’s only hair, it will grow out, and we can always change the color back if we went a little too drastic. What if we love it, what if this is the lift we need to help us through whatever we are going through. Or what if it makes this age we are in feel right.

For my daughter’s wedding, I got hi-lights. One of the best things I’ve done to make what I see in the mirror and what I think in my mind mesh. It’s not about not getting older if we are lucky we will get older.

Mom tried to have straight hair a few years ago; because she thought curly perms were too hard on her hair. She didn’t look like herself, and I don’t think she liked what she saw in the mirror. She looked lovely with a curly perm when I was out to see her. Even at ninety-four, we should do what makes us look and feel our best.

Some of us have a fabulous silver color as our hair grays, some of us don’t. If we look fabulous with our silver hair then wear it proudly, it is very becoming on those it looks good on. For the rest of us find a color that looks good. When we feel good, we feel motivated to live our best life.

Now that I am old enough to be a grandmother I marvel at how young grandmothers are. Mom has always said she didn’t feel her age, to be forever young if only in our heart and mind is a great thing.

Maya Angelou said there was something great about every decade. There was a time when being fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, and ninety were beyond my comprehension. Now that the reality of these higher numbers hits what is important is how healthy, happy, active, and grateful we are, not the number we’ve reached.

Life is what we make it, at every age, and every stage. Happy, grateful lives can be ours; it’s a matter of attitude not circumstance. Are there fears we need to face? If we know it could get worse but we can deal with it we can go forward. We can feel free to live, not just wait for something to happen. We will deal with it, whatever it is. There isn’t really any point in worrying about all the things that might happen while we are blindsided by those that do.

Can we live our lives with gratitude and joy? Can we live one day at a time, and enjoy it? Can we make the best of what is, instead of worrying about what could be?

Placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change your experience; taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them. Byron Katie

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Who Would You Be Without Your Story?: Dialogues with Byron Katie Paperback – Oct 15 2008


Self-expression. Finding the beauty and joy in life is part of the journey.

Finding the beauty and joy in life is part of the journey. Express yourself.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Without self-expression, life lacks spontaneity and joy. Without service to others, it lacks meaning and purpose. Laurence G. Boldt

The joy of self-expression is the true joy in life. It is when we express our thoughts, feelings, and ideas as beautifully as we can that we find true joy in life. When we feel, see and experience the expressions of nature and other people we feel a connection to others, the greater world and even to ourselves.

How great it is to go for a walk and see the first flowers of spring. The sunshine, the spring flowers, a blue sky with fluffy clouds, the first shoots of green grass, the chirping of the birds. Regardless of what is going on in our life this expression of new life, of a new season gives us a sense and feeling of joy.

When we express our self we explore who we are. We examine our thoughts, beliefs, goals, dreams, ideologies, fears. Through self-expression, we may find out what is most important to us, our purpose.

It doesn’t matter how we express ourselves, only that we do. Humming, singing to our self, doodling is all self-expression. It isn’t important if our self-expression is shared with the world. It is important that we do it.

We may hesitate to put our self forward as an artist, but when one looks at the works that are put forward there seems to be room for everyone. A painting may look like a mess but when we notice the title “Feelings” we realize they captured the subject perfectly.

We hear journaling, art, music, and dance is recommended as therapy because they are forms of self-expression. They help us get what we are feeling on the inside, outside of us.

Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is. Jackson Pollock

The first thing we all worry about is, are we doing it right, instead of worrying are we doing it at all. We judge and second guess our self, we are our worst critic.

We can get into trouble if we express ourselves in inappropriate ways. Just yesterday I was shown a video of a young woman expressing herself outside of her house with nothing on her bottom half, the police were called. She looked full of joy but obviously was having an episode of some kind.

They say the second regret of the dying is they wished they’d let themselves be happier. Even on a bad day, we have so much to be grateful for, so much to enjoy, yet we sometimes wallow in self-pity, misery, and despair. Even if life isn’t always what we make it, it is probably how we see it. We hear people in the depths of despair finding the positive in the life of their son or daughter no longer with them.

