The sky today is filled with clouds. They vary from fluffy, cotton ball white to deepening shades of grey. A few blue patches are also visible but they are outnumbered by the clouds.
The wind is gusting from the south. This is unusual. Normally the wind comes from the north, over the water, which lowers the temperature.
I am sitting on a covered deck, enjoying the sensation of hot wind buffeting my skin. From where I sit in my third floor hideaway, I watch palm fronts bending to and fro and clouds skittering overhead.
The forecast is for a thunder storm later in the day. When that comes I will be forced inside. The other side of the condo faces the sea where I will have a sheltered view of the storm. I wonder what it will bring.
Perhaps there will be flashes of lightening cracking open the fury of a dark sky. Maybe the wind will whip the waves into giant froths before they crash to the shore.
I am powerless to stop whatever it may bring. There is no point in me focusing on a storm that is not even here yet. For all I know, it may be diverted and not arrive here.
At the moment I relish the feeling of the warm wind billowing through my clothing. I am content in the here and now. Gratitude floods over me as I enjoy the solitude and diversity of my surroundings. Right now is all I am guaranteed of and I don’t want to waste one precious moment.
The image was quite striking. The concrete steps had what looked like a supporting frame on either side. Other than that, there was nothing attached to join these side pillars to anything else. The stairs were on an angle, tipped backwards into the sand. Abandoned.
I wondered what this scene had once looked like. Were these steps that led out to a world of adventure and later back to the safety and comfort of home? Did they watch children go over them to play on the beach? Maybe they welcomed guests to an outdoor patio gathering. There are many stories I could tell myself about what they had been. I have no way of knowing the real story.
Now they were a sad sight. They led to nowhere.
I could go over them and around them and still be basically in the same place. My steps would be wasted as they would lead nowhere.
This was a visual reminder of what can happen to me if I’m not careful. Without clear direction, my dreams of what life can look like remain only dreams. The plans I have for my life will not be fulfilled.
I think of times I’ve been disappointed when what I had worked towards did not bring about the results I’d hoped for. Sometimes I’ve abandoned my dreams the same way these stairs on the beach had been abandoned.
There is a better way. My direction needs to come from the Lord. I can make all of the plans I want but until I trust the Lord to determine my steps, they may be getting me nowhere.
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NLT)
Too many opportunities have slipped through my fingers due to my maybelater thinking. I still fight this but am learning to tell myself, if not now, then when? Why is another time better than now?
Each day is a blank canvas and the picture I paint is up to me.
I am not a swimmer so was hesitant when asked by a friend in Mexico if I’d go into the sea with her. Just before I said, “Maybe later”, I caught myself and changed my response to, “Yes, let’s go!”
It was fun and refreshing. That day I added a splash of adventure to my canvas.
For many years I’ve said I am not artistic or creative. I admired the artwork of others while wishing I could do something similar. Recently, I committed to a series of weekly painting classes.
The morning of my first lesson I was nervous and excited. Thoughts of failure and humiliation competed with the desire to try something new. I sent a message to my daughter and she replied with two pieces of advice. The first was to have fun. The second was not to take myself so seriously! That was exactly what I needed. My daughter is a wise woman.
I learned so much during my lesson. No mistake is permanent was huge for me. The first mark I made on the clean canvas was the most difficult. Support and encouragement from the teacher helped to ease my hesitancy. Before long I was mixing and applying colour. At the end of the class I had created a painting I was pleased with and looked forward to my next lesson.
My canvas that day was coloured with new possibilities. There is much to learn and I now have the confidence to do it.
If each day starts as a blank canvas, I wonder what new picture I can create today.
We first saw the wall about ten years ago. It stood strong and tall, protecting the property behind it from the ravages of wind and sea.
In the last few years the wall started to lean but still kept the property safe.
Today, as we walked past, the wall was crumbled and broken. Part of it lay down on the sand and the elements were now free to ravage the property. Since we hadn’t been in the area for a year, we had no idea when the wall fell. The destruction behind it was clearly evident.
All it took was the foundation to be undermined. The sand slowly eroded and water made its way through small crevices. This would have started where no eyes could see. Eventually the damage was severe enough to cause the wall to crumble and fall.
I wondered if something could have been done prevent this. Perhaps it could have been reinforced when it first started leaning.
This situation was a good analogy of the effects of sin in our lives. I don’t see how a little white lie can cause harm. Soon more lies and deception follow.
I have opened the way for sin to undermine the foundation in my life. What seemed so innocent has taken on a life of its own. Left unchecked, it has the power to destroy me as it slowly erodes my moral character. One day the façade can no longer be maintained and crumbles, leaving the damage exposed for all to see.
There is a better way. Despite my best intentions, I will never lead a sin-free life. Thankfully, I have a personal relationship with the one who can wash away my sin and repair the damage caused.
Jesus offers forgiveness to all who come to Him in sincere repentance. I know by coming to Him on a regular basis, my foundation will remain strong and my life will not fall in shambles.
Less than a week ago, countless tributes were made to a much-loved man as he was laid to rest. He left this earth suddenly and far too early. Those who cared about him didn’t have the chance to express what he meant to them.
No one knew that the last words spoken between them were to be their final goodbye. Now it was too late to tell him of the difference he made in their lives.
