through the lens

You guys know how much I love writing about finding God through beauty! I mean, it’s the basis for my blog after all! But what I just keep coming back to over the years, is how present and close I feel to God in the natural world.

I can’t get enough of the sights, smells, and wonders that come with the passing seasons, diverse landscapes, plentiful plant and animal species, weather patterns, sun rises and sun sets.

It’s in these moments that I feel close to God. How can I forget his love when it’s literally painted across the sky, the sea, the fields, the stars?! God doesn’t waste a moment trying to win our hearts and remind us of his steadfast love.

So today I wanted to share a few photos that reflect those times where I felt the immense power and beauty of God, the divine Artist.

Lemon tree in the Angelicum garden in Rome, Italy. Perfect moment.
Prairie sky after a little evening rain. Even a little rainbow if you look closely!
Exploring the city of Heidelberg, Germany brought us to this incredible path leading us to a gorgeous look out point!
Dreamy sunset with colours that melt my heart!

All these photos and more can be found on my instagram account theauthorofbeauty! God bless and keep delighting in all that is truly beautiful…

sunshine for the soul

It’s amazing what a few weeks with family and beautiful scenery can do for one’s spirit! Visiting the Rocky Mountains was definitely a highlight, as I had never been before. Driving in, I could hardly focus on the road because the view was so breathtaking! I had to actively remind myself to keep my eyes on the road!

After crawling over a few rocks, we worked our way to the “front seats” and soaked in every minute of this view:

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Although the million and one tourists behind us were snapping photos, taming wild children, taking wedding photos (complete with dog) renting canoes, and jumping in the ice cold lake, I was captivated. I couldn’t seem to take my eyes off of this masterpiece. Here, God’s beauty and gifts to us were so tangible. I wanted to stay there forever. It was so apparent that God had his hand in this creation. Who would want to leave a place like that?

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Our Father in heaven has crafted this place, simply to bless us. It’s not just in the mountains we find his beauty. It’s in our families, our friends, the woods, the flowers that bloom, the song that speaks to our heart, the campfire that dances, the gentle gesture of a stranger, the authentic laughter of a child.

Getting away over the holidays was a much needed reminder that God is truly present in his creation. He wants to encounter and speak to us there. We don’t have to be in the Rocky Mountains to receive this gift. I think it’s about an openness to beauty. How can we see the beautiful creation that is already near to us? And how can we create spaces and places that are beautiful?

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” Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who have pleasure in them. Full of honour and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures for ever. He has caused his wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful” – Psalm 111:2-4

Back to Basics

For the past few months, I have been attending weekly speech therapy to help with my very problematic (and painful) jaw. I am required to re-learn a “correct swallowing pattern”. Yup- you heard that right. I have to learn to swallow again! Apparently, I have been doing that wrong for quite some time. When I first heard the orthodontist tell me that, I wanted to burst out laughing. I had no idea that people, let alone adults, could have to learn such a fundamental body process. Needless to say, it has been an eye opening, or should I say mouth opening, process!  Once I have mastered this technique, there will be significantly less stress on my jaw, resulting in less pain ( yahooo).

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I am probably the oldest client there by 10-15 years. I have only seen children or young adults in the waiting room. The funniest thing is, that once I begin therapy, I actually feel like a child again. Whether its making crazy faces while trying an exercise for my tongue or lips, playing games, talking into the mirror, or working on my posture… it’s always interesting. I think every time I have therapy, I find myself laughing out loud! At first, I was embarrassed; sticking out my tongue, puckering my lips, reading like I have no teeth. But the more I attend therapy, the more freeing it becomes.

I have never been a person who liked to stand out, or do crazy things, or be embarrassed in front of anyone. I kind of like to be “put together” and appear to have things “under control”. But speech therapy is teaching me to be more and more free. That doing things that make you feel silly, or being like a child is okay! It can even be really fun. I guess sometimes I get stuck in the responsible adult and practical role… but I want to get better at breaking away from that more often.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It is my sincere hope that I can keep growing in this childlike freedom and JOY! Life is just too short to be over serious, totally stressed, or hopeless. Although life can be complicated ( and mine feels that way right now), I want to take steps toward this freedom feeling. Here is a little list to make some concrete steps in this direction. Perhaps they are something for you to try, too:

