Choosing beggars makes givers withhold their gifts. If we must beg don’t we need to accept what is offered?

If we must beg don't we need to accept what is offered? Choosing beggars makes givers withhold their gifts.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Writers are nothing but beggars with a good line. Charles Bukowski

Are we choosing beggars or do we meet them regularly? One of the ways to be unhappy in life is to expect other people to react in certain ways, be grateful, understanding, thoughtful, kind, respectful, and reasonable. The less we expect of others the less they will disappoint us. When we expect more of ourselves and less from others it works but when we expect more from others and less from ourselves, it does not.

I came across “Top Ten Reasons It Costs More To Get Your Pet Groomed Than Your Own Haircut.” I won’t put them all down, but  – your hairdresser doesn’t wash, clean, and groom your rear end, says it all. We expect a lot from pet groomers. When we had our Scottie he hated being groomed and the groomer earned every penny of that fee. Cutting his nails – that was a test of determination and persistence.

Sometimes we think we are charged too much for something that didn’t take that much time to do. Knowing what to do is a big part of what we paid for and we sometimes forget that.

Someone on the internet says he tried to give money to a guy begging for money. The guy told him he doesn’t take less than $5.00. That’s choosey, but doesn’t a dollar from five people equal five dollars?

I’ve heard of people offering free stuff and being asked to deliver it.

Beggars can’t be choosey is not new. The term was first recorded in print in 1546 when it appeared in a book of proverbs by John Heywood. Entitled people who are not grateful are not new. This isn’t a sign of our times or something we are doing wrong in the upbringing of our children. We have always had people who are ungrateful and entitled. When we think back to what we think life might have been like in 1546 we think you wouldn’t be a choosey beggar then, but apparently, people were.

Human nature doesn’t change. This is why proverbs from all cultures and religions ring true. We are more alike than we are different regardless of where we grew up, or the circumstances and times of our life.

It is why when we read Tolstoy’s quote, “Happy families are all the same and unhappy ones are unhappy in their own way,” it rings true because we see the commonalities in happy families. People with miserable lives have often created their own kind of misery. It isn’t popular to say that we are responsible for our own lives, but isn’t it true that we can make the best of something or the worst of it regardless of the circumstances?

Don’t be a beggar of love, be a donor of love. Beautiful people are not always good, but good people are always beautiful. Unknown

Gratitude seems to be the difference. The problem with choosey beggars is they never seem grateful for what they are being offered. Their attitude turns people off and instead of getting, they get less and may become resentful of the attitude they create in the people that would help them.

I need to ask myself, when am I a choosey beggar. When am I not grateful enough for the bounty and blessings in my life? It is easy to see the mistakes and missteps of others, but we often make excuses for our own mistakes and missteps.

Yesterday I asked my daughter to read the children’s book I’m preparing for publication. She was reading what I’ve uploaded to Amazon. I was hoping she would say, “It’s perfect, I love it,” but she didn’t. “You need more pictures. Children love to look at the pictures because they can’t read.” She even told me where she thought I should explain a bit more and what kind of picture I should add.

I took her advice. I added two lines to explain what was happening. Last night I started working on the missing painting and thinking about a second one I can add.  When we ask for people’s input we need to welcome it. She could have told me what I wanted to hear, but that wouldn’t be helpful. I could ignore what she told me but that won’t make my book better. By accepting her advice and acting upon it she will tell me what she thinks in the future. If I ignore what she says, she would probably not bother to try and help me make it better.

It is hard to accept criticism, but it is the only way we can make things better. She also pointed something out to me I should have noticed but didn’t. When we have people in our lives that will give us their honest opinion we should be grateful, and accept their opinion with grace. We may not always think their opinion is correct, but we need to let them know we appreciate their viewpoint and did consider it even if in the end we did not change things.

If we are begging for feedback or other things don’t we need to accept what is offered?

A beggar’s hand is a bottomless basket. Dutch proverb

I would rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married. Elizabeth 1

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King

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.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

Thank you to all who read my books. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. If you click on the picture below and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Setting new goals. Putting plans into action, reaching our dreams.

