Preparing for Today

My daughter and I spent a beautiful afternoon driving and hiking through Brown County National Forest. We have had a ‘girls weekend’ together in Brown County, Indiana for the last two years, and this forest is always a great part of our day.

We noticed a hiking trail that wound around a lake, and decided to give it a try. I think my daughter is part mountain goat, she had no problems at all. But her elderly mother had to keep her eyes on the ground. I had to look out for the snaking tree roots, uneven ground and the thin wooden stairs we had to climb.

I felt a little sorry for her, having to keep a slower pace. But, if I hadn’t been looking down, I would have missed this little fella.

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He was scooting across a wooden bridge…it seems like forest bugs are always in a hurry. Fortunately for me, top speed for a caterpillar is pretty slow, so I waited until he got to the leaf to take a photo. This guy had a full, wooly coat along with an agenda. He had places to go and people to see.

This caterpillar isn’t covering himself with thick wool for a balmy summer day. He knows that cold and snow are on the horizon, so his body is getting its protection ready. Watching this little fur ball, I asked myself, “How ready I am for any challenges that may be ahead?”

While it’s natural to think about getting ready for the future, I decided to think about a more immediate timeline. How ready am I for next Wednesday? Or tomorrow? Or even five minutes from now? Life moves along in inches, minute by minute. Preparing for any future problems is a good thing, but I can’t ignore the rhythm of life in the right here and right now.

Being prepared to notice the beauty of the moment takes a real act of will. Instead of driving around with visions of grocery lists and kids to pick up and deliver, maybe I can prepare myself to look around a little. Notice the changing leaves, the brilliant blue sky, and the squirrels dancing across the lawns and fields.

Instead of racing to the checkout line, I’d see the worried faces and the harried parents. Letting them go in front of me, I could offer a smile.

I know I’ll need a ‘pep talk’. I don’t always automatically go out of my way to really see and hear the beauty around me, or notice the pressing needs of my neighbors. But preparation is the key to any success, and I want to be a ready for what’s ahead.

So thank you my little furry friend. You remind me to be prepared, to have the right frame of mind from the moment I start my day. Not just for the future mega snow storms in my life. Nah. Just being ready for the next five minutes will be a victory.

 

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76 thoughts on “Preparing for Today

    • Hi Freda! I was so blessed to have a son-in-law who volunteered to stay with the kids so my daughter could spend time with me. I loved it. I think it’s every mother’s dream to ‘hang out’ with her daughter one on one!

      Thanks for visiting my friend,
      Ceil

    • Hi Mari! Well, I guess you could say that I was observant, but I was looking down so I wouldn’t fall flat on my face!

      It was a good lesson for me, I’m glad you appreciated the story.
      Have a restful night,
      Ceil

  1. Ceil … Don’t you love how His littlest creatures teach us the most needed lessons?

    And elderly? Hardly! So cool to hear about this special weekend with your girl.

    P.S. LOVE the header picture. Lovely, lovely. Especially since huge gusts of wind have just about swept away every leaf in NY state!

    Hugs to you, friend …

    • Hi Linda! Nothing is wasted with the Lord, that’s for sure. If I stay observant, there is no end to what he wants to share with me, or anyone who will hear.

      I love that header too! We still have some leaves on the trees, but it’s definitely on the slide. It was beautiful while we had it, right?

      Peace to you my friend, and a hug back too!
      Ceil

  2. Dear Ceil, This is a timely word! You my friend are a very wise woman. And I do believe God will show us what we need to know even from a furry little bug! I have always needed word pictures and lessons! Have a very blessed Holiday season and enjoy every moment of it! Yours, Roxy

    • Hi Roxy! How nice to see you here today šŸ™‚

      I guess I’m pretty visual too, come to think of it. It’s always easier to remember things when I can see it in my mind. Good point! I’m glad you liked the post.

      Yes, the holiday season is soon upon us. Thank you for your good wishes, and I know that you will make your home a comfortable, joyous place to be. Hope I see you again before the busyness hits!

      Have a peaceful night,
      Ceil

  3. What a beautiful story Ceil. It is so true we should all slow down and make sure we are ready for lies ahead of us. You have me something to think about and for that I am also grateful for this beautiful story. God bless Leslie

    • Hi Leslie! Thank you for your lovely comments about the post today. You are always supporting me on FB too, I appreciate you!

      Hope you are feeling better? Sounds like it was not a fun weekend šŸ™
      Have a restful night, and God bless you too,
      Ceil

    • Hi Lauren! I will have a wonderful week! My brother and sister-in-law are coming to visit, and I will try not to get caught up in the ‘business’ end of having guests. I’m going to take my own advice and go slow and enjoy!

      Blessed week to you too šŸ™‚
      Ceil

  4. Ceil,
    I certainly enjoyed reading here. Your words triggered something that I meant to do a couple of days ago and have yet to take action. Thank you for the reminder. šŸ˜‰

    These words, “Instead of racing to the checkout line, Iā€™d see the worried faces and the harried parents. Letting them go in front of me, I could offer a smile.”, this is the very thing God started dealing with me about close to two years ago now. I have to say I come home from shopping a much happier person for looking for those who hurt and doing what I can to help. šŸ™‚

    Have a wonderful week, my friend!

    • Hi Dianna! What a wonderful way to show how God is ever the same. Of course he would want all of us to treat our brothers and sisters as…well, brothers and sisters!

      I’m glad you were reminded to do something. I love that when that happens. I am so relieved to recall and then get it done.

      Monday blessings,
      Ceil

    • Hi Bill! I was wondering about that. There’s an opportunity looming for next year!

      I did think about the thickness of this little guys coat, I didn’t ever hear about the darkness of the wool though. Interesting. It would seem that either way we’re in for a cold winter. I agree! Bleah šŸ™

      Walk in peace today my friend,
      Ceil

  5. I love this post, Ceil, just love it! “Life moves along in inches” is so true, and when we pay attention we where we are instead of worrying about where we will be, we can truly appreciate it. By the way, Wooly Bears are my favorite caterpillar!

    • Hi Pam! I looked up on-line about these chubby little guys. There are so many different types of caterpillars! How fun that you really like the Wooly ones. It’s amazing that I saw this guy, but staring at the terrain probably helped that!

      Thank you for your support and kind words Pam. I appreciate you šŸ™‚
      Blessings,
      Ceil

    • Hi Lulu! No place to hike or weather is bad? We went to Brown County last month around Columbus day, so I suppose the weather is pretty cold now.

      I’m glad you liked the post though šŸ™‚
      Ceil

  6. Like you Ceil, I tend to be too focused on the next thing that I miss the beauty around me. But I have been really enjoying the fall colored leaves here lately.

    • Hi Wanda! I’m so glad you have a chance to enjoy the fall colors, nature at it’s splashiest!

      We’ll have to work on our fast speeds one day at a time. It’s a game of inches šŸ™‚
      Monday blessings,
      Ceil

  7. Your articles continue to inspire me and help me see each new day as an opportunity and challenge. They have now become part of my daily meditation.
    Thanks for keeping me focused on the important things in life.

    Jean

    • Hi Jean! Oh, I’m so glad you like it here! It really gives me confidence to keep going. Thank you so much.

      Believe me, I need the focus too. We’ll keep trying to keep our minds on God and his creation, ok?
      Have a wonderful Monday šŸ™‚
      Ceil

  8. This was perfect for this morning. My mind is always in a hurry, and most of the time it’s unnecessary. Writing and rewriting mental sentences often keeps me from noticing the sweet slow moments of life. Be prepared but live now. I’m making that my motto for the day. Enjoy a beautiful day Ceil!

    • Hi Deb! Wow, I can really relate to that constant mental editing and thinking up themes to write about. It can drive me nuts! I always wonder where my ‘off’ button is!

      Focusing on the here and now really helps give me peace. That, and knowing that God’s got it for me. All the time. Phew!
      Monday blessings my friend,
      Ceil

  9. I love this Ceil. I am often too prepared… so much so that I start to rely on my own devices rather than slowing and listening to God’s wisdom. Sometimes with my own agenda I overlook the in-the-moment needs. I pray God will help me with this. Thank you for sharing these words and this wisdom. I need to slow down a bit as I’m certain God has things for me to do… and I don’t want to miss His call.

