Is it true early to bed and early to rise makes us healthy, wealthy, and wise? Do we need to do what we can, to build the life we want, and quit trying to be perfect?

Do we need to do what we can, to build the life we want, and quit trying to be perfect?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order. Anne Wilson Schaef

One of my Toastmaster buddies mentioned a book she was reading and practicing its recommendations. The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma.

According to Christopher Randler, a biology professor at the University of Education in Heidelburg, Germany, “When it comes to business success, morning people hold the important cards. My earlier research shows that they tend to get better grades in school, which get them into better colleges, which then lead to better job opportunities. Morning people also anticipate problems and try to minimize them. They’re proactive. Many studies have linked this trait, productivity, with better job performance, greater career success, and higher wages.”

“Though evening people do have some advantages – other studies reveal they tend to be smarter and more creative than morning types, have a better sense of humor, and are more outgoing – they’re out of sync with the typical corporate schedule.”

A good night’s sleep can make us more productive since it assists with improving our memory, concentration, and complex problem-solving.

Morning people tend to be more persistent, cooperative, agreeable, conscientious, and proactive.

Getting enough sleep strengthens our immune system. We also wake up energized and this may make it so we can get a workout in before the rest of the day takes all our energy.

They say the first hour of the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. By getting up at 5:00 I can exercise, write in my journal, read, and walk my dog before I sit down to write my blog. By the time I reach my desk at 9:00 I’ve already had a pretty productive morning. When I used to try and write at the end of the day, it was harder,

It was writing at the end of the day after I put the kids to bed that created the habit of writing other than in my journal which enabled me to actually write a novel. If someone had told me I had to get up early and write early in the morning the novel would still not be written. In time I moved my writing habit to the morning.

We need to start where we are; regardless of what it is, we want to bring into our life. If it is exercise, eating better, creativity, taking up a hobby, developing a skill or talent, we need to find the time, anytime that works for us so we can develop a habit.

After we do whatever, then we do this new thing we are fitting into our life. It becomes automatic, the more we automate the good habits in our life the easier it is. We don’t sit and think will I go to the gym, do art, write, etc. If we’ve established a routine we automatically finish dinner, go to the gym, then write, or practice whatever creative endeavor we are working on, all without really thinking about it. We only need to think when we deviate from our routine.

Occasionally my blog does not fit into my day. I’ve made peace with that. If we go to bed late, I give myself the day off, and I don’t beat myself up about it. I try not to do it two days in a row. One of the reasons I try to go to the gym every Monday is it starts the week off right. Even if the rest of the week is too busy to go, by going Monday I’ve kept up the habit of going to the gym.

A beautiful thing is never perfect. Egyptian Proverb

One of the things we have to override is our attitude that says, well I’ve blown it, what does it matter. It is that perfectionism that makes it so we ditch our healthy eating, exercise program, creative projects, or whatever good things we have going in our life that we can’t commit to perfectly. Our life needs a degree of flexibility so everything can fit into it.

Do we really want to be the “party pooper” who has to go to bed at 10:00 even when there are important functions to attend? Do we really want to be so inflexible with our eating that our husband can’t plan a special dinner? We can’t be invited to a potluck or barbecue? Life is short, we need to fit everything in, but everything does not need to be perfect. We can eat right most of the time, exercise most of the time, write our blog most of the time, practice our creativity most of the time or some of the time, whatever fits with our life. Where we make mistakes is when we think if we can’t do it just the way we think we should, then we won’t bother to do it at all.

So they tell us if we sit down and write every day we will write a novel in a year. So it takes us twelve years, are we a failure? I don’t think so. If we exercise some, eat better, make time for what feeds our soul, have time for laughter and socializing, enjoy time with our partner and children, do the work that keeps body and soul together, and make time for whatever other pursuits call to us. Isn’t that a great life? A messy, full, juggled, individual life, that fits us, that makes us who we want to be, feeds our soul, enriches our life, and the lives of our family.

Isn’t a vibrant, joyful life what we are after? Not what someone tells us would be perfect, and doable. What we can do, what we can fit in, what is most important to us. At different stages in our life, different things will be most important.

One of the things with the experts is they make us feel inadequate, how are they doing all that? We have many people who do great in one area of their life, but not so great in others. Comparisons are odious. We are individuals with individual lives, challenges, and aspirations. We need to make our life fit us; we need to make our dreams and aspirations come true. We need to find a way that works for us. It will not be like anyone else’s life.

