Growth and Affirmation

"Frozen Over"
Frost and rime ice covers the trees along Newfound Gap Road.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
© 2014 Kristina Plaas, All Rights Reserved
Heavenly Father's plan for us, His children, includes time where we can learn, grow, and develop into the men and women He designed us to become. Growth is an essential part of the plan. I can look back on my life and see the times when I have learned and grown a lot. Other times I have been less aware of how I have changed and needed others to thoughtfully share their insights with me. Kind, loving affirmation of growth is one of the greatest gifts a person can give or receive. Let's face it, we all like to be told we've done a good job on things we've worked hard at. It's encouraging to have valued others tell us they are pleased with what we've accomplished.

Atta-boy moments are awesome, in part, because they are uncommon. In the real world you hear a lot more about what you messed up that what you did well. Sometimes people are nice enough to not criticize, but you know you failed by their utter silence. Deafening silence. It's not that we always need someone else to tell us when we do something positive but the occasional good word really helps one's self-esteem, especially if life has been less than pleasant. Good words keep us going, help us weather life's storms, and spur us on to loftier goals.

Tonight's photo is the same one my colleague in Great Smoky Mountains National Park chose to post to the park's Facebook page this morning. I took this photo last Friday when we had cold temps and a thermal inversion that created stunning frost in the Smokies. Today's weather was even colder and the frozen stuff made another appearance in the mountains, thus this was a perfect choice to represent today in the Smokies. Apparently followers of the page thought so, too. There were hundreds of thousands of page views in a few short hours. It still blows my mind how that happens. What's even more mind blowing is how many people took the time to write comments -- incredibly nice comments about the park, about the weather, and about the photo. I read hundreds of lovely comments and I'm still shaking my head. Being a volunteer photographer for a national park is not something I ever dreamed of doing. I'm creating works that make a difference in so many ways. To have my heart out there for all to see is an interesting experience. To have so many affirm that what I'm doing is important, is appreciated, and makes a difference is something I'm very grateful for. I'm so blessed!

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