Your Words Matter

children, wisdomThe words came from behind me. I heard, “That’s good,” then, “Magnificent.” After a slight pause came, “Really nice.”

I only had to wait a few moments to see who was the recipient of this encouragement. A young boy rode past me on his bicycle. He wobbled a little. A slightly older brother followed closely and continued his support and encouragement as they carried on down the path.

The words of one gave confidence to his brother to keep going. These boys were a perfect example of the impact our words can have on each other.

Later, on another area of pathway, I came across words written in coloured chalk. They said, “You are loved.” The child who wrote these words brightened my day and probably that of many others as well.

Our words have the power to wound, discourage and anger. They can also bring healing, support, and a sense of well-being. In these troubled and uncertain times, I have observed too many cases of words used as weapons.

I am reminded of a passage in the Bible where it says, “they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” In today’s language, this would say, beat their swords into shovels and their spears into hoes.

To me, this shows our weapons can be modified into tools used to cultivate a better life. Instead of attacking each other, we can work together for the common good.

Like it or not, my words will have an impact on others. Do I want them to cause hurt and dissention or do I want them to offer encouragement so we can work together to create a better future? The decision is up to each of us. I’ve made my choice, how about you?

 

Same, Same

imitation, clothing
photo credit: Unsplash

I met her in a lineup where we were both waiting to pay for items of clothing.

This lady was so excited with the garment she was about to purchase, she couldn’t resist telling me about it.

“When I saw this on a mannequin, I knew I had to have it,” she told me. “I don’t even know how much it cost!” She carried on to tell me this was for her six-year-old granddaughter. She explained that the two of them looked alike, and her granddaughter always says, “Same, Same, Nana.”

The little girl would be thrilled to experience the same, same in matching outfits.

I thought back to my mom knitting matching sweaters for my young daughter and I and a Cabbage Patch doll! For a child, wearing the same type of clothing as someone they look up to, helps them feel as important as that person is to them.

As an adult, I no longer want to be dressed exactly the same as someone else. I have, however, looked for other ways to emulate people I admired. If I tried to duplicate their methods, could I be as successful? Could I copy their mannerisms and be as popular?

The trouble was, I could never do enough to be the same as someone else. It left me frustrated and feeling like a failure.

My efforts to be the same caused me to lose sight of my own unique qualities. I had to learn to accept and appreciate who I am and what I have to offer. Only then did I feel good about my own accomplishments.

Now, I am willing to learn from others but my goal is no longer to be the same as anyone else. Instead, I am happy to become the best version of me.

Finding Wisdom

life, experience“I’ll give you my wise woman discount,” she said. “Thank you,” I replied, before joking, “Is that your nice way of saying senior?”

The answer both surprised and pleased me. I was told of her belief that seniors have much accumulated wisdom, so she truly thought of them as wise. She also told me that too many people don’t recognize or appreciate this. Needless to say, I was quickly gaining respect for this young woman!

For many years, I didn’t think of myself as wise. I don’t have the formal education that many do. I don’t always make good decisions.  It took a long time to realize that these facts don’t negate the wisdom I’ve gained in my lifetime.

My wisdom has come from experience. I can’t speak for others in my age category, but for me, many of the learning experiences in my life have come from mistakes I’ve made. The longer I live, the more opportunity I have to make mistakes. They are an inevitable part of life. Over the years I’ve discovered that my mistakes have enabled me to gain wisdom.

When any of us are willing to be vulnerable and pass our experiences on to others, wisdom is shared. It’s nice to know that all the mistakes don’t have to be mine. I can learn from yours as well!

One of my favourite sources of wisdom comes from children. I have heard some profound things from my grandchildren. Young children don’t filter their words. They say what they think and feel. I have learned a lot from paying attention to them.

So, while I appreciate being called wise, I know it’s as a result of the mistakes I’ve made and also from paying attention to what I can learn from others. I’m also wise enough to accept the wise woman discount when it’s offered!

A Good Father

father, children, family
Photo credit: Unsplash

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

My Superpower

childrenPlate 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.

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

Play Dates

#inspiration, play, have funWay back in time, when I was a child, play times with friends were not normally prearranged. We just headed outside and down the street until we found someone to play with.

Much was the same when my children were young. They went into the neighbourhood, connected with friends and came back home for dinner.

Today, between the busy work schedules of parents and extracurricular activities for kids, this is more challenging. Add in the media warnings not to leave children unattended and the kind of play other generations participated in is no longer commonplace.

The social interaction of play is important so play dates are arranged in order to make it happen.

If this is a good idea for children, it makes sense to me the same would hold true for adults. My friends and I may have good intentions but we can go months without actually seeing each other.

When it does happen it’s usually two of us meeting at a coffee shop or over lunch. After an hour or so, we are both on our way again.