    Wishing you a blessed day.
    xoxo

    PS – I need to dig out my warm winter coats. Winter is one thing I am not prepared for!

    • Hi Jennifer! That’s exactly what I was talking about, thank you for making sense of it all. Too busy to see the wonder of what is around me, the gifts God is sprinkling on my path. Can I rephrase my day to see it all?

      It’s a challenge, but it’s one I think I’d better take šŸ™‚
      Happy Writing!
      Ceil

  10. Isn’t it awesome when we hear from God through nature?
    Nature encourages us to slow down and smell the roses, to not rush through life and miss the beauty and opportunities before us.

    Last week I read a blog post that asked me what I was going to do with my final two months of 2014. That made me stop and realize how quickly this year has gone by. I don’t want to be so “busy” with my “to-do” list that I miss out on what’s right in front of me.
    Thanks for reminding me to SLOW DOWN.

    • Hi TC! What a great question! It’s hard to believe that 2014 will soon enough be a memory.
      My word for the year is ‘surrender’, and I wonder how I would stack up in my efforts to give myself totally to Christ. That’s what I should be doing for the next few months.

      Well, that, and to slow down enough to do it!
      Nice to see you TC šŸ™‚
      Ceil

  11. Ceil, you know I always seem to prepare myself for the worst-case scenario. I’m always expecting “the other shoe to fall” – and usually I expect it to fall on me. I had never thought of this idea – preparing myself to notice the beauty of the moment. It’s a wonderful idea, and a good one for this girl who tends to see the glass half empty.

    GOD BLESS!

    • Hi Sharon! Well, I’m still working on the beauty in the moment myself. That’s why I could write about it. It’s a constant battle to try and quiet my brain so I can appreciate the right now.

      I’m glad you saw some value in thinking that way too. I do think God is waving to us all the time. “Look at this!!” I hope I begin to see more and more.

      Have a great evening šŸ™‚
      Ceil

    • Hi Susannah! Isn’t it amazing what we can learn from the smallest things? And if you saw him, you’d get a totally different message. God is such an inventive creator, isn’t he?

      Hope you had a good day? Not too tired I hope.
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  12. I love those deep lessons we learn from God’s creatures. Thank you so much for sharing this furry little friend’s inspiration, Ceil. Blessings to you!

    • Hi Trudy! Me too…I think God is waving and calling me all the time. It’s up to me to pay attention though. That’s why it’s crucial for me to learn to stay in the moment. That’s where God is right now!

      Have a peaceful night šŸ™‚
      Ceil

  13. I love how you can take something as ordinary as a caterpillar and apply it to life!!! ENjoyed this post very much!
    I don’t think I could hike much more than the isles at wal*mart! šŸ™‚

    • Hi Monica! I think there’s a lot you can see and think about in the aisles of Walmart. A lot!!

      Thank you for your kind comment though, I’m really glad you liked the post today. I think God speaks more clearly in the small things, at least to me. He knows I am a simple gal!

      Have a restful night my friend,
      Ceil

  14. You know, you have a wonderful way of writing; and this is one of your best posts yet. Starting with a walk in the forest, to the caterpillar, to being prepared for tomorrow, or five minutes from now. Just excellent writing compelling the reader to go on reading.

    We shouldn’t worry about the future. God’s already been there.

    God bless you.

    • Hi Victor! Oh my, you have really made me happy! I’m so encouraged by your comment, thank you so much. It means a lot coming from you, an author several times over.

      Yes! Let’s stay in the moment. The time that was created just for us, we’re here anyway, might as well enjoy it!

      Have a restful night my friend,
      Ceil

  15. Be prepared – yes, this is what we need to do! Funny how such a small thing can remind us of the bigger things. Thank you for this.

    My husband and I stayed overnight in Brown County several years ago at the Abe Martin Lodge (I think that was the name!). It is a lovely part of the country. Wouldn’t mind going back to spend more time there someday.

    • Hi Karen! We did see Abe Martin Lodge, and it’s really pretty. We wanted to eat dinner there, but it was rockin’ with weddings and receptions. So many fancy dressed people in the middle of a state park! It was fun.

