Do You Agree?

#inspiration, decorating, house tour,My friend and I had just completed an interesting few hours. We had been on a home tour and seen some extensive renovations and many decorating styles.

As we walked away from the last home she said, “I didn’t care for the decorating in that one. Some of the others were beautiful but that was not my taste at all.” She went on to explain why she felt that way.

I agreed with her opinion but put my own twist on it. “At least that one helped me know what I don’t want,” I said. “We certainly saw a variety of styles today and not all were my taste.”

The styles I liked and those I didn’t all contributed to defining my personal design preferences. The differences are what make us unique.#inspiration, not the same,agreement

Some of the homes we saw were built for casual entertaining. Others were more sophisticated. We saw subdued colours and expensive artwork in one and colourful walls and bright ceramic accents in the next. One home had inflatable pink flamingo cup holders floating in the pool!#inspiration, colourful, decorating,

Different taste applies to more than homes and decorating. Your choice of movies, books, clothing and hobbies will not be identical to mine. We might agree on some but it’s rare to agree on everything. That doesn’t make one of us right and one wrong.

I used to be afraid to express my opinion. It wasn’t easy for me to learn I could disagree with someone and still be accepted. Now I know that life is richer when we welcome our differences and learn from one another.

“You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.” John Mason

My new book Another Perspective is available at a special preorder price for ebook format. Click here   Paperback will be available the end of March

 

 

Connect the Dots

#inspiration, connect the dots, life lessonAs a child I enjoyed doing connect the dots pictures. Sometimes I could guess what the picture would look like before I started and other times it was a surprise.

Recently I bought a book with difficult dot to dot pictures. Most have close to five hundred dots and the lines often crisscross or head off in unusual directions. Sometimes they come back to where I thought they should be and other times surprise me with what they create.

Once in a while I haven’t been able to find the next number in sequence. I’ve learned I can start over in a new area and eventually I will find what was needed.

Even when the picture is completed, I can’t always immediately see the image I’ve created. I may have to look at it from a distance to see the big picture and not just the connecting dots.

This book reminds me of life. I don’t always move in a straightforward manner to reach my destination. I may double back or go in the opposite direction for a time. When I temporarily lose my way, I can start over from where I am. Every move I make is contributing to the overall picture of my life. Some days it is far more complicated than others.

At the end of the day I may wonder if I’ve been productive. That’s when I need to step back and look at the day from a distance. This other perspective may be just what is needed. I am able to see the big picture and know where to add colour or shading to enhance what was created.

No matter how I feel about the result, I know that tomorrow I will open the page to a new puzzle and follow the dots to see what this one has in store for me.

Don’t Judge Me

Judgments, opinions, perspective, #inspirationThe first glimpse we had of her was in a photograph. It was enough to entice us to drive the two and a half hours for a personal meeting. At that point, we didn’t even know her name.

The attraction I felt was immediate but my husband didn’t feel the same connection so we left her behind. Two weeks later, we hadn’t been able to get her out of our minds, so made a return trip.

After spending a little more time together, a decision was made for 21-year-old Vanessa to come home with us.

Since we had two vehicles, Brian and I each took turns riding with Vanessa. This gave us each some time to get to know her better.

Over the winter, nothing much changed with our relationship. It was rather distant and formal.

As the weather warmed, so did our feelings about Vanessa. We started to spend more time together and the three of us even took a couple of weekend trips.

We appreciated all she had to offer and our admiration grew. This relationship was going to work out even better than we had hoped. Even our grandchildren grew to love her.

Friends are envious of the adventures we have planned with the accommodating 21-year-old named Vanessa.

My husband and I agree that the decision to bring her home with us was one of the best we’ve made. I am excited to see what the future holds as we spend time with Vanessa, our Pleasure Way Van.

Did that last sentence surprise you? What was your perception as you read the story? Did you form judgments before having all the facts?

The simple story of our camper van, that came with the name Vanessa written on the side, reminds me how often I have formed an inaccurate opinion before I know the whole story.

So, let’s make a deal, I won’t judge you if you don’t judge me.

travel, RV
The lovely Vanessa

The Snow Tires of Life

#inspiration, life skills, tools, knowledgeEavesdropping was not my intention. The conversation was taking place between two men standing directly behind me, so I couldn’t help overhearing at least part of it.

They were talking about the harsh winter road conditions and yet another March snowstorm. “Do you have snow tires?” one asked. The other replied he didn’t need them as he’d grown up in Winnipeg and knew how to drive in the snow.

The rest of their conversation faded as my mind processed this information. The knowledge and skill for driving in snowy conditions are good to have, but to my way of thinking, tires that give better traction would still be helpful.

I wondered how often I think I can do something on my own and fail to make use of the equipment or life tools available to help me be more effective.

