Thoughts versus Emotions

Happiness. Good cheer. Positivity. Kindness. Goodness. Self control.

Lack of peace. Confusion. No boundaries. Dismay. Despair.

The two groups of words contrast just like light and darkness.

Many times, when I have shared my story before a group of people at an event, at church, or elsewhere, people have asked me ..

“How do I get over it? How do I release the pain of my past? What do I do with these feelings of depression and despair? How do I forgive the one who hurt me?”

And our conversation then floats to the usual .. what does your support net look like? Have you considered counseling? Are you in a church?

Do you have any close friends who can walk beside you? Do you have any hobbies you enjoy?

The room gets quiet as the soul considers .. what can I change to bring about my healing?

For me, emotions flow freely. It goes along with creativity. Creatives see and feel, express. Emotions come out in my writing and in my crafts. I turned to creativity as I worked through confronting the pain of my past.

Then later, I learned, through various friends, counselors, books and podcasts, that one can improve one’s emotions through a renewed thought process.

Replacing downer thoughts with positive thoughts.

Example: I could never attempt that (goal, dream, occupation, pursuit, etc) because I am not enough (not smart enough, not physically strong enough, not mentally strong enough.)

The Flip: With God’s help, I could accomplish that. I am not sure how, but I am willing to research, learn, grow, practice.

Our emotions and general outcomes can improve when we go after our thought process.

Last night, I delivered a talk in front of nearly 75 people.

And did so with confidence.

There was a time in my life .. even ten years ago .. where that would have been a challenge. But one of my college professors told me that I would one day be a professional speaker and have the ability to move people to greater things. I remember shaking my head, and also remember how all of us in speech class, except one, shook like crazy when we got up to speak.

Thoughts.

A very sweet lady I know has claimed Philippians 4:13 (from the Bible) as her verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Encouragement.

There is more we could explore on this topic. But for today, ask yourself .. is there something you are not doing, or not trying, exploring or living because of the fear of failure? Or because the emotions just are not there?

I feel like thoughts are the wagon that pull our emotions. If we determine our thoughts, our emotion will follow.

Focus on the positive

Ice froze a solid curtain on my vehicle windows this morning, and like everyone else in central Florida, I waited until my defroster cleared up all of my windows and mirrors until I ventured out to work.

After putting in four hours at work, the rest of the day was flex, so I thought hey I will clean the house.

(Yes I see you smile, you know where this is going.)

I felt certain that it would be a personally productive day because I made a list in my colorful day planner that I bought to make sure that 2022 was extra cheerful.

Starving, I grabbed a bag of nacho chips and a cup of coffee (yes, not a good snack for diabetics), and ate so many that I suddenly felt sleepy.

Well the back yard looked sunny.

After I stepped out, I sat in my chair by the now cold and empty fire pit. The sun felt great and gloriously warm on my face, and I seriously almost went to sleep in the yard.

(Aside from a wicked sunburn, I am sure that would have been refreshing.)

Talked to one of my kids a while. Watered flowers and took the sheets off them that I had wrapped around the bushes a few days before. It was as if the garden breathed a sigh of relief.

Squirrels barked at me from above, fatter than usual.

And after an hour outside, I thought hey I need to get on the cleaning.

Ha.

Went to the bathroom to fetch a brush out of my “hair utensils” drawer and the drawer stuck.

Well then it was “on.”

I unpacked the whole thing. The WHOLE thing.

Figured I probably saved about fifty bucks in hair barrettes and brushes because I found them all held captive by my eight different flat and curl irons.

And three fuzzy rollers.

After the hair purge, I felt pretty good, but it was time for coffee.

Well it is flex time, I thought, so I will take out that acrylic nail kit I got at the major retailer for like $8.

I remember telling my bestie, if I can master this, think how much money I can save. On nails that is.

No, I’m not vain. I’m very girlie. And nobody can dispute those suckers (acrylic nails) stay on pretty good.

Well.

Upon opening the bottle of acrylic I nearly gassed myself and that, yes, was through my N95 mask.

Heck, no.

