A slender bud, no bigger than my pinky finger lay on the floor in the dining room. I’d never noticed before how the petals made a perfect spiral, swirling upward toward a sharp point, but when I stooped to pick it up and ask a child to join me in marveling, it really was a marvelous specimen to behold.

In preparation for frost, we hauled a number of plants indoors. Ones we managed to keep alive through the summer that have a fighting chance of surviving to stretch their limbs in the great outdoors again next spring. They crowded the dining room and observed our meals for days on end, until we finally planned their new situations around the house, where they can enjoy the winter in a temperate climate.

As the Hero Hubs lifted a giant pot to transfer it to the living room, I scurried ahead with the base for it to sit on. When I returned to sweep the leaves that had fallen, that bud caught my eye.

The lovely pink mandevilla it fell from is still happily blooming indoors, the bright pink flowers lend a strangely tropical contrast to the Christmas decor making its way down from the attic. But that slender little bud had a chance at blooming, too, if only it had managed to stay connected instead of dropping off — if only it had managed to abide in the vine.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

{John 15:1-5} 

As I spread my palm wide to allow the little girl nearby to admire it, I thought about how I hope she will abide in the vine, and blossom into the person she was created to be.

And what a struggle I have these days, when I am tired and don’t want to rise early and find my way to the Word, find my way to the Vine! How I get flustered instead of finding peace! How I worry instead of learning to hope and wait!

The hustle-bustle fast pace of the holiday season quickly approaches. With it, I’d love to make a simple suggestion that might help you find the peace and the joy that giving thanks and celebrating the Saviour ought to bring.

Set aside the time to stay connected to the vine. Set that alarm clock just fifteen minutes earlier. Or turn that screen off just twenty minutes sooner. Find your way to the vine. Find your way to the source of life and hope, peace and joy. 

You can bloom in this season. You can be a blessing, you can be a gift, you can bring life and beauty and joy to the world around you. You will best fulfill your potential and live your fullest into each day if you allow the good life that comes from the One True Vine to flow into you. Often.

Drop off the plant and you’ll dry up. Stay connected to the Vine, and you’ll truly come to life.


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Update on Blake :: We Raised a Hallelujah!

I cannot help but smile as I reflect on the joy that it was to gather and celebrate this weekend! Some 120+ folks gathered together with us, simply to worship and give thanks and Raise a Hallelujah to the God Who has delivered, does deliver and will deliver our sweet Blake! We sang songs that had so much meaning for us — ones that we sang over our precious boy when he was still in a coma and we had no idea what the outcome would be. How sweet it is to have something you declared by faith become a reality, like the words, “You take what the enemy meant for evil, and You turn it for good.” Hallelujah! That is what our God does and has done!

Blake thoroughly enjoyed the celebration, as did all our children. My dear friend Kat and several wonderful helpers put on an incredible mini-carnival that was above and beyond what I’d hoped for and made it such a lively and fun CELEBRATION in every way. 

Last week Blake had two neuro-opthalmology appointments, and while the first was more discouraging, the second was much more encouraging. Doctors initially observed that Blake was not seeing anything in his left field of vision. (If you can imagine putting tape down the left half of each lens on a pair of eyeglasses, that is about what his view is like. But, his brain has a way of stitching things together, which means he is not really aware that he is not seeing the whole picture.) Wednesday’s doctor’s appointment concluded that there was structural damage and that the vision loss was “not likely to regenerate” (meaning permanent.) However, at Friday’s appointment, different tests were run which indicated that Blake’s left eye is seeing the whole picture, but right now his brain is “neglecting” that information. This is WONDERFUL news.

If Blake’s brain regains an awareness of that information, with the right view from the right eye and the full view from the left eye, he will basically have a full field of vision again. We are praying that that will be the case, and even more, that his eyes will both heal and he will have 100% complete vision again. We would be so grateful if you would join us in praying for Blake’s vision, the disappearance of his AVM, and the restoration of his short term memory. God has answered so many prayers for us, and as Mark declared at the celebration Saturday evening, “This was a miracle and I believe God is not finished yet.”

We look forward to continuing to share Blake’s story with you. Thank you for your prayers and for joining us in Raising Hallelujahs to our good, good Father! 


Did you miss this post? I shared a list of my family’s favorite children’s books for this year! If you’re hoping to put a good book or two into a Christmas stocking, click here for some inspiration!