Adjusting My Focus

by guest blogger Terri Miller

(This post was originally published on Terri's "Life is Moments" blog; it won 2nd place in the 2021 SCWC Writing Awards in the blog category.)

On a hot August afternoon, I picked up my grandson and brought him over to spend the day. He was clearly excited at the prospect of a special day at Nana and Granddaddy’s house where he would have our full attention. I was excited too. I needed this.

The preceding weeks had been hard. I was tired and discouraged. Viruses, quarantines, and riots had me feeling overwhelmed. I longed for something to lift the weight from my shoulders. Chores, bills, and the general responsibility of catching up after a week of working a full-time job would have to wait. I wanted to lose myself in child’s play and not have to think about when the next toilet paper shortage would strike.

With him donned in one of my headbands like a pirate on an adventure, we commenced doing all of his favorite things. Watching Mickey Mouse, driving toy cars around on a road-printed rug, pulling unopened spice jars and cans of vegetables out of the pantry. We wandered out onto the patio to water (drown) plants. When a stray summer shower came up, we grabbed a bucket and held it out to catch the rainwater falling from the carport roof. It wasn’t long before he set the bucket aside and stretched, first his hand, then his foot into the stream.

When we got hungry, we went inside to share a cold chocolate smoothie. After the first sip, he raised one fist in the air and shouted, “Delicious,” as he turned his chocolate mustached face toward me. A miniature Groucho Marx.

Back outside, I coaxed him to sit a minute on the patio sofa to watch hummingbirds fly between the feeder and a nearby crepe myrtle. That’s when he discovered my binoculars. I keep them stored in a little metal house that sits on the coffee table within easy reach for spying on squirrels, hawks, and various other animals that visit our backyard and the pond beyond.

“I need my noc-a-lurs,” he said holding them up to his face. Turning in various directions, he said, “Look Nae-e.” Over time, my grandmother name had evolved from Nana to Nae-e. “Look,” he said again handing me the binoculars.

I put them to my eyes and looked around. “Oh, I see.”

‘Yeah,” he said and held his hand out wanting them back.

I gave a little laugh wondering if he was able to actually see anything. Maybe I should try to focus them for him, I thought.

“See that,” he asked peering through the lenses. I knew then that I didn’t need to adjusted them. He was able to see things that I could not. The joy of a rain shower. Rapture in a cup of chocolate goodness.

Without my realizing that it was happening, my vision had become blurred by worry and discouragement. I was the one who required a re-focus so that I could see what was lovely and true.

God loves me.

He is with me.

He is not surprised by the goings on of this world even if I am.

I can trust Him.

It’s an exercise I must engage in over and over training myself to look for what is real. Otherwise, the sight of a world in distress distracts me from what is honest and pure leaving me to believe there is only despair, hopelessness, violence and grief. But if I continually lift His truth to my eyes and look through it, all that is admirable, noble, and praiseworthy will come into view.

Philippians 4:8 tells us: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

My very own noc-a-lurs.


Terri Miller is an award-winning writer who is currently working on her first novel. She lives with her husband of thirty-five years, David, in a small southeastern Alabama town. They have two sons and two grandchildren. After years of raising a family and building a career, Terri says that her her love of writing found a place again when her boys left home. "The wrapper I pulled off a piece of Dove chocolate declared, 'You are never too old, and it’s never too late.' A confirmation that it was time once again to put pen to paper," she says. Read her blog at

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