We don’t see other people’s challenges most of the time. Don’t we compare the worst of ourselves to the best of someone else and find ourselves wanting.? We should quit doing this; don’t we need to be okay with good enough?  If we are good enough in enough areas we will have lives we are proud of. If we don’t have that life yet we have things to work on, but we will never have a perfect life.

One of the great things may be that there will always be some area of our life we can work on. We will have one more goal to reach, and one more mountain to climb.

Can we continue where we are? Can we live a life of few regrets? If not now, when?

Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves; the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – that we should try harder. Julia Cameron

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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 54 customer reviews

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Are we walking the talk? Are we practicing what we are preaching? Are we embracing our imperfections?

Are we embracing our imperfections. Are we waling the talk, Are we practicing what we preach?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The best way to succeed in life is to act on the advice we give to others. Mother Teresa

Is it possible to live up to our own expectations?  Are we able to follow our own advice to the letter? I don’t think so.

We all know forgiveness is better than not forgiving but it isn’t easy. It’s hard to forgive people, and harder still sometimes to be able to forgive ourselves for not being better.

I’m looking at something on practicing what we preach and the author says if Jim gets up and says, “I used to be the town drunk, but I found Jesus, I’m still a drunk, but I’m a forgiven drunk.” The author is saying he would have no credibility, and his testimony would be of no worth.

I think we better think hard and long about that. Most of us are not drunks, drug addicts, or cheating on our mates. We are regular people with small problems like gossip, holding a grudge, judging and misjudging others, not always being considerate or kind, not always putting others first, and many other shortcomings. We are not always the best we can be, and not always consistent in everything.

If we were “the drunk” and took a drink that is held against us more than if we have a piece of cake, or we engage in gossip. I’ve always had a problem knowing the difference between gossip and conversation.

My mom fills me in on the news of the family. Is this gossip? Some say it isn’t gossip if there’s a useful purpose to talking about someone, even it is “behind their back.” Are we really digging into the details or just sharing something we heard – clearly said – to further the conversation? Obviously, this is a blurry line.

Not nearly as cut and dried as did we have that drink or eat that cake. We can say things innocently and mean no malice; they can still take on a life of their own and be very negative in people’s lives. Innocent words can come back to bite us and other people.

Where does a blog sit? As a journey of self-discovery, it is exactly that, looking at things and sharing. It is not about being perfect or pretending to know what one does not know, nor what one does not do. It is a journey of discovery if it is anything at all.

Support groups are also about self-growth and discovery. I know from my book club that sitting and talking about some of the deep things in life is a form of connection we might not get any other way. Some say when we sit in a circle, the world heals a little more. When we sit in a circle, at a table, or holding hands cross-legged on the floor, we celebrate our similarities, not our differences, and this is empowering. We have and are sharing experiences.

When we go to Church or hear speakers we are part of a group of like-minded people. One of the problems the Church has is we can’t stand up and say we are still struggling, but we are all still struggling, no one is perfect. This is why some people feel they can never find in a Church what they find in a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous where they are honest, vulnerable and accepted.

To banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality. John Ruskin

Don’t we all want to be able, to be honest, vulnerable, and accepted? Isn’t this where all growth takes place? When we pretend we are better than we are, stronger than we are, more perfect than we are, this is when we put on the mask; this is when we are no longer living a life accepting ourselves warts and all. Is this when we become hypocrites; when we are not authentic, honest, and open?

It isn’t necessarily a bad thing to put our best foot forward, what is bad is when we pretend that is our whole self. We need to be willing to live a good enough life, have a good enough marriage, and be good enough parents. When we are willing to be good enough, there is room to admit our shortcomings, and help others admit theirs, and feel supported in our struggles to be better. Perfection is the enemy of the good, pretending to be perfect is harmful. Why do we wonder why there are hidden secrets when we weren’t willing to let people admit to their frailties and weaknesses?

We should all be willing to stand up and say “My name is __________________ and I’m a ________________________.  That blank could be filled with anything, greedy, gossipy, cantankerous, selfish, narcissistic, envious, jealous, or judgmental person. We need to accept ourselves how we are. We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge, and pretending to be perfect isn’t acknowledging our imperfections, and we are imperfect, it is what it is, and it’s okay.

Brene Brown tells us to make peace with our imperfections, we are good enough, we look as good as we look, we can dance as well as we can dance, our taste in music is ours, our challenges are ours, our story is ours, Courage requires us to be willing to let go of worrying about what other people think about us.

Courage doesn’t mean we aren’t afraid, courage means we don’t let fear stop us. I am trying to embrace myself, imperfections and all. It isn’t easy, but then the things that are worth doing are never easy, are they?

