Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Keep Looking for the Shiny Things

A few months ago, my niece shared a podcast with me in which Leif Enger, one of my favorite authors, discusses the value of story. This entertaining and inspiring podcast is geared mainly toward writers and writing, but the advice he gives also applies to the way we should approach life in general. I urge you to listen to the podcast (link below) to get the full message and benefit. All of his suggestions are excellent, but “look for the shiny things” especially resonated with me. 

I’m a longtime lover of shiny things. I like sparkly jewelry, twinkling Christmas lights, fireworks . . . anything with glitter. I also like the figurative shiny things that don’t necessarily glow on their own but spark embers of joy within me. Practicing social distancing has enabled me to see shiny things abound in my life.  Please allow me to share some recent ones with you.

So many of my shiny things come to me while I'm walking I don't know why I don't do more of it. On an early spring walk through a local park, I saw these water park canopies peeking above greening treetops. As yellow tape barricaded silent playgrounds, the colorful canopies reminded me that at some point parks would be full of life again and kids could shout and play and splash in the summer sun. 

 On another walk, I came upon this lilac bush. I wish I could add a scratch-n-sniff feature to this picture, as the scent was as lush as the blooms.

Another day, I ventured from my regular haunts with a friend, and discovered not only beautiful landscapes but also wildlife.

A graceful crane taking flight and  . . . 

                                                            goslings! Can there be anything cuter except maybe . . .

a toddler practicing her running 


                                    or her trike riding?

My little neighbor works hard
to keep up with her older brother.
And don't you love her 
shiny silver helmet?!

Shiny things can be in your own front yard. I have a theory that God knew we'd be a little stressed this spring, so He made it especially glorious. I've had this peony bush for several years, and this spring it has twice as many buds as ever before. Every day--every hour--I check it to see if new blossoms have appeared.

Shiny things come via the internet. Since my grandsons are in another state, they sent me a picture of their new pet, a bearded dragon named Ron. Never thought a lizard would qualify as a shiny thing in my life, but he has such a great smile I can't help but like him. As the saying goes: "Never say never."

Other shiny things that came to me this past week: homemade apple bread from a friend, an unexpected thank you letter with a gift card, an email from a writer friend telling me she still thinks of my book from time to time and it helped her "recognize the humanity of people" in prison. Things just don't get any shinier than that!

Now that social distancing restrictions are easing, at least for the summer, friends on social media are asking how we’ll continue to apply the knowledge we’ve acquired when things get back to normal—whatever that may be. It occurs to me that the best practices for surviving social distancing are also the best practices for surviving life at any time. Personally, I’ll keep looking for the shiny things. I hope you do, too.

Here is the link to the podcast. Give it a listen. I promise it will be a shiny thing in your day. And I would love to learn about the shiny things in your life. Please share them in the comments below or on Facebook.