Fathers are our unsung heroes the builders of our society, and pillars of our lives.

Fathers are our unsung heroes, the pillars of our lives, and builders of our society.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song. Pam Brown

Yesterday was Father’s Day and we ended up celebrating it twice. It is sad when we no longer have our fathers to celebrate with, call, or visit. That is a reality that will come to all of us in time. We aren’t all lucky enough to have had time with our fathers because of circumstances beyond our control. There is no other way to look at it than we missed out.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I was blessed with a great mom and dad. Some people have the idea that we shouldn’t celebrate because not everyone has someone in their lives to celebrate. Father’s and Mother’s Days aren’t only about the reality in our lives but the potential. Even if we didn’t have the best role model in our life we can be the best in our children’s or even in other people’s children’s lives.

How someone else conducted themselves, we can’t control. We may wish they were different but they were or are who they are. What we have control over is ourselves and how we navigate our world. We can encourage, uplift, look on the bright side, and accept the difficulties of life with grace. We can be an example of not giving up when the going gets tough. We can be an example of pursuing dreams so others will believe they can pursue their dreams also.

We can be good friends, co-workers, and family members. We can be up-lifters, encouragers, and happy people who live our lives with grace and gratitude. We can make time for others and invite them for dinner, conversation, and laughs.

Is there anything as wonderful as sharing a meal with family surrounded by the warm glow of conversation and laughter? We’ve had two evenings of this sitting outside enjoying being together. Spring turns into summer today and just as it isn’t noticeable as the seasons change from day to day the seasons of our lives change.

By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong. Charles Wadsworth

We were children, then young adults, new parents, parents of adult children, and soon we hope grandparents. Some of us are lucky enough to have our grandparents in our lives for a long time. Some of us hardly knew our grandparents; some of us hardly knew or didn’t know our parents.

We can think life isn’t fair when we don’t get what someone else got. In my art class on Saturday, it was led by a young woman who is sight-impaired. She is an artist and sees the world differently. She is making the most of her abilities by producing beautiful art and teaching others to do the same.

If we don’t make the most of what we have and instead focus on what we don’t have how does that serve us? It doesn’t make us get what we want; it just makes us not appreciate what we do have. What we don’t have maybe abilities, family, assets, or belonging to groups, but we can make the best of what we have. People who make the best of what they have inspired us.

Father’s Day can be sad if we no longer have our father or it can be happy because we remember him and appreciate all he did for us. If he wasn’t in our life maybe someone else took the father role. When it became our turn we can be a good father or do our best to choose a good father for our children.

As women, this is one of the biggest decisions of our lives. Who will father our children? As men what kind of father will we be? We watch our children make these choices and if we are lucky we will watch our grandchildren make their choices. Some are even lucky to see great-grandchildren make these choices. This is the legacy we leave behind.

As we celebrate the fathers in our lives, the unsung heroes, the builders of our society, and the pillars of our lives we are blessed. It is our job to be blessings to those coming after us.

What makes you a man is not the ability to make a child, it’s the courage to raise one. Barack Obama

The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams and aspirations he sets not only for himself, but for his family. Reed Markham

A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. Billy Graham

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Living the good life. Advice to my daughter.

Advice to my daughter. Living the good life.

All of life is peaks and valleys. Don’t let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low. John Wooden

Living the “good life” isn’t that what we all want? Twenty-nine years ago today my wonderful daughter was born and our family was complete. When we bring children into the world we have to be optimistic about the future. We want them to have a great life, opportunity, and experiences. What happens in the world matters more because it matters to our children, grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren.

We may not agree on what better looks like in the short term, what political stripe gets into office, and what laws get passed. In the long term. however, I think we all agree we want our children, grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren to live in peace, prosperity, and a natural world alive with wildlife, fish, trees, and wild places.

When we look at our children and grandchildren (still waiting for that joyous, momentous event) we want so much for them. We want so much for them but we are afraid to watch them go out and take their place in the world. It seems so much less safe than when we went out there. We worry about them getting into the wrong crowd, getting involved with drugs, and depression.

When did we start thinking life should be easy? When I listen to Mom talk about the early days, life was hard. She said she and her first husband had their budget down to the penny. To get her a Christmas present when they agreed not to give each other Christmas presents, he quit smoking for a week to afford the gift.

