It's that time of the year. Thanksgiving. The day when we're called upon to share what we're thankful for this year. The question gets asked on social media throughout the month, and usually, we can all offer three or more things that we're particularly grateful for. We say we're thankful for the sunshine, but we assume it's going to be there. We're thankful for our jobs, figuring we'll have them until we decide to retire. Usually, we offer our thanks for our family and friends, for love, for our pets, and so much more, but you rarely see one of us post that we're grateful for the money troubles, the flat tires, the days that go from bad to worse.
I think we already know the answer to this question. Isn't it difficult to be thankful for the hardships? Even if we've overcome obstacles, we don't appreciate the obstacles themselves. And if we're still in the middle of a battle, we're certainly not thankful for that. But we should be. Because overcoming obstacles makes us stronger and better people.
Annabella Hagen, a licensed mental health therapist, in an article for Psych Central wrote: Studies regarding oxytocin tell us that this hormone helps us crave for physical contact with our family and friends. It enhances our empathy and helps us support those we care about. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist, says that oxytocin also is released when we experience difficulties and stress. She reminds us that oxytocin prompts us to connect with others.
All of us struggle at some point in our lives, but would we really want easy lives where everything went according to plan? Where would the challenge be in that? And if we're not challenged, wouldn't life become boring? Stale? Ken Wert, who runs the website Meant to Be Happy, wrote a wonderful article about being grateful for life's challenges, and in it he said that challenges inspire compassion. Makes sense. If we go through trouble, we'll be better able to understand and sympathize with those who go through something similar.
As a Trekkie, one of my favorite episodes of the original series is when an alien entity wants to provide everything for those on her planet, leaving them nothing to do. Captain Kirk's response, provided by the incredibly talented writer Gene Coon, is perfect.
As the obstacles shape us, give us something to overcome, and provide a sense of accomplishment when we do, why shouldn't we be thankful for them? It's certainly not easy to appreciate hardship, but once we see its necessity, it becomes a little more palatable.
I lost a really good friend of mine on December 10, 2018, and I feel that loss every day. There have been so many times when I've picked up the phone to call her before realizing I can't. Some of her old sayings constantly pop into my head, and I find myself using them more often than I ever did when she was alive. Maybe it's my way of keeping her alive in my life.
Rene was a writer, too, so we shared the same dreams. She'd been single the last few years of her life and could relate to my being single. We could talk about anything and everything. Nothing was off-limits. She shared my superhero fascination and watched many of the same television shows I do.
There were many ways we were different, of course, but that never came between our friendship. We had our fair share of disagreements, but we always found our way back to what mattered.
I miss her, and, without a doubt, I always will. And I wish I could talk to her one more time.
At the start of every year, I create a list of goals I want to reach by the end of the year. I did that at the start of 2019 then a couple of weeks ago, I set a new goal—to become a certified financial coach by the end of the year.
I have been helping people with their financial situations for several years now, and I decided I wanted to know more about the subject so I could help them better. I already write a lot about finances and debt on my blog for single women, A Journey of Fives. So as of today, I'm almost halfway through the course, and I'm enjoying it so much I will, most likely, enroll in other financial courses once I'm done.
I've always loved learning, and I usually enroll in one or two classes a year, more if my schedule will allow it. I don't think we should ever stop learning. At present, I'm enrolled in four courses, all of which will help my career as a writer and enable me to help more people.
What goals do you set for yourself? Do you try to continue learning every year?
This is an appropriate post as I'm in the midst of renovating my home. I've lived here for almost 6 1/2 years, and I recently decided it was time to upgrade. So in came the granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and hardwood flooring. It's been both a blessing and a challenge. Below are a few before and after pictures!
I'll have plenty more to share once this roller coaster is over! Suffice it to say this has been a learning experience!
One of my closest friends is adopting a little girl who is now a little over two years old. Being around her can make any bad day into a good one. She's so full of life and questions and has such a uniqueness about her. It's hard not to smile when she's in the room. There have been many times when I've called my friend to ask if I could come see her daughter because I know she will brighten my day. And she always does!
This is about to be the most boring blog post ever because I have a bland routine that's simply, coffee, brushing teeth, getting dressed, and putting on make-up. There's absolutely nothing else I have to do in the morning, which is a good thing because I'm not a morning person!
I do as much as I can at night so I won't have to do it in the morning, including my writing, reading, any classes I'm taking, scheduling blog content (including this blog post), marketing, showering, getting things ready for the morning, and spending time with God. Literally, everything happens at night as I am not all that functional in the morning. How about you? Are you a morning person?