      I hope I can keep my attention on the small things. God is there too.
      Happy Tuesday šŸ™‚
      Ceil

  16. Hi Ceil,
    sounds like you had a lovely time, and I think we can actually learn quite a lot from nature. I have to say, I love living in the moment, and one of the first scriptures I was given was to take no thought for tomorrow I have had a lesson taught me concerning this recently which I am going to share in my next post.
    God bless.

    • Hi Brenda! We did have a lovely time. It’s so fun that my daughter wants to spend time with me each year.

      I look forward to your post on the subject of living in the ‘now’. It’s such an important concept, and so key to a happy heart!

      Blessings,
      Ceil

    • Hi Yourself Deb! What a sweet thing to do! I’ve never had anyone do that before…I love it šŸ™‚

      Watch out, I’ll be bopping in on you in the future.
      I hope you’re having a wonderful day my friend,
      Ceil

  17. So when I first read the beginning of your post, I found myself thinking that I am between Ceil and her daughter…not a mountain goat any longer, but I can still keep up…somewhat šŸ˜‰ I am finding myself realizing and appreciating the different chapters of life I have treaded through. When I was younger, being older seemed SO FAR away!

    I liked this post because for me, I need to find the balance of the two; looking ahead to the future and just keeping present. Sometimes, if I look ahead to far, I worry. I do that you know. At the same time, I don’t want to just stay in the present; I need to be prepared because I’m an organizational type person. I find myself feeling anxious when I don’t have a short term plan.

    Beautiful post as always, Ceil! BTW, Miss Clementine is doing much better. We go Friday to have her follow up and metal removed šŸ˜‰

    • Hi Patty! Oh, you’re young my friend, don’t forget it!!

      I don’t want to say that anyone shouldn’t plan. We have to plan to be good stewards of our time and resources. But when we are living our day, I mean be present to that. Not so worried about the future or the past, but loving the gift of right now.

      So glad to hear about Miss Clementine! Such a random thing to happen, and so scary for her. Praying for her complete recovery!
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  18. Sounds like a wonderful time with your daughter, Ceil. I love to hike a deserted trail and have that time to reflect and take in the beauty around me. It is easy to get caught up in planning for the future and we should have somewhat of an idea of what we need to do BUT we know who hold our future and at any time our “plan” has to take a detour. “Because He lives, I can face TOMORROW…” Great post, my friend šŸ™‚

    • Hi Debby! Sing it sister! He does live in me right now, and every other ‘right now’.
      As I told Patty, I don’t mean that we shouldn’t plan. We have to do that to be good stewards of our gifts of time and talent. But when we live out our life, our attention should be in the moment in front of us. If I am planning, then yes, attention to the plan. But if I’m spending time with you, that’s where my heart should be!

      How are you doing these days? It’s so nice to see you here my talented friend. Hope your Tuesday is going well.
      Blessings,
      Ceil

    • Hi Patty! No kidding, it was so fun. What a joy to spend time together! My daughter is very little in stature, but she sure can hike šŸ™‚

      Thank you for your kind words Patty. I’m so glad we are connected through our blogs.
      Happy Tuesday!
      Ceil

  19. Here in the North of Canada, your well thought out post reminded me of the fall Army Caterpillars that we sometimes experience… true it is always wise to watch our steps… what lies ahead can be surprising… and I couldn’t help but to also vision those beautiful colorful changes that our leaves go through while God’s creatures evolve.

    Can’t wait to get to Heaven cause there’s just not enough time in the day down here. Right?…lol

    God Bless Ceil

    • Hi Victor! Howdy to you in Canada!

      I tried to look up what an Army Caterpillar looked like, but all I saw were references to Army worms? Are they the same thing? But I know it’s the same idea as the wooly one, and yes, looking down was definitely a good idea!

      The leaves were really pretty too. Finally we went at a time when the colors were really lovely. I like the way you phrased ‘while God’s creatures evolve.’ So true.

      Thank you for your visit today, it’s nice to see you here šŸ™‚
      Ceil

  20. Isn’t it amazing how something as small as a furry caterpillar can teach us things about nature and preparedness? Fall is a great time to reflect, and from those memories, are the lessons that will prepare us for the winters we all must face in life.