There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman unapologetically hersef; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty. Steve Maraboli

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The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are Paperback– Aug 27 2010

by Brene Brown (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 267 customer reviews#1 Best Sellerin Spiritual

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When we choose our food, we choose our health. We are what we eat.

We are what we eat. When we choose our food, we choose our health.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Let food by thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food. Hippocrates

Yesterday when trying to edit the photo for my blog a comment that said I needed to reload the photo popped up. After three tries I was locked out of my Word press account. Panicking a little, although it is not life or death if a post gets out or not. I went into admin and after proving I wasn’t a robot got into my WordPress account but still couldn’t edit my photo. I chose one that was right side up and posted.

The upside is, my son showed me a better way to access and edit my photos, so even though I still have the problem with Word press I will have a better method of editing my photos. We don’t know when a problem presents itself that we may learn something from, we wouldn’t have learned without the problem.

This can happen in all areas of our life. When a heart surgeon Dr. Steven R. Gundry feels he can help more people through nutrition than surgery I’m willing to experiment with what he says and figure out if it works for me. He thought he was eating a healthy diet, running and weight training but when he tweaked his diet he got healthier. Since starting Plant-Based Whole Food (most of the time) in 2015, I am healthier.

Leaky gut is what he promises this diet will heal. Leaky gut is something I’m sure I’m dealing with. This is the reason I am tweaking my diet.

Today is the start of my daughter’s and my three day Plant Paradox kick start. Because I spent yesterday with my sister, we aren’t ready. My daughter had to leave for work by six thirty. She said she didn’t know what to take for lunch so she grabbed something from the fridge.

Certain members of the family are looking at us like “Why are we doing this”? As an experimenter of food, and perhaps now a commenter on it, it is an important part of my journey. We are what we eat, and certain foods affect us in certain ways. The Plant Paradox is a plan to help us figure out what plants may contribute to certain problems we have. By listening to our body we can nourish it and remove what is not nourishing to it. This is a continuation of the experiment with food I have been conducting for years.

When we look at the robustly healthy older adults in their eighties and nineties we wonder how they got that old, that healthy. They aren’t always people who never had a health problem. They are often people who have taken their health in hand and worked with their body instead of against it.

Those who have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to have time for illness. Edward Stanley

Mom didn’t eat much fat because of a gall bladder problem for forty years. She watched what she ate instead of having her gall bladder removed. When she ended up with high cholesterol and my Dad didn’t, she started eating more fat.

It isn’t just luck that Mom is as healthy as she is. Part of it is how she has managed when she’s had problems. She’s eliminated foods from her diet that bother her. She has gone whole weeks on cream-of-wheat porridge while she figured out what the offending foods were. She didn’t go to the Doctor for a pill, she figured out what her problem was and fixed it. You can’t do that for everything but a lot of our lifestyle diseases are caused by what we eat, and they won’t be fixed until we change our way of eating. Everyone’s body is different, what works for one may not work for all.

Mom can’t eat canola oil, hazelnuts, or cherries. Spinach is a healthy food that can cause problems for people prone to gout. These are all healthy foods. We can be working hard at getting healthier but if the foods we are eating to make us healthier aren’t ones that agree with our body we may be going in the wrong direction.

This is not a one size fits all. Our ancestors figured a lot of stuff out so our ancestral diet will likely work for us, but often there are certain diseases accompanying certain ways of eating. Many of us are no longer of one ancestry; we may have more to figure out or less.

If we start from the premise we should be healthy, and if we aren’t there is a reason, and if we look for it we can find it, we might be on the road to health. We have a place to start. Will we live to a healthy hundred if we do this, not necessarily? If we can live till we die as healthy as possible that’s good enough for me.

Is nutrition the answer to everything, probably not? Can we make our food work for us instead of against us? Can we figure out what those foods are?

Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments. Bethenny Frankel

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The Plant Paradox Quick and Easy: The 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Feel Great, and Live Lectin-Free Paperback – Jan 8 2019

What? What if? What now? Mindfulness reflections.

Mindfulness reflections. What? What if? What now?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future, concentrate on the present moment. Buddha

Being mindful is, “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state or heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences on a moment to moment basis.”

Last night at Toastmasters a powerful speech was given on mindfulness and how being mindful by asking the questions, what? what if?  what now? helped someone put their life and thoughts into perspective and develop a better view of themselves.

One of our biggest problems is we compare the worst of ourselves to the best of others. Of course, we find our self not living up to our own expectations by doing this. We are often kinder to everyone else than we are to our self. We understand they made mistakes, but we can’t forgive our self for our mistakes.

