My Leaf…My Life

Walking down our driveway last week, I spotted the most beautiful leaf. She stood out from the rest. Red. Star-shaped. I decided to make leaf place cards for my Thanksgiving table. I’d choose a leaf for every family member and paint each person’s name on their own special leaf.

This red leaf would be mine.

Heading up the front porch steps, I grabbed a fake orange leaf from the wreath on the door.

Comparing the two leaves, the red one wasn’t so perfect-looking. Little holes dotted her. Parts of her body were torn off.

She’d been through some hard times.

What was I thinking? She’d make a pitiful place card.

I flipped her over. The other side was worse.

Then I examined the artificial leaf. She was perfect. No dark spots. No rips. Shiny.

I decided to use artificial leaves. One at every place setting.

Then a gentle thought came.

Put the real leaf in front of the candle, God seemed to say. Look closer.

The candlelight shines through the holes. Makes her color even brighter

Difficult times in my life came to mind. Burying our baby boy. Daddy dying with brain cancer. My year of depression. Hard things family members are dealing with right now…

I see all your broken and tender places. Torn edges. Scars.

These are the VERY SPOTS where My Light shines brightest.

We’ll have real leaves on our Thanksgiving table this year–one at each place setting.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 NIV

My dear readers, what does your leaf (your life) look like? I’m praying for you.




Three Perks of Being Free from Party Panic

For years, I thought having the gift of hospitality meant throwing the perfect party. I got all serious and grim-faced. Stressin’ and obsessin’. Dusting. Cleaning. Straightening. Scrubbing. I wore myself out striving for perfection. But no more!

During my SURRENDER YEAR, I broke free (in lots of ways!) and discovered three secrets to throwing a great party.

My husband and I decided to celebrate Mother’s Day differently this year. We had our parents over for breakfast Saturday morning instead of eating out for lunch on Sunday. When you’re free of Party Panic, you can break traditions. 🙂

Did everything go perfectly? No. Would the old Julie have stressed over the flaws? Absolutely.

I used our wedding china and my grandmother’s stemware and green Depression glass serving pieces. I don’t have silver and Mother offered to bring hers.

While I was setting the table, she called. “Oops, we’re on the way and I forgot the silver.”

Ordinarily, I’d have panicked.

Fine china with everyday forks and spoons!

And I didn’t have enough of my grandmother’s green glasses, so I had to use a couple of yellow ones.

And I left the strawberries on the counter for two days and they got moldy.

And I burned the bottoms of the biscuits.

And I forgot to wipe the pollen off  the doo-dads outside on the front porch.

But you know what? None of my imperfections mattered because…

…being free of Party Panic meant I could…

1. Forget about myself.

2. Have fun at my own parties.

3. Love others from my heart.

The root of my Party Panic and Perfectionism was PRIDE.

What a waste of time and energy!

There won’t be a perfect party until we get to Heaven.