Why Must I Drop My Leaves?

As the leaves fall in layers outside my window, crunch beneath my shoes and swirl behind the cars, it reminds me summer is over and winter is coming. This little season we call fall prepares the way for holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It ushers in chilly mornings, darker evenings and pumpkin spice smells in the kitchen.

I’ve often said that if I was a deciduous tree in fall, I would be the one to look around and say, “You know what, I’ve decided I’m keeping my leaves this year! I mean these are my favorite set! What’s the point of dropping my leaves now just to get them back again in a few months? Winter isn’t too bad here, can’t I just keep them?!”

What’s going to happen to me?

I’m probably going to freeze to death because if trees don’t drop their leaves in fall, they’ll die in winter from lack of food. Winter is not the time for nourishing extra things like leaves.

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“I’m Just Listening For My Name”

In an old Cosby TV show, Clair Huxtable is sporadically speaking Spanish to a colleague, while Cliff Huxtable stands off to the side, staring at them, because he doesn’t understand what’s being said. The two banter back and forth while Cliff’s face contorts into half a dozen classic Bill Cosby expressions. When the Spanish speaking pair looks back at Cliff he responds, “I’m just listening for my name!” That’s the one thing he understands and can respond to in a paragraph of fast flying foreign words.

This past month has been like a blur of fast flying foreign words. It’s been a series of packing and unpacking suitcases, preparing and speaking sessions, and eating lunch when I can. Between a Kenyan ladies conference, a Hutto Bible ladies retreat and my cousin’s wedding, I have spoken in a microphone more in the pat 45 days than in my entire life!

So many times after we return from Kenya, my heart is on fire with passionate future dreams. I usually hit the ground running in a flurry of activity, praying for clarity and trying to attain to the vision, before I wear a hole in the carpet.

Except all that changed about two years ago when God told us to “go home” from Kenya. We weren’t sure if we’d ever go back – not because anything bad happened but because it felt like the same cherubim and flaming sword God placed to guard the Garden of Eden from being re-entered was also guarding us against returning west.

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How to Help Someone Suffering From Depression

I used to think I wasn’t the type that struggled with depression. During some deep personal struggles, I remember thinking I’m so glad I don’t struggle with depression, for this would be a really dark time.

Normally I would describe myself as an upbeat, passionate person who thinks deeply, sees life realistically and bustles about with high energy.

But as I look back over my 36 years on this earth, I see some mountain top experiences paired with some equally low valley seasons that were longer and darker than I gave them credit for. It’s hard to understand life as you walk it forward. It’s not until you look back that events make sense, yet time and circumstances don’t often allow you the luxury of looking back and reflecting.

Since my grandfather passed away, and even right after he took a dramatic turn for the worse, I have struggled off and on with this darkness.

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Why Can’t I?

Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew…

My eyes are bigger than my stomach…

Basically, sometimes I think I can do things, I can’t.

Like in my head I think I can do a round-off back handspring in my front yard. I’ve watched my daughter do it countless times. It looks easy!

But have you tried a cartwheel lately?

Something happened around 27 years of age that biochemically defies turning upside down without torrential side effects.

I remember one time, I was really excited about something and I did a frontwards flip onto my bed like a little kid. Afterwards I just laid there, flat on my back, watching the room pass by in front of me.

But I have these moments in life too…not over cartwheels and front flips anymore for I respect those boundaries… where I think I can do things I can’t.

Now, it’s over schedules and activities I think I can jam into my week and stay sane. Problem is they have the same result as the front flip on my bed – leave me dazed and confused as to what just happened!

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“Before I was Born, He Knew”

“Hey, where is the restroom?”

“The kiosk to register to testify is around the corner.”

“Huh? I said where is the restroom?”

The two ladies laughed but the truth is, when God puts something on your heart to do, you hear it everywhere, even voiced over a request to go to the bathroom.

A few minutes later Charlotte made her way to the feared table, submitting her name to give testimony at a hearing in Austin, Texas on behalf of girls rescued from sex trafficking. Refuge of Light, a safe home for these girls, was requesting mercy from Texas lawmakers to be registered as a safe home to qualify for state funding. Charlotte and her friend were there to support this organization thinking their job was merely to fill a seat.

Little did she know God was about to knock on her heart to not just fill a seat but also share her testimony to those in attendance.

This testimony had been tightly locked away for years. Like a dog on a leash, Charlotte only let her story out to whom she wanted to and when she wanted to. She thought as long as she was living in the force field of control she wouldn’t be hurt again.

