We only have one small tree in our front yard.  By choice. When we downsized from a five bedroom colonial parsonage to a much smaller Cape Cod cottage, we deliberately chose a yard that requires little upkeep. But this pink dogwood sits right outside the bay window of our porch and is a beautiful focal point throughout each season.

Back in October 2011, it was laden with gorgeous autumn leaves when a freak 12-inch snow-and-ice-storm hit Connecticut and left us without power for a week. Ice usually just crystallizes bare limbs in winter, but this time it covered the leaves, the heavy weight bringing every branch to the ground. By the time all was melted, we had lost more than half of the tree. What a sad sight. It looked chopped up and forlorn. I wondered all through that winter if our little tree would make it.. The elements of the years had been brutal at times; this final blow… 

But a mere six months later, on a balmy April day, I glanced out to see beautiful pink blossoms on a seemingly-full dogwood tree! Spring had come and our little-tree-that-could was once again blossoming and cheery. What a story of resilience and perseverance! And how much more beautiful it is to me because I remember the loss, the broken limbs, the heavy weight of ice…

Resilient has two distinct definitions: 1. returning to the original form or position after being bent, compressed, or stretched. 2. recovering readily from illness, depression, adversity or the like; buoyant..

Sarah Hasty Secrest – Then

My mother — Sarah Hasty Secrest — is like our little tree. She perseveres! Just like our dogwood, Mama has experienced unexpected storms that weighed her down and even broke off a few bits. 

Sarah Hasty Secrest – Now

But Mama is also very resilient. She has forged through life without her husband of 62 years, learning new roles and responsibilities and determining to live as fully as possible, even with her physical limitations. I admire her for that and I hope to exhibit that kind of strength when I am 92…

Perhaps it is no coincidence that Mama’s birthday falls on Mother’s Day weekend. Other than time together (which will happen this summer) Mama has no birthday wish list. So I decided to give her something that only I could give — I dedicated my new book “Life-giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most” to her:

  • Dedicated to Mama
  • Sarah Hasty Secrest
  • Thanks for life, love, prayers;
  • and for giving me the courage
  • and confidence to choose wisely.

Storms will come. Ice will make us brittle sometimes and lead to loss and brokenness.

But Spring also comes.

When it does, we can choose to turn our faces towards the Sun and wear our most beautiful garments of bright color, shouting to the world “I’m still here and God is faithful!”

Happy Birthday Mama. You are Beautiful.

“She is strong and respected and not afraid of the future. She speaks with a gentle wisdom. She is always busy and looks after her family’s needs. Her children show their appreciation, and her husband praises her… Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the Lord should be praised. Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone.”               (Proverbs 31.25-31)

under the mercy, Lucinda

“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”

My newest book “Life-Giving Choices ~ 60 Days to What Matters Most” is a devotional journal which can help any woman make the most important choices every day. Coming out this Fall from the good folks at New Hope Publishers, it is available now for pre-order HERE

©2019 Lucinda Secrest McDowell         

ORDER My Devotionals “Ordinary Graces” ($10.99) or “Dwelling Places” ($11.99) at — best price online

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