An example of pure joy was being played out before me. Young children were running through a large puddle. Smiling parents stood nearby, watching as their children laughed and splashed through the water.
As I passed by, the children were asking their parents, “Can we go just one more time? Pleeease.” They were having so much fun they didn’t want it to end!
It made me happy just to watch their enthusiastic play. No expensive toys were needed. All that was necessary were rubber boots and a puddle. As far as the children were concerned I’m sure even the rubber boots were optional!
I wondered when I had last taken the time to play. Not a game where there is a desired outcome, but just to have fun. I am grateful for the children in my life who encourage me to relax and enjoy life. They are wonderful teachers.
Playing is good for us. It reduces stress, eases burdens and restores a sense of optimism. For a healthy life, it is more a necessity than a luxury.
When I do something just for fun, my creativity is unleashed. Maybe that’s because I break free from the box of conformity I often place myself in.
We can learn a lot about each other through play. This begs the next question. Who wants to come out and play?
“You can learn more about a man in an hour of play than in a lifetime of conversation.” -Plato
My husband and I put together a little Easter egg hunt for our family. This year we had some items labelled for each of the younger children.
In the pre-hunt instructions, they were told not to take something if it wasn’t marked for them. They could either put it back where they found it and keep looking for other treats, or they could pick it up and make sure it got to the right person.
There were only two items personalized for each child, the rest were available to anyone who found them. We were surprised by how our five young grandchildren handled this.
I must admit, if it were me, I’d probably have put the other person’s treasure back and kept gathering treats for myself. That was not the case with these young ones. If something labelled for another was found, their own search stopped until they gave it to the one it was marked for. Without exception, each unselfishly put the needs of a sibling or cousin before their own.
Although they enjoy their candy and were excited to collect all they could, none were concerned about losing out by helping another. Without meaning to, they reminded us of what is important.
The Bible says “and little children will lead them.” That was certainly the case at our home that day. Little did I know that the combination of children and candy would remind me to do unto others as I would have them do to me.
People should be concerned about others and not just about themselves. (1 Corinthians 10:24 GWT)
Time had slipped away and now I was in a rush to get to work. I quickly gathered my lunch and threw it in my tote bag before heading out the door.
Travelling a familiar route, I followed another vehicle without paying much attention to my surroundings.
Suddenly I became aware of being in a playground zone. The car in front had not decelerated and I was blindly following. My brakes were quickly applied as I slowed to the required speed. No flashing lights were behind me so the only penalty was self- imposed. I resolved to slow down and be more mindful of my actions.
After arriving at work I reached into my bag to remove my lunch and realized my water bottle had tipped onto my sandwich, crushing it. That’s what happens when I don’t take the time to place things properly in the bag, I thought. Little did I know things were about to get worse!
It seems in my haste to get out of the house, I hadn’t fastened the top of my water bottle properly. A squished sandwich was the least of my worries as I rescued my belongings from the now soggy bottom of the bag.
While drying the bag and its contents I thought about the lessons I’d just been given. Each instance occurred because I was in a hurry. If I had only slowed down and paid proper attention to what I was doing, none of this would have happened. The faster I tried to go, the more recovery had to be done later. In the future, I need to remember that I actually have more time when I don’t rush.
“Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed at how much more life she had time for.” Unknown
Although the little girl had been with her grandmother only an hour earlier, she was excited to see her. At first glance, her eyes lit up and she ran with open arms for a loving embrace.
I watched this heartwarming scene and thought of how very special their relationship was. There is nothing quite like the love expressed through a child’s hug. This expression of affection can melt even the coldest heart.
My young grandchildren are moving past the spontaneous hug stage. I know they still love me; it’s just that other things now vie for their attention. They know that I won’t force them to hug me but I will be there with open arms when they’re ready.
This reminds me of my relationship with God. There are times I race to spend time with him. Other times I let life distract me. My love for the Lord has not diminished and it is not my intention to ignore him for other pursuits.
The good news is He remains close by, watching over me. He is not forceful, demanding attention, but waits patiently for me to return.
When I realize I’ve moved away and reach out to the Lord, he is always ready to welcome me with open arms.
We loved because he first loved us. (1John 4:19 NIV)
I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. (Proverbs 8:17 NIV)
Janice Richardson writes Christian articles and stories focusing on how God impacts people’s lives. She resides in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and one of three sons. Janice loves reading, writing, and being in nature whether it is hiking, skiing, walking, or cycling. She also has a bit of competitive side and loves watching football, her son playing soccer, and playing Word with Friends on her phone or tablet!
I wondered how Janice came to have a story included in the anthology Gifts from Heaven. She explained; “Several years ago, I took an on-line Christian writing course through the organization Christian Writer’s Guild. I was assigned a mentor who reviewed my lessons and gave me feedback. After I completed the course, she started sending me emails inviting me to submit stories for books that James Stewart Bell was compiling and publishing. I never felt like I had a story that fit the guidelines so never submitted anything. For the past year, I have been interviewing people and writing their God story for CSC News in Calgary. At the time I was writing on one of the people they had “matched” me with, I received an email from my former mentor asking for submissions for another book. Ray’s story fit perfectly with the guidelines for this book! I submitted a revised version of his story and was very happy when I learned that it had been accepted!”
