What I Leave Behind

#inspiration, nature, path, My husband and I were walking on a path through the woods when we saw some animal scat in front of us. I wondered what kind of animal had preceded us. I hoped it was from a deer and not something more dangerous. To confirm this, I took a picture for identification purposes. This would let me know if this path was a safe place for future walks.

Our initial guess turned out to be correct and my fear of a dangerous animal was alleviated.

The situation did produce some interesting questions though. I wondered if I could be identified by the crap I leave behind.

Do my fears and insecurities leave a trail of chaos in my wake? Do my frustrations and anger cause turmoil for others? Does the garbage left behind let you know I was there? Am I walking away and expecting others to clean up my mess?

If any of these are the case, I need to make some changes. None of them are ways I would like to be remembered.

Knowing I can be identified by what I leave behind, I want to leave a legacy of kind words and gestures that showed I cared. Smiles, laughter and stories of memories made together are the best evidence of my footprints in your life. My purpose is to inspire others by sharing from my heart to help them see their true value.#inspiration, value, beauty

I think I’ll keep that picture of deer scat on my phone as a reminder of what and what not to leave behind.

This story is from my book Another Perspective

Stand Still

#inspiration, protection, nature, rabbitI turned the corner onto my street and saw one of our neighbourhood jackrabbits hopping across the road. When it heard my car approaching, the rabbit stopped right where it was – in the middle of the road. It held perfectly still as I slowly drove past.

Often I see one of these rabbits in my yard and instead of hopping away when I come close, it will freeze in position, as if to blend into the surroundings and become invisible. Some places are easier to blend into than others.

What is interesting to me is the rabbits hold still when they haven’t done anything wrong but if I come outside and see one doing something destructive in my garden it sure hops off in a hurry. I guess it all depends if it thinks I’ve seen it or not.

I didn’t see the rabbits eating my tulips this year, but the fact only one matured enough to flower gives me the impression the others became tasty meals.

My husband was wondering aloud one day about a sparse patch on our front lawn. He had re-seeded that area but hadn’t seen any new growth. “Maybe the birds ate the seeds,” he said. A few days later he looked outside early in the morning and saw two rabbits happily munching away in this area. It turns out they were eating the tender new shoots of grass before they matured enough for us to see them. Mystery solved!

To be fair, blending in with the surroundings can be an effective survival tactic. If the rabbit can’t be seen, there will be no danger of harm.

Although this may be useful for animals, the behaviour doesn’t work the same way for people. How do I know this for certain; because I’ve tried it?

Someone once told me she had observed me making myself invisible when I was out of my comfort zone. I was like the rabbit on the road. I thought no one could see me but I was wrong.

My desire is to feel like I belong, that I’m part of what is going on. When it feels like this is a bigger challenge than I can handle, I withdraw to protect myself from rejection. This makes me appear aloof and unapproachable. The result is I am not drawn into the group. Isn’t it ironic that I create the very situation I was afraid of?

 

This story was published in my book  Another Perspective.

Silence

#inspiration, #Jesus, silenceI was attending a silent retreat. While I was not speaking, things were far from silent. Sitting in the morning sunshine I was serenaded by the songs of various birds. Some I would have noticed before, but there are many I would have missed amid the sounds of human voices.

Even though I was not speaking aloud, the voices in my head continued. Random thoughts appear in my conscious mind, taking me back to the busy life I’d left behind. It was during these times that I realized how difficult it is to focus on only the present.

I gazed over an expanse of lawn, framed by towering evergreens. Off to one side, a river wound its way lazily through the property. I was surrounded by the beauty and majesty that God had created. In my mind, I heard the words “be still and know that I am God”.

It is in the stillness that God’s message for me becomes clear. For only when I block out the distractions of the world am I truly able to focus on the loving relationship that my Heavenly Father longs to have with me. There is peace, stillness for my mind and renewal for my soul to be found in the silence.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NIV

This is found in my book Inspirations From the Everyday. This past weekend I once again attended this silent retreat and had the same profund experience.

 

Grasshoppers

#inspiration, nature, wonder, discoveriesI was standing in the grass on a highway median, doing my best to keep three little girls occupied while a tire on their parents’ vehicle was being changed. They were starting to get restless when I spotted movement in the tall grass.

