I was recently walking a green space near my home with my husband and came across an incredible man. He was sitting on a fallen tree and his two dogs were dancing down the trail towards us. The man instantly greeted us and with his charm and wit, asked if I was the daughter, wife…puzzling with a smile. I instantly connected and liked this man. There was something about him that made me want more. He excitedly began to educate us on the trees all around us, “This is a hemlock, that is a spruce…this flower is a foxglove…” His passion was infectious and he was a joy to be with. He then got even more exuberant and pointed at the fallen tree he had just been sitting on, “This tree is exactly due North—true north!” he exclaimed with such enthusiasm. He took out his phone and went to the compass and showed us how exact it was. He then humbly said, “this is my prayer place.” We listened to him as he explained various trails nearby, and then told us about a fishing trip to Argentina, a visit to Scottland with fields of Heather…he was a wealth of places, stories, tips about local berries, bears and the conversation peppered with scriptures, enthusiasm and faith. It was a very fun conversation and we left the mountain better for it!!

I am never surprised by outcomes of happy meetings of various people. Yesterday, my daughter and I went to a local spot to do some whale watching, take some research photos and start the day in nature. A few couples dropped in at the special point, but one woman in particular could not get enough of the whales. Every single time she would see a whale she lit up, boomed out a loud, “there it is” and pointed. Even if the whale was right there for all to see, she could not help herself. She was filled with an enthusiasm that was infectious! I told her that I loved it and she shared how she had been to the Oregon coast numerous times and had not had this experience. She was genuinely so happy to be there at that moment. She then shared how she had just been to the Galapagos and this was even better.

I get pretty excited to see every whale blow, but her enthusiasm made me reflect on how often we take it for granted that we get to enjoy the whales just about every day. It made me appreciate every blow even more and that when we get the opportunity to explore, see and enjoy all the beauty of the whales, to remember how special every moment is. It is all a level of connection.

Whether we are connecting with people, the planet, whales, the ocean, taking pictures of seals, watching an eagle, having a fun conversation with a stranger or a neighbor—it is all a beautiful gift of connection.

What I learn from these connections—how important it is to not lose sight of every connection we have. We are influencing people in one way or another. I remember having a phone conversation about a stressful home warranty issue with a telephone customer service person. I tried to go into the conversation with good energy, to create a positive situation, be respectful of the other person on the line and in the end, make lemonade out of lemons and the guy laughed, enjoyed our conversation and left the call with, “best call ever!” I smiled as he transferred me to another representative. Our connections, no matter how small, are important and matter.

What if Larry just sat on his log quietly and did not say a word. We would have probably just smiled and walked on our merry way past him. The sweet connection would have been lost. We would have missed the enthusiasm (God within) of this man and the knowledge he passionately shared. It is wonderful to know that there are people like Larry praying on a log and connecting with those who cross his path in one way or another. He is an influence for good. Thank you, Larry.

In all you do–Connect. Be a light for good. Do good. Be an influencer of good things.

Peace, Love and Light to you. -H