We can be happy, we were fortunate to have had someone in our life, even if they are no longer with us. Had they not been in our life, we wouldn’t have this hurt, but we wouldn’t have the joy they brought us either.

Often people who have been to the depths of despair have much to teach us. They have a depth and understanding of life that comes from facing the worst, rebuilding their life, going forward from the darkness into the light.

Many people find a way to express themselves after a tragedy, they find it healing. It doesn’t matter how we express ourselves, only that we do. There are many ways to express our unique self; they aren’t just singing, dancing, writing and art. Can we sing, dance, hum, doodle, paint, knit, quilt, play an instrument, write, do public speaking, photography, fashion, coding, plan a special event, build something, bake or cook, journal, make a comic book, write poetry, quizzes, create games or anything else we can think of? Just do it!  Can we express ourselves and make our self and the world better?

A labor of love is exalted because it provides joy and self-expression to those who perform it. Dennis Kimbro

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Painting Abstracts: Ideas, Projects and Techniques Paperback – Nov 1 2008


Getting out of our comfort zone. Facing the fear. Being the change we want to see in our life.

Being the change we want to see in our life. Facing the fear. Getting out of our comfort zone.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you’ve never done. Unknown

Getting out of our comfort zone what does that even mean? It happens at Toastmaster’s every week. We pay to have the opportunity to get out of our comfort zone and see other people getting out of theirs. It is as encouraging, perhaps even more encouraging when we see the progress other people make as they get out of their comfort zone again and again. We watch people who never thought they would win an award as best speaker, evaluator of impromptu speaking, proudly having their picture taken.

These small steps out of comfort zones can have big effects on lives. We never know where getting out of our comfort zone will take us.

The night we moved into our house a man put his fist through our sidelight trying to get to a phone because he and his friends got out of their comfort zone and decided to do off-road driving in the undeveloped site across from us.

We need to think about the comfort zone we are leaving. Is it safe, is it wise, is it dangerous? Some of us are too cautious, and some of us are too brave. Putting everything on red might be out of our comfort zone, it will usually for sure be out of our partner’s comfort zone.

Sometimes I buy a lottery ticket, often I see people who don’t look like they should be spending the amount of money they are on lottery tickets trying to get out of their comfort zone. They aren’t going about it in the best way. That amount of money saved and invested would build them a future, buying lottery tickets is unlikely to pay off.

Last week we watched a video on YouTube telling us that a high percentage of people without high incomes spend a high percentage of their income on luxury goods. Frugality is not being embraced by those who need it most. When we want to look successful before we are successful chances are we will never become really successful.

You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new. Brian Tracy

Habits of the rich:

Eat right. 70 percent of wealthy people eat less than 300 calories in junk-food. 97 percent of poor people eat more than 300 calories in junk-food.

Keep fit. 76 percent of wealthy people exercise at least four days per week, and only 23 percent of poor people do.

Set goals for themselves. A goal is a dream with a plan to reach it. 80 percent of the wealthy focus on a goal. Only 12 percent of poor people have a goal written down.

The wealthy don’t share all their ideas. Only 11.6 percent of the wealthy blurt out what’s on their mind compared to 69 percent of the poor.

Keep a To-Do list. 81 percent of the wealthy keep a To-Do list compared to 19 percent of the poor. 84 percent of the wealthy believe good habits create opportunity and luck versus 4 percent of the poor according to Dave Ramsey.

Wealthy people never quit educating themselves. Wealthy people read at least thirty minutes per day compared to 2 percent of the poor.

Stay in touch with people. Wealthy people show their love by keeping in touch.

Rich people watch less TV. Poor people have a big TV. Rich people have a big library. Jim Rohn

Wealthy people are not big gamblers. Only 23 percent of wealthy people gamble compared to 52 percent of the poor.

