Our reputation with our self is self-esteem. Choosing what is good and right most of the time. Dealing with our own issues, let others deal with theirs.

Choosing what is good and right most of the time. Dealing with our own issues, let others deal with theirs. Our reputation with our self is self-esteem.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Work on being in love with the person in the mirror who has been through so much but is still standing. Unknown

Self-esteem is our reputation with our self. According to a book I bought yesterday Never Get Angry Again by David J. Lieberman, PH.D. We make all of our decisions in life by choosing what feels good, choosing what makes us look good, or choosing what is good or right.

When we choose what feels comfortable or enjoyable this is our body driving this choice. If we choose excess in this area it can lead to overeating, oversleeping, and other excesses. There is nothing wrong with choosing things because they make us feel good unless we choose them to excess and then they start to make us feel bad.

When we choose things that make us look good, we may tell jokes at someone else’s expense to heighten our own self-worth. We may make purchases we can’t afford to give the illusion of being more successful than we are.

We gain self-esteem when we make choices that are good and right. Self-esteem and self-control are intertwined. Each time we sacrifice what is responsible because we can’t rise above the whim of an impulse, or sell ourselves out to win the praise or approval of others, we lose self-respect. If we continually succumb to immediate gratification or live to protect or project an image, we become angry with ourselves and ultimately feel empty inside.

We long to love ourselves, but instead, we lose ourselves. When we can’t invest in our own wellbeing, we spiral down to the hollow self-destructive refuge of activities that take us away from the pain.

Studies show that our tendency to avoid the pain inherent in taking responsibility for our lives is at the core of anger, and is central to nearly every emotional ailment, including anxiety, depression, and addiction.

To love yourself is to understand you don’t need to be perfect to be good. Unknown

We need to feel the pain of whatever we are going through. I remember watching a TV show, every time there was something to deal with the mother and her daughter got out a tub of ice cream and two spoons. If it was particularly difficult they each had their own tub. It worked for the show, but it doesn’t work so well in real life. After the ice cream is finished we still have the problem to deal with. Not dealing with problems is never the answer. Problems not dealt with do not get smaller, they grow, morph and take over our lives in ways we can’t imagine.

To the degree that we refuse to accept the truth about ourselves and our lives – and overcome our laziness and fear of pain – the “ego” engages to “protect” us, and it shifts the blame elsewhere. We start fault finding outside our self, because if there is nothing wrong with me “our ego says,” then there must be something wrong with you, or the world is unfair, or people are out to get me. Seedlings of paranoia and neuroses take root. For us to remain unblemished in our own minds, we are forced to distort the world around us, and our grasp on reality is flawed, then our adjustment to life will suffer.

Responsible (soul-oriented) choice leads to self-esteem increasing, which leads to ego shrinking, which leads to perspective widening, which leads to undistorted reality, which leads to seeing and accepting the truth (even when it is painful) = positive emotional health leads to acting responsibly. David J. Lieberman, PH.D.

Irresponsible (ego-oriented/overindulgent body) choice leads to self-esteem decreasing, which leads to ego expanding, which leads to perspective narrowing, which leads to distorted reality, which leads to being unable/unwilling to see and accept truth (when difficult or painful) = negative mental health leads to acting irresponsibly. David J. Lieberman, PH.D.

When we become angry at ourselves, we become angry at the world. Who wants to admit we are selfish, lazy, flawed, or a failure. We are what we are and we need to accept ourselves warts and all. When we accept ourselves how we are we can do better. It is when we don’t accept ourselves that we don’t do better; we make everything someone else’s fault. We make ourselves powerless in our own lives when we won’t take responsibility for everything in our lives. Even if it isn’t actually our fault because the world is unfair, waiting for someone else to fix our lives will never work. Any change that needs to be made will have to be made by us, or it won’t be made at all. One small change upon another small change will build the life we want, or at least make the one we have better.

We can add to, or take away from our self esteem with the choices we make daily. We may think we need big achievements to improve our self esteem, I doubt this is true. Many small things add up to big things.

We can improve our self and our corner of the world. Start small. This morning as I walked Lulu (my dog) I picked up a few pieces of trash in an otherwise pristine park. It wasn’t much, but it was something. Often we can do something to make our relationships better, or worse. We can do things we know they hate, or we can do something to make them smile. It’s our choice. Over days, weeks, months these little gestures add up to negative or positive deposits into our partners love tanks. An encouraging word, smile, hug, act of service, a small gift, or spending time together is all deposits. Angry words, disapproving looks, withdrawal from any form of contact, making time only for others, doing things we know they hate, and disapprove of, are all withdrawals from our partners love tanks.