We all make mistakes, we reach for something beyond our grasp, we fail and we grow. Sometimes we only recognize the failure but do not recognize the growth. As Albert Einstein said, “We are all genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” We do this to ourselves; we berate ourselves because we don’t have talents in particular areas while we don’t recognize the talents we do have.

In Louise Hayes’s book You Can Heal Yourself she tells us to tell our self, “I approve of me.” She doesn’t mean we shouldn’t improve; learn from our mistakes, or change attitudes and behaviors that don’t serve us. We are doing the best we can, and when we know better we do better. When we acknowledge we are not perfect, we will never be perfect, but we are enough we can treat ourselves kindly. We can give ourselves the tools, resources, and environment to bloom where we are planted.

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. Thich Nhat Hanh

Each one of us is unique, we all have things about us that are admirable, and we all have things about us not so admirable. We need to accept all of who we are, warts and all. As long as we live we can grow, develop, and learn. If we look at someone else’s life and they have or are doing something we want to have or do, we need to figure out what they’ve done to be who they are and have what they have. Are we willing to do it? Do we want our life of relaxation and time for our family but their money and position because they’ve given up relaxation and time with the family? Have we looked at the price they’ve paid, because there is always a price? If we want what they have, we have to do what they did, but we also have to pay the price they’ve paid.

This may seem daunting but it is also freeing. There is a choice, lives are built, not by happenstance, but by actions, one action built upon another action for good or ill. What we think and do today builds our tomorrow. What we think and did all our yesterdays built our today.

If there are things about our life we would like to change we can make big or large adjustments on how we deal with others, our time, our thoughts, and our actions.

Sometimes we need to take a good long, hard look at our life. We may wish we’d made different decisions but when we look at our life what would we give up for what someone else has? If we have close relationships but not enough money would we trade? If we spent our youth becoming trained in a specific area would we give that up for the person who tripped around the world, would they change places with us?

We spent our life building a family instead of a business; would we trade, would they? We see someone’s fit body but are we willing to go to the gym at six in the morning? Life is about choice. If we want something different we’ll have to do something different. Maybe we can start by asking ourselves the questions. What? What if? What now?

Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more. Mother Teresa

“What day is it?” asked Pooh. “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day,” said Pooh.

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There is always something more to learn.

There is always more to learn.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning. Bruce Lee

We don’t know what we don’t know. We don’t know what we have to learn, what will jump out at us and force us to learn, or what we may learn when we search for knowledge about something else.

This is part of what makes life exciting. Learning something may set us on a path we didn’t know we were interested in. We may find a new field of study, a new hobby, interest, career, or business. We don’t know where life will take us. When we’ll read something or have a conversation that changes our life.

This week I learned figs are flowers, not fruit. I learned eating goat, sheep cheese, and ghee is often okay for people sensitive to regular dairy. Soaking oatmeal in vinegar makes it easier to digest. Pressure cooking beans and lentils neutralize harmful lectins.

As much as we congratulate ourselves on the modern world we’ve built, we are not as healthy as we used to be. We don’t die because we are gored by a rhino; we die because we are undernourished, overfed, and lonely amid crowds.

People who believe the earth is flat are real, not just jokester’s. It sounds like you would have to be joking to say “the earth is flat”. That all the photos of earth from space are just a hoax, and there’s a rim of ice that keeps the oceans from spilling over.

My parent’s always told me truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.

Lifetime learning provides many benefits. Through lifelong learning, we can improve and develop new skills, gain confidence, fight boredom, and keep our mind and brain healthy. We model positive behavior for our children and grandchildren. We discover new interests, stay healthier, and sleep more soundly.

Too much of our formal learning is focused on giving people credentials instead of knowledge. Learning is fun, but we’ve found ways to take the joy out of it. Why do music lessons suck the joy out of music for our children instead of creating great musicians?  Why are a lot of the people with a real passion for the arts, writing, and music self-taught?

Children do not move, think or speak in a straight line, and neither does imagination nor creativity. But sadly, our standardized pathways of education do. Unknown

There is a place for lessons, but if we missed out on lessons we can still do what we want to do. We can teach our self music, art, writing, sewing, house remodeling, etc. We don’t have to make money from our interests, or maybe we do make money from them. Finding new interests engages our brain, adds excitement to our lives, make us think, dream, and discover new possibilities. We add color, joy, and passion to our life.

I was just reading about a professional musician who no longer loves music. Perhaps a new interest needs to be found; music has become a job and no longer a passion. Most of us need jobs and need to find our passion elsewhere. Learning something new can bring passion back into our lives. We have an idea; we can’t wait to see if it will work.

