reclaimedSeveral years ago, I wrote about Quarry Lake in Canmore Alberta. Last week I visited it again and was inspired anew.

As some of you know, life has taken an unexpected turn for my husband and I. Due to these challenges, the only writing I have done recently is in my nightly Gratitude Journal. Gratitude because, despite circumstances, we have so much to be grateful for.

Six months ago, I booked a four-night writing retreat in Canmore, to take place last week. I wasn’t sure if I should still go. My husband encouraged me to take the opportunity to get away and write. With mixed emotions, I escaped to the mountains, hoping to find that elusive creative spark.

That brings me back to Quarry Lake. You see, Quarry Lake was once the site of an open-pit coal mine. It has been reclaimed and is now a beautiful spot for many to enjoy.

I’ve just spent a few days writing and refining thoughts for a new book that has been on my heart. I’m feeling energized and ready to move forward with new purpose.

Like Quarry Lake, my writing has been reclaimed. My prayer is that I can turn the words into something beautiful for others to enjoy.

Life Isn’t Multiple Choice

decisions learningFor just over two years I’ve been studying Spanish on a language app. Every day I spend time doing lessons. After 832 days, I’ve learned a lot of words but still can’t hold a simple conversation in Spanish.

Many of the lessons give me multiple choices for the answers. The words are provided and I either have to chose the one or two correct ones to complete a sentence or translate an English sentence with some of the words provided. This is much easier for me than having to translate a sentence from English to Spanish as I don’t have to come up with the words from memory.

In my frustration one day, I blurted out, “This isn’t working for me anymore. I won’t have simple multiple choices in front of me when I want to speak. Life doesn’t work that way.”

My words caused a lightbulb moment! Life is not effectively lived in a multiple-choice scenario. Why then, do I look for a short list of solutions to choose from when I have a decision to make? It’s even better if someone else can give me answers that make no sense and one that’s clearly correct.

While this may initially sound like a good idea, it is in the trying, failing and figuring things out for myself that I will become fluent. In other words, I need to immerse myself in the process of living.

In learning a language, and in life, I must challenge myself to move into the unknown. It is comfortable to take the easy route, rely on tried-and-true options and congratulate myself on what I have already accomplished. This won’t get me to where I want to be.

There will be mistakes and times of frustration, but each will move me one step closer to success. No more multiple choice, it’s time to get fully immersed.

Life is Like a Grapefruit

life lessons, observationsI enjoy fresh grapefruit with my breakfast. Lately, several observations have been made that led me to believe I could learn a lot about life from a grapefruit.

Grapefruits come in many sizes. The biggest are not always the best! Some of the larger ones I’ve had have been a disappointment in flavour and juiciness. In life, some of the bigger things I’ve gone after have not brought the satisfaction I’d hoped for.

Some grapefruits have smooth skin and some are bumpy and scarred. This is not an accurate reflection of what I will find on the inside. I have been pleasantly surprised by the sweetness of those less pleasing to the eye. If I only chose life experiences by those that looked the most perfect, I’d have missed much of the sweetness in my life.

One grapefruit was juicy and sweet until I came to a section or two that had tough, fibrous pieces. They were put aside and I continued to enjoy the remainder of my breakfast. As in life, I have the choice to focus on what isn’t as I’d hoped, or to carry forward and enjoy the rest.

Usually, I find seeds. The ones with many require a little more effort to eat. These seeds represent future growth. Left in nature, they would develop into more fruit. They remind me of the seeds of possibility in my life. What seems like an inconvenience may actually be an opportunity for future potential.

One morning I was enjoying what seemed like the perfect grapefruit when it squirted me in the eye! Even when all seems to be going smoothly, there can be something that catches me unaware. Do I get upset, or put it into perspective and move on?

It’s no wonder I enjoy this fruit. Not only is it juicy and refreshing, it reminds me to how to best enjoy life and its constant changes and challenges.


#God, #Jesus, #inspiration
Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

I was drawn to the lighthouses we saw on our travels. From the shores of the Great Lakes in Ontario to the coastline of the Maritime Provinces, every lighthouse was photo worthy.

There was something about these structures that captured my imagination. Most were operational but I also wanted to stop and admire ones that were purely for decoration.

The distinct tower shape, topped by a lantern area at the top is easily recognized as something to help ships navigate safely through treacherous waters.

#Jesus, #inspiration
Port Dalhousie, Ontario

The symbolism in this runs deep. To many, lighthouses are seen as showing us how to navigate through the rough waters of life. They speak of safety and security in the face of adversity and challenge.

Maybe that is why I was drawn to them. Even the well-weathered structures with peeling paint held an attraction.

#Jesus, #God, #inspiration
Cape Enrage, New Brunswick

They reminded me that, no matter my age, I have the ability to make a positive impact. A lighthouse doesn’t rush around, attempting to save people. It stands still and shines a beacon of light to illuminate the darkness. That is its great power.

Jesus is my personal lighthouse. He keeps me safe and secure no matter what storms challenge my life. I never have to walk in darkness when I can look to Him to guide me. His light fills me and equips me to reflect that to those around me. In that way, I can be a beacon that points people to Him.

