Once upon a time a man fell in love with a mother of two young children. A wedding took place and they became a family.
As the children grew, he was there to instruct and watch over them. They were nourished, cared for and disciplined when necessary. He loved his children. They loved him in return and knew he always had their best interests at heart.
Years passed quickly and the children became young adults. They were now old enough to make their own decisions. One day they approached their father with a question. “Will you legally adopt us?” they asked.
The man was overjoyed. He had always considered them to be his children. Now they wanted to officially state that they belonged to him.
This story flooded me with emotion. As a good father who had loved and taken care of these children for many years, the man now had the great joy of knowing the children were taking his name.
This man’s joy was an example of my Heavenly Father’s response when one of his beloved children comes before him with the same request.
I picture him rejoicing over each of his children who choose to be identified with His name. God’s arms are outstretched to receive us to himself. There is much more I could share about my Heavenly Father and my relationship with Him. For now, I’ll close by telling you, since I asked Him to make me one of His children, my life is more fulfilling than I ever could have imagined.
“Consider this: The Father has given us his love. He loves us so much that we are actually called God’s dear children. And that’s what we are.” 1 John 3:1
When the digestive enzymes my nutritionist recommended arrived, I was surprised to read the main ingredient was dandelion root. I’ve had to focus on the healing effects to help me get past the atrocious taste!
This product has given me a new respect for what I formerly thought of as weeds.
Dandelions are the most well-known plant in the world. I did a little research and discovered while I knew them by sight, I actually knew very little about these plants.
They are filled with nutrients and have health benefits too numerous to mention here. But these plants are useful for much more.
Dandelions have one of the longest flowering seasons of any plant. Bees pollinate and feed upon the flowers. Their seeds, nectar and leaves are consumed by various insects and animals.
Their wide spreading roots help to loosen hard packed soil and aerate the ground. They also pull nutrients from deep in the soil to make them available for other plants. As anyone who has attempted to rid their lawns of dandelions knows, the deep roots give them an incredible ability to survive.
All of these facts, plus many more I won’t bore you with, have caused me to rethink my attitude to these plants. Their value extends well beyond the joy children receive as they present a bouquet of these bright flowers to their mothers!
I wonder how many other things I have disregarded based on limited knowledge. Worse yet, have I done the same with people? Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. A passing glance is not enough to determine the value of another. It’s time to take a deeper look in order to understand, appreciate, and acknowledge the unique qualities others possess.
Over the years, I’ve received many lovely gifts. Some were beautiful and extravagant. Others were practical items I’ve used and enjoyed. Still others filled an unspoken desire.
Among those I count the most precious are words straight from the heart. I still have a letter written to me several years ago by my employer. In it she expressed her appreciation for me not only as an employee but also for my personal traits. This was a rare gift and I treasure it.
Recently I received a simple card with You Are written on the inside. Underneath, in various handwritings, were words like loving, understanding, compassionate, funny and caring. For me, this was priceless.
Many years ago, a man I respected told me he kept a file folder labeled “encouragement.” In it were placed encouraging letters, notes, and cards he’d received over the years. Words of praise, admiration, thanks and support were saved in this file. He would reread these when he was feeling down and they would always give him the boost he needed.
After hearing this, I started a similar folder. The messages contained inside come from various areas of my life. They are precious gifts, reminders of times my heart has touched that of another. Rereading them is like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold winter day.
Encouraging, affirming words can bring hope. They have the power to change a life. Spoken words are wonderful but I believe those written are even more important. Because they can be reread at any time, their impact can continue many years after they were written.
It’s been a while since I sent a note to let someone know I appreciate them. Every day is a good day to send or receive encouragement. In fact, I have a few people in mind to reach out to today. How about you? Can you think of someone to share the precious gift of encouragement with?
I almost missed it. In fact, if someone hadn’t pointed to the opposite bank of the creek, I would have remained unaware.
A Great Blue Heron stood perfectly still by the creek bank. Without movement, this large bird easily blended into the natural surroundings. The previous week, I had seen a heron flying low over this same body of water. Perhaps it was the same one. This time I had the opportunity to take a picture.
I thought of the patience needed to remain motionless for an extended period of time. Standing still is not easy. For the heron, this patience would pay off when it saw its next meal swim by.
