Courage, dear heart. Begin Again.

Courage, dear heart. Begin Again.

Courage, dear heart.

Begin again.

Each morning there’s a new chance to begin again.

You can do this.

Courage, deart heart. Each morning you have another chance to begin again. You can. It's possible. Have courage and move forward. It's time.

C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors.

His words hold answers to mysteries, they cause me to stop and wonder and then make me smile. I feel encouraged.

Sometimes a phrase causes me to take a breath – stop – and give thanks.

This is one of them.

Courage, dear heart.

Courage, dear heart. Each morning you have a chance to begin again.

Courage.

Encouragement has the word “courage” embedded. Undeniably, reading with a positive focus will encourage you, and ultimately cause you to feel courageous.

That’s why I like “children’s” literature. Most times authors write with a bent toward encouragement. It’s rare to feel discouraged after reading a child’s book. Have you noticed? Pull out a few of your childhood favorites, and experiment…

The quote above is from C.S. Lewis’ book “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” in the Narnia series. There are 7 books in the whole story about the land of Narnia. And it’s just as relevant for adults as it is for children. Never, ever, feel like you’re too old to read a child’s book. We’re all children at heart!

Specifically, I like to read this series in chronological order – but everyone has their favorite way to read. C.S. Lewis wrote and published them differently from the land of Narnia chronological order, and expected us to make our own choice in where to start. Wise man.

Aslan in Narnia

If you step back from the Disney movie versions of these movies and read the original book series, you’ll realize, eventually (or possibly very quickly) that Aslan is special.

Unique.

Extraordinary.

Ultimately, discovering why that’s so will be a beautiful adventure, should you choose to accept it…

In the meantime:

My wish for you today is to hear that small, still voice whisper…

“Courage, dear heart.”


More encouragement to keep going…

Read more – click HERE

You haven't come this far to only go this far. Just do the next thing.
Go Deep & Understand your Why

Go Deep & Understand your Why

Go deep & understand your why because deep roots are not reached by the frost.

“All that is gold does not glitter;

not all those who wander are lost;

the old that is strong does not wither;

deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

🌼


~ first stanza from the JRR Tolkien poem about the character Strider in “The Fellowship of the Ring
🌼

Just some thoughts to ponder: take a look at the first 3 lines.

I think what Tolkien is saying

is that just because something seems one way,

does not make it true.

For me, it’s the last line which holds a key: “deep roots are not reached by the frost“.

I feel it sums up the first three statements.

If we deeply understand the “why” we are doing something, that specific understanding can hold us safe from anything which would freeze us out, stop us, or derail our purpose. It’s part of having those roots that reach downward.

So.

Go deep.

Even if you don’t “glitter” you still have gold!

and

When you are going deep through age and strength, your contribution will flourish!

Do. Not. Quit.

Don’t stop what you’re doing even if others can’t see your glitter, or criticize your wandering, or if they question your age. Be strong.

And then your deep roots will hold you secure.

Go deep - know your why - all that is gold does not glitter; not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither; deep roots are not reached by the frost.

Are you finding it hard to keep going? Need some encouragement? Read this.

As you strive to go deep, remember, being optimistic is a strategy, and it can be learned. The benefits are great. One part of the strategy to be optimistic is to focus on thankfulness.

Quick! For what are you thankful right now? Find three things… they can be simple, or complex. Remembering your “why” you’re doing things can be prompted by your thankfulness. And thankfulness grows deep roots.

Do you keep a journal? Maybe add some “thankful” notations!

Writing or recording what you’re thankful for doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated.

Got a smart-phone? I use the app Gratitude 365. (It’s free.) Or you could just put three things into your calendar (online or paper).

Keep putting down those roots. Don’t quit.

Learn how to be optimistic.

Learn how to be optimistic.

Learn how to be optimistic. Basically, you aren’t required to be born a positive person – optimism can be learned. Don’t give up just because you’re not good at it! Because there’s a way to…

Learn how to be optimistic.

But how, you ask?

If I’m being candid with you, (and my husband, Rob, can attest to this,) compared to some others, I am not naturally a positive person.

