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Be En-couraged

It is a different season we find ourselves in as we experience this time of quarantine with physical distancing and altered schedules.  Things in our everyday lives have changed significantly.  Living rooms have become classrooms, grocery aisles have one way signs and our calendars that once were set in stone have made room for uncertain change. In the final months of 2019 I had planned a baby shower for my daughter set for spring of this year.  With a recent move away from our family, the shower was planned ‘back home’ so airline tickets were scheduled and purchased, the venue was reserved, the cake design from Pinterest was sent to the baker and a friend who coordinates weddings was planning a room full of over the top boho baby décor. I was so excited for my daughter to feel the love as she was showered with hugs and gifts, but as I watched the news and heard the reports, it became clear that …

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Keep Following

I’ve found myself walking a lot these days.  Maybe you have, too.   A park close to my house has become my daily destination.  While it’s not a particularly large park, woven throughout the fields and play area is a loop with twists and turns equating to a mile.  The loop starts at a bridge and ends there as well.  Once you are on the path, you stay on the path, or so I thought. The park is usually full of people walking together.  Small and large groups of men and women enjoy each other’s company as they follow the path.  I am no different as I am usually found walking with a friend.  Almost in sync we walk in line with the others.  We are all following each other as we all follow the path. In this new season we are living, the path looks different as fewer people walk at the park.  There are no longer large groups of people to follow and these days I am …

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Fruit in THIS Season

Things look a lot different for all of us as we have entered this new season we are living today.  Our schedules, our routines and our places have experienced significant change.  We are missing the days of going to church, going to coffee, really just going anywhere. In navigating these changes in my personal life, I went back to the psalms and decided to read a psalm every day. Psalm 1 is an amazing passage that refers to a tree that is planted by rivers of water.  The tree gets what it needs from the place where it is planted and yields the fruit it was intended to yield as it grows in that place. We know that this psalm is referring to being spiritually planted, digging our roots deep into the soil and soaking up the rivers of living water to keep us bearing spiritual fruit in its season, but it made me start to think.   What happens to a tree when …

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Our Oasis

I have never been one who found beauty in the desert.  Dry places appeared empty, void of color, void of life.   One day I found myself traveling with my husband on a desert road outside of the city of Dubai.  The road started as a busy, paved highway in a populated place and gradually became a narrow, sandy path headed to a dusty desert place with no other people in sight.   For a very long time the view did not change as we drove mile after mile on a lifeless, dry road.  I could not help but wonder what was at the end of this road and why my husband would bring me to this place.   As I pondered these questions, on the horizon I saw a sign of life.  An beautiful, large oryx was walking through the sand as the sun beat down on his body.  As large as he was, he was difficult to spot at first because his color was similar to the sand.  He and …

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Guard Your Heart

In April of 2017, our home was robbed in a very calculated, evil way.  Our sacred space had been ravaged by thieves, violated and what was left behind after the fact was destruction, loss and emotionally scarred places deep in our souls.   It didn’t seem possible that this could happen to us.  Before we moved into our home, we installed the best alarm system possible.  We armed the house and out we went, trusting the system in place to do the job it was assigned to do. What I did not know was that there was one very small window in my house that was unarmed.  There was one point of entry that was a weak link.  It was through that one very small unarmed place that the enemy entered.  No alarm sounded and the damage was done.   Three years later, I thought that I had come to experience every possible lesson there was to learn through this trial but recently, in a season of transition, …

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Small Beginnings

It’s funny how our perspective changes over time.  As young children when presented with beautifully wrapped gifts at Christmas or on birthdays, our tendency is to reach for the biggest box with the biggest bow.   We can’t wait until that box is in our hands because surely if the box is that big, the gift will be equally as wonderful! But the older we get, the more our eyes shift.  From the biggest box…to the smallest.  We start to understand the old adage that good things come in small packages and often carry with them value that supersedes the value of the larger items around them. I found this to be true this past Christmas as I opened a very small box from my daughter.  In it was a silver necklace engraved with words that are dear to my heart.  Alongside the necklace was a small handwritten note from her heart to mine.  Two small items held in a very small box.  Their value was not dependent on their size.  Both …

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Come as You Are

I was recently standing in line at my favorite discount store with a cart full of the treasures I had found on my journey through the overcrowded aisles.  The line was very long as it is this time of year and from my position at the back of the line I could tell I was in for a very long wait. Conveniently, these stores recognize the fact that we are going to be in line for the long haul so they give us something to do during our wait.  Shelves are arranged for the entirety of the line stacked with last minute gift ideas, things we might have missed, things we didn’t know we need, things that we didn’t even know exist!  As we slowly make our way toward the counter, we pick up these items.  We put them in our shopping carts and quite often, if you are anything like me, by the time we reach the register, they have been returned to …

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Unexpected Places

They were selling umbrellas as we walked through the gates to Victoria Falls.  With the African sun shining bright and strong, we certainly didn’t feel the need to stop and make a purchase! We started our journey down the path to the falls and began to see people coming our way. Laughing and talking in excited tones these folks caught my attention, but what kept my eyes fixed on these tourists was their hair and their clothes.  From the top of their heads to the shoes on their feet, they were completely drenched!  It was a bright sunny day and we were still quite a distance from the falls.  I wondered where they had been and kept on walking.  We continued down the dry, hot path for quite a while, each step the same as the last, and then it happened. Out of nowhere water began to fall from the sky.  It fell on our heads and ran down to our feet.  With just one step …

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Give it Away

My parents were always amazing gift givers. Together they spent weeks well in advance of birthdays and Christmas planning out their strategy to find the perfect gifts to present to my sister and me. If something was on our list, even into our adult years, my dad and mom would go to great lengths to make our wishes come true.  One year I asked for a cross necklace so I was not surprised on Christmas morning to see a jewelry sized box under the tree with my name on it. I opened the box and saw that it held a beautiful silver cross. It was petite and delicate with intricate scrolling on the sides. I loved this cross immediately and wore it as much as I possibly could.  Little did I know that day as I hugged my dad to thank him, that just two months later he would pass away. This small, silver, scrolled cross would be the last …

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What’s in Your Hands?

Evidence of the changing of seasons is all around us!  Leaves falling from the trees outside of our windows and school buses on the roads tell us that we have left one season and have entered another.  In this age of social media, a quick look at our news feed tells us the same. Overnight, the pictures we see have changed.   Friends and family who posted photos of their children yesterday are posting photos of their children again today.  The faces are the same, the smiles are the same, they are the very same children, but the picture we see is completely different. Just yesterday, we called the season summer.  We saw pictures of children at the beach with wet, messy hair, covered in sand.  In their hands they carried buckets so they could transport sand to the water and water to the sand.  These buckets had a purpose and were used accordingly.  In their hands these children carried what they needed for the season they were in.   …