For me, patience can stop me from rushing ahead and making foolish mistakes. Oh, if only this were as easy as it sounds!
Right now, it seems like I’ve been in a holding pattern for far too long. I wonder how much longer I need to stand still. What repercussions will I face if I rush ahead before the timing is right?
As I pondered these questions, the words of a favourite song flooded my mind. “Stand still and let God move. Standing still is hard to do. When you think you have reached the end, he’ll make a way for you. Stand still, and let God move.” I am once again reminded that my timing is not perfect, whereas God’s timing is.
Maybe I’ll take a lesson from the heron and practice my patience. That way, when the time to move ahead comes, I’ll be ready.
Have you ever found the perfect gift for someone and been so excited you couldn’t wait to give it to them?
That’s what happened to me a few months ago. I went looking for my friend’s favourite flower, a gerbera daisy. A cut one wouldn’t do, it had to be potted. I was trying to decide between the yellow or pink one when something at the end of the aisle caught my attention. This one had three big flowers and was red, her favourite colour.
My friend was going through a rough patch and I knew the plant would cheer her. What I hadn’t considered was the joy it brought me to give the gift.
A couple of weeks later she texted me a picture of the plant with the caption, your gift keeps on giving. The original flowers were still beautiful and a new bloom had emerged that morning.
A few days ago, I received another picture of the plant. It had only one fading flower and didn’t look nearly as lovely. She told me the gerbera was looking a little worse for wear but just doesn’t give up. Three more blossoms were coming.
Her next words were what inspired this post. She said, “She (the plant) reminds me of me. A little worse for wear but keeps on going.”
I think a lot of us feel a little worse for wear right now. My friend maintains a bubbly personality and infectious laugh that draws people to her. She is an example to maintain and positive attitude and not give up hope.
And, like the gift of this plant, it’s possible some little thing you do for another may come back and bless you. Your time to bloom again is coming.
My mom always made pancakes, waffles or johnny cake for Sunday lunch. Bacon or sausages would accompany these much-loved meals. In my mind’s eye, I can picture sitting around the kitchen table with my siblings.
When I started my own family, these Sunday lunch foods were continued. Now that my children have children of their own, they often make these favourites for their families.
On Mother’s Day, my husband and I made waffles using my mom’s recipe. I enjoyed every bite. Afterwards I thought of the many memories I have that revolve around family meals. Also, there are foods that automatically make me think of a certain person.
Well into her 70’s, my mom enjoyed gathering her family for a meal. When we arrived, we’d go directly to check the paper she had taped to her hutch. There we could read the entire dinner menu. It was much later I learned this was not done for our benefit, but so she wouldn’t forget anything!
For many years now, the words “clubhouse sandwich” invoke memories of much more than food. On December 26th we gather with our children and grandchildren for Clubhouse Sandwich Day. What started with food has turned into a gathering that’s a priority on everyone’s schedule. Not all the grandkids like clubhouse sandwiches but everyone enjoys the fun, laughter and stories that are shared that afternoon. Family memories are relived and new ones created.
When asked, my grandchildren could easily identify a food they thought of in relation to me. I know that even when I am no longer with them, they will think of me when they eat this. Memories are so often intertwined with food.
What memories do you have around certain foods? I’d love to hear your stories. You may inspire me to start a new family tradition!
I stepped over the outline of fallen leaves on the sidewalk. At first, I thought the area had been stained by leaves as they decomposed over the winter. Upon closer examination, I discovered these perfect outlines appeared to be etched into the concrete. The foliage had left an impression that altered the appearance of the sidewalk.
As I carried on, my mind was filled with the myriad of influences able to leave a lasting impression on my life. Each have the power to alter the way others view me. Many of my thoughts were focused on positive experiences that have shaped my life. These enable me to reflect encouragement to those I come in contact with.
People have also left lasting impressions on my life. One of the most significant was my mother. She shaped my life by both her words and actions. Although she passed away over twenty years ago, her influence can still be seen in my life.
From her I learned the importance of family. I learned people are more important than possessions. I learned to support and encourage. Instead of striving for great things, I learned to do small things with great love.
I learned the fulfillment helping others brings. I learned life isn’t always fair but there is still much to be grateful for. I learned to laugh at myself and with others. I learned people feel special when you make them their favourite foods.