*gasp*

Did I really say that?

Yes, I did. I’m a learned optimist.

It’s deliberate.

It’s a choice.

I believe anyone can learn how to be optimistic, and with deliberation, choose to act that way.

If so, then all of us can take action in a strategically positive way.

In all areas of our lives:

  • in how we think about ourselves,
  • as we talk to ourselves (our inner dialogue),
  • how we make choices in our life,
  • when we interact with people,
  • in our business world, church world, and family,
  • as we pursue our side-hustle, our hobbies,
  • and/or entrepreneurial life,
  • while setting and embracing our goals – large or small
  • and everything else life holds!

Here’s the path – with 4 aspects – on how to learn to be optimistic:

1 – Begin with love.

Start by feeling love for yourself. (Yes, it’s a journey.)

Firstly, I believe I was born on purpose and for a purpose. As were you! No person is an accident. Everyone has value.

For all those mothers who long to get pregnant, and parents who are trying and trying to conceive a child, this concept of a child being born on purpose is real. (As is the heart-wrench and ache when a child dies before you can hold her or him in your arms.)

Plus, as a Christian, I believe God loves me. He loves you. There’s a plan for us. As a great example of true, perfect love, Jesus, the Son of God, gave up His life in a horrible death for no reason other than He loved me. And you. And everyone. All people. Regardless. (If you’re looking for a romance story, the Bible is the ultimate one.)

Maybe your life thus far hasn’t shown you much love. If that’s the case, I just want to tell you:

It’s not the end of the story!

You can feel loved. There’s time.

Just as you have time to love others. It’s a journey.

And you CAN!

What comes next…

2 – Be thankful. Optimism grows from gratitude.

Gratitude is so much more important than the world around you wants you to believe. Being thankful is a special sauce, a magic formula, the ultimate elixir on the way to being positive.

How do you track your thankfulness?

Being aware of what you’re thankful for is one thing. Because of this, it’s powerful when you see all the items concretely logged with writing or images.

Whether you use an app, a journal, a planner or a plain old notebook, keeping an ongoing list of all the items you’re thankful for on a daily basis is important!

Important!

Did you hear that?

I can’t think of another way to state it. Make it a habit at the beginning, middle or end of a day to list what you’re thankful for. Begin recording your thankfulness.

I challenge you to start with a list of 100 items. A while ago Rob and I did an exercise like this together and it was so much easier than it seems… From this, we realized that the greatest to the least little item provides many, many reasons each day to give thanks.

” Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

~ from an article at Harvard Health

Therefore, you can learn how to be optimistic if you use gratitude as a tool!

So, being loved and being thankful. Right.

And after that – what’s next?

3 – Being encouraged and encouraging others helps you to learn how to optimistic.

Thirdly, what is encouragement?

“Encouragement: words or actions that give someone confidence or hope and words or actions that help something to happen.”

~ from MacMillan Dictionary

To learn how to be optimistic means you understand the importance of encouragement. Encouragement is an action. It’s having hope for the future. People who are positive-focused know how to help themselves and others make something happen – something good for the future.

Optimists are confident that if they keep trying and continue to persevere, regardless, there will be an improvement.

And once an optimist is feeling hopeful, then…

4 – Optimists take action.

Lastly, some of the skills on the path to learn how to be optimistic are the ability to make a plan, work the plan and take action on the goals that’ll get you to the finish line of the plan. Does this sound familiar?

What if things don’t work out? Failure is part of the plan – it’s gonna happen, and optimists who take action have contingencies at hand to fail forward.

So, if something doesn’t work out, the optimist finds another way.

Above all, it’s about taking action – not getting stuck in inertia or analysis paralysis. Equally, if a positive person does get stuck, they look for help from another encouraging person! Do you have someone like that in your life?

Are you someone who takes action? Is there a chance you’re also a learned optimist?

Being Positive on Purpose

All in all, life isn’t always what you expect. There are curveballs…

It’s important to realize there are days, weeks and even years where being optimistic is hard. At times it feels almost impossible. I get it. I really do – due to circumstances we all encounter, I’ve experienced it and it’s difficult to be optimistic when in crisis. (Especially if others around you expect optimism from you and you’re feeling like you’re running on empty.)

What can you do when it’s hard to be optimistic?

Actively seek support. To clarify, surround yourself with people, activities, and resources which will support you in practicing:

  • loving yourself and others,
  • being thankful – in all circumstances,
  • accepting encouragement and giving encouragement,
  • and taking action.

To be transparent – that’s why this site was born. I needed something to keep my focus on remaining and then growing in being positive. So, that’s what PostiveThanksLiving.com is for… it’s for me and you!

On the positive side, there’s no end in learning to be optimistic.

You just get better at it. Certainly, it takes ongoing practice, but the benefits of practicing optimism impact everyone around you for the better.

Indeed, it’s not going to hurt anyone if you learn how to be optimistic… in fact, it’ll help make the world around you a little better!

Just because you're not born an optimist doesn't mean you can't learn how to be optimistic. Explore the 4 points along the way - anyone can learn!

JOY in Despair – It’s there!

JOY in Despair – It’s there!

Joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.

Happiness needs security.” — these two statements are Ann Morrow Lindbergh‘s take on the difference between happiness and joy.

What do you think?

Is it possible to find JOY in despair?

Have you ever experienced joyful moments, even when you feel like you’re hanging from your fingertips over an open abyss? I have.

From my experience, that joy experienced in the midst of despair is all the sweeter because of the juxtaposition of the two.

Are you in a time of despair?

Hang on.

You will make it through.

And watch for those moments of JOY…

they’ll show up…

and they’ll be sweet.


” I’ve found a joy in sorrow, a precious balm for pain;

a beautiful tomorrow of sunshine after rain.

I’ve found a branch of healing near ev’ry bitter spring;

for ev’ry anxious feeling the Lord does comfort bring,

for ev’ry anxious feeling the Lord does comfort bring. “

Hymn “I’ve found a joy in sorrow” by Ira D. Sankey

Read more about JOY – in this post, and this one and this one!

Making it through…

So how do you find those moments of JOY when you’re sorrowing, or in the dark, or hanging on by your fingertips?

  • Focus on what is in your life now – and in the past – for which you can be thankful. Gratitude is a key to unlock those moments of JOY.
  • Surround yourself with those who will encourage you. Try very hard to push yourself into visiting with those who will pray with you, and lift you up. (It’s hard. I know. But the battle is worth it!)
  • Watch what you read – find a devotional that will lift your spirits. This devotional, “Streams in the Desert” is one of my most favorite resources. It’s old, yet still so very relevant.
  • Listen to songs with words from Scripture. Hymns. Sing along. Music is a powerful tool.

These items won’t be something new – rather they’re a way of living: thankful and optimistic. They’re the soil in which to plant future flowers of JOY!


weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning

Psalm 30

Structure your Happiness – 100 days experiment.

Structure your Happiness – 100 days experiment.

Happiness is fleeting. In my life, the feeling of being happy shifts like the weather – the only surety is a change in and out and in again of happiness.

I’m imagining you might relate? It’s rare for anyone to be happy every day. (By-the-way, being joyful is a different story from the average happy moment. Read some thoughts about JOY here.)

Most of us merely want to have more happy days than we’re already experiencing.

Just like choosing to live in one part of the continent with more days of sunshine, than a different part of the continent with fewer sunny days, we do have the choice to structure our lives to experience more moments of happiness.

Is every day sunny? No. Will every moment be happy? Of course not. However, you can…

Structure your happiness – 100 days experiment!

Just so you know, I don’t think you need a special book, app or planner to take action toward structuring more happiness in your life. Purchasing something isn’t necessary. You could design your own map, print your own tracking pages, or just use a plain notebook to make notes.

The idea is to have a plan and then track progress over a period of time.

Happiness 100 days - plan to have more days of happiness.

I ordered the 100-day Happiness Planner for my birthday a few years ago. It was during a hard time. No tragedies – just life.

During this time I felt like I needed to take strong, decisive steps to structure my days to include opportunities to feel happy. I looked at many programs, considered creating one of my own, and then – for my needs – I decided to invest in the 100-day Happiness Planner.