Putting plans into action, reaching new dreams. Setting new goals.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. Unknown

September seems to me to be the time to set new goals. Is September more the time for new starts than January? I wonder if people who start new things in September when school is starting, summer is over, and harvest is coming are more successful at sticking to those changes. I’m beginning to think of what spring bulbs to plant because we have our son’s wedding next spring. We can’t expect a lovely spring garden in the spring if we don’t plan and plant it in the fall. We can’t harvest in the fall if we don’t plant in the spring.

There is no reaping without planting and planning what to plant is part of the process. Life is a garden our thoughts are the seeds we can reap flowers or we can reap weeds. Where that quote originated is unknown to me. Is it true just by thinking different thoughts and looking at things in different ways we can change our life? By teaching our children to think different thoughts we can change the trajectory of their life?

If we have more control of our lives than we think we do, what would exercising that control look like? The flowers under the crabapple tree will be there only if I plant them. There are years I thought about planting bulbs and never got around to buying them, and years I bought them and never got around to planting them. Nothing happens if we don’t actually take action. We must implement our plans to create something. If we have no follow-through all the plans in the world will come to naught.

Without visions and written goals, what direction are we going to head? Lailah Gifty Akita

I planned on going for a walk this weekend. I haven’t done it yet. It’s a long weekend so I have an extra day to make it happen.

Setting goals and following through is how we make things happen in our life. With no plans, no goals, or no follow-through nothing happens. If it is true failing to plan is planning to fail. Why have I been so hesitant to make plans in my life to accomplish the things I want to accomplish?

When is that trip to Europe happening my kids ask? It is still in the land of someday, but I am running out of somedays. I need to start making goals and implementing them if things are going to happen.

Write down your goals, make plans to achieve them, and work on your plans every single day. Brian Tracy

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle

If you are serious about your goals and you truly desire to achieve your dreams, you must write them down. John Patrick Hickey

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.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

Thank you to all those who read my books. A special thank you to those who leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If you click on the pictures below and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Setting goals and have a timeline to reach them. When we reach them, set a new goal.

Setting goals and have a timeline to reach them. Set a new goal, when we reach them.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes. Andrew Carnegie

Setting goals gives us something to shoot for. Without goals, we are going aimlessly through life.

Parkinson’s Law tells us that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. This term comes from Cyril Northcote Parkinson who wrote a humorous essay for “The Economist” in 1955. In his essay, he shares the story of a woman who has one task to do. She is to send one postcard, and it takes her all day to do it.

Haven’t we all had days like that? We have to find our glasses, we have to find the right card, we may have to go to the store to buy the card. We need a stamp, and we may have to buy that too. We have to walk or drive to the mailbox where we drop it in with a feeling of satisfaction. Chances are if it took all day, we had all day.

If we want to streamline our life and have time for other things we have to pare down the time we are willing to allot to given activities. I’m doing a little video on zoom for Culture Days through the Brampton Library because we can’t do it in person. I’m going to read my children’s story, “When Can We Get A Puppy.” Last night I did several recordings trying to figure out what to say, should I stand or sit. I didn’t think of displaying my book on the screen which is what I will try today. I want this finished today and I need to write a speech I am giving to the Mississauga Writers Group next Saturday, and of course, I have to fit work in.

I know I won’t be satisfied with the video, but I still won’t be satisfied with the 100’th take. The same with my book. I’ve changed a verse this morning as I sat down to write this blog. If I allow myself I can edit, and edit, and edit some more – forever. This is why I love that we can pre-release our books and give a hard publish date.

This is what I’ve done. My goal was to write my second novel by September 5, 2021, and a children’s book. It was a stretch goal in my own mind but the funny thing with goals is they give us something to hit. By pre-releasing my children’s book, “When Can We Get A Puppy” to be published on October 5, 2021, and pre-releasing my second novel, “Secrets and Sorrow” to be published February 5, 2022, I have hit my goal. With a hard publish date it means I have to work hard to get it edited, formatted and uploaded to publish. I am only committed to publishing the e-book by those dates but my goal is to have the e-book and print book published at the same time.

It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach. Benjamin E. Mays

By setting small goals of plotting a certain number of chapters per week. I met my first goal of having the first draft done by Christmas which is how I could push myself to meet the second goal. I had hoped to have it edited in that year, but I feel that was too much. Jerry Jenkins tells us we must embrace procrastination because it is part of life, but we shouldn’t let it derail us from our goals.

