Ripples in the water

Ripple are interesting to look at.  They start in the center and travel to the outside, ever expanding, one slow circle at a time.  You can follow a ripple all the way to the end if you have the patience and the eyes for it.  The ripple that happens after a while has traveled quite a bit, having become much larger than the first one, and affects a different area of the water by now.

Ripples are marvelous.  They are the announcement that there is more.  More to what I do on an everyday basis that what shows up at first.  More to the pennies that I save today than just a few pennies saved.  More to my smile than a simple exercise in facial gymnastic.

Ripples are a big responsibility.

What if my smile caused my husband to be in a good mood as he left the house and made him ready to respond to an employee’s mistake with a kind word?  And what if his response to the employee’s mistake so overwhelmed the employee that he broke out in a song? And what if that song was heard by a customer who happened to be in the music industry?  And what if he was so impressed with the voice he heard that he offered the employee a recording opportunity?  And what if it turned out amazing, and they made millions with the sale of that particular recording?  And what if the employee used parts of the proceeds to fund a well in Africa?  And what if a little girl in Africa did not die because of it, and wound up adopted by a couple in Europe? And what if became the mother of the scientist who eradicates diabetes once and for all?

The ripple effect is truly at the foundation of the “paying it forward” concept.

I have seen the ripple effect at work in the forty-eight and many, many more months that I have been alive.  Whether good or not, these effects were real, affecting life profoundly.

What if my grumpiness made my husband irritable that morning when he got to work?  And what if his irritability caused him to lash out at the employee who made a mistake?  And the employee got frustrated and quit his job?  And he never found another job and wound up having to sell his house?  What if the hard times drove his wife to suicide and his kids turned to drugs?  What if one of his kids wound up on the streets? What if the owed lots of money for drugs and chose to pay his debt off by becoming a prostitute?  What if he died?

No man is an island.

Your life affects mine, your choices affect my choices.  I do make the choices for sure, but your choices wind up having a direct effect on my life.  Whether good or bad.  My own life turned out as it did as a result of a simple gift certificate from my daughter.  Who would have thought?

Whether by choice or not, our lives have a ripple effect on others.  It’s a simple as that.  The question that remains is this one: what kind of ripple effect will you have on those around you?

Can you think of one act of kindness that truly had a ripple effect?

Linking up with Seedlings in Stone, Women Living Well and Titus 2sday.



  1. Barbara, I just left the most lengthy comment, only to have wordpress erase it as I forgot to log in! Boo! Anyway I am side by side with you #33 at Titus2Tuesdays. I have to go right now, but love this post and our commonalities of Daughters and Sisters of Christ and Personal Training! Please visit and wish we could chat. Love Pennsylvania as my BFF grw up on Kutztown!


  2. Thank you for the lovely reminder. I have often thought of the ripple effect of my grandmother’s faith. Her decision to leave atheism and take hold of Jesus has reached as far as South America and, possibly, farther. Children in my own home are saved as an effect of her faithfulness. I look forward to seeing the ripple effects of their faith! Today, because of your words, I am spurred on to creating more positive ripples. Thank you! (I’m following you now! I look forward to reading more from you.)


  3. […] NO MOTIVATION TO EXERCISE is not a vague annoyance that might go away.  It is most often the result of thought patterns that must be addressed. What is your mind choosing to dwell on?  How are you spending your mind time?  Or your lack of motivation can also be the result of bad choices–how little did you sleep? How poorly did you eat?  How much did you drink, and what?  Maybe you made a poor choice that brought about another one, and then another one, like ripples in the water. […]


  4. Darren Hardy recently published a book titled “The Compound Effect” and it talks about the compounding effect of our very, small, everyday choices, and how they will move us and others forward, or drag us incrementally downward.

    I think of this as choosing to be either a gentle inviting wave of encouragement, hope, grace and forgiveness, or a devastating tsunami of destruction.

    Hmmm, seen in that light the decision of how to behave suddenly becomes crystal clear. 🙂

    I had a woman contact me probably 10 years after we both had graduated from high school. She was about 3 years my junior and had come to me for advice re boys and peer pressure in general. She wrote me a short and lovely note about how that conversation gave her the strength of her courage and convictions, and how it changed her life for the good in terms of the choices she made. I had completely forgotten the conversation, yet it meant the world to her.


  5. Hi Barbara – great post and so true how we all affect one another’s lives. Great encouragement to make sure the ripples starting with us are positive. Thanks for linking up again. Look forward to seeing you there again next week
    God bless


  6. Your title caught me…we both talked of ripples today. you did a wonderful job expounding your thoughts…yes our actions are far reaching. blessings to you


  7. Great analogy, Barbara. We do all need to remember how little acts of kindness and love make such a difference in the big picture and vice versa. This inspires me to make better, more loving choices! Thanks for that reminder–I guess you could say you’ve sent out a good ripple my way! 🙂


  8. Great post! I’ve never thought of ripples in this way before, but it is so true. This will definately be on my mind as I go to work today.



  9. This is the lovliest sentiment I’ve heard all week. Thanks for Posting it. I do know that a smile can change somebody’s world and you just followed that to the end. Loved it! Laurel


  10. […] It is quite astounding, this butterfly effect theory. It basically refers to the idea that a butterfly’s wings might create tiny, tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado in another part of the world. It doesn’t imply that the butterfly created the tornado, just that the flap of its wing created a small change in the conditions, and this change kind of mimicked a domino effect. […]


  11. […] Ever heard about the butterfly effect theory? It basically refers to the idea that a butterfly’s wings create tiny, tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado in another part of the world. It doesn’t imply that the butterfly created the tornado, just that the flap of its wing created a small change in the conditions, and this change kind of mimicked a domino effect. […]


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