Life becomes an experiment again. It may be something as simple as seeing if cutting dairy from our diet makes us feel better. How far can we walk today? Who would we meet if we joined a class, group, or club? Where could our lives go if we started learning something new, now? There is always more to learn, we don’t have time to learn it all, but we can die trying. Is it true, the more passion we put into our lives, the more passion we get out?

When I walk along with two others, from at least one I will be able to learn. Confucius

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. Albert Einstein

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Micromastery: Learn Small, Learn Fast, and Find the Hidden Path to Happiness Hardcover – Jun 27 2017

4.2 out of 5 stars   4 reviews from |

Reclaiming our health with our choices. No one can make us healthy but our self.

No one can make us healthy but our self. Reclaiming our health with our choices.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison. Ann Wigmore

My husband asked me, “When are you starting your Plant Paradox Diet”?

“Eating plan”, I corrected him. Monday is the start of the three-day kick start. I will report our progress periodically. If anyone wants to join us, feel free.

Because I’ve been plant-based since September 2015 (mostly vegan) this isn’t so hard for me. I’m bringing some foods back. He offers vegan and vegetarian options and believes too much protein isn’t good for us. I’m not interested in getting back into a meat-heavy diet but small amounts of grass-fed beef, pasture raised chicken (not sure where to source this), omega 3 eggs, wild fish, and seafood coming back into my diet and getting healthier sounds like a win, win to me.

Dr. Gundry is even telling me I can bring some dairy back into my diet. French, Italian, or Swiss cheeses, and also goat, sheep, or water buffalo cheese, and ghee (clarified butter).

I’m being told to peel my potatoes, eat white bread instead of whole grain, pressure cook my beans and lentils, and eat white rice instead of brown.

I’ve been playing around with his program, filling in my food journal and the other day I noted I felt better, and I hadn’t been feeling bad. One of the things I’ve had is an inflamed tonsil and it looked better yesterday. Last night I ate something that didn’t agree with me, so it makes me think he is onto something. We need to listen to our body, but first, we need to get rid of everything that bothers us, get our immune system off high alert, so we can notice when we’ve eaten something that doesn’t agree with us.

The basis of good health is always real, nutrition-dense food – all other therapies depend first and foremost on the diet. Sally Fallon Morell

The Plant Paradox isn’t the first book to talk about lectins. I pulled out my books on Eat Right for Your Blood Type by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo. Dr. Gundry and Dr. D’Adamo’s list of lectin foods are very similar. What I like about The Plant Paradox is the connection to our health begins in our gut.

Good oral health and good gut health seems to be where we should put our emphasis. Good oral health isn’t just about going to the Dentist and flossing and brushing regularly although that’s important. Nutrition is the other pillar of good oral health.

When Dr. Weston Price visited peoples with excellent dental health before they adopted a modern diet they didn’t have excellent dental health because of their oral hygiene, but because of their diet. From what I have gleaned Dr. Weston Price’s recommendations and Dr. Gundry’s recommendations are similar.

Dr. Gundry is recommending we look at traditional diets and find what worked. Why are seeds and skin not included in Italian tomato sauce? Why was white rice the staple of millions instead of brown rice? Why was bread made with sourdough? Why was white bread the staple over brown?

We in our hubris often think traditional societies didn’t know anything. “That’s an old wives tale,” we’ll say about a traditional way of doing things. We are trying to relearn what societies learned over thousands of years. Do we really think health wasn’t important to our ancestors? Can we reclaim our health through better choices?

The problem is not so simple as merely cutting down or eliminating sugars and white flour though this is exceedingly important. It is also necessary that adequate mineral and vitamin carrying foods be made available. Dr. Weston A. Price

People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food. Wendell Berry

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Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine: Improving Health and Longevity with Native Nutrition Paperback – Apr 1 1997

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Primal Nutrition: Paleolithic and Ancestral Diets for Optimal Health
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We are enough. Marriage is worth it. Build a life you love.

Build a life you love. Marriage is worth it. We are enough.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A healthy relationship with yourself sets the standard for a relationship with someone else. Renee Slansky

Yesterday I saw a post on Facebook by a woman I grew up with. Her post is about self-love, we make mistakes, we don’t always say, nor do the right things. We trust the wrong people; we give people chances and second chances they don’t deserve. All our failures, missteps, disappointments, joys, missed opportunities, and chances we’ve taken have made us into who we are. We are good enough, we are worthy of love, from our self and others.

