Luck and good management, sowing and reaping, and where preparation meets perspiration.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant. Robert Louis Stevenson

Where does luck play in our lives and what role does god management play? When we hear about the lives of the rich and the famous it does seem they were at the right place at the right time, and they were prepared to take advantage of the luck that came their way. What were they doing to make that lucky break possible?

My son showed me a short video last night of a mother and her daughter taking an ice bath, the daughter looks to be about three. If we are willing to take ice baths what else might we accomplish in life?

I love to hear stories of how author’s books were discovered. A book has to be found, opened, read, and thought to be worth the read to become a great book. But, no one can find the book if it hasn’t been written, and no one can take our great invention, discovery, or idea and turn it into something bigger if we didn’t do something with the small kernel of an idea when it came to us.

How often have we seen something and wish we’d thought of it, but how often have we seen something someone else is doing and we did think about it, but didn’t do anything with the idea?

How many thoughts have we had that if implemented would have elevated our lives? We can’t do anything about opportunities that came in the past we didn’t take advantage of, but what would our life look like if we took advantage of the opportunities as they come in our future?

What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action. Meister Eckhart

What if we fail? What if playing it safe is a big failure in life? What if living a life with audacious goals is living the good life? What if we regret what we don’t do more than what we do?

We might write a book that doesn’t sell, but we’ve still written a book. We might start a business that doesn’t become a big success, but we still started a business, and if we’ve started one we can start another, just like we can write another book. What if collecting failures is something we have to do on our way to success? We have to get in the game to win the game, and too often we sit on the sidelines waiting for someone to do something, but if anything is going to change, we have to be the ones to change it.

How often do we think about what we could have done differently in the past, but what if we start thinking about what we can change in the future? We have no power to change the past, but what if we have a lot more power than we think to build our future? We have however much time we have and it will pass whether we do anything with it or not.

This is the month to plant a garden, and those who don’t plant now won’t enjoy the benefits of the garden later. Life is all about sowing and reaping, but we can’t reap what we didn’t sow!

What seeds can we plant today to reap in the future? What seeds are we planting that we won’t reap, but our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren will reap?

You cannot hold on to anything good. You must be continually giving – and getting. You cannot hold on to your seed. You must sow it – and reap anew. You cannot hold on to riches. You must use them and get other riches in return. Robert collier

Life is an echo. What you send out comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you. Zig Ziglar

If you don’t like the crop you are reaping, check the seed you are sowing. John C. Maxwell

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Mother’s Day without Mom, but she’ll always live in my heart.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

There is something about losing a mother that is permanent and inexpressible – a wound that will never quite heal. Susan Wiggs

Mother’s Day without our mother, for some of us happens early, and for some of us it happens late, but for most of us, there will be Mother’s Days without Mom. I feel for so many people who lose their mothers too young. If we are as lucky as I have been to have gotten from Mom all she had to give, for her to have gotten from life all there was to get, it is not the same as those cut down in life when there is still so much to experience.

There are conversations I would still like to have, and trips to see her I would still like to take, but here we are and it’s okay. But I say that as someone whose mother lived to ninety-nine. She got to meet all of her grandchildren, many great-grandchildren, and some great-great-grandchildren.

Even when we no longer have loved ones with us we have memories. We are blessed if we have fond memories of our mother and can reach out and touch her with a hug or a phone call. We are also blessed if while we could we made the best of the time we had with her.

We have to be careful we make the effort to stay in touch with family, it is easy to be involved in our own life especially if they are far away and not in contact as often as we should. There is no way to be a perfect mother, but there are as many ways to be good ones, as there are good mothers. We may wish we handled certain parts of motherhood better, just like we may wish we handled parts of life better, but if we did the best we knew how to do then what more can we ask of ourselves?

My mom is a never ending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. Graycie Harmon

If we have relationships that need repair and we are capable of repairing them we should attempt to heal the breach. Maybe we need to forgive ourselves for being the frail human we are, we made mistakes, we hurt someone, we misjudged, we wrongfully accused, or we expected more than they were capable of giving.

If we expect too much from people they will disappoint us, if we expect too much from ourselves we will fall short, but expecting more from ourselves and less from others instead of the other way around will lead to a happier life. We can keep trying to become who we want to become, but trying to get someone else to become who we want them to become will not end well. We need to accept people as they are, we can encourage them toward the great things we see they could do, but the life we see for them, and the life they want for themselves may not be the same thing.

