Tuesday, March 6, 2012

CAPTIVATED

"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order."
~John Burroughs

When was the last time you were captivated by the beauty of nature? How long has it been since a colorful sunset took your breath away? What about the birds whose cheerful chirps grace your garden each morning ~ do you take time to soak in their symphony? How often do you slow down to "stop and smell the roses"?

My husband and I took a little retreat from our day-to-day lives last weekend and spent it at one of our favorite beaches. Our objective was to vacate our responsibilities and distractions, and to savor some quiet time together. Both days we walked the lush trail that winds along the coastline. Because the weather was picture-perfect, there were many people walking...jogging...and running on the same path. My husband noticed how few of them seemed to be admiring the view. Most appeared to be too absorbed by their smartphones, their exercise partners, or their own physiques to notice the jaw-dropping beauty of the day.

As much as I was enjoying the workout, I couldn't help but pause periodically to take a picture or two. Now that I am back home and nestled into my routine, these photos are taking on new meaning. They remind me to slow down and enjoy my surroundings. They warn me of the many distractions that can blind me to the things in my life that  matter most. They challenge me to look for the beauty in everything and to celebrate it. They help me see the bigger picture and recognize what a gift each day is.

Our weekend escape to the beach was picture-perfect. But so is this day ~ if I take the time to drink in the many blessings it holds ~ the sweet scent of jasmine blooming by the back door...the feel of the cool breeze upon my cheeks...the sound of loved ones arriving home. All of the things that I need to make it a great day are already here, surrounding me, beckoning me to embrace them.

"Discovering this idyllic place, we find ourselves filled with a yearning to linger here, where time stands still and beauty overwhelms."
~Author Unknown

"Stop every now and then. Just stop and enjoy. Take a deep breath. Relax and take in the abundance of life."
~Author Unknown

"The landscape belongs to the person who looks at it."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Dawn and dusk take turns calling, 'Come and worship'. Oh, visit the earth, ask her to join the dance! Deck her out in spring showers, fill the God-River with living water. Paint the wheat fields golden. Creation was meant for this!"
Psalm 65:8,9 The Message       

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