Knowing what tools to use and actively using them are two different things. For example, I can grumble and complain about driving through the snow or pick up a life tool to allow me to see this from a different perspective. If I say, “I choose to drive for the benefit of spending the day with my grandchildren” the trip takes on a new meaning.

When a situation doesn’t turn out the way I’d hoped I can get upset or ask what I could do differently. There is more than one way to get from point A to point B and when I combine this knowledge with the skills I possess, I will have increased traction on the road of life.

“Even the simplest tools can empower people to do great things.” Biz Stone

Looking for the Benefit

#inspiration, benefit, choice,The Irish Setter was standing perfectly still while his owner carefully groomed him. She ran a brush through the long hair that was now free of mats and tangles. Loose hair had been removed and the dog’s coat was now smooth and shiny.

My husband commented to the owner that it must feel good for the dog to be brushed. She told us her dog didn’t like it. We laughed and said, “If only he knew how good it was for him.”

As we walked away, I started thinking of things in my life I don’t enjoy but actually can prove to be beneficial.

Constructive criticism may not be pleasant to receive but can be helpful. It all depends on how I receive it. Instead of an attack, I can choose to look at it as helping me remove some of the tangles hindering my progress. The benefit is seeing my situation from a perspective I may not have thought of. There is also the possibility my life will run smoother.

What other areas can I use this in? Maybe with my exercise class that starts an hour earlier in the summer months. I can complain about the early hour because I’d rather still be sleeping. Or, I can choose to get out of bed and go to my class for the benefit of keeping my body fit and healthy.

I wonder how much happier I could be if I replaced, “I don’t want to” with “I choose to for the benefit of” in all areas of my life.

“When you wake up every day, you have two choices. You can either be positive or negative; an optimist or a pessimist. I choose to be an optimist. It’s all a matter of perspective.” – unknown

Standing on the Rock

#Jesus, #inspiration, #faithMy sixteen year old granddaughter jumped up on a large rock in our front yard. “I haven’t been on this for years,” she said. “It seemed a lot bigger when I used to climb up on it.”

The rock has not changed. She however, has grown considerably in the ensuing years.

Her comments caused me to think of how my perspective has changed over the years. Obstacles that once seemed insurmountable can now be conquered.

The reason for this is my reliance on Jesus. He is the rock on which I stand.

As I grow in my relationship with him, the problems of life become easier to deal with. They have not necessarily changed, but I have. When my faith in him grows, difficulties seem to shrink.

I know Jesus will lift me from the slimy pit and set my feet on a rock, the firm foundation he provides.

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:4 NIV)

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:2 NIV)

New Journal

perspective, GodI had just started writing in a new journal. This one had been chosen for the inspiring words on the cover. Inside the journal were designs or words bordering some pages. When I reached one of the pages I was having difficulty figuring out what something said. It was all in capital letters and looked like IM A GINE. That made no sense to me, what did im a gine mean? Perhaps it was I’M and not IM. After several minutes of trying to figure it out, I turned back to the cover, hoping for enlightenment. What I saw there caused me to burst into laughter. It wasn’t three words, but a single word – IMAGINE. With the stylized writing I had put spaces where there were none. Now that I knew what it was supposed to say, it was easy to see it. I did find it rather ironic that I didn’t have the imagination to see the word imagine! It was all a matter of perspective.

This caused me to wonder how many times I have misinterpreted something because my perspective was wrong. In over thinking I tend to make things far more complicated than they actually are.

The lesson here is that I can work and struggle and not get the desired results. When I focus too hard, I lose my perspective. What is needed is for me to relax and realize that I don’t have to do everything on my own. When I call out to God, he will either equip me or send someone to walk along side of me to help. His perspective is always the right one.

[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 25:4,5 GWT

Hitting the Wall

prayer, freedom, God
image from canstockphoto.com
One morning recently, we had many more people than usual in the aqua fit class I attend. This meant that space was at a premium and care had to be taken not to bump the people around me. During one exercise, someone got too close to the edge of the pool and told me that she had just hit the wall. Saying that I’ve done that too, we changed our positions slightly so it wouldn’t happen again.

Hitting the wall has been more than a physical experience in my life. There have been times when, despite my best efforts, I can’t seem to move forward. Other times I have become tired or overwhelmed and don’t have the strength to move at all. In these circumstances I feel that I have hit the wall. Looking at the lesson learned in the pool, I wonder if my problem was that I just kept doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results. Maybe all that was needed was for me to change my position, to do something differently.

On my own I can easily reach the end of my limits. I get to the point where I can’t see any other options. Prayer and spending time with God puts things back into perspective. He enables me to see things in a new light and gives me the freedom to move forward again. When he guides me there is no wall to stand in my way.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV