Last weekend my family went on a one-mile “fun run.” Many people brought their dogs, and my daughter pushed her little dog in a stroller. The morning was a bit chilly, so we wore light jackets as we walked to the start line. I didn’t press the stopwatch button on my sports watch because I thought it would just be a nice easy run, with no reason to time it.

I ran with my husband at first, but then he speeded up and got ahead of me. After a little while my daughter’s fiancé passed me with his Labradoodle puppy, Ziggy, loping happily by on legs that looked like they’d gotten much longer since I last saw him. A few other guys passed me too, but most of my attention was on the puppy, who looked very excited about being taken to such a big event.

After I finished the race, I got a cup of water and a freebie sugar cookie (yum) contributed by a sponsor bakery. Then I put on my jacket, but I soon took it off again because the sleeves felt sweaty enough to be uncomfortable. That seemed kind of peculiar when I hadn’t done anything other than a one-mile fun run, but then we all went out to brunch and my thoughts moved on to other things.

I washed the jacket along with the workout clothes after I got home, and I didn’t think anything more about it until my husband looked up the race results online and said, “Hey, Meg, did you know that you ran an eight-minute mile and were the first woman to finish the race?”

My first thought was, well, that explains the jacket! And my second thought was, dang, I hadn’t run that fast in, what, 14 or 15 years, maybe?

That left me wondering how much I had been subconsciously limiting myself through low expectations all those years. Back in August, I wrote a blog post about my imaginary adventures in 2083. Some of the adventures were pretty silly, but the post had a more serious aim; I wrote in it that I wanted to plant healthy ideas in my subconscious to crowd out negative views of aging. After running so fast in a fun sprint without even realizing it, I’m beginning to wonder if some of those healthy ideas are now taking root!
 

Word-art that says "The only way that we can live is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way that we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself." -C. JoyBell C 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

As we get into October and the fall harvest season, apples and hot apple cider are always yummy. It’s also the season when many people plant trees. So I decided that this word-art about being careful what we plant would be just right for today’s Nurturing Thursday post:
 

Word-art that says "Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

I’ve had trees on my mind recently because of spending more time this year pruning the willow hedge in my backyard. After I let the hedge get overgrown several years ago while I was busy with other things, it ended up with a lot of dead branches caused by cold winters and dry summers, and cutting it back turned into what seemed like a never-ending chore.

It’s looking much improved now, though, as shown in my last post; and I’ve taken away some useful reminders from it. First, proper maintenance generally is much easier than ignoring something and then having to clean up a gigantic mess later. And second, however big of a chore something may seem, persistence gets it done after a while. Unlike trees, we’re not rooted to our current circumstances but can shift them through the power of incremental changes.
 

Word-art that says "If you don't like where you are, then change it. You are not a tree." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

This week I didn’t have a particular topic in mind that I wanted to focus on for Nurturing Thursday, so I decided to post a word-art image filled with more nurturing advice than might be needed.
 

An image showing a page filled with words of advice in different fonts, beginning with "Be nicer than is needed." 

Hope you enjoy it, and a happy Thursday to all!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

I’ve been a bit tired and run down this week, along with not sleeping well, probably because of a virus. There seems to be something going around. My hairdresser was sick on Tuesday and had to reschedule my appointment. I changed it to this morning, and then she forgot about it and was a few minutes late getting to the salon. I told her no worries, I was half asleep myself!

This evening the sun came out for just a little while after two very dark and rainy days. I feel perkier, and I’m looking forward to more fun on the weekend. Even when a few blah days happen, that’s just the way of things. We couldn’t do as much with a coloring book, after all, if the box didn’t have the gray and black crayons to fill in the shadows.
 

Colorful word-art that says "Life is about using the whole box of crayons." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

My manager is a big fan of Rafael Nadal and has occasionally stayed up most of the night watching tennis. She is also an upbeat, encouraging person who has served well in her position for many years.

