A spark of eternal fire

Last Saturday as our little family was coming home from our favorite place to eat (Cafe Rio, all the way) my husband looked up at one of the mountains our apartment is nestled against. He said half jokingly, but hopefully “We should go home, change our clothes real quick, and then hike up the mountain!”

I think he expected me to say no; it was windy, getting chilly, and the sun was close to setting. But, I felt like being spontaneous. A little bit of nature never hurt. So we got home, rushed around, and were out the door again.

On our way there we wondered if we were crazy–the sun was setting and we had our little boy with us. But once we started hiking, we realized we were not crazy at all.

The view.

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The view struck my soul–the sun setting with its powerful rays of light; the clouds reflecting the light in amazing ways, the city lights spanning across the valley. It took my breath away and enlarged my soul reminding me I am part of something magnificent; something awe-inspiring.

Our little family enjoying the view on the mountain.

Sometimes I just need to get away–get away either physically, spiritually, or mentally from the hussle and bussle of life. Even if the time of solitude is short, it is a breath of fresh air for my soul to step out and look at my life from a better angle–from above. To see myself how God may see me–a unique individual filled with meaning and loved completely by Him.

“This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God. While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, we have a spark of eternal fire burning within our breast.”- Dieter Uchtdorf

For me, hiking up that mountain gave me a better view; a clearer perspective on who I am in the grand scheme of things. Being amid God’s vast creations reminded me that I am part of something eternal; something majestic.

Yes, I am small. But I am everything to God. So are you.

How do you step away from life and find inner peace and a clearer perspective? How do you remember to see yourself as God sees you?

Beautify your sphere

I was out following my boy around the other day as he was playing, when I saw this beautiful tree. It is rather small compared to the huge trees surrounding it. It is small because of the type of tree it is, but also because it seems younger. It’s sphere of influence is small. But in the end I noticed it because of its beauty, not size.

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In my mind, if the tree could talk it would be saying: “I don’t care that I’m small, I’m still going to make my leaves beautiful! My little bit of beauty still matters.”

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Parker playing peek-a-boo around the small, yet beautiful tree.

It started me pondering on my sphere of influence. It isn’t very big right now. Most days I stay at home all day with my boy; my husband has to commute so he needs the car. I’m not working or involved with a major organization (except with the village who is helping raise my child). So in other words, my sphere of influence is rather small; my reach out into the world is limited.

Sometimes I get discouraged by the smallness. When I’m feeling down, I make the mistake of equating the smallness to ugliness or being less desirable. Why work on my small life, when it is so…small?

But, my sphere of influence doesn’t have to be big in order to beautify it; take pride in it. Whatever sphere we have influence on–we can beautify it, give it our all. Whether it be my 550 square foot apartment built in the 60’s–I can make it my own! Whether it be my small, new blog–I can keep writing. Whether it be my family of three–we can make meaningful traditions. They are all still worth the time and effort to beautify.

Things don’t need to be big for them to be beautiful. We can leave our mark of beauty on even the smallest things.

“Blessed is the influence of one true, loving soul on another.”-George Eliot

How do you cherish even the small things in your life? What small endeavors are you working on that are nevertheless beautiful and meaningful to you?

Growing towards the light

There is something absolutely marvelous about nature. It has the ability to bring comfort, wipe away tears, shorten the distance between heaven and earth, and teach us lessons. IMG_20141008_171538350A couple weeks ago I went on a beautiful fall hike. The colors were vibrant and despite the chill in the air my heart was warm, knowing the holidays are beginning. I had just read an amazing post by a friend, in which she let nature teach her important lessons. As I was hiking, I pondered on her post and then realized nature was teaching me something important right then.

Growing  towards light

Trees changing their direction to grow up towards the light.

Trees almost always grow towards the light. No matter where they are planned, they reform and change their direction to point up. It seems they innately know the light gives them strength. The trees yearn to be bathed in light.

How often do I change my course so that I grow towards the light? Grow up to God and feel His love and strength? Often I look at my life and feel that my actions say: “I’m okay with where I am, I don’t need the light–I’ll grow sideways.” When really, don’t we all want to grow up in light; grow up straight? I believe there is a way to grow up and slowly correct our slant, year by year growing more perfectly in the light.

Trees grow up, despite where they were planted. They could be planted on the side of a slippery hill; they could be growing next to rocky ground. In essence, they could be planted in the “least desirable” plot of ground and they still do what is necessary to grow up.

How often do I look at the cards I am dealt and simply believe it is my fate? “I was born with a temper, so I just have one.” Or do I look at my circumstances as a beginning to my journey? It doesn’t matter where we started, how our home was growing up, the mistakes we used to make–we can be who we desire to be, and grow closer to God. Creating the best outcome with what we were given.

In my experience, sometimes it is the most humble of circumstances that lead to the most breathtaking outcomes. It seems the added difficulty to get to where we want to go further refines and beautifies us, in ways that are incomprehensible to me.

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Today I’m grateful for nature. I’m grateful for the beauty. I’m grateful God planted little lessons in the form of trees all around the world. I’m grateful it only takes going on an adventure to see the lessons.

How has nature taught you an unforgettable lesson? How do you enjoy spending time in nature? And How have you tried to make the best of your circumstances?

Created to progress

This morning I woke up feeling lethargic. This whole moving ordeal seems to be eating up my energy. But, P and I have a routine and every morning we wake up, eat breakfast, and then pack up into our jogging stroller with multiple sippy cups, water bottles, and snacks, (just in case we find a park and want to play for a while).

So, despite feeling like a slug, we packed up and left. I decided I wanted a good view and a challenge, so we walked up the biggest hill nearby. Oh my. I haven’t got my heart pumping so hard in a while. I had to stop for breaks to breathe, while the 30 pound weight I brought along with me, happily chatted about the scenery.

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My sweet 30 lb. weight, making me laugh as we walked.

As I was trudging up that hill, feeling the incline in my heart and quads, I started pondering about progression. I began thinking about challenging myself. How is it that the hardness of the exercise was actually fueling my spirit, instead of depleting me? How was I feeling re-charged and on top of the world, when in reality I was just a mom wearing an old exercise get-up, trudging up a hill?

I decided it is because we are eternal beings who were created for progress. Our souls thrive on becoming better each day. It is part of our genetic make up as children of God. Our souls love to conquer an obstacle that before was out of reach. We came to earth with the potential to become more like God and that takes progress. It takes climbing higher, stretching beyond our limits, and going out of our comfort zone.

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View on top, of the beautiful mountain range our home is nestled against.

The view on top! Lakes, mountains, and the cities below.

The view on top! Lakes, mountains, and the cities below.

That mountain was hard to climb up today, but the climb was just what I needed. The view–impeccable. The slug that I resembled earlier had disappeared and I came down after doing my best, feeling more alive.

How do you feel after challenging yourself either physically or spiritually? What is your favorite way to enjoy nature?

Sometimes my kid eats dirt

The other day I actually made dinner. I made some bread to go with it. I was feeling pretty good about myself! I was even more excited, because its one of P’s favorite foods.

Well, it didn’t turn out like I expected. He wouldn’t eat much, was whiny, and instead ran out in the garden, sat down with his spoon and started happily eating mouth fulls of dirt.

Here he is, with his dinner spoon, feasting on dirt.

Here he is, with his dinner spoon, feasting on dirt.

At this point, I was intrigued and slightly irritated. I had prepared a yummy, delicious, nutritious dinner and he chose dirt?? I began to realize this little moment was just a taste of what would happen in years to come.

Even at his young age, P has his own desires, interests, and ideas. His idea of a good meal was dirt; my home cooked meal was not. I imagine in the future that there will be more differences of opinion. I’ll disagree with a choice he makes. I’ll think he is absolutely, completely crazy! Not that his choice is bad, but more based on preference I don’t understand. So really, I’m glad I had this experience, because I need these experiences to get used to the fact that I cannot control him.

P is not my son so I can mold him into a mini me. He is my son so that I can present options, nurture his talents, and mostly love him. Love him, even if sometimes he chooses to eat dirt.

How have you learned to love your kids with their unique quirks, personality, and ideas?