If my schedule is so tight I can’t go out for coffee with my husband that won’t work. If people drop by and I can’t take time out to visit, that won’t work. My plan was I would go visit Mom in September after I met my goal. I’m glad I went when I did and still met my goal. Pre-releasing is a way of extending the deadline for sure but it is also a way to promote the books.

Now I know I can write a novel in a year, but I need extra time to edit it. I didn’t know when I set the goal if it was attainable for me when it took me from 2012 to 2020 to write the first one. I might find I can accomplish more in less time as I go along. We don’t know if we can meet a goal unless we set one. The children’s book is more about illustrations and I find when I am too tired to edit I can paint and the creativity of painting gives me a boost. Working on the two projects at the same time worked really well.

I’ve learned a lot this year. The biggest lesson was to set goals and break them down into smaller goals. When we meet the small goals we end up meeting the big goal. The biggest thing is to always set a new goal.

My goal is not to be better than anyone else, but to be better than I used to be. Wayne Dyer

Goals, there’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them. Jim Rohn

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. Tony Robbins

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.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

Thank you to everyone that reads my books, and a special thank you to those that leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If you click on the picture below and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Showers of blessings. You can look at the cup as half empty or half full but at least you have a cup.

You can look at the cup as half empty or half full but at least you have a cup. Showers of blessings.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing. Camille Pissarro

On Saturday we went to a wedding. We sat outside overlooking a large pond on a golf course. The day was hot but by 4:30 had cooled down. As we sat we felt a drop of rain. The wedding party arrived and partway through the ceremony showers of blessings were upon us.

Everyone took it in stride. The wedding had been postponed twice because of covid, nothing was ruining this day for the happy couple. It was lovely to get together with people we hadn’t seen in what seemed forever. Young people were kids the last time we saw them, now they are accomplished adults. One of the joys of growing older is watching the younger generation take their place in society, get married, and create families.

My son was talking to me yesterday and thinks we’ve failed in some ways as we’ve taught young people to be wary of relationships and leave childbearing to later years. He feels he knows too many young people suffering from meaninglessness. He said, “If they started a family they would be too busy to suffer from meaninglessness.” Is he onto something?

Are we pushing our children to pursue success at the expense of family and parenthood? My mom used to say people shouldn’t get married too young, but now she sees them not bothering to get married at all.

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. Willie Nelson

Do we need to look at all of life as a blessing? Every challenge we deal with or overcome helps us grow. Emmet Fox said, “Bless a thing and it will bless you. Curse it and it will curse you. If you put condemnation upon anything in life, it will hit back at you and hurt you. If you bless a situation it has no power to hurt you, and even if it is troublesome for a time, it will gradually fade out, if you sincerely bless it.”

That is a hard concept to wrap my head around. We are to bless everyone that has impacted our lives negatively? We are to bless the good and the bad. Life is our laboratory and we may feel overwhelmed with what we have to face but if we face it one day at a time we can deal with whatever we face. “Live in today, and do not allow yourself to live in the past under any pretense.”

According to Emmet Fox, if we want to change our lives, then we must change our thoughts first. Many of his ideas contributed to the AA philosophy that has transformed the lives of millions of recovering alcoholics.  Some people believe that looking at troubles as blessings in disguise is a way of deluding ourselves, but I believe it is better than living a life of self-pity, blame, and feeling like a victim.

One could feel their day was ruined with a downpour of rain on their wedding day. The day they’ve waited for… Or they could feel blessed with showers of blessings. Nothing changed except the outlook. It was lovely to be in a group that took the “Showers of blessings” approach.

I am still determined to be cheerful and to be happy in whatever situation I may be, for I have also learnt from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions and not upon our circumstances. Martha Washington

Everything in life is a gift, a test, and a blessing, all at the same time. Nadir Keval

Hard times are sometimes blessings in disguise. We do have to suffer but in the end, it makes us strong, better, and wise. Unknown

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, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

Thank you to those who read my book, and a special thank you to those that leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If you click on the picture and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Is giving the secret to living in abundance? Does doing for others make us happier?

