Late one afternoon, my husband and I sat at the table playing cards. We also enjoyed a clear view of the sea from our third-floor dwelling. Our attention frequently shifted to a couple of wind surfers who would zip by in one direction before turning around and going past the opposite way. I wondered aloud how they managed to keep the wind in their sails no matter which way they faced.
As the daylight faded, we turned on a light in order to continue our game. The wind surfers were still visible. I watched one fall several times and thought it was time for them to head for shore before darkness settled around them. The sun sets quickly here. One moment we have dusk and the next is blackness.
Moments later, I struggled to see the view outside my window. The outside world had become dark and I could only see was what was inside, reflected in the glass. I was looking at me!
I thought of this at church on Sunday, when the third advent candle, the one representing joy, was lit. We are called to be joyous people. I had become distracted by a disappointment that was consuming my thoughts. My focus was on my perceived lack and not on the blessings surrounding me. No wonder my view of the outside world had darkened.
Repentance quickly followed as I was reminded anew of the joy I have in Jesus. My journey into the darkness enabled me to fully appreciate the light. As we prepare for Christmas, the celebration of Christ’s birth, I pray the joy of the Lord will be reflected to those I encounter.
From my home to yours, Merry Christmas.
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.
After what seemed like the winter that wouldn’t end, we are finally experiencing spring weather. The snow has melted in all but a few sheltered spots and the sunshine and warmer temperatures are drawing people out of their houses.
My husband and I decided to take advantage of this and go for a walk. We didn’t get far before we heard the voice of a child shouting, “Yaaaaaah!” over and over. This young boy was on a bicycle with training wheels and was peddling up and down the sidewalk, shouting with glee. We couldn’t help but be happy along with him.
Children weren’t the only ones wanting to express their delight on such a beautiful day. Judging by the smiles and friendly greetings, I’m guessing a lot of adults also felt like shouting for joy. The question is how often do we actually give voice to these thoughts and feelings?
If you’re anything like me, it doesn’t seem appropriate to make loud noises, even joyful ones. I wouldn’t want to cause a scene.
What if this is faulty thinking? Maybe our exuberance will cause others to feel free to express their delight. Wouldn’t it be amazing to start a ripple effect of happiness?
I’ve heard it said that laughter is the best medicine. So, go ahead and laugh, cheer and skip down the street. Have fun instead of being serious. Don’t worry about what others might think. You never know who may decide to join you!
“Life is too important to be taken seriously.” Oscar Wilde
We saw them as we were walking along the beach. Three children had dug a hole in the wet sand and were now sitting in it, slathering themselves with mud.
Brian and I remarked on their obvious joy. A woman was standing nearby watching and I said, “They sure are having fun.” Her disapproval was obvious when she replied, “They’re so dirty. I’m glad they’re not my kids.”
This seemed such a sad statement. Their play was not a disturbance to those around them. We actually gained pleasure by just watching their fun. They were busy enjoying their mud baths, oblivious to the opinions of those around them. It was the children and not the adult who had the right idea.
I looked back to see one boy run into the lake, wash off and then return to his friends to paint arms and legs with mud once again.
Oh, to be like a child, free to ignore what other may think and just have fun. Sometimes I need to relax and not concern myself with maintaining a spotless image. It’s ok if my hands get dirty or I get mud on my face. There may be people who disapprove but there just may be more who want to enter the fun with me.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
A Dickens Christmas Village is set up on my hearth. The lights in the church, shops and house shine onto the little village scene. In one area Charles Dickens reads from A Christmas Carol to a crowd gathered around. Nearby are a group of Christmas Carolers. Some children are playing in the snow.
Gazing at the cheerful little village brings back precious memories of receiving the various pieces throughout the years. My adult children enjoyed moving some of the people to unusual locations in the village to see if I’d notice. Grandchildren loved to gaze at it but knew not to touch the porcelain pieces.
This village brings me peace and joy. It also reminds me of love shared with my family, who are the primary members of my personal village.
Christmas is about peace, joy and love. There is no better way to honour Jesus than by sharing the love that he so generously gives to me. That is what I plan to do with those I come in contact with.
I want to express my appreciation for each of you who read my posts. May you feel the blessings of love and peace not only this Christmas but throughout the coming year.
This is how God showed his love among us; He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 1 John 4:9 NIV
On a beautiful sunny day I set my inner child free and went outside to play with bubbles. I ran barefoot through the grass and moved the bubble wand in time with the music I could hear coming from the house.
There was nothing on my mind other than watching these thin films of iridescence float on the breeze.
When I thought about it later I realized that even this simple activity had lessons to teach me.
The first lesson was that it lightens my spirit when I take time to play. Nothing else mattered in those moments. I was filled with joy just to be alive.
Second was the beauty I saw. The shimmer of the bubbles also reflected what was around them. The blue sky, fluffy clouds and tall trees were seen in a new way as I gazed at them through the shimmering soapy film. I had a new appreciation for things I had taken for granted only moments before.
Lesson three was the many sizes and shapes of the bubbles. Some were small and round while others were large and almost oblong. A few seemed unbalanced and wobbled as they floated along. All were beautiful. It is the same with people.
This leads me right to lesson four. The shape of the bubbles changed as they adapted to the conditions around them. They had the flexibility to move with the breeze, changing direction and modify their shape as necessary. This flexibility is something I need to practice more in my life.
Lesson five was that although a bubble is only with us a short time, it still brings joy and laughter. Each one was a reminder to live life to the fullest and impact those I come in contact with in a positive way. The Lord has given me this day and I will rejoice and be glad.
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” (Psalm 70:4 NIV)
The once beautiful bouquet of flowers had now wilted. Their heads drooped, petals fell and the leaves were crisp and dry. They had been like this for days before I finally disposed of them. My reasoning for keeping them was that even in this state, they reminded me of the beauty and fragrance that had been present in previous days.
As I removed the flowers from the vase, I was reminded that nothing lasts forever. The joys in my life need to be savored in the moment and stored as beautiful memories. Sometimes, like cut flowers, they will be gone far too quickly. Just as these flowers were an unexpected gift, so are many things that happen in my life.
I choose to view my life as the perennial flowers in my garden. They bloom for a season, one lovely blossom being replaced by the next. Then they have a season where they appear dormant. This time of rest prepares them for the next phase, when they will burst forth into renewed life as the seasons change once again.
As I think of my wilted flowers I choose not be sad that they are gone, but to be thankful that I had the opportunity to enjoy them in the first place. They brightened my life in the short time they were here. At some point I will again enjoy a bouquet of flowers. They will not be identical to the ones I had, but will each bring their own beauty into my life. I trust God to provide the fragrance of new beginnings and the season of rest, all in his perfect timing.
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” 1Peter 1 23-25 NIV
Be inspired this week.