According to Webster's 1828 Dictionary, inspiration means:
The infusion of ideas into the mind by the Holy Spirit; the conveying into the minds of men, ideas, notices or monitions by extraordinary or supernatural influence; or the communication of the divine will to the understanding by suggestions or impressions on the mind, which leave no room to doubt the reality of their supernatural origin.I love this definition! In my life, I have found inspiration in many places. The obvious places are in the scriptures or on my knees or singing hymns, but there are many not so obvious places and people too.
One not-so obvious place is in nature. I find that nature continually reminds me of God, the ultimate source of inspiration. I love to smell the ocean, see the new flowers, harvest berries or leaves for food or medicine, watch a stunning sunset, or gaze at the world freshly blanketed white with snow before the roads or people wake and disturb the soft billows of fluff. Each time I do these things, I turn my mind and heart to the Lord and feel gratitude for life and the beauty of the earth.
As I took the kids to the park to play on the first really nice day of Spring this year, I was thinking about this very thing. I took the following picture in a small alcove of trees on the outskirts of the park. In this alcove, my children love to play. It is a child's ultimate hideaway. The only exception is the nettles and possible brambles that lurk nearby.
I find that classic books inspire me. There are so many books that have inspired me but I will only list two recent ones. The girls and I just finished reading A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I love that book. Sarah Crewe is an inspiration to me of long suffering and enduring to the end. She also inspires me to be charitable. When she is hungry and cold and happens upon enough money to purchase 6 hot buns, fulfilling the dream she was having when she finds the coin, she gives 5 of them to a beggar girl outside the bakery. The selflessness of one so small is inspiring to me. Nathanial Bowditch in Carry on Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham inspires me to keep learning no matter what the challenges.
Karate inspires me. Every time I take my shoes off at the door of the dojo, I leave the world behind to turn inward and focus on improving myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Karate training helps me focus on the essential and release the non-essential. In other words, when we are at the dojo, the essential is being in the moment with your training. If your mind is focused elsewhere, you might harm your partner or injure yourself. Every time I have a tough day and I leave that behind at the door, I learn and reinforce in myself that I can move past the small stuff and really focus on what matters. In my home I may have to deal with inappropriate behavior, but I don't need to hold on to it. Once it is dealt with, I can let it go because what matters most is relationships and people.
My children inspire me. They remind me that we are all children of God and that he has sent us here for a purpose. They inspire me to want to be the best mother I can be and to improve myself each day.
Other homeschoolers inspire me. I find that as I listen to their stories and really try to understand them I find that the Lord whispers pieces to me that I can take and use to help my family in our homeschooling journey. I am so grateful that I belong to a book discussion group with other homeschooling moms with a similar philosophy and desire to serve God by educating their families in the way He directs them to. These moms all believe that as mothers we have been given a divine stewardship over our children and that because of that stewardship, we are entitled to inspiration from the Lord to know the best way to educate our children for each of our children individually within our families. They also believe so deeply in this stewardship that they respect and honor and support the other mothers doing things just a little differently and rejoice in the process.
If I had to pick one person though, I think I would have to pick my sister Katie. She inspires me and has for many many years. She is selfless, thoughtful, and dedicated to the Lord. She is cheerful, kind, and has a passion for helping others. She wants everyone to succeed and to fulfill the mission that God gave them to do. She lives every day full of life and love and has a smile that is contagious. Even when she was pregnant and coming down with the flu, was caring for me and my 1 week old new baby and her son and all of my three older kids were sick, she still had a smile on her face and tried to make the best of it. She lives 1000 miles away and I miss her! I love being around her and soaking in her positive energy. She inspires me to want to be a better person and daughter of God.
For more sources of inspiration, take a moment and sail on our Blog Cruise. (Link goes live April 17th)