Does doing for others make us happier? Is giving the secret to living in abundance?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

No one has ever become poor by giving. Anne Frank

Is giving the secret to living in abundance and happiness?

Yesterday was my daughter and son-in-law’s three-year anniversary. Where has the time gone? I can’t believe it’s been a little over three years since I’ve been putting this blog out.

One of the things I’ve learned as a writer is we worry about what we will have to say, but we can always learn more and go deeper into any subject. A novel doesn’t even go as deep as we can go, let alone a short blog post.

From day to day we may view things differently. Some may think that makes us wishy-washy if we don’t always see the same thing the same way. I think if we grow and learn we can’t see things the same way. We should grow in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, but often it seems the more we know, the less we know we know. We thought we knew so much when we knew so little. As we gain knowledge we see how little of what there is to know, we know, and how much no one knows.

Because we can’t know living on faith is helpful. We had faith when we walked down the aisle we could deal with what life throws at us. When we had children we believed, we could weather the storms and circumstances, and raise them to take their place in the world. We see heartbreaking photos of people whose life is shattered by war carrying children, desperation written on their faces. How will they keep the promises they made to those children?

I listen to people rail against what they think is wrong with our society. The injustice, the unfairness, the government overreach, corruption, etc. We need to be grateful it isn’t worse. No matter how bad things are, it could be worse, and those who can find gratitude in the worst of their situations appear to do best in life.

Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have. Jim Rohn

It seems hard and insensitive to tell people who feel they have nothing to be thankful they don’t have less. It seems offensive when people with much, tell people with little, to be grateful for what they have. Is it counterintuitive to be generous, even when we have little, and to be grateful when we don’t have much? We think we will be grateful when we have much, and generous when we have abundance. Life doesn’t seem to work that way. It seems we need to be grateful when we have little and we will get more. When we are generous when we have little, we will still be generous when we have abundance. If we aren’t generous and grateful we may never feel we have enough no matter what the bank balance or house we live in says.

I have heard people who give generously say they always have enough regardless of what the bank balance or house they live in says. Is this an oxymoron?

Bob Proctor tells us, “Giving is a wealth habit and we must practice giving before we become wealthy, not once we have achieved wealth. He says, “As we practice giving away small things, we will attract back to our self the confidence to share even more. When we offer our prosperity to the world, the universe will respond favorably.”

Those who are the happiest are those who do the most for others. Booker T. Washington

From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life. Winston Churchill

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed. Maya Angelou

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.

To subscribe, comment, see archives of posts click on the picture, and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

Thank you to everyone that reads my book Secrets and Silence. A special thank you to those that leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If you click on the picture below and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Set a goal and move in the direction of your dreams.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes. Andrew Carnegie

On Friday I got home and my husband and son asked what did I order from Indigo? A box was on my desk that looked to be from Indigo. My son quickly opened the box. In it were 12 books meant to go to Indigo from Harper Collins. “The Day the World Came to Town 9/11 in Gander Newfoundland by Jim DeFede. I delivered the books to Indigo.

Someday maybe I will be delivering my own books to Indigo. Should I have asked if they stocked books by independent local authors? Should I have taken a copy of my book to show her? Was it a missed opportunity?

What do missed opportunities look like? If we recognised things as opportunities would we still miss them? Opportunities are probably all around us that someone else might jump on.

I’ve spent the weekend editing and reading my second novel Secrets and Sorrow before I give it to my book club to read. Reading it aloud makes me find errors easier than reading silently. I’ve almost finished illustrating the children’s book I’m working on. A year has flown by since the publication of Secrets and Silence.

Setting measurable goals this year made a big difference in my writing. Instead of meandering, I had markers along the way to track my progress. Smart goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Why has it taken me so long to be willing to set and hold myself to achieving goals? Life is a learning experience and there is so much to learn and so many people willing to teach us. Every book has a message. There are seminars to take, coaches, and mentors to find.

The course through the Art Gallery of Mississauga has an ongoing component where they are trying to help us achieve the next steps. One way to achieve the next step is to know what the next step is. We may wish our life would change for the better but what have we put out into the world that can change? Have we planted seeds that can sprout and grow?