The wealthy make daily positive choices. 74% of wealthy people teach good daily success habits to their children versus 1% of the poor. Dave Ramsey

We are building our life by the choices we make every single day. More of our life is up to our behavior, attitude, and habits than a lot of us want to believe.

Are there choices we could make that would move us out of our comfort zone and make our lives better? If we only do what we’ve always done, we’ll only get what we’ve always gotten. If we want change, we have to change. Who but us can be the change we want to see in our life?

I was born poor, raised in poverty and watched my parents die that way. I worked hard, eliminated my bad habits, started doing what the wealthy did. Mostly I stopped blaming others for my lack of wealth. Now I am wealthy, and I help others who want to be helped. Dave Ramsey

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Unmet expectations, impossible expectations, we need to learn to be grateful for what is.

We need to learn to be grateful for what is.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. Epictetus.

How many of us dread the “Passion” question? What are you passionate about? I’ve felt over the years many times I was still looking for what I wanted to do with my life. Is there an all-consuming passion that some have? It has eluded me all my life. Being a wife and mother included some passion, some drudgery, some just getting through the day, some moments of intense joy and pride, and some moments that brings us to our knees. Being self-employed is much the same.

If we judge our life on the “Passion Scale” and find it wanting maybe we should throw the “Passion Scale” out and continue living a meaningful life where what we do solves someone’s problem. If what we do doesn’t solve someone’s problem, chances are we don’t have a job because that is what we get paid to do. We get paid to make something happen, fix something, change something, provide something, and create something that someone is willing to pay for.

When we do something purely to please our self we call it a hobby. Turning hobbies into jobs and livelihoods has its own problems. When no one pays us they have no say in what we create. When they pay us, they do.

In 1970 it was a radical notion to find out what you like to do… and find a place that needs people like you. This was the premise behind What Color Is Your Parachute.

The unintended consequence seems to be the more we’ve placed importance on the passion hypothesis, the more disinterested, and therefore less happy with the work we do we have become. We’ve built up such expectations about what a life filled with passion and purpose means that even the people who do have the dream jobs doing what they love don’t feel fulfilled.

We are often attracted to ideals we don’t actually want to live. We hear about authenticity – we are attracted to the stories of people living simply in beautiful surroundings. Do we want to live that simply?

Autonomy is a keyword – having control over when and how we work. Do we want the risk of not having a steady paycheck? Self-employed is sometimes a euphemism for unemployed. This is especially so when you want a loan from a bank.

Mission is something we long for – a cause that transforms work into something meaningful. This depends on what we call meaningful. It is meaningful to me when a coffee shop gets my order right. Is that meaningful to the person behind the till? It is meaningful when a plumber can fix my plumbing problem.

Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty. Doris Day

Fixing people’s problems are what we get paid for. The more people there are that can fix the particular problem we can fix the less it is worth. When we find a problem we can fix that is highly valued but not widely available we have something that might pay well.

We might go to a particular restaurant on a particular day because we like being served by a particular server who sees us as a person and makes our day with their kind and positive attitude. That person is likely to make more tips than a server who doesn’t connect with us and doesn’t go the extra mile to help us enjoy our experience.

When we expect too much out of anything, it can spoil even the best things in our life. Perfection is enemy of the good. When we are grateful for what is in our life, we will get more of what we focus on. When we focus on the lack in our life, lack of passion, lack of money, lack of fulfillment, lack of joy, lack of our partner meeting our needs, lack, lack, lack. We will get more lack.

I grew up with my parents saying, “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man that had no feet.” We can all cry about the things we don’t have, but do we look around and see all we do have?

Did we wake up to a warm body other than our own in our house? Did we wake up in four walls with a roof and a floor? Were we warm and cozy?  Were we able to have something to eat? Is there transportation to take us to where we need or want to go? Even if things aren’t that great, couldn’t they be worse?

Can we give up our unmet expectations, our impossible expectations and enjoy what is?

Let us rise and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful. Buddha

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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Gratitude: How Daily Appreciation, Mindfulness And Kindness Can Transform Your Life Paperback – Sep 13 2016


Focusing on things we can’t control is no way to live a happy life.