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

Housing is a big deal and we are all wringing our hands over how our kids will be able to afford a house. Has it really been that easy for most people to prosper over the decades and centuries? There is a lot of talk about money in the bible. Shakespeare said neither a lender nor a borrower be, and Charles Dickens gave the recipe for a happy life. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

What advice do I have for my daughter on this birthday? Love and live fully, don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Be grateful for what you have and you’ll get more. Live beneath your means and be kind to those you meet along the way. When you have children they completely take over your life, and will be the biggest blessing, and raising happy healthy kids is your biggest job, and where much of your joy will come from. Make time for your husband amid the chaos and enjoy together what you build together. Walk into the sunset of life arm in arm and enjoy your golden years. Time is the secret of a long marriage, there will be ups and downs, and you have to get through the downs to enjoy the ups. Don’t throw away good trying to get perfect – there is no perfect in relationships. Love is a verb, and happiness is an inside job.

A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot, and realize how blessed you are for what you have. Unknown

Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside. Unknown

Life is like a camera… Focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don’t work out, take another shot. Unknown

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

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? Kindle Edition

by Belynda Wilson Thomas (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition


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Looking forward. The joy of watching our children take their place in the world.

The joy of watching our children take their place in the world. Looking forward.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. Mignon Mc Laughlin

This is a year where everything we get to celebrate is sweeter. Even though celebrating things is tough, having something to celebrate boosts our spirits. Over the next few months or as long as it takes I am looking forward to being the mother of the groom.

It is a tough time to plan a wedding. Family weddings are being postponed and when the next wedding gets in line, what do they do? When your sister’s wedding supposed to happen this year is postponed till next year what does the next bride do? They may already have been waiting through a year and a half engagement to plan their own wedding.

Is their etiquette about two siblings getting married in the same year? What about someone whose dream is a destination wedding. How does one plan one of those in these times?

I highly recommend a destination wedding. It was easy, fun, and about as carefree for the families, during a wedding as one can expect. The wedding planner takes care of everything and what a fantastic job she did handling a wedding per day. Every wedding looked like it met the bride and groom’s vision.

Wedding season is upon us and those who really want to get married this year will probably do it in constrained circumstances. A friend talked about having friends on zoom as he and his fiancé have a small wedding. My mother in law is talking about the same thing happening for someone at her church.

Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking forward together in the same direction. Unknown

Many couples live together before getting married and they may put off the wedding they planned. But, those who do not live together may not want to put off starting their life together.

When things don’t work out as planned it adds to our story. Often we look back at what we overcame as fondly as what went exactly as planned. Overcoming is where we meet our best selves. We rise to the occasion and feel proud of what we manage to accomplish in difficult circumstances.

At one wedding I was part of one of the groomsmen who ended up sick was replaced by the groom without the bride knowing of this hiccup.

Planning a wedding may be good preparation for starting a life together. Compromise will be needed. Plans may change and disappointment may have to be dealt with.

There is no happily ever after in married life. If there was we would die of boredom. Challenges keep us on our feet. We sometimes hear people say, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” Maybe if we knew we couldn’t fail it would take all the fun out of it. Why bother, we know we won’t fail?

We don’t want everything in life to be too exciting but we also don’t want to know nothing will ever change, be challenging, or exciting. Nothing stays the same even when we wish it would.

Do people who finally get married after living the carefree bachelor life for more decades than they like to count ask themselves why they didn’t do it sooner? When all their friends were taking on the heavy lifting of life and building a family what were they thinking?

Marriage and family is the cornerstone of our society. Watching our children take their place in life is one of the joys we have as parents. We are looking forward to planning and participating in a wedding. Isn’t life great when we have something to look forward to?

There are many things that keep me from getting married. But there will be a time when marriage makes sense to me. Adam Levine

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

Getting married, for me, was the best thing I ever did. I was suddenly beset with an immense sense of release, that we have something more important than our separate selves, and that is the marriage. There’s immense happiness that can come from working towards that. Nick Cave

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Love Is A Decision: Proven Techniques to Keep Your Marriage Alive and Lively by [Gary Smalley, John Trent]

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Love Is A Decision: Proven Techniques to Keep Your Marriage Alive and Lively Kindle Edition

by Gary Smalley (Author), John Trent (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

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Our unmet expectations are one of the worst things for our marriages. Can we give more and expect less.