If we are lucky enough to have a partner who is great but not perfect we need to love them and appreciate them.

I’m hearing some young men say they don’t know why they should get married. My advice is, get married if you want to experience the depth and breadth of life. Get married if you want someone to share a life with who has your back, shares your dreams, and wants to build a life with you. Get married if you’d like to create a family and have the joy of bringing a new baby home, seeing them walk for the first time, say their first words which are usually Dada. If you want to feel you’ve done something really special create a new person with someone you love.

There is nothing in life that will give you more joy than your family. You will never feel as vulnerable as knowing everything you love could be taken away in an instant by death, or divorce. We are stronger than our fears; many of the things we fear never come to pass. We must go after what we want and face failure in all areas of our lives to achieve success. We can get through the tough times whatever they may be with strength and perseverance. Sometimes we have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

There are no guarantees in this world. Loving someone is not a guarantee of never being sad, hurt, lonely, betrayed (or feeling betrayed even if the thought is only in our own mind).

If you want to feel empty, lonely like you don’t matter, that you don’t make a difference then stay single and don’t become a father. Because then you really don’t matter in the scheme of things. It is only through connection with others that we really matter.

You don’t marry because the partner you’ve found is so special you are guaranteed she will never leave you. Even in the bible Genesis 2:18 it says, “If a man is worthy, the woman will be a helper, if he is unworthy, she will be against him”.

This would put a man’s behavior and attitude squarely as being very important and if he wants a wife that loves and supports him, he has to be a man worthy of that love, respect, and support. As Dr. Phil says, “we don’t demand respect, we command respect.” When we command respect people respect us of their own volition, it is not forced, it is not, “You will respect me or else”?

The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest. Unknown

My son said to me, “women are initiating most of the divorces”. It seems to be true, and when you look at that bible verse doesn’t it make sense?

If a young man or even an older man wants a wife. He has to step up and be worthy of his wife’s love and support. Maybe women are leaving men too quickly, but maybe men aren’t stepping up and being the husbands they are supposed to be. We can have no divorce when women have no choice. We have choices, and some people feel if women didn’t have so much choice, it would be better. I am not someone who believes it is better when women have no choice.

We need to make our marriages better, so both parties want to stay and build a life. We look at marriages from the outside and we can’t see how some marriages stay together that look like train wrecks, and other marriages that look so nice and seem to do so well end in divorce.

No one knows the intimate details of someone else’s marriage. One of the mistakes we probably make is thinking “Love is enough”. Love is just the starting point. Another mistake we make is thinking, “If he or she loves me they would know what I want, need, mean”. Good communication is one of the most important things in all relationships, especially marriage.

Who we marry is one of the most, if not the most important decision we make. Not making that decision may be the biggest mistake of our life. There comes a point when we have to take the chance on someone to build the life we want. We always have to risk failure to risk success.

In marriage do thou be wise: prefer the person before money, virtue before beauty, the mind before the body; then thou hast a wife, a friend, a companion, a second self. William Penn

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Time is the secret to a long marriage. We win when we don’t give up on life, love, relationships, goals, dreams, each other.

We win when we don't give up on life, love, relationships, goals, dreams, each other. Time is the secret to a long marriage.

A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other. Unknown

Is you being you really narcissistic? In the fable of the frog and the scorpion, the scorpion asks the frog for a ride across a river. The frog hesitates and says, “But you’ll sting me.” The scorpion says, “No I won’t because then we’ll both die.” The frog agrees and in the middle of the river, the scorpion stings the frog.

We need to recognize the frogs and the scorpions in our life. It doesn’t make sense to volunteer to be stung. It doesn’t make sense to be so careful not to be stung that we eliminate people from our lives. We need to find a balance in our lives and relationships. If we think we will always feel loving, never feel jealous, never feel insecure we are fooling our self. We have to deal with what life hands us, but we don’t have to make friends with the scorpions. Chances are we didn’t marry a scorpion. As I write this I have to see the humor in the fact I am a Scorpio.

We need to be ourselves and we need to let others be themselves. Some of us are so fearful of the scorpion stinging us we don’t take chances with people we should take chances with. People who have proven they are worth the chance.

Forgiveness is important in our relationships, but if we constantly pick people we will need to forgive there might be more going on, do we need to be a victim? If we never give people a second chance because we can’t forgive anything isn’t that also a problem?

