Photo of bird feeder surrounded by flowers with text overlay: What Are You Inviting Into Your Life?

What Are You Inviting Into Your Life?

Photo of bird feeder surrounded by flowers with text overlay: What Are You Inviting Into Your Life? https://reclaiminghopewellness.comMeet Gus-Gus. He’s the latest member of our backyard “zoo.” Isn’t he adorable? He just showed up one day last week and has since made our yard his own personal salad bar. I always get excited when I see him because he’s just so darn cute! I want to just run out, scoop him up, and hug him, but even if I could catch him I’m afraid it would turn out like the scene in Elf where Buddy the Elf tries to hug the racoon….

photo of groundhog

On Wednesday evening I was looking out the kitchen window and Gus-Gus was standing up so he could pull one of my echinacea (purple coneflower) plants over and eat it. I don’t mind if he eats them, but I don’t think the chipmunks will appreciate it. That’s where they spend a lot of their time, and the plants provide great cover from predators.

Groundhog eating echinacea plant
Gus-Gus, named for the fat little mouse in Disney’s animated Cinderella – taken through the kitchen window, between the deck railings

Seeing him utterly destroying those echinacea plants really made me stop and think. Although I don’t think he lives in the yard (we haven’t seen any holes big enough to be groundhog holes), we have invited him in by providing everything he could possibly need: food, water, and shelter. For many years, I’ve wanted to have a backyard wildlife habitat and now it seems we do. As I talked about with the chipmunks last week, all this cuteness can bring with it some destructive behaviors as well: digging holes in the yard (which in the groundhog’s case can damage foundations), devouring the garden, and impacting the other animals who live in the yard. This made me think about other things that we invite into our lives, things that may seem harmless at first, but can be detrimental to our well-being.

One of the first things that came to mind was unhelpful thought processes.We have thousands of thoughts that flit through our minds every day, and as I mentioned in week 2 of my Mindfulness Monday series, our bodies are extremely sensitive to the emotions that go through there. If we don’t consciously process negative thoughts and emotions, or if we start to dwell on them, we may be inviting them to take up residence. It’s normal, and yes, perfectly fine, to have days when we feel sorry for ourselves for a while. Chronic illness is HARD, and sometimes we just need a chance to “not be okay” and grieve the loss of what used to be. We just don’t want to allow ourselves to become mired down by those thoughts, because once they move in, it’s hard to get them to move out. We really do get to choose what we think about, and if we can train ourselves to focus more on the positive thoughts than the negative we see enormous benefits. It’s no wonder that in the Bible Paul tells the Philippians, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Holy Bible, New Living Translation)

Another thing is not really a “what” but a “who” – negative people. At first, it may feel good to have someone to talk to who really “gets” how we feel at our worst, someone who helps us give our angry or discouraged feelings a voice. Now please don’t misunderstand me – we definitely need people in our lives whom we can be real with and express these negative feelings – but we don’t need to surround ourselves with people whose default setting is negativity. There’s an old saying that you become like the five people you spend the most time with. Why not choose to make our five people the ones who can support us during the dark times, but who also lift us up and help us gain a new perspective when needed?

We have a choice about who and what we invite into our lives, and just as we don’t invite just anyone into our homes, we shouldn’t invite negative influences into our heads, hearts, and lives. Conversely, we should throw the door open wide to those people and things that will support us, push us to grow, and help us live our best life possible!

What positive things are you inviting into your life? Please share!







  1. Aw Gus-Gus is so sweet, and I think your ‘personal salad bar’ garden is certainly a place all these cool kids want to hang out and eat! 🙂

    I think you have captured this beautifully and made some excellent points. A lot of the time, the thoughts we dwell on we become so accustomed to that we don’t realise they’re taking up roots and stifling any goodness. Same goes for other things and people we let into our lives, who ‘take up residence’ and it’s not always easy to firstly identify that, or to change it. But it’s so important to because it’s our life, our salad bar, and we need to make it the healthiest, happiest place possible where there is more growth than negativity.

    I would like more positive influences and people in my life and granted the lack of friends is probably one aspect that can make things a little tricky sometimes because I don’t have anyone to ‘bounce off’ (and I’m not a naturally bouncy person!) but I do try to throw open the doors as you say to those online, and to anyone I may meet randomly.