Can we give more and expect less? Our unmet expectations are one of the worst things for our marriages.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Don’t blame people for disappointing you, blame yourself for expecting too much from them. Unknown

My son came home yesterday and looked at three kinds of chocolates on my husband’s and my desks and said. “You two used Valentine’s Day as an excuse to pig out on chocolate.” Then he asked for chocolate.

Today I understand is the worst day for marriage; I’m looking at a blog whose title is Valentine’s Day advice for a marriage to be ‘divorce-proof’ is offensive and dangerous. It projects a sense of blame – and shame – on those of us who’ve decided to end a marriage as if we just were too lazy to do our homework.

This blog seems like it is written by someone who is recently-separated. As someone who is in a long relationship, if it was worth it to end my relationship, meaning we absolutely have decided we have nowhere to go the chasm is too big, the hurt, disrespect, and betrayal too much to bear.  I hope I would still applaud those who had enough of a relationship to work on, and were looking for advice on how to work on their marriage.

Can every relationship, or should every relationship be divorce proofed? I doubt it and I believe some people should run from the relationship they are in, but others look back and realize that what they were running from was just mundane ordinary stuff that we have to deal with in relationships, and they could have divorce-proofed their marriage or at least tried by realizing they had a good person. The grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence. We all have to get through disappointment, misunderstandings, and unmet expectations.

We said we would love, honor, and respect, not that we wouldn’t disappoint, misunderstand or meet every expectation we don’t even know about.

When we say something to the effect of, “the notion that I could have divorce-proofed my marriage if I had just followed a 12 step program or we had worked harder at romance via date nights and weekend getaways demeans the work we did as a couple – not to mention the complicated dance of living in a partnership with another human being.”

Really, all frustration is birthed out of unmet expectations, and so is nearly every conflict. Matt Chandler

Marriage is a complicated dance and if we love watching dancing couples the ones who master the most complicated dances are the ones we love to watch the most. Saying the marriage dance is too hard to master doesn’t sound like a good enough reason for divorce? No one knows how much work someone did in their marriage, but when we call it quits we should feel good about our decision and if we really did the best we could and didn’t give up before that was the only option, then marriage advice to couples should not offend us.

There are tons of books, columns, and talks, on relationships. I listen to quite a few of them; I pick up books and glean insights from them. Would they be enough if my husband and I were going through what brings people to divorce? I doubt it, but I am glad they are out there. I am sure they help many couples.

Marriage Story is a movie about a marriage breaking up. To me, it highlights how what seemed like a couple who had a lot going for them, but the husband has betrayed his wife with infidelity, and she then betrays him by letting him think she is going across the country for an acting opportunity only to hit him with divorce papers when he comes to visit her and their son at her Mother’s house. They had agreed to keep lawyers out of it. Bringing the lawyers in brought in the vitriol, and makes a relationship that maybe could have been saved into one that even civility toward each other is a stretch.

One of the things we should do is not overreact by ending something that has taken a long time to build and impacts a lot of other people in our lives. If we have children it is a bigger thing to divorce than if we don’t. I remember a movie with Billy Crystal as a therapist. He had a couple in their late fifties or sixties in his office, very average looking, he said to them, “where are you going?”

One of the big complaints I hear from men is women are initiating divorce. Is this because we women are not realistic enough to realize that real life is real? Do we think if we get rid of our husband some fantasy life will materialize? One of the things I think we all need to do is be the spouse that would be hard to replace. If we can keep our marriage on the plus side instead of the negative side, our spouses will at least have to think about how likely they are to get better.

Are we doing our best to meet our partner’s needs most of the time? Do we know what those needs are? Are we critical, contemptuous, defensive, and stonewalling? Could we instead become respectful, grateful, complimentary, kind, understanding, loving, accepting, generous, giving more and expecting less?

Disappointment is unmet expectations, and the more significant the expectations, the more significant the disappointment. Brene Brown

Expectations are resentments under construction. Unknown

The greatest unhappiness a person can feel in life is unmet expectations. Laura Lee Guhrke

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How Happiness Happens: Finding Lasting Joy in a World of Comparison, Disappointment, and Unmet Expectations by [Lucado, Max]

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How Happiness Happens: Finding Lasting Joy in a World of Comparison, Disappointment, and Unmet Expectations Kindle Edition

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Is calm, trust, and commitment the magic trio of relationships? Can we aim for five positives for every negative interaction in our relationship?

Can we aim for five positive interactions for every negative one? Is calm, trust, and commitment the magic trio of relationships?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Conflict is an opportunity to learn to love our partner better over time. Julie Gottman

Yesterday I was watching a talk by John Gottman. He’s put together a graph where the wife’s positive or negative and the husband’s positive or negative feelings intersect.

Wife positive /Husband negative                      Wife Positive/Husband positive

Wife negative/Husband negative                     Wife negative/Husband positive

We each are negative and positive and when we are both positive at the same time isn’t our relationship wonderful? It may be very dangerous for our marriages when we are both negative at the same time, especially if it is for extended lengths of time.

He talks about the four horsemen that derail marriage criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. He also talks about the magic trio of calm, trust, and commitment.

We may think that if we can both just be happy and positive and live in the happy/happy quadrant all is well. It probably is what we should do, and we may even have been lucky enough to have lived most of our lives together in the happy quadrant.

Some of us might one day wake up and wonder what happened. Where did it go wrong? What happened to the happy person we married, or what happened to the happy person we used to be?

Has anyone who has a marriage of any length managed to not visit all four quadrants? The problem probably arises when we hit the negative quadrant together and the four horsemen arrive at our doorstep; criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Everything our partner does bother us, everything we do seem to bother them. We say things that have hidden meanings, a dig here, and another dig there. There may be eye-rolling and a loss of respect.

How do we move into a positive quadrant? How do we make ourselves happy? How do we make ourselves easier to live with?

According to John Gottman, we need to have a ratio of five positive interactions for every negative interaction to keep our relationship on track. We need to foster calm, trust, and commitment.

It’s a myth that if you solve your problems you’ll automatically be happy. We need to teach couples that they’ll never solve most of their problems. John Gottman

If we are committed to getting through the tough times to better times and our partner knows it, they may find it easier going through their own tough times. Can we be calm amidst chaos for our partner, and they are calm amid chaos for us? Can we trust ourselves and each other to hold on through the tough times, can we trust ourselves and be vulnerable instead of hard, defensive, and stonewalling?

So often we know what needs to happen, he or she needs to change. But, we can only change ourselves and if we quit reacting in anger, or defensiveness something can blow over instead of becoming a raging inferno as she reacts, he reacts, and words are said that can’t be taken back.

Just say “ouch,” Laura Doyle tells us in The Surrendered Wife. Quit trying to fix what isn’t ours to fix. Work on ourselves, make ourselves happy and let the other person work on themself and find what makes them happy.

It isn’t about not having disagreements, it is not about not giving our side of things, it is about finding a positive balance in our interactions. It is about turning toward each other instead of away from each other. It is making the gesture big and small for connection. It is reacting positively to our partner’s gestures big and small.

We will never solve many of the problems in our relationships. We will live with them and work around them. One of us may be a night person; the other is a morning person. One of us has to watch what we eat, the other can eat anything. We don’t see things the same way; we don’t think the solutions to problems are the same. We might not even see the same things as problems. We chose our partner and they chose us. Is learning to have five positive interactions for every negative one, and fostering calm, trust, and commitment what we can do to make our relationships better?

Are we calm, trusting, and committed, most of the time?

We have found that the success or failure of a marriage depends not on whether there is conflict, but on how conflict is handled when it does occur. The Gottman Laboratory Studies

Couples wait an average of six years of being unhappy with their relationship before getting help. John Gottman

The real cradle that holds the baby is the emotional climate between new parents. Many significant social problems (like violence) in our society can be traced back to this negative emotional climate in families. John Gottman

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What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal Paperback – Sep 10 2013

by John Gottman Ph.D. (Author), Nan Silver (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 207 ratings


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Marriage is a long conversation. Do we know what our partner wants out of the next thirty years? Do we know what we want?

Do we know what our partner wants out of the next thirty years? Do we know what we want? Marriage is a long conversation.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Marriage is a risk; I think it’s a great and glorious risk, as long as you embark on the adventure in the same spirit. Cate Blanchett

Yesterday I watched Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter Chelsea on the view. They’ve written a book called Gutsy Women and Hillary says the gutsiest thing she has done is stay in her marriage.

I’ve always thought that was very gutsy of her. We all expected her to divorce him. We will never know how hard that was, but the look on her face as she said it made me believe she believes she did the right thing.

Getting married and staying married is a gutsy thing. It is important in this life to love and be loved, that doesn’t mean it is easy to have twenty, thirty, forty, fifty or sixty-year marriages.

