WHAT IS THIS?
I have been challenged to make a ‘creative gratitude journal’ to lift up my heart and soul through a challenging season. I am doing that on paper, but I have decided that I love to edit photos and add inspiring and encouraging quotes and text to the photos. This will be a way of reminding myself of what is good, true and life-giving. We can so easily slip into self-pity, despair and discontentment if we don’t proactively fight against it with gratitude, hope and joy. This is my way of picking up the sword and kicking the ickiness out of my daily life. CLICK THE THUMBNAIL BELOW TO VIEW THE FULL PHOTO AND ENCOURAGING CAPTION:
SPECIAL NOTE: Feel free to browse, grab images and use for your own encouragement, but please be sure to give proper credit to photographer and photo editor cited in the caption section for each photo.
#6 – “LET THE CREATOR SURPRISE YOU”
Here’s a simple idea for 2015!
Instead of setting your expectations for the year and how you would like to plan it or arrange it, how about you throw expectation to the wind, and let the Creator surprise you?
Expect the unexpected. Let it all come to you as a surprise, like an unexpected gift at your doorstep, unfolding before your eyes.
Open your arms wide to live your life, without an agenda and without rigid expectations.
When we put too much pressure on a season to go a certain way, with our declarations and resolutions, we often come out the other side with an unsettling discouragement and resentment when life veers off the desired course. Life happens. Life is messy, but still gloriously good. The actual reality of a season usually turns out so differently than we had planned. And that’s not a bad thing.
So, maybe it’s time to take your hands off your life, in a surrendered openness to trust the Creator, and let yourself be surprised. Receive the surprises with the joy and wonder of a child.
Happy New Year!
[Photo Credit: lorenkerns via photopin cc / Edits by Alison Lam]
#5 – “TAKE SOME GOOD RISKS”
This week is the week to take some “good risks”. Taking good risks is what grows your heart — and life only works with a big heart. Small, deflated hearts don’t fare too well over the long haul. The fact that you have no idea where the risk will take you is the very reason why you need to take it. If you only do what you know, going in the direction of the ‘safe, predictable outcome’, you will not grow, and you will not discover a surprising new pathway to true life, the pathway to a big-hearted life.
When we speak of “good risks”, we speak of something dangerously uncertain but something that goes in the direction of “life for your heart” and “the path of desire”. The greater danger is to realize that your heart is dying and not doing anything to revive it. Life without good risks will lead you right into a desperate despair, a numb state surrounded by safe walls and safe decisions. You were not created to live safely. Good risks are in your DNA.
Even so, good risks will often SEEM like dangerous risks when hopelessness and fear have taken the reins. But good risks are the only way to give your heart a chance to live again, a chance to grow. And grow you must! A shrinking heart is a dying heart, a growing heart is a heart alive.
So, this week, take some good risks and get yourself into the sea of vulnerability and uncertainty. You just never know what you may discover as you open the sails and catch the winds that lead to life!
God bless your heart today.
[Photo Credit: Taylan Soyturk Photographe via photopin cc, Photo Edit + Quote: Alison Lam]
#4 – “BE PATIENT WITH YOUR LIFE”
Ah, how life is so untidy, imperfect, flawed and messy! It never goes according to any of our pre-conceived notions and pre-planned expectations. LIFE HAS A LIFE OF ITS OWN, wouldn’t you say? To try and tame it and call it tidy would be an insult to its very core. Life is messy and wild, and isn’t that what we desire, deep down — some wild adventure that rocks our safe, little world?
And isn’t life governed by Love? Love itself is an untameable fire that takes you places you said you would never go, causes you to give so much more of yourself than you ever thought possible and somehow transforms you ENTIRELY in the process! Could it be that unsolved mysteries and questions are a natural requirement to this wild adventure we call a Life of Love? Could it be that untold twists and turns along the way are not optional, but rather, a “must-have”?
Today, will you cease from all your frantic questions surrounding all the unsolved areas of your life, and simply, take a deep breath and take hold of the grace available to you today — the grace to embrace the questions, to live the questions, until one day, through trust and through time, the answers will come to you like a new day dawning upon your heart.
[Photo Credit: Alison Lam,photo + edit. Quote: Rainer Maria Rilke, poet. Written Blog Excerpts From: The Unsolved Life ]
#3 – “TRANSFORM THE BAD INTO BLESSINGS”
In the midst of life, a lot of bad things happen. Devastating losses, humiliating defeats, permanent scars, and life-altering injuries… the list is endless. It’s pretty staggering how these bad things can zap your strength and steal almost all of your joy and hope. But, built into the DNA of every single human being, is a miraculous ability to transform all things into something life-giving. Each of you have this ability (given to you by your Creator) to turn curses into blessings. To turn death into life. It’s what you were made for. The substance for transformation is already inside you. You, and only you, can turn those discouraging scars into ‘love marks’. You, and only you, can redeem the negative experience connected to these ‘bad’ things and transform them into significantly good landmarks in your life, where your heart received a special gift, wrapped up in a very unexpected package. Today, will you activate your miraculous ability?
[Photo Credit: paul bica via photopin cc Text Edits: Alison Lam]
#2 – “GIVE THANKS”
Today you have been given a certain combination of ingredients to work with. Don’t throw them away. Embrace them. If you’d been given the choice, you probably wouldn’t have chosen any of it, but with a little hope and a little creativity, there’s potential for a surprising concoction. Take a moment, courageously accept what you’ve been given, give thanks for it, and then go get your hands dirty. Make something of the life you have today. At the end of the day, you might discover you’ve made something possibly delicious.
[Photo Credit: Rein -e- Art via photopin cc Text Edits: Alison Lam]
#1 – “NEW MERCIES”
Sometimes it’s hard to convince yourself it’s worth it to get up out of bed. There are days when you just can’t seem to see what good will come of this day. Just remember, that behind every new day is a tangible Creator who pours out His kindness and mercy on you. Each new morning of being alive is proof that your Creator desires to show His faithfulness to you for the next 24-hours. With each new day comes a new portion of mercy for your heart. You are faithfully cared for. Remember that today.
[Photo Credit: Christolakis via photopin cc Text Edits: Alison Lam]