People often look upon their work in terms of the particular task that they do, or see it more generally as working for the company. Looking at it even more broadly, though, work is about service—we provide something of value for customers even if we don’t interact directly with them, and we spend part of our time helping our coworkers and others in the company. Of course, earning a paycheck is also part of what work is about; but when we serve others well, money and other things tend to fall into place.
 

Word-art on a tennis ball that says "Life is like a game of tennis. The player who serves well seldom loses." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

My daughter and her fiancé got a new puppy recently, a brown Labrador/poodle mix, also known as a Labradoodle. She already has a very friendly little black-and-white Cavachon (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Bichon Frise mix). The breeders and pet stores call these little mixed-breed companion dogs “designer hybrids.” In less flowery language, they might be called expensive mutts; but they are carefully bred to be loving pets, and there’s something to be said for that.

She sent me some photos of the puppy and of the dogs getting acquainted. The picture below looked to me like an older friend being helpful and showing a younger one around. That left me thinking that even dogs help each other—it shouldn’t be so hard for humans to find time for kind acts, either.
 

Black and white Cavachon making friends with brown Labradoodle puppy. 

On the topic of finding ways to be kinder in everyday life, I recently came across a site that is worth checking out—it contains a list of acts of service ideas, with cute graphics such as the one below, which I’ve reposted with the author’s permission. That is quite a long-suffering look on the dog’s face!
 

Wet dog photo captioned "Bathe the dog." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

The title of this post comes from Reiki meditation. I took a beginner-level Reiki class in March and have found it to be very helpful and calming. The first two lines of the traditional mantra are “Just for today, do not be angry. Just for today, do not worry.”

When I meditate, I generally imagine pictures to go along with the words. Trying to visualize anger and worry in the negative wasn’t working too well, though, so I changed a few words and made it “Just for today, set aside anger. Just for today, set aside worry.” Then I pictured two cardboard boxes labeled “Anger” and “Worry” sitting on shelves in a dim, quiet storage area because they weren’t needed.

At first, I didn’t notice a whole lot of difference. Then, a few days ago, I woke up feeling like I had a calm, peaceful center where everything had been nicely tidied up. I wondered what might have been occupying that space before—and then I realized “Oh, that must have been the anger and worry that are hanging out somewhere else today!”

I thought about illustrating this post with a photo of the storage shelves in my basement, but I decided that would be way too boring; so, here’s a cat picture instead. Happy Thursday!
 

Cat picture that says "Reiki cat is balancin ur energy." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

As I mentioned in a blog post recently, my work responsibilities this month include reviewing and commenting on the work of new trainees in the Philippines. It has been going well. I did feel a bit nervous, though, about attending a roundtable session via phone and computer on Sunday evening (which was Monday morning in Manila) with the trainees, their manager, my manager, and a few of my coworkers here in the United States who are also involved in the training.

In general, I am not much of a talker and do better with written language. I am very comfortable with giving written feedback, not just at work, but also in creative writers’ groups and on blogs. Question-and-answer sessions over the phone are something that I don’t have as much experience doing, however.

It all turned out okay, though. The trainees obviously were much more nervous than I was. When my manager coaxed them into coming forward with their questions, my first instinct was to go into reassuring-mom mode and tell them everyone has a tough time at first, but it doesn’t take long to get used to the work, and they would all feel comfortable with it soon. I wondered at first if maybe I overdid that a little, but my manager and coworkers thought it sounded pretty good.

I decided to post this ocean word-art for Nurturing Thursday because it seemed to fit the theme:
 

Word-art that says "You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

I have to confess that I didn’t feel particularly inspired or creative today. Instead, it was one of those days where it all felt like a long, repetitive, energy-draining slog, and no thoughts came to mind for a Nurturing Thursday blog post. So, after work and laundry, I spent a little time browsing through word-art images in the hope that something inspiring would turn up. What I found was this timely reminder:
 

Word-art that says "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle 

Life may have its dull moments, but because character is formed in large part by everyday habits, just going through the day and getting things done without drama is not a bad thing. Even on days that feel less than inspired, it’s good to keep in mind that in a few years, we may look back and realize that we accomplished much more than we knew at the time.

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.