It’s our choice but let’s not pretend we aren’t doing what we are doing, negatively, or positively. That someone may not receive our gesture in the spirit it is offered is not our problem. Maybe we need to feel empathy for what is going on in their life. They may have a hard time accepting or giving love. They may have stuff they need to deal with. We have to deal with ours. They need to deal with theirs. We can’t fix someone else, but if we can deal with life how it truly is and be proactive in our own lives then we are building our own self-esteem.

Self-love is not selfish; you cannot truly love another until you know how to love yourself. Unknown

Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner. Lao Tzu

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, self-esteem, and love.

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Never Get Angry Again: The Foolproof Way to Stay Calm and in Control in Any Conversation or SituationHardcover – Jan 9 2018

by Dr. David J. Lieberman Ph.D. (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Gratitude and happiness. Are we happy with how we spend our time? These are our happy, golden years. If not now, when?

These are our happy, golden years. If not now, when? Are we happy with how we spend our time. Gratitude and happiness.

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams. Ashley Smith

What happens if we don’t use the gifts we were given? Does a little part or big part of our self shrivel and die? Do we become unhappy, critical, and miserable? We sometimes think when we hear “using our gifts” it means finding a way to be financially compensated for our gifts. We have many gifts we can use to help us in ways that bring joy, contentment, adventure, excitement, and maybe money into our lives. Is one of the mistakes we make only focusing on the money?

How many people make us laugh? That’s a gift. How many people give us an encouraging word, that’s a gift? How many people smile and say good morning? How many people inspire us? Some people inspire us by not believing in us. We’ll show them can be one of the most inspiring attitudes pushing us forward.

We hear about people who need to find their way back to when they felt alive and happy. Often this journey takes them back to when they were young and using their creative gifts. As they became adults they took on the adult mantle of being serious and doing work that would make a living. They were making a living but the joy in life was given up.

We need to find balance in our lives where we have time for what brings in an income and keeps body and soul together, find creative outlets, and use our gifts. The 5 AM Club tells us gifts and talents neglected become curses and sorrows.

We need to build our every day in ways that uplift us, feed our soul, and bring joy to our lives. Work is part of our lives, not our whole life. We don’t make time for ourselves and our interests at our peril.

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. C.S. Lewis

Since I started following the 5 AM Club and getting up at 5:00 my little dog gets a walk at 6:00. What a joy it is to get out in the fresh air, see the beautiful flowers, and enjoy the early morning. It seems like a gift I give myself, why has it taken me so long to do this? We are both better for our morning walk. Elevating my mornings elevates my life, my mood, and my interactions with other people.

This morning my daughter said, “You need to travel, and putting it off isn’t good.”

We think we have all the time in the world. If we look just a few years ahead of us we see where we’ll be. Tomorrow is not promised, it is a gift. The time to do things is now, but taking time off from business seems like one of the biggest challenges. Is it really? Or is it just fear?

What do we want? That is the question a lot of us don’t answer. What if we can have anything we ask for, but we have to ask? We have to figure out how to bring the things into our life we want. First, we have to decide what we want. We have to make a decision. Are we living our life on autopilot?

We worry there won’t be enough money. What if our problem is a lack of imagination, planning, foresight, and implementation? What if adventure is waiting for us to discover, dream, and do? What if using our gifts is the same. What makes us truly happy, feeds our soul and we do just for the sheer love of doing it is waiting for us to discover or bring back into our lives? Are we stopping to smell the flowers? Are we bothering to plant any? Are we hoping to reap what we aren’t sowing? Do we look for happiness in someone else’s garden?

This is our life, the only one we’ll have, are we living our lives the best way we can? Are we wringing all the joy out of it there is? What are we waiting for? Are there things we aren’t doing, that everyone thinks we should want to, but they aren’t that high on our list? Do we need to recognize the joy and beauty in our lives and quit comparing our dreams, goals, and accomplishments to someone else’s? We may have everything we need, everything we want, because we’ve actually built the life we wanted, and love. Are we seeing the beauty and bounty in our lives? Is it with gratitude we meet each wonderful day filled with 24 hours to be filled how we choose?

Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today. James Dean

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The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life. Hardcover – Dec 4 2018

by Robin Sharma (Author) 4.0 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Have we ever considered traveling alone?

Have we considered traveling alone, is it out of the question?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal. Robin S. Sharma

Yesterday I came across a blog called the Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel by Barbara Weibel. She has been traveling alone and blogging about it for years.

There is a solo travel society on Facebook with 230,000 fans and 63% of them are women. A booking.com survey found 65% of US women are taking vacations without their partners.

When asked why they travel solo women answered.

46% said, freedom, independence and the chance to do what they want.

22% said they weren’t willing to wait around for others.

15% said to challenge themselves and gain confidence. Solo travel lets you travel your way.

The nature of confidence is that it only comes after you take the risk. Joanne

I wish I’d had the confidence to take the trip to Europe I wanted to take in my late teens and early twenties. I never thought of going solo, when travel plans with others fell apart I just didn’t go. There’s a commercial out that shows a mother going off on her European solo trip with her daughter seeing her off at the airport.

We need to take our life in our hands. If for whatever reason we don’t have a partner to travel with we don’t have to not travel. Many women are blazing the trail of solo travel. Men are also traveling solo, but then they always have. We don’t have to wait for someone else to tell us what we can do with the rest of our life.

If we are lucky and have a partner we can make plans. If we don’t have a partner we don’t have to find one before we can start living the life of our dreams.

The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till the other is ready. Henry David Thoreau

Solo Traveler has their top ten tips for women who travel by themselves:

Choose your destination with intent.

Understand what you want to get out of your trip. Your inspiration may come from anywhere, a book, a movie, a story, somewhere you’ve always wanted to see. If you understand what’s drawing you to your destination you can have a more enriching experience. You may want to read Best Budget Destinations for Solo Travelers: The 2019 Shortlist

Plan your first night well.

At the very minimum have somewhere to spend the first night of every destination and plan to arrive by mid-afternoon. It’s important to find your hotel or hostel by daylight and have time to change your accommodations if the place does not seem safe. Read Solo Travel: 50+ Tips For Those Who Travel Alone.

Visualize the necessities but no more.

Traveling solo requires attention to details. Be open to opportunities as they arise. Read Solo Travel. Mindful Travel.

Pack light.

You’ll save money and be more mobile if you pack light. You need a wardrobe that stretches from hiking boots to high heels. Choose a base color (black, brown, beige, navy) a contrast color (white, beige…) and a color or two to accessorize and pull it all together. Read Bare Minimum Packing: Here’s Your Packing List.

Keep your accommodations to yourself.

Your accommodation is your safe haven. Don’t tell people where you’re staying. If they ask, be vague. Read Solo Travel Safety: Safe Answers to Common Questions.

You do not have to eat alone.

From cooking classes to day-tours, to themed dinners, there are so many ways to have company over dinner if that’s what you want. Read Solo travel: You Don’t Have to Eat Alone.

Protect your documents, cards, and cash.

Keep your passport and other important documents secure. Have backup copies on you and at home with a trusted contact. Read Protect Yourself from Pickpockets: Keep Cards & Cash Safe.

Meet other women travelers.

You can build friendships with women around the world. Read Sleeping with Strangers: The Hostel Experience and Women Welcoming Women: A Gateway to International Friendships.

Take a break from technology.

To really relax you may want to back off of social media for a while. Or I think you may want to embrace technology as that is how your friends and family can stay in touch, know you are safe, and enjoy your experiences. Read Transformed on The Ghan.

Stay local, buy local, and meet locals.

Plan well and have an understanding of how to support the local economy. Buy local crafts, eat local food, and stay in locally-owned accommodation so that the profits don’t leave the country. As you do this you will connect with locals. Read Travel Deeper: How to Connect with Locals and 7 Ways to Find a Free Tour Guide When You Travel.

Why do women travel alone more than men? Part of it may be life, divorce, death of a spouse or partner and still wanting to live our life, doing, and seeing new things. Maybe a trip will heal a broken heart. Travel may open our life to new opportunities, new ways of looking at things, and seeing life through different lenses. We may end up feeling strong, adventurous, and that we are experiencing all the joy we can out of life.

It may be one way of making lemonade out of the lemons life has thrown at us. Seeing the sights with someone we love may be our first choice. If that is not possible, we don’t have to settle for not seeing them.

Travel brings power and love back into your life. 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, passion, and love.

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How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Third Edition: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter by [Kepnes, Matt]
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How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Third Edition: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter Kindle Edition

by Matt Kepnes (Author)

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Knowledge is power. A food journal helps us determine what foods work for us and what foods work against us.

A food journal helps us determine what foods work for us and what foods work against us. Knowledge is power.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. Jim Rohn

If we have nagging health problems we need to become detectives. I have been a health detective for years. One of my tools is a food journal. After going plant-based with the Starch Solution I relaxed my food journal entries but didn’t stop them entirely.

As I get ready to start the Plant Paradox Plan the food journal is coming back into play. If you are like me and sometimes a nagging problem presents itself it is hard to go back mentally over the last few days and examine every morsel that entered my mouth.

With a food journal, it’s easy. What is so great about the food journal is over time if you note every time that problem presents itself you can see if there is anything you ate every time it happens.

If our immune system in on extra high alert it means our immune system attacks when something is similar to what it is defending us against. This is why it sometimes attacks our own tissue. When we get our immune system back on normal patrol, we will still want to know if something we eat ramps it up to high alert.

If we believe that health is our natural state, and illness, pain, congestion, headaches, migraines, unexplained weight gain or loss, poor sleep, acne, psoriasis, or any other of the health problems we are sometimes afflicted with are not our normal state. Then we need to figure out how to get our body back into its normal state.

It may seem like a big leap to think small things like plant lectins could be the cause of all our problems. Small things become big things. Everything starts somewhere, what if Dr. Gundry’s Plant Paradox has some answers, even if not all the answers, is it not worth trying?

You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it. Margaret Thatcher

This is what I am thinking. My daughter is looking over the list of Yes and No foods and thinking what is she going to eat? The strictest part is a three-day kick start, followed by a six-week phase two. After that is where it gets tricky. Some people will be able to bring back some or all of the foods with lectins in them in small or large quantities depending on how their body reacts. Other people will find their symptoms return if they eat certain foods.

If we keep a food journal it will help determine which of the foods bother us. There are ways to cook certain foods with lectins to mitigate lectins. When we pressure cook beans and legumes lectins are rendered safe to eat for most of us. Everyone will have to be their own lectin control board. Some of us may find white bread we make our self may be okay, others may find commercial bread okay, some may find bakery bread okay but only from some bakeries. Others will be able to eat any bread and baked good they like.

We may find we have one offending item and every time we treat our self to it, we develop symptoms. Knowledge is power. It is our choice to try something new. It is our choice to see if improving our gut health improves our life.

What if when we change our diet to what we think is healthier, and most of it is, but we might incorporate a problem food or two that causes us problems.

What we may be sensitive to may be one of the things we love most or something we hardly eat. It may be the newest health food that promises to be the answer to our health problem but instead creates one.

Our body is unique, what works for some of us, will not work for all of us. We need to beware of cookie-cutter solutions. Our ancestors came from different places, ate different things, our immune system may be on high or low alert.

Knowledge is power, and if we keep track of what we eat, how we feel when we eat certain things or eliminate certain things we can determine how to make ourselves healthier. We need to quit looking for only one answer. Everyone may have part of the answer and we have to put it all together to be as healthy as we can be.

One of the worst things we do is believe all we can do is live in misery. It may be the truth that some things we just have to live with. We also might have a lot more power to change things than we think, and what if it starts with what we put on our plate? Can a food journal become your best friend?

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao Tzu

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, health, and love.

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The Plant Paradox Cookbook: 100 Delicious Recipes to Help You Lose Weight, Heal Your Gut, and Live Lectin-Free Hardcover – Apr 10 2018


Loving nature loving ourselves.

Photo of pond by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it. Yves Cousteau

Nature is our mother. Latin proverb

Last night we had our first Horticultural meeting for 2019. The speaker was Elizabeth Schleicher and she is a member of a Rose Society. Last year she attended the World Federation of Rose Societies conference in Copenhagen the capital city of Denmark. She showed us a slide show of what she saw and learned in Copenhagen. She was a very entertaining speaker and told us she is looking forward to attending the next WFRS world conference in Australia in 2021.

Roses are one of my favorite flowers she has about ninety in her garden, I used to have about fifty in mine. Winter kill has cut back my numbers I’ll have to see where I am in the spring.

Joining a Horticultural society is meeting a likeminded group of people beautifying their corner of the world. We have plant sales; adopt public gardens, garden tours, speakers who enhance our knowledge, and flower and photo shows. Many of our speakers travel the world and bring back what they’ve seen in talks and slideshows.

We have speakers whose passion is composting with worms, all aspects of gardening and beautifying the world. Guerrilla gardening which is gardening on land you do not have a legal right to cultivate. This was done in a big way in New York City in the 1970s. Large sections of New York City were abandoned by landlords and city officials. This movement started on a vacant lot at the northeast corner of Bowery and East Houston where in the winter of 1973 two homeless men froze to death in a cardboard box. An artist Liz Christy had already been tossing “seed grenades” into vacant lots, these are water balloons packed with seeds, compost and water which scattered their contents as they burst.

Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard. Standing Bear

Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things. Lao Tzu

Liz Christy saw a young boy playing in the garbage that littered the lot. He was about to climb into an abandoned refrigerator. When Liz Christy took the child to his mother and reprimanded her for letting him play in a dangerous place the mother said “she had a house full of kids to watch. If Liz Christy was so worried about the refrigerator why didn’t she get rid of it?”

Liz Christy organized a group of friends and started beautifying the lot. After the story exploded in the Daily News the city leased the lot to them for a dollar a year. The group dubbed themselves the Green Guerrillas. More than 800 gardens revitalized neighborhoods, reclaimed decay on vacant lots and created city gardens. Neighborhoods were tipped from crime to community action.

Studies show gardens and green space help lower crime rates. When we live without green space and gardens we lose more than we think we do. We think we are maximizing our cities by building on every lot. By getting taxes from every square foot we are able to provide more services. Hostility increases where there is less green space, cooperation increases where there is more.

When we get back in touch with the earth through planting, a tree, flowers, and vegetables we ground ourselves.  According to Richard Louv if we want to be better, more creative, healthy humans we need to get out in nature. When we tap into the restorative powers of nature we can boost mental acuity, creativity, promote health and wellness. When we build smarter, sustainable green communities and economies we ultimately strengthen our human bonds.

He believes the future will belong to the nature-smart – those individuals, families, business, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. He believes the more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.

We can create beautiful green livable cities where we encourage walking and a connection to nature. Horticultural societies, green guerillas, city planners, volunteers and everyone who lives in a city needs to do their part. We are creating the future; can we make it a future we love? Can we by loving nature, love ourselves? Can we by loving ourselves, love nature?

If you lose touch with nature you lose touch with humanity.If there’s no relationship with nature then you become a killer;then you kill baby seals, whales, dolphins, and man eitherfor gain, for “sport,” for food, or for knowledge.Then nature is frightened of you, withdrawing its beauty.You may take long walks in the woods or camp in lovely places but you are a killer and so lose their friendship.You probably are not related to anything to your wife or your husband. Jiddu Krishnamurti

Nature is not our enemy, to be raped and conquered. Nature is ourselves, to be cherished and explored. Terence Mckenna

The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age by [Louv, Richard]
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Happy wife, happy life. Be the change.

Photo of pink daylilly by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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Marriage is not a noun, it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day. Barbara De Angelis

Wives happiness is more important to their husband’s state of mind than the reverse. It seems a happy wife makes a husband feel he is doing a good job of being a good husband.

The Happy Wives Club has 8 essential keys to being a happy wife.

Here are 8 Essential Keys to Being a Happy Wife

  1. A happy wife knows how to FLY (First Love Yourself). I know this is not the first time you’re hearing it, but it’s really important: you cannot be happy or love someone else in any relationship if you are unhappy and unloving to yourself. It all starts from within.
  2. A happy wife expresses love to her spouse. She shows her spouse love by having an attitude of gratitude. She tells him how much she appreciates even the smallest of contributions and support.
  3. A happy wife respects her spouse. Regardless of differences of opinions, she never engages in name calling or disrespectful behavior towards her spouse.
  4. A happy wife surrounds herself with other happy wives. And she’s not ashamed of distancing herself from unhappy or bitter wives. She knows she can lean on other happy wives for prayer and support.
  5. A happy wife treats her marriage as a ministry. Regardless of your religious affiliation, marriage is a ministry. It’s designed for you to serve your spouse. When you focus on making your husband happy, he will naturally do the same for you.
  6. A happy wife knows which battles are worth picking. Is it really worth the nagging that turns into fussing if you know he’s never going to remember to put the toilet seat down? Hanging on to the smaller idiosyncrasies can prohibit you from seeing that he did the dishes without asking, or took out the trash without the daily reminder.
  7. A happy wife is okay admitting when she’s wrong. This was a tough one for me early on because I was one who really hated to be wrong and still do at times. But the difference now is that I can own up to my faults and I can admit when I’m wrong. Humility goes a long way. Learn to laugh at your own mistakes.
  8. A happy wife knows when it’s time to let go. I interviewed my parents recently as they celebrated 47 years of marriage and this was one of their tips for reaching this milestone: They have the understanding that nobody is perfect, and they don’t expect each other to be. But nothing is more important than the sustainability of their union.