The trip to Austin proved to shatter Charlotte’s force field as the Lord said to her, “Charlotte, this story isn’t yours to hold onto. It’s really mine. Go. It’s time for you to tell your story.”

To finish Charlotte’s story, click over to Thread of Redemption: Hope When Life Unravels.


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The Thread of Redemption exists to point out the fingerprints of God in the brokenness of life. Through people’s stories we highlight the thread of redemption weaved through-out the fabric of our lives.

 

Failure is NOT an Option. Or Is It?

Adam broke the silence of our family dinner with a bang, “So what is something you failed at today? And what did you learn from it?”

Gulp. And gulp again to swallow my food.

I studied his eyes to see if he was serious. He was.

Silence hung in the air as the four of us contemplated his words, not really appreciating having to think about the areas in which we failed today.

In our Facebook, perfectionist, everyone gets a trophy culture, we generally frown on sharing our failures because it is neither a trophy or worthy of shares. We feel ashamed when we fail, which evokes in us the need to cover the evidence, not display it.

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Made Just For…What?

For weeks my daughter has been on the hunt to find a costume that represents Queen Isabella from Castile for our Classical Conversations end-of-the-year party. Back in the 1400s, Queen Isabella signed off on Christopher Columbus’s quest to find the New World.

After searching unsuccessfully online for cheap costumes we decided to try Goodwill. Walking up and down the isles, Mackenzie sized up each dress, long skirt and hideous shirt, looking for something we could pass off for fifteenth century royalty. Finally she made her decision. With a couple of scarves to add some color and drape over her shoulders, and some stick on fingernails that were four for a dollar, the outfit was set.

When the cashier rang up our treasures she noticed the seams on the inside of the dress and said, “Hmmm, this dress looks like it was made just for someone.” She looked further and found a tag nestled inside with a name inscribed with black sharpie on it. Kim Peterson, UT Austin.

I smiled at purchasing something homemade, for I can appreciate all the work involved. I said to the cashier, “I bet the owner would be proud to know her custom made dress is now in the hands of a young lady dressing up as Queen Isabella.”

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The Power of “Come”

A few weekends ago my oldest son wanted to sleep outside. And when my oldest son wants to do something, he lets me know of his plans every chance he can. We could be talking about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and Caleb would insert a plug for his case to sleep outside.

Maybe it’s partly my fault. Being the mama that I am, I don’t tell him yes to everything, for if I did, we’d be fur trading in Alaska and eating bear soup for dinner. I make him work for his yeses. He must convince me as to why he needs to sleep outside in such a way that I understand his cause and want to say yes to him with joy.

So I had put him off for days but by Saturday night I had no more reasons to say no. He had convinced me and with a smile I said Yes.

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Because He Loves Me

“Oh Momma….come heerree,” my little man called from the back door in his sing-song voice. “I’ve got something to show yoouu.”

Sometimes these requests cause me to hold my breath, afraid there will be a finger dangling from its base or some disaster to clean up. But something in his voice this time sounded promising. So I stopped whatever I was doing and followed him to the back porch. You can imagine my surprise when I saw this:

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A freshly blown off porch (blower provided by Daddy with a rent fee of $2), wiped down picnic table with a beautiful camellia blossom planted in a vase. All just for me! Just because he loves me!

I engulfed my little boy in my arms and said thank you with all the reciprocal love I could find. Then I sat down across from him on the bench seat and discussed the finer things in life according to a seven year old while soaking in the serene scene he created for us.

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Just a Runway for Words

A few nights ago, I had this crazy dream…

It began on a Sunday morning at church, the final worship song had escorted the crowd of people out of the sanctuary. Like everyone else, I made my way into the lobby to go pick up my kids and chat with friends. I remember I stopping in the lobby, lost in my own world, thinking about my struggles and how to apply the sermon I just heard. But finally I looked up and saw a couple next to me staring off into space. Their shoulders were stooped almost like they were looking for a lost ring on the ground, except they weren’t searching the floor. They were just staring blankly at the ground, not saying a word.

I turned to them and said, “Excuse me. May I ask what’s on your mind?” And the man stumbled out in reply, “I don’t know…I feel like what was spoken in there just now was good, but it held no power…I’m struggling and bound up with many sins and the speaker’s words didn’t share with me anything liberating. I’m still bound. I feel like the setting was just a runway for their words, as a way to show off their beauty and talent. But it held no power to set me free from what binds me.”

And they both hung their head even lower and walked out of the building.

Then I woke up.

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