The Church of the Rock pastor Mark Hughes spoke about how many of us don’t get a harvest in our lives because we eat our seed. The other mistake we make is not planting what we hope to harvest. We worry about putting our work into the world but how can anyone read our book, buy our song, or our product, if we don’t find a way to take it to market. Are we waiting for our ship to come in, without ever sending one out?

You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought. You are stuck with something below your true talent and potential. Steve Garvey

It took me eight years to write and publish my first book and 12 years of writing before that before I put anything out into the world. What was I afraid of? We aren’t the same person in the middle of something or the end of something we were when we started. My son encouraged me to write a blog long before I sent out the first post.  What would I write about? With over 700 posts out there it seems a silly question but at the time I couldn’t imagine coming up with topics.

Wherever we find our self there is a next step for us to take. There is a goal to set and reach. We might forget that we don’t have to meander along in life and setting goals is the antidote to aimless wandering. For many people deciding to get married sets them on a path, they’ve set a goal, they’ve chosen a partner for the journey of life.

Marriage is a good example of something that changes us we hope for the better. On Saturday my husband and I will be present at a wedding. My son and his fiancé are planning theirs. It is lovely to see young couples and sometimes old couples take this step. Is there any step in life as full of hope as a wedding?

You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will… Stephen King

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. Tony Robbins

People with goals succeed because they know where they are going. Earl Nightingale

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.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts, click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

Thank you to all who read my novel Secrets and Silence, and a special thank you to those that leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If you click on the picture below and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Are we busy and effective or just busy? We shape our lives and we shape ourselves.

We shape our lives and we shape ourselves. Are we busy and effective or just busy?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

It is possible to be busy-very-busy-without being very effective. Stephen Covey

Are we busy and effective or just busy? There’s a difference between being busy and being productive. I found out this week when my son asked me for my Amazon affiliate link that I was busily doing what I thought I should without being effective. I wasn’t using the correct link on my blog to link to my account. Looking back I wonder what kind of magical thinking was I doing to think I didn’t have to use a special link.

How often in our lives do things not work out for us because we only understand part of the process?. We don’t have a plan. Our neighbor has an orderly tomato patch pruned and supported, mine is not so orderly but it is still producing more tomatoes than we can eat. Sometimes we get away without a plan but often we do not.

I found planning my writing this year has been a lot more productive than just writing aimlessly. In a year I have my second novel to give to my book club to read and give me feedback as I continue editing it. The children’s book I’m working on I’m giving to them to read as well. If I hadn’t set up a plan a year ago I wouldn’t have accomplished as much as I have.

It is easy to make ourselves busy without accomplishing much. It is also easy to start a day off with a plan and be astounded at what we get done. Is it as easy to be organized and orderly as to be disorganized and messy? Is it a choice we make which we will be?

In Larry Winget’s book “You’re Broke Because You Want To Be” he tells us yes it is a choice. He’s not talking about broke and poor. Poverty is a problem he doesn’t have answers to. We can be broke at any income level, and we can be paying our bills and prospering at any income level.

My mother tells me in the early days of her first marriage they had their budget down to the penny. Her husband quit smoking for a week to buy her a Christmas present. Before easy credit, you bought what you could pay for. Larry Winget tells us some people he deals with have no idea how much more money they are spending than they make. They don’t have a plan to prosper.

Charles Dickens quote is still true. “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expense nineteen pounds and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.

We all manage our lives but are we effective? We may think we are being effective like I did with my Amazon affiliate account, and find we are only being busy. When we realize our mistake we can correct it and go forward. My son is well versed in computers and helps me with my blog and will answer all of my questions and help me in any way. The problem is I don’t always know what to ask, I don’t know what I don’t know.

We don’t know what we don’t know until we stumble across something that tells us. This is why we need to be willing to learn throughout our lives. Other people have better ways of doing things, they have a better plan, and they’ve learned how to be more effective. In books, knowledge is generously shared and we have access to the greatest minds through their writing.

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. Eleanor Roosevelt

Famous writers are writing blogs and books, sharing their secrets of plotting, pacing, and planning. If we need to know more about money management and investing, there’s a book. Are we interested in organization and planning, there’s a book. Do we want to start a small business on the side, there’s a book. Do we want to get fit and healthy, there’s a book. Self-improvement and motivation, there’s a book.

