What am I missing?

I wonder.

How much do I miss on a daily basis because I’m not paying attention?

Here’s what prompted the question…

We bought a house

Back in February 2023, my husband John and I bought a house in Apollo Beach, Florida—not to move from our home in Knoxville, TN, but to renovate and turn into a short-term rental property.

Thankfully, we both have remote jobs, so we temporarily relocated to Florida to transform the house. And, I do mean transform. Built in 1959 and unoccupied for over a year, it needed a LOT of work—so much that we almost dismissed it as soon as we saw the Zillow listing.

But, what sold us was the property itself. A corner lot at the bend of a canal, with stunning views in two directions.

Plus, the bones of the house are solid, and the design screams Mid Century Modern. We could work with that.

So, we put in an offer and… yada, yada, yada, it all worked out.

Canal living

Fast forward to April 2023.

As I type this, John and I are on our second extended trip to Apollo Beach to finish the renovation.

Between our full-time jobs and the reno work, the newly rebuilt dock on the canal has become a go-to spot in the backyard. To relax and breathe. Catch some vitamin D during the day and watch the sunset at night.

Yet, sometimes we sit out there and end up scrolling on our phones. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it admittedly takes away from the joy of being on the water.

The ripple affect

One night, around sunset, John was off helping a friend we know down here. I turned on a podcast and wandered out on the dock to listen.

Sunset over a canal with calm water and reflections in the water
Sunset that night

Sitting in a white Adirondack chair with my phone resting on the armrest, I almost reached for it to check my email and Instagram. (I am occasionally guilty doing this while listening to a podcast.)

Yet, something stopped me.

First, I felt extra connected to the message of the guest on the podcast. I didn’t want to be distracted. (Podcast episode linked here.)

Second, I felt God telling me to enjoy His creation while I listened. So I did.

As I gazed across the canal, a fish jumped out of the water. Then again.

I paused the podcast and opened my camera app, thinking I could catch that fish in action.

Of course, it stopped jumping as soon as I whipped out my camera. But, because I was paying attention, I noticed the slightest ripple in the water, further down the canal but inching closer. A ripple in the golden water that created a V-shaped path of echo ripples as it moved.

Canal at sunset with a ripple in the water
See the ripple?
Canal at sunset with a ripple in the water
See its path?

What IS that?

Immediately, I switched to video mode and hit record, with no idea what it was. No idea if I would even find out. (Watch the full video at the end… but keep reading. No spoilers!)

After about 30 seconds, the ripple passed our dock—only it wasn’t close enough to give me answers. It moved further away, yet I kept recording. Good thing I did, because it made a U-turn. Back toward our dock!

Canal at sunset with a ripple in the water near several docks
The ripple passing
Canal at twilight with a ripple in the water near several docks
Too far away
Canal at twilight with a ripple in the water near several docks
The U-turn in the tree reflection

Eagerly, I popped out of my chair and walked to the edge. Peering down into the water, I saw the ripple approach, so close that I could finally tell what created the ripple.

A small, diamond-shaped ray.

Canal at twilight with a ripple in the water near several docks with boats
The ripple getting closer
Canal at twilight with a ripple in the water near several docks with boats
And closer…
A ray in the water of a canal near a dock
The moment I knew it was a ray!
A ray in the water of a canal near a dock

I’m sure I held my breath.

It was there and gone in a matter of seconds, but it mesmerized me.

A ray in the water of a canal near a dock
A ray in the water of a canal near a dock
A ray in the water of a canal near a dock
The ray & ripple departing

We knew about rays in the canal. John actually saw one near our dock when I wasn’t around. Even so, I never never once considered that ripple was a ray till I saw its “wings” flapping just beneath the surface of the water.

I stood there, staring out into the canal. The ray was gone. The ripple was gone. I stared and processed what I just witnessed. What I almost missed.

It struck me that, had I been looking at my phone, I would have missed it. The ripple. The ray. That magical one minute of life.

Gosh was that convicting.

I need to pay more attention to the world around me.

Paying attention to God

This experience with the ray also got me thinking about God. I know He’s always working in my life, often beneath the surface. Often in ways I can’t see. Yet, just like those ripples, God gives us glimpses of His presence moving in and through our lives. How often do I miss God’s ripples when I’m distracted? When I’m focused on myself? When I hold too tight to what I want?

Sure, I know God doesn’t always reveal Himself in the moment. Sometimes He wants us to trust. Grow our faith. Hold onto hope.

But sometimes, He does show us. He has shown me in the past. In the moment, as He’s moving. So, again, I wonder… how often do I miss it?

I don’t wanna miss it.

The challenge

I want to be more in the moment. Spend more time in nature. In silence. In prayer. Listening. Observing. Inviting God into every situation. Looking for God in every situation.

I want to see the ripples.

How about you?

Full video of the ripple and the ray

4 thoughts on “What am I missing?

  1. twhitevw@aol.com

    Jayme,Such an important lesson to train ourselves to be present and seek out God in the quiet moments.   So glad you were able to find your piece of paradise on the gulf coast.  It’s a bit of a drive from Apollo Beach, but I encourage you to check out my home church in Bradenton, Gulf Coast Church.   God is using these willing hearts to reach their community and the world.  I worship with them on-line every Sunday, but wish I was there in person.I enjoy your thought provoking blogs – this is truly your ministry.Theresa 


    1. It’s a lesson I’m still learning! I am thankful God is patient. Thank you for sharing about your home church. We were going to my former church in Sarasota while down in Apollo Beach… and were back in Tennessee now. But that is wonderful to know there’s such a place in Bradenton with a passion to do kingdom work and live that calling! I will have to check it out online as well.

      I appreciate your encouraging words. You are clearly gifted to build others up!


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