The hardest part of being a mother may be giving up control of our children’s lives. When they are young we control everything, what they wear, what they learn, who is part of their life, and who isn’t. It doesn’t take long before they start making their own decisions, and part of our job is not to tell them what to do, but to let them grow and develop to take control of their own life and their own decisions. We will see them make mistakes, we’ve made our share, but if we believe we’ve learned more from our failures than our successes, so too will they.

We may wish families stayed together when we hear of a young family fractured, young children spending time with each parent separately instead of as a family. But, what if what is important is the love from each parent, not so much the love each parent has for each other? In an ideal world, everyone loves everyone and stays together forever, but we don’t live in an ideal world.

Expecting everything to be ideal is part of what disillusions us with life. Life is messy, relationships are messy, and when hard times come some pull together and some will pull apart. We might hope we are the ones that will pull together, we hope we can heal the breaches, we hope we can become stronger in the broken places, but we only control our side of the relationship, and if we are a mother watching our children living their lives, we have no control at all.

What we can offer as a mother is comfort, wisdom, understanding, and being there as much as possible without trying to take over. Our children grow up to take their place in the world, chart their course, and navigate the difficulties of life. We need to trust we’ve given them enough to become self-reliant, strong, and resilient people who can deal with what is theirs to deal with.

If we are lucky no matter what the distance was between us and our mother we had a close relationship, and even though one day she’s gone she still lives in our hearts. We are blessed if we have a good mother; it is our gift to our children and the world to be one.

Mom, you are the most beautiful memory I kept locked inside my heart. Narin Grewal

One day we will remember how lucky we were to have known their love, with wonder, not grief. Elizabeth Postle

Whenever I am missing you. I also remember how fortunate I was that you were in my life. I wouldn’t trade those moments for the world. Cindy Adkins

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Living life, making choices, and asking questions.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Spring flowers, trees in bloom, and getting out into the garden, what a wonderful weekend. The plants at my local store look lovely, and it’s time to plan what to plant.

This year we are making a little garden for our grandson. Four tires are in the backyard waiting to be painted and then we’ll assemble three on the bottom and one on top. Once we fill it with soil we can take him to pick out what he wants to plant.

I can hear him now, “This one, this one, and this one.” He happily played in his sandbox while I gardened on Saturday, and he was having so much fun when his father asked if he wanted to go to the park he said “No.”

I think about how Mom and Dad managed the farm when we were little. But when I was taking the tires out of bags, I had my grandson sit on the step and each time we went back for another tire he’d sit on the step.

He’s a big helper; he wants to help with everything. He helps crack eggs for breakfast, peel the garlic, and put it in the garlic press, and his favorite is to spin the lettuce.

Mom always said, “If you don’t let them help when they are little they won’t want to help when they are big.” It is so much fun watching him develop, and enjoy the little things in life. I hope he remains exuberant and willing to do things all his life. Is there a better motto for life than, “I do it.”

We don’t see things the way they are. We see them the way we are. Talmud

Watching him I wonder where my, “I do it,” went. That whatever is out there I could learn, master, and go on to the next adventure. I think of things to do, then think of the effort and cost, and wonder if it is worth it. We censor ourselves which is good and bad, we need good judgment to live a good life, but we also need a sense of adventure, getting out of our comfort zone, and doing things we haven’t done.

It might be true that a library and a garden help us lead a contented life, but is there room in our lives for adventure? Are we trying new things, going to new places, eating new food, and meeting new people? Fitting everything into our life is a challenge. We can’t do everything, see, and experience everything, but could we do more? Is it time for many of us to decide what is important to do in the next few years?

Is there one thing we want to do in different areas of our life we haven’t done yet? The best time to do it might have been twenty years ago, but the next best time is now. Spring is a great time to think about who we want to be, what we want to do, and what is possible.

Is there an adventure in our future? Do we need to get out of our comfort zone? What do we still want to do we haven’t done?

Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live. Anne Sweeney

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. Albert Einstein

Sometimes the questions are complicated, and the answers are simple. Dr Seuss

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Directing our days is directing our lives. We are where we are because of the choices we’ve made.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

Are we saying yes to life? As opportunities come along do we say yes or no to living an adventurous life? We might think adventure never knocks at our door, but is that true? Aren’t there always things we could be doing, learning, and experiencing?