Yesterday I also watched Dog, The Bounty Hunter talking to Dr. Oz about his late wife Beth. Nietzsche, the German philosopher (who was a lifelong bachelor) said, “Marriage is a long conversation.”

A long conversation is a good way to put it, someone in our corner, a soft place to fall, someone who has our back, who believes in the best of us. Someone who sees us at our worst and still loves us accepts us and believes in us. We are told that those of us who remain married over the long haul will usually be happier because of it.

A happy marriage is about three things: memories of togetherness, forgiveness of mistakes and a promise to never give up on each other. Surabhi Surendra

I’m not sure what is the year when we start thinking we’re in a long marriage. To me, I think it was around the thirty-year mark. We have reached the stage where we need to think about what we want the rest of our life to be like.

Do we have a bucket list? If we don’t maybe we should make one? We may think things are too expensive to do? But, what is the cost of not doing them and thinking we are missing out? This may be one of the causes of the gray divorce phenomenon. We have a fantasy that if we lose a few pounds life will be better, some people may fantasize about divorce the same way. Wherever we go, there we are. Some people may have a fantasy that life would be better without their partner. It is probably not true.

We are told we are happier and healthier in long marriages. Do we need to make some changes? We may need to have some long, intense conversations while we figure out what we want out of the next twenty, thirty, or more years.

The best way forward is probably together. We would make changes in our life if something cataclysmic happened, we don’t need to initiate a cataclysm to initiate change. Maybe the changes we want in our life will start with a long conversation. Are we ready to initiate the conversation that leads to more fun, excitement, adventure, love, and togetherness?

Love does not mean you will always agree, see eye to eye, or never have an argument. It means despite the bad days you still can’t see yourself without that person. Unknown

A great marriage is not the union of the perfect couple, but an imperfect couple who accepts and embraces each other’s flaws. Unknown

A great marriage doesn’t happen because of the love you had in the beginning but how well you continue building love until the end. Unknown

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Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love Hardcover – Apr 8 2008

by Dr. Sue Johnson EdD (Author) 4.4 out of 5 stars 122 ratings#1 Best Seller in Marriage & Family


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Smile more, laugh more, live fully, and love deeply. You never know when it’s the last time you can tell someone “I love you.”

You never know when it's the last time you could tell someone I love you. Smile more, laugh more, live fully, and love deeply.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Take time to do what makes your soul happy. Unknown      

Do we have enough lightness and fun in our lives? Are we too serious? Does everything someone says feel wrong and hit a sore spot? Would we all be better off if we said “Ouch” when someone says something that hurts, or comes out wrong?

Maybe that would be a good way to acknowledge their awkwardness, ignorance, bias, or put down without getting into an argument. Maybe “Ouch” is the way to handle criticism instead of getting defensive.

Laura Doyle is the author of several books including The Empowered Wife and Things Will Get As Good As You Can Stand. She has a few ideas I think are worth thinking about.

One of them which at first glance may make our feminist soul wince is to surrender, which means to give up trying to control everything, and speak only for our self. Ask for what we want. Focus on ourselves, and don’t belittle, criticize, or dismiss our partner. Realize the only person we can change is our self. Quit trying to teach our partner, and instead trust he is smart, capable, and motivated.

There is a Christian minister who gives talks on “Treating him like a dog, and her like a car.” His idea is that women often treat their dogs better than their men, have more patience with their dog’s mistakes than their husband’s human foibles. Men polish their car; take care of their car, and lavish attention on their car.

If you’re going to quit anything, quit being lazy, quit making excuses and quit waiting for the right time. Unknown

We need to give more to get more in relationships. We need to be willing to receive what are partner gives with grace and gratitude. Are we still making an effort to be fun, entertaining, good company, and loving?

If it is true that 70% of divorces are initiated by women? That means we women have a lot of power to make our marriages better. It might mean instead of giving up because the fire has gone out, we could choose to rekindle instead of throwing everything away we’ve built.

Laura Doyle tells us men want a happy wife, and they feel like failures when their wife is not happy. What would it take for us women to be happy? If the biggest improvement we can make in our marriage is to become happy, what is the change we could make? Laura Doyle says we should do three things every day that make us happy.