    • Hi Marcia! What a great thought. That the caterpillars coat prepares for winter, and we can prepare for hard times too. I like that.

      I hope you are doing well these days? Hope you and your family are enjoying the fall weather šŸ™‚
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  21. I listened to one of those motivational speakers once who said we should stop to really experience life. When you’re washing your hands, really focus on the sensation of the water going over your skin–that sort of thing. It looks like you’re already doing that now!

    • Hi Stephanie! Sounds like a powerful talk. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to slow down and see the presence of God in this moment…but I’m definitely working on it. Sometimes I do it better than others!

      Have a wonderful Wednesday šŸ™‚
      Ceil

  22. Well Hello there! It’s been awhile since I have been on. It’s been so busy around here. I just need to stop and take a moment to catch up. This is such a timely post, even for me. I can just see you on that trail, watching every step you take and hoping you don’t biff it down the mountain. I am… well lets just say not to graceful when it comes to nature hikes or walks on flat ground. Everyone has to slow down for mom when we go on those challenging trails. LOL.

    I am a very visual person as well and I need those little fuzzy bugs to remind me at times to stop and think about tomorrow or like you said the next five minutes. I sometimes just need a break to reflect on God and what he wants me to do. Yes!

    It’s so good to stop in and see you on here writing away! I love reading everything that you hold near and dear to your heart. I hope you continue to do so as long as God allows you to.

    Have a glorious day, Ceil!

    Hugs,
    Amy

    • Hi Amy! We can walk together any time then. Speed isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anyway šŸ™‚

      I love visual things too. They spark ideas and thoughts and it’s fun to think about them. I hope I can keep writing away too my friend. I’m so honored that you like the posts, and that you are my blog friend. Let’s keep that going too!

      Have a peaceful night,
      Ceil

    • Hi Lux! I was very blessed to see this little creature. My daughter took a video of its march and sent it to her little daughter. So this guy got around!

      Nice to meet you! I look forward to getting to know you better šŸ™‚
      Ceil

  23. Hi, Ceil. My husband grew up just south of Brown County. We went on a bus trip with people from our former church down there back in the day. It was beautiful. We ate at the Brown County Inn. Five days later we received eight inches of snow flurries. Six days after our trip, I had gall bladder surgery. I try to plan my days, but someone around here has been known to change those plans.

    • Hi Cecelia! Wow, what a gorgeous place to live! Didn’t you just love it there? The views are amazing.

      How lovely of the Lord to let you have your holiday before the snows and the medical problems kicked in! At least you had wonderful memories to think on as you healed. And oh yes, God is always in control. Thank goodness!

      How’s your shoulder these days?
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  24. You do know there are no future mega snow storms on the horizon for us, right? lol. Since my husband is home this winter I’m banking on it being a mild one. But I guess it might be smart to be prepared either way. I know I need to do a much better job of slowing down and noticing. Like I probably would have missed that furry guy. I noticed my husband shaved the other night so that’s an improvement. Sorry. Feeling silly tonight. Blessings to you, friend. xoxo

    • Hi Beth! If you can’t be silly here, where can you be? I will certainly vote for a mega snow storm-free zone. That would be awesome!

      You have a silly, fun night my friend šŸ™‚
      Ceil

  25. Ah… love this message so very much Ceil!!! I love ALL your messages!! Thank you for sharing your heart and encouragement, so we can ALL live deeper and remining us ALL…

    “…to be prepared, to have the right frame of mind from the moment I start my day. Not just for the future mega snow storms in my life. Nah. Just being ready for the next five minutes will be a victory.”

  26. Hi Ceil,
    How lovely to read about your trip through Brown County National Forest. I will look it up online, to find out more about the area you visited šŸ™‚ As you know, I have to take life at a slower pace, but it does bless me with the opportunity to notice things, others may miss in their busy lives. I love searching for our Lord in the beauty around us. Blessings.

    • Hi Anita! Slower paces are sometimes a huge blessing. You see life and spirit in many places that the ‘faster paces’ don’t see. I’d encourage you to investigate Brown County. You probably have many places like that in England too!

      Have a great weekend šŸ™‚
      Ceil

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