We need to find the balance somewhere between victim and martyr. One of the things we may learn is there are worse things than feeling jealous, insecure, and unloved. It is worse when we are so numb, and withdrawn from our lives we don’t feel anything at all. When we see an attractive woman eye our husband and we feel a little, whoa, what’s that? We are normal. If we just shrug it off too easily or carelessly we may be in withdrawal. If we get too jealous we need to ask ourselves why? Why are we thinking our partner would be interested in someone else? We know why other women are interested in our partner, he’s a great guy.

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

We may feel our partner should never make us feel jealous. Is our partner making us feel jealous or are we going through things in our lives where jealousy rears its head? We may be feeling everyone is younger, prettier, more fun, more everything and why wouldn’t our partner dump us for them? We can’t blame our partner for our thoughts, inadequacies, feelings of inferiority, and feeling sorry for our self.

We all need to appreciate the people in our lives, especially our spouse who we spend our time with, make our plans with, dream our dreams with, and share the parts of our self we share with no one else. If we would rather fight with and for our partner than be without them that’s a good thing. Feeling “Oh well, whatever,” is surely worse.

We may be uncomfortable with our feelings, but not having those feelings is worse. Feelings make us feel alive even our uncomfortable ones. Sometimes we stuff down our uncomfortable feelings with food, alcohol, drugs, gambling, and any of the isms.

If we aren’t afraid to feel even our uncomfortable feelings we will live a fuller life. People can and will hurt us, but we can’t be afraid to love, make friends, take chances and build relationships. Life is not about being safe; people who play it safe and didn’t take a chance on love are not the happy people.

We can’t be guaranteed a happy ending, we can’t be guaranteed we will never feel betrayed, or hurt. If we are willing to deal with what is, the messy situations, what needs to be rebuilt in our lives, what needs to be overcome, what needs to be endured, we are living our lives. We will get to the end of our lives, and if we have been brave and looked everything in the face and dealt with it, however painful we will feel better about our lives. If we give up, run away, don’t take the chances life presents we will feel we didn’t really live.

Can we live through all life has to offer? Can we accept the challenges as they come? Don’t we have to get through the difficult winter to get to sun-kissed spring? If we don’t give up on our self, others, our dreams, goals, life, we will get through the hard parts. If we can realize life isn’t easy for anyone, we all make mistakes, we hurt others without thinking, life is what we make it, and what we might regret the most is giving up too soon.  We will look back on our life, the hard times, the loving times, the sad times, the bleak times, the building times, the whole of it and be glad we had tenacity and perseverance.

So that thing you were so excited about turned out to be harder than you dreamed. Things that matter always are. Endure, harvest will come. Beth Moore

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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Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell | Dec 23 2003
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Setting goals, changing plans. Perseverance and stubbornness.

Perseverance and stubbornness. Setting goals, changing plans.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Obstacles are put in your way to see if what you want is really worth fighting for. Unknown

We are all saddened in our household by the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. The closest we will get to see it is visiting sites showing pictures or visiting my son’s girlfriend’s sister and fiancé who got engaged in France this past New Year’s and see their pictures of Notre Dame Cathedral. As my daughter said this morning, “we all think the things we want to see will always be there.” In time the fire of 2019 will just be another part of Notre Dame’s history and the rebuild will be marveled at by those who visit it.

It’s a call to not put off till tomorrow what we can do today. Circumstances in our lives and the world can change in an instant. My oldest sister had an opportunity to visit the Holy Land a few years ago. The unrest made her and her sister in law cancel their trip.

I printed out a bucket list for couples last night from the blog Our Peaceful Family. If we don’t know where we are going how are we going to get there? As someone who doesn’t think I’ve planned enough, or set enough goals I applaud those who do. It is understood life happens while we are making plans. Our goals however we can keep even as our plans to achieve that goal are revised.

Seeing Paris has always been on my list. There was a plan once but that fell through. Another plan is in the works. This is one goal that may take almost a lifetime to achieve. It may be all the sweeter because going to Europe has been a goal of mine since High School.

You can’t just have faith and persistence, because if you don’t have adaptability, sometimes you’ll have faith and persistence turning into stubbornness where you’re envisioning and persisting in something that’s out of date. Tai Lopez

We need to hold onto our goals but our plans will change as life interferes with our plans. Perseverance is when we write our goals in concrete and our plans in sand. Stubbornness is when we write our plans in concrete and our goal in sand. If we just do the same thing over and over again without getting anywhere that isn’t persistence that is stubbornness. Persistence is when we have a goal we are working toward but the plans we made to get there aren’t giving us the desired outcome, so we change our plans.

It is persistence that gives us great rewards in life. We need persistence in relationships, marriages, getting through the ups and downs of life. Sometimes we need to change direction to reach our goals. Being stubborn and sticking with what isn’t working will not get us to our goal. This is where we need discernment to know if we are giving up on something we shouldn’t, or changing course is exactly what we need. Knowing when we are at this crossroad may be the biggest challenge of our life.