  1. Let ourselves loose track of time. Goodbye clocks and phones and schedules. Take time to enjoy our hobbies & loved ones without feeling a time pressure
  2. Laugh. Really Laugh with those around us. For me this can be done with my day care kids and with my husband (sometimes we make “homemade” jokes… that always works)
  3. “Be a Duck”- My mom always encouraged us by using this analogy. To let (the negative) things roll off our backs  like the water rolls off the feathers of the duck. Not to hold on to the 2-3 negative moments, words, experiences of the day.
  4. Count our blessings- Foster a thankful heart that rejoices in the good, beautiful and lovely moment of our day.
  5. Pray- Sometimes we have areas in our lives that are like chains. Parts of our past, or our character that holds us back from being free. God wants to meet us there, and break the chains. He is there to help us, when we can’t do it alone!

Shifting into the Deep

I recently had to sell my vehicle for a move thats taking place very soon. I had to part with Maxwell; my trusty, reliable and automatic beauty. Since I was 16, I have been driving automatic cars (avoiding at all costs the possibility of driving a standard vehicle, which quite frankly, scared me completely).  When I practiced with my mom years ago, I gave up after mistaking the break for the clutch and stalling every. single. time.

Fast forward about 8 years and I found myself confronted with the same standard car predicament. However this time, the only vehicle I had access to was a little zippy manual car from my sister. Honestly, I was tempted to start taking up biking. I never bike. But I felt like desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

Wrong. Thankfully I realized that my irrational fear of driving a standard vehicle and stalling in the middle of the road had gone on long enough (thought I admit, if I wasn’t forced to learn I probably would have avoided this scenario for a few more years). Either way, I took that vehicle out on the road and my oh my, I’ve learned a lot. I thought I would just share a few lessons I’ve learned :

  1. 1. Becoming more compassionate with bad drivers: Prior to this whole standard driving thing, I was pretty critical for slow and bad drivers. I’m not excusing bad driving, but now I’m much more inclined to ask the question “Maybe, they just suck because it’s their first day of learning how to drive a standard”. It’s actually helped me to be less critical behind the wheel.
  2. 2. Patience is a virtue learned in 1st-4th gear- In the past few weeks I’ve been forced to slow down a lot. From my acceleration time at a green light, to learning how to drive on the free way, I’m a rookie. In the past, I’ve loved pretending I’m a race-car driver, but I see the benefits to just enjoying the ride for what it is. Not always being in such a rush.
  3. Laughing at yourself is necessary-  The amount of laughing aloud that is taking place in my car is incredible! I’m not stalling much anymore, but at the beginning I just had to give a solid wave in my review mirror to the guy waiting for me to restart my vehicle and then smile as they drive past with their snazzy car, leaving me in the dust. #humility
  4. Give yourself more credit- I realized I can acquire new skills even if they scare me a lot! Although we know this, we often don’t believe this. I’m so happy I was forced to take this car out, face a little humiliation and come out on the other side laughing and enjoying the memories along the road.

 

The True North; Strong & Free

Today is a day to remember. To pause. To reflect. To be thankful. Today we celebrate Remembrance Day in Canada. For every Canadian, this is a day where we celebrate our heritage. We give thanks and honor those men and woman who gave their lives for our freedom. These war veterans were those who fought in the first and second world wars. Many of them sacrificed their lives, futures and families for the Canada we have now.

Leading up to today, I  saw countless people wearing a bright red poppy on their jacket to prepare for Remembrance Day. This symbol is a powerful representation of the unity we have as a Canadian people. I know that I wear my poppy with pride. At 11:00 a.m, I stopped along with millions of Canadians for two minutes of silence. In this moment, I found myself incredibly thankful for what I have been given. The gift it is to live in a country that is free. To live without fear of persecution for religion. To know I have health care coverage. To have a democratic government. To live in a province with clean and fresh air. To have rights as a woman, a citizen and a voter. To live in a country with beautiful landscapes. To be Canadian.

Although we reserve this celebration for November 11th, I want to continue to be thankful for my homeland throughout the rest of the year. Not only do we have maple syrup, moose and Tim Horton’s, we truly have a strong nation. We are founded upon the sacrifices and dedication of men and women who gave their lives for Canada. What a blessing it is to be Canadian.