Showing them the grasshopper was a wonderful distraction. Soon we were on the hunt for more of these insects.

Two of the girls excitedly spotted several more and delighted in watching them hop. The other one complained that she couldn’t see grasshoppers; all she could see were bugs. Explaining that they were the grasshoppers didn’t help. She wanted nothing to do with them.

Reflecting on this later, I wondered how often I’d missed the wonder of something new because I couldn’t see past my perception of what I thought it should be.

Life is full of exciting adventures, but only if I open my heart and mind to accept and receive them. Immediately deciding that I don’t want or like something means I’ll miss these discoveries. It’s when I forget my routine life and enter into the adventure that I can truly experience all the wonders in store for me.

This story was taken from my book Dragonflies, Snowdrifts & Spice Cake

Follow the Leader

#inspiration, #Jesus, guidance, I put my hand on my husband’s arm to quietly stop him. “Look,” I whispered as I pointed to the yard we were passing by. At the side of the house were a mother duck with ten or twelve fluffy ducklings walking in a line behind her.

The previous week I enjoyed seeing this family in a nearby creek. Now I was concerned to see them three streets away and dangerously close to a busy street.

In the creek a week ago

“You’re going the wrong way,” we said. “There’s no water here.” I wished there was some way to redirect these waterfowl in order to keep them from harm.

The ducklings trusted their mother so obediently followed where she led. I’m fairly certain she had no intention of leading her babies into danger. She probably lost her way and was trying to find her way back.

Have you ever been led astray by a well-meaning person? Or, perhaps you’ve been the one who unintentionally led one or more in the wrong direction. No matter how well-intentioned, we all lose our way sometimes.

I know I have sometimes wondered how I ended up so far from where I wanted to be. Was I following blindly without paying attention?

To keep this from happening I’ve learned to pray and seek guidance from the Lord. He knows where I should be and how to get me there. Only one leader can be counted on to never lead me astray. That is why I choose to follow Jesus.

[The Lord says,] “I will instruct you. I will teach you the way that you should go. I will advise you as my eyes watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8 GWT)

Spread Your Wings

#Inspiration, #God, talents, gifts, abilities
can you see the birds?

A bright flash of colour was seen when the bird flew overhead. It landed in a nearby tree and quite effectively disappeared from sight.

Although I knew the bird was there, it now blended into the drab brown of the leafless branches.

The bright plumage was hidden. Only when wings were spread in flight could colour be seen.

I thought of the times I have also caused myself to disappear in plain sight. When I deny the unique attributes that make me who I am; my drab exterior blends in with my surroundings. No distinguishing characteristics are visible to set me apart.

God has gifted each of us with our own combination of talents and abilities. These are not to be hidden, but to be gratefully acknowledged and used for His glory.

I know this but it still seems risky to leave my safe perch and attempt to fly. I am more like a frightened baby bird than an exotic tropical one. Who am I to think I could possibly soar? It’s probably better to blend in than to draw attention to myself.

I remember hearing there are two things that can happen if I step out in faith to test my wings. One is that God will catch me if I fall. The other is that He will teach me to fly.

Either way, trusting God and following His leading will not be a mistake. Where I can only see my uninspiring, drab plumage, God sees the beauty He has instilled in me.

When, in faith, I embrace the opportunity to spread my wings and fly, the bright colours of His love will be visible to others and point them upwards to the glory of God.

“The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship.” (Psalm 19:1 NLT)

 

A Different Perspective

#inspiration, #another perspective, viewpointFrom the third floor deck of our condo in Mexico, I look down on a palm tree. Normally I am on the ground looking up at these trees. This is a new point of view for me.

The tree itself hasn’t changed but my perspective certainly has.

I see bunches of what appear to be berries. From the ground I see the reddish purple ones. From above I see many more of these clusters and they are all green. Also are bouquets of tiny yellow flowers, in the same type of grouping as the berries. I wonder if the flowers mature to berries.

These are high up in the tree and couldn’t be viewed from my previous vantage point. Neither could the bees buzzing around the flowers or the humming bird hovering nearby.