#Jesus, #inspiration, light, hope
Port Dover, Ontario

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NIV)

It Started Out Misty

Inspiration, life metaphors The ever changing conditions during our ten hours on the road seemed to me like a metaphor for life.

The morning started out misty, with low clouds hugging the hillsides. Splashes of colour visible between the clouds provided a welcome contrast to the greyness surrounding us.

Soon we encountered pouring rain and poor visibility. The view around us became obscured.

In the distance I could make out the faint outline of rolling hills. Then, muted colours appeared. As we neared, I saw the vibrant hues of fall foliage. The beauty was a reprieve amid the overcast skies.

I was aware that the colour had been there all along. It had just been hidden from view by the storm we were passing through.

In early afternoon the sun broke through. We thought our drive would now be more pleasant. Instead, we were faced with a new challenge as strong headwinds seemed determined to hold us back. We fought through them and kept going.

The highway turned and the wind attacked from another direction. It became a cross wind that tried to blow us off course. Strength and determination helped us hold onto our bearings.

We persevered and after a long day of driving, reached our destination. Our journey would continue the next day.

We had no idea what would be in store for us the following day but two things were clear. The challenges we faced today not only made us stronger but have also given us a deeper appreciation for the smoother days when they come.

Good Days vs. Bad Days

#inspiration, challenges, good days, bad daysA few groans were heard as the instructor introduced a difficult new exercise. She responded with, “If you want to have more good days than bad days, you need to do things that challenge you.”

She went on to tell us that improving our core strength would promote better balance which would, in turn, help to prevent injury from falls. It would also keep us healthier and that alone would make the difference between good and bad days.

My mind took in the physical benefits before it quickly moved on to other aspects of my life where this declaration is also true. The thought was simple but also quite profound. When I do things that challenge me, I’ll have more good days than bad.

I need to remember this when I’m tempted to take the easy route rather than stretch myself to see what I can achieve. By thinking I can’t do something just because I’ve never done it before, I am actually ensuring more bad days than good. Instead of having the thrill of new accomplishments, my life will become boring and routine.

My goal is to create the best life possible. In order to do so, I will need to be open to new possibilities and keep challenging myself. My life will become more fulfilled and I can then look forward to having many more good days than bad ones.

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” Joshua J. Marine

“We don’t grow when things are easy. We grow when we face challenges.” unknown

Leaning into the Curves

#Jesus, #inspiration, balanceThe term sharp curve just didn’t make sense to me. Curves by nature are soft and rounded so how could they be sharp?

I saw the sign on the highway just before the road had some twists and turns. Part way through this area I understood how sharp curves can be. I also realized my whole body was leaning into each curve as I navigated it. That’s when I started talking to myself!

“Why are you leaning?” I asked. “It’s not as if that will help the car take the curve.” I laughed at my body instinctively listing to one side as I rounded a bend. My attempt to help my vehicle was not going to make a difference.

“Is there a time when leaning into a curve like this is helpful?” I wondered. The answer that came quickly was, “Yes.” The road of life is not always straight. Sometimes I encounter curves that throw me off balance.

Leaning into them may help me feel that I’m doing something worthwhile, but it doesn’t always make the situation easier to navigate.

When I lean into Jesus he guides me through the challenging places. He keeps me balanced so I’m not concerned with remaining upright. There is peace when I call out the name of Jesus because I know he will make my route straight and clear.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

A Kayaker’s Guide to Writing

craft, writing, inspirationMy husband and I are novice kayakers. We’ve been out a few times on a local lake. While learning to maneuver my water craft I realized that much of what I needed to know could also be applied to the craft of writing.

For me one of the most difficult things about kayaking is actually getting into the boat. My fear is that I will tip and end up in the water. Because of this I approach it in a hesitant, awkward manner instead of with confidence.

When I sit to write, the first few words can be the most difficult. Instead of agonizing over them I need to just start. The more I worry about them the better the chance I will become immobilized.

We saw other kayakers on the water. They it made it look so easy with their fluid movements. Mine are nothing like that and I get frustrated. The key is to realize that it takes practice to have control over my boat. It’s unrealistic to expect to master it on the first try.

The craft of writing is the same. Although my writing style may not be as smooth as I’d like, I need to remember that I may not have the same level of experience as writers I admire. The more I practice my craft, the more natural the flow will become.

My husband gave me advice to some of the problems I was having in steering the kayak. Although his intention was to help me, there were times I looked at it as criticism.

Critique in writing is similar. Helpful feedback can make me a better writer. I need to be able to put my ego aside and learn from what others have to tell me.

Another difficult thing for me was the waves created by a passing power boat or jet ski. In order to navigate these safely I needed to turn my kayak to face them head on. If they hit me broadside there was a chance of capsizing. When I turned my back to them I was swept too close to shore.

In writing, rejection is like those waves. I have the option to face it head on and continue. The wave might rock me, but won’t cause permanent damage. If I choose to let it hit me from another direction the effect could either push me backwards or throw me into the waters of despair and defeat.

I was ready to end my paddling adventure for the day but that brought another challenge. Now I had to figure out how to safely get out of the kayak.

Again, this reminded me of writing. My thoughts are all down on paper and I need to find a satisfying conclusion. It must be something that ties everything together without undue repetition.

Maybe what I need to do is go back out on the water and see what inspiration washes over me.

I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 GWT)

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