By Mary Tatem

Tiny footprints. Waffle soles of sporting shoes. Delicate three-pronged bird tracks. What an interesting variety of footprints I saw in the sand on my early-morning walk down the beach.

Beside a large footprint deep in the packed sand were baby-size footprints. Maybe a daddy held the hand of a little one just learning to walk and then picked up the stumbling child. Bird prints and crab tracks were alongside dog prints—large dogs and small prancing doggies.

Most puzzling were the lovely plant-shaped patterns, suggesting tall kelp growing underwater—except only visible were imprints in the sand. Could a clump of seaweed have washed up on the sand and made the print when it was swept back into the sea?

Could this print have been made by a giant sea turtle coming in or going out? Probably not. If a turtle came in to lay eggs, officials would immediately cordon off the area where the eggs were buried to give the tiny turtles a chance to hatch and survive their journey back to the ocean.

These beautiful sand etchings were left by the strength of the receding sea in interesting patterns for us to enjoy until the tide rises again.

I look at my own footprints, rather faint on the water-packed sand, insignificant amongst the myriad of other footprints and solitary because of the early hour of the walk.

Is my life, is your life, is anyone’s life more significant than a brief imprint on the earth for a short time in history?

Although we in the publishing world spend our days working toward producing life-changing words on paper, our significance lies more in the footprints we leave on people’s hearts than in the physical evidence of accomplishments and achievements.

Do we leave a mark of love in a heart that needs reassurance? Do we speak encouragement that leaves imprints on a discouraged heart? Do we reflect God to the weary sojourner?

We can ask our God to keep us alert to moments when we can make an impression on another’s life and leave a strong, lasting imprint as we walk through our days.

Mary Tatem is the author of eight books, including her most recent re-release, The Quilt of Life. A Bible teacher, Girl Scout leader, PTA leader, mom of four, grandmother of fifteen, and great grandmother of two, Mary writes with the authenticity of her life experiences and the fun of humorous moments. Visit



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