When I was on holiday I visited a thrift shop with my sister-in-law and niece, and there was the book “The Push” by Ashley Audrain that got the author a two million dollar advance for a two-book deal. I scooped it up and read it while on holiday and left it for my mother to read. It’s a dark psychological thriller that is a thought-provoking and engaging read.

There is more to getting a big book deal than writing a good book, but if we don’t write a good book we won’t be getting that deal and readers will not be telling someone, “You have to read this book.”

We don’t know what we will produce when we start something. If we don’t produce something nothing happens. We have to be willing to fail to succeed. We have to be willing to start to finish.

It is not enough to be busy… The question is: what are we busy about? Henry David Thoreau

We may be very busy, we may be very efficient, but we will also be truly effective only when we begin with the end in mind. Stephen R. Covey

Being busy and being productive are two different things. Unknown

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

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

Thank you to everyone that reads my novel Secrets and Silence and a special thank you to those who leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If you click on the picture below and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage through the Amazon affiliate program.

Learn to find joy in life, we feel joy deep in our heart and it isn’t as fleeting as happiness.

We feel joy deep in our heart and it isn't as fleeting as happiness, learn to find joy in life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Learn to find joy in life and you’ll attract happiness. Unknown

Last night we sat out on the patio eating dinner and laughing with my Mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and great-niece. When we get together in little groups and big groups it warms our hearts. When we gather in the warm glow of family it is especially sweet. The night air is already turning cool as we are reminded summer is turning into fall.

My son tells me his newly married friend’s wife has been offered a fabulous job in San Francisco. With that opportunity comes less togetherness with their families. We believe travel and living abroad will widen our experiences and enrich our lives. The fact that Immanuel Kant born in a small German town in 1724 lived there for seventy-nine years without ever traveling beyond the city limits didn’t limit his writing prowess. He walked every day in the late afternoon, rain or shine always taking the same route. His path through the park became known as the “Philosopher’s Walk.” His book “Critique of Pure Reason” has been referred to as “arguably the most significant single work in the history of modern philosophy.”

We may think our life is stifled because we have not traveled but if we are walkers and thinkers, we can walk and think anywhere. We can build our family anywhere and whether that is in a four-season climate or one with sunshine every day the challenges of life will mostly be the same. Winter adds a dimension to life but so does any other challenge.

My son said to my son-in-law if you want to feel you aren’t doing anything follow Jocko Willink on Twitter. He posts a picture every morning at four o’clock of his watch before he heads off for a run. Jocko Willink is an author, podcaster, and retired Navy Seal. I could get up at four o’clock every morning if I had the fortitude and determination of Jocko Willink and felt the urge to run. I could, but I won’t.

What we accomplish often is not determined by where we live even though we think that plays a part. It is true you can’t work at the head office of a company unless you go where that head office is unless they hire you to work from home. There are circumstances that color our lives, would Jocko be Jocko if he hadn’t joined the Navy Seals? It’s hard to know. We are who we are, and the circumstances of our life have shaped us, but we may think they limit us in ways they might not. When we see what someone else has accomplished in worse circumstances we may ask ourselves is it an excuse or reality why we haven’t accomplished what we hoped to accomplish?

Perhaps we are late bloomers and the autumn of our lives will give us a new round of accomplishments that eluded us in our youth. I find comfort in this as I look at prolific authors and I have only started at this stage in my life. We are living our life, with our challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities. It is tempting to look at the best of what others have done and compare it to the worst of ourselves.

Find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all. Robert Louis Stevenson

We may think raising a family isn’t that great of an accomplishment, but it is the one that lasts through the generations. Every new generation takes its place because of the sacrifice of parents for their children. It is lovely to hear the joy and wonder in the voices of a newly pregnant couple. Those of us who have been through it know it is not all joy and wonder, but it is the stuff of life. There is nothing in life sweeter than sticky kisses and watching our children play as they grow and develop.