And that’s how it’s done, folks. Of course, Janice’s talent for writing had a lot to do with her being published!
In addition to writing, Janice works for a non-profit organization primarily doing administrative and financial work. Although she has a passion for writing people’s true stories of how God has impacted their life, she would also like to write a novel and plans to pursue that in the future.
We will be watching for that, Janice!
For information about the book Gifts from Heaven, ordering a copy, or any other questions or comments, please email me at Janice_r@shaw.ca .
Have you ever done something you wish you could take back? Wouldn’t it be nice to erase the mistake from everyone’s memories and start over again? It’s happened to me more than once.
This week I ran into another situation where I desperately wanted a do-over. For those of you who received eleven back to back emails from me on Monday, I apologize. This wasn’t my intention, no matter how good the reading may have been!
By the time I realized what had happened, it was too late to undo my mistake. The damage was done. You see, I’m was doing work on my website and discovered some posts that had been moved to trash instead of the archives. Since I wanted them available, I moved them over to my blog page, not knowing they would be sent out all over again.
Text messages from friends soon started coming in, notifying me to multiple emails. Oh no, I thought. This is going to shatter the illusion that I’m perfect! Oh wait, I’m pretty sure everyone already knows that. So now what do I do? Since I couldn’t change what had happened, there were two options available. Either I could hang my head in embarrassment or I could make the most out of an unfortunate situation.
I chose the latter. After all, I know I’m not the only one to have done something they wish could be reversed. The lesson in this may be not to take myself so seriously. I’m human and make mistakes. The mistakes are not what define me. It’s what I do with them that counts.
That being said, some of those stories were pretty good. Maybe you missed them the first time around and would like to read them now. In case you weren’t one of the lucky ones to get eleven emails from me on Monday, you can read them on my website archives. http://www.timewithtandy.com/2013/07/
“Don’t look back. You are not going that way.” Author unknown
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” – Richard Branson
I wasn’t sure exactly what it was in the box but knew it was unique and beautiful. The sculpture was a large circle with thick glass strands intertwining.
A card inside told me this was an endless knot, representing a never ending connection. It was also a symbol of eternity, harmony and endless love.
This lovely expression of endless love was a gift from family members. I have heard many stories from people who don’t have good relationships with their family. The object I held in my hands represented the blessing of the harmony that exists with my children and grandchildren.
Our lives are intertwined; each being made stronger by the connection with the others. This bond has been passed down through the generations.
As we draw near to Good Friday, the endless love of God is in the forefront of my mind. He showed his love by sending his only Son, Jesus, to atone for our sins and give us eternal life. This act of great sacrifice reaches to all generations, binding us together.
His love has no beginning and no end. He loved us before we knew him and paid the greatest sacrifice of all that our lives may be intertwined with his. For this, I am eternally grateful.
The Lord is good. His mercy endures forever. His faithfulness endures throughout every generation. (Psalm 100:5 NLT)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)
A friend recently took on the task of updating my website. This is something I’m not able to do on my own and would normally have to pay someone else to complete.
Her generosity in helping me out in this way is incredible. Hours of time are being spent on something that gives her no obvious benefit. When I express my thanks, as I do frequently, she brushes it off, saying, “It’s no big deal and something I enjoy doing.”
Another friend recently asked me for help on a project she’s working on. This was in my area of expertise and I was glad to offer whatever assistance I could.
When she thanked me, I found myself saying, “It was no problem. I’m happy to help you anytime.”
It was no coincidence I met with both of these friends on the same day. I’d been feeling guilty about accepting the generosity offered to me, while freely offering the same to another. Thinking about how good it felt to assist one friend helped me understand why another would willingly spend time helping me.
If I refused her offer, I’d be denying her this joy. What a concept! I’m doing something for you by letting you do something for me. And, you are making me happy by allowing me to do something for you. This is the ultimate win-win situation!
“The greatest good is what we do for one another.” Mother Teresa
During our recent vacation, I was having problems with my hair. I’d wash it and hours later it would feel dirty again.
After trying a few brands of shampoo I came to the conclusion the problem was with the water in the shower. Although it was frustrating, I didn’t know what else to do so had to accept it.
Each day we would go for a long walk along the beach. During the last few days of vacation, the tide was very high, leaving not enough sand to walk on. We didn’t want to forgo our walk so moved inland.
The next day I was pleasantly surprised with my hair. It still felt clean. It took another day of walking inland before I understood what the problem had been and felt foolish to not have recognized it sooner.
Upon return from our beach walks my sunglasses would be covered with a film of sea spray that clouded my vision. I hadn’t thought about that same spray also coating my hair!
The answer was obvious the whole time. Instead of seeing what was right in front of me I went searching for something more complicated. I don’t know about you, but this seems to be a pattern in my life.
Little white lies, judgments and selfishness slowly build up until, like the effects of the sea spray, my vision and my life become clouded. I no longer feel clean and tend to search for outside reasons for my gloom.
The problem, however, isn’t with anyone or anything else. It is my doing and only by taking responsibility can I remove the film that clouds my life. When I go to Jesus and sincerely ask forgiveness, he is willing and able to make my life bright and clean once again.
Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. (Matthew 7:5 NLT)