The situation reminded me of a story I’ve heard several times over the years.
In my case, the dash was to separate two numbers on the outside of a condo. The exterior had recently been painted and now the identifying numbers outside of our door were missing.
We chose some brightly coloured ceramic tiles with the numbers but finding a dash was another matter.
One could have been painted on the wall but that’s not what we wanted. The dash had to have more character than a painted line.
Since our condo is on the waterfront, we decided a shell could be used. The hunt was on for the perfect shell. This needed to be unique enough to also reflect who we are.
The story I was reminded of was about a tombstone. It indicated the date of birth and the date of death. Between these dates was a dash. This represented the years of life. The point of the story was to make the most of the dash. Searching for a dash now, reminded me of the importance of living a meaningful life.
When I was a girl in school, the races we ran on sports day were called dashes. I was good at the shorter ones, like the 50 yard dash, but didn’t have the endurance for the longer runs.
I now realize that the dash representing my life is one of endurance. God has given me a unique life and trusts me to run it to the best of my ability. With his guidance I will use it to reflect his light and love to those I come in contact with.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1 NLT)
The small fishing boat anchored near shore seemed to be an attraction for several pelicans. They hovered nearby, a few in the air and others approaching on the water.
When we got closer, it was easy to see what was luring them to the boat. The fisherman was cleaning his catch. As he sliced into the fish, the unwanted pieces were tossed overboard. Instead of going to the work of catching their own fish, these birds were happy to feast on the unwanted scraps.
I wondered how often in life I’ve been happy to settle for scraps when, with a little effort, I could have had so much more.
Do I work hard towards my goals and dreams or give up thinking they require more talent or ambition than I possess? Is it much easier to associate with those who have achieved what I desire, hoping some of their talent will spill over on me? Maybe they will have an abundance of what I’m looking for and I can hover nearby for the scraps.
This is not a pretty picture, but one I’m sure I’ve been guilty of at one time or another. Watching these birds settling for scraps was a visible reminder of who I don’t want to be.
What I’m reaching for won’t happen overnight, but given time and dedication, is achievable. If I truly believe in myself there will be no need to settle for scraps.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“All great achievements require time.” Maya Angelou
“Never underestimate your own strength. You were born for a purpose and are blessed with the power to achieve it.” Leon Brown
What do you do with tires that have become too worn to be used safely on your vehicles?
One common use is to make swings for children. Recently I saw old tires used in what I thought was a very unusual, but fitting way.
Where formerly, they carried vehicles on the road, these ones were set into the pavement to serve as speed bumps.
This served as an appropriate analogy for me. As I travel the road of life, there are times when I may not be able to do things I once was capable of. This doesn’t mean my value is gone. When I look for new ways to be of service, God will place me where I can do the most good.
He is more than able to make me what he wants me to be. As I move from one stage of life to the next, my purpose may become greater than anything I imagined. In his service my value doesn’t decrease. The Lord has been impressing upon me to keep my hands open. He needs to take away what I’ve been holding tightly before he can put something else there. It is only when I let go of one thing that I will be free to embrace the next.
There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. (1 Corinthians 12:5 NLT)
We were on a walk along the beach when my husband drew my attention to the wall. The solid wall separating two properties had three strategically placed openings. They were in the right places to accommodate the palm trees growing next to it.
It was interesting to see the concession made to nature. The trees would be able to grow and flourish because space had been allowed for them. They had room to spread out as needed.
It made me think of the walls I put up in my life. Do they block me from thriving or allow me space to grow? What I intended for protection may actually be hindering me by holding me back.
When I examine my wall, I see it is built from fear. Fear of failure and fear of rejection are the main building blocks. They are strong, powerful and not easily displaced.
I realize that I, like those trees, need room to grow. This can only happen when I start removing pieces of the wall by opening myself up to new experiences. When the light and space of possibilities reaches me I can grow to the person I was intended to be.