These things, and many more, have permanently altered the appearance of who you see today. I am grateful for my mother’s positive influence. There is no greater legacy than to leave a lasting impression of love.
Our anniversary celebration included a guided hike in the mountains. It was too beautiful not to share, so here’s a taste of my experience.
Minutes from our hotel we had to stop as a herd of caribou ambled across the road. I didn’t expect wildlife that close to town.
It didn’t take long to reach the trailhead and start our hike. I gazed in awe at the rugged snow-capped peaks, brilliantly contrasted against the azure sky. A red squirrel darted across the path and up a nearby pine tree. Our guide told us how these forest creatures accurately forecast winter weather.
I carefully stepped across the icy areas of pathway to a wooden bridge, where I searched for the sound of running water. In the canyon far below, streams were starting to emerge from their winter covering.
From the next bridge, we saw a raven’s nest built on a small ledge protruding from the steep rock wall.
Soon, we came to some spectacular ice falls. I’d never seen a frozen waterfall before and was spellbound. We vowed to return in the winter months and do the guided ice walk along the bottom of the gorge beside these massive formations.
We carried on and up a steep incline. I paused at the top to catch my breath and my attention moved to the area near my feet. There, peeking through the soil with its head bowed low, was a prairie crocus.
Once I started looking, many more came into view. I even managed to find one with its petals opened to receive the sun. These delicate flowers were overshadowed by the larger natural wonders surrounding them. That didn’t make them any less beautiful. They were a sign of spring and brighter days ahead.
They were also a reminder for me to do whatever I can to share joy on a daily basis. It doesn’t have to be on a grand scale, like the towering mountains or the deepest canyon in the Canadian Rockies. It may not be noticed by many. But to those who do see, it could mean the hope of brighter days ahead.
Through the beauty of nature, God once again gave me inspiration to live a better life.
Plate in hand, Miss K headed to the kitchen for the last piece of dessert. I noticed a slight hesitation as she approached the counter and said, “You don’t have to have it now. If you’re too full, you can wait until you’re ready. I’ll make sure it’s saved for you.”
She looked at me and said, “Wow, you have a superpower! I was going to ask if you’d save it for me but you knew what I was thinking before I said it.” “Did you hear that?” I said to my husband. “I have a superpower!”
Miss H, (who had already eaten her dessert), challenged me with, “If you have really have a superpower, tell me what I’m thinking.”
“You’re wondering if I really know what you’re thinking,” I replied. Her mouth dropped open in shock that I read her mind! She agreed that I must have a superpower.
My husband and I were still laughing about this the next day. I definitely do not have the power to read minds.
I could, however, understand why they might have thought this to be true. In both cases I was able to discern what had not been expressed in words. This is not always the case.
I wonder if I can develop the ability to look at someone, sense what they need and act on it. In order to do this, I would have to take the focus from myself and my needs and turn it outward. In other words, I would love others as much as I love myself.
This empathy and compassion would enable others to recognize their value, and in turn, contribute to peace, love and fulfillment in the world around me. Love is the best superpower of all.
I resisted the trend for a long time. Finally, just over a year ago, I became the owner of a fitness tracking watch. It keeps track of the number of steps I take in a day and the total gives me a good indication of my activity level.
The problem is, I’ve begun to rely on this number even though I know it isn’t totally accurate. When my arm isn’t swinging enough, no steps are recorded. Washing my hands can easily add an extra twenty or more. It probably all balances out by the end of the day.
One morning I delayed my walk because the watch needed recharged. Even though it wasn’t true, I felt like my steps wouldn’t count unless they were recorded.
My husband and I joked about this and then discussed how it could relate to an underlying belief. If no one sees or acknowledges what I do, does it still count?
I don’t always have the opportunity to see the impact my actions have on others. This doesn’t negate what I do.
Some mornings I stand in awe at the beauty of the sunrise. Other days, I fail to look out the window at the right time. It happens whether I acknowledge it or not.
I don’t keep track of the breaths I take or the number of heartbeats I have in a day but each is a precious and life sustaining gift.
The fitness watch may have caused me to look at life from the wrong perspective. Instead of counting the steps I take, my focus should be on making my steps count.