1294. Our lives are a sum total of the choices we have made. ~Wayne Dyer

Everything you do makes a difference.
So choose the difference you wish
to make and act with this intention.
~Julie Parker

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nay·say  (nā′sā′)
tr.v. nay·said (-sĕd′), nay·say·ing, nay·says (-sĕz′)
To oppose, deny, or take a pessimistic or negative view.
nay′say′er n.

Synonyms :
pessimist, doubter, cynic, misanthrope

One who frequently engages in excessive complaining, negative banter and/or a genuinely poor and downbeat attitude. Naysayers are distinguished by their tendency to consistently view the glass half empty, make frequent one-way trips to negative town, and constantly emphasize the worst of a situation. They have the capacity to rant and whine for hours on end.

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Life is hard. There’s no denying it, and I’m finding that it doesn’t get any easier as one ages. In fact, parts of the aging process are even harder. I believe it was the actress, Bette Davis, who said that “getting old is not for sissies.” Well, she was absolutely right! And so like anyone else, I could choose to adopt the victim mentality and take the easy road which to my way of thinking is the one called “pissin’ and moanin’” as they say here in Texas, as it doesn’t require anything but a big mouth and a sour attitude. But what a waste that would be! My parents worked hard so that I could have a better life than they had had and so that I could get a college degree which neither of them had. My dad even fought in a war so that I could retain the freedoms of an American citizen. So after I got my degree, I taught for 31 years in public schools so that I might also be able to help others attain whatever they wanted to achieve. Along the way, James and I got married and eventually had a daughter who we in turn worked hard for so that she too could do and be all that she wanted. As it turned out she went even further than we did when she earned her Ph.D. In all that living and doing there were lots of heartaches and setbacks along the way which we endured and survived. So? Isn’t that true for everybody, more or less. Maybe, maybe not! Let’s add to that mix the death of my father at a early age followed by the onset of daily and sometimes overwhelming physical pain at the age of 25. In fact the last time I had a pain free day was when I was 25 and I am now 74. And so because I’m as human as the next person, after a while I became for a period of time a nay-sayer, one whose mantra became “life’s a bitch and then your die.” But God just wasn’t going to let the story end that way, and so a turning point came and a mentor was sent to help and heal. So it’s all better now, right?! In some ways yes and in some ways no! But’s that’s life isn’t it? At least here on earth! There’s always ups and downs! But what did change, my perspective when I learned to count my blessings and talents, and then realized they were greater than my losses. Now I refuse to let the hardships define me because I’m worthy of more. I’ve earned that by being a survivor but more importantly the Lord sees all of us as being able to be worthy with the choices we make and the things we do to serve Him and His purposes. In a nutshell, I’m just too old, stubborn, and ornery to be defeated now after surviving the hurdles of the past and enduring all the pain. So I choose find joy in each and every day; I choose to serve the Lord and others; I choose to be generous with myself and what I’ve been given, I choose to find and enjoy beauty in this world; I choose not be defined as a naysayer or live as one; I choose to praise the Lord as often as I can; and I choose to continue standing tall and for what’s right as long as I live; for my friends, every day is a gift and an opportunity to make the world a better place. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden…” ~Matthew 5:14  ✝

**Images found on Pinterest

1200. Every day, you get the opportunity to change your life. ~Rodolfo Costa

You are an instrument of God.
Don’t leave the instrument
sitting in its case my son. Play!
Leave no part of your instrument unexplored.
~Abraham Verghese

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I don’t normally share this “bragging” kind of information, but it’s the recognition of a goal I’d set for myself. And in achieving it, it has silenced old naysaying ghosts and proved that even an old, gray-haired lady without any particularly impressive credentials or talents can fulfill, in some way, long held hankerings. As an educator and a parent, I always encouraged my students and my daughter to explore avenues that led to dreams or desires they held. To that end, James and I afforded for our daughter, ballet lessons, karate lessons, violin lessons, swimming lessons–in general anything she came home and said she’d like to try. As it turned out her skills as a swimmer earned her 5 full collegiate scholarships. Then there were the graduate degrees she attained. Though these things are no longer her little niches in the grand scheme of things, they’ve served her well, helped develop her character and values, and left her with no “what if” regrets. For me it was different, unless my dreams served a “practical” purpose, I was denied the pursuit of them. For example, I wanted to be an artist, I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be a dancer, I wanted to be a singer but of course all such things were not at all “practical” and certainly no one could make a living doing them according to my parents. Then when it came time for college (something that no one on either side of my family had had the privilege and opportunity to attend), mom decided that it would be great if I became a teacher even though I  didn’t want to be one. But since my father had just passed away leaving her to finish raising their 3 teenage daughters on her own and she had quashed all my other longings, what else could I do but be the dutiful daughter a girl of that era had no other choice but to be. But then came the day when the dutiful daughter retired after 31 years of teaching and chose to find ways to address those long held hungers. Now although she may not be an artist, she can take pretty darned good photos. Although she’s not a dancer, she and her hubby can scoot their boots pretty darned well around a dance floor. Although she’s not an published author, she can knock out some fair-to-middling prose now and again. And so today after starting my blog with NO followers 3 years ago, WP notified me that I hit 1000 followers. It may seem a small number to some of you, but my little previously unanswered “what if” regrets are singing Hallelujah choruses because at long last I’m playing my instrument in an attempt to serve God whose instrument I am.

