An Unexpected gift

appreciation, blank pages, new yearRecently I was given a gift of appreciation from three women I’d been encouraging and affirming over a period of months.

As they hugged me and thanked me for loving them through some tough times, I was deeply touched. To hear my small involvement in their lives had made a difference was a gift of monumental proportions for me.

Over the years I’ve heard the saying, “Giving is receiving.” The fulfillment I felt was the perfect example of this. I used to think that to make a difference I must do something big, something noteworthy. In actual fact, sometimes all I need to do is to show up. Everyone’s time is valuable and giving it to others shows we care.

The women I mentioned didn’t need to do anything else to show their appreciation. I was surprised when they also handed me a gift bag. It contained a lovely journal and a pen with the inscription Make Your Dreams Happen. On the front of the journal were the words, The Journey is the Destination. Both sentiments were inspiring.

Although the relationship was about me supporting them, these women had taken the time to find out what was important to me. They knew I was a writer and had thoughtfully chosen a gift to show they cared about my dreams and goals. They even included chocolate!

The blank pages of a new journal remind me of the blank pages of a new year. As the calendar turns to a fresh year, there are new adventures to fill up its pages. Each day is a gift and it is up to me to use it wisely. I chose to put the pen in God’s hands and let him write my story.

“What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.” – Vern McLellan

Lessons From a Nature Walk

nature pathWalks are wonderful for exercise and relaxation but sometimes I gain much more than that from them.

My husband and I set out for a walk on a hot summer afternoon. First we strolled along a peaceful path by a lake. Then we crossed through a field of clover where the only sound was the buzzing of the bees as they gathered the sweet nectar.

The scorching sun beat down on us relentlessly and we looked forward to the shade of the treed path ahead.

We soon reached the trees and were refreshed by the light breeze. Suddenly there was a swarm of tiny insects around us. I kept my gaze on the ground, afraid if I looked up, these insects would be inhaled. Although we passed through them quickly, there were several more swarms to be encountered as we continued.

One of the things I learned from this experience was that things are not always as idyllic as they appear from a distance. Many situations look perfect until I experience them first hand. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence!

Another lesson for me was to focus on the positive. There were some minor inconveniences on my walk but they didn’t dampen my appreciation for spending time in nature on a glorious summer day.
I need to remember that the Lord faithfully provides for me every day. His mercies are never ending and my gratitude to him should reflect that.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)

Appreciation

envelopeLast week I received one of the most valuable gifts I have ever been given. It came in the form of a written letter. This letter was from someone who wanted to let me know how much I was appreciated. My friend had verbally expressed appreciation for me before, but wanted to put it in writing. Reading the words had a profound effect on me. The fact that I can read them again at any time is priceless.

A few days ago I was one of many volunteers at a community event. Standing in the pouring rain, taking my shift as a crossing guard, I was happy and smiling at the people who went by. One of the main reasons for this was the appreciation that was expressed. The majority of people thanked me for serving in this way. Many offered kind words and one even offered to give me his umbrella! That evening I received an email expressing appreciation for my help during the event.

These experiences have reminded me the importance of showing appreciation. Even a difficult situation can be made better when appreciation is shown. I do my best to let people serving me know that I appreciate what they are doing. How often, though, do I make a point of letting loved ones know how much I appreciate them? It doesn’t always need to be for what they have done; maybe I need to let them know that I appreciate them for who they are. How will they know if I never tell them?

One that deserves my constant appreciation is Jesus. His love is faithful and he is always there to lead and guide me. He provides me with much more than I could ever deserve and I need to show my appreciation by thanking him every day.

Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. (Proverbs 16:24 NLT)

My mouth is filled with your praise, with your glory all day long.  (Psalm 71:8 GWT)

Be inspired this week!