How It Began

volunteer, sharingHave you ever found something that seemed to be just what you needed when you didn’t even know you were looking for anything?

That’s what happened to me when I read the social media post.

A call for volunteers touched a chord deep within and I was compelled to respond. Emails were exchanged, information given, a questionnaire completed and I was accepted as part of a team to teach English to Mexican students.

We were divided into groups and I was one of those placed with a grade six class.

An orientation was held the week prior to starting. This answered questions and gave us valuable information on the school and the students we’d be working with.

The school system here houses two separate schools in the same building. One has classes in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Each have their own teachers and principal. We’d be in the afternoon school for one hour a week.

We were told that the school was in an extremely poor area and the majority of the students came from homes with no electricity.

Grade six is the last mandatory grade and very few would carry on with their education past this level. The children had little hope for the future, and were resigned to their lot in life.

Our job was to give them some basic language skills and to make it enjoyable. Fun for both the students and teachers was important to this program.

We would also take turns providing a snack for the students. This would be handed out as the students lined up to leave the room at the end of the class. Many would take this snack home to share with younger siblings.

That evening as I sat under electric lights with plenty of food in my fridge and cupboards, I reflected on the vastly different lifestyle, only a few kilometers away. I prayed that I would use the abundance I’ve been given to ease another’s burden and not take for granted what I have.

Although I wouldn’t meet the students for another week, I knew they had already impacted my life.


village, unassuming“I travelled on an unfamiliar road today,” my friend told me. The quiet route had taken her past a small village named Success.

“That sounds like a great place to live,” I said.

She replied, “I don’t know. It didn’t look like there was much there.”

For me, I wanted to be able to honestly say that I was living in success every day!

My curiosity was aroused and I needed to find out more about this unassuming village with such an inspiring name. A bit of research led me to a few interesting facts about Success, Saskatchewan. It has a population of 45 and a land mass of 1.36 square kilometres. Now I understood why it didn’t look like much to someone passing by.

Like the village, what I consider success might not look like much to an outsider. I don’t need a big house, fancy car, the latest fashions or expensive jewelry to feel successful.

At one time I thought being given important responsibilities or having more followers on social media were keys to success. It seemed like it for awhile, but my self-worth couldn’t be dependent on sources out of my control.

Zig Ziglar, an influencer and encourager, defined success in a way that resounds with me. He said, “Success is not measured by what you do compared to what others do, it is measured by what you do with the ability God gives you.”

When I use my time, talents, and resources in a way to reflect the love God has shown me, I am living in success. If I can make a difference, no matter how small, in the life of one person, I am living in success.

I have also realized my success doesn’t require a specific physical location. It can take place anywhere.

I won’t be adding to the population of Success, Saskatchewan, but am grateful to this unassuming village for indirectly helping me redefine what is important in my life.

The Ripple Effect

#inspiration, song, messageThe lyrics in the song had such impact on me that I had to write them down as soon as the song was over. I was afraid the busyness of life would push them into the back of my memory and didn’t want that to happen.

A group called 11th Hour sang the poignant words, “I’d like to shake the hand, that reached out a hand, that reached out a hand to me.”

What a beautiful way to express the ripple effect of kindness.

I know how much I appreciate those who have reached out a hand to help me. What I hadn’t stopped to think about was someone must have done the same for them. Through this act, the initial person impacted my life in a positive way, without ever having direct contact with me.

I also have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people I may never meet. When I reach out in love and support, there is no way of knowing how that act may be passed on.

Like a stone tossed in a pond, the ripples move in an ever widening circle.

Thank you to all who perform acts of kindness. You make more of a difference than you will ever know.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  Aesop

Making a Difference

Please  welcome Lynn Simpson as my guest blogger today.  After you enjoy her words and her photographs you can find out more about Lynn in the brief bio at the bottom of the post.

inspiration. make a difference
Lynn Simpson Photography

Lifeless leaves in colours of blood and coffee on a dusty footpath crush beneath my worn hikers. I pull my wool hat lower over my ears with one mittened hand, the other grips my camera. Ahead, I know, is a low lying

make a difference, inspiration
Lynn Simpson Photography

bridge, over a cheerless pond, just four steps wide and seven steps to the other side.

I’ve been here before, on this trail in this national park close to my home. Been here too, during the times of chirping frogs and singing sparrows.

But today, under a silvery sky, the life sounds seem hushed. And this feels right. As my brother of only a few years longer in life than me, was recently stilled and silenced. His path moved now beyond this world.

