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.
My friend and I had just completed an interesting few hours. We had been on a home tour and seen some extensive renovations and many decorating styles.
As we walked away from the last home she said, “I didn’t care for the decorating in that one. Some of the others were beautiful but that was not my taste at all.” She went on to explain why she felt that way.
I agreed with her opinion but put my own twist on it. “At least that one helped me know what I don’t want,” I said. “We certainly saw a variety of styles today and not all were my taste.”
The styles I liked and those I didn’t all contributed to defining my personal design preferences. The differences are what make us unique.
Some of the homes we saw were built for casual entertaining. Others were more sophisticated. We saw subdued colours and expensive artwork in one and colourful walls and bright ceramic accents in the next. One home had inflatable pink flamingo cup holders floating in the pool!
Different taste applies to more than homes and decorating. Your choice of movies, books, clothing and hobbies will not be identical to mine. We might agree on some but it’s rare to agree on everything. That doesn’t make one of us right and one wrong.
I used to be afraid to express my opinion. It wasn’t easy for me to learn I could disagree with someone and still be accepted. Now I know that life is richer when we welcome our differences and learn from one another.
“You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.” John Mason
My new book Another Perspective is available at a special preorder price for ebook format. Click here Paperback will be available the end of March
Sometimes we happen to find the perfect gift for a loved one. That was the case with a birthday present for our nine-year-old granddaughter.
Part of her gift was a pillow. This was not your everyday pillow but a special one, with one side in a satin fabric and the other covered with sequins. I knew it would be a hit because what little girl doesn’t like sequins?
It got even better, though as these adornments were purple on one side and silver on the other. The colour changed depending on the direction you ran your hand over the surface. We watched her write and draw as she customized this special gift.
I understood why she liked the pillow because I enjoyed playing with it, too. There was no right or wrong way to make the designs. It could be predominantly purple, mostly silver or a blend of the two colours. I could draw straight lines or make random patterns.
If there was something I didn’t like I could erase it with a simple swipe of the hand. Starting over was not a failure but an opportunity to make something new.
I can create this feeling in other areas of my life. The pattern of my life is unique to me. There is no need to be the same as everyone else. If something isn’t working out for me I can embrace the opportunity to start again.
Somehow, playing with this pillow was freeing. I may just have to get one of my own!
The situation reminded me of a story I’ve heard several times over the years.
In my case, the dash was to separate two numbers on the outside of a condo. The exterior had recently been painted and now the identifying numbers outside of our door were missing.
We chose some brightly coloured ceramic tiles with the numbers but finding a dash was another matter.
One could have been painted on the wall but that’s not what we wanted. The dash had to have more character than a painted line.
Since our condo is on the waterfront, we decided a shell could be used. The hunt was on for the perfect shell. This needed to be unique enough to also reflect who we are.
The story I was reminded of was about a tombstone. It indicated the date of birth and the date of death. Between these dates was a dash. This represented the years of life. The point of the story was to make the most of the dash. Searching for a dash now, reminded me of the importance of living a meaningful life.
When I was a girl in school, the races we ran on sports day were called dashes. I was good at the shorter ones, like the 50 yard dash, but didn’t have the endurance for the longer runs.
I now realize that the dash representing my life is one of endurance. God has given me a unique life and trusts me to run it to the best of my ability. With his guidance I will use it to reflect his light and love to those I come in contact with.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1 NLT)
There are several types of crystals that I either own or have first-hand experience with.
The most common crystal is made from cut glass. When the glass is in its molten stage lead is added which gives it superior clarity and light refraction. Swarovski crystal is a well known example of this. I enjoy a few vases plus some jewelry pieces that are made in this way.
There are also natural crystals that are mined from the earth. These gemstone crystals are quite dull in their natural state. A lapidary artist cuts and polishes them in order to produce their sparkle. The diamond that my husband placed on my finger many years ago is an example of this.
Although all of these crystals are lovely, they require intervention to reveal their beauty. It doesn’t come naturally.
My favourite crystals have a genuine beauty in their natural state. They are the ice crystals that fall from the sky. I see them sparkle in the freshly fallen snow. The elegance with which they softly blanket the earth still enthralls me.
Each snowflake is a delicately complex arrangement of ice crystals. No two are exactly alike. This uniqueness is part of God’s design.
Maybe the reason I am fascinated by these ice crystals is because they remind me of the way God made you and me. We are each wonderfully unique and beautiful in our own way. No outside intervention is needed. When we allow God to work in our lives, the beauty comes from within. It is then that we sparkle like the precious gems he created us to be.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. (Psalm 139:13,14 NLT)