One of the things I do is look at things I’d like to do and say, “That’s too expensive.” But at some point in our lives, it becomes do or don’t do, we’ve put off the things we want to do so long it is time to make it happen or know it will never happen.

Travel is one of the things we’ve wanted to do but haven’t done much of. But next year we are planning a trip to England. Many people are well-traveled but we’ve always used the excuse that it is hard to get away from a business – which it is, but every time we’ve taken time off it has worked out well.

Living a good life is up to us to interpret in our way, no two lives are the same, and we’ve made choices that have brought us to where we are. What would we like more of and what would we like less of in our lives? Would we like more fitness and health, that might mean less chips and ice cream, more walks, and less TV.

Do we want to go through life hand in hand with our partner, or do we have individual goals? Does one want one and the other partner wants the other? How do we make it work if we want to be out doing things in the world and our partner thinks we should be happy at home?

This weekend I said no to a walk with a friend, because my sister-in-law was coming over, or so I thought. But in the end, I did nothing on Sunday afternoon. I could have had a lovely afternoon walk, laughed, and stopped for tea.

It is easy to put off going for a walk, calling a friend, trips we want to take, exercising, and reading the books we say we want to read. The things we have to do, we do, but what about the things that feed our soul, expand our mind, and benefit our body? They often wait patiently, and if we aren’t careful they might never happen, because they aren’t urgent so we must fit them into our lives deliberately.

What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important. Dwight Eisenhower

How good are we at sorting out the important from the urgent? We get to decide what we do with our time, but if we don’t decide what to do with it others will decide for us, or the time will fly by with nothing accomplished.

Somehow we need to balance our lives between the urgent, and the important, our goals and dreams, and our partner’s goals and dreams. Today is the day we have, to plan and schedule the life we want, to make the most out of what is possible. It takes a plan and a schedule to get things done, and we should stop and smell the roses along the way.

Is there something we need to put into our schedule that we haven’t found the time to do?

A plan is what, a schedule is when. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done. Peter Turla

Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days. Zig Ziglar

Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week. Anonymous

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How high can we go if we work on being better today than yesterday?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If we are growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone. John C. Maxwell

Last night I listened to John Maxwell as I painted, he said he was told if he spent five years learning anything he could be a master at it, and he chose leadership. Halfway through his five years, he started seeing progress; people began seeing him as a leader. He changed his question from, “How long will it take, to how far can I go?” That question changed his life, how far can he go? How many more books can he write, and how many more people and organizations can he help?

What if we asked ourselves the same question? How far can we go, how much impact can we have, what difference can we make? Some of us may have a broad reach touching many lives, and some may have a deep reach where we impact fewer people but impact them mightily. We may have little impact outside of our family, but our impact may reverberate, and what seemed small and insignificant may have a wider impact than we think.

The family is the building block of our civilization and we are each part of a family. Do we lift others when we can, encourage them when needed, and help someone get back on course? Are we there in the good times and the bad, with them in glad times and sorrow, can they count on us for an encouraging word and a warm hug?

Success is a continuing thing, it is growth and development. It is achieving one thing and using that as a stepping stone to achieve something else. John C. Maxwell

At the Writers Group on Saturday one of our members wrote what he thought was the perfect book, and he gave it to his editor, who said, “I don’t think there is a market for this.” How great must it be for a writer to think they’ve written a perfect book? He’s written several books and didn’t get into what made that one perfect, but I’m assuming as he wrote each book he tried to make it better than the last until he thought, I don’t know how to improve on this one. It would be a great feeling to develop oneself to that point even if said book never becomes a commercial success.

We don’t know what something will become until we do it; we need to be willing to do something poorly if we ever can do it well. We will make mistakes, fail, and try again to make progress. This is the lesson we can teach our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again. Play on at whatever we do, and start new adventures throughout our lives.

Mom didn’t start quilting until she was in her eighties. Grandma Moses was in her late seventies when arthritis made continuing with her embroidery difficult, it was suggested she start painting instead.  Her last painting “Rainbow” was completed when she was 101.

If there is something we want to do, or something isn’t working for us anymore and we have to find another creative outlet, why not figure out how to make it happen? We may think it will take ten years to become good at it, but what can we accomplish in those ten years?