My downcast eyes wander to lanky, burnt mustard grasses. I halt, grasp my camera in both hands, adjust the dials, kneel and frame the scene. Click. Reframe. Click. Capture a moment. Now. And then gone.

#inspiration, make a difference
Lynn Simpson Photography


And I wonder, in this moment, what is the point really? A captured moment just changes in time. And is lost. Gone.

Does it make any difference, to do this or that in this moment?

Do I make a difference?

I shake my head, try to clear of it of this melancholy. Fingers seek for tissue in my coat pocket.

Crush of lifeless leaves interrupt, from steps that are not mine.

You must be a pro, he says. I unbend my knees, stand. No, I reply. He is tall, slender, like my brother (my late-brother) with midnight black hair that matches the camera he clutches in bare hands. My friend gave me his camera to try for a day and I don’t have a clue what I’m doing and my pictures look terrible, he tells me, his face crimsoning. Can I see yours? he asks. I show him, am warmed by his delight. How did you capture that from that? He points to the field of littered grasses. It’s about the angles, and the scene, and the light, and the imagination, I tell him. I show him a few tools, a few features and simple ways to set the light, to frame the scene.

He clicks. Reframes. Clicks. Captures a few shots with the new settings.

Wow, he says, his grin infectious. That totally made a difference! Thank you!

There is a wooden bridge that crosses marsh-like waters just up ahead, I tell him. You may want to try there too.

He takes a few steps backwards, on this ginger path, waves a free hand. Great! I want to be able to show my friend later what moments I captured here. Thanks so much! he says.

I watch him turn away and move on. I look down. Auburn and chestnut coloured leaves stir from a light wind. I kneel, position my camera. And click, capturing a new moment.

Lynn J Simpson understands the need for creating spaces for rest, renewal, and transformation both personally and as a Professional Life Coach. Her own journey is rarely without a camera in hand, capturing breathing spaces to share. Her recent publication, Breathing Spaces-a 21 day journal of rest, reflection and renewal is used by individuals and groups to help create healthy mindsets. You can read more of Lynn’s musings on faith, hope and love at Inspiring Hope (, and connect with her on Facebook and YouTube.

Pelican Landing

make a difference, life, inspiration, Mother Teresa,My friend Teresa shared with me about a walk she took on an overcast day recently. She stopped to rest at a nearby lake and reflected on the quietness and beauty that surrounded her. That is when she took the picture that accompanies this post.

Moments later a pelican flew in and landed on the lake. Teresa watched in awe as this large bird landed so smoothly there wasn’t even a splash.

The pelican swam towards her and she noticed that it was leaving quite a wake behind. A thought occurred. If this pelican could leave such a wake, she wondered what kind of a wake her life was leaving.

Each of us drops many pebbles into the water of life. We may never know what we have done to make a difference in someone else’s life. Who we are and what we do has a greater impact than we are aware of.

Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” This is the kind of life that pleases God and will leave a wake that is far reaching.

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, (Zechariah 4:10 NLT)

Puzzle Pieces

make a difference, inspirationIt was the last Sunday for one of our pastors, as he was moving on to another church. While he was being thanked for his service it was said that God had a plan for the new church and this pastor was the piece of the puzzle needed to complete that plan.

Thinking about this made me realize that I can be the puzzle piece that helps to make someone else’s picture complete. It need not take grand gestures. Allowing God to direct me as I do little things may be just what is needed. The piece of the puzzle I bring may only add to the picture for an hour or a day, but it will contribute to the beautiful picture God is creating in another’s life.
It wasn’t long until I saw this in action. I stopped to chat with someone I hadn’t seen in a couple of months. After telling her that I had missed seeing her, I found out that she was going through a challenging time. What she needed to hear that day was that someone cared. This conversation helped to fill in a puzzle piece that let her know she mattered.

Later, I was introduced to a friend of a friend. Spontaneously I gave her a hug instead of a handshake. With tears in her eyes she thanked me, saying that her mother used to hug her everyday but had passed away and she missed those hugs. My simple gesture had filled in the puzzle piece that showed her, through touch, that she was cared for.
Thinking back on these things, I realized anew how God can use me to make a difference. When He prompts me to say or do something, He may just be using me to be the puzzle piece that someone needs at that moment.
Love each other with genuine affections, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10 NLT
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. Proverbs 12:25 NIV

Be inspired today!

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