This resource provided certain properties I needed:

  • a short period – 100 days is just over 3 months – to try new ways to structure my days/weeks and experiment with specific goals
  • no particular dates (undated) so I could write in my own dates and begin/end as I chose.
  • opportunity for reflection – questions and room to journal my thoughts
  • planning space for daily and weekly events
  • space to record thankfulness every day/week
  • a way to track what I was learning via Scripture and actively listening in church services
  • positive affirmations (although, I replaced some with God-honoring statements for the ones I didn’t like.)
  • and more – you can read about the 100 Day Happiness Planner here – I liked this resource so much that I became an affiliate.

This site, PostiveThanksLiving.com grew out of my time working in the 100-day Happiness Planner.

What do you need to structure happiness into your life?

More happy moments may not happen all by themselves. Sometimes we need a boost, a trigger, or a tool.

I hope this site, which grew from my time of reflection, can be a boost and trigger for your life. My goal is to provide positivity and gratitude prompts so we all have what we need to add some happiness into our life.

What other tools to structure happiness could you use?

Maybe you need to focus on adding some healthy boundaries to your life? This is a good book to learn how to do that.

Perhaps you feel it’s time to pursue deepening your marriage.

  • Rob and I talk about this book with couples all the time. It’s practical and easy to implement, no matter in what state your relationships exists.
  • Or maybe your marriage is just fine, but you need to do some planning as a couple – this is an excellent resource.

Have you ever done a “vision board”? In simple terms, it’s a collection of photos/images of what you’re working toward pasted or printed onto one paper. (I couldn’t find a resource to link to here, so I guess I’ll be creating one in the future!)

What other tools do you need?

Leave a comment – what has helped you find more happiness in your life in the past?

structure your happiness with the 100 days of happiness planner
Click here to explore this resource – but remember, it’s not necessary to buy this – you could do it on your own if you feel motivated…
structure your happiness - 100 days Happiness Planner
Have you made a list of those things which make you happy? Ranking items is a powerful way to make this idea real…
PIN this to your Pinterest!
Positivity Gifts – Mother’s Day

Positivity Gifts – Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is coming… use this time to honor the loving women – regardless of relation – in your life!

Those women who encourage you like a mom

might really appreciate something you make.

And what’s more encouraging than a bit of positivity?

Remember – it isn’t about the dollar amount or the blood relationship – it’s about honoring the connection! You could even give this before the day!

Make a Positivity Garland

Make a Positivity Garland - use the prompts, some string, and flowers.

It’s easy – just some circles with positivity prompts,

(you could use the ones provided in the PDF or make your own)

a length of embroidery floss,

and a few artificial flowers!

Less than 20 minutes

and you’ll have a pretty little garland

for that special woman who loves you.

Make it for a friend, for your friend’s mother,

a courageous single mom, the woman whose babe is in eternity,

a grandma with far-away grands, or that “yet to be” grandmother,

an elderly loved one who never had children,

someone who is longing for children but whose arms are yet empty,

or any special lady who needs a lift!

Give this even before that second Sunday in May, to keep those ladies’ thoughts uplifted!

Here’s the PDF to download

with the words in the circles and some instructions:

Mother's day gift  for someone special who loves you like a mom - a positivity garland

Want to make something else?

Try some “sticky positive thoughts”

– click to check out this post to learn the “how to”…

(This post includes a PDF for the cards

and a video where I learned how to make the little pocket):

Positive Sticky Thoughts - card bundle - Make Positivity a Habit - Mother's day gift for that special woman

And if Mother’s Day is difficult…

Too often this second Sunday in May holds more tears than joy.

If Mother’s Day is a difficult day for you…

or someone you love…

then maybe this might provide a bit of encouragement.

A mother's love has no barrier. When Mother's day is difficult.

These flowers stand as a small banner to a mother’s love.

A mother’s love has no barrier – not earth or eternity, not time or distance, not fear or hate.

We acknowledge your mother’s love.

You are not forgotten.

You are thought of and prayed for.