Honey, Worry Can Strangle Your Soul

When I arrived home from the weekend conference Sunday evening, I realized a hitchhiker had accompanied me in the door. His name was Worry. At once he set to work bringing up all those things that had conveniently been dormant while I had focused on an enjoyable weekend of ministry. One by one, people and circumstances – ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’ – popped into my mind and got me to thinking. And worrying. I…

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Do You Find Spiritual Journaling Helpful?

Have you ever written down your prayers, or journaled an experience that you don’t want to forget? I have found this process can be both revelatory and a way to process emotions, spiritual growth, and focus. Setting aside time and space for life reflection and re-evaluation is a valuable priority, but one that can so easily get lost in the daily demands of life. Though I continued to work outside the home 24-30 hours a…

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For All the Precious Children

Like many of you, I think of the children constantly – especially this time of year as school supplies dominate the shelves of every store, and “first day of school” photos fill my social feed. Oh, how my heart goes out to all the children. Everywhere. Today. Always. The most vulnerable among us in this past 18 months of pandemic turmoil. Those toddlers who have quite literally spent half their lives alone with little social…

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And Now, theHarvest Begins…

Today is the first day of September, which for me will always mean that Fall has begun! And, with Fall comes harvest – a time of “gathering in.” All the planting, all the nourishing, all the work and all the joy have brought us to this place. And now we see the fruit of our lives laid bare for those who will come and taste. Do you ever wonder what your own harvest will be?…

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A Story About Vines

I grew up in south Georgia surrounded by a vine that was lush and green with fragrant blossoms. It also grew like wildfire and was practically impossible to destroy.             Kudzu.             Some of you are nodding in recognition and others are ignorant of the scourge of this beautiful vine. Evidently, at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial, the Japanese brought kudzu to their pavilion and the U.S. Soil Conservation Service came up with the bright idea…

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Pruning Hurts

It is incredibly hard to “quit while you’re ahead.” To be sidelined in the middle of living out your dream. For whatever reason. And yet, God, the Master Gardener, “cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more”. John 15.2 I well remember seasons of pruning. Of cutting back professional activities in order to focus on mothering my own…

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Why Roots Matter

It’s called The Big Oak.             My Georgia hometown’s most popular tourist attraction. After all, this southern live oak tree (Quercus virginiana) dates back to 1680 and is currently 68 feet tall and has a limb span of 165 feet. It is also where my mother was born in 1927, at the home of my great-grandparents Chastain who lived there from 1906-1966. The tree is magnificent. But it’s the roots that tell the full story.…

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It’s a Hard Process from Crawling to Soaring

            Can you imagine walking into a room with over a thousand fluttering butterflies?             I did just that at the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens in Georgia and it was quite a colorful experience. Not to mention hot and humid, out of necessity. In this glass-enclosed ecosystem more than fifty species of butterfly live freely among tropical plants. Butterflies arrive there in the chrysalis stage, purchased from family-run butterfly farms in…

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That Elusive Rhythm of Slow

Driving through Pebble Hill Plantation I saw the road sign that caused me to grind to a halt. “Slow Down. I Mean It!” And Pansy Poe, the owner of this beautiful estate outside my Georgia hometown, had signed her name to give it more authority. Actually, God could have authored that sign as well. I believe He sends signs warning me to “Slow Down” all the time, but I’m usually running by too quickly to…

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When the Soil is Hard and Your Shovel is Dull

In these lazy, hazy days do you ever find yourself just coasting through life? You know the symptoms – lacking energy or enthusiasm for pursuing new things; feeling jaded or lethargic when you hear others speaking of a new vision or passion. Sometimes you just want to say, “Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.” If so, then God has a word for you, through the prophet Hosea. It’s time. Break up your unplowed ground;…

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Flinging Beauty Far and Wide!

I have never seen a field of sunflowers in Tuscany. And I’ve never been in Texas in the Spring when the fields are covered in Bluebonnets. But recently I saw an outcropping of Purple and Blue Lupines covering the wilderness in Wyoming and their beauty almost made me cry.   One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of…

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Too Much Debris Clogging Up Your Life?

He was just an old man people rarely saw. A quiet forest dweller, he lived up in the Alps and was known by his task as “the keeper of the spring.” This mountain man had been hired many years earlier by an Austrian village council to clear away the debris from the pools of water that fed the lovely spring flowing through their town. With faithful, silent regularity his work helped make the village become…

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