Make Like a Tree and Don't Leave

Make Like a Tree and Don't Leave

My yard has been home to several columnar aspen trees that unfortunately haven't weathered the storms– some nature and some lack of nurture. I was relieved that we were able to replace them for free, initially thinking, no harm done. But then I noticed my neighbor's same trees, planted around the same time as our first failed attempt. Only her trees were taller, fuller, and stronger because of the years the roots had been getting established. Replacing the trees didn't mean reproducing the growth that only happens over time. I'm thrilled to introduce you to my friend Jessie Taillon to share a bit of everyday truth about what she's learned from trees about what we can do through life's storms. 

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She Said Yes {On Demystifying "Calling"}

She Said Yes {On Demystifying "Calling"}

"You want to learn drums, right?"

I eyed my youth leader wondering what question might be lurking behind this question. It was a regular old Sunday morning in my early teen years and I was wandering around waiting for the church service to start.

I nodded hesitantly.

"How about today?"

The service was starting in approximately ten minutes. He lead me over to the drum set that had been vacated by whichever more talented and experienced drummer had been scheduled to play that day. He proceeded to show me the basic four counts of a rock beat I was to play on repeat, and assured me I would be fine. 

He took his place behind the mic, guitar in hand to begin the service and I wide-eyed with intense focus behind the drums. I assume there were other musicians but I don't really remember. All I remember was trying not to look and sound like it was my first rodeo and somewhat stay in sync with the rest of the instruments. 

I knew nothing of technique, fills, counting in, specific rhythmns in different songs or how to end a song. I knew only my newly acquired basic beat that I pounded out with the rigidness of the sticks I held. And, I knew the one who held out the sticks to me had more confidence in me than I had myself. 

That Sunday is set apart from a thousand other Sunday's in my memory simply because it was the day I said yes. I was no star, but it was the start.

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Rock Solid Faith and Fences

Rock Solid Faith and Fences

The summer after we moved into our first home, we built a fence to enclose our yard. The majority of our fence faced west and our windy city was no stranger to 100km/hr winds which often blew furiously from that direction.

To combat this frequent force, we knew we'd have to build something solid.  Nine foot steel posts were secured with concrete into three-foot deep holes. The fence boards were screwed onto three beams that ran horizontally across the top, middle and bottom of the posts and were secured by 3 more horizontal beams on top. It was solid. It probably could've withstood my car ramming into it but I didn't test my hypothesis.

Shortly after we had finished most of the fence, we had one of those terribly windy days. It howled so loudly I feared if I stepped outside it might have carried me to Saskatchewan.

It came with little warning. The day before it was like summer and then... BAM. The biting wind made summer seem like a distant memory. 

I was thankful that the majority of the fence was done. I tried to imagine how crazy it would have been to be screwing in fence boards on a day like that.  I can imagine what our neighbor would have said if (when she approached us about starting our fence in the summer) we had said, "Actually, we're waiting until the wind is blowing 100km/hr. We won't really need the shelter until then." She probably would've put her house up for sale. No one wants to live next door to crazies.

It would be foolish to wait for a storm to start building. 

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10 Lessons from 10 Years of Marriage

10 Lessons from 10 Years of Marriage

I hardly know how we have been married a decade, but the calendar assures me that it has in fact been 10 years since we first said I do. 

Ten years ago today, my dad walked me down the aisle and had to gather himself as he began to choke up before praying to begin the ceremony. He was a man of very few tears but on that day he was feeling a little emotional. He lovingly and only half-jokingly reprimanded Mike for not paying attention during his message. He was too busy smiling at me. I vaguely recall a basketball analogy but I too was very distracted gazing into the eyes of the man who was about to become my husband. 

Our wedding day took its own course. Our photographer was actually mean and a bit rude. I remember him yelling at the wedding party to not look so grouchy in the photos as they all boiled in heat and squinted in the highest UV index of the summer. One of the vehicles carrying the wedding party broke down on the way to our picture location which was 45 minutes away from the reception instead of 15. And there was no cell service to call our parents to tell them we would be late. We were an hour (maybe more) late to our wedding reception (surprise, surprise, right?). Some of the DJ's equipment got stolen at the gas station but somehow he managed to still get everyone out of the floor. We headed to the nearby chalet where we would spend our first night together only to find we had grabbed one of the bridesmaids suitcases that looked like ours. 

Rehashing these details almost makes it sound like the whole day was a disaster. It was anything but because we still achieved the goal of the day: to get married. It was the day we committed to each other and crossed the starting line of this marathon. Everything else was just details.

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The Truth About 2 Years

The Truth About 2 Years

As I turned off the lamp, I thought about how my word for 2017 was discipline and I still felt so far off the mark. I can set a goal like nobody's business but my distractibility, driven by fear, keeps me from faithfully following through. God had been stirring my heart to enforce the margin and boundary around the time I'd set aside to be obedient to what He has called me to do.

My typical response at this kind of crossroads would've been to strive– to promise to try harder and do better– only until I grew weary. Then I would switch to slip out mode– engaging in mindless activities to numb my sense of overwhelmedness, guilt, and failure. Thankfully, God has shown me an alternative– surrender.  

Before drifting off to sleep, in the quietness of my heart I told Him, "We both know how easily distracted I am. I need Your help."

The next thing I knew, my eyes startled open. I found myself awake in my own bed after having the most intense dream. The confusion settled as my dream replayed with clarity. Driving. Dying. Falling. The most vivid, vibrant, beautiful and brillant setting. Dad and his words: two years.

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