There was much more going on in this tree than the swaying palm fronds and few clumps of berries I had seen from the ground.

Sometimes all I need is a different perspective to see what was there all along.

I have found life to be far more fulfilling when I take the time to look past my limited first impressions. A different perspective is able to help me change my point of view.

I’ve heard it said you only see what you’re looking for. In that case, I need to look past the obvious to be able to create value in all things. There is no telling what I may discover.

The Jay

#inspiration, nature, Jay, river
photo by Lynn J. Simpson

Today’s guest blogger is Lynn J Simpson

He sits perched on the floating branch fallen from one of the maple trees that line the river bank. I watch from my own perch, where I’ve come to be in a place where I often come, to slow a mind that has got caught up in its own whirl of thoughts like a river eddy.

But decisions and worries continue to swirl through my mind. Then I gaze at the Jay’s presence, see it’s still wings while it sits upon its perch. And my mind finally stills.

I watch and wait, light sounds of the river’s water and the rustling of tree branches above me, from winds unseen grace my senses.

My eyes follow the Jay as it takes it flight, flies from its perch that has become unsteady in the moving waters. The Jay flies up and up, finally resting in a Manitoba Maple tree’s branch that, I see, points west attached to a trunk that is sturdy and steady.

I rise from my own perch, steadying myself on the uneven turf with the help of reaching a hand against the sturdy tree that resides beside me.

I steady with the knowing that no matter when life seems as unstable as a branch on rushing river waters, I can find even ground again. I just need to take responsibility for my life and fly.

Lynn J Simpson is a writer who is rarely without camera in hand, capturing Breathing Spaces moments to share. She’s published two journals to help people create healthy mind-sets and is a Certified Professional Life Coach. A mom, a grandma, and explorer, Lynn loves to capture life’s journeys through writing and photography. You can find her at InspiringHopeInYou.com

 

You Can’t See Me

#inspiration, behaviour, pretectionI turned the corner onto my street and saw one of our neighbourhood jackrabbits hopping across the road. When it heard my car approaching, the rabbit stopped right where it was – in the middle of the road. It held perfectly still as I slowly drove past.

Often I see one of these rabbits in my yard and instead of hopping away when I come close, it will freeze in position, as if to blend into the surroundings and become invisible. Such was the case when I took the picture included in this post. Some places are easier to blend into than others.

To be fair, this can be an effective survival tactic. If the rabbit can’t be seen, there will be no danger of harm.

Although this may be useful for animals, the behaviour doesn’t work the same way for people.

Someone once told me she had observed me making myself invisible when I was out of my comfort zone. I was like the rabbit on the road. I thought no one could see me but I was wrong.

My desire is to feel like I belong, that I’m part of what is going on. When it feels like this is a bigger challenge than I can handle, I withdraw to protect myself from rejection. This makes me appear aloof and unapproachable. The result is I am not drawn into the group.

In essence, what I have just done is to create the exact opposite of what I wanted. I know I’m not alone in this type of behaviour. Does it affect you, too? Let’s step out in confidence to create the lives we want and not those we fear.

What Did You Leave Behind?

#inspiration, legacy, identifyMy husband and I were walking on a path through the woods when we saw some animal scat in front of us. I wondered what kind of animal had preceded us. I hoped it was from a deer and not something more dangerous. In order to confirm this, I took a picture for identification purposes. I needed to know if this was a safe place for future walks.

Our initial guess turned out to be correct and my fears of a dangerous animal were alleviated.

The situation did produce some interesting questions, though. I wondered if I could be identified by the crap I leave behind.

Do my fears and insecurities leave a trail of chaos in my wake? Do my frustrations and anger cause turmoil for others? Does the garbage left behind let you know I was there? Am I walking away and expecting others to clean up my mess?

If that is the case, I need to make some changes. These are not ways I would like to be remembered.

Knowing I can be identified by what I leave behind, I want to leave a legacy of kind words and gestures that showed I cared. Smiles, laughter and stories of memories made together are the best evidence of my footprints in your life. My purpose is to inspire others by sharing from my heart to help them see their true value.

I think I’ll keep that picture of deer scat on my phone as a reminder of what and what not to leave behind.