I put the lid back on, and looked down at the nail tips I had glued on and thought well what am I going to do now?

I ran out the back door, gasping for clean air and turned the kitchen fan on.

(In my head, I felt stupid for thinking I could do my own acrylics.)

Hard pass.

So there went another hour and a half of my day, and I found myself frustrated.

But yet, it was a good day. I had a great conversation with my youngest daughter, spent some time in my garden, made Mexican casserole for supper and put away folded clothes.

Not too bad I guess 🙂

There is always a brighter side. Even when your list goes by the wayside. When your project doesn’t turn out. When you feel like you have failed, you really have not.

Tonight, as I listen to the Christmas Canon from TranSiberian Orchestra, I think of how grateful I am for this life. What a wonderful day. How blessed I am.

Winter, summer, shopping, goals and laziness

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

While standing by our bonfire tonight, it struck me that I am super productive in the fall and spring. When the weather gets cold, I just sort of feel like I could hibernate .. and yet we know that is not the way to get where you want to be, or do what you want to do.

And when you think about it, with anything in life, we can always craft an excuse as to why we don’t do the things we set out to do.

Summer inspires me with beautiful sunrises and breathtaking sunsets, wonderful storms that sweep over sunny Florida with the sweet smell of the ocean in tow.

Winter can be marvelous because we in the south finally get to wear our favorite boots and sweaters.

Goals.

Lists.

Intentions.

While talking to my bestie today, we discussed how people set out to do something and then change, and decide not to do it, and then change again and go after it again. Some people do this frequently.

For example, the resolution that I am going to work out every day goes right out the window when I come home from a long day or decide that I’d rather do something else. (I own the shirt that reads “yay, cardio, said no one ever.”)

Today, we purposed to do a little shopping after I got off work, and so braved the roads and traffic to head an hour away.

I am proud of my list. One of my goals this year is to whittle away at my debt and the only way you do that is spending wisely.

Three things this year are on my “must allow” list for spending, besides any craft work I do. That is my hair, my nails, and things from my favorite fragrant body wash and perfume lotion line. No compromise.

I canceled a subscription to a publication (saved 40 dollars a month).

And used coupons during a sale for the items I wanted.

So we think of fitness, finance, and then, other endeavors.

What is my “other?”

I blog (although as of yet, I have not monetized it), write, do crafts and cook, and more.

Some people have a side hustle of some sort in addition to their job. Which is fine as long as you can manage all of it, and make sure your number one bread winning job gets the most effort.

While I was out today, I stood in a bookstore and realized these people need to be introduced to my book. Well I may put that on my goals list. Actually, it has been there for years.

Market.

The central core of marketing is anticipating the needs of the people who need your product, service, or opportunity.

Marketing must never become a pinball game where one haphazardly hits the side knobs and hopes the ball rolls the right direction.

Lazy.

Inasmuch as I really put my all into my work and give it my best, I confess that some of my side endeavors have fallen lackluster.

Or hitter-misser. Or maybe you’ll get to it tomorrow. Or next month. Or next year.

But is it really laziness? One must remember to be kind to oneself. Seriously, if you are out in the world (or at home as a full time parent or caregiver) putting your all out there, you may have little left to give other attentions.

But it is not impossible.

I watched a young lady who was a business woman change careers, put her all into that, and I was wondering why is she tying up all her time like that, being that she did not really have to work. She and her family had done well over the years.

One day, however, through a series of purchases she made, I suddenly realized why she labored so long and hard.

This was her why. It was the reason she kept going and did not give up. The photo she had in her mind came to fruition because she never took her eyes off the goal. One career beget another side career as well as a legacy for her kids. I was like whoa .. I want that motivation.

More on that .. another day. Something to think about. Small steps consistently get us where we need to be.

I am proud of myself for blogging again tonight.

I have an idea 💡

A pen and paper, or an Ipad and a stylus, or free time and just your thoughts can make dreams come true.

In my twelve years of journalism, I met so many incredible people .. actors and actresses, politicians and peacemakers, the very rich in wealth, the very poor, and more.

Stories popped up with almost no effort at times, while on other occasions, simplicity cast its nod away and one would have to dig for the greater truth.

Nonetheless, every great endeavor, it seems, started with an idea.

“Well I am glad you are creative like that, it’s just not me,” some say. Or is it?

I’m not a scientist, but while washing dishes or petting my cat, or just in the course of a normal work day, it seems to me that when my creativity finds a place to grow, it flourishes.

Be like a tree, they say.

And grow.

Some ideas are good ideas.

I think of the day I decided to go to college. Nine years later (I was working full time and authored a book at the same time, my Grandma passed away, and so forth, just life) I walked across the stage and was presented my Associates Degree.

I think of other ideas I’ve had, to dabble in fiction story writing, for example, which is about ten or eleven chapters deep .. a work in progress.

Then a couple of ridiculous ideas (getting the back of my head nearly shaved in a haircut, nope it’s not me) or the time as a kid, I decided to explore climbing trees and suddenly discovered I did not know how to come down.

Check. Check. Check.

So with wisdom in hand, I float this out to you.

What kind of ideas do you have that you have not pursued yet, no doubt worthy goals that could help humanity, who knows what is rolling around in your head?

One of my ideas this year was that I should work out, bake bread more often (please don’t laugh, the combination is hilarious as it is), get my hair professionally done, work on my music, eat breakfast, have tea time frequently, focus on the positive and …

Oh, that is more than one idea.

Then once we hatch an idea and we don’t follow through, the rugged mountains of defeat appear.

Ugh.

Why can’t I ..

Well why can’t I?

So whether this blog finds you at a crossroads or facing simple decisions in every day life, or you feel strong, or you don’t, for the task ahead, would it be a good thing to make a list, or a dream board, and keep it in front of you?

More on that another time.

If you make one and are not afraid to share it, send one of your friends or mentors an email or message.

Sometimes just vocalizing our dreams makes them one step closer to us.

Make yourself a priority

Bicycles capture my eye everywhere I go and I would like to think that I am close to the goal of purchasing one and also a hitch for my car to carry it.

Life speeds by sometimes, and a month quickly passes, six months pass, a year, and we find we are no more closer to our goal.

Why?

Everyone needs mentors and friends who feed into their lives. I have been seeking advice on all fronts of my life.

The word is the same from all: I pour into other people (community workers do, so do ministers, teachers, doctors, etc.) and need to frequently .. not just once in a while .. fill my cup.

Long ago, a spiritual mother wrote in my bible that I should fill my cup so I could continuously pour to others.

Rejoining our church choir was one step I took to recharge my spirit.

Anyone who serves can tell you that if you don’t have outlets for your creative energy, or ways to decompress, rest, contemplate and so forth, you will burn out quickly.

Track.

As a kid, I was never a good runner. It hurt to breathe, and now I know that was just the way I was built.

Everyone else could run.

In high school, I was tired of being overweight and bullied, and started “jogging.” Eventually I could jog maybe a quarter mile. A coach at school wanted me to train for cross country.

He liked my pace, and said that with training, I could go far.

I never did.

Presently, I think it would be great if I could work out three times (or more if possible) a week.

End goal: so I will have enough stamina to go on some bike rides. As a kid, I loved to ride my bike everywhere.

The other goal, besides catching up on several holiday gift projects, is to carve out time to finish my books. (Writing them. And then crafting those marketing letters and getting estimates on publishing costs etc.)

My first book, The Brighter Side of A Darker Thing, is sold by WestBow Press and is also on Amazon. It was a self published volume through WestBow, which is connected to Thomas Nelson Publishing Company. My goal was to get that book going, but I have made little effort to do so.

Also a goal.

Recharge. Reflect. Renew. Restart.

Makes sense to me.

And connect with friends whom I dearly love, yet have not spent any time with in a couple (yes, a couple of years).

I feel strengthened and empowered in putting my goals and dreams to words. And as I spoke to one of my friends earlier today, they reminded me that the purpose of my blog is for the sheer enjoyment of writing, and if I have even helped one person, then that is great.