His impact on the people he came in contact with was undeniable. Hearing the stories of what he had done, quietly behind the scenes made me aspire to be a better person.
A few days later, I read of a woman with a terminal illness who has been told she has mere months to live. Her friend asked how it felt to live like you were dying. The answer was a surprise. She said she was not living like she was dying; she was living like she was living.
This woman was at peace with the limited time she has left and was making the most of it. I was inspired by her outlook.
None of us know how many breaths we have left to take. It is important to live our days fully. Spend time with your friends and family. Let them know how much they mean to you. Don’t let your feelings remain unspoken.
Follow your dreams while you are able. Don’t look back with regret over things you did not do. Instead, reflect on your life and be amazed at all you accomplished.
Leave the world a better place for having been here. You have but one life to live. What are you going to do with it?
I have made a conscious decision not to waste the precious moments I’ve been given. It’s time to live like I was living. I am going to live now.
The high winds we had been experiencing were unusual. It’s often breezy where I live, but gusts up to 100 kilometres per hour were definitely out of the ordinary.
One day a north wind blew in cold arctic air. Another, a Chinook wind blew in mild temperatures. Either way, it caused problems and was the topic of many conversations. The roar as it buffeted the house was enough to make me wonder if we’d be blown away.
The wind warnings had finally subsided when I heard someone on the radio talking about an experience from his childhood. I’m not sure where he grew up but he told of wind so powerful that it picked up the trampoline from the backyard and sent it over the top of the house where it came crashing down in the front yard. Needless to say, the trampoline was totally destroyed. From then on, his dad always made sure everything was well anchored.
Although the picture of a trampoline being tossed over a house was vivid, the term well anchored was what stuck in my mind. The storms of life have a way of tossing me around and then causing serious damage when I come crashing down. To stay safe I need to be well anchored in the Lord. Prayer and reading the Bible are the lifelines that keep me firmly connected to God.
There is no need to doubt I will be protected because I fully believe in His promise to care for me.
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6 NIV)
I knew we were in for a tough workout when the instructor said, “Don’t listen to your brain. It will tell you to stop when you feel tired. Listen o your body and don’t stop until it can’t do any more.”
My first thought was of the times I’ve reprimanded for something with the sentence, “Why can’t you just use your brain.” I guess this wasn’t one of those times!
As the class progressed fatigue set in and I realized I had automatically slowed down. The earlier words of the instructor echoed in my mind and I paid more attention to what my body was capable of. With a little conscious effort, I was able to intensify my workout.
What a revelation! I was capable of doing a lot more than I thought I could.
How could this apply to other areas of my life?
I brought to mind times I was hurt by the words or actions of someone I trusted. My brain said to keep my distance so I wouldn’t experience the pain again. My heart told me to offer forgiveness and restore the relationship.
Another example was when I tried something new and didn’t achieve the success others had. My brain told me I couldn’t do it and would just fail again.
The fear of embarrassment held me back until I decided to listen to the positive voice inside. The voice of faith told me the more I worked at this, the better I would get. It was right and again I achieved more than I thought possible.
I have learned life works best when I not only listen to my brain but also pay attention to what my body and my heart are telling me.
The pastor started his sermon by telling us the choices we make shape our future and determine our destiny. This was something I already knew. The question remained; how often do I think about it when making my choices?
Life gives plenty of opportunity for making choices. I can face these with faith or with fear. I’ll admit, making choices is not easy for me. When it comes right down to it, I think the fear of making the wrong choice is what causes my inability to be decisive.
What I fail to remember is that the faith I need to move forward isn’t faith in my own judgment or ability. I only see the short-term and what looks like the easiest and most productive path for right now. God is the only one who sees the whole picture, beginning to end, and can guide me to make the right choice.
How strong is my trust in God? I know He can take care of me but do I fully believe that He will? Do I succumb to my fears or wholly trust in the Lord?
The answer to those questions will shape my future and determine my destiny. The decision is mine to make. God will never force himself on me. It’s my choice and I choose to trust in Him.
The Lord will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. (Psalm 138:8 NLT)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)
The old coffee can received a new life in a kindergarten class back in 2005. First, it was painted white. Then a snowman face was painted on and a red felt cap added.
Our young granddaughter chose to present this wonderful gift to my husband and I. The cap had an opening in the back that was perfect for little hands to reach in, so we decided to turn the snowman into a special treat tin for our grandchildren.
They were not allowed to look inside the tin to make their choice. Instead, they would get what their hand chose. Sometimes the hands were in the tin for a long time as they attempted to feel every treat inside! This was the basis for many fond memories.
As our grandchildren grew, in size and number, the hat became unglued several times. Eventually, the snowman tin was retired and tucked out of sight in our pantry. I think we missed the game of guessing the treat more than the younger children did.
Not long before Christmas I brought out our special snowman and looked at the piece of masking tape on the bottom of the tin that still showed our granddaughter’s name.
The time had come to bring this gift back to life. My husband reattached the hat and we shopped for some special treats.
Our granddaughter has just moved out of her parent’s home and into her own apartment. When we presented her with the treat tin as a housewarming gift I could almost see the memories dancing across her mind. Her, “Oh, my gosh!” and big smile let us know the gesture was appreciated.
My hope is this tin will be a visual reminder of the sweet surprises life has in store for her and for her grandparents, who will always be there when she needs us.