Are you a happy wife? What key would you add to this list?

Marriages are always in flux. There are ways we can act and conduct our self that is more conducive to a happy union.

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather recognizing and appreciating what we do have. Frederick Keonig

Placing blame in a marriage is like saying, “your side of the boat is sinking.” Hank Smith

The Huffington Post gives us 11 ways to make our long-term marriage happier, starting today.

Remind our partner and our self we appreciate them.

Say thank you for the little things.

Practice honesty, even when we are ashamed. This means honesty about everything, money, our relationship, what we expect from each other, and what we want in life.

Take care of our appearance.

Foster relationships outside of our marriage. Our spouse can’t meet all our needs and interacting with other people makes us more interesting. Being part of groups or clubs brings joy to our life.

Watch our words. You always… or you never… Would you instead of could you… Thank you instead of nothing or a dismissive… No eye rolls!

Look after the little things. Put away the jumper cables our self. It’s a small thing, but it is the small annoyances that left unaddressed do us in.

Relish the silence. Sometimes we need to let some things slide; when we get pulled into an argument by getting defensive we make things worse. Let go, forgive, and focus on the positive. Don’t stay silent and harbor bad thoughts, you really have to let it go.

Recognize the ebb and flow. We go through periods in our marriage we are in an up or a down or on our way to an up or a down. Learn to go with the flow. We can go from thinking about them with tears in our eyes, to hardly being able to stand to listen to them breathe. Know this is normal and there is always a new up and a new down coming. Enjoy the ride.

Be kind. It is easy to take each other for granted. We can start the day off by asking our self “what can we do today to make our partner happy?” Would they love it if we sat through a soccer, baseball, or hockey game? When traveling is there something we know they’d love to see we could suggest? We all love to know someone is thinking about us.

Maintain intimacy and passion, both inside and outside the bedroom. Intimacy isn’t just sex, and passion isn’t just when we can’t keep our hands off each other. Romance may happen in the ordinary moments of our day with a moonlit walk that ends in a kiss, being there for our spouse in their most difficult time or standing up and being there for our partner. Don’t let other people define what is a normal or healthy amount of sex for our marriage. Know things change, but that doesn’t mean they are less exciting or fun. Intimacy comes in many shapes, including conversation and cuddling.

Relationship coach Laura Doyle recommends the number one thing we can do to improve our marriage is to make our self happy. If we talked on the phone and laughed with a sister, brother, mother, or friend, took a walk in the sunshine, or did something else that filled us up we are less likely to be irritated by something.

When we’ve made our self happy by investing the time and energy to delight our self we are more likely to laugh at a situation than scream. We set the tone in our marriages. Actively replenishing our spirit by doing at least three things for our own happiness is like insurance. It protects us from feeling so frayed that something snippy or sarcastic comes out of our mouth, or we roll our eyes.

When we are happy we get a better response. Everyone in the house feeds off our energy. It’s a big responsibility to be happy for the whole family. What three things can we do today to feed our spirit? Can these small doable things change our life and our marriage? Can we be the change we want to see in our marriage?

New love is the brightest and long love is the greatest, but revived love is the tenderest thing known on earth. Thomas Hardy

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Be Happy Paperback – Mar 1 2019

Volunteering. Getting more by giving more.

Getting More By Giving More - Photo of clematis by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good. Aristotle

Last night was our Christmas craft night at the Horticultural Society. Bundles of greenery were presold in bundles. Making a centerpiece was demonstrated and members set to making their centerpieces. My job was helping hand out the greenery, collect money if any was owed and sell the extra bundles.

I usually make a pot for outdoors but we don’t bring soil into the Church hall. This is a messy night already and soil only adds to the mess. My bundle of greenery is in the garage. I’ll assemble my outside arrangement over the weekend. The greenery is wonderfully fresh, all the way from B.C.