What Is Progress? Pursuit. Part 2

To do. To do. To do again. To begin. To begin. To begin again. And again. New habit formed? Yes? No? Maybe tomorrow?

Planning is a big deal when embarking on a project, a mission, a bucket list event, a large purchase, and so forth.

An achievement is a goal well planned and pursued. 

In the professional world, we have all kinds of planning tools on our various devices. I use all those. But I still use paper.

Whether planners on paper or on devices, somehow we end up with a list.

College professors say there are goal oriented people who can multitask and reach said destination on time, then there are task oriented people who are more suited for the hyperfocal.

All approaches are useful.

In both cases, the common denominator is the pursuit of meeting what is expected.

Pursue. Focus. Move toward. Put some labor to the matter at hand. Make it a point. Etc.

The holidays are almost upon us, and already my calendar is filling up. My goal every year is to find the holy and sacred in every day, every gathering, every place.

I have not mapped out my plan yet. That is part of what I am doing today.

In the midst of work and home, church and family, shopping and cleaning, writing and reading, decorating and cooking, the rush .. will give way to hush once in a while .. usually late at night as the lights on the tree twinkle and my mind does a replay of all I have done and need to do.

And I think of goals and dreams, and how the New Year follows Christmas. What do I want to accomplish?

Professionally, personally, spiritually?

An inventory is necessary. A list will be made.

But no goal is reached until I put my feet to the matter, or mind, or hands to create or type, or resolve that today, not tomorrow, is the day to create my best “now.”

Reach

Fixed my hair. Check.

Brushed my teeth. Check.

Got ready for choir practice and church, and drove there, arriving on time. Check.

Enjoyed the sweet fellowship under the cathedral.

Ebb and flow.

Returned home to do some scrapbooking.

Oh, and I made some cornbread to go with dinner. Used vegetable oil instead of butter (what was I thinking?? I never do that.) To me, it was intolerable.

Blah.

Fetched some hangars off the back of my bedroom door and figure that is one goal truly met. Placed them in the laundry room where I wash and hang my uniforms.

Tonight, I wonder why people think you have to be a rock star to be amazing. Or famous. Or anything that is noticed by all.

Do you have to have a fabulous house, an enchanted life? Do you have to impress? Or is it ok to be ordinary?

Looking back over my family’s heritage, I can say that not one of them were what I would consider famous, or known by huge numbers of people. They worked hard, kept clean houses, donated to charity when possible, went to church and invited neighbors and friends to dinner.

Collectively, my family has inventors, teachers, artists, businessmen, government workers, night watchmen, beauticians, homemakers, seamstresses, girl bosses (we call it being assertive), and more.

And of my family who maintains a presence online, they are pretty simple people, post a few things to be social. Realizing a need to connect, we enjoy seeing pictures of what we are all doing.

Yet reaching the masses, not so much.

And I think of my writing and whether it will blossom (I have written for newspapers, and those days are over, as I have launched a new career that I love, while also maintaining my love for creative writing.)

I say all this to present a question.

Am I using my writing to help people, and are others touched or motivated, inspired or encouraged by it?

I hope so.

What gifts we are given, when shared, shine on the world around us and help us all reach our dreams.

Side note.

Was also grocery shopping today, and heard a young lady singing in the parking lot of the grocery store, and a few aisles away, heard a young man playing a concert violin.

He had a sign for donations, but wow, his contribution to this beautiful day was so worth any money people could throw his way.

I saw the young lady in the bakery, and told her she had a pretty voice and that she needs to sing like that everywhere she goes because the world needs more of that.

So here is my offering for today’s blog.

May we all sparkle with the stars we hold in our hands and toss them frequently about, giving light and warmth to those around us.

Thankful for the little things

Thankful muses, there are.

Or rather, muses of thanksgiving.

Dreary days with little sunshine can tip the mood meter to the sour.

Yet thankful hearts have a continual feast.

What if we can change our mood with positive, deliberate thoughts.

Coffee.

Just the thought of a coffee shop, any coffee shop, makes me smile.

I think of books, and comfortable chairs, and journals and pens and time to enjoy all of the above with a steamy ceramic mug of joe.

Yet there are other things for which I am thankful. Some are simple, every day things like hot water and a great washing machine, while others are more complicated, like considering the depth of all God created, the earth, the heavens, the creatures and the forests, mountains and oceans. Breathtaking.

Presently I am thankful to have spent the afternoon, after work, at a birthday party for my daughter and two of my grandbabies.

The energy of a child on their birthday .. we were all smiling at the kids and the joyous looks on their faces as they opened their presents and ate cake.

On a whole different note, am looking at some projects I need to finish soon. My next grandson’s blankets, kitchen curtains, two quilts and two shawls.

And then the cleaning projects. Bookshelves that need organized, photos that need to be arranged (my old cloth photo albums are really showing their age and harboring dust, so will work on a new system that is easier to keep clean.)

A year or so ago, I had used an old sewing table as a desk, then moved it to replace it with shelves. And the shelves are ok, but I miss my desk corner. Then I think well wouldn’t I like a small corner type desk and a chair that would fit under it and not be in the way.

Goals. A bicycle with a basket. A corner desk. And at some point a laptop that is not an albatross (mine is a dinosaur, truly.) Simplify. Add. Subtract. Remake.

In the midst of compiling my many lists (both figuratively and actual lists in my day book), I still must remind my soul to both reach for my goals and dreams while also being thankful for the present moment of life in all its glory.

Time with God

An antique lamp illuminated the bedside table where my great grandmother’s Bible rested. But she did not rest at night until she had, as she said, her “time with God.”

Every night, she read the Bible, and prayed for her family, and thanked God for the day. She was widowed many years prior, and she slept in a twin size, adjustable, hospital bed because she had numerous heart conditions.

She was active in her church, and Saturday night was a busy evening, preparing Sunday dinner for an after church spread, ironing church clothes and setting the table.

Prayer was folded around her day, every day, from sun up to sundown.

Her kitchen table was a welcome sight in the morning as she drank her coffee and read the paper and her edition of My Daily Bread, a free devotion book that churches distribute to their masses in order to help guide their quiet time.

It would be decades before I would come to see the fruit of a dedicated quiet time in my own life.

I was pregnant with my second son, Aaron, when I started having those times with God, and it is interesting that he is also the child who has been actively, non stop, working in the church in some capacity since he was a teenager.

Presently, I have two devotions a day.

After listening to an online devotion by Rick Warren, I put on contemporary worship to listen to and use to praise God as I get ready for work.

Night time devotions are shorter.

Everyone has a different approach to their time with God. One lady I know says she prays in the shower because that is the only time she is alone. Another goes for a walk with worship music in her headphones and that is when she prays, as she takes care of a husband whose health is failing.

Anyway, today was a great day. Had some fellowship time after work with one of my spiritual mentors.

Also took some time to get a haircut and get my nails done. Vain? No. I just like feeling put together. Then my head is free to deal with the other parts of my life.

On another whole side note (and yes I changed the subject three times), I feel grateful tonight for life, and my senses of sight, sound and smell. These are all things we take for granted, right?

May you be blessed as you explore your own quiet time with God.

The thinking of thinking

Where do you do your best thinking? And when?

Do you like to think in the silence of an evening, or the whisper of fresh air just before dawn?

Or do you need noise, some noise, any noise?

Isn’t it pretty cool that God made us all so different?

And we all have a thinker.

Or at least that is what the thinkers think.

Think about how many times the word think is used.

I think it is used a lot but those opposed might say, “I don’t think so.)

My head is always going, admittedly. Very seldom can I say I am not thinking something.

So now the question is .. what do you think about what you are thinking?

Is it something easy for you to think about, or do you really have to think things through?

A thinker is a pretty necessary part of our lives. Great creativity yields great joy.

When I think about what I am thinking, I have to laugh, for there you go.

Thinking upon thinking. And think some more.

It has been said that the direction of our thoughts guides the ship so to speak. Think a negative thought, yield a negative result.

Think a positive thought. And poof, a positive result.

I have often thought how much our lives would be blessed if we would think more and worry less.

What do you think?