Living a happy life is focusing on the things we can control.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. Leo Tolstoy

We can’t control everything, we can’t even control most things. If we control the few things that are ours to control we live a happy, productive, contented life filled with joy and gratitude.

Our children, their choices, lifestyle, careers, habits, and outlook on life are not ours to control. Most of us have a full plate if we control those things in our own lives, let alone someone else’s.

We cannot make our spouse lose weight, drink less, eat more vegetables, be positive, or even be faithful. We can live with them and love them and the situation, we can live with them and hate them and the situation, we can live with them and love them but hate the situation, or we can leave. The one thing we want, for them to change is beyond our power. Sometimes when we accept people for who they are they will choose to make changes in their life. This is their choice; we get to choose the changes we make in ours.

Trying to maintain strict control over everything in our lives leads to anxiety. The more unsuccessful we become at trying to control everything in our environment the more anxious we become.

We waste our energy trying to control things that are not ours to control.  A simple thing like picking the plants in our garden that like our soil is better than planting the plants that don’t thrive there. Rhododendrons don’t do well in my soil, but roses do. Sometimes we can manipulate plants to grow in regions they didn’t grow well in. The Canadian wheat varieties Red Fife and Marquis are such a success story.

History… celebrates the battlefields whereon we meet our death, but scorns to speak of the plowed fields whereby we thrive, it knows the names of the king’s bastards, but cannot tell us the origin of wheat. That is the way of human folly. Jean-Henri Fabre

Knowing what we can change, improve, manipulate and control is ours to determine. Where we make the big mistake is when we want to control what is someone else’s to control, improve, and change.

If we waste our time trying to prevent anything bad from happening we will be exhausted. Often the bad thing that does happen isn’t even the one we worried about. We were so consumed with what we worried about we didn’t see what was coming. We need to be able to face life head on and deal with what is, we spend so much time worrying about what might be, we forget to enjoy what we have.

When we spend our lives trying to control other people we damage our relationships. We may be so judgmental of something about someone we think they can and should control that they don’t want to be around us. How many celebrations are ruined by judgmental people who make the people celebrating think they aren’t enough, thin enough, pretty enough, accomplished enough, educated enough, old enough, young enough, etc?

Often we judge others harshly because we are trying to boost our self-esteem, our judgment is a clear reflection of our own unhappiness. The second most common reason we judge others is fear. When others intimidate us we try to put them down by pointing out a flaw or two. Our judgments are our soft spots. We judge others because we are not happy and secure. When we catch our self judging someone we should ask our self, “what is it about them that we are so unhappy with? What change do we need to make in our own lives to feel more secure and happy?”

We need to develop a balanced sense of control. Taking charge of the things we can control, knowing which things are out of our control, and being wise enough to know the difference is our challenge.

We can host the best party, but we can’t make people have fun. We can be the best employee, but we can’t make someone else appreciate us. We can take care of our health but we can’t guarantee we’ll live to one-hundred. We can nag, beg, and make threats, but we can’t make our spouse or anyone else change. We can control circumstances within our own life but we can’t control the environment, economy, or outside influences. We may have the best ideas, but we can’t control if people will take our advice.

If we listen more we will have more influence than if we give advice. We can share our opinions and concerns but if we do it more than once we risk losing our effectiveness and it can even backfire as people dig in their heals to make sure they don’t do what we want, to prove they won’t be controlled by us.

Even if we don’t like the situation we are in, we must decide if what we don’t like is ours to change or someone else’s. If it is ours we should get busy. If it is someone else’s we should find something else to concentrate our energies on. No one in our life is our project to fix. Often the things we don’t like in someone else’s life is a reflection of something we don’t like in our own life but don’t want to acknowledge. It’s time to take a good hard look at ourselves, what makes us feel small, inadequate, inferior, and less than we long to be. This is what we can work on; this is what we can change.

Is there something about someone else we think they should change? Could it be a reflection of something in our own lives?