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. ~Exodus 9:16 ✝

1086. No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear. ~C.S. Lewis

There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not a mark of weakness,
but of power. They speak
more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are the messengers of
overwhelming grief, of deep contrition,
and of unspeakable love.
~Washington Irving

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Nikki was born to us after nine years of marriage, 5 days before my thirtieth birthday and ten days before her father’s 37 birthday. From the instant of her birth, she was, has always been, and is still the greatest joy of our lives. And though James and I know intellectually that she is only 12 hours away by car or an hour and a half by air, somehow it feels like she is far, far away, on the opposite side of the world now. And it’s not that we don’t wish her and her family well. We truly do wish them the very best always, and we know that the Lord has laid this opportunity upon their altar of their lives for a reason. But James and I are lost in sadness at the moment and don’t want anyone to try to minimalize what we’re feeling or tell us it’s foolish or that it will be all right. Also, what Mr. Lewis said is very true because some of what we’re experiencing does feel like fear. Long ago I read in a piece of literature (The Miracle Worker) that we don’t just keep our children safe; they keep us safe as well. So today has been hard, very hard, and for me there have been tears, lots of them as well as fears for both of us. And when I’m hurting like this, I withdraw and become introspective as I search to find my bearings, my balance, my true north again.

When someone you love is gone
in some way from your life,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you gets fragile,
Your thoughts make you unsure…
~Edited and adapted excerpt
by John O’Donohue

“…Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~Excerpt from Joshua 1:9  ✝

818. Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Smell the rain and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential…. ~Ashley Smith

The doors we open and close
each day decide the lives we live.
~Flora Whittemore

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Life is…
Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise it, fulfill it.
Life is a sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.
~Mother Teresa

In Him(Christ) was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. ~John 1:4  ✝

**Edited image via Pinterest

759. I can’t say I wasn’t hoping for it, but I didn’t see it coming. ~Jessi Kirby

None of us knows what the next change is going to be, what unexpected opportunity is just around the corner, waiting a few months or a few years to change all the tenor of our lives. ~Kathleen Norris

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When the second semester of my junior year began in January, a new guy started showing up around our table to watch us play bridge in the student center, and after a while this “new guy” began offering to go get my food and soft drinks as well as my cigarettes. (Yes, sadly, after my father’s death I took up smoking, a bad habit which took me a long, long time to break.) My card buddies called him JP and said that he’d been teaching them to play pinochle. Since I was always up for learning new games, I asked if he’d teach me to play pinochle too, and he seemed to jump at the chance. So it was that I learned to play pinochle, and shortly thereafter one of the five most unexpected events of my life occurred. JP (AKA James) and I began dating that spring, and then we became engaged at the first of June and were married by mid-August. No, it was not a “shotgun” wedding. It was just as the line in the movie says, “when you meet the right person, you want your life together to start right away.” Yes, Danny, did ask me to fork over the $50.00 since our wager wasn’t due to be over until October. To be continued…  (2 weeks, 3 days and counting)

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~Ephesians 3:20-21  ✝

The two topmost images on the left of collage via Pinterest, others are mine, and I created the collage

647. Awake! for morning in the bowl of night has flung the stone that puts the stars to flight…fill the cup before life’s liquor in its cup be dry. ~Lines from The Rubayyat of Omar Khayyam by Edward Fitzgerald

Every morning is a fresh beginning.
Every day is the world made new.
Today is a new day.
Today is my world made new.
I have lived my life up to this moment,
to come to this day.
This moment–this day– is as good
as any moment in all eternity.
I shall make of this day–
a heaven on earth.
This is my day of opportunity.
~Dan Custer

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Seize the morning, seize the moment, seize the day, and seize the blessings that come your way. Get rid of all hesitation, tell your loved ones how much you love them, express gratitude to the Lord above and let your spirit soar. Don’t let your history interfere with the clean slate of this new day. Be yourself, make the most of what you have, worry not about what you have not, and rejoice in the gift of life this day.

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When I stand before thee at day’s end,
thou shalt see my scars and know
that I had my wounds and also my healing.
~Rabindranath Tagore

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. ~Psalm 118:24   ✝

604. Why always “not yet”? Do flowers in spring say “not yet”? ~Norman Douglas

I held a moment in my hand,
brilliant as a star, 
fragile as a flower,
a tiny sliver of one hour.
I dripped it carelessly.
Ah! I didn’t know, 
I held opportunity.
~Hazel Lee

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There’s a whisper
inside of you…

It’s saying it’s time to
kick it up a notch.

To love more.
To create more.
To forgive more.

To be more of all that
you are and of all that
you can be.

You hear it, don’t you?
~Nick Ortner

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…  ~Hebrews 10:24    ✝