I'm starting June off with another 30-day blogging challenge! Today's subject is something that is beautiful to me. Choosing only one thing is a definite challenge because I see so much beauty in the world. If I were to choose something tactile, it would be the feel of sand beneath my feet. My choice for something intangible would be space as it offers infinite possibilities.
But there is so much more beauty I see, feel, hear, and touch! The smile on a child's face, a night sky, a full moon, the scent of freshly baked bread, the sound of a train rumbling across the tracks, and the feel of cool sheets against my skin. These all may seem like simple things, but that's usually where I find the most beauty. How about you?
We live in a world where hate seems to be the norm. People say they hate other people, whether it's celebrities, neighbors, or politicians. It's not unusual to see post after post on social media that details how much a person hates something or someone. And the more I see it, the more I wonder why the focus is on the hate. That's why this quote stands out to me.
Instead of saying "I hate someone," why not direct your energy towards love? Instead of dwelling on that part of a person you don't like, is it possible to find something that you do? If not, wouldn't it be more beneficial to shift your focus to the positive?
How much better would we be as a nation if we eliminated the word "hate" from our vocabulary? Oftentimes, we use it to explain our feelings for someone or something we disagree with when we don't actually hate. When you say you hate, you're saying you're repelled by, you're revolted by, you regard the object of your hate with disgust, and you shudder at, or recoil from that person or thing. Is that the type of emotion we should allow to consume us so much that it's all we talk about?
An article in Everyday Health illuminates the destructive power of hate. saying "the more you feed it, the stronger it becomes." Hate has the power to take over your life, to become the main focus of your existence. I know because I've seen it. I've watched it destroy lives which is why I don't talk about the things I hate. (I'm not saying I've never done it before, but it's a habit I've made an effort to break.) I talk about the things I love, the people I love, and the places I love. I may not like something someone does, but do I hate them? No. Because I refuse to allow someone's actions , beliefs, or personality to control my emotions.
And when you think about it, we only know a part of the celebrity or politician we see that we claim to hate. That person might have beliefs that don't align with yours, but does that make them deserving of your hate? They could be a wonderful father, brother, sister, or mother. They could donate their time or money to charities you know nothing about. They could honestly want what's best for this world. We don't know their hearts, and we can't step inside their minds. So what's wrong with giving people the benefit of the doubt? (I'm not talking about truly evil people that only seek to destroy lives like serial killers and the like.) And if that's not possible, wouldn't it be better to spend less time talking about how much you hate them and more time focusing on the things and people you love?
A Facebook friend recently posted about thinking about mortality. She asked if others thought about it and how they dealt with those thoughts. The responses varied from those who didn't dwell on it to those who gave it a passing thought every now and again.
I lost a good friend on December 10th, who was only 54. Her death hit me really hard, and I'll admit I started thinking about the brevity of life. Regardless of how long someone lives, it seems like the time goes by so fast. And while I don't dwell on the future or life that will take place after I'm gone, I do have moments of "Wow. One day I'm not going to be here." I think everyone does, and Mark Tyrell, a psychotherapist, advises us to "not try to not think about it." In other words, don't try to put it out of your mind if the thought arises.
But you can't let what the future holds keep you from living, either. I'll admit that, as a Christian, it helps knowing where I'm going, but I still try to live each moment of each day to the fullest. I want to leave a legacy behind, to matter, in essence. Don't we all? It might be easier said than done, but I believe that dwelling on life instead of death can help us live a better life.
Do you think about the end of your life? What helps you when the thoughts come?
Nothing could ever take the place of writing for me, but there are days when I'm lucky to write one or two lines. Those are the days when I know it's time to move on to another creative outlet. I write every day, but I also seek creativity elsewhere every day because balance is important.
As much as I enjoy writing, at times, my muse needs a break. But the need to be creative is still there. Fortunately, that urge is easily satisfied with painting (usually wooden signs like the one above and clay pots), putting together jigsaw puzzles, spray-painting furniture, creating videos, creating graphics, and digital photography. And I'm always on the lookout for other outlets that might interest me.
Just as exercise is important to our bodies, allowing creativity to flow is a necessity. As children, we spent most of our time doing creative things like drawing, painting, coloring, and building sand castles. We needed to express our creative side because we weren't meant to be all about work. As Picasso said, "Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up."
Are you still creative? What do you do to satisfy your urge to create?
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!