Joy is greater than happiness. Happiness is eating a cookie, or eating ice cream, but when the cookie or ice cream is finished we are looking around for more. Joy comes from the heart and building a family is where I think the joy is in life. Raising a family won’t leave time for four o’clock runs for most of us, late afternoon walks every day may be beyond what we can manage,

There comes a time when the heavy lifting of parenting is behind us and we have time for other pursuits. We can revel in the family we have built and what we are working on accomplishing. Bill Gates tells us, “We overestimate what we can achieve in a year and underestimate what we can do in ten years.”

 Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

The real joy in life comes from finding your true purpose and aligning it with what you do every single day. Tony Robbins

Sometimes in life, we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey. Unknown

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

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Thank you to everyone that reads my book, a special thank you to those that leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If you click on the images below and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Rejoice in the togetherness, the bonds of family are always there.

The bonds of family are always there, rejoice in the togetherness.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life. Albert Einstein

As I flew home on the red-eye from a wonderful trip of seeing family I realized I’d been too optimistic thinking I would get my Monday post out. I’d done three in advance while I was away but I thought I would do my Monday post that day.

British Columbia is still beautiful even with smoke and fires in the Okanagan Valley. A friend, her daughter, and I were to have met for a day of wine tasting and touring, but a bump in covid cases and the fires extinguished that adventure. When we do meet up it will be a different adventure.

My sister was not on evacuation orders but close to where she lives was on evacuation alert and the fire burnt out a small community not far from her. The excessive heat from earlier this summer devastated her garden. Berries were dried up on the bushes before they had a chance to mature.

Many of the fires are started by lightning strikes and when everything is burnt and dry fires start easily and get out of control fast. Tempers flared as people were told to evacuate that wanted to fight the fire that threatened their homes and property. Many stayed and fought the fire and saved homes and property.

Mom tells me she fought a fire at nine years old. They couldn’t put out the wild fire, but they had a line they didn’t want it to cross and they kept it at bay. Her oldest sister was in the house with her baby brother and if the fire got away from them her oldest sister was to take the baby and climb into the well. How do you leave everything you’ve built if you think you have a chance to save it?

One resident said, “We just saved a house over here. Everything that I have is invested here. And I don’t have a big fat paycheck every month or a big fat pension when I’m finished. If I don’t save it, I’m too old to start over again.”

The fire service is doing their best to keep the fires away from communities but at some point as one fire service official said, “Mother Nature is just too much for humans.”

My brother who was only home a couple of days while I was there, was readying his place in case the fire came through. He had someone looking after it and was getting his trailer ready in case his livestock needed to be evacuated.  He took time out to come to dinner at Moms. Four of us kids, Mom, two spouses, and my youngest niece had dinner together. The last time we all ate together my 12-year-old niece wasn’t yet born.

It was a special time of being together. It is harder and harder to get us all together at the same time and as time marches on we all know our circle will not remain unbroken.

It was good to get home. It is fun to go, but lovely to return to my busy home which as we prepare for my son’s wedding next year will see changes as my children build their lives.

Time waits for no one. We have to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to us. We have to adapt to changes that might be forced upon us by circumstances beyond our control. We may have to take a stand when something threatens everything we have and everything we’ve built. We may have to accept no matter how hard we try we can’t beat the odds we are against. Or we may be lucky when others weren’t. Whatever life throws at us we have to find a way to be resilient and of good cheer as much as possible.

Everyone has a story, everyone goes through challenges, and everyone has something to overcome, accept, and deal with. What some are going through would bring us to our knees. Getting through the day may be all we can do, and all we have to do to get to the other side of what we face.

Families are like branches on a tree. We grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one. Unknown

I am so grateful I had the chance to see some of my brothers and sisters, their husbands and wives, nieces and nephews and even great-nieces and nephews, an aunt and uncle, and a cousin this trip. My oldest sister celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary but I wasn’t there with her to celebrate this milestone. My three oldest sisters were together to celebrate.

It is hard to get big families all together in one place but it is a joy to get together in smaller groups even when we can’t all be together. We need to talk to, laugh with, and hug people while we can because there comes a day when it will no longer be possible.

A family doesn’t need to be perfect; it just needs to be united. Unknown

The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other. Mario Puzo

No family is perfect, we argue, we fight. We even stop talking to each other at times, but in the end, family is family. The love will always be there. Unknown

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

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

Thank you to those who read my book, and a special thanks to those who leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If you click on the picture below and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Does being grateful make us happier? Does gratitude make a difference?