What are three things we could do that would make us happy? Go for a walk. Pet a dog, cat, bunny, or horse? Meet a girlfriend for coffee, or lunch? Meet our husband for coffee, or lunch? Call someone we haven’t spoken to in a while. Spend time with grandchildren if we are lucky enough to have some. Get time away from our children if we are lucky enough to have them. Spend an hour browsing in a store we love. Read a book. Write a poem. Write in a journal. Spend time with inspiring people at a group, event, or meeting. Spend time getting in tune with our body through exercise. Create something. Get our hair done. Do something for someone less fortunate.

If we are not happy, it is unlikely it is only because of our marriage. We may think our life needs a huge overhaul when what it really needs is some maintenance. Are we taking time to smell the flowers, enjoying everything there is to enjoy and grateful for the bounty in our lives? Have we checked our partner’s and our love tanks are they low, are they running on empty? What can we do to fill them up?

It is easy to think the grass is greener over there, someone else’s life is so much better than our own. If only our partner would become, do, change, improve, but of course, if we want a better life we must be the one that does, changes, and improves.

What three things could we do today to make ourselves happy? What can we do today to make life better for our partners? Can we at least smile more, and brighten everyone’s day including our own?

Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated. Confucius

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Things Will Get as Good as You Can Stand: (. . . When you learn that it is better to receive than to give) The Superwoman’s Practical Guide to Getting as Much as She Gives Paperback – Apr 6 2004

by Laura Doyle (Author) 4.7 out of 5 stars 4 ratings


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Love is the answer to a greater connection to people and purpose. Choose faith over doubt, action over delay, and love over division.

Choose faith over doubt, action over delay, and love over division. Love is the answer to greater connection to people and purpose.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Whatever the question, love is the answer. Wayne Dyer

This morning instead of turning off my alarm first, I jumped out of bed and then turned off my alarm. That simple act changes everything. Instead of telling myself I’ll just lay in bed a little longer I’m up. I had time to write in my journal and read.

My morning reading is from Brendon Burchard’s The Motivation Manifesto and it is on the enemy within. He says it is impossible to fight an unknown enemy so we must name our enemies. The first enemy he names “Defiance” which he says is an ugly three-headed serpent. Defiance makes us feel weak and distrustful so that we stop taking action or connecting with others. We all face this beast any time we set goals for ourselves, as it gnaws at us tearing at our confidence and consuming us from the inside leaving us gutless and fearful. Defiance is activated when we favor doubt over faith, favor delay over action, and when we choose division over love.

When we think we aren’t good enough. When we are scared to go after what we want. When we think there isn’t enough to go around. We can acknowledge these feelings are not of our highest character and if we don’t feed these thoughts, they will weaken. We can find better thoughts to think. As we control our thoughts we will reach more of our potential.

In order to defeat defiance, we must understand the defining characteristics of each of its nasty heads. Let us name the first nasty head “Doubt”. When we want to do anything new, doubt raises its head. We second guess ourselves. Is it a good time? Do we have the recourses? What if we fail? What if’s, go round and round our head. What if we turn that around, and instead of doubt, we dig deep and find faith. What if it is a good time? What if we have the recourses? What if we succeed?

We develop our character only through effort, struggle, learning what works and what doesn’t work. We have the choice to choose faith over doubt. The more we choose faith the weaker doubt becomes.

The second head of deviance is “Delay”. Delay may be even more insidious because tell ourselves we will do it, we must just wait for the right time. That won’t be so bad, will it? Instead of this year, its next year, or the year after that, or even the year after that, until there are no more years to make our dreams come true.

Is there anything that has done more to make people not achieve their goals than delay?

Knowing that we haven’t spoken up when we should have, worked when we should have, fought when we should have, loved when we should have, lived when we should have – this is the misery of mankind’s inaction, of delay celebrating a win over our soul. Brendan Burchard

Would we have any heroes if when they are called to action they decided to wait?

It is our choice when we have faith, to choose action over inaction.

The third head of defiance is “Division”. When we let division rule our lives we end up alone. We become distant, intolerant, or hateful towards others. We feel we are different than others, more special, stronger, or weaker. When we refuse to feel vulnerable or loving, everyone is an idiot, insufficient, unworthy of trust or respect, then division has risen in our lives.

Division’s poison, then is antisocial venom that courses through us and clouds the innate emotional, social, and spiritual intelligence that would otherwise lead us universally to connection with others and to love. Brendan Burchard

Division is the greatest destroyer of our relationships, the breeder of social ills, and the cause of our aloofness and indifference to others.