You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety. – Abraham Maslow
The young child in the seat behind us was getting bored on the airplane. She wanted to see out of the window but the blind was closed. “Open the window,” she said. When her wish wasn’t granted, she raised her voice and said, “Daddy, open the window. I want the window opened.” The insistent demand grew louder and louder. Her parents tried unsuccessfully to shush her. She knew what she wanted and was going to keep asking until she got it.
We had a few hours between flights and I watched as a child ran from her mother. When the mom called her to come back, the child stopped, looked directly at her parent and said, “No.” She then carried on in the opposite direction. She was heading where she wanted regardless of what her parent said.
After witnessing a few episodes like this, I was reminded of the times I’ve acted like a travel weary child. My heavenly Father does not grant my every request. Usually I accept this but other times I’ve been known to repeat my desires over and over, getting louder and more insistent each time. Maybe he just didn’t hear or realize how important this was to me.
Then there are the times God asks me to wait and not run ahead. For my own safety, he wants me to stay close. Thinking I know what’s best for me, I don’t always listen.
Maybe God allowed me to witness the childish outbursts that day to remind me to rely on and trust in him. Not only when I feel like it, but in all circumstances.
Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. (Psalm 37:3 NLT)
My friend raises chickens and told me about the variety of eggs she gathers. When I heard they come in all sizes and colours I thought of the medium and large eggs for sale in the grocery stores. I’ve also seen both brown and white shells, so this was what I pictured.
Imperfect eggs, with bumps on them are rarely seen in stores but I have encountered some of these so thought I understood her statement.
Then I heard about shells that were pale yellow, a muddied green and brilliant blue. I knew other birds produced coloured eggs like this, but hadn’t realized chickens also did. It all depends on the breed or genetics of the hen.
“They may look different on the outside, but inside they’re all the same,” she said. Immediately my mind shifted. “Just like us,” I replied.
Our outward appearance doesn’t matter to Jesus. He sees past that, deep into our souls. When it comes to what’s inside, we all have hopes and dreams for peace, love, family and a sense of purpose. Each has joys and sorrows. Unless I take the time to get to know someone who appears different, I will never know how similar we may be.
We are all like eggs in a basket and Jesus sees the value in each of us. When I find it difficult to love those who are not like me I need only ask Jesus to teach me. He will be happy to help me live the second great commandment.
The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Mark 12:31 NLT)
For the first time in the almost five years I’ve been writing this blog, I couldn’t get my post out on time.
The internet was down and there was nothing I could do about it.
Every hour or so I would check again, but had no success. For those of you who were looking for my post several hours ago, I apologize.
I have now located just enough of a signal to post from my phone. This isn’t the message I intended to send today but sometimes plans change!
For now, I have chosen to look for the value in the situation. There is always a lesson. Maybe I just needed to learn to go with the flow!
I’ve never been one to use the snooze bar on my alarm. I’d rather set my wake up time for slightly later than hit the snooze bar, doze off and then be disturbed all over again.
Although this may not be part of my morning ritual, snooze bar thinking appears in other areas of my life.
Many times there is a task needing to be completed but I don’t feel I have the time, energy or focus to tackle it. By putting it off, I’m actually hitting the snooze bar. Whatever I’m putting off will keep disturbing my thoughts until I finally get up and do it.
On the other hand, if I set my mind on the job at hand, rather than putting off the inevitable, my life runs much smoother.
The stress of missing deadlines, self imposed or otherwise, disappears. I find myself more productive. This contributes to my sense of well-being.
Formerly, I called this bad habit procrastination. The visual of hitting a snooze button is a much more powerful motivator. I want to move forward and not constantly put my life on hold.
The rest of the world does not take a break just because I do. Who knows what I may be missing during the time I hit the snooze bar of my life? God has many plans for my life and I don’t want to sleep through any of them!
Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper and be satisfied. (Proverbs 13:4 NLT)
An empty stable stays clean, but no money comes from an empty stable. (Proverbs 14:4 NLT)
The desires of lazy people will be their ruin, for their hands refuse to work. (Proverbs 21:25)