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. Rumi

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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13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success Hardcover – Dec 23 2014


This messy magnificent life is ours to live, savor, enjoy. Life goes by fast so live a life with few regrets.

Life goes by fast so live a life with few regrets. This messy magnificent life is ours to live, savor, enjoy.

The memories we make with our family is everything. Candace Cameron Bure

Today is the first post I’ve written in eleven days. I’ve been visiting Mom, family and a dear friend from long ago. When you see people you don’t see on a regular basis you see how fast time really flies.

We were dewy-faced young women on the cusp of our lives. Now we are talking about retirement, what our kids are doing, long term marriages, and the travel we want to fit in.

The last time we met neither of us was married, our lives were ahead of us, and now most of our life is behind. We are both looking back on our lives, we didn’t know then what would or could be. We’ve both lived happy, contented lives filled with work and family. A happy life never means it was all happy, constantly contented, or not filled with angst at times.

What makes a happy life? Is it being rich, or famous? I think it’s our relationships that bring us peace and contentment. No matter how much we have, we can only eat so much, live in so much, and see so much of the world, but who we do those things with is what matters.

Families are messy, relationships are easy to fracture, feelings get hurt, and angst gets magnified. We need to forgive our self and others for the frailties of being human. We won’t always think before we speak, consider others before we do something, or think of the consequences of every action. Things will have to be overlooked if we are to have good relationships. If we hold on to every slight, miscommunication and awkward moment we can feel slighted at every turn.

Family is a unique gift that needs to be appreciated and treasured, even when they’re driving you crazy. As much as they make you mad, interrupt you, annoy you, curse at you, try to control you, these are the people who know you the best and who love you. Jenna Morasca

Life is short and we never know if those angry words are the last ones someone will hear. We never know when the last time we can all get together will be. We need to make the most of our opportunities. A phone call can change everything.

We can’t go back and fix everything; we can go forward and deal with the reality of what is. Can we be willing to be uncomfortable until we become comfortable with each other again? Can we overlook some hurts we’ve carried for too long? If we can let go of the burden of expecting people to be more than who they are, and let go of our unmet expectations, can we live in peace and be grateful for the people in our lives with all their frailties, missteps, and foibles?

Often they didn’t know what we expected; we didn’t know all they were going through. We need to let it go. Even if we can’t be warm and fuzzy with everyone, can we be civil and let the past go? It was what it was; our relationships don’t have to be perfect to be worth preserving and developing. If we discard every relationship that isn’t perfect we won’t have any relationships at all.

Is there anyone in our lives including ourselves we need to forgive? Are we the change that needs to happen to bring a fractured family together? Can we make it better, or will we become or remain bitter? This is our messy magnificent life, can we live it, and enjoy it with as few regrets as we can manage?

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. Desmond Tutu

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

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Will the truth set us free? Can we live with radical truth and radical honesty?

Can we live with radical truth and radical honesty? Will the truth set us free?

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.” — Richard Feynman

People have committed suicide because they didn’t know how to deal with reality. How do we come to grips with who we really are, what the circumstances of our life really are? How do we figure out what we can change and what we need to accept with grace, wisdom, and gratitude?

Being our self, accepting our imperfections, is part of living the “good life.” Accepting other peoples faults, foibles and imperfections is also part of life.

We can live with reality. We have no choice because what is, “is”. The only choice is how do we live with it, can we change it, can we mitigate it, or do we just accept it with gratitude and grace?

When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits anything that kept me small. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving. Kim McMillen    

We need to ask our self some hard questions. What is this reaction of ours trying to tell us? What do we need to deal with head on? What do we know but not acknowledge? What are we seeing in other people’s lives that bother us because those same things are part of our life or part of us?

We need to become radical acceptors of reality. It is when we do this we become powerful. We cannot change what we don’t or won’t acknowledge. With knowledge comes power. We may think deceiving others is bad but it is the lies we tell our self that do the most damage.

I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do. Brene Brown

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