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Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.

- Anne Frank

It feels like my life changed more in the last four years than it did in the previous forty. When I started to make more courageous decisions, however, I also started to dwell on how different my life might be if I had done things differently 10 or 20 or even 30 years earlier. I had always been a bit of a late bloomer. I played it safe. I waited. I calculated. I worried about what others would think. I waited some more. I let opportunities pass me by. Things that most of my friends did in their teens or twenties, I didn't do until much later and, in some cases, I still haven't done.

You may be able to relate. Or you may think of things you wish you hadn't done. Either way, it can be easy to fall into the "What if?" pit and choke on regrets while we fantasize about the life we could have had.

The thing is, I can't go back twenty years and change my choices, and neither can you. Maybe we shouldn't want to! Maybe I'm right where I'm supposed to be, struggling with certain things now so that I always recognize my dependence on God. And maybe you are too.

And even if I should have done things differently, there is grace. And there is tomorrow.

"One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:13-14).

P.S. Don't forget to respond to this month's survey for a chance to win a prize.

BOOKS: I'm reading Underground to Canada by Barbara Smucker, published in 1977. It's about a 12-year-old slave girl in the south hoping to find her way up to Canada and freedom. Although it's a fictional story, it's based on historical events and is appropriate (and important) for all ages. 

MOVIES: Worth watching is the touching 2017 film Wonder. It's about a fifth-grader born with facial differences that make it difficult for him to fit in with other children. There are great lessons here about compassion, community, and embracing what makes you stand out instead of trying to blend in. (Also, I was surprised at how big-name actors Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson did not dominate the story but allowed the younger stars to shine. Nicely done.)

It's already March 15! There's nothing paricularly significant about this being the third week of the third month of the year (unless you're excited about St. Patrick's Day, I suppose), but it seemed like a good enough reason to come up with THREE ways you can make this a good week, no matter what else is happening. Will you take these challenges with me?

#1 - LOOK AROUND: Each day this week, take a picture of something that brings you joy. Then take three minutes to either offer a prayer of thanks for that source of joy, or take three minutes to write about it in your journal. (I'll share my photos next week!)

#2 - REACH OUT: Think of three people going through a hard time right now. Write their names on a piece of paper to carry in your pocket or post a sticky note on your mirror as a reminder to pray for them throughout the week. Make a point to either call, email, or a send an encouraging card to each of them at some point this week. 

#3 - DIG IN: Identify an area of your life you're struggling with (e.g. your diet, a particular project, or a relationship). Write down three ways you will work on this challenging situation and plan to give it your attention on three specific days this week, even if it's only for 15 minutes each time.

whimsy & wisdom from the world wide web

No, this is not about heart disease. It's a stunning natural phenomenon caused by starlings. 

This is hands-down my favourite video depicting the majesty and beauty of nature. I've shared this several times at events so some of you will have seen it before. It's worth the six-and-a-half minutes to watch again. (Somewhat related to murmurations, there's a moment about halfway through the video that still makes me catch my breath. You'll see what I mean when you get there.) 

David Jones, one of my younger-than-me editors, speaks openly about his struggles with depression and anxiety. Here are some helpful tips he offers to others trying to cope with mental health issues. 

ATELOPHOBIA

(n) the fear of making a mistake; perfectionism

My battle against atelophobia is ongoing, but regretting things I never attempted because of it doesn't help.
Onward and upward!

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.

Seneca

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