Crunch time!

This year autumn has been different. Here in Wales it’s been unusually dry and I’m told the fallen leaves have been very crunchy! I’m deaf, so I don’t pick up sounds like that, but I do know how crispy it’s felt under foot.


Deciduous trees drop their leaves in response to falling light levels and colder temperatures.
If you like long words, it’s a process called abscission! This ‘natural detachment of parts of a plant, typically dead leaves and ripe fruit’ is necessary for fruitful subsequent seasons, and it’s got me thinking…

What needs detaching in my life, so that energy can then be channelled into producing new shoots and fruit?
Truth is, comparisons – I need to drop comparing myself to other people.
We are all unique, we all have different attributes and abilities, and to use the tree analogy, it’s pointless trying to produce pears, if you are in fact an apple tree!
Not only that, we all thrive when we grow in our own spot and don’t cast shadows on one another.

It’s been said:

“Be a 1st rate version of yourself,
not a 2nd rate version of anyone else”

When I came across those words of Judy Garland, it reminded me that comparisons are insidious.
They damage us by making us feel inferior or superior, and damage others by our resulting attitudes. Envy, or disdain, is life sapping.

So how do we move from the shadows cast by comparisons and other negative outlooks?
Maybe there is a further parallel to be found in the process by which trees drop their leaves:
At its base, each stalk has a row of weaker cells on top of stronger cells, and it’s the swelling of the latter that causes the leaf to fall. Likewise, if we let God’s strength swell in our lives, there will be displacement at our weak points and we will shed what we’re better without.
It’s a process, and change is gradual. But in God’s light, we will be a like a tree silhouetted against a bright sky, our true shape revealed.

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And rooted in truth and love, we will put out new shoots and bear fruit.
I think it’s crunch time for me, how about you?

Truth is… We will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse… Each of us is an original’ Galatians 5:12

Drop it!

I’ve said before that I’m not a winter person, but I’m having second thoughts…
To say that I dislike a quarter of the year is rather negative. Not only that, dreading winter makes me ambivalent about autumn, so I probably miss out on the full nature of another quarter!

So this year I’m choosing a different response. Instead of wishing that trees would stay green and summer continue, I’m noticing autumnal colours in a positive light. Rather than taking a ‘traffic light’ approach and willing the trees to stay green rather than turn to amber and red, I am actually welcoming the changing colours and enjoying the many shades of orange and crimson. Just like traffic lights cause me to stop, so autumn hues are giving me pause for thought.


It’s good to be reminded that nature is all about cycles. Each season is necessary for the next.
It reminds me too, that there are cycles and seasons in our lives because, truth is, I’ve sometimes resisted ‘letting go’.

Trees don’t hold on to leaves that have served their purpose. They drop in response to changing conditions and are sometimes stripped by strong winds. But this isn’t the end of the story. In time new buds emerge and new leaves unfurl.
So what do I need to shed? What will inhibit growth if I don’t drop it?

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For me, it’s not possessions but outlooks that sometimes weigh me down. For various reasons I often need to think ahead and forward plan, but it can be my downfall if I’m later inflexible. It’s not a question of being right or wrong, it’s about being collaborative and companionable along the way. As the saying goes:

“If you want to go fast, go alone
If you want to go far, go together”

So I’m making a deliberate effort to be mindful of my attitudes, and drop anything that has a whiff of decay about it, like ‘I told you so’, impatience, or wishing it was a different ‘season’ in my life. For having a ‘grass is greener on the other side’ outlook can make me blind to what’s right under my nose!

Truth is… There’s a right time for everything… a right time to hold on and another to let go’ Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6

Blossom where you’re planted

This week I had nothing to do for 10 minutes! (I was waiting in a car while my son-in-law called into his local library.)
As I sat there wondering what this week’s blog would be about, I noticed some trees lining the pavement. At this time of year the colour of autumn foliage can be breath-taking, but it was their shape that caught my attention.


Where the trees were well spaced, each filled its place with beautiful symmetry.
In contrast, the trees that had grown in close proximity to each other had irregular branches, but viewed together as a whole there was an amazing pattern.

It got me thinking – what shapes life? Competition or cooperation?
In my school biology lessons I was taught Darwin’s theories about the ‘struggle for existence’ and ‘survival of the fittest’.
40 years later, I now found myself interested in what shapes growth – not from a scientific perspective, but from an everyday viewpoint.
What determines growth patterns, and what if we apply that question to ourselves?
– Circumstances yes, but also the level of awareness we have in our relationships with others.

Just as trees thrive best in the environment to which they are naturally suited, so too, do we. We all have different abilities (as a believer I would say God-given gifts) and we are most fulfilled when we are able to let these take root and bear fruit.
I enjoy using my practical and creative skills, and I want to be remembered as:

“a maker and a mender”

But as well as personal growth, we need to be mindful of how we fit into the bigger picture.
Just as trees grow alongside each other, and from a wider perspective can be seen to fit together, we too can flourish in relationship with one other.
Our attitudes though, aren’t always conducive to this. Truth is, I have a competitive streak, but ‘doing one’s best’ is quite different to ‘being the best’.

So this week I’m reminded to ‘blossom where I’m planted’

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– to recognise my gifts and use them for the good of others and enjoy fitting into the bigger picture – like those trees with their amazing pattern.

Truth is… ‘Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits’ 1 Corinthians 12:7