What is possible for our lives? We won’t know unless we take the steps to make something happen.

Courage isn’t an absence of fear. It’s doing what you are afraid to do. It’s having the power to let go of the familiar and forge ahead into new territory. John C. Maxwell

The only one you should compare yourself to is you. Your mission is to become better today than you were yesterday. John C. Maxwell

The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one. John C. Maxwell

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Can we all make a difference, are we doing the best we can with the resources we have?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how our life’s story will develop. Dieter f. Uchtdorf

Yesterday we went to the baptism of our daughter-in-law’s sister’s baby. She was not impressed with the event but we were thrilled to meet this little person. Last Thursday our grandson turned two. It is wonderful to be surrounded by babies. I won’t amass the number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren my mother did but if I can create happy memories for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren and leave them with a belief that the future can be as good for them as it has been for us, that is my wish.

On our way home our trusty truck sprung a leak in a hose and steam was spewing everywhere. A young man came up to the truck to tell us we had a problem. Sometimes I have to pinch myself because even this problem happening on our way home from the event happened at a better time than it could have. It could have happened on our way to the event and ruined our day, or happened when we had our grandson in the truck.

As our son and daughter-in-law drove me home, and my husband went with the tow-truck driver my son said, “I am thankful every day for the life I have.” He told me he gave a lift to a homeless man on Saturday and heard his tale of woe, and from the sounds of it, when things could get worse, they got worse, and people our tax dollars pay to help, aren’t doing a very good job. Some of the people down on their luck and homeless would accept help, but it seems real help is not easy for them to get.

Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Unknown

I’m not in the trenches, I don’t deal with the homeless, but I’ve heard stories, maybe we are trying to help the ones that don’t want to be helped, while the ones we could help to get back on their feet we let slip through the cracks until they too are beyond the little bit of help that would have been needed to tip them back into a life that would give them pride of independence.

We say we give people help, but when we speak to the people who are supposed to be receiving that help, we find they have to fight against a system that appears to kick them when they are down, withhold payments they are entitled to until we take all dignity away from them, and then we wonder why they become bitter and defeated. Is there a communication problem between those helping and those needing the help?

This is a tale told to me by my son, of a homeless man asking him if he thought he could get a job in the industry my son is in. He would need some training but it is an industry looking for workers and skilled work with a future. If he gets a hand up will he take it? How many people we see are looking for a hand-up, not a handout? How could we use the money we spend on the homeless to make a real difference? Are we making a real difference now but not hearing the success stories?

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate. To have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. Helen Keller

Be someone’s strength. Be someone’s inspiration. Be someone’s reason to never give up. Unknown

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Can crisis be a powerful addiction; does it make us feel powerful to be part of a crisis?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Successful people recognize crisis as a time for change – from lesser to greater, smaller to bigger. Edwin Louis Cole

How many of you are hearing the phrase, “Modern women” thrown out disparagingly, mostly by men, but also by women? Young women with rights and freedoms are making choices and those choices impact society.

Some believe if women had stayed out of the workforce it wouldn’t take three incomes to purchase a home. Others believe if the women weren’t more educated than the men they wouldn’t have trouble finding a suitable husband.

My son’s conversations make me think, and that’s a good thing, but YouTubers complaining about modern women make me think they are bitter and twisted because women with choices don’t have to choose them.

Choice doesn’t always give us a better life, and too much choice might make us take so long to choose, the choices we thought we had are no longer available to us. This I think is the conundrum young women face, many have so much attention when they are young they revel in that attention until it passes them by, and the prospects for a husband become slim to none.

How many materially successful and highly educated women with no husband and no children wish they weren’t so highly educated or materially successful, and had a couple of children and grandchildren to love?

My son mentioned last night that watching me with my grandson makes him think that only having two children lessoned the joy I could have had in my life, as my husband and I put other things ahead of having a big family. He also said he doesn’t believe with all that feminism has brought to my life, it isn’t better than my great-grandmother’s. He might be right, what has made my life better is the healthcare I received, so I didn’t die during childbirth.