A few years ago the greenery was provided by a group of women who got together on a weekend and provided the greenery for free. They then put on a demonstration making fabulous Christmas decorations. They decorated a wooden sled, wooden skis, outside urns, and created centerpieces.

They are a hard act to follow; for years they entered contests at the CNE and Canada Blooms. Things change, they are less involved in the club and so am I. When we have extraordinary members in clubs the clubs thrive, the energy is palpable. Finding new people to take their place is challenging.  At one time I thought I would get more involved with the Horticultural Society but my interests have gone in other directions.

Being involved in a group is more fun than being on the periphery of one. It takes time and we only have so much of it. We have to pick and choose where we put our time. The Horticultural Society is now least on my list of groups. It is something a friend and I do most months. We are members but we don’t contribute much. Helping out last night was the most fun I’ve had at the Hort in a long time. Helping out, we talk to other members, we feel part of it, we belong.

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. Muhammad Ali

I am so grateful to all the Churches that rent out space to organizations at reasonable rates. These groups help build our communities, give meaning to people’s lives, and help us connect with each other.

Everywhere I look people are building “online” communities. We need to not forget the physical communities we live in. If we don’t interact with each other we don’t learn to trust each other. If we don’t trust each other we don’t build good communities.

Research shows people at the lowest income levels make calculated decision for a variety of reasons. They favor immediate financial rewards over larger delayed rewards. This is not a good way to build a community where much of what is done on a community level is volunteered.

When we get involved with community groups we are introduced to likeminded individuals, keep our body and mind active, and hone and grow new skill sets. A Stats Can survey finds Canadian volunteers feel an improved sense of well-being and health, meet people through networking, and contribute to the community. When we are in the throes of raising children and working full-time jobs, volunteering may be hard to fit in, as those responsibilities lessen we have opportunities to fit volunteering into our life.

We create the communities we live in. Communities change and grow as the individuals that make them change and grow. Many of us want to live in a great community, but do we want to be the ones that make that community great?

Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless. Sherry Anderson

Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more. H. Jackson Brown Jr.

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Volunteering: Personal, Social and Community Benefits Paperback – Mar 5 2013

Make it a habit, good habits make great lives. Start something great. Be willing to start small.

Belynda Wilson Thomas painting - "The Journey"

Create a good habit by starting small. Good habits are the secret to a great life. I’ve always told my kids, “continue to develop good habits.”

Exercising first thing in the morning is a good habit. I started it, because it has done so much for my mother, who at 93 still does morning exercises before she gets up. She still goes for a walk most mornings, cooks her own food, cleans her own house, looks after her plants, reads and quilts. She stays in touch with my late father’s family and knows all the news. She is engaged in life.

To create a habit start small. As I reflect on my writing it is a habit, and that habit enabled me to complete a novel. One word on top of another word added up. It is that simple and that difficult to master most things we want in life.

Starting is half done and don’t quit. One simple habit that I think starts the day off right is making our bed in the morning. No matter how your day goes, you’ve accomplished one thing. On a bad day if nothing else you crawl into an inviting, made bed.

So often we want to make big changes, but if we start small they can become big changes over time. You want to bring exercise into your life. Start with two push ups per day. If you haven’t done them before you get into bed, you can probably muster the energy for two push ups. Once you start you might not stop at two, but two is all you have to do to complete that goal. It sounds silly to set your goal at two push ups but try it. You will change your life if you keep it up.

My goal when I started writing on October 9th, 2000 was to keep a writing journal. I wrote down the time I started, the time I finished and the number of words I wrote. By making that entry in my journal my writing session was a success. I didn’t know it at the time but I was creating the habit of writing.  It has added up to something, a soon to be published novel, now a blog. My art is the same; I always try to have a painting on the go. I am not a fast painter but conceptualizing a new painting as the old one is close to finished keeps me going forward.

Start small, but start, because starting is half done. I watched a video on blogs and one piece of advice stood out. Don’t wait until you have your about me page perfect before posting. So I didn’t, my son set up my blog and the next day with trembling hands I pushed publish. Then I relaxed, for better or worse my blog was out in the world. Just do it! Then do it again until you have a long line of accomplishments. It is mostly true, it is never too late to start, to be the person you know you should be. Perfection is enemy of the good. Too many of us have never done the things we dreamed of because something wasn’t perfect. It will never be perfect and maybe it shouldn’t be perfect, maybe it should be just like you and just like me, perfectly imperfect.