Even if we banish doubt and delay from our lives if we do not banish division we will not find the success we desire. We must embrace love to banish division.

Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. Erich Fromm

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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The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power Hardcover – Oct 28 2014

by Brendon Burchard (Author) 4.5 out of 5 stars 49 ratings


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Ambivalence is not a good thing. Don’t we need to know where we are going, where we’ve been, and what we want to accomplish next? Can we make a decision and stand behind it?

Don't we need to know where we are going, where we've been, and what we want to accomplish next? Can we make a decision and stand behind it? Ambivalence is not a good thing.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

There is no challenge strong enough to destroy your marriage as long as you are both willing to stop fighting against each other and start fighting for each other. Unknown

Looking at books at Value Village on the weekend I saw a book Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay by Mira Kirshenbaum. I didn’t buy it, but I’ve been thinking about what it says. My husband and I even had a conversation about it. We all know people who have left marriages we thought good enough to stay in and stayed in bad marriages we thought they should have left.

We need to do soul searching to know which kind of marriage we are in. The soul searching should have been done before the marriage, but often people do things trying to make a bad relationship better. They get married when they should break up, they have a child when they should break up, and they buy a house when they should break up. For whatever reason, they keep doing things to make it better, but if it was never good, it is not likely to ever get good.

This is a hard truth and we should look at hard truths during our lives. In Toastmaster’s we have something called “Moments of Truth.” In “Moments of Truth” we are to take a good look at our clubs and see what needs to be changed and improved. We need to do the same with our relationships.

In the book, the author talks about a man who is not happy, and when he sees his friend get a divorce he gets one too. He is still not happy; the girls he’d like to date aren’t interested in him. The visits with his kids he thought would be fun are boring, the kids miss their friends, their stuff, and constant fun isn’t as much fun as he thought and a lot more expensive. He realizes he made a big mistake, but it’s done.

A strong marriage requires two people who choose to love each other even on the days when they struggle to like each other. Unknown

Another woman was in a relationship where they were carefree and her partner starts a business and becomes a businesswoman with all that entails. The relationship isn’t good and hasn’t been good, but because the businesswoman makes a lot of money and the partner doesn’t, she stays. Until one day while helping a woman find a place to live she realizes she too could afford her own place with a little better job.

If we stay for the wrong reasons or leave for the wrong reasons we haven’t made things better. We need to be able to figure out when to hold on and when to fold. We need to do this in other areas of our life as well. Why are we so hesitant to take a good look at what we like about our lives, and what we don’t. As Dr. Phil says we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge. Even after taking a good hard look at our life we may not see how to change it. There are things we can do even if it is only an attitude adjustment.

I keep telling my friends that the men looking our way are in their seventies and eighties. A couple I know of just got divorced. She was fifty and he had to be at least seventy-five when they got married. I don’t know her; I liked him as a grandfatherly person in my kid’s lives. Husband material for a fifty-year-old, I don’t think so.

Ambivalence in life isn’t good. We can stay stuck forever if we aren’t courageous enough to make a decision. One of the questions the author asks is: In spite of your problems, do you and your partner have even one positively pleasurable activity or interest (besides children) that you currently share and look forward to sharing in the future, something you do together that you both like that gives both of you a feeling of closeness for awhile? Would you say that to you, your partner is basically nice, reasonably intelligent, not too neurotic, okay to look at, and most of the time smells alright?

In the book The New I Do Reshaping Marriage for Sceptics, Realists, and Rebels by Susan Pease Gadoua co-written with Vicki Larson the authors talk about other marriage models than the “Love” marriage. Starter marriage, companionship marriage, parenting marriage, living alone together, safety marriage, covenant marriage and open marriage.  The author’s belief is that many people need to tailor their marriage to their own needs. If marriage is going to survive it needs to meet the two members’ needs, or at least most of those needs. What if one of the things we have to decide in our marriage is what our needs are? What if those needs change over time?

Marriage was at one time based on survival, procreation, property, and wealth. Now that we’ve made it all about “Love” we often find it can’t deliver as promised. Are we making the mistake of thinking marriage is only about love, and not realizing a good marriage is about so much more than just “Feeling in Love”. Dr. John Gottman talks about the Good Enough Marriage, this is what we should be after even though it wasn’t what most of us aspired to when we said: “I Do”. If after many, many years we have a “Good Enough” marriage we have achieved something worthwhile. A “Good Enough” marriage is not a bad marriage, if we have a “Good Enough” marriage, looking for a better partner is unlikely to get us what we might want a “Perfect Marriage” because they don’t exist.

