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The Saturday Journal: A New Canvas

It's quiet on this morning--part light--part clouds with drops of rain and dew resting ever so peaceful on the blades of winter grass. I love the stillness of winter.

And the bells rang in 2024 just a few days ago--a newness of sorts. On our minds are changes--goals--more of this--less of that and always, uncertainties...

I pull a book off the shelf I read in 2016 thinking I would read it again or at least read all the highlighted text and pages marked with post-it notes. I do this sometimes. And in my mind, I believe if it was good enough to pause and highlight the message and mark the page with a bright colored note the first time–then maybe it’s a good message to be reread and remembered.

Inside the book was a napkin I had saved from a small restaurant in Asheville. I was there for a workshop. My colleague and I were having breakfast on this cold morning and she looked at me and said, ‘I don’t think I can finish my sandwich’. And it wasn’t because of the spinach, egg and cheese smothered in a croissant roll! It was amazing! It was the company a few tables over that caught her eye. He was dressed in all the warmth he most likely owned and his breakfast consisted of a cup of water. I watched him for a few minutes as he sat enveloping the cup of hot water with stained fingers wearing gloves with holes large enough to grip his pen. He was writing on a napkin.

My colleague and I--we sat in silence–each of us in our own thoughts, both wanting to help, but uncertain of what to do.

There’s a dog in my neighborhood–she wears a pink collar. She goes from house to house visiting and every so often she’ll find a shady spot and rest a while and on some days–she’s a walking companion. It was early morning and the air was already stifling from the July summer sun. Minutes into my walk and here she comes–her tag clanging like bells in a children’s choir. She walks slow, never getting too close. And on this particular day she was walking in the freshly mowed grass field and then she just took off in a sprint. I looked for a rabbit--but there was no bunny in sight, or any other animal for that matter. And she did this more than once. Walk a while. Run a while. She ran for no reason other than she could and she was happy–happy in the moment. Now, I have to be honest here–this same dog irritates the heck out of me sometimes--mainly because she uses my yard as a place to relieve herself--a lot. But on this summer day, rather than watching her--I was seeing her--through different eyes.

Author Louise Hay wrote, “The thoughts we choose to think are the tools we use to paint the canvas of our lives.”

What good is it if we plant flower seeds but never take the time to enjoy their blooms--their beauty? Or what good is it if we fill our bird feeders with birdseed and never pause to watch them nibble on the small seeds or share their meal with an occasional squirrel? Or what good would it have been for me to continue seeing the neighborhood dog as an annoyance rather than celebrating her outbursts of joy?

Minutes passed–not hours–just mere minutes. I turned around and he was gone--this man in the restaurant. And there I sat lingering in my thoughts and fear--for far too long. If only...

We can care and we can wait–we can plan--we can promise and we can even set goals for the new year. However our stories–until we push the fear and negative thoughts aside--the canvases of our lives will never change until we pick up the brush and paint a different picture.

And the ball of fire illuminates through the trees and this same sun made by our Creator has been rising since the beginning of time--lighting up the eastern sky with glorious shades of yellows and reds and oranges. A newness. An oldness.

And a beam of light breaks through the pane of glass and shines on my journal and forms a shadow of my hand holding the pen inking the words of thankfulness on the page--gifts that can only come from the heart of the Father--from the heart of His Son.


A humble and heartfelt thank you for reading.

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All photos @copyright Tathel Miller, unless otherwise credited to another photographer.



This absolutely touched my heart to the core… the remembrances that filled my heart and mind. This is the first time I have read your weekly stories— it will now be something I will enjoy and hold dear each time I touch a piece of my life too!


Thank you for this reminder my friend.


Thank you for sharing another thought provoking story. It helps to try and see things from God’s perspective. Keep writing!


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