Does gratitude make a difference? Does being grateful make us happier?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul. Harold Kushner

Feelings of gratitude flood my being as I sit here writing. That I am able to write is something I am deeply grateful for. The computer I write with, the notebooks I can purchase, the pens I buy. The internet allows me to push a button and put my words out to the world. The health and strength I am blessed with. I am grateful for my family, my muse Lulu, my home, my livelihood, living in peace and plenty. There is so much to be grateful for, my cup runneth over.

Does being grateful make a difference in our lives? A study published by the Greater Good Science Centre at UC Berkeley tells us that 300 college students seeking mental health counseling at one university were randomly assigned to one of three groups.

The first group was required to write a letter of gratitude to another person each week for three weeks. The second group wrote down their negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences. The third group did not engage in any writing activity.

The results: The first group reported significantly improved mental health, lowering of depression and anxiety at the four-week mark as well as 12 weeks after the writing exercise ended.

Researchers dug deeper using an MRI scanner they found the brain activity of the gratitude versus negative writing groups differed. Three months after the writing activities the grateful group showed greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex, an area in the brain associated with learning and decision making. This indicates that simply by expressing gratitude we may have a lasting effect on our brain. Shifting our thoughts away from toxic emotions improves our well-being.

Thank you” is the essence of nonviolence. It contains respect for the other person, humility, and a profound affirmation of life. It possesses a positive, upbeat optimism. It has strength. A person who can sincerely say thank you has a healthy, vital spirit; and each time we say it our hearts sparkle and our life force rises up powerfully from the depths of our being. (April 2015 Living Buddhism, p. 16)

Does this make some people feel worse or better? Are we more in control of our lives than we think we are? This information comes to us wrapped in new wrapping from time to time. It is part of all religious traditions.

“There’s something called a grateful personality that some psychologists have studied,” said Jo-Ann Tsang, a psychologist at Baylor University. They find that if you’re greater in the grateful personality, you tend to have increased life satisfaction, happiness, optimism, hope, positive emotion, and … less anxiety and depression.”

Can we uncouple gratitude from religion?

Robert Emmons a psychologist at the University of California says. Gratitude is the truest approach to life. We did not create or fashion ourselves. We did not birth ourselves. Life is about giving, receiving, and repaying. We are receptive beings, dependent on the help of others, on their gifts, and their kindness.

“You see—none of this have I framed in a religious context or using religious/spiritual language,” he concluded.

Michael McCullough a psychologist at the University of Miami thinks there’s another reason for the ubiquity of gratitude: It’s an evolutionarily beneficial trait, hardwired into the human brain.

“Even things that are culturally constructed have to have a home somewhere up in the mind to come out in our thoughts and our behavior,” he said. “Like all emotions, [gratitude] was plausibly designed by natural selection. There’s some tissue up in the head whose job it is to produce gratitude.”

The evolutionary explanation for this, he said, is probably that gratitude helps people initiate friendships and alliances—which then help people survive.

His research suggests that when people do nice things for others unexpectedly, that produces gratitude—and increases the likelihood that people will do something “in-kind” (“a really rich phrase, when you think about it,” he added). Although scientists can’t know the exact neurological nature of gratitude, they look at behaviors like these as a proxy for understanding why people feel certain emotions, like thankfulness.

Wow, all we thought we were doing is saying “thank you.” According to these experts, we are changing our brains. If we practice gratitude in our lives we make our life better regardless of whether we see gratitude as a religious practice or merely a way of being. It seems gratitude is the choice we should all make. It costs us nothing to be grateful, pays huge dividends, eases our relationships with other people, and improves our brain.

Is there a difference between gratitude and feeling grateful?

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts. Henry Frederic Amiel

Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues but the parent of all others. Marcus Tullius Cicero

Gratitude is the best medicine. It heals your mind, your body, and your spirit, and attracts more things to be grateful for. Unknown

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

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

Thank you to everyone that reads my book, and a special thank you to everyone that leaves a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If you click on the picture below and purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.