Can we create a “Good Enough” marriage out of the one we have?

If you want to have a great marriage. You need to be humble enough to ask yourself, what changes do I need to make. 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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Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship Paperback – Jul 1 1997

by Mira Kirshenbaum (Author) 4.5 out of 5 stars 62 ratings


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Love and acceptance. Making the most of our choices.

Making the most of our choices. Love and acceptance.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Acceptance is one important manifestation of love. Unknown

I’m trying too hard to come up with a good speech. I wrote one quickly but I don’t know if I like it. It’s a five to seven-minute speech; it’s supposed to be funny. There is so much in life that is funny, so why when I am deliberately trying to come up with funny, does nothing seem funny?

Should I talk about men and women being different but equal? According to Susan Jeffers in Opening Our Hearts to Men, she says as women enter the workforce they are realizing they can manage without men, and men are realizing they do worse without women.

What are we to do when psychologically married men and single women fare better? What is it about marriage that works for men, and doesn’t work for women? Is this true, or is this like saying that unmarried women without children are the happiest people?

It was a carefree and fun time to be single without children. I enjoyed it immensely, but the meaning and joy brought into my life by children, and also the work, hard slogging and making ends meet of both time and resources has made me a better person.

Men used to provide the resources that let us raise our children. Now we women can provide our own resources and sometimes quite handsomely. Some men are left wondering what their role is.

My husband and I have worked together for years, we are interdependent. When there are two jobs it probably makes splitting up easier. If both can afford their own place it might not take much to be up and out, and not look back. When money is tight, many couples may stay together when if they were more affluent they would not.

Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice. Unknown

They tell us it is the rich who are getting married and staying together because they understand the cost of divorce, and the poor don’t seem to. What if we are still better together than we are apart, most of the time? Does it matter who brings in the bacon, or who cooks it, as long as there is cooked bacon? What if he brings home the bread, and she brings home the bacon and they can have a bacon sandwich. This, of course, is part of the growing divide between rich and poor. As some families have bread and bacon, some have only bread, some have only bacon, and some hardly get any bread or bacon on a consistent basis.

It seems there is a men’s revolution going on now as men try and figure out where they fit. Some men have given up on even attempting having a life with a woman in it. Some women have given up attempting to have a life with a man in it. Most men and women still feel a pull toward the opposite sex and want a life of love and family.

We’ve been told we can have it all. We may even understand that doesn’t mean we get it all at one time. As I watch my children take their place in the world I see especially my son figuring out how to go after what he wants, and how to make sure he wants what he goes after.

Some of us have worked very hard to climb a mountain and found at some point in our life it was the wrong mountain. Now that men and women both work it makes it easier to move to a different mountain. If we do it right having two incomes or at least two potential incomes may give us choices we wouldn’t have with strict gender roles.

We are told choice doesn’t necessarily make us happier. When we can go back and choose another option we are less satisfied with the option we have. This may be true, but I for one like options.

Serial marriages may not be the path to happiness, but what if the third marriage is the one that finally brings out the best in both partners? What if some of us are slow learners or poor pickers?

What if we live our lives, we make mistakes and we just have to accept the hand that is dealt and the choices we made along the way. Hopefully, at some point looking back, it all makes sense.

Is it possible to give anyone the gift of unconditional love and acceptance?

Loving and being loved unconditionally means taking a leap of faith. It means feeling safe in your relationship and making room for vulnerability so that you can both be truly seen for who you are. Andrea Miller

Acceptance. It is the true thing, everyone, longs for. The one thing everyone craves. To walk in a room and to be greeted by everyone with hugs and smiles. And in that small passing moment, you truly know you’re loved, needed, and accepted. Rena Harmon

It’s more than just the days, holding hands and kissing. It’s about accepting each other’s weirdness and flaws. It’s about being yourself and finding happiness together. It’s about seeing an imperfect person perfectly. 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.

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Opening Our Hearts to Men: Learn to Let Go of Anger, Pain, and Loneliness and Create a Love That Works Paperback – Apr 14 1990

by Susan Jeffers (Author) 4.5 out of 5 stars 5 ratings


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