A time of crisis is not just a time of anxiety and worry. It gives us a chance, an opportunity, to choose well or to choose badly. Desmond Tutu

So much of a woman’s life is tied up in marriage and children, and a good husband has given women over the ages a good life. Two good people getting together and making the best of what there was has made our society what it is. One of the things feminism has done is make it so women can afford to flirt and cavort with men who do not have their best interests at heart, that doesn’t lead to a better life, it just means they don’t pay as dearly for bad choices. But someone always pays the price when there is a price to be paid. Part of the lament about “Modern women” is who is paying the price.

We went from handwringing about overpopulation, and now we lament about the birth rate. Do we need a crisis to be happy? A crisis gives us something to focus on, rally the troops, and feel important. What if we are making big things out of ebbs and flows, and in the fullness of time when now becomes history, and problems we think are big problems hardly cause thought at all, we will have other crises to contemplate – maybe real ones, the ones we won’t see coming.

Faced with crisis, the man of character falls back on himself. He imposes his own stamp of action, takes responsibility for it, makes it his own. Charles De Gaulle

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. Hellen Keller

Every crisis has both its dangers and its opportunities. Each can spell either salvation or doom. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Life is full of ironies and paradoxes, the tighter we try to hold onto something the more we are in danger of losing it.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. Carl Rogers

Another year is ending, and we look forward to the New Year with hopes in our hearts and sadness for what is past. There are people we may never speak to again that were part of our lives for years or moments. There are places we may never visit again, or maybe we moved houses this year. This might have been a year of big or small changes. Our family grew or got smaller, and families were joined while others disintegrated. Businesses were started, and some ended. Life for some of us will carry on pretty much the same.

We’ve had a tradition of going to The Apple Factory for pie. I’m not sure how many years we’ve been taking a scenic drive to pick up pie, but they closed on December 24th, I drove up one last time, but the shelves were empty and there was no pie to be had. The sign said “Last Day December 24th from 9:00 to 3:00 but it seems they ran out of pies on December 23rd.

We’ll need a new tradition, and maybe I should try making pies. Mom isn’t making pies anymore but she made the best pies. I have her pie crust recipe and when I spoke to my youngest sister she was making a pie for Christmas day. We didn’t have Christmas dinner, we had a lovely big breakfast, opened gifts, and then everyone went off to family for Christmas dinner. We started a Christmas breakfast tradition years ago, and it works, so our daughter and son can go to their in-laws for Christmas dinner and everyone gets Christmas with them on Christmas day.

This year our twenty-month-old grandson enjoyed opening presents and watching him have fun made it fun for us. Children make Christmas special for adults, and adults make Christmas special for kids. Basking in the warm glow of a family Christmas is the dream and if we are lucky that dream becomes a reality. When everyone left, my husband, the dog, and I settled in to watch a couple of movies and enjoy what remained of the day.

The paradox of our time is that we spend more, but have less. We buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more comforts, but less time. We have more information, but less knowledge, more questions, but fewer answers. Unknown

It’s time to set our goals for the New Year. What do we want to change, what do we want more of, and what is still possible in our lives that if we work hard at, we can accomplish? What would we consider the pinnacle of success, and if we reach that goal what is the one beyond that? Is our life crying out for change, have we come to the end of an era, do we have a new direction to go in? Do we have decisions to make that will change our lives, but putting off those decisions just delays the inevitable?

In John Eldredge’s book, “Wild at Heart,” he says: “Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.” He says, “Women want to be romanced, an irreplaceable role to play, and beauty all our own to unveil.”

I think he nailed it and there is a lot of scope for us if we get what we want out of life, love, and adventure. Are we as women making our men feel needed, appreciated, and respected? Are our men making us feel loved, beautiful, and irreplaceable?

If we can meet our partner’s deepest needs and desires and they can meet ours we can walk hand in hand throughout life. What if knowing what those needs are is what we need to know, so we can do our best to fulfill them? What if giving someone what we want, instead of what they want, is one of our problems? What if we have to quit trying to make everything better, what if desiring a positive experience is itself a negative experience, and accepting a negative experience is a positive experience? What if we have to let go of trying to control everything and let life unfold and accept the paradoxes of life? What if trying to be happy is one of the things that lead to unhappiness, and accepting unhappiness leads to happiness?

The world is full of paradoxes and life is full of opposites. The art is to embrace the opposites, accommodate the paradoxes and live with a smile. Sri Ravi Shankar

It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it. Arnold J. Toynbee

Life has three rules: Paradox, Humor, and Change. – Paradox: Life is a mystery; don’t waste your time trying to figure it out. – Humor: Keep a sense of humor, especially about yourself. It is a strength beyond all measure. – Change: Know that nothing ever stays the same. Dan Millman

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Creativity adds a dimension to our lives we will get no other way.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns. Edward de Bono

Creativity feeds our soul and gives more life to our years and what if it even adds years to our lives? I found this definition of creativity: the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others. Creativity opens our minds and allows us to bring into existence something new.

We don’t need to be creative these days to live because we can buy everything we need, and often our do-it-yourself projects don’t look as good as professionals would, but is our life smaller if we don’t bring creativity into our lives?

What if one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to find a creative outlet we enjoy? Some people love to take an old car and turn it into a beautiful work of art, it might take years to find the parts and refinish the body. People remodel homes, build gardens, sew, paint, and find other creative outlets.

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. Maya Angelou

My daughter paints with her eighteen-month-old son and he loves it. His other grandmother came over to pick up a couple of his masterpieces to put on her fridge. He isn’t concerned with what he’s painted once it is finished; it is the act of creating that he enjoys. This is the thing with creativity it is the creativity in the moment that feeds our soul.

Do we feel bad if we create bad art, compared to buying what others consider good art, or have you like me looked at what some consider good art and wondered what makes some of it good?

Making something is good for the soul, being useful is good for the soul, and contributing to the greater good is good for the soul. What might not be so good for our soul is being the bystander that we become when we watch TV.

One of the things I’ve thought about is, whether we do well with too much leisure, or do we do better when we have full and busy lives? Do we even know what makes us happy, or do we find ourselves happy in unexpected moments?

Do we sometimes think creativity is for someone else? Creativity is for all of us, and the more we bring it into our lives the better our lives will be.

If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present. Lao Tzu

The worst enemy of creativity is self-doubt. Sylvia Plath

Creativity is simply connecting new dots in new ways. Sam Horn

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Make your choices carefully; those choices build your life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Make the most of yourself for that is all there is of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today I am giving my final speech to receive my Distinguished Toastmaster designation. It’s taken me seven years since I last started Toastmasters, and I was away from Toastmasters for thirty years.

There are many lessons I’ve learned from Toastmasters, but they aren’t lessons special to Toastmasters. Toastmasters might only have helped me be more courageous and go after my dreams with more vigor. We can only juggle so many balls at once and Toastmaster has always been a ball I could set down and pick up again, unlike marriage, family, and business. Writing, art, and Toastmasters are back in my life because the heavy lifting of raising children is over.

No matter what we do in life we need to set goals, persevere, and realize that the journey as well as the destination is important. When we reach a pinnacle of achievement we need a new goal because although it feels great to meet our goal it also feels like we’ve lost something. If we don’t replace the goal we just attained with another one we may feel let down which hits us hard because we weren’t expecting that.

There’s something magical about putting yourself into life. You’ve got to stand up and take responsibility for your own life and you cannot abandon that. Bill Kurtis

Nothing in life lasts forever an old phase ends, and a new one begins. If we set goals for every phase of our life we will continue to grow, but if we begin to think that the best is in the past, why bother to set new goals,  we can become disheartened, and life becomes bleak and colorless.

My cousin is staying with Mom and sent a picture yesterday of Mom knitting. Staying interested in things or getting interested in them again can be a boon to our lives. We might think little goals aren’t important, but little goals lead to bigger goals, and over time a series of small goals we’ve accomplished might lead to more success than we thought possible.

Life is a series of choices and we make choices that affect our lives every day. The better the choices we make the better our lives will be. We might think as we get older we don’t need to set goals but even the goal of going for a walk every day will make a big difference.

I met a lady years ago whose aunt said to her, “It takes a long time to die.” She had been given a prognosis and instead of living until she died, she was waiting to die. It might seem like a subtle difference but we hear about people with a bad prognosis that live with as much gusto as they can manage.

In truth, we all have a bad prognosis, because this life will be over at some point, so we need to make the best of the opportunities and choices we have while we have them.

What do we still want to do, what is still possible, and what is our next step?

The success of any change depends, in large measure, on your attitude about that change. David Cottrell

You can change yourself and you can change the situation but you absolutely cannot change other people. Only they can do that. Joanna Trollope

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. Stephen Covey

Thank you for reading this post. Please come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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

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