    I try to keep open-minded and appreciate the negativity I feel/think/experience, rather than push it away. I keep my eyes open for the small things to make me happy, the small positive changes I can make and the ways I can take positive control over my life or health.

    Great post, Terri – Happy Friday! (And hello to the chipmunks & Gus-Gus!)

    1. Thanks so much Caz! You make some really fantastic points here! As you said, sometimes it’s really hard to realize negative thoughts are taking root because we’ve become so accustomed to them. I also really like the point you made about appreciating the negativity rather than just pushing it away, because if we just try to automatically push any and all negativity away we never truly deal with it. It’s through dealing with difficult things that we learn the most sometimes.

      As far as friends go, a lot of the time I feel like I have friends like you, whom I’ve never met, that know me better than some of the friends I see all the time. I’ve “met” so many positive people here in the blogosphere, and I love that we can help boost each other up.

      Happy Friday to you as well. I hope your healing is coming along nicely. It’s good to see you back! I’ll say hi to the chipmunks and Gus-Gus for you! :o) Hugs!

  2. So cute, nothing like Gus-Gus here! Invites have been issued for pre-planned rests, ‘me’ time – was a spa day this week…luxury!, upcoming Adlerian Network of Ireland Summer School training workshops, short walks, more fruit & water because of warm weather, looks good on paper…now just to keep it on replay!

      1. I’m so glad to hear that Terri, it feels good to practice self-care. For food for thought check out Horse & Jockey 4 star Hotel to see the fantastic offer we got for 100 euro…back massage, head massage, full body scrub & facial worth about 220 euros and 250 euros of products sampled during the facial…bliss!!

  3. Another well written post, Terri. I agree that we have to be careful to keep positive people around us. Recently, I long for people who either don’t know about or don’t mention my illness. I want to be identified as more.

    1. Thanks so much V.J.! You make a great point about wanting to be identified as more than your illness. It’s kind of a tricky balance sometimes because you want people who will understand if you need to cancel plans, etc., but you don’t want people who are going to dwell on your illness instead of seeing you as a whole person.

  4. I love little Gus Gus!
    Great post Terri, I have become very aware of this, I find stress a trigger for my FM, so I limit the stress that I am exposed to. Stress can creep in little by little out of “concern” for others & their situations! But “concern” needs to be handed over to the Lord before it turns into worry which turns into stress!

    Remember you’re always welcome to drop by for a cuppa,

    1. Thank you so much Jennifer! I definitely should have included stress in that list! That’s such a great point about it creeping in unnoticed because it often comes in the form of concern for others. I’ll pop by your blog. I feel like I’m not seeing everyone’s posts in my Reader these days for some reason.

  5. Another great post Terri! I so agree with keeping out negativity…….this has been a very difficult process for me but it is better to be alone then to be around negative people, they literally suck the life and health out of you!

    1. Thanks so much Wendi! It’s important to have a support system and sometimes we’re going to have negative people in our lives, but we just need to try not to invite negativity into our lives. I’ve even had to severely limit how much news I watch.

      1. You are so right Terri……..and I am like you, I do not watch the news, at all. In fact I gave up TV in January… only Netflix and DVDs………it has helped!

  6. I’m not sure I’d let Gus-Gus hang out and eat my flowers!! But he is cute. We have a cardinal that visits us several times a day (we like to assume it’s the same one) during certain months. It’s been going on about 3 years now. He sits in an Althea/Rose of Sharon outside my dining room table and repeating crashes into the window, thinking he’s attacking another bird. I don’t know why but it brings me some comfort knowing he’s back, and it brings a smile to my face. ❤️

    1. Ha ha…. I don’t have the heart to run him off -he’s just too cute.😊 That probably is the same cardinal you have each year. I think they return to the same places. We had one that repeatedly flew at our laundry room window this Spring. I guess they start feeling territorial that time of year. I know what you mean about it bringing a smile to your face. Watching all our birds and furry creatures does the same for me.😊

  7. Great post Terri! Thank you so much for sharing this fabulous post! I think Gus-Gus is SO adorable and he just really thinks he is helping!! His sweet picture really made me smile!

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