I decided I wanted more than that so arranged a play date with three other friends. We met at the home studio of another friend and spent an entire afternoon talking and laughing as we stepped out of our comfort zone and learned to work with resin.

The afternoon was a success. Everyone agreed we should do it again next month. The projects we created were a bonus as the real prize was the time spent having fun together. My biggest take away from the day was that play dates are good for adults too!

Who Are You?

#inspiration, children, introductionsMy husband was mowing the lawn at our son’s house when our granddaughters came home from school. Two came out to see him. One of the girls had a friend with her and hesitated before making an introduction. Then she turned to her friend and said, “This is the guy who comes to cut our grass.”

Brian choked back his laughter at the time but was still chuckling about it when he got home. We joked about this unusual introduction and knew it made a funny story to tell. It also made me stop and think.

We talked about the reasoning behind this. My husband was not there in his role as a grandfather; instead, he was in the back yard mowing the lawn. He was defined that day by what he was doing, not who he was.

How often do we describe ourselves by what we do? I know I’ve been guilty of this. When asked about myself I tend to tell you I’m a wife, mother and grandmother. You may learn about some of the jobs I’ve held, my volunteer activities or that I am now retired. You’ll definitely hear about my grandchildren!

These are all an important part of the woman I’ve become but they don’t define me. There is much more to me than that. I am an observer of life, a lover of nature and an encourager who is passionate about sharing from my heart.

Unless I communicate with you on a deeper level you will only know me by what I do and not who I am.

I’d like to know you better. What are your passions? Help me learn who you are.

 

Nativity and Children

#inspiration, #nativity set, #Jesus, #ChristmasOne of my most treasured possessions is a nativity set that my brother lovingly hand carved for my mom about twenty-five years ago. It always held a place of honour in her home and now that she is no longer with us, the gift was passed on to me.

Since it is made of wood, there has never been a problem with children moving the pieces around. Everyone can enjoy this nativity. Thinking of this brought to mind a story I heard several years ago that I want to share with you today.

In order to save the beautiful ceramic nativity set from the grasping, sticky fingers of her young daughter, Linda crafted a play grouping of burlap, canvas and yarn. Five-year-old Elizabeth would spend hours rearranging the pieces and acting out the Christmas story. Mother would quietly laugh to herself when she heard Elizabeth inevitably say, “Hey, Jesus mother, can I hold your baby?”

Mother couldn’t picture the work-roughened hands of a shepherd cuddling an infant. But it made perfect sense to little Elizabeth; if these people were going to make a trip to see a baby, they wouldn’t want to leave without holding it.

Think about it. She really isn’t that far off. When you see a baby it’s only natural to admire it or comment on how cute it is. But, if you actually pick up that baby, a phenomenon takes place. Somehow, holding that child, gazing into those wide eyes and connecting with that uniquely God-given personality – that baby gets into your heart!

Don’t you think the shepherds were drawn in the same way to embrace the Infant of Bethlehem and experience the miracle of His love in their hearts that first Christmas?

This year, as you make your journey to the stable in Bethlehem, don’t just gaze on the Child in the manger and turn away unchanged. Embrace the Baby Jesus, the pure light of God’s love, and let Him shine in your hearts and make your lives new.

Don’t leave without holding the baby.

Children’s Christmas Concerts

#Christmas, #inspiration, #Jesus,#GodMy favourite Christmas concerts are the ones put on by children. They have several things in common with the first Christmas – music, drama, God, and the element of surprise! You never know quite what to expect at a children’s performance. I think the mistakes in the program provide some of the most memorable moments.

The Christmas I was six years old, I was given a major role in the school concert. I was to recite T’was the Night Before Christmas. My mother helped me memorize the poem. By the day of the concert I had it word perfect. That is, until I stepped up on the stage in front of an audience!

Part way through, I forgot my next line. I paused and then started again, unaware that I was repeating a previous line. Suddenly my three-year-old brother yelled out from the audience, “You already said that part!” My mother was embarrassed at his outburst, I was embarrassed by my mistake and my little brother stole the show!

Now I can look back and realize that mistakes actually help teach us the real meaning of Christmas. They allow us to see that true joy comes from being loved by God, no matter how many mistakes we make. That’s what God’s love was telling us more than 2,000 years ago with the arrival of Jesus. He’s still telling us that today.

His love is there when we follow the script and when we get mixed up. He’s there cheering us on, just like the loving parents watching their children in the concerts. When we make a mistake, he picks us up and encourages us to try again. He delights in our enthusiasm and rejoices with us in our accomplishments. His unconditional love always meets us exactly where we are.

Not only at Christmas but throughout the year, I want to be like a little child, basking in the love of my Heavenly Father.