There are people who have persevered when everyone thought they should change course and reached their goal. Other people changed course and reached their goal. We need to be strong enough to accept the consequences of whatever choices we make.

Yesterday a discussion on the radio was of people who owned stock that reached heights they didn’t think it would. People were recounting how they sold that stock long before it reached its high. There are stories on the other side too, people hold onto stocks too long.

We make decisions in our life, and we have to be okay with our decisions. We have to figure out when we are persevering and when we are being stubborn. Do we turn right or left? Sometimes the cost of change is great, other times the cost is small. There is always a cost we must be willing to pay. It doesn’t matter what the opportunity is, there is an opportunity cost.

We regret what we don’t do more than what we do. Can we be bold, courageous and move toward our goals. Do we know what our goals are? Are we persevering, or being stubborn?

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other. Walter Elliot

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We cannot reap what we did not plant. Our happiness doesn’t grow in someone else’s garden

Our happiness doesn't grow in someone else's garden. We cannot reap what we do not plant.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. Winston Churchill

Spring is here and yesterday was a cold wet day. We need the rain to see the lush beauty of spring that is just starting to pop up out of the ground. On my walk the other day I was looking for spring flowers but I didn’t see one hardy blossom.  A little south of here near the lake flowers are springing up.

All winter the yards look the same, but in the spring we see who bothered to plant bulbs last year or sometimes twenty years ago. Last fall the bulbs didn’t get planted and so this spring they will not bloom. They sit where they have sat all winter in my garage. Our lives are sometimes like our winter gardens, there are things going on but no one can see it yet. Later in our lives, we see if something was planted or if we were fooling our self and others.

We may beat ourselves up as thistles grow bigger than what we planted. We need to weed our gardens, we need to edit our life, we need to water and fertilize. Plants like people have companions they prefer. If we learn what plants do well together we will have a better garden than if we think it doesn’t matter.

Gardens are a great metaphor for life. We get what we grow, and we reap what we sow. If we don’t watch it the weeds will take over, if we don’t tend it we won’t get much to harvest and if we didn’t bother we won’t have anything at all. We can plant crops that we can harvest this fall or we can plant crops that will take years to come to fruition but once they do they give us a crop every year for years to come.

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shalt never sit in. Greek proverb

We get to choose the type of garden we grow and the life we build. Every garden is different because the microclimate, the soil, the light, the moisture and the plants that thrive will be different. Some year’s one kind of crop may thrive more than another. In life it is the same, some talents, interests, and skills are more appreciated. If we chose the right avenue of study or business we can look like stars.

If we are growing our crop commercially we must decide in the spring what we will plant. We might not know until fall what the most profitable crop will be. Once we’ve bought the seed and planted the crop we are dependent on nature and the economy whether this was a good crop to grow or not. We may get a poor crop but the prices are high, we may get a bumper crop but the prices are low. We may get wiped out by hail, drought, or pestilence.

We need to deal with life as it comes, when we look at our lives we can see if we sowed the seeds of harmony or discord. Did we keep the weeds at bay or were some of our best plants (ideas) choked out. Did we water and fertilize or did we depend on nature? Did we plant something well suited to our soil and climate or are we trying to grow something unlikely to thrive?

What we get out of life we get from what we do, and everything we do comes from what we think. When we think better, we do better. Life is a garden our thoughts are the seeds, we can plant flowers or we can plant weeds. Unknown

We can be very hurt if someone tells us our life is a mess because of our thoughts and actions. But, you don’t know what we’ve been through, the disadvantages, the hardships, the unfairness, the injustice we say. It is true life isn’t fair, it isn’t fair when someone wins the lottery, or someone is in an accident why did one get something good, and one get something bad? The only thing we get to do is deal with the reality of our life, make the best of it. We admire the people who make the best of their life.

Often we would never want to be the people who make the best of things. Who would want to be Helen Keller? She didn’t look at what she couldn’t do because of what she didn’t have. She made the best of her life. We admire her for it. We use her quotes often. I have never heard anyone say they wish they were like Helen Keller.

We more often want to be like the people who made a mess of the gifts they had. They had a voice like an angel but ruined their life with drugs. We think we would love to be blessed with that voice. It isn’t what we get; it’s what we do with it. We always think we would do better with more, we never think we would do better with less. Yet the people we really admire in life often did better with less. What do we need to change in our garden of life?

Action is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits. James Allen

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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