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“It made my day.”

Travelling has been a constant for us this week, with nights in Apeldoorn, Eindhoven and Gent.
We have met with lots of missionaries and young adults, held many interviews, given several presentations, and spoken in many meetings throughout Belgium and the Netherlands.
It has been a wonderful week and just a little busy too!
Despite all our busyness, one of my favourite moments of the week came, as Fernando Cervantes and I slowed down and took a walk in Apeldoorn on Friday morning.
As we started off on our walking interview together, we took a picture and recorded a voice message for Zachary Stoner and sent them off to him.
It was a silly little thing, but pausing for a moment, it just seemed like a fun thing to do.
It was Zachary Stoner’s last full day in the mission field and he and Fernando Cervantes had just been companions in Groningen together.
He responded to our message with “Thanks for sending that, it made my day!”
Choosing to slow down, just for a moment can make all the difference.
Seemingly insignificant small and simple things can and often do, make a huge difference, especially when practiced regularly.
One of my favourite scriptures is “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10)
It takes practice to be still, lots of it!
And I still have much to learn.
Yet, choosing to slow down, really helps!
“We would do well to slow down a little and focus on the significant and truly see the things that matter most.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
I am really thankful that we slowed down and felt the joy of that little moment together.
What can you do to slow down and enjoy the present moment?

Once Upon A Time….

Consider the meaning of “𝒐𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒖𝒑𝒐𝒏 𝒂 𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆”….
Its a phrase that starts many of our most beloved fairy tales.
Storytellers use these words to alert their readers to the fact that the story wasn’t for real. It was to be enjoyed and learned from, but it actually didn’t happen.
Every moment in time only happens once.
The implication of that fact is frequently forgotten. Time passes all too quickly, leaving only the memory of it. We can never relive a moment. All we have of the past is the memory that becomes our story.
Unlike the fairy tales of our childhood, our story is real.
The secret to making each moment better is to stop spending too much time concerning ourselves about the past, or worrying about the future.
Neither do us any good.
Commit to live in each moment, to look around and be aware of others’ needs so you can help. Pay attention to the beauty all around, enjoy the sights, sounds and smells that are part of each moment.
As we approach each moment fully aware that time will happen only once, our stories, too, can be different. As we reach out and serve others, we not only help them gain the “happily ever after” they desire, but we also come closer to making our very own happy ending.
Stop and consider your own once upon a time.

Enjoying the Moment

Recently I was asked, “How can you be really present and enjoy the very moment you are experiencing?”
My mind flashed back to a professional development event I attended in St. Andrews a few years ago, when I was introduced to mindfulness with a single raisin!
In this well-known mindfulness exercise, participants start to experience this feeling of being “present” for themselves by taking ten to fifteen minutes to eat a single raisin.
It requires you to focus your mind on the present moment using all your senses – what you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch.

The exercise

Sitting in a circle, and our teacher gave each of us a single raisin.
Taking a moment, I got comfy in my chair…
– I held the raisin in my hand.
– Looking at it, I saw the different colours, light and ridges on the raisin.
– Closing my eyes, I felt the smallness of the raisin, it’s softness and its waxy texture.
– I brought it close to my nose to smell the raisin, concentrating on any scents or aromas I could detect.
– Next, I placed the raisin in my mouth and on my tongue. Without chewing, I noticed the sensation of having it on my tongue.
– Taking a bite of this tiny raisin, I tasted the sensations in my mouth. The smaller pieces of the raisin felt different.
– I listened and heard the sound as I chewed.
– I detected the intention to swallow starting to build and then decided to swallow it.
– Finally, I tracked the sensation of the raisin going into my tummy.
A simple little exercise to help us slow down.
How many moments do we miss with our spouses, our children, our parents, friends and colleagues, because we’re too busy rushing forward with our own always so very important tasks that need to get done?
We get so busy that we forget about seeing or ministering to the one, until we catch ourselves, or someone helps us once again to refocus.
Is it time for you to come back, slow down and refocus?
Taking time to enjoy one little raisin, may just help you and I to refocus on that one thing we need to do today.
What is your “one thing you will do today?”

Moments

It’s often really surprising what a considerable part very small moments play in our lives.  In the world of work, we’ll probably never remember an entire conference, but will most definitely remember the moment the CEO tripped up on the stage.

“We do not remember days; we remember moments” – Cesare Pavese

For instance, I’ll never forget the moment in this picture when Fawn and Fern aligned perfectly for a split second, just as I had my camera in hand.  Impeccable!

Life holds lots of surprises, doesn’t it?  Life too can be filled with lots of uncertainty, yet frequently surprises will pop up all along life’s path.  Who knows what will exactly happen tomorrow, or where you will be in a few years time, and what you will be doing?  Only a few weeks after this picture, sadly Fawn died with heart failure.  It was a difficult time for all of our family.

Sometimes, course changes in our lives come from unexpected challenges or disappointments. I have learned through experience that we only partially control the circumstances of our life.  Yet, there will be key moments for you that may change the course of your life in a flash.  Such a moment may consist of no more than a look or a simple conversation, an unplanned event perhaps or even an unexpected opportunity.  Moments of truth arrive perhaps when we are being tested, a tough decision has to be made or a crisis has to be faced.

As you reflect upon your own memorable moments, enjoy every one of them, in the grand scheme of things they are the only things we’ll have.  They are also called moments because they don’t last very long, but can stay with us forever.

“Sometimes the moments that challenge us most, will define who we really are……”

Amongst all your moments